Anne Cole Brown ’88
Anne Cole Brown’s commitment to fairness resonates more than ever in L-A
Anne Cole Brown came to Bates from Portland, where her parents were both teachers and her father an organist — Anne’s first exposure to Bates was sitting in the chapel with a book while her father had a lesson with Professor Marion Anderson. She graduated as a Dana Scholar in Chemistry, two-year co-captain in indoor and outdoor track and field, one-time holder of the school records in the long jump and triple jump, and she was part of the team that, 20 years after her graduation, still holds the school 4×100 relay record. A student athletic trainer at Bates, she made steady use of the Career Discovery Internship Program from OCS, and gradually moved her career direction toward medicine. She earned her Medical Degree from the University of Vermont, did her residency in internal medicine in New Orleans, and now practices at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Lewiston. She has been a very active provider of the OCS shadowing and volunteer opportunities of which she made use as a student.
As a student, Anne took much encouragement from her professors and coaches. The daughter of two humanists, she loved the sciences, doing research with Tom Wenzel in chemistry, but carrying German to multiple years of study with Craig Decker. A lot of what Anne did at Bates was characterized by that sense of taking a deep breath and jumping into the unknown — some jumps were physical, some metaphorical. What she learned from Bates, and what has characterized her medical practice and community involvement in the years since, was discipline, scientific excellence, human decency, and as she has said, “a general sense of fairness,” where no one was excluded and there was a commitment to social justice.
How that sense of fairness and social justice has played out has helped to change Lewiston-Auburn, and many people’s lives. Anne helped to found, and then served as the medical director of, the Bates Street Clinic, now often called the B Street Clinic. She organized teams of volunteer doctors, nurses and staff to serve the clinic, and turned it from a small night-time operation into a major source of medical treatment for mostly low-income people with limited or no medical insurance, and often with language barriers to even understand doctors. Anne recruited Bates students to come work in the clinic, often making use of their language abilities to help translate with patients. One of those students, Jenny Blau ’02, a Spanish major, is now finishing her medical degree at Georgetown.
Some time ago St. Mary’s gave Anne one of their special awards to a member of the staff for compassion — and people noticed that she was the only physician as opposed to staff member in the history of the award to receive it. But Anne also thinks about systems for fairness, and serves on the Board of the Maine Health Care Access Foundation, and on the Androscoggin County Committee of the Maine Community Foundation. In her contribution to the Bates Oral History Project, Anne commented that she was most struck upon returning to Lewiston-Auburn by how much more involved the Bates students and faculty were with serving this community, taking it seriously, and living “with a general sense of fairness.”
Very few people have lived that mantra of fairness more consistently than Anne Brown herself, and the Bates Scholar-Athlete Society is honored to welcome her into membership.