With so many extraordinary alumni, faculty, staff, and students, we couldn't stop at 50! Read more about Lafayette's standouts as the College celebrates 50 years of coeducation.
Candace Kovner BelAir ’72 entered Lafayette in 1970; one of only 11 women junior transfer students. Coming from all-female Wheaton College in Massachusetts, this was quite a change. At Lafayette BelAir was a head resident advisor, McKelvy Scholar, and the first female Pepper Prize nominee. After graduating with honors in philosophy, she earned a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. BelAir returned to Lafayette as an Admissions Director, and subsequently worked at Boston University in the same capacity. At age 27, BelAir returned to school to pursue a career change to broadcast journalism. Over the next ten years, she became an Emmy-Award-winning reporter for CNN, Newsweek Video, United Stations Radio Network, (Paris Correspondent) and KIRO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Seattle, where she has resided since that time. BelAir’s professional experience led to a new career as a communications trainer/coach. She has worked with clients such as Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Expedia, HBO and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. While she was launching her business, she met the best friend she had been looking for her entire life: Roger BelAir, a private investor, professional speaker, and author of several books on business and finance. They have been married for more than 25 years. Over that time, they have had three golden retrievers who’ve been trained as pet therapy dogs so they can visit children’s hospitals. Recently, she and her husband purchased a winter home in southern California, where they play pickleball, swim, bike, and hike. BelAir is truly grateful for the blessings in her life and counts her years at Lafayette among them.
Elizabeth Blake ’12 graduated with honors, cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and French. For the past seven years, she has worked at Vanguard and advanced in a career in leadership in their Personal Advisor Services department. When Elizabeth was first hired as a financial advisor in the department, she was the only woman in her hire class and became committed to recruiting and mentoring talented women to join the department. She has been an active member of Vanguard’s leadership committee Women’s Initiative for Leadership Success. Blake hosted a panel discussion for the department’s first “Unwind with Women in Advice” event, to encourage more women to pursue a career in the advice industry, and has attended college recruiting events to bring talented women to Vanguard. She also represented Vanguard in Washington, D.C. at the Financial Planner Re-Entry Initiative Meeting in partnership with Certified Financial Planner Board and iRelaunch, collaborating with other financial firms to bring women returning to the workforce into the financial planning profession. As an undergraduate at Lafayette, Elizabeth was an Admissions tour guide, was involved in Student Government, Chamber Singers, Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, completed a psychology honors thesis, and studied abroad in Paris, France. She was awarded the James Alexander Petri Prize in French, the Crespi academic French scholarship, and is a member of the Psi Chi, Pi Delta Phi, and Sigma Xi honor societies.
Liz Cole Bourgault ’13 graduated with a nomination to Phi Beta Kappa. She was a part of the women’s soccer program, an active member of LEAP (Lafayette Environmental Awareness and Protection), and the Landis Center for Community Engagement. She double majored in International Economics and a self-designed major, becoming the first Lafayette student with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies. After graduating, she continued on to complete a dual master’s in Natural Resources & Sustainable Development and International Affairs at American University and the University for Peace, a United Nations affiliated university in Costa Rica.
Once completing her studies, Liz worked at the World Resources Institute (WRI) on the Global Forest Watch program. There, she led the development of the Forest Watcher mobile application, a resource to empower those on the front lines of deforestation with near real time, satellite-based, forest data. After WRI, Liz took on an ambitious role as a Product Manager for SkyWatch, a Canadian based start-up that is democratizing earth observation, making satellite imagery more accessible and affordable for all.
Diane Vollweiler Elliott, Esq.’74 is an attorney whose practice focuses on fighting for equity for those who are marginalized, helping them to find a pathway forward in their lives. She began her career as a public defender spending 20 years handling state and federal cases. Branching out into environmental law, Elliott went back to school earning a master’s degree in environmental science to better represent citizens’ groups.
Elliott retired as executive director of a nonprofit dedicated to serving the homeless, hungry, and poor after almost nine years of service in December 2018. In retirement, her passion and community commitments focus on addressing the issues of lack of affordable housing and homelessness in the Lehigh Valley. In 2021 she will take on the position of chair of the HDC Mid Atlantic board, a nonprofit developer of affordable housing.
Elliott has close ties to Lafayette. She was a member of the first class of women, was an adjunct professor, is a parent of two students, and served for ten years as an administrator, instructor, pre-law advisor, and mock trial coach. While at Lafayette, she co-founded the Lehigh Valley Research Consortium. She has served as director and co-founder of Lehigh Valley Land Recycling, a nonprofit dedicated to the redevelopment of brownfields, and was the recipient of the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. In addition to that role, she served as a consultant, assisting with cooperative municipal efforts by offering technical and legal assistance and facilitation to all 62 municipalities in the Lehigh Valley. Elliott also served as director of community development for Northampton County Development Corporation and served as an elected official on Northampton County Council. Elliott recently joined Touchstone Theatre’s board of directors.
Elliott believes that everyone matters and that each one of us can make a difference in the lives of those who may not be as fortunate as we are. She says it doesn’t take much – a smile, attentive ear, and words of encouragement. She is a true leader and advocate.
A 19-time Patriot League champion in her 25-year career at Lafayette, Ann Gold is the most accomplished head coach in the history of the Leopards’ field hockey and women’s lacrosse programs. As head field hockey coach from 1982-2006, she led the Leopards to nine Patriot League regular season championships—including the first seven league titles from 1990-96—and three Patriot League Tournament crowns. Gold, who also guided Lafayette to two East Coast Conference titles prior to the inception of the Patriot League, won a pair of ECAC titles and was recognized on five occasions as the Patriot League Coach of the Year. She was also lauded by her peers as the NFHCA Mid-East Region Coach of the Year in 2002. Gold coached six All-Americans, eight Patriot League Players of the Year, and five Patriot League Scholar-Athletes of the Year.
As head of the women’s lacrosse program from 1983-99, Gold won seven Patriot League Championships and was a two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year. She also led the Leopards to three straight East Coast Conference titles in the pre-Patriot League era. Gold mentored seven All-Americans, four Patriot League Players of the Year, and two Patriot League Scholar-Athletes of the Year.
Also a member of the Central Bucks West High School Hall of Fame, Gold played both field hockey and lacrosse as a student-athlete at Ursinus College, where she graduated in 1972. Gold joins Pat Fisher as the only female coaches and the only multiple-sport coaches in the Maroon Club Hall of Fame.
Amanda Alpert Knight has spent over twenty years in the education space as an educator, administrator, and education advocate. Knight is currently an executive with the Association of American Educators serving as the Director of Charter School Services. She started her career in Teach for America in Houston as a special education teacher. Later, she worked under Arne Duncan’s leadership in Chicago Public Schools for nearly five years focused on charter school expansion efforts. After several years of consulting with school districts, charter school operators, and education partners, Knight became the chief executive officer of a mid-size charter school network in Chicago, ASPIRA of Illinois, which operates four charter schools and serves over 1,400 students. Amanda earned a bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College, a master’s of public policy from the University of Chicago, and an administration certification from DePaul University. Knight has been serving on her local school board for the last six years and is the mother to two active middle school boys.