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Salem State University Alumni Association Honors Four Individuals for Leadership, Excellence and Service

The Salem State University Alumni Association honored alumni for leadership, excellence and service with a number of awards during a ceremony on campus Sunday, June 2.

Those alumni included Barbara Baggs of Beverly, Mike Mitchell of Lowell, David Surface of Georgetown, and Tom Thibodeau of Minneapolis, MN.

Barbara Baggs graduated from Salem State in 2013 with a master’s degree in business administration and received the George Ellison Volunteer of the Year Award for 2019.

As an alumna of the Bertolon School of Business, Baggs has spent much of her time after graduation dedicated to making a difference for her fellow business school alumni. She started a group which later became the Bertolon School of Business Alumni Network (BSBAN) in 2012, helping to write the by-laws, recruiting board members and developing an active and engaged volunteer organization. She is now the current president of the BSBAN.

Mike Mitchell, who earned a degree in sport, fitness and leisure studies in 2007, received the 2019 Rising Star Award, which recognizes alumni who have received their degree within the past 15 years and who are making “significant contributions to greater society through professional and philanthropic work.” 

Mitchell has enjoyed a vast career in relationship building and sports and event management and currently serves as assistant director of alumni relations at Salem State.

David Surface, a graduate of the class of 1988 with a degree in business administration, is the recipient of the 2019 Elizabeth Williams Wade Award, which recognizes a member of the alumni community who has attained notable achievement or made a lasting contribution to Salem State University through his or her philanthropic and voluntary endeavors.

Surface is president and chief executive officer of St. Jean’s Credit Union, which provides an alumni association rewards credit card as a means to support and give back, supports the Center for Civic Engagement’s First Year Day of Service, athletics, and many other campus initiatives. 

Tom Thibodeau, who graduated from Salem State with a sport, fitness and leisure degree in 1981 and counseling and psychological services graduate degree in 1984, received the 2019 Marilyn Flaherty Distinguished Alumnus Award, which recognizes graduates who have distinguished themselves through professional accomplishments.

Thibodeau began his career as an assistant and then head coach at his alma mater, and has since led an impressive coaching career spanning 39 years, with 30 of those years at the professional level. Most recently he was the head coach and president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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