At 31-years-old, Thomas Lake has achieved some significant recognition in his career field of sports journalism.
Lake is the youngest senior writer for Sports Illustrated magazine and has won the 2008 Henry Luce Award for Most Outstanding Story in all of Time Incorporated. His accolades include a first place award from the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors. His works have also been included in two editions of the Best American Sports Writing of the Year.
On Friday, Lake was recognized by his alma mater — Herkimer County Community College — as he was one of two persons to be inducted into its prestigious HCCC Alumni Hall of Honor. Dr. Ronald Miers was also posthumously inducted into the hall during the same ceremony.
The HCCC Alumni Hall of Honor recognizes the talent and breadth of accomplishment that alumni have achieved in their career and/or community service.
“Hundreds of students come into this room and I will see them standing in front of this wall, reading the stories of those who have made the wall of honor,” said HCCC President Ann Marie Murray during Friday’s induction. “I imagine they hope to one day be one of those people.”
Murray said that Lake and Miers were the seventh group of inductees.
Lake, who was home-schooled, had his first article published in the Little Falls Evening Times when he was 17-years-old and working as a paper boy. In 1999, he graduated from HCCC in the school’s Liberal Arts and Sciences’ general studies program. He went on to get his bachelor’s degree in communication and graduate summa cum laude from Gordon College in Massachusetts.
Some of the stories he has covered as a sports journalist include the article “2 on 5,” an account of an Alabama high school basketball team’s incredible comeback; and “Did This Man Really Cut Michael Jordan?” which helped restore the good name of Jordan’s former high school coach. He also wrote “The Shot That Saved Lives,” which described how a buzzer-beating three-pointer actually saved hundreds of people from a tornado.
Lake spoke about his family during his induction, calling himself the “least dedicated” of the four family members who have attended HCCC, including his father who was pastor of the Dolgeville Christian Fellowship Church. He also spoke about the dedication of his mother raising and home-schooling six children.
“They deserve much more credit than I do for the work they do,” he said.
Lake said while he has friends who come from well-known, four-year private colleges, he said he proudly states that his alma mater is HCCC.
“America will always be the land of opportunity as long as places like this keep their lights burning,” he said.
Miers, who was a St. Johnsville resident, graduated from Ilion High School. He earned his degree in business accounting from HCCC in 1980 and a computer aided design and drafting certificate in 1994. He had also earned a bachelor’s degree in construction management from Utica College and a master’s degree in construction management from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Page 2 of 2 - Distinguishing himself as an academic, Miers was a professor at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. He served on national and internationally respected civil engineering and materials academic advisory boards. His university service, scholarship application activities, departmental service and teaching experience earned him a Board of Governors Award in 2007.
Miers died unexpectedly in January in Berlin, Conn., a day after learning he was to be inducted. Diane Brown, his significant other, accepted the induction on his behalf and thanked the college for recognizing him and his achievements.