News Archive 2009-2018

Profile: Richard Bail ’64 (Bowdoin Magazine) Archives

Dick Bail '64. Illustration by Chelee Ross '12.

This profile originally appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of Bowdoin magazine.

Bowdoin major: Physics

Hometown: Whitman, Mass.

Title: Founder and President of Communities Without Borders; primary-care practitioner at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates and Brockton Neighborhood Health Center


First time traveling to Africa: 1987, traveling with my mentor Dr. Julius Richmond and a delegation of health experts from the Soviet Union. Two years later, while working way off the beaten path in Mbuji Mayi, Zaire, I decided with a group of Congolese health workers that education is the most fundamental issue for development.

Most rewarding part of job: Meeting and talking with the children [we serve], and giving them awards when they pass their exams.

Greatest impact: Motivating groups of people to help children halfway around the world.

Why the focus on Zambia: I had an intense visit in 1999 that enabled me to meet and appreciate a number of Zambian health professionals who I thought were doing excellent work. I also got to know a lot of grassroots organizations. I now visit the country for two to three weeks each year.

Most surprising for a new visitor to Zambia: Hopeful, positive attitude in the face of dire poverty; the giving spirit of the people.

Favorite time of the week: Sunset times with my wife. Just very peaceful.
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Music I couldn’t imagine never hearing: Bach’s Cello Suites; Dvorak, New World Symphony; Beethoven, Piano Sonatas.

Favorite piece of furniture: Easy chair, for reading.

On my nightstand: Collection of poems by Naomi Shihab Nye.