Dennis and Judi Hebert
Dennis Hebert '67 and his wife Judi Hebert received the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Dennis and Judi Hebert have dedicated their lives to helping others. They were recognized for their service November 15 when they received the 2022 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. "Deep down this gives us a sense of fulfillment and belonging," said Dennis Hebert '67. "I think there are others who have done much more in terms of fundraising. I look at this as a community involvement award."

Hebert credits Onondaga Community College with much of the good in his life, including his marriage of 52 years. His affiliation with the college dates back to 1965, the year in which he was a member of Henninger High School's first graduating class. "I thought I was going to go into the military which was no bargain back then. My high school counselor asked me if I wanted to go to college. I laughed. I had a 'C' average, didn't have any money, and was already working three or four jobs. I was told there was a new college downtown, it was a state school, and they had to take me if I graduated high school. Quite honestly it kept me out of the draft, seemed like a good idea, and it was a chance to do something."

That "new college downtown" was Onondaga Community College which had opened its doors to students in 1962 at its first home in Midtown Plaza. While pursuing a degree in Liberal Arts he learned the value of extracurricular activities, serving as Student Government Vice President and Treasurer of the Ski Club. "My way of getting involved became a habit, trying to help out."

During his two years at OCC Hebert became a valuable member of the campus community. And when it was time to figure out what he would do after completing his degree, the college's Dean of Students had a plan. "I was interested in Industrial Relations but had average grades and came from a broken home. Dr. Kelly knew someone at the University of Bridgeport. She called me to her office and asked me if this is what I wanted to study. When I said 'yes' she said 'sign here.' I said 'what is this?' She said 'you've been accepted into the University of Bridgeport. They will hire you as a Resident Advisor so you get your room and board for free. And you start in September.' She did everything. I had done nothing."

When Hebert arrived at the University of Bridgeport, he attended a social gathering for fellow RA's. He remembers the date, September 15, 1967, because that's the first time he met the woman who would become his wife, Judi, who was also an RA and a Long Island native. Three years later they would marry. "Now you know what I owe OCC," he chuckled.

Hebert's departure from Syracuse for Bridgeport in 1967 also created a void in his life, a void he would fill through community service. "I've moved 39 times in my life. I was born in Syracuse but didn't have roots because I left in 1967 and didn't come back until 1983. By then everyone had their own track."

Professionally, he worked in financial services and she was an RN. But serving their community in various roles is where they received the most satisfaction. He was a Deputy Mayor and Trustee for the village of Liverpool, and she was the key caretaker for the historical gardens there. Judi also volunteered at St. Lucy's Church while he was affiliated with the Greater Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, the Historical Association of Greater Liverpool, the Financial Planning Association of CNY, the Estate Planning Council of CNY, the Society of Financial Services Professionals, and Pastimes Tuesday Golf League.

His service to the college, which began as a student, continued during his professional life. He was Treasurer, Vice Chair, and Chair of the OCC Foundation Board of Directors. He also led a 2019 fundraising campaign that continues to positively impact students and the community. And he was a member of the Presidential Search team which resulted in the hiring of Dr. Warren Hilton as OCC's 9th President.

While tirelessly serving the community the Hebert's raised a son and daughter, and now enjoy time with their two grandchildren. They are also committed to continue serving their community in any way possible.

They are grateful for their award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals but say many others are just as deserving. "There are so many people working in fundraising who you don't see. There are a lot of people out front, but there are so many in the back room who don't get recognized. I feel like we are getting this on behalf of them."

Onondaga Community College
OCC Foundation