Robert E. Ives '69


Citation for Robert E. Ives, 1995 Common Good Award recipient.

"Robert Ives, you and your wife Ruth have made a tremendous difference in the lives of many people – whether they be neighbors whose homes need repair, young men and women searching for direction in their lives, persons seeking a warm meal and temporary shelter, parishioners looking for guidance, or the people you encounter each day.  Making your home in Pemaquid, Maine, you have chosen a simple, spiritual life dedicated to helping others.

With deep family ties to Bowdoin and to the ministry, you grew up in Connecticut and Massachusetts.  At Bowdoin, you were a Dean's List student, a varsity athlete, and class president, and also participated in organizations for civil rights and the disadvantaged.  After divinity school at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, you returned to Maine.  You and Ruth began your ministry on Monhegan Island, and later served congregations at Loud's Island, Sheepscot Village, New Harbor and Round Pond.

In 1978, you started the Carpenter's Boatshop in Pemaquid, an original and highly personal approach to Christian ministry which continues today.  At your home in Pemaquid, up to seven apprentices live with your family, share meals, discuss spiritual matters, pray, live simply, and work hard.  With care and compassion you help your apprentices address their problems and gain new skills and inspiration.  You train them to construct beautiful, hand-crafted wooden boats; you involve them in community service; and you help them build a sense of fellowship, teamwork, and self-worth.  You generously devote any surplus from sales of the boats to help the needy.  A beacon for the community, the Boatshop is also a resource for neighbors, a shelter for those in need, and a chapel for weekly worship.

In your work, your home, your calling, and your personal life you exemplify the ideals set forth by President Joseph McKeen.  Bowdoin is proud to honor your exceptional accomplishments and your lifelong dedication to others with the Common Good Award."