The winners of Horace Mann Spirit of Service awards, given by Antioch University New England (AUNE), know all about working selflessly for something larger than themselves. “They have made a difference in others’ lives without wondering what is in it for them,” keynote speaker Molly Kelly, New Hampshire state senator, told the audience at the awards dinner on September 14. The three winners, who exemplify that precept, Charlton MacVeagh, Floyd Nease II, and Shelley Viles, were honored at the event.
MacVeagh, a retired banking industry executive, philanthropist, community volunteer, and AUNE trustee, accepted the Citizen’s Award. “People working together for the community good is the only way to live, even though today it seems like anathema,” he said.
Nease, executive director of the Vermont Association for Mental Health, Addiction, and Recovery who received the Alumni Award, echoed MacVeagh. “Benevolence is no longer acceptable in our society,” he said. “Horace Mann said that ‘Injustice alone can shake down the pillars of the skies, and restore the reign of Chaos and Night.’ At least from where I sit, chaos and night appear to be nearly upon us and unless we stand up against it, it could be upon us for a long time to come.”
Shelley Viles,’92, who was given the Staff/Alumni Award and is director of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and the ASD Certificate program at AUNE, had a personal story to tell. She spent a decade trying to find help for her son, who has Asperger’s Syndrome. The effort spurred her to found AUNE’s ASD program. “I had a vision—that my son would work with professionals that knew what they were doing and were trained,” said Viles. “And now I’m so pleased to see that change. Now our students are out there and are really making a difference in the lives of others. Through them, I feel like I have won my victory for humanity.”
This was the second annual Horace Mann Spirit of Service Awards dinner, which honors individuals who have made a difference in the lives of others and who embody the spirit of Horace Mann, abolitionist, educator, and the first president of Antioch College (1852-1859). Net proceeds from the dinner benefit the AUNE endowed scholarship fund.
Apollinaire William, a Rwandan student in AUNE’s PhD program in environmental studies, told the dinner audience that by supporting scholarships “you are investing in, you are transmitting, your educational genes.
“You can hear from everywhere that people are crying,” William said. Investing in education, “that’s how you bring back the smiles to many people in the world.”
“The AUNE community is a formidable force for change around the world,” said AUNE President David Caruso. “We believe in kindness, generosity, and in giving back to the community—and that is what this evening is all about.”