Denise VanBuren, President General

Denise VanBuren, President General

An accomplished Public Relations professional with extensive business experience earned during a successful 35-year career in the broadcast news and utility industries, Denise has enjoyed serving at every level of our Society during three decades of DAR devoted involvement. In addition to fulfilling all obligations of her elected positions (First Vice President General, 2016-2019; Organizing Secretary General, 2013-2016; State Regent of New York, 2011-2013), she has been responsible for editing every issue of the award-winning American Spirit and Daughters as their Editor in Chief since 2004. She was instrumental in the success of Celebrate America!, Celebrate 125 and the Guinness World Record achievement. Additionally, she edited “125 Years of Devotion to America.” Denise served two terms as National Chair of the DAR Magazine Committee, two terms as National Chair of the Public Relations Committee and one term as National Chair of State Regents’ Dinners. A member of the Today’s DAR campaign team that introduced the DAR logo, Denise was Executive Producer and Narrator of the Today’s DAR video.

As New York State Regent, Denise led with a theme of: “Celebrate the Empire State. Excelsior!,” and her project was five-fold: 1) increase membership; 2) upgrade the DAR Magazine Office; 3) honor “Uncle Sam” Wilson; 4) place a marker in Trinity Churchyard for Major General Horatio Gates; and 5) support the restoration of New York’s battle flag collection. As State Historian, she authored the book, “Doorways to History: The Stories Behind the New York State DAR Chapter Houses and the Women Who Saved Them.” As one of her three state chairmanships, she chaired the New York State Room at Memorial Continental Hall; as such, she co-authored “Daughters of the Empire State” to raise funds for the installation of its world-class wallpaper. She also served as the Senior State Chaplain for the New York State Society, C.A.R.

Denise served as Regent of Melzingah Chapter 1998-2001, chairing not only its executive board but also responsible for its stewardship of the 1709 Madam Brett Homestead, the oldest building in Dutchess County. She was named New York’s Outstanding Chapter Regent in 1999, the same year that Melzingah Chapter erected a municipal bust in honor of George Washington. In 2000, she led more than 600 people on a hike to the top of Mount Beacon to rededicate Melzingah’s 1900 monument to Revolutionary War soldiers. That same year, Melzingah Chapter placed second nationwide in Chapter Achievement Award.

Her Patriot ancestors are New York father and son Jacob and Marcus Plattner, and she is a member of the Daughters of Union Veterans 1861-1865.

Community Service

Denise is actively involved with other several other non-profit organizations. She currently serves on the boards of Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital, the Hudson River Valley Institute at Marist College, Fishkill Rural Cemetery and Boscobel, Inc.; and she chairs the Board of Dutchess Tourism, Inc. A five-term past president of the Beacon Historical Society, she co-authored two books, Historic Beacon (1998) and Beacon Revisited (2003), to benefit that organization. She is a two term past president of the Dutchess County Historical Society, and she served two terms as president of the Exchange Club of Southern Dutchess. She was the 2005 Dutchess County United Way Campaign Chair (raising $3.1 million to benefit more than 125 local agencies). Denise is a member of the B.P.O.E. Lodge #1493 and the Chelsea Yacht Club, and previously served on the Dutchess County boards of the American Cancer Society, the Salvation Army, Dutchess Community College, Elant, Inc., the estate of Samuel F.B. Morse and several other local nonprofits.

Denise’s extensive community involvement has been recognized through several honors, including the DAR Woman of History Award in 2016. She received the Dutchess County YWCA Salute to Women and Industry award in both 1990 and 1997. In 1999, she was named Volunteer of the Year in the City of Beacon. She was the 2005 recipient of the Dutchess County Historical Society’s Dutchess Award and was presented with the highest award of the Community Foundation of Dutchess County in recognition of her volunteerism in 2007. She was honored by the Mount Gulian Historic Site in 2010 for her accomplishments in historic preservation; received the Meritorious Service Award from the Exchange Club of Southern Dutchess in 2011; and was presented the Bessie Payne Humanitarian Award from Dutchess ARC in 2012. She was the Junior League of Poughkeepsie’s 2013 Woman of the Year, the 2014 GET Female Entrepreneur of the Year and the 2014 Marist College President’ s Award recipient. In 2015, she was presented the Mount St. Mary College Leadership Excellence Award; in 2016, she was recognized by Washington’s Headquarters New York State Historic Site with its Martha Washington Woman of History Award. Also, in 2016, she received the Social Responsibility Award from City and State magazine, and she was inducted in the Our Lady of Lourdes Legion of Honor for chairing the capital campaign that built an athletic complex at the high school. Recently, Denise was honored by the United Way of Dutchess-Orange with its 2018 Distinguished Leadership Award, and she received the 2018 Dean’s Award for Excellence in the Business Hall of Fame at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Professional Accomplishments & Personal

Denise joined Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation in 1993, was its 2005 Executive of the Year and currently serves as Vice President of Public Relations. She became an Officer of the Corporation in 1999, and is the longest-serving female officer in the utility’s 165-year history. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a Master’s in Business Administration. A former radio and television news anchor, she is the mother of three sons, Schuyler, Troy and Brett, past members of the Highland Pass Society C.A.R. She is married to Christopher G. Barclay. They live in an 1840 farmhouse near the Hudson River in Chelsea, NY, and are currently restoring an 1876 cottage in the Adirondacks.

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