North Village apartment named ‘Emma’s Place’

November 09, 2010

When alumnus Dennis Sisco served on the Board of Trustees (1999-2007), he used his voice and vote for the improvement of on-campus student housing. On Nov. 6, he and his wife, Alexine Lesko, visited 183 North Village where they were treated to breakfast by the students who currently live in one of nine modern apartment-style residences that anchor the north side of campus.

This address newly dedicated, now carries the name Sisco Hall “Emma’s Place,” following the Sisco’s generous commitment and their wish to honor the memory of their daughter, Emma Knox Sisco, who died in 1995 before the age of 2.

Alumnus Dennis Sisco and wife Alex Lesko with daughters (from left) Maddie and Shelby pose in front of newly named Sisco Hall, Emma's Place in North Village.

Dennis graduated from the College in 1968 and credits his professors for preparing him well to realize his boyhood dream of becoming an entrepreneur.

In a Hill magazine article published in 2001, Sisco said:

“Jim Lightner taught me to overcome fear and loathing of advanced math…

“Ira Zepp taught me that spirituality has a role in all things…

“Ralph Price and Al Law, taught me how to think and how to articulate and defend my ideas.”

It comes as no surprise that Sisco graduated with honors and was commissioned as a second lieutenant through the College’s ROTC program. His first job was at IBM. That job positioned him well to ensure Army service in Germany with a computer systems command, far from the danger zone in Saigon, although Sisco upheld his responsibility to serve his country.

While in the Army, Sisco worked on the precursor to the modern portable computer. After completing his military duty, he returned to the States where he joined his first IT startup, wrote deep-level operating system code on weekends, and sold the systems during weekdays. He beat that daily grindstone through negotiating the sale of that IT startup to a national firm that was subsequently bought by Dun & Bradstreet.

That heady experience ensured that Sisco’s itch for higher-level financial engineering would take him into the high-rise Manhattan boardrooms to help promising companies expand and exploit opportunities to improve their bottom lines.  And he’s given back to this College in multiple ways, serving as chair of the Annual Fund, as a trustee, and establishing a scholarship fund.

His wife, Alexine Lesko, is a graduate of Wellesley College where she majored in South Asia studies and mastered Hindi while studying abroad at the University of Varanasi in India. After moving to Philadelphia to study Sanskrit at Penn, Lesko took an entry-level job at a computer firm where she not only met and fell in love with Sisco, but mastered computer languages that led to her 18-year career as a project manager for IT business solutions.

Lesko and Sisco are proud parents who despite the sorrow of Emma’s short life, remember her as a “wonderful, and beautifully happy child.”

Since retiring from Behrman Capital where he was a partner for seven years, Sisco has joined his wife and daughters, Shelby and Maddie, in holding high the ribbons earned by their trained horses and as riders in equestrian hunting and jumping competitions including at the world-class Winter Equestrian festival in Wellington, Fla.