St. Paul, Minn. – They are a former NY/NJ Port Authority executive director, a national expert on abuse, a football coach, an actor and mentor, and an advocate at the Special Court in Sierra Leone.  But one thing they all have in common is that they are all Macalester alumni who will be honored in June during reunion weekend.

“Through their chosen professions, Macalester’s alumni give back to their communities whether they live in St. Paul or in Sierra Leone,” said Alumni Relations Director Gabrielle Lawrence ‘73.  “The alumni we’re recognizing at reunion are representative of many of their classmates whose work is a continuation of the knowledge they gained and the lessons they learned while students at Macalester.” 

Here are the eight awardees:

Peter C. Andersen ’77, Freetown, Sierra Leone, Charles J. Turck Global Citizen Award which recognizes an alumnus who has advanced the cause of the internationalist spirit by providing inspirational leadership and promoting global understanding, peace and justice. The award honors former Macalester President Charles J. Turck who championed internationalism.  Peter C. Andersen has come a long way from Maple Plain, Minn. – both figuratively and literally. And Macalester, he says, was the catalyst for that.  “It was the curriculum, the exposure to fellow students from many countries, and the opportunity to study abroad,” that set him off on this path, he says.  Almost a decade ago, Andersen moved back to Sierra Leone, a country he’d grown to love while serving there in the Peace Corps in the late ’70s and early ’80s working within the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Since 2003 he has been working for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, an international criminal tribunal charged with trying those who committed atrocities against civilians during the country’s civil war. What is Andersen proudest of? “When the people of Sierra Leone were in desperate circumstances, I did everything I could to help them, and to make sure that the world could not turn its back on them.”

Carolina Duarte Bradpiece ’86, St. Paul, Minn., Catharine Lealtad Service to Society Award which is given to an alumnus or alumna of color who has used his or her education to distinguish themselves in service to community.  When you come to college at 17, a recent immigrant fleeing a splintering country, that college truly becomes your home. So it was for Carolina Duarte, who arrived at Macalester in the fall of 1982, just five months after she’d abruptly left El Salvador following a kidnapping attempt on her brother. Not long after graduating, Bradpiece moved to New York to teach organizational development and leadership at Buffalo State College’s Center for Development of Human Services. Soon her work was recognized by the Girl Scouts of America’s national office, which hired her to work with the leadership of 60 councils nationwide in planning, program development, membership, and governance.  A few years later she was recruited by Big Brothers Big Sisters to become president and CEO of the Los Angeles affiliate. But she missed Minnesota and moved back in 2006, becoming director of community giving with the St. Paul Foundation. Then, she became president and CEO of the Community Action Partnership Agency of Scott, Carver, and Dakota counties, a $20 million, 200-employee organization serving 50,000 people annually.  “Mac was the cradle that allowed me to find out what matters to me,” she said. “It’s where I grew up.”

Jane Bowman Holzer ’02, St. Paul, Minn.,Young Alumni Award which recognizes an alumnus who has graduated within the past 15 years and demonstrated outstanding involvement and achievement in their post-graduate education, community contributions, career advancement and their service to Macalester.  Growing up as the daughter of an attorney, Jane Bowman Holzer enrolled at Macalester without any intention to follow in her dad’s footsteps. “My experience at Mac taught me the importance of being part of a greater community, working with others, and coming up with creative solutions,” said Holzer. What she didn’t expect was that this approach would steer her straight to law. After graduating from William Mitchell College of Law, Holzer joined the St. Paul-based Housing Preservation Project (HPP), a nonprofit law firm that represents homeowners in foreclosure. Now a supervising attorney at HPP, her work champions the rights of homeowners as Minnesota families face the aftermath of predatory lending schemes. The first case Holzer ever filed, on behalf of a woman who stood to lose her home after an equity stripping scam, went to trial – a rare experience for a young attorney.  The court ruled in her favor, awarding Holzer’s client the house, setting a precedent.  Outside the office, she is on the board of Project 515, a nonprofit legislative group that advocates on behalf of same-sex couples and is also involved with Minnesotans United for All Families. Back at Macalester, she’s a regular panelist for the “Out in the Workplace” series. Her brother, Jay Bowman ’07, nominated her for this award writing, “Jane makes the world a better place on a daily basis.”

Molly McGinnis Stine ’87, Chicago, Ill., Alumni Service Award which recognizes an alumnus whose significant service and consistent loyalty to the college has set an outstanding example of volunteerism. Nominations for this award are made by Macalester staff. It’s impossible to calculate the impact Molly McGinnis Stine has had on Macalester, dating back to when she joined her senior class gift committee before she even got her diploma. Her most recent service includes being an Annual Fund class volunteer and part of the Grand Society and 25th Reunion planning committees. She has also provided crucial leadership as Alumni Board president and as a member of the Board of Trustees.  “Molly is an outstanding volunteer, a generous supporter, and an enthusiastic ambassador for Macalester,” said director of alumni relations Gabrielle Lawrence ’73.  Stine visited Mac for high school debate tournaments but arrived as a student with firm intentions to stay away from debate. “Then I met Dr. [Scott] Nobles,” she says, crediting the influential speech communication professor with encouraging her to return to debate. By the time she graduated, Stine and her partner held two national titles. She later co-chaired the fundraising effort to honor her mentor by endowing a scholarship in Nobles’ name.  After graduation, Stine attended law school at the University of Michigan and later practiced law in Chicago. That’s where she began volunteering at events to connect alumni in that city. She cites “meeting so many great alumni from around the world” as one of the best things about being engaged at Macalester.  “I owe so much to the college, and I can’t imagine not being involved,” Stine said.

The following will receive the Distinguished Citizen Award, which recognizes alumni who have exercised leadership in civic, social, religious and professional activities.

Barbara Walling Boat ’62, Glendale, Ohio.  Barbara Walling Boat has always been drawn to forging new territory and exploring unanswered questions.  After Boat completed a PhD in psychology at Case Western Reserve University, she had a professional turning point in the early ’80s when she learned that no normative data was available about children who were exposed to anatomical dolls. She went on to conduct groundbreaking research on the use of anatomical dolls in sexual abuse investigations.  Today Boat is a national expert on child trauma and abuse. Her current research explores relationships among animal cruelty, child abuse, and domestic violence.  She is associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, executive director of The Childhood Trust at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and director of the Program on Childhood Trauma and Maltreatment. “The highlight of my career is at every turn having had such amazing colleagues, she says. “We’re all working to protect voiceless victims.”

Ronald Stolski ’62, Baxter, Minn. Every August, at Brainerd High School in northern Minnesota, head football coach Ron Stolski gathers his athletes and starts the season with two questions: What will you settle for, and how will you be remembered?  Those questions guide the team through each season, and that philosophy has helped Stolski build an exceptional legacy in Minnesota high school athletics. Last fall marked his 50th year as a head coach, including 37 at Brainerd. Stolski has more wins than any other coach in state history, with 337. In 2005, he received the most prestigious high school football coaching honor in the country: the American Football Coaches Association’s Power of Influence Award. But despite all of the honors, achievements, and victories, Stolski’s success is rooted in a foundation that extends beyond the end zone. “I developed that philosophy in the neighborhoods of north Minneapolis and at Macalester, where we learned to need one another and care for one another,” says the former English teacher, who was a quarterback and captain of his Macalester football team. “The unique experience of a team is that, for a brief moment in our lives, together we become one heartbeat.”  For Stolski and his staff, passing those lessons on to their students is just as important as a team’s win-loss record.  “We’ve been able to instill in our kids that we can all settle for our very, very best effort,” he says.  He’ll be back in Brainerd for season number 51.

Chris Ward ’76, New York. N.Y.  On September 11, 2011, thousands of family members gathered at the 9/11 Memorial in New York to remember their lost loved ones on the 10th anniversary of the events. Only three years before, construction at the World Trade Center site had been stalled. Then someone with a talent for forging cooperation and a zeal for public service took over and made things happen, transforming a site of devastation into a beautiful memorial. That someone was Chris Ward.  As executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from 2008 to late 2011, Ward was responsible not only for the World Trade Center site, but for Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, the PATH rail transit system, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal, all critical to the 17 million people who live and work in New York and New Jersey. “Sometimes public service comes down to convincing people to say yes,” he said.  “For whatever reason, I’ve become good at getting people to say yes.” Without probing, you would never know that on September 11 Ward himself was trapped by debris from the North Tower until rescued by firefighters.  He recently turned over the reins of the Port Authority and became executive vice president of a large international construction company.

James A. Williams ’77, Minneapolis, Minn.  James A. Williams has found his calling – twice. As a sophomore, he was recruited by Steve Yoakam ’75 for his senior directing project. This helped launch a brilliant acting career that has taken Williams across the United States and beyond.  “JayyDubb,” as his friends know him, spent five years with the Guthrie Theater and is a founding member of St. Paul’s Penumbra Theatre, one of America’s preeminent African American theaters, recently profiled on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams. It was at Penumbra that Williams first met playwright August Wilson. In 2007, he appeared on Broadway in Wilson’s Radio Golf, originating a role Wilson created for him. Radio Golf was nominated for three Tony Awards, and Williams went on to appear in a celebrated cycle of Wilson plays at the Kennedy Center.  In a second calling, Williams brings the power of theater to disadvantaged youth from South Minneapolis to Nairobi. As director of teen programming at Pillsbury House Theatre, his work includes a program with young men 12 to 17 who are incarcerated in Hennepin County. “JayyDubb’s commitment to helping teenagers find their artistic voice is profound and deeply personal,” says Faye Price ’77, co-artistic producing director at Pillsbury.  “I was a father at 17, living in the projects in St. Louis, a high school dropout,” said Williams, “so I know that anyone can make a change. What Macalester did for me, I try to do for young people. Macalester gave me space to imagine myself in a different way and permission to dream a big dream.”

View past Macalester alumni award winners here:

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,958 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism and civic engagement.  Learn more at

May 22 2012

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