Beloved 30-year Scarsdale resident Michelle Lichtenberg was honored on the evening of Wednesday, June 2 with the Scarsdale Bowl, one of the highest and most prestigious honors for a Scarsdale resident. Since 1943, the Scarsdale Bowl, administered by the Scarsdale Foundation, has been awarded to an individual or couple “who has given unselfishly of time, energy and effort to the civic welfare of the community.”
The ceremony was hosted outdoors at the home of Scarsdale Foundation President Randy Guggenheimer and his wife Liz. Guests included members of Michelle’s family, the Scarsdale Bowl Committee, and the Scarsdale Foundation Board, Mayor Jane Veron, and our 2020 Scarsdale Foundation Bowl recipients, married couple BK Munguia and Jon Mark.
This year’s festivities were superbly handled by Bowl Chair Nancy Michaels and Suzanne Seiden, Foundation trustee, with a greatly-appreciated last-minute assist from committee member Janice Starr.
In her speech, Bowl Chair Nancy Michaels thanked her committee, the Scarsdale Foundation, and the many volunteers in Scarsdale whose community service sets an example for others. Addressing Michelle, Nancy said, “I have noticed appreciation, respect, humility, and thoughtfulness that pervades all that you do…You have a unique ability to promote cooperation, consensus, commitment, and connections…You are extraordinary; you are a shining example to us all.”
Our Inspiring Bowl Honoree
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the oldest of four children of a stay-at-home mother and her father, a child psychiatrist, Michelle was raised in Bethesda, Maryland. Growing up with a brother with special needs, Michelle’s watch words from an early age were kindness, compassion, and empathy.
After she received a B.A. in English and Art from Skidmore College, Michelle returned to the D.C. area where she worked in advertising for the Circle Theaters Corp. She met her husband Frank while he was a Fellow at the Brookings Institute. They married in 1981 and embarked upon a series of moves, from Watertown, Massachusetts, where Michelle earned her M.B.A. at Northeastern University while working at the university, to New York City, after a six-month detour to Australia, where Michelle was associate director of Executive Education at Columbia Business School.
Michelle and Frank moved with their two young sons Alec and Andrew to Scarsdale in 1991. She was soon approached by the Greenacres PTA President, and thus began decades of selfless dedication to Scarsdale. A working mother, Michelle was first drawn to the district-wide PT Council Budget Study Committee because she was able to attend the evening meetings. Once she transitioned away from working full time, Michelle became active in the PTAs at Greenacres, the Middle School, the High School, and in PT Council. As SHS PTA President, Michelle spearheaded the “Red Carpet Walk” in 2003, an event developed to curtail drinking during pre-prom parties and limousine rides to the prom. The Red Carpet Walk is now a popular community event enjoyed by all.
In addition to her years of service in the school PTAs, Michelle served as Co-Chair of the Scarsdale Drug and Alcohol Task Force, Co-Chair of the Scarsdale Education Transfer Program, a member of the School Board Nominating Committee, the Citizens Nominating Committee, and Scarsdale Forum Education Program Committee, Chair of the Procedure Committee, a Director-at-Large of Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling Service, and President of the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale.
Michelle has also been actively involved with the Scarsdale Public Library for the last ten years, serving as a Trustee from 2011 to 2016 and President from 2013 to 2015. During her presidency, she oversaw the finalization of the Library’s first Strategic Plan, the development of the Master Plan, the retention of the architectural firm responsible for the extensive renovation and expansion, and the formation of the Capital Campaign Committee. She has expressed gratitude to have participated in the Library’s transformation from inception to completion.
Ever enthusiastic for new challenges and opportunities to give back, Michelle is a current board member of the Scarsdale Foundation, the Scarsdale Adult School, and the Friends of the Scarsdale Library, a member of the Greenacres Neighborhood Association, and a District Leader and member of the Scarsdale Democratic Town Committee. And true to the spirit of the Scarsdale Bowl, you can also find Michelle encouraging residents to run for the SBNC and CNC, as well as the School Board and the Village Board, gathering required signatures for petitions, and (pre-COVID) shuttling residents to meetings and the polls. No task has ever been too large or too small. She intends to resume her volunteer work with critically ill patients at White Plains Hospital once visitor restrictions are lifted, and is working toward her accreditation in Healing Touch therapy.
Notwithstanding the responsibilities she has taken on, Michelle manages to find the time to bear witness to her new granddaughter’s magical achievements, revel in moments spent with her grown sons, enjoy long cycling trips with husband Frank, curl up with a good book, and plan her next trip post-COVID.
Michelle’s volunteer service truly sets an example of civic responsibility toward the betterment of our community. While she is grateful to the community for affording her so many rich opportunities and experiences throughout her volunteer life in Scarsdale and the friendships thus formed, we are fortunate for the many contributions Michelle has made and continues to make, with grace, humility, and generosity, in service for the common good.
The 2021 dinner, originally scheduled for April, was also slated to raise significant funds to support the important work of the Scarsdale Foundation, including scholarships for college sophomores, juniors and seniors who reside in Scarsdale and/or attended Scarsdale High School. The Foundation has introduced the Scarsdale Volunteer Honor Roll, where friends, colleagues, first-responders and teens can be honored for good works of all sorts, large and small. Please visit bit.ly/3vQRHu5 to name honorees at just $25 apiece. The Honor Roll is about halfway to its goal of raising $50,000 to bolster the chances for academic success for all SHS alumni, while also recognizing the unsung heroes of our town, particularly in light of the pandemic.
Assuming the current health crisis has passed, the Scarsdale Foundation Bowl’s traditional celebratory dinner will be back bigger than ever next year: on April 28, 2022, we hope to gather in force to raise a glass to the spirit of volunteerism in Scarsdale by honoring not only Michelle, but also 2020 Bowl recipients BK Munguia and Jon Mark, as well as spotlighting the future 2022 Bowl recipient. The entire community will be invited to come out to celebrate on that special evening! Please save the date!
The Scarsdale Foundation is extremely grateful to its corporate sponsors:
Partner ($5,000): Advantage Testing, Inc., and House of Flowers;
Founder ($2,000 to $4,999): Advocate Brokerage Corp., and Coopersmith, Simon & Vogel, P.C.;
Supporter (up to $1,999): American Legion Scarsdale Post 52, Arthur Lange, Inc., Christie-Spencer Corp., Classic Pest Control Services, LLC, Cum Laude Group, Inc., Emerald Tree & Shrub Care, Landsberg Jewelers, Lucente Landscaping