Four Former Student-Athletes Named Saint Michael's Alumni of the Year

Four Former Student-Athletes Named Saint Michael's Alumni of the Year

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College Alumni Association Board of Directors announced seven 2020 Alumni of the Year on Friday, and four have roots at the College as former student-athletes. Those chosen have distinguished themselves in service through selfless acts of volunteerism in support of their alma mater.

John Zurlo '60 (baseball), Carol (Von Oehsen) Piccaro '80 (swimming & diving), Pam Batalis '85 (basketball) and Jason Curry '95 (basketball) all played varsity sports at Saint Michael's and are joined by Kevin Slane '65 and Dr. Richard Gamelli '70, as well as Young Alumnus of the Year Trevor Brown, Esq. '15.

Zurlo has more than 60 years of experience keeping Purple Knights connected to each other and to Saint Michael's. While studying business administration during his undergraduate days, Zurlo played baseball, helping the Purple Knights share the 1958 Green Mountain Conference crown, and also wrote for the student newspaper, served as a class officer and worked on the yearbook.

Other alumni have described Zurlo as the glue that holds the Class of 1960 together. Through his email distribution list, he frequently updates classmates on what's happening with each other and with news from the College. He has served on numerous reunion committees, encouraging classmates to return to campus to celebrate, and asking them to support Saint Michael's by contributing to their class gift.

In non-reunion years, Zurlo has served as a class agent, asking classmates to support the College, and has been a long-time member of the Career Advisory Network, providing career guidance for students and fellow alumni. His greatest volunteer accomplishment is yet to come, though, as he has agreed to represent all Golden Knights on the Alumni Association's Board of Directors beginning July 1. As a future member of the Board, he has volunteered to send postcards welcoming members of the Class of 2024 to the SMC family, including a new student from his local high school in the North Country of New York.

Zurlo taught and chaired the Business Education department at Northeastern Clinton Central School in Champlain, N.Y., for more than three decades, and this past November won his seventh term as the elected Clinton County (N.Y.) Clerk - a position he has held since 1996. He has been named Citizen of the Year several times. Zurlo and his wife, Mary, live in Champlain, N.Y., and have two sons and four grandchildren.

A business major and member of the swimming & diving team in the early years of her program, Piccaro (a.k.a. "Tina" to her friends) has given incredible amounts of her time, talent and treasure for the betterment of Saint Michael's. As a member of the Alumni Association's Board of Directors, she became a key organizer and philanthropic supporter of the Board's annual Career Symposium that brings nearly 50 alumni from across the country to campus to offer career advice to current students. In the middle of her Alumni Board term, Piccaro was recruited to the Board of Trustees, where she served a six-year term. She also co-hosted Zaf Fest, a 2014 celebration of Zaf Bludevich, who served 39 years as a coach, athletic trainer and administrator, and was a mentor to Piccaro in her undergraduate days.

Piccaro has nominated Future Knights for Admission recruitment efforts and hosted SMC fundraising events at her home. As a generous supporter of Saint Michael's, she and her husband Chris '80, a retired dentist, are members of the Mont St. Michel Society. In all of her many volunteer roles at the College, Piccaro has shown dedication, love, and support for her alma mater time and time again. She is the president and CEO of U.S. Chemicals, LLC. Piccaro and Chris have a son and a daughter and live in Darien, Conn. 

Batalis has distinguished herself as a standout alumna over the past 35 years, having given incredible amounts of her time and energy to enhance the Saint Michael's experience for students and fellow alumni. Just 12 years after graduating, she served three terms on the Board of Trustees as well as simultaneously serving on the Visions Campaign Committee. As one of the greatest women's basketball players to don the Purple and Gold - and the only one with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 350 assists and 150 steals for a career - Batalis was inducted into the SMC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991.

Batalis returned to campus to deliver the keynote address to senior student-athletes at the 2018 Block 'M' Awards Banquet, where she encouraged them to find their core strengths and utilize them for future career and personal success. She has hosted several alumni events in New York City, including Presidential fundraising and career-related events, and has also chaired or served on several of her reunion committees. Batalis has been a panelist for regional career events for students and has also counseled students interested in sports marketing.

Batalis has had a successful 25-year career in sports marketing at some of the top companies in the industry. She is currently serving as vice president of sponsorships and brand engagement for Wells Fargo in New York City, and was named to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors, effective June 15. 

Curry continues to serve his SMC community as he does his NYC basketball community ­- with grace and humility, enthusiasm and faith. He served a four-year term on the Alumni Association's Board of Directors, where he assisted with volunteer efforts in support of enrollment initiatives and the execution of the Career Symposium, the Board's signature annual event. He co-hosted the College's first multicultural alumni event in New York City, bringing together alumni of color interested in networking and mentoring current students of color.

Curry was inducted into the College's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. A two-time captain as one of the greatest point guards in program history, he graduated first all-time in career assists (514) and free throw percentage (82.0%), second in three-point shooting (40.5%) and third in steals (156) while scoring 897 points and averaging 1.9 assists to every turnover. His 48.4 percent three-point clip in 1993-94 remains the school standard.

After working in the media industry, Curry found his calling by starting Big Apple Basketball, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving New York City youth. Through Big Apple Basketball, he leverages the sport to develop academic and personal strengths among his athletes, and help them pursue their educational aspirations. For his monumental efforts in support of countless BAB players, Curry was named the 2019 Jr. NBA Coach of the Year as the New York Knicks' official entry into a 31-person national pool. This spring, he was scheduled to be the Athletic Department's Block 'M' Awards keynote speaker, which was postponed due to COVID-19. Instead, Curry sent a video offering advice to graduating seniors. He resides in Queens, N.Y.

If you would like to nominate someone for future recognition, please email or contact Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement Angie Armour '99 at