Sesquicentennial Award

Established in 2005 in honor of the college’s 150th anniversary, the Sesquicentennial Award is presented to an alumna/us for a single academic, artistic, or scientific achievement.


+Amy Bass ’92

Amy Bass ’92 is a professor and journalist whose fourth book, One Goal, about the transformation of Lewiston, Maine told through the lens of its high school soccer team’s quest for a state championship, has won national acclaim from the likes of Sports Illustrated, NPR, the Today Show, and The Wall Street Journal. Named a “Best Book” of 2018 by both the Boston Globe and Library Journal, Netflix has optioned it for a film adaptation.    

In this book, Emmy-award-winning writer Bass draws on vast knowledge and research, from her familiarity with Lewiston and the changes brought about by the influx of Somali refugees to her Ph.D. in history with an emphasis on sports, race, and culture, to tell a very American and very Maine story. According to her sister Elissa Bass (Class of ’85), Amy was able to tell this particular story because of her commitment and ability “to embed herself in Lewiston’s Somali community, Lewiston’s schools, Lewiston’s community groups.”  

Mike McGraw, the Lewiston soccer coach at the heart of One Goal, once described Bass as a “bulldog for detail,” saying that her obvious investment in the players is what allowed her to tell the story that she did: “[It] didn’t take long before [the] kids accepted her,” he said. “It had nothing to do with the game. She really liked those kids. That’s how she got into their heads. They knew she cared about them.”

Since One Goal’s publication in 2018, Bass has continued to advocate for the community at the heart of it, talking with universities, book groups, libraries, and other organizations across the country, from the Key West Literary Seminar to the Maine AHPERD Conference. During a “very difficult political moment,” Bass “has stayed close with the people in its pages, supported the community, and fought hard to make sure that America understands how lucky it is to have such a diverse community.”

+Emily S. Buchanan ’89

In 2019, the award was presented to Emily S. Buchanan ’89 by Jen Crawford ’01, vice president of the Alumni Association, during Reunion Weekend.

Emily Buchanan, one of America’s premiere landscape artists, credits her grandmother, Eloise Gardner, for introducing her to painting as a child. After growing up in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts, she did her formal training at Lyme Academy, the National Academy of Art, the Art Student’s League and with the Boston atelier of Paul Ingbretson. Complementing that training has been her willingness to work hard, which she attributes to her Bates education. In an interview for Bates, she remarked: “my greatest asset as a painter is that I’ve worked hard and consistently at it over the years. If I hadn’t had the experience at Bates, I’m not sure that I would have had the maturity to pursue my art as I have.”

Emily is best known for her plein-air paintings, a style dating back to the 19th century and reminiscent of the American Hudson River Schools and one of her favorite artists, John Singer Sargent. She paints mostly outdoors and has traveled all over the world to capture beautiful vistas of lakes, rivers, mountains, and beaches. As one art critic writes about her work: “She is one of those rare breed of artists who truly speak in a visual language taken directly from life.”  Painting outdoors and in the moment allows her to “capture the nuances of color and light that present themselves.”

For many years, Emily has been involved with a U.S. Department of State initiative called the Art in Embassies program, which places artwork in embassies around the world. It was through this connection that she was commissioned to paint the White House annual Christmas card in 2014 for the Obama family. She and her family were invited to the White House Christmas Party and traveled from their home in Connecticut to Washington to view the painting and enjoy the festivities.

Emily is represented by galleries in New York, Connecticut and Nantucket and has been commissioned by many notable people. A beautiful landscape of Costa Rica was purchased by the Bates College Museum of Art and hangs prominently in the Lane Hall office of President Clayton Spencer. Emily Buchanan, The Alumni Association and Bates College is proud to recognize your exceptional artistic talent and achievement with the 2019 Sesquicentennial Prize.

+Louis Weinstein '68

In 2018, the award was presented to Louis Weinstein ’68 by Lisa Romeo ’88, president of the Alumni Association, during Reunion Weekend.

It is my great privilege to present this year’s Sesquicentennial Award to Louis Weinstein of the Class of 1968.

This award was established in 2005 in honor of the college’s 150th anniversary, and is conferred annually to an alumnus or alumna for a single outstanding academic, artistic, or in the case of this year’s recipient, scientific achievement.

Louis’s remarkable work resulting in the discovery of a severe form of preeclampsia has been cited as one of the 10 most important publications in the field of obstetrics in the 20th century. He was a young doctor serving his fellowship in 1979 when Louis experienced his first pre-natal maternal death of a patient — an experience that would alter the course of his career. His 21-year-old patient had died of an unrecognizable disease at 25 weeks gestation. Guided by the methods of scientific inquiry he learned at Bates, Louis sought to explore this often missed or misdiagnosed ailment. He spent the next two years studying similar cases and providing medical care to women exhibiting related symptoms.

This work resulted in the discovery of the HELLP syndrome in 1982, named by Louis for its symptoms of hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets. HELLP is now recognized worldwide as one of the most serious complications of pregnancy, and Louis’s original publication of his findings has been cited over 6,000 times in medical literature.

His work has saved, and will continue to save, the lives of countless women. And while this particular achievement may be a highlight of Louis Weinstein’s career, we also acknowledge the many years of medical care he has provided to women all over the country. His lifelong commitment to helping others is a source of great pride for the Bates community.

On behalf of the Alumni Association and the college, it is my honor to present Louis Weinstein with the
2018 Sesquicentennial Award.

+Lisa Genova ’92

In 2015, the award was presented to Lisa Genova ’92 by Lisa Romeo ’88, then-vice president of the Alumni Association, on Wednesday, September 30, at a Boston Bates Business Network event.

It is my great privilege to present this year’s Sesquicentennial Award to Lisa Genova of the Bates Class of 1992.

As you well know, this award, established in 2005 in honor of the college’s 150th anniversary, is conferred in recognition of “a single academic, artistic, or scientific achievement by an alumna or alumnus.”

In the case of Lisa and her New York Times bestselling novel Still Alice, we recognize all three achievements: the academic, the artistic, and the scientific.

When Lisa wrote Still Alice, she had already achieved a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard and had watched her grandmother succumb to Alzheimer’s. In true Bates life-learner fashion, she questioned what her grandmother had experienced during the early stages of her battle with the disease. As a neuroscientist specializing in neurodegenerative diseases, she undertook Still Alice guided by compassion and scientific inquiry — the latter honed at Bates, where she conducted research with Professor John Kelsey for a thesis that received high honors.

Still Alice and the Academy Award-winning film it inspired have changed the global conversation about Alzheimer’s. Rarely has an author so compellingly woven fictional narrative and science to open hearts and minds about an urgent matter of public health and public policy.

Lisa, you are to be commended for having the courage and vision to bring Still Alice to life. Through your work, you bring honor to Bates and life-changing insight to the world.

On behalf of the Alumni Association and the college, it is my honor present you with the 2015 Sesquicentennial Award.