Alumni receive awards at Reunion Weekend

Bates College presented awards to distinguished alumni Saturday at the college’s Reunion Weekend 2002, held this year from June 6 to 9. The Rev. Arthur E. Higgins ’43, received Bates’ highest honor, the Benjamin Elijah Mays Medal. Paula M. Colahan, class of ’87, received the Distinguished Young Alumni Service Award. Norman E. Brackett ’52, received the Alumni Community Service Award, and David O. Boone ’62 and Carol Huntington Boone ’63, received the Helen A. Papaioanou ’49 Distinguished Alumni Service Award.The Benjamin Elijah Mays Medal is given only when Bates wishes to honor an alumnus or alumna who has made extraordinary contributions to America and to society worldwide. A civil rights leader, mentor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and former president of Morehouse College, Mays himself was the inaugural recipient of the award, in 1982. Other recipients have included Edmund Muskie ’36; Frank Coffin ’40; Vincent McKusick ’44; and Peter Gomes ’65.

This year’s recipient has served as a lifelong minister of the Congregational Church in Connecticut. Arthur Higgins has been a pioneer in establishing two new kinds of ministry and church work, both of which have been broadly emulated in other churches throughout America. Higgins was the founder and president of the New Samaritan Corporation, a wing of the Congregational Church that oversees the building of suitable and affordable housing for elderly and low-income people in Connecticut. It is a national model for the involvement of the church in low-income and elderly housing.Higgins was also the first Connecticut Conference Minister of the Department of Church and Society, an innovative example of church organizations at the state and national level becoming involved in broad issues of social justice and fairness.

Higgins was instrumental in introducing philanthropist Charles Dana, a member of his congregation, to Bates College. The results of the relationship between Dana and Bates include Dana Chemistry Hall, the Dana Professorships and the Dana Scholarship program.

The Distinguished Young Alumni Award recognizes recent graduates who are outstanding in their careers or their service to the college. Colahan is a member of the Bates Boston Council and a former member of the Alumni Council. She is a Partner of the President and a President’s Circle member. She has been a gift committee and a social committee member for Reunion, and has served on the Alumni Fund Committee, the Alumni Steering Committee, and as class agent, a Boston Bates Club leader, an alumni class officer, an OCS career advisor and phone-a-thon volunteer.

The Alumni Community Service Award was created by the Alumni Council in 1999 and is given annually to an alumnus or alumna who has demonstrated distinguished leadership and commitment to serving the community in which they live or work. The award is designed to recognize the values of service and civic responsibility that are fundamental to the Bates education.

Brackett received this award for his service to Bates, to his community in the Portland area and to Maine. For Bates, he has served on the Maine Bates Council and as a class agent. He funded the Norman E. Brackett Scholarship, which is given annually with preference for Maine students. He has served as class president and as co-chair of two reunion gift committees.

Brackett has served on the boards of the Portland Stage Company, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Cancer Community Center, and is a corporator of Maine Medical Center. He has participated in many fund-raising efforts for non-profit organizations in Greater Portland. He has been especially active with the United Way of Greater Portland during the past 25 years, chairing its board of directors, the United Way Foundation Board of Trustees and the 1987 Annual Campaign. In 1999, he received the Mary Rines Thompson Award as Volunteer of the Year.

Brackett was a Westbrook College trustee for several years and chaired the board of trustees when Westbrook College merged with the University of New England in 1996. He is now a trustee emeritus of UNE.

Each year the Alumni Association recognizes an outstanding graduate or graduates for their performance of truly unparalleled service to the College. Until Reunion 1999, the association recognized that service with the Distinguished Alumni Service Award. At that time, it was renamed the Helen A. Papaioanou ’49 Distinguished Alumni Service Award to honor the deep love for Bates displayed by Helen Papaioanou ’49, M.D., D.Sc. ’97, in her service to the College and the board of trustees from 1965 to 1999.

This year’s winners, David and Carol Huntington Boone, have been heavily involved in Bates activities for 40 years, spanning two Bates presidencies with a third about to start. Dave is the retired chairman of Boone Young Associates, and Carol has been a Realtor for most of her career. Their daughter Karin graduated from Bates in 1987.

David and Carol funded a scholarship given annually to a Bates student. David serves on the board of trustees and, in a time commitment equivalent to a part-time job, served on the recent Presidential Search Committee. He has also been president of the College Key honorary society. David and Carol were instrumental on the Pettengill Hall building project and have been involved for decades in the College’s recruitment efforts. David began bringing multicultural students up from New Jersey and New York to see Bates during the 1960s, an activity that evolved into the College’s October Weekend program for multicultural students. Carol has been an Alumni in Admissions volunteer since the program was founded in the 1970s. Both Carol and David served on their Reunion Gift Committees.

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