Bates to bestow degree on Papaioanou

Bates College trustee and alumna Dr. Helen A. Papaioanou, national chair of the recently completed $59-million Bates Campaign, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree on April 3 as part of the college’s annual Founders Day Convocation.

Joining Papaioanou as an honoree will be Maya Angelou, acclaimed poet and author, who will address the audience during the 11 a.m. program in Merrill Gymnasium. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Bates College.

The convocation marks the 142nd anniversary of Bates’ founding on April 5, 1855.

Dr. Helen A. Papaioanou, a member of the Bates class of 1949, has served as a Bates trustee since 1965 and is retired from a medical career in pediatrics, allergy and immunology. Her life has been characterized by service to others, including her alma mater.

In 1991, Papaioanou was appointed national chair of the five-year, $50 million Bates Campaign –one of the few women to lead a major college or university fund-raising campaign — an effort that yielded the college’s largest fund-raising success ever, with $59.34 million raised through December 1996.

“Helen’s quiet and inspired leadership, unstinting hard work and a deep regard for human values and learning were instrumental to the success of the college’s largest fund-raising effort ever,” said President Donald W. Harward.

During the 1980s, Papaioanou’s enterprise as trustee helped transform the college’s infirmary into a modern health center providing an array of health services for students. “Her efforts on behalf of Bates students have contributed enormously to the quality of life at Bates,” Harward said.

Formerly of Springfield, Mass., Papaioanou is a graduate of Classical High School. She earned her medical degree in 1953 from Boston University and a master of science degree in internal medicine from the University of Michigan in 1968. Papaioanou practiced in Kentucky, Massachusetts and Michigan, and in 1982 left private practice in Grosse Pointe, Mich., to accept the challenge of working with children in Detroit, serving as director of allergy and the allergy/immunology physician training program at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Upon her retirement from the hospital in 1991, she resumed private practice in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and in 1993 was named one of the best doctors in the Detroit metropolitan area by Detroit Monthly magazine. She has also lectured, held teaching appointments and published a range of professional articles.

Angelou is the Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. She remains best known as the author of the autobiographical works I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes and Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey. She wrote and delivered the inspirational poem “On the Pulse of the Morning” at President Clinton’s first inauguration.

View Comments