NEW YORK – Rachel Flax Kaplan '03CC and Peter Leone '83CC were named the Athletics Alumni Award recipients at the 96th Annual Varsity C Celebration on Wednesday, May 3. The Athletics Alumni Award is presented to an ardent and loyal alumnus or alumna who has been an outstanding contributor to Columbia Athletics for many years.
Flax Kaplan was an invaluable component of the women's diving squad from 1999-2003, and her strong dedication to the program has been evident for nearly two decades.
Flax Kaplan's collegiate highlight came as a senior at the Ivy League championships, taking second place in the three-meter springboard. The art history major earned Dean's List honors every semester and was an Academic All-Ivy League selection as a senior.
Her support of the program continued beyond graduation, serving as a member of the Varsity C Club since 2003 and chair of the Diving Advisory Committee since its inception. Flax Kaplan has been instrumental in the establishment of the Gordon Spencer Fund for Diving, which has already raised more than $100,000 towards its quarter-million-dollar goal. Kaplan is currently the head teacher at Barnard College Toddler Center and continues to visit Uris Pool, where she coaches club diving.
Recruited by none other than Bill Campbell to play offensive line at Columbia, Leone's has made significant contributions to alma mater and the football program for more than a quarter-decade.
As president of the Columbia Football Players Club, Leone helps the program build support from its alumni, providing fundraising for the team and mentoring current student-athleties as they navigate their post-graduate plans.
The Western Pennsylvania native has also served as President of the Columbia Club of Pittsburgh, as well as chair of the Western Pennsylvania Alumni Representative Committee for more than a quarter century. Leone graduated from Columbia with a degree in economics and fashioned a successful career as a financial services representative for Northwestern Mutual for more than three decades.