Plymouth, N.H. –Plymouth State University’s longtime Associate Athletic Director and ski coach Kim Bownes, ’08G, has been named the 2014 Theo Kalikow Award winner for her efforts in advancing women’s issues. Bownes has been an administrator in the Athletics Department since 2008 and served as the men’s and women’s varsity ski coach for 21 years. She is the past recipient of the Eastern Collegiate Ski Conference MacConnell Division Coach of the Year award and the Walter Smith Coaches Award. She earned a bachelor’s from McGill University and a master’s from Plymouth State.
Plymouth State President Sara Jayne Steen presented the award to Bownes at an April 10 ceremony.
“Kim is a fabulous role model,” said PSU President Sara Jayne Steen. “She is someone who has helped female students in the pursuit of excellence in the classroom, and in their respective sports. Her coaching record is legendary, and her involvement with Title IX has helped women athletes. She makes sure Plymouth State University’s athletic program fully supports our students.”
“I would like to thank the many strong, caring leaders on our campus that have helped me recognize the need to advocate for women,” Bownes said. “Although I didn’t grow up with much, I never thought about inequity or prejudice. It never mattered to anyone in my family what your gender was, your race, religion or sexual orientation…people are people and everyone deserves to be treated equally. It’s about people respecting people for who they are and what they can bring to the table.”
The Theo Kalikow Award is named after a former PSU administrator who has been an effective advocate for improving the status of women. The award honors a faculty or staff member who has significantly contributed to the advancement of women’s issues and is presented annually by the PSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW). Theo Kalikow, currently the President of the University of Southern Maine, was in attendance and delivered the keynote address, noting women are often thrust into nurturing roles in life even if they aren’t expecting it, and it takes courage to follow through on that responsibility. She used Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hatches the Egg to illustrate commitment and courage.
“In life you don’t really know what you’re signing up for, but you start doing something, and then your job is to do it the best you can,” Kalikow said. “You just have to persist and be true and carry on the work that is in front of us. Take care of the students and do the important, good things.”
The event also featured the PCSW honoring two other POWA awardees. Tegan Donnelly, ’14, was named the Student POWA (Powerful Outstanding Women’s Advocate), which honors a Plymouth State University student who has significantly contributed to the advancement of women’s issues while a student at PSU. Tegan will graduate next month with a bachelor’s in history; she currently is a legislative intern at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and a volunteer at NARAL Pro-Choice in Concord.
“She has been one to stand up for women, to speak out against sexism and misogyny and to help educate people on women’s issues, and she has done so with tact and respect,” Steen said.
“I’m going to miss Plymouth State. It’s my home,” said Donnelly. “But it’s led me on a career path that I’m going to be passionate about. I think I’m well prepared for what I want to do.”
The POWA Community Member Award winner, Jeannette Bilodeau, ’99, has been involved in domestic violence prevention efforts since her undergraduate years. She currently works for the State of New Hampshire’s Judicial branch, analyzing data in managing and resolving family, criminal, civil, and probate legal matters. Her first job after graduating from Plymouth State was at the local crisis center, Voices Against Violence, where she provided guidance and support for victims and survivors of domestic violence. Jeannette was the recipient of the student POWA award in 1999.
“She is integral to the anti-violence work being done in New Hampshire,” Steen noted. “She has brought her PSU education into the world to make a difference and genuinely create positive change.”
“I’m grateful that I’ve learned how to put my values into practice, be sensitive and humane and caring,” Bilodeau said. “I feel like I make a difference in the larger field of domestic violence. There is a way after college to exercise your passions and enjoy your work.”
The PSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women has been honoring women with the Kalikow award since 1995 and the POWA awards since 1999.
For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU News Services Mgr., or call (603) 535-2775.