Congratulations to Maggie Dunne and Ryan Smith, Colgate class of 2013! Both Maggie and Ryan joined TIA in their sophomore year and participated in the program for the next three years.
Maggie, who double majored in Native American Studies and Religion, founded Lakota Children’s Enrichment, Inc. (LCE) while still in high school. LCE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation dedicated to providing assistance and resources to Lakota children, families and schools on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
Through Thought Into Action, Maggie worked with alumni mentors to grow and expand her organization to effect change at the grassroots level. In 2012 Maggie was named one of Glamour Magazine’s top 10 college women, eventually being awarded the grand prize of $20,000 for her accomplishments. She donated the prize to her organization, and was able to leverage its prestige to raise even more money.
She did just that, collecting $20,000 apiece from a Colgate alumnus and from Sir Richard Branson, the entrepreneur who was the keynote speaker for the university’s Entrepreneur Weekend. LCE was was also named one of the top five “literacy champions” of 2012 by Scholastic, Inc. for bringing thousands of books to reservation schools and for working with school administrators to develop book-incentive programs.
Overall, Maggie has raised more than $100,000 and collected about $150,000 in new and salvaged goods for Lakota Children’s Enrichment, Inc. Maggie was also a Little Talks, Big Ideas speaker at this year’s Entrepreneur Weekend and raised over $28,000 from alumni and parents in the audience after her impassioned presentation.
At this years graduation ceremonies, Maggie was awarded the prestigious 1819 award, the most selective and prestigious award Colgate University bestows upon a student whose character, scholarship, sportsmanship, and service to others best exemplify the spirit that is Colgate and the value of a liberal arts education. We can’t think of a better person to receive this award! Maggie will continue her efforts with LCE as the Executive Director, based out of New York City. We hope she will return to Colgate as a TIA mentor in the fall!
Ryan, who majored in International Relations at Colgate, founded EcoCampus, LLC, with partner Brendan Karson, ’13. EcoCampus is a company that helps universities lower their carbon footprint through green office supplies. Ryan and Brendan developed their company over the three years they participated in Thought Into Action with the guidance and support of the alumni mentors.
According to Ryan, “My first year in TIA was about clarifying my idea, asking questions and coming up with new solutions. It definitely isn’t the type of course which wraps up after a semester or even several years. Every obstacle leads to a challenge which leads to another problem, and it’s all solvable. It is a continuous cycle and that’s when I realized I was happiest: creatively solving problems. I came to understand that I enjoy confronting these obstacles and the fact that it happens to make me a productive person is really just a great side effect.” In early 2013 Ryan and Brendan sold their company to four juniors, turning EcoCampus into what may be Colgate’s first student legacy business. While they didn’t disclose the sale price, Ryan and Brendan did admit to making a 28% profit on their venture.
This past year Ryan changed course and started a new venture in TIA, Trupoly, which is a crowdfunded real estate investment platform. He will be renting office space at an incubator in New York City beginning this summer and plans to launch Trupoly.com in early September. Ryan is so appreciative of the opportunities provided by TIA and says: “I want to thank Andy [Greenfield], Wills [Hapworth] and Bob [Gold] for all their work in founding and growing the program. Colgate was the right choice because of Thought Into Action and so I could never thank them enough.” Hopefully Ryan will be able to pay it forward by participating as a mentor in TIA.
Best of luck to both Maggie and Ryan as they begin the next chapter in their lives. If past accomplishments are any indication, these are two Colgate alums we will be hearing more about in the very near future!