Moses Brown Alumni Association Recognizes Award Winners

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MBAA Award Recipients
Moses Brown Alumni Association Recognizes Award Winners

May 2021

Clifford Brown, Jr. ’60
MBAA Distinguished Alumnus/a Award
Clifford Brown is a political science professor at Union College in New York. His research interests include the U.S. presidency and presidential elections, U.S. defense policy and military relations. He is best known for the book he co-authored, Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years a Slave, on which the film is based. Cliff is also a historian of the 1950s at MB and recently shared a virtual presentation on the topic for the Alumni Office.

Scott Wolf ’71
MBAA Distinguished Alumnus/a Award
Scott Wolf has been the executive director of GrowSmart Rhode Island for over 22 years. GrowSmart advocates sustainable economic growth and provides statewide leadership for compact development in revitalized city centers with responsible stewardship of the region’s natural assets. Before all that, though, MB was home. Scott attended MB for 11 years and was editor-in-chief of The Quaker in his senior year. After MB, he headed to Brown to study political science and discovered a love for public service.

Gary Goldberg ’87 P’17 ’19 ’20
Karin Morse ’79 Service to Alma Mater Award
Entrepreneur Gary Goldberg, CEO of SquadLocker and Cleanbrands, is a third-generation textile engineer who has enjoyed designing textile consumer products for some of the world’s most recognized retailers and brands. Gary has served on the Development Committee since 2007. He is clerk of the Campaign Steering Committee, among other roles. As a loyal alumnus and involved parent, Gary contributed to innumerable community efforts, and lent his marketing and business expertise to the MB development staff, committees and the Board. A self-described, “obsessed entrepreneur,” Gary was awarded the RI Tech Collective Innovation of the Year Award.

Angus Davis ’95
25th Reunion Achievement Award
From his days as the youngest staffer at Netscape, entrepreneur Angus Davis has always had a thirst for knowledge and innovation. While still an MB student, Angus was an early employee at Intelecom Data Systems, one of the nation’s first commercial internet service providers and web developers. He skipped college to head to Silicon Valley and has been named a “Top Entrepreneur” by BusinessWeek and one of “America’s Most Promising CEOs” by Forbes. Angus also was founder and CEO of Upserve, a Providence-based tech company, which was acquired in 2020 by Lightspeed Retail. He helped establish Rhode Island’s first Teach for America Corps and is trustee of the Preservation Society of Newport.

Sheyna Gifford ’96
25th Reunion Achievement Award
Sheyna Gifford was a mission specialist on sMars, the longest simulated space mission in NASA history. She holds a small galaxy of degrees: dual degrees from the University of California at Berkeley, master’s degrees in biotechnology and science journalism, an M.D. and an MBA. Sheyna has worked as an aerospace engineer for Berkeley Space Science Laboratories and as a researcher at Berkeley, Brown, Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital. She is a physician in rehabilitation and physical medicine at Washington University, St. Louis, as well as a STEM educator, science communicator and aerospace researcher. Sheyna also is a captain in the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary.

Zoe Bell ’05
Outstanding Young Alumna Award
Zoe Bell works in game design, including recently as an executive producer at Big Huge Games. Her games have been downloaded in the millions. When Zoe graduated from Johns Hopkins, social gaming was just blooming. She jumped right in, landing her first job as an assistant producer with Zynga, the company that created hit games such as Farmville and Words with Friends. “The speed of change has been astonishing. I’m constantly learning about new platforms and how they can be adapted,” Zoe says. As a game producer, Zoe’s job is to pull together all of the people needed to create a game. “I got a very broad creative and analytical background at MB,” she comments. “That’s been invaluable to me in an industry that encompasses multiple fields.” Zoe was recently appointed the executive producer for games at The New York Times.

Steve Toro, director of instrumental music
Faculty/Staff Member of the Year 2020
Steve arrived at Moses Brown in 1994 and has been a driving force in transforming the instrumental music program and the school’s arts program. When he began as wind and jazz director, there were literally just a dozen students who participated in the jazz band. In recent years, almost half of students participate in the music program, and the musicians often outnumber the audience. Steve is respected as a musician, but even more so as a dedicated, compassionate and caring teacher.

Jean Pennacchio, upper school registrar
Faculty/Staff Member of the Year 2021
Colleagues appreciate Jean Pennacchio’s mastery of the daily schedule; students benefit from her caring. “Over the years here, I have come to appreciate and value searching for the ‘Inner Light’ in people and the importance of community,” she says. “Having the unique opportunity to work with almost every student at some point in their high school career is not only fulfilling, but fun. Helping to guide students in meeting the challenges they encounter and watching their transformation from tentative, young freshmen to mature, self-assured seniors is enjoyable and gratifying.”