2006 Benjamin Bates Society Gathering

The Benjamin Bates Society hosted its second meeting in Boston on November 3-4, 2006.

Nearly 30 members attended a range of social, celebratory and informational events, reconnecting with peer donors, making new friends, and engaging in dialogue with President Elaine Tuttle Hansen and staff about top priority issues facing Bates today.

Saturday’s events at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel included a morning-long meeting with President Hansen, Trustee Jamie Merisotis ’86, Vice President for Finance and Administration Terry Beckmann, and Vice President for College Advancement Vicky Devlin, addressing three top College priorities:  admissions and financial aid; budget and facilities planning; and the timing of future fundraising campaigns.

A nationally-recognized speaker and President of the Institute for Higher Education Policy in Washington, D.C., Merisotis shared research on changing trends in the demographics of applicants for college admission.  His presentation caused members to engage in discussion about issues relating to socio-economic and racial diversity on college campuses, including Bates.

Trustee Jamie Merisotis ’86 presents on “The Changing Demographics of Higher Education.”

During Saturday’s luncheon, Bates Board Chair Joe Willett ’73 served as master of ceremonies as guests joined together to applaud the philanthropic leadership of new Benjamin Bates Society members.  Longstanding members of the Society took to the podium to read citations and present honorees formal certificates of membership.  Trustee Emeritus Jim Moody ’53 recognized Bob ’59 and Jane Burke of Cambridge, Mass.; Trustee Will Little P’01 praised Darrell ’89 and Nancy Crate of Prides Crossing, Mass.; and Joe Willett ‘73 closed the luncheon by inducting friend and classmate David MacNaughton ’73 of Bronxville, N.Y.  Unable to attend the luncheon, fellow donor David Barlow ’79 of Boston, Mass. received special recognition at a dinner later that day.

Referencing the Society’s namesake in his remarks, Willett shared a quote from a letter to Bates founder Oren B. Cheney in 1878 by a friend of Benjamin Bates, who had recently passed away:
“He was always in large enterprises, doing something to advance the interests of society.  He was a builder.  His defects of character, if he had any, were in his strong sympathies and large hopefulness which are to the credit of human nature.”

Extending sincere appreciation to those in attendance for helping Bates to achieve a greater culture of major gift philanthropy and setting an example for potential donors, Willett expressed great optimism for the future of Bates fundraising.  In his remarks, he noted, “I share Elaine’s hope – and goal – that over the coming years we will work hard to bring into the Benjamin Bates Society other alumni, parents, and friends who care deeply about the College and who have the ability to help shape its future.”

In addition to the presentations, guests participated in social and cultural activities, including a walking tour of historic Boston literary landmarks and a Friday evening event at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA).  Thanks to MFA Overseer Jane Burke and Bates Board member Bob Burke ’59, attendees enjoyed a special advance tour of the MFA exhibit, Fashion Show: Paris Style 2006, by curator Pamela Parmal, followed by a private dinner in the museum’s restaurant.  Featuring actual runway garments from recent Paris fashion shows, the exhibit opened to the public on November 12 and has received a large amount of positive publicity.

Exhibit curator Pamela Parmal chats with Bates Trustee Bob Burke ’59 and Jane Burke, an Overseer at the MFA.  The Burkes made possible the special tour and dinner for the Benjamin Bates Society.


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