The Alumni Hall of Fame recognizes and celebrates the achievements of RCDS alumni in their post-graduation lives and careers.

We are pleased to announce our newest honorees who were inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame on Friday, October 12, 2018.

Click on the arrows below to watch a video of each presentation and acceptance.

2018 Inductees

Sarah C. Dodds-Brown '91 (W. Lee Pierson Distinguished Alumni Award)

Sarah, is also being honored as the 2018 recipient of the W. Lee Pierson Distinguished Alumni Award. The highest honor for an alum, the Distinguished Alumni Award was established “to recognize an individual whose generosity and service has significantly bettered and strengthened our society,” and demonstrated exemplary service to RCDS and the community at large. The award is named for the late Dr. Pierson, who served as Headmaster for 14 years. At commencement in 1991 Sarah was presented the Alumni Prize, the school’s highest honor for a senior who has made the most outstanding contribution to the life of the school.

Sarah entered RCDS in the second grade and has been on a fast track ever since - - as a scholar, athlete, student and community leader, and now a rising star as a corporate attorney. She is Executive Vice President and Managing Counsel at American Express, where she supervises 50 attorneys and staff in carrying out all legal work for the company’s U.S. businesses. Those businesses account for more than $24 billion of American Express revenues.

Meanwhile Sarah also remains active as part of the RCDS family as a member of the school’s board of trustees, on which she is chair of the Legal & Policy Committee. She also manages three future “lifers” with her husband, Brad Brown, a technology executive in the financial industry. All three of their children started their RCDS careers in Pre-K - Eleanor, now in sixth grade, Marshall in third grade, and Walker in Kindergarten.

Sarah was a pre-med major at Duke University, subsequently changed her focus and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology and biological anthropology and anatomy, and then entered Columbia University School of Law, where she earned her law degree in 1998. She served as a corporate associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, a prestigious New York City law firm, from 1998 to 2005, when she joined American Express.

At Duke, Sarah served as a “young trustee” on the university’s board of trustees following her undergraduate studies, and later served two terms on the board of advisors for the College of Arts & Sciences. She was an inaugural member of the Duke Women’s Impact Network Leadership Council and, in 2006 served on a special council to advise Duke’s president on dealing with the lacrosse team scandal that made national headlines.

After her first year of law school, Sarah received a Human Rights Internship Award and worked with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town, South Africa.

Sarah is chair of the City of New Rochelle planning board; a member of the board of advisors for Direct Women, a not-for-profit organization of senior women attorneys; and a member of the American Law Institute.

She’s an avid reader of books on management theories, motivation and other business subjects, and remains interested in horseback riding after being a member of the equestrian team, a club sport at Duke.

Alfred A. Rizzi '82 (Academic/Professional)

Al, known worldwide for his research and development of robots, was a “lifer” at RCDS, a self-proclaimed “computer geek.” Today, he is Chief Scientist at Boston Dynamics, the world’s leading robotics design and engineering company.

Videos of Big Dog, Cheetah, Petman, and many others of his team’s research projects have generated over 100-million hits on YouTube. He has authored over 50 papers in academic journals and conferences, is a co-inventor on more than 10 patents, and received the Nakamura Prize for best paper at the International Symposium on Intelligent Robots and Systems in 2001. He also is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and serves on the advisory boards of the robotics programs at John’s Hopkins University and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

“Our work is focused on producing legged robots to have a positive impact on society - - to make our lives better and provide assistance to humans,” he says, noting that the company is about to begin producing Spot, a 4-legged robotic dog for a wide range of work that can include patrolling, delivery, construction, search and rescue, inspection, and even homecare and personal assistance for the disabled. The legged robots are designed to walk wherever humans walk, plus they can access rough terrain and surfaces not accessible by wheels.

Science and math were Al’s favorite subjects at RCDS, where he also captained the lacrosse team and played hockey. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a master’s at Yale University and, in 1994, a doctorate, also at Yale. All degrees were in electrical engineering. He worked as an engineer at Northrup Corp. for two years before becoming a research associate at Yale during his studies there. He spent a year as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan, then joined Carnegie Mellon University for ten years, first as a postdoctoral fellow and later as a research scientist and professor. He joined Boston Dynamics as lead robotics scientist in 2006 and was named chief in 2010.

Al’s work and business travel leave little time for hobbies. “I’m a rabid roboticist and also a part-time farmer,” he says. He’s a shepherd - he and his wife, Elizabeth Shaw, own and operate a New Hampshire sheep farm from which they sell the meat and wool.

Maria Los Notias '88 (Arts)

Day-to-day, Maria guides a broad range of international art lovers in the buying and selling of fine art and other “beautiful things.” She is Deputy Chairman of Christie’s, the world’s leading art business, which posted first-half 2018 sales of more than $4 billion through global auctions and private transactions. Christie’s has a presence in 46 countries, salesrooms in 10 major cities, and averages some 350 auctions a year in over 80 categories of art and collectibles.

Maria’s clients, primarily from North and South America, including Canada, number many of the world’s leading collectors from finance, industry and entertainment. She travels frequently, particularly to London and Paris, representing collectors at major auctions. On their behalf, she casts bids of many millions of dollars – and in one case, $62 million. In May 2018, she was heavily involved in auctions of 1,600 lots from the Peggy and David Rockefeller Collection, which netted $832 million.

A “lifer” and honor student at RCDS, Maria loved French, math, and art courses, served as secretary of her class as a senior, was co-captain of the cheerleaders, and manager of the baseball team. She went on to Georgetown University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in French and Italian in 1992 and a master’s in Liberal Studies with a concentration in art history in 1994.

Maria remained in Washington to work at the National Gallery of Art and then the National Endowment for the Arts before joining Christie’s in 1995. She rose through various positions, was named a vice president in 2001, senior vice president in 2007, and deputy chairman in 2014.

Maria is married to Nicholas Notias, a New York shipping executive. She is on the board of the Cycladic Art Foundation, is active in both the Georgetown Alumni Admissions program and Funsepa US, a foundation that supports education in Guatemala’s schools.

Frederick J. Watts '75 (Service)

Fred’s love of kids, sports, and the law has led to his prestigious position as Executive Director of the Police Athletic League, Inc., the largest independent, not-for-profit youth services agency in New York City.

He oversees some 900 full-time and part-time staff with a $28 million budget that serves 30,000 children in education, sports, and youth development programs at numerous sites throughout the city’s five boroughs. These programs range from activities for pre-school and grade school youngsters to intervention programs and employment programs aimed at helping reduce recidivism among troubled teenagers. High on the list are “Cops & Kids” and dozens of other sports and recreation programs in which NYPD officers volunteer to coach and mentor kids from 6 to 19 years of age.

Fred was named to his PAL position in 2014 after 31 years of public service in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau brought him aboard in 1983 as an assistant DA handling a broad range of violent crime cases, and he advanced through numerous higher positions to become Executive Assistant DA in 2007.

Fred was born in the Bronx and grew up in Mount Vernon, the son of a NYPD officer and a mother who taught children with special needs. He entered RCDS in the seventh grade, played football, baseball, and basketball and captained the basketball team in his senior year. He holds a BA in economics from Brown University and a law degree from Columbia University School of Law. He and his wife, Celia Colbert, live in Summit, New Jersey with their sons Michael and Nicholas. Over the years Fred has been involved in numerous professional and community activities, including ten years as a member of the board of trustees of the Summit, New Jersey area YMCA and has received several awards for his contributions. In the last few years he has participated in RCDS programs focused on diversity and public purpose.

Dick Pike H'11 (Special)

Dick’s reputation as a tireless worker is well earned - - he never slowed down during his 40-year career as teacher, coach, and actor, and as a member of four departments at RCDS.

Looking back, Dick recalls arriving at school at 6:30 a.m. to open the ice rink for the hockey team, then teaching and coaching during the day, rehearsing a play in the evening, and going home at 10:30 p.m.

A native of Bolsters Mills, Maine, and a graduate of Bowdoin College, Dick joined RCDS in 1971 to teach drama and English in the Upper School. He later added psychology to his teaching schedule before retiring in 2011 as an honorary member of the class.

Dick directed over 80 dramas, musicals, and one-act plays, as well as most student-faculty shows, and acted in a number of them. Bowdoin College presented him its “Distinguished Educator Award” for his more than 20 years of teaching Shakespeare in its summer Upward Bound program for disadvantaged pre-college high school students.

Outside of the classroom, Dick coached girls’ softball for over 25 years, started the girls’ ice hockey program, coached the varsity team for four years, and also started the girls’ soccer program in 1983. He coached the soccer team to 275 wins, 137 losses, and 37 ties over 28 years, during which the team won the Fairchester AA championship nine times and five times qualified to play in the New England Prep School championship tournament.

Dick remains involved with RCDS and its many alumni programs and also returns to the classroom on occasion as a long-term substitute teacher of English and psychology.

Wallis K. Finger '00 (Athletics)

Wallis was a distinguished student and outstanding athlete at RCDS, entering RCDS in kindergarten and graduating as a “lifer” and recipient of the Alumni Prize, the school’s highest honor for excellence. Today, she is corporate counsel for National Entertainment Network, the nation’s leading amusement vending company. NEN provides kiddie rides, gumball, and other vending machines to over 15,000 locations in all 50 states.

At RCDS, Wallis played ice hockey, soccer, and lacrosse, captained the hockey and soccer teams, and led the soccer team to the Fairchester AA championship in both her freshman and senior years. At Yale University, where she earned a B.A. in history in 2004, she also played hockey and was named to the ECAC All-Academic team and the Jewish Sports Review All-America team.

From Yale, Wallis went on to Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, where she became senior editor of the school’s law review and consistently was a member of the dean’s list. She graduated in 2009.

Wallis worked for two New York law firms from 2010 to 2013, when she became managing director and legal counsel at New York City Runs, a national producer of running events. She joined NEN in Broomfield, Colorado in 2015. Her husband, Ed Gorman, is an attorney with the city of Denver.

Her spare-time interests focus on outdoor activities, particularly running. Wallis has run in 12 marathons, and the Empire State Building run-up, and belongs to two running clubs. In 2004, she cycled with a group across the U.S., and in 2009 she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro on a trip to Tanzania with RCDS classmate Rebecca Avrutin, a New York attorney.

1983 Undefeated Championship Basketball Team (Athletics)

  • Coach John Sabia
  • David Bart '83, Captain
  • William Cooper '83, Captain
  • David Miller '83
  • George Stein '83
  • Hugh Burns '84
  • Angelo Fazio '84
  • Alexander Gardner '84
  • Glynn Kenny '84 (dec.)
  • Thomas Kelly '84
  • Michael Pfeffer '84
  • Rowland Preston '84
  • Steven Kornfeld '85
  • Richard Williams '85

At the end of the 1983 high school basketball season, the New York Daily News headlined a story that stated “The Little School that Could - - And Did.” A copy still hangs on the office wall of Billy Cooper, who was co-captain of the team, along with classmate David Bart. The article tells the story of what is remembered as the best boys’ basketball team in the history of RCDS.

The team was undefeated, with a 23-0 record that included upsets of several higher-ranked teams throughout Westchester County, and the championship of the Fairchester Athletic Association.

Coach John Sabia, an honorary member of the RCDS Class of 2002 and a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame, remembers the 13-man team as “dedicated to prove they could play with the best. They were a tight-knit group, and everyone contributed,” he said.

The first eye-opener was at the Salesian H.S. 1982 Christmas tournament, when the Wildcats beat the highly ranked host team in overtime and went on to top Rye Neck H.S. for the championship. They rolled along, topping a powerhouse Horace Mann team, as well as Hackley School, on their way to the season-ending Fairchester AA playoffs. They took down Brunswick School in the semi-finals and beat Hamden Hall in the title game.

Five members of the team went on to play on their college teams, and many of the players return to play in the annual alumni game on Thanksgiving Weekend. And, they make a point of getting together every so often with their revered coach.

Past Inductees

W. Lee Pierson Distinguished Alumni

In honor of W. Lee Pierson, who served as Headmaster of Rye Country Day School from 1979 to 1993, the distinguished alumni award recognizes annually an individual whose generosity and service have significantly benefited and strengthened our society.

  • 2018 - Sarah C. Dodds-Brown '91
  • 2016 - Colonel Brett T. Funck '90
  • 2015 - Leslie Begoon Curtin '71
  • 2014 - R. David Hosp '86
  • 2013 - Liane Dorsey '74
  • 2012 - David Boxenbaum '87
  • 2011 - Dr. Andrew Farnsworth '91
  • 2010 - Jonathan Banner '85
  • 2009 - David D. Doniger '69
  • 2008 - Martin E. Franklin '82
  • 2007 - Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Farrell, Ph.D., '82
  • 2006 - John Treacy Egan
  • 2005 - Dr. David Rovinsky '84
  • 2004 - Dr. June L. Biedler '43
  • 2003 - Richard A. Lipsey '85
  • 2002 - Edith Gwynne Read '22
  • 2001 - Dennis D. Parker '73
  • 2000 - Richard A. R. Pinkham, Jr. '63
  • 1999 - Susan Berndt Mahoney '69
  • 1998 - Dr. Joan Burbidge Macintosh CBE '37
  • 1997 - William H. Carlucci '85
  • 1995 - Joanna DeHaven Underwood '58
  • 1994 - Mary Struthers Pinkham '34
  • 1993 - Eleanor Thomas Elliott '42

Academic/Professional

  • 2018 - Alfred A. Rizzi '82
  • 2016 - Charles S. Fields '88
  • 2016 - Gordon Witkin '73
  • 2014 - Michael C. Zody '86
  • 2012 - Edward D. Kleinbard '69
  • 2010 - Jonathan Banner '85
  • 2010 - Andrew Farnsworth '91
  • 2008 - Mark S. Solomon '78
  • 2006 - Martin E. Franklin '82
  • 2006 - Emily Lazar '89
  • 2005 - Angeles Badell Ribera '72

Arts

  • 2018 - Maria Los Notias '88
  • 2016 - Mark F. Lyons '73
  • 2014 - Peter R. Golub '70
  • 2012 - Jessica Greer Morris '86
  • 2010 - James W.L. Allen '80
  • 2008 - Judith Burger '81
  • 2006 - Lawrence S. King '73
  • 2006 - L. Tova Snyder '78
  • 2005 - John Treacy Egan '80
  • 2005 - Debra S. Singer '85

Athletics

  • 2018 - Wallis K. Finger '00;1983 Undefeated Championship Basketball Team
  • 2016 - Allen D. Hall '50
  • 2016 - Lauren Fortgang Mandell '87
  • 2014 - Blair Endresen Metrailler '96
  • 2012 - Joshua L. Carter '98
  • 2010 - Loren Smith Dinger '96
  • 2010 - Allan S. Woods '47
  • 2008 - R. Adrian Walters, III '91
  • 2006 - Kyle R. Flik '87
  • 2005 - Robert S. Herbst '76

Service

  • 2018 - Frederick J. Watts '75
  • 2016 - Tara A. Smith '93
  • 2014 - Andrea Horvath Link '85
  • 2014 - Shayla L. Titley '98
  • 2012 - Blythe K. Robinson '93
  • 2010 - Brian D. Hartman '95
  • 2006 - Priscilla Haas Blum '42
  • 2005 - Hilary V. Greene '78

Special

  • 2018 - Dick Pike H'11
  • 2016 - James P. Godfrey H'95
  • 2016 - Carol C. Lichtenfeld
  • 2014 - Cary C. Fuller H'89
  • 2014 - Dr. W. Lee Pierson
  • 2012 - Frank C. Effinger
  • 2010 - William L. Buck H'03
  • 2008 - John P. Archibald
  • 2008 - John R. Sabia H'02
  • 2006 - Gerald N. La Grange
  • 2006 - Glen Robertson H'90

Hall of Fame