The McKeen Center’s annual awards ceremony, which every year recognizes a few Bowdoin community members for their volunteer efforts, was extra special this year.
The final award that President Barry Mills presented at the ceremony, which was held last week to honor campus members for their commitment to the community, was for Leslie Shaw, a beloved faculty member who is missed.
John Cross ’76 received the award on behalf of his late wife, who passed away unexpectedly last August. Shaw taught anthropology at Bowdoin for 14 years and contributed greatly to the Native American culture on campus.
“This award allows us to remember Leslie and remind us how important she’s been to our community,” Mills said. “She’s a hard person to even think about finding someone to step into her shoes.” As he described her achievements, Mills said, “Through her example, passion and commitment, Leslie advanced our appreciation for native communities in Maine and beyond, and she left an enduring legacy in the new generation of field archaeologists she inspired to advance knowledge for the common good.”
The McKeen Center gave Shaw its Faculty Award for Public Engagement, citing her work as a scholar, teacher, field archaeologist and liaison for Native American Affairs at Bowdoin. Among her contributions to Bowdoin, Shaw led an annual spring break trip for students and faculty to tribal and community schools in Maine, and organized the yearly Wabanaki Arts Festival at Bowdoin. Mills called her “a fervent advocate for increasing … educational opportunities for Native American students.”
Besides Shaw, the McKeen Center’s Awards Ceremony for Community Engagement and Commitment to the Common Good honored five students and two staff members, as well as one community member. Their work is “a manifestation of President Joseph McKeen’s call in his inaugural address at the opening of the College over two hundred years ago,” according to the McKeen Center.
Mills said the McKeen Center and all the people at Bowdoin who contribute to the common good is a fundamental part of the College. “We understand the value of the common good, and we understand the values behind what we do,” he said.
Both Micah Ludwig ’13 and Michele Ober received the Bowdoin Spirit of Service Award, which is given to a Bowdoin senior and a community member who improve the lives of others through service, “their actions speaking strongly, while they remain humbly quiet.” Ludwig has been an integral member of many McKeen Center programs, including Common Good Day, the Common Good Grant, the Global Citizens Grant, and most recently as the leader of the Wabanaki Alternative Spring Break trip. Ober is the volunteer and family selection coordinator for Habitat for Humanity/7 Rivers Maine, helping the Habitat’s mission to provide homes for low-income families. She works closely with Bowdoin’s Habitat for Humanity campus chapter organization and is also an enthusiastic volunteer with many organizations in her own community.
Matt Frongillo ’13 received The Lydia Bell Award for Initiative in Public Service in honor of his lengthy list of community accomplishments, which includes changing the campus culture around sexual assault and healthy relationships. Frongillo more than doubled the number of men active in Safe Space and has been a leader of the Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention, according to the McKeen Center
Mills presented Shana Stewart Deeds, a lab instructor in biology and environmental studies, with one of two awards the McKeen Center gives to Bowdoin staff. “In addition to her excellent work teaching students, Shana has been working to achieve Wild and Scenic River designation for the Upper Missisquoi and Trout Rivers in Vermont,” Mills said, “thereby qualifying them for federal funds for conservation and management in order to protect the outstanding values of the rivers.”
Timothy Diehl, director of Career Planning at Bowdoin, also received a staff award for his “instrumental role in bringing marriage equality to Maine, the first state whose citizens voted to do so,” Mill said. Diehl is board president for EqualityMaine. “He was an eloquent spokesperson for equality and his efforts were not confined to fundraising for the organization and the cause. He lobbied important decision-makers; he canvassed door-to-door in northern and southern Maine; and he educated people about the issue.”
Sasha Davis ’13, was selected for the Maine Campus Compact Student PILLARS Award. During her time at Bowdoin, Davis participated in and led Alternative Spring Break trip to West Virginia and also mentored many children, often through art. As a senior, she designed a full curriculum for fellow mentors in the Bowdoin student group, Fostering Female Leadership in Youth, and also supported all Bowdoin mentors as a McKeen Fellow.
Juan Del Toro ’13 won the Henni Friedlander Student Prize, which was established in honor of Henni Friedlander who survived Nazi Germany to immigrate to the United States, where she was an inspiring example of how the joy of life, rather than hatred and bitterness, can lift the human spirit and enable us as a society to promote the common good, according to the McKeen Center. Del Toro was a participant on an Alternative Spring Break trip to Safe Passage in Guatemala, and was a passionate advocate as an active OUTPeer panelist and OUTAlly, an organizer of Anything But Straight in Athletics and Proud of My Whole Self.
Erin St. Peter ’13 won the General R. H. Dunlap Prize for the best essay on the subject of service, as well as being dedicated to service herself. St. Peter led an Alternative Spring Break trip in her sophomore year and was the McKeen Fellow for the ASB program as a junior. She connected with the immigrant and refugee communities of Portland through her leadership of the Portland Housing Authority volunteers and through an Alternative Winter Break trip. She introduced first-year students to Maine by coordinating Community Immersion Orientation Trips, and she developed educational service opportunities with Native American communities, including an Alternative Spring Break trip to the Passamaquoddy community of Pleasant Point this year.