For her more than 20 years of service and dedication to the College, Marijane Benner Browne, a member of the Class of 1983 and trustee emerita of the College, has been named the recipient of 2012 Alumni Service Award, the highest honor given by the Bowdoin Alumni Council.
The award is presented each year in recognition of an individual’s record of volunteer service to the College.
Browne has dedicated her personal and professional energies to creating opportunities for others at Bowdoin and in the larger community.
“My service to the College was originally inspired by Professor Craig McEwen, who challenged me to recruit students from diverse backgrounds to Bowdoin,” says Browne.
“Little did I know that in accepting that challenge, I would have the chance to play a small part in the extraordinary transformation of the College from the wonderful place which nurtured me as a student to the extraordinary place which today supports an exceptionally talented and diverse student body. But in truth, the real gift has been from the College to me, with my four years as a Bowdoin student being only the beginning of more than 30 years of learning, fellowship and growth. Through my work with the College, I feel incredibly fortunate to have gotten to know Bowdoin alumni, faculty and staff across the generations, all of whom combine a love for the College with a desire to contribute to the common good, and by them, I am inspired to continue that proud tradition.”
A graduate of Miami Palmetto High School in Florida, Browne established an undergraduate record at Bowdoin that foreshadowed a distinguished career: dean’s list student, James Bowdoin Scholar, editor-in-chief of The Bowdoin Orient, violinist in the Bowdoin orchestra, summa cum laude graduate with high honors in English, member of Phi Beta Kappa, and winner of the Leonard A. Pierce Memorial Prize, “given annually to the member of the graduating class who has attained the highest academic average among seniors planning to attend an accredited law school.”
Browne continued to excel at Harvard Law School, where she edited The Harvard Law Review and earned her law degree magna cum laude in 1987.
Browne quickly established herself in the legal profession as a partner and a director of lateral partner recruiting at some of Boston’s most prominent law firms, including Bingham, Dana & Gould (later Bingham McCutcheon), Goodwin Procter, and Ropes & Gray. Browne’s work on the Pro Bono Committee at Bingham Dana & Gould, the Public Service Committee of the Boston Bar Association, and as a director of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation attests to her commitment to ensuring access to legal services for all.
From her earliest days as a Bowdoin alumna, Browne has given generously of her time and efforts to the Bowdoin Alumni Schools Interviewing Committee (BASIC) — as a volunteer, chair from 1988 to 1992, and the first national chair from 1992 to 1994. Her service to BASIC, the Bowdoin Club of Boston, and the Alumni Council led to her election to the College’s Board of Overseers in 1994 and to the Board of Trustees in 1996.
In her 14 years as a trustee, Browne took on major challenges facing the College: the 1996 Self Study Steering Committee, Commission on Residential Life, Reaccreditation Steering Committee and 2000-2001 Presidential Search Committee.
“Browne’s has been an especially strong, clear and consistent voice in the governance of the College on the important issues of diversity, financial aid and student affairs,” says Bowdoin’s Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Randy Shaw.
Through her work as a tutor in the Bowdoin Posse program, Brown has given educational opportunities to students of exceptional potential, but who might be overlooked in the admissions process.
In celebration of the College’s bicentennial celebration, Browne co-founded a career program for eighth graders at the Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
First established in 1932 as the Alumni Achievement Award and renamed the Alumni Service Award in 1953, the award is made annually to the person whose volunteer services to Bowdoin, in the opinion of alumni, as expressed to the Alumni Council, most deserve recognition.
The Alumni Service Award will be presented Saturday, June 2, 2012, during Reunion Convocation.