Bates Reunion 2001

As it turns out, you can get here from here

A little before 7 a.m. on Friday, June 15, a flatbed truck approached the Route One bridge spanning the Kennebec River in Bath. The truck bumped over the approach and scattered its load of concrete barriers like so many Lincoln Logs.

Southbound traffic from Woolwich sat for an hour before being rerouted through historic downtown Bath. Andy Stabnick ’91, heading to Lewiston for his 10th Reunion (and a 10 a.m. tee time with classmate Greg Hite, Jamie Kircaldie ’87, and recent grad Nick Bournakel ’01), was part of the armada snaking past the concrete carnage.

“And then I’m rounding all those curves outside Lewiston, and I get stuck behind a big John Deere tractor,” Stabnick said. “I was thinking how I’d tell everyone I hit all the traffic you can find in Maine.”

Stabnick, who was visiting in-laws with his wife, Paula Shea Stabnick ’91, in Wiscasset before coming up to Bates, didn’t travel the furthest to attend Reunion. (That honor went to Dennis Okeke ’51 from Nigeria, who traveled more than 5,400 miles.) Yet those of us who see the annual arrival of Bates alumni know the slightly dazed look on the faces of Reunion alumni coming from far and near — on the faces of families unpacking kids and strollers from Subaru station wagons, or on the faces of 50th or 60th Reunion alumni, who often walk the Quad with deliberate steps, as if retracing some unseen (to us) path of Walter Murray dance steps.

The slight disorientation can be explained. How many 1991 alumni, who arrived with more than 20 children (1985 alumni brought 35 kids), ever imagined they would watch their toddler crawl around the well-worn carpets of Rand Hall?

But soon, classmates discover new expressions of themselves, and they like what they see. In software vernacular, call it Class of 1991, version 10.1. Andy and Paula Stabnick, who live in Connecticut, have two children, Cole (1) and Aidan (5), and as they hung out with classmates, “we could sense the implicit bond and understanding among everyone. You hearken back, and you like to think you haven’t changed, but you see your friends and all your families, you realize you’re all growing up.”

Stabnick, after that you-can’t-get-there-from-here trip from the coast, joined up with his Reunion foursome a little late on Friday, arriving on the second hole at Fairlawn golf course. After a quick greeting from Greg Hite, whom he hadn’t seen in five years (“Hey Stabs!”), and introductions from Kircaldie and Bournakel, Stabnick grabbed a 3 iron, teed up his ball, and gave a quick look down the par-3 fairway. The swing suggested a guy who’d fought traffic for three hours. But the smile suggested it was, indeed, good to be back.

2001 File

Trustee Ballot 2002: The Alumni Council announced four Alumni Trustee nominees for the 2002 ballot: Henry J. Keigwin ’59, William A. Young III ’64, King Khin Gyi ’75, and Michael W. Bonney ’80.

Bates Club Honors: Club of the Year honors for 2000-01 went to the Northern California Bates Club, while the club attendance award went to the Boston Bates Club. Just hours before the Reunion Awards Ceremony, the international spirit of the Bates Club offings was noted, as the Japan Bates Club had welcomed professors Atsuko Hirai and David Kolb, with 60 people attending.

Hit Parade: The Class of ’65 won the parade costume award. The Trophy Cup (smaller-class attendance) went to the Class of 1951, with 51 members attending. The College Key Award (medium-size class attending) went to the Class of ’76 with 49 members attending. The Alumni Association Cup (large-class attendance) went to the Class of 1991, with 57 members attending.

Alumni Awards: The Distinguished Young Alumni Service Award went to Sally Ehrenfried ’89. A Lewiston native, Ehrenfried has worked on Capitol Hill since graduation and serves as the personal assistant to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Every Thursday, Ehrenfried commits the afternoon as a reading tutor with Everybody Wins! <>, a D.C.-based mentoring program. She has also served as a career services volunteer, as the D.C. Alumni-in-Admissions coordinator, on the D.C. Bates Club steering committee, and has made a commitment to Bates as part of her planned giving.

The Alumni Community Service Award was presented to Stacey Kabat ’85. Kabat once said she found “some amazing human rights activists” at Bates. After Bates, she became one herself. Kabat, who won the Academy Award for the documentary Defending Our Lives, about the horrific choices made by abused women, has spent the last 15 years working with battered women and for human rights. Receiving worldwide recognition for her work, she won the Reebok International Human Rights Award in 1992 and used the $25,000 prize to found Peace at Home, devoted to stopping domestic violence. She recently received the Clara Barton Award of the American Red Cross for “embodying the spirit of outstanding dedication to easing human suffering.”

Dick and Norma Crooks Coughlin ’53,’51 won the Helen A. Papaioanou ’49 Distinguished Alumni Service Award. The Coughlins have served in nearly every volunteer capacity for Bates. A Trustee since 1984, Dick has given thousands more hours as the sensible and persistent voice in the development of College master plans and the design of landmark Bates buildings, including the Residential Village (1993), Underhill Arena (1995), and Pettengill Hall (1999). The Coughlins’ generosity to Bates has set a personal example that allows them also to be highly effective volunteer fundraisers. In 1987, they established the Richard F. Coughlin and Norma Crooks Coughlin Scholarship Fund, to benefit needy and deserving students.

The College Key, Bates’ alumni service and honor society, gave its Distinguished Service Award to Gene Clough, who joined the Bates faculty in 1978. Renowned for his seemingly bottomless reservoir of devotion to students and alumni needs — offering his home for families to stay at graduation; pulling all-nighters at Reunion; cooking a Thanksgiving feast (where everything, even the applesauce, is made from scratch) for students in his first-year seminar; teaching himself Swedish, then teaching a course in it; helping a student pull coax cable through underground conduits in the early days of BCTV. Stu Abelson ’97, president of the College Key, praised Clough for being “what Bates is all about: passion for living, passion for learning, passion for giving back to the community.”

Complete alumni award citations can be found at

Thanks for Reaching Out

Mama-Oye Anoff-Ntow ’91, who came to Bates from Ghana, visited Bill Hiss ’66 in the Alumni House recently, and noticed the kente bookmark Hiss was using. Hiss and Anoff-Ntow talked about the history of kente, a West African cloth dating back hundreds of years, which carries great cultural significance and is often used for special, exalted occasions.

From such chance discussions come good ideas: Anoff-Ntow asked her family in Ghana to send her a traditional kente stole, which she presented to the Alumni Relations Office. At Reunion a few weeks later, Hiss draped the stole around the sturdy shoulders of Nlogha E. (“Dennis”) Okeke ’51 of Nigeria (see profile in Class Notes), who had traveled some 5,400 miles to attend his 50th Reunion.

The stole, Hiss told the Reunion awards ceremony crowd, “honors the person having traveled the farthest at each Reunion and recognizes the College’s worldwide commitment in the recruitment of students, in its faculty and student research, and in its outreach with alumni.”

Said Anoff-Ntow: “It is a nice gesture, to thank Bates for reaching out.”

Benjamin Elijah Mays Award

The Beautiful John Kenney

At Reunion, Dr. John A. Kenney ’42 received the highest honor Bates alumni can bestow: the Benjamin Elijah Mays Award, presented on occasions when the College wishes to honor an alumnus or alumna who has made extraordinary contributions to America and to worldwide society.

Born in Tuskegee, Ala. — where his father was physician to Booker T. Washington and George Carver — “Jack” Kenney earned his medical degree from Howard University School of Medicine in 1945. Several years later, he left a lucrative private practice in Cleveland to begin an academic career back at Howard University, dedicating himself to the advancement of black physicians in dermatology.

Kenney arrived to find Howard run-down and seriously underfunded. It took a year to get his own phone line. Yet during his many years as chairman of dermatology at Howard, Kenney achieved all of his major goals: establishment of a full dermatology department, a three-year residency program, and a dermatologic research laboratory. He maintained an active medical practice in dermatology and became the nation’s leading research physician in black dermatology, winning the Gold Medal from the American Academy of Dermatology, the highest award in his profession.

Kenney — whose late brother,
John ’40, also became a physician — received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Bates in 1988 and is a Trustee emeritus of the College.

Now 86, Kenney practiced medicine two half days a week until a few years ago. His medical partner, a woman who was his patient as a child, praised his “ability to always find the good in every situation and every person. He is just a beautiful person. He’s a gentleman and he’s genuine.”

His colleagues and students have described him with words that speak to his effect on thousands who have known him: “An example of the Hippocratic Oath, the highest standards associated with being a role model, steadfast, a real teacher, authoritative yet compassionate,” and a word seldom heard these days in describing an individual: “noble.”