Alumni Council Newsletter: Spring 2014
We are happy to share our latest Bates Alumni Council newsletter. We hope the articles in this edition, as with past issues of the newsletter, provide you with an idea as to why we are so proud of our association with our college and our alumni body.
From the personal thoughts of a council member whose children did not receive acceptances from Bates to a review of the Alumni Association awards process, from a report on the Bates Dance Festival to a look at alumni “from away” who have made the Lewiston-Auburn area their home, this edition touches upon our enduring relationships with Bates, Lewiston and each other.
For those who were not back at Bates, November’s Homecoming was a wonderful weekend full of cultural activities and sporting events to enjoy. The weekend highlight was the reception in honor of two alumni for their unique contributions to Bates and community.
Bill Hiss ’66 received the Helen A. Papaioanou Award for his extraordinary decades-long service to Bates above and beyond his professional roles. Ken Snow ’62 received the Alumni Community Service Award for exhibiting outstanding leadership and commitment to serving his community and the State of New Hampshire in the social work and mental health arenas. Both were nominated by fellow alumni and selected by Alumni Council members from a competitive pool as part of our annual awards recognition process (described in Jenn Bouchard’s story below).
The Alumni Council enjoys our regularly scheduled meetings and visits to campus. Particularly special are the friendships that have developed among council members with class years that span more than four decades. Getting back on campus reminds us of our time there as well as connects us to the present generation of students and faculty.
We hope you return for all your reunions and consider other times to take a walk around campus, whether at an autumn Homecoming, Winter Carnival, the Mount David Summit (highlighting student academic achievement) or on one of those beautiful May Days of Short Term! Or take in a performance of the Bates Dance Festival this summer!
Come on up!
At Your Service,
The Bates College Alumni Council
A Bates Family’s Journey
By JoAnne Brambley Stillmun ’80
Alumni Council Member
Here is a story familiar to most of you who will be reading this newsletter. Two Batesies marry. I know, a very unusual occurrence! Their closest friends are also Batesies. From the beginning of their life together they stayed very engaged with Bates, going to all their reunions and serving the college in many capacities through the years, because the experiences and education they received from Bates were very important and special to them. They have four smart, talented, athletic and unique children. Sounds like the beginning of a legacy for this family, right? For some families it is, but our family’s journey down the college admissions path took some different turns than John or I expected (and yes, hoped!).
For one or more of our children to attend our alma mater is something that we envision on many levels. Certainly pride is involved. Bates is an outstanding school as we all know, and what an achievement it is to be accepted! But the other levels are much more emotional. So many of our most significant life events occurred at Bates, and Bates has been a common thread throughout so much of our lives. Because of the college’s impact on our lives, we wanted our children to experience that same special, unique and intangible something that we cherish. And, somewhat selfishly, I am what the college calls “very engaged” with the school, and certainly that gives our children maybe a small advantage?
He was applying to mostly big southern engineering universities. And Bates.
Then we begin the college process with our oldest. He was, in many ways, different from the traditional Bates applicant. He is an outstanding standardized test taker. His grades have never been consistent. (What has Bates discovered from years of comparing SATs to academic performance?) He was applying to mostly big southern engineering universities. And Bates. He wanted to prove to us he could get in.
After all applications are completed, I get a call in late winter from Bates. It was Bill Hiss on the phone saying he wanted to talk to me about my son’s application. There was a pause…then: “He has been wait-listed.” I say, “No problem! He really wants to be an engineer and was already accepted at some of the other schools that were really more suited to him.” There was a detectable sigh of relief on the other end of the phone. This conversation must not always go well, I think. In my heart I knew Bates wasn’t the right choice for this son, but I had three other children, at least one of whom would certainly be our legacy!
Surely one of these offspring would become our Bobcat!
A few years go by and then our twins are involved in their college searches. By this time I am now on Alumni Council and have brought them both up to Bates several times, attending various events with the Council and interviewing with Admission and coaches. Despite being twins they are quite different, our daughter devouring literature and history, and performing on stage in music and drama, our son successfully playing many sports in high school, but wanting to play football in college and major in economics. Both had found other schools that really appealed to them, but Bates was high on their lists. Surely one of these offspring would become our Bobcat!
The acceptances, waitlistings and rejections started trickling in, and I get my call from Bates. I admit I was on a tennis court and not expecting to be talking to Bates Admission at that moment, and what I heard had to be repeated more than once for me to wrap my brain around it. They both were put on the waitlist. I am not gonna lie.
Those words really stung. I needed a good several hours before I could speak of it, to tell my kids and fellow Bobcat husband. What kept going through my head was what I, and I am sure many of you, have repeated every time we hear about the quality of the student that Bates produces: As the student I was back then, I would probably never get into Bates today.
So I broke the news to my family, and honestly John and I were probably more distressed than my kids were. As I said, they had already received many acceptances, and I think they had already been picturing themselves and one of these other schools. When I suggested to my daughter that she continue to pursue Bates, she said that all her friends were wearing their college sweatshirts and she was ready to do that, with another school that, next to Bates, was her other first choice. And the school was in the south, her real first choice! My son had already moved on, picturing himself on another football field wearing that school’s red and black uniform (so close to Bobcat colors!).
The outcome of our twins Bates admissions process did not sit well with our Bates friends. They were well aware of the time I devoted to all things Bates. You are going to stay on the Council? You will still contribute to the college? John and I did some serious soul searching. It really took some time to work it out. I kept seeing fellow alums whose kids are at Bates, and that dream was very real for us. But we still had one more child that kept that Bobcat dream alive. No pressure on youngest kid!! He also came up to Bates for visits and meetings with me. Surely it will happen with child number four.
Fast forward two years. Number One Son has graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from a large state university. Twin One is playing football for a Division III Mid-Atlantic Catholic college, exploring a great city and couldn’t be more perfectly placed. Twin Two has found a school where she is surrounded by kids geeky and quirky in just her way, who love Shakespeare and Doctor Who, and will never need a down coat. And child number four? Yes, we have begun the last of our parent-driven college searches.
Again, this child is not like his siblings. Could he finally be our legacy? This last child has music oozing out of his pores, a world John and I have old school knowledge of but not this technical world he lives in. Guess what? He isn’t even applying to Bates. He would do well there, but he has different dreams. Ultimately, what do we want for our kids? To find a place in the world where they fit in, are accepted, can excel, are successful and happy. Did we find that place at Bates? Yes! John and I loved Bates. But Bates was our dream. What our children are achieving are their own dreams.
Honoring Service to Bates: Alumni Association Awards
By Jennifer Lemkin Bouchard ’99
Alumni Council President
One of the greatest responsibilities and honors of the Alumni Council’s work is selecting the annual recipients of alumni awards. This is a task that we take seriously, and it is also something that we cannot do without your help in the nominating process.
Annually, the Alumni Association awards the following honors (taken from the Alumni Association Bylaws):
- The Distinguished Young Alumni Award is given to a graduate of no more than 15 years for “exceptional volunteer service to Bates and distinction in his or her career.”
- The Helen A. Papaioanou ’49 Award for Extraordinary Service to Bates honors exceptional service to Bates that is “truly distinguished in both quantity and quality,” often spanning decades. This award is usually given to a graduate greater than 15 years.
As appropriate, the Alumni Association awards the following honors:
- The Bruce Stangle Award for Distinguished Service to the Bates Community “celebrates truly distinguished assistance, support and advocacy on behalf of Bates alumni, parents and students in their professional development.”
- The Alumni Community Service Award is given to one “who has exhibited outstanding leadership and commitment to serving the community in which they live or work.”
- The Faculty Award “recognizes a Bates faculty member whose service to alumni programs, through active participation in regional and on-campus events, is extraordinary.”
- The Sesquicentennial Award is presented “for a single academic, artistic or scientific achievement by an alumna/us.”
- The Benjamin Elijah Mays Medal “is the highest alumni award of the college to honor the alumna or alumnus who has performed distinguished service to the larger (worldwide) community and been deemed a Bates College graduate of outstanding accomplishment.”
Each spring, the Alumni Council convenes a task force to examine our nominating process. We look at best practices from recent years and put together a survey tool that will be sent electronically to the entire alumni body. This survey is intended to gather names and important information about why a person is being nominated for this particular award. We are continuously working to improve this process so that we can get a robust list of nominations with thorough descriptions of the nominees’ accomplishments.
Once this information is collected, the Council spends much time discussing the nominations, either in person at one of our meetings or by conference call. Voting takes place, recipients are determined, and the current President of the Alumni Council calls them to congratulate them and to discuss the next steps for receiving the award. Awards are typically given at Reunion and Homecoming and are truly occasions to celebrate.
When you hear from us this spring calling for nominations, please send along your nominations – we need your participation!
The Toast of the Town(ies): Part II
By Elaine Makas ’67, Townie by Choice
Alumni Council member
In the Fall 2013 issue of the Alumni Newsletter, I introduced you to a small sampling of the many highly successful Bates alumni who grew up in and still live in the greater Lewiston-Auburn area. In addition to these “Townies by Birth” (the TBBs), there are also many “Townies by Choice” alumni (the TBCs), who, like me, are “from away” but have decided either to stay in the area after graduation or to return at a later time. Together, these two groups of local Bates alumni number more than 850.
Some of the TBCs stayed closely connected to the college as well as to the community. Bill Hiss (TBC’66 from Mountain Lakes, N.J.), for example, recently retired after a long career at Bates in many capacities, including dean of admission and vice president of external affairs. One of Bill’s classmates, Judy Marden (TBC’66 from Hyde Park, Mass.) also has a long association with the college. Judy says that she fell in love with the Maine woods as a student through the Bates Outing Club. She returned to the Lewiston area and reconnected with her alma mater three years after graduation, working in a variety of positions at Bates (including Business Manager and Director of Personnel) before finally settling in as Director of the Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area in Phippsburg. Although Judy retired (at least on paper) six years ago, she remains actively involved in conservation efforts and as adviser to the Bates Outing Club.
Another alumni who renewed his connection with Bates after graduation is Marcus Bruce (TBC ’77 from Hyannis, Mass.), a long-time Bates professor and current chair of the religious studies department, who holds an endowed chair as the Benjamin E. Mays Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies. Beckie Swanson Conrad (TBC ’82 from Rehoboth, Mass.) also has had an extended connection with the college. She started her 18 years of employment at Bates the day after graduation, serving in various administrative, fundraising and community outreach positions. The Bates President’s Office also boasts a number of prominent alumni “from away,” including Marianne Nolan Cowan (TBC ’92 from Cazenovia, N.Y.), who serves as associate director of special projects.
Blake Whitaker (TBC ’74 from Beverly, Mass.) is another local alumni who returned to Maine after graduation. Blake is a molecular biologist who taught at Bates for seven years and is now associate dean for academic affairs at the Lewiston-Auburn College of the University of Southern Maine (USM-LAC). Although no longer at Bates, Blake remains in contact with other TBCs at the USM-LAC campus: Wendy Woodcock Mitchell (TBC ’71 from New York and Connecticut), administrative specialist (who, incidentally, is the daughter of two Bates alumni and the granddaughter of four!); Laurie McDonnell (TBC ’90 from Marlboro, Mass.), coordinator of the Women, Work, and Community Project, which is housed at LAC; and (me) Elaine Makas (TBC ’67 from Medford, Mass.), adjunct associate professor of psychology.
Other local Bates alumni have also played a significant role in local education. Al Harvie (TBC ’65 from South Portland, Maine) has taught and coached for over 40 years at Edward Little High School in Auburn, Leavitt Area High School in Turner, and Central Maine Community College. In addition, he has announced local sports events for years, including some at Bates, and has recently been inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.
Other Bates educators “from away” are Anne Stauffer Behnke (TBC ’67 from Canton, N.Y.), who has been teaching for over 40 years at the elementary school level (and still loving it!); Sue Evans Trask (TBC ’70 from Media, Pa), a third-grade teacher for many years, now language arts specialist for the Auburn School System; and Linda Rothman Matzen (TBC ’70 from Brookline, Mass.), recently retired after years as a guidance counselor at Edward Little High School. Colleen Quint (TBC ’85 from Portland, Maine), an attorney specializing in education, was the founding executive director for the Mitchell Institute, an organization created by Sen. George Mitchell that provides scholarships to over 100 Maine high school students each year. Colleen has recently been appointed president and CEO of the Alfond Scholarship Foundation.
Political activism is another area where local Bates alumni have had a major impact. John Jenkins (TBC ’74 from Newark, N.J.), in addition to his many accomplishments as a martial arts expert and trainer, small business owner, community educator and national speaker, served as mayor of Lewiston, then as state senator, and, most recently, as mayor of Auburn.
Other politicians/political activists include Nate Libby (TBC ’07 from Norridgewock, Maine), a Lewiston City councilor and one of Lewiston’s state representatives, who also works in community development and planning (in his non-existent spare time!); Craig Saddlemire (TBC ’05 from Albany, N.Y.), a highly successful documentary videomaker as well as a former Lewiston city councilor; Ben Chin (TBC ’07 from Pittsburgh, Pa), political director of the Maine People’s Alliance; Julia Sleeper (TBC ’08 from Brewer, ME), co-founder of Tree Street Youth, a center that supports local young people through academics, the arts and athletics; and (me) Elaine Makas (TBC ’67), a former state representative and current county commissioner representing Lewiston.
Among the many other alumni “from away” who have made major contributions to the local community are Woody Trask (TBC ’66 from Braintree, Mass.), a chemist and former vice president of Gates Formed Fiber in Auburn; Kelly Matzen (TBC ’68 from Connecticut and Ohio), a highly successful local attorney; Marcia Baxter (TBC ’71 from Dedham, Mass.), a very dedicated social worker specializing in adoption, healthcare and day treatment (for children), who has helped hundreds of families throughout her career; and Tim Cowan (TBC ’91 from Pittsford, N.Y.), a healthcare analyst and director of Maine Health Index.
These are but a small number of the many Bates alumni who have decided to live and work in the Lewiston-Auburn area. Although the term “Townie” may have had a negative connotation in the past (and may still in the present) for some, that is certainly not the case for those of us, like me, who are proud to call ourselves “Townies” and to work alongside other Bates alumni who are “Townies by Birth” or “Townies by Choice,” non-alumni “Townies” who work at Bates, and the many other wonderful “Townies” who have no connection to Bates at all!
A Summer Full of Dance: The Bates Dance Festival
By Jerry Donahoe ’82
Alumni Council Member
Bates has a special energy and dynamism to it during the summer months when the renowned Bates Dance Festival takes hold of the campus. Founded more than 30 years ago by Marcy Plavin, the festival becomes a place where an international community of choreographers, performers, educators and students convene in a cooperative community to study, perform and create new work.
Recognized throughout the dance world for its noncompetitive environment and emphasis on experimentation, artists, students and audiences share their knowledge and inspiration through workshops, jams, discussions, informal showings and performances.
The Bates Dance Festival is comprised of four interwoven programs: two professional training programs including the Young Dancers Workshop (YDW), a rigorous three-week program serving pre-professional dancers ages 14-18; the Professional Training Program (PTP) serving dancers 18 and up; a main-stage performance series featuring renowned contemporary dance artists from around the world; and community outreach activities including the Youth Arts Program serving local youth ages 7-16 with dance, music, theater and visual arts training, and the Community Dance Project inviting local residents into an intensive creative collaboration with a choreographer and Festival dancers to create a new work which occurs on alternate years. Commissioning and residency projects support new works by established companies, emerging choreographers and international artists.
The festival, under the leadership of Laura Faure since 1987, has emerged as an important organization for contemporary dance nationally and internationally, providing the field with a strong curatorial eye for young talent and an incubator for new works. The festival’s public events, always well-attended, have expanded into a six-week series of concerts, lectures, panels, and exhibits, bringing an unusual spectrum of contemporary and international works to Maine audiences.
Highlighting the festival’s 2014 season are workshops, residencies and performances by the acclaimed New York-based troupes Camille A. Brown & Dancers and David Dorfman Dance; Boston’s finest contemporary company, Prometheus Dance; South Africa’s Vincent Mantsoe; and Chinese-born choreographer Yin Mei, as well as members of Delfos Danza, among others. Check out the Festival’s website (batesdancefestival.org) and come on up to campus for a performance or event!
Some Bates Dance Festival milestones:
1982 President Reynolds approaches Marcy Plavin, lecturer in dance (now lecturer emerita), about establishing a dance festival as a way to use vacant facilities during the summer months.
1994 The Festival establishes its Youth Arts Program and initiates the International Visiting Artist Program to host artists from Africa, Asia and Latin American.
1983 The Bates Dance Festival celebrates its inaugural season.
1988 The festival begins commissioning works and providing creative time for artists. Residencies, arranged by invitation, include daily studio access, opportunities to work with festival dancers and musicians, and informal showings with critical feedback from peers.
1996 The Young Dancers Workshops are established.
2003 The festival becomes a member of the National Performance Network, a partnership that connects artists with progressive presenters, arts organizations and communities across the country.
2004 The Bates Dance Festival becomes a founding member of The Africa Contemporary Arts Consortion with 11 national partners to conduct research on equitable cultural exchange.
Calendar of Events: Dates to Remember
Alumni Council on Campus/AC Meetings: May 8-11, 2014
College Key Induction Ceremony: May 23, 2014
Commencement: May 25, 2014
Reunion: June 6-8, 2014
Bates Dance Festival: June 27-August 10, 2014
Convocation: September 2, 2014
Opening of Fall Semester: September 3, 2014
Parents & Family Weekend: October 10-13, 2014
Alumni Council on Campus/AC Meetings: October 24-26, 2014
Homecoming Weekend: October 24-25, 2014
Alumni Council on Campus/AC Meetings: January TBD, 2015
Mount David Summit: April 3, 2015
Alumni Council Roster
“The purpose of the Alumni Association shall be to establish and perpetuate fellowship among the alumni and mutually helpful relationships between them and the College, and to unite all alumni in supporting the College, promoting its welfare, and encouraging education as a way of life through ties to the College.” – from the Bates Alumni Association By-Laws
The Bates Alumni Council is the presiding body of the Bates Alumni Association, and we are here to serve you and invite you into a deeper relationship with our alma mater! For questions and comments, please contact us. The Alumni Council is at your service!
For more information, please see bates.edu/alumni.
John Amols ’72
Jennifer “Jenn” Lemkin Bouchard ’99
Benjamin “Ben” W. Chin ’07
Robert “Rob” Cramer ’79
Gerard “Jerry” P. Donahoe Jr. ’82
Jason Hall ’97
St. Louis, MO
Lawrence “Larry” Handerhan ’05
Alicia S. Hunter ’94
David M. Kaplan Jr. ’85, P’16
Thomas “Tom” J. Leonard ’78, P’10,’14
North Granby, CT
Liam Leduc Clarke ’98
College Key Seat
Renee Leduc Clarke ’98
Michael “Mike” R. Lieber ’92
Elaine Makas ’67
Judith “Judy” Lanouette Nicholson ’67
Katherine “Kathy” Doocy Overbye ’81
Graham Proud ’08
New York, NY
Lisa A. Romeo ’88
Emma A. Sprague ’10
JoAnne Brambley Stillmun ’80
Ira Waldman ’73, P’08,’11
Playa del Rey, CA
Alexander “Alex” Wood ’66, P’95
- Bates Alumni Council Newsletter Autumn 2013
- Bates Alumni Council Newsletter Winter Spring 2013
- Bates Alumni Council Newsletter Autumn 2012
- Bates Alumni Council Newsletter Spring 2011
- Bates Alumni Council Newsletter Fall 2011
- Bates Alumni Council Newsletter Fall 2010
- Bates Alumni Council Newsletter Spring 2010