Distinguished Young Alumni Award
Established in 1987, the Distinguished Young Alumni Award is presented to a young graduate (usually not more than 15 years out) for exceptional volunteer service to Bates and distinction in his or her career.
This award was presented to Sangita Murali ’12 in 2020 during Bates Virtual Reunion.
Sangita is an exemplar of Bates values of community service and civic engagement. During her time at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, she was incredibly active in organizations like American Association of Women Dentists, where she partnered with local group Science Club for Girls to encourage and support girls from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue STEM and STEM-focused careers. She also did community service work—offering free screenings and basic care information at events like India Day—through the Indian Medical Association of New England, all while completing her studies, working in the Tufts dental clinic, and receiving multiple awards for her research. At Bates, Dr. Murali was co-president of her senior class, and was instrumental in the success of the Class of 2012’s fifth reunion in 2017.
Her nominator, Erin Crowley, had this to say: “I was absolutely blown away while [recently] speaking with Sangita about her research and volunteer activities. She does so much and cares so much. She is an absolute inspiration to us all.”
This award was presented to Meredith G. Traquina ’13 in 2019 by Sarah R. Pearson ’75 during Boston Bates Business Network: Research, Biotech, and Pharma event.
Since her graduation in 2013, Meredith has been an exceptional volunteer leader for Bates. Through this vital work, she has shown her commitment to the college, to her fellow alumni, and to Bates’ values of service.
For two years, she has served as the Boston leader for Bates Days of Service, planning and executing two successful events which brought together Bates alums from across greater Boston in support of the Greater Boston Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity.
Meredith has also volunteered with the Boston Business Network and made such an immediate impact that she was quickly elected Chair of the Steering Committee. In this role, she has helped connect Bates alumni in the Boston area through a wide range of compelling programs—often demonstrating her commitment to bring together alumni and parent speakers from across generations and areas of expertise. In one well-attended example, a program on “Innovations in Philanthropy” brought together panelists from her employer, City Year Boston, and other area alumni working in leading nonprofits.
In her career and her volunteer work, Meredith is always looking to make an impact. Through the job shadow program at the Center for Purposeful Work, she has given current Bates students valuable insight into her work as the Senior Corporate and Foundations Partnerships Manager for City Year. Through her service as an Advisory Board member at EPIC (Empowering People for Inclusive Communities), she has leveraged her experiences in corporate sponsorships and grant writing to help ensure the non-profit’s fiscal success.
Meredith, your willingness to roll up your sleeves to serve your alma mater is a testament to your exceptional leadership skills and deep commitment to the college. You are an example for other young alums, modeling that it is possible to build a meaningful career and at the same time demonstrate commitment to our communities. For your extraordinary service to Bates and to the youth of greater Boston, we are pleased to present you with the Distinguished Young Alumni Award.
This award was presented to Zak Ray ’07 in 2018 during Back to Bates: Homecoming and Family Weekend.
Zak Ray ’07
A men’s basketball player during his time at Bates, Zak Ray has long understood the transformative power of teamwork. While on campus he participated in basketball clinics for local youth, using the sport to impart lessons that extended beyond the basketball court.
In 2014, Zak co-founded New Day Academy, a non-profit organization that serves young men who hail from low-income neighborhoods in Boston. New Day’s mission is to leverage its members’ interest in basketball to inspire personal, academic, and professional development. Over 80% of New Day members live without a parent or in a single parent household, and many face issues of food insecurity and gun violence on a daily basis. Zak leads a team of several volunteers who spend time guiding members in the right direction.
The impact Zak has had on the lives of these young men is profound. Members who’ve previously struggled academically and were unlikely to have completed high school have moved on to preparatory and post-secondary educational institutions. Through the New Day program, Zak has empowered scores of youth to rewrite their own stories, and has given them tools and opportunities that will help them excel in life.
Zak’s passion and commitment to helping others is a source of great pride for the entire Bates community. On behalf of the Alumni Association, it is my honor to present the 2018 Distinguished Young Alumni Award to Zak Ray, Class of 2007.
On June 11, 2016, President A. Clayton Spencer presented the award to Bradley McGraw ’10.
Since graduating magna cum laude with a degree in economics, Bradley has never failed to make time for Bates or to encourage other New York City-based young alumni to volunteer for the college. His own lengthy record of service includes ongoing work as a BCDC Career Advisor to help current students and other young alumni find their paths. He has also been a highly engaged member of the New York City Signature Event Host Committee, his Reunion Committee, and his Reunion Gift Committee, which led successful fundraising efforts for his 5th Reunion just last year.
With keen analytical and strategic management skills honed at Bates and at Columbia Business School — where he recently completed his MBA — Bradley moved from theory to practice in his invaluable service to the Bates Fund Executive Committee. As a result, the college has been able to implement new and successful ways to encourage alumni participation in the Bates Fund.
We wish you well in your new position at LinkedIN, Bradley. With your passion for staying connected with Bates alumni, we cannot imagine a better place for you to work!
Bradley, your devotion to the college and your innovative guidance have enhanced our efforts to engage young Bates alumni. For giving so generously of your time, your many talents, and your expertise to Bates, it is my great honor to present to you with the 2016 Distinguished Young Alumni Award.
On June 13, 2015, Michael Lieber ’92, president of the Alumni Association, presented the award to Emma Sprague ’10.
One of the most remarkable things about Emma is the passion she devotes to Bobcats of the Last Decade — or BOLD alumni, as we call younger alumni.
In partnership with fellow volunteers Emma developed the BOLD Regional Coordinator Program that helps organize Bates in the City programming to welcome the newest classes of alumni to their host cities.
Emma graduated cum laude with a B.A. in art and visual culture and a minor in economics. Since Bates, she has found purposeful work as an emerging leader in the field of media training and communications. A founding partner of the Franklin Forum in Washington, D.C., a firm that provides media training and support for progressive messengers and messaging, she serves as associate director of outreach and engagement while also consulting with the firm KNP Communications.
She is a member of the Alumni Council and has served as a Bates Fund class agent, helping young alumni develop their own philanthropic relationship with the college. In 2012, she became a member of the Mount David Society by making a leadership-level gift — and we are grateful she continues to do so.
Emma, you give so generously of your time, your many talents, and your expertise to Bates. Your passion and hard work have built a firm foundation for our efforts to engage young Bates alumni. For your service, I am honored to present to you with the 2015 Distinguished Young Alumni Award.