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NA Alumni Association Confers Annual Alumni Awards

In a heartfelt and reminiscent celebration of the relationships built at Newark Academy that still persist even decades after graduating, the Alumni Association conferred its top honors to distinguished alumni — including three who met their spouses at NA. The awards were presented during the annual Alumni Awards Ceremony at Reunion on Saturday, May 6, 2023 in the NA Dining Room.

Alumni Board of Governors President Rebecca Moll Freed ’94 began the ceremony by recognizing the Class of 1987 with the Ad Lumen Award, which honors the class that posts the largest percentage increase in gifts to the Newark Academy Fund in a given year. The Class of 1987 increased its participation by 17.5 percent this past year. The Class of 1996 was also awarded, receiving the annual 1903 Cup — given to the NA class from the last 50 years whose giving embodies alumni generosity as measured by the percentage of the class that contributes to the Newark Academy Fund. The Class of 1996 was awarded the cup for hitting 42 percent participation in giving to the Newark Academy Fund this year.
Individual alumni were also recognized during the evening’s ceremony. Alumni awards included the Achievement Award, Fulton H. MacArthur Award, Artistic Achievement Award, Athletic Hall of Fame Award and the Distinguished Faculty Award.
“Today’s honorees are a remarkable group, distinguished by their passion for learning, their standard of excellence and their generosity of spirit,” said Head of School Donald M. Austin. “Without exception, these members of the Newark Academy community demonstrated daily the hallmarks of our education and our shared mission.”
Alumni Achievement Awards — Lanny Davis ’63 and Eric Sumner ’73 (posthumously)
The Alumni Achievement Awards, which honors NA graduates who have distinguished themselves in their field of endeavor, were presented to Lanny Davis ’63 and posthumously to Eric Sumner ’73.
Lanny’s former teacher, Blackwood “Blackie” Parlin, shared details about their close relationship before presenting him the award. “I think Lanny, because of his talent and his drive, would have been successful in any environment, but I do believe that Newark Academy gave Lanny a sound foundation for his future success,” Blackie said.
Lanny earned the honor for his work as a very successful high-profile lawyer, crisis manager, consultant, author and television commentator.
His close friend, Pat Ciccone ’62, added, “Lanny was one of the most motivated people I had ever met.” Pat detailed how Lanny’s perseverance and attitude to accomplish was beyond belief, which is why it’s no surprise he got to where he is today.
“Over a long period in politics, business and in life, I’ve learned and remembered the lesson that when there can’t be common ground, you can agree or disagree, agreeably,” Lanny said. “Everything that I do nowadays is about a return to civility.”
Following Lanny’s recognition, Eric Sumner ’73 was recognized posthumously with the Alumni Achievement Award for his outstanding career working in various technical and entrepreneurial positions. His former classmate and friend, David Hardin ’73, shared fond memories about Eric. “Eric stands for everything that is good about Newark Academy,” David said. “He took his experience here and maximized it and he leveraged it into something very special. For Eric, it was a life well lived, although it was snapped away much too early.”
Eric’s daughter, Beth Pardilla, accepted the award on his behalf. “He was so focused on living life fully in everything he did and so unfocused on the challenges he had to overcome to do that,” said Beth.
Fulton H. MacArthur Award — Lara Coraci-Basile ’88
Mr. Austin presented the Fulton H. MacArthur Award to Lara Coraci-Basile ’88. The award is given to NA graduates who have distinguished themselves through loyal and dedicated service to Newark Academy through their efforts on behalf of the Alumni Association, the Board of Trustees (BOT), or in another volunteer capacity. Lara has “always found the time and energy for NA,” Mr. Austin said, which is evident in her service on the BOT and work as a chair of the Annual Fund committee, a member of the Institutional Advancement Committee, a member of the Rise and Flourish capital campaign executive committee and as a class ambassador.
Mr. Austin thanked Lara for her generosity of spirit and support over the years and reminisced about her days at NA as a positive, helpful, cooperative and friendly student who truly respected everyone. He also recalled when Lara met her now-husband of 25 years, Vincent Basile ’88, at NA and how special it is that each of their three children have gone on to be students at the school.
“I feel that whatever we do to give back to Newark Academy, NA gives back to each of us, tenfold,” Lara said.
Artistic Achievement Award — Akshay Oberoi ’03
Director of Alumni Relations Evan Nisenson ’99 introduced successful Bollywood actor Akshay Oberoi ’03, the recipient of the Artistic Achievement Award, which is presented to NA graduates who have distinguished themselves in the fields of creative, literary, performing and visual arts who began their careers with significant contributions to the arts while at Newark Academy.
“One of the most admirable things about his journey is the level of risk he took to achieve what was his true passion,” Evan said.
Akshay accepted the award via Zoom from India, where he is currently filming a production alongside his wife, Jyothi ’03, who he also met at Newark Academy.
“If you look at Newark Academy’s seal, it says Ad Lumen which means to the light and it’s such that Jyothi means light as well,” Akshay said. “These two things have been such a guiding light in my life. I would not be where I am today without Newark Academy and Jyothi.”
Athletic Hall of Fame Awards — Robin Feldman ’03
The Alumni Association presented the Athletic Hall of Fame Award to Robin Feldman ’03 for her incredible accomplishments on the NA tennis courts. 
Her husband, Jake Feldman ’04 — whom she too met at NA — introduced her for the accolade.
“Robin is one of the most accomplished tennis players in Newark Academy history,” he said. “For those of you who know Robin, despite her unrivaled success and laundry list of accomplishments, she is one of the most humble people you will meet.”
Robin, who went on to become the winningest singles tennis player in Division I University of Richmond history added, “This school has shaped me into the person I am and prepared me so unbelievably well for college and the real world. Between my classmates, teachers, coaches and teammates, I truly had the most amazing high school experience.”
Distinguished Faculty Award — Anthony Ungaro
After 47 years of service to Newark Academy as a math teacher and coach, Anthony Ungaro was presented with the Distinguished Faculty Award by Director of Technology and Media Services David Kapferer. The award recognizes an NA faculty member who has a significant impact upon the educational development of students.
David talked about Tony’s beloved annual Morning Meeting Fibonacci presentation and thanked him for sharing his delight in all things mathematical with the NA community, admiringly acknowledging his “steady faith in an unstable world.”
“You are loved and respected here at NA and have loved us well in return,” David said.
In accepting the award, Tony said, “I have lived the American Dream. It was instilled early in my life that education would play a key role in achieving that dream, and indeed education has served me well.”

Nominations for Alumni Achievement Awards are gathered and voted on by the Alumni Board of Governors. If you have nominations for Alumni Awards, please contact Director of Alumni Relations and Giving Evan Nisenson ’99 at enisenson@newarka.edu.
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