Bates Alumni Community Service Award
The Alumni Community Service Award 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 recognizes the values of service and civic responsibility that are fundamental to a Bates education.
Ben Ayers embodies the values of civic responsibility and service to others. What started as volunteer work through the Outing Club at Bates has become his life’s mission, and his impact has been felt from Maine to Nepal.
As a student and avid climber, Ben spent a semester abroad in Nepal and it transformed his life forever. He has dedicated himself to improving the lives of underserved and underprivileged Nepalis, particularly the porters who carry gear for the trekking companies attempting to summit Everest. Appalled by the lack of proper equipment for the porters, he founded the non-profit Porter’s Progress to better equip them for the mountain treks that would be impossible without their labor. This venture, which began by collecting clothing and outdoor gear for the porters, has thrived and expanded to include workshops and training in the English language, mountaineering skills, and HIV/AIDS education.
Ben now serves as director of the non-profit dZi Foundation where he focuses on building infrastructure and improving public health, income levels, and educational opportunities among remote villages in Nepal. As with Porter’s Progress, he remains committed to empowering these individuals and communities in ways that honor their own indigenous traditions and culture. Ben has stayed the course— through political upheaval and devastating earthquakes—to advocate for the Nepalese. Ben created a short film, Carrying the Burden, about the Nepali porters, shedding light on their lives. More recently, he worked with National Geographic on the documentary, The Last Honey Hunter.
Ben’s impact reaches from far away Nepal back to Bates, where his Bates Outing Club lean-to just celebrated its 20th anniversary. What started as an independent study to build a lean-to on land in Greene has become a cherished structure of the Outing Club, complete with Ben’s beautiful poems stapled to its walls. He now divides his time between Maine and Nepal, and serves as chair of the Board for Nezinscot Farm’s Maine Outdoor Wellness Center, established by the Varney family in memory of their son, Roy, who died in a tragic accident.
Ben, your mission to partner with disadvantaged communities to improve their lives is inspiring and sets the standard for what it means to do “purposeful work.” As your friend Judy Marden notes, you have always been an “active doer,” channeling your energy into making things happen. We are honored to present you with the Alumni Community Service Award for your dedication and hands-on efforts to make a difference in the communities you serve.
This award was presented at 2019 Back to Bates Weekend to Chomba Kaluba ’11
In just eight years since graduating from Bates, Chomba Kaluba has already impacted local, national and international communities. A native of Zambia, Chomba resides in Portland, but travels to Boston for his role as Development Manager and Head Trainer of the Life is Good Kids Foundation. His professional work is only one aspect of how he gives back. His extensive volunteerism epitomizes the Bates core values of civic engagement, service and leadership in the world.
Chomba has been a dedicated mentor to the African immigrant community through the Maine-Africa Partnership for Social Justice, a non-profit that provides scholarships for African youth to attend Southern Maine Community College. As a mentor and success coach, Chomba supports students with their personal and academic goals, including focused workshops on youth leadership, cultural integration and social justice.
Dedicated to supporting access to affordable housing, Chomba also volunteers as a board member of Avesta Housing. Working to find solutions for homelessness, Chomba has helped address critical needs faced by the homeless population of Portland and has advocated for policy issues surrounding affordable housing nationwide.
Chomba has a special talent as a positive thinking coach and speaker. He has led workshops for many community organizations, including Maine high schools and colleges, on the power of creative and positive thinking.
As a global citizen, Chomba has also advocated for the empowerment of youth and women within Africa. Coming from an impoverished rural community in Zambia, he has initiated projects promoting education and public health. He is currently a volunteer and board member at Communities Beyond Borders, a Boston-based nonprofit that develops health clinics and community schools in Zambia for vulnerable youth.
Chomba, you embody Bates’ fundamental values for your dedication, advocacy and service to the many groups and communities you serve. You are truly a global citizen, and Bates College and the Alumni Council are pleased to recognize you with the 2019 Alumni Community Service Award.
This award was presented at 2019 Reunion to Patricia Sullivan Doyle ’79, P’09.
How fortuitous for the small community of Moose River Valley that doctor Pat Doyle landed there thirty years ago and never left. Following her medical school residency, she was required as a condition of her scholarship to serve at a rural health care center for five years. This brought her to northern Maine and the Jackman Community Health Center where she has been a dedicated and treasured primary care physician. Here, she cares for a community of roughly 1,000 people with limited staff and resources. Where others would have left after their five-year stint, Pat put down roots and rolled up her sleeves to serve a community in need.
Being in an isolated town far from larger hospitals with emergency rooms, the Jackman Health Center serves not only as a doctor’s office but also as an acute care facility for the surrounding fifty-mile area. This has meant that Pat has been effectively “on call” for the past thirty years to address whatever medical situation arises — be it a sick child or a snowmobile or hunting accident.
On top of her enormous workload, Pat has found time to become a relentless advocate for health care reform for the people of rural Maine. For example, in response to Maine General Health closing services which provided decades of 24-hour acute care, she is leading an effort to secure funding to continue these critically needed services.
On June 5, 2017, Senator Angus King honored Pat by flying an American flag over the US Capitol in recognition of her years of service to the Jackman Community Health Center. It is only fitting that she be celebrated by her alma mater. Pat Doyle, Bates College is pleased and honored to award you the 2019 Alumni Community Service Award for your unwavering dedication, advocacy and service to your community in rural Maine.
This award was presented to Win Brown ’89, P’21 in 2018 during Back to Bates: Homecoming and Family Weekend.
It was a nudge from late Dean of the College James Carignan ’61 that helped Win Brown get his start in the healthcare field in 1996. Since that time, Win has worked tirelessly to promote the health and well-being of the people of the communities in which he’s lived and worked. Most recently, as President and CEO of north-central Massachusetts’ Heywood Healthcare, he has initiated a wide array of innovate programs and services that tackle complex and urgent issues in healthcare—including behavioral and mental health, food insecurity, and treatment for addiction.
Win’s passion for effecting systemic change is evident not only in the work he does, but by the issues he sets as personal and organizational priorities. In true Bates fashion, he is described by associates as a servant leader who seeks to empower his colleagues and friends to take action and think outside the box.
Unsurprisingly, Win’s service also extends to the Bates community. As a core employer for the Purposeful Work Internship Program, he has made it a priority to hire and mentor Bates students. He is a longstanding class agent for the Class of 1989, and with daughter Kathryn in her second year at Bates, also serves as a Parents Fund volunteer.
For epitomizing Bates’ fundamental tenets of advocacy and service to others, I am honored to present Win Brown, Class of 1989, with the 2018 Alumni Community Service Award.
In 2017, the award was presented to Nathaniel Boone ’52, P’82 by Lisa Romeo ’88, president of the Alumni Association, during Back to Bates: Homecoming & Family Weekend.
As a young man, Nate saw military service as not only a means of serving his country, but also a pathway to education. He entered basic training in 1946 at Camp LeJeune’s racially segregated Montford Point facility in North Carolina, as one of 20,000 African American Marines — the first men of color to serve in the Marine Corps.
Racial tensions ran high, on the base in and in town, and Nate and his fellow Montford Point Marines found that they were, as Nate says, “sort of fighting the war before we encountered any enemy.”
But Nate persevered in the face of prejudice, heeding the call to service, and helped to break the color barrier for future generations serving in the U.S. military.
Nate served honorably until 1948, when he began attending Bates on the GI Bill. After graduating in 1952, he attended Boston University law school and went on to practice for more than 35 years in Hackensack, N.J. In 2012, Nate and 419 of his fellow Montford Point Marines were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal at the nation’s Capitol.
In retirement, he and his wife, Harriet Howell Boone, also of the Class of 1952, relocated to Manchester, Vermont, where Nate served on the boards of civic organizations, helped to establish nonprofits, delivered meals for the local food cupboard, and counseled prisoners at the Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility.
He also devoted himself to Bates over the years. His lengthy career includes service on the Board of Trustees, the Alumni Council, the College Key, his Reunion Gift Committee, and service as a Class Agent. He and Harriet are also proud Bates parents of Daryl Boone, Class of 1982.
Nate, thank you for your courage and heroism, as well as your long dedication to the Bates values of service and civic responsibility. It is my great privilege to present you with the Bates Alumni Community Service Award.
Sylvia, your more than 55 years of community, health, and educational development work have improved the lives of thousands of people in Watertown, New York, and throughout the Empire State. With a career that long, I doubt I can recount everything you have accomplished in service to others, but here are some highlights that speak to your passion for your fellow citizens and their well-being.
After graduating from Bates with with a degree in sociology and membership in Phi Beta Kappa, Sylvia, her husband, Dr. Walker Heap, also of the Class of 1950, and their two children moved to Watertown. This would prove to be a stroke of good fortune for a local citizens committee eager to host a community college. Barely settled, Sylvia asked the committee chair, “Is there anything I can do to help?” She was soon meeting her new Watertown neighbors one-by-one as she went door-to-door, stumping for support. She undertook letter-writing campaigns and met with organized labor and civic groups — all in an effort to launch what would become Jefferson Community College, which this year turns 56. JCC wisely asked Sylvia to chair its Advisory Board of Continuing Education, a position she held for 30 years.
As chair, she organized a task force to study the need for continuing education programming, resulting in JCC’s development of bachelor’s programs in nursing, business, and public management, as well as a master’s in adult education. To expand access and opportunity, she and the committee organized child care and city transportation for JCC students.
In the midst of it all, while working on a master’s in education at Syracuse, Sylvia also organized and produced a series of short television segments about osteoporosis for a local CBS affiliate and a series of continuing education programs for Jefferson County physicians, with professors of nutrition from Tufts and Syracuse.
She has been named Watertown Citizen of the Year for her service to JCC, the American Association of University Women, the Watertown Lyric Theater, and public television station WPBS, among other organizations.
The values of service and civic responsibility are fundamental to the Bates education. Sylvia, in countless ways, you have exemplified these values in your service to the people of greater Watertown, New York. We have no doubt that your parents, the late Helen Hill Stuber of the Bates Class of 1925 and Stanley I. Stuber of the Bates Class of 1926, took great pride in your accomplishments — as does the entire Bates community.
Congratulations on winning the 2016 Alumni Community Service Award!