The spirit of educator and abolitionist Horace Mann was alive and well in Keene last week. More than two hundred people attended the Horace Mann Spirit of Service Awards dinner, on September 16, which raised about $15,000 for scholarships at Antioch University New England (AUNE).
Keynote speaker Richard Ober, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, recounted how his father, Nathaniel Ober, a school administrator who died in July, joined Martin Luther King Jr.’s march to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965, and went on to oversee integration of the Minneapolis, Minnesota, public schools and to do community service in retirement.
“My father was the spirit of service and community; it was part of my life in my childhood, just as it is at Antioch,” Richard Ober said. “You are woven into the fabric of this community, and I thank you because I’m a part of this community.”
These awards were presented at the dinner:
- 2011 Alumni Award: Jim Craiglow, ’77, president of the Stonewall Farm board of directors, president of the Monadnock Developmental Services board of directors, and former president of AUNE.
- 2011 Citizen’s Award: Juliana Eades, founder and president of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund.
- 2011 Staff/Faculty Award: Dr. Gargi Roysircar-Sodowsky, founding director of AUNE’s Multicultural Center for Research and Practice, and Disaster Shakti.
Craiglow accepted his award on behalf of all AUNE alumni. “The spirit of service emanates from all corners of Antioch,” he said. “A powerful and distinguishing characteristic of the school is service-learning; it incorporated it early on. It’s our responsibility to keep the fundamental tenets of Mann’s ideals alive.”
One of Eades’ major projects has been a program to help convert manufactured housing parks into cooperatives owned by their residents. There are now nearly one hundred of these cooperatives in the state, eleven of them in Cheshire County. She accepted her award on behalf of those residents and others she meets daily through the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund—”everyday people creating victories for humanity every week,” she said.
In introducing Roysricar-Sodowsky, Abi Abrash Walton, AUNE’s assistant to the president for sustainability/social justice, said that “Gargi is always about effective action—she has positively affected thousands of people around the world.”
Through AUNE’s Disaster Shakti program, Roysricar-Sodowsky and other AUNE faculty and students worked in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. She read a family case study from her disaster counseling in Haiti, which appears in a chapter from her forthcoming book, International Case Studies in Mental Health. The chapter is titled “Disaster counseling: A Haitian family case post-January 12, 2010 earthquake,” (edited by S. Poyrazil & C. Thompson, published by SAGE).
This was AUNE’s first annual Horace Mann Spirit of Service Awards; it will continue, said AUNE President David Caruso. “It’s not just students who work toward these ideals, but faculty, staff, and more than 9,500 alumni combined. It is indeed a formidable force for change.”