Honorary Degree Recipients

Sage is proud to recognize Donna Robinson Esteves, RSC ’70 and Thomas O. Maggs, JCA ’67 as this year’s honorary degree recipients, and further honor Esteves as the The Sage Colleges Woman of the Century.

Throughout her career, Donna Robinson Esteves has been an Donna Esteveseducator, saleswoman, entrepreneur and philanthropist.  Esteves received her bachelor’s degree in English from Russell Sage College.

After starting a teaching career in the bayous of Lafitte, Louisiana, Esteves received her Master’s in Teaching from Tulane University, taught college and high school English for ten years, and was elected English department chair by her fellow teachers.

Esteves went on to join Mary Kay Cosmetics where she rose to become a “top 20” director in retail personal sales, placing her in the top one fifth of the top one percent of 13,000 directors nationwide.  Esteves then founded her own lighting installation firm, Free Lighting Corp, hiring and training all-women installation crews.  When she sold her company 12 years later, Free Lighting was the nation’s largest residential energy efficient lighting contractor with offices in four states.

In 2002, Esteves turned to donating her time and the proceeds from the sale of her company to educational, cultural and women’s causes. Through her philanthropy and community service, she has donated and pledged more than $18 million to dozens of organizations and causes.  The greatest beneficiary, by far, has been The Sage Colleges. In total, Esteves has donated and pledged a total of $14.9 million to Sage, with her largest individual donations benefiting Sage’s School of Education. The Sage Colleges has recognized these contributions in the naming of The Esteves Chemistry Labs, The Esteves Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Esteves Science Hall in Albany and the Esteves School of Education.

For 11 years, Esteves has served as a trustee of The Sage Colleges, completing the maximum three terms as board chair, and she currently chairs its $50 million Centennial Campaign.

Thomas O. Maggs is president and owner of the globally known Schenectady Insurance Brokerage, Maggs and Associates. His career with Maggs and Thomas MaggsAssociates has spanned almost 30 years.

Maggs graduated from Sage Junior College of Albany, the University at Albany, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He did graduate work in Finance at Wharton Business School and in Government and Ethics at Harvard.

Maggs has served on the Commission for Restoration of the Statue of Liberty and was appointed as the Upstate and Long Island Coordinator by President Ronald Regan where he served as the liaison between fundraising activities and the State Foundation. Maggs was also appointed by President George Bush to the U.S. Export Import Council and later became a member of the Worldwide Trade Center Organization. In 1986, Governor Mario Cuomo asked Maggs to join, what later became known as, The Jones Commission. This elite panel of board members came together to reform Insurance coverage procedures and legislation in New York State. 

In addition, Maggs has served on numerous boards across the nation. His passion for the outdoors led to his appointment by the Governor of New York State as commissioner for the Office of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation. Maggs also served on the board to reform The Saratoga Performing Arts Center.  

Maggs currently serves as president of Oakwood Cemetery in Troy NY, president of the board for Springbrook School in Oneonta, board member and trustee of Trustco Bank and he continues to be a lifelong member of Nantucket’s exclusive club known as “The Wharf Rats.” He has been a member of the Sage Ring Society and a member of the Corporate Connections program since 2002.