Andrew J. Reicher '72   

Citation for Andrew J. Reicher, 1997 Common Good Award recipient.

"Andrew J. Reicher, your vitally important work as an advocate for the right of New York City's low-income people to safe and affordable housing has benefited thousands of the city's residents, providing them not only with shelter, but with the skills required to oversee the operation of their housing cooperatives.

A member of the Class of 1977, you graduated from Bowdoin with honors and earned a master of architecture degree at the University of California at Berkeley.  As a Vista volunteer and consultant in Bronx, New York, from 1974-1976, you provided support in the rehabilitation and management of tenant-run buildings, and directed a program that developed and built community parks and playgrounds associated with those buildings.  After two years in California, spent primarily as a teaching assistant for UC Berkeley's Department of Architecture at the College of Environmental Design and as a project coordinator and director of their Center for Planning and Development Research, you returned to New York to join the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board.

Founded in 1973, UHAB is New York City's "oldest and most respected" non-profit organization dedicated to assisting low-income people in obtaining the basic right to decent and affordable housing.  UHAB embraces a philosophy of self-help and democratic decision-making, and provides technical assistance and bilingual training through classes, site visits, training manuals, and other printed materials for residents of low-income housing cooperatives so that they may develop the skills to maintain and manage the buildings in which they live.

Since 1981, you have led the extraordinary work of UHAB as its executive director.  During that time, you have overseen the substantial growth of the organization, moving it from the single function of homesteading to offering a broad range of programs and technical assistance, and urging it to pursue greater gender and racial diversity.  Over 1,000 buildings, containing more than 20,000 units, are now tenant-owned due to the efforts of UHAB.  Nor does your commitment stop there.  You are Founding Chairman, a member of the Board of Directors, and a volunteer for the Green Guerrillas, a non-profit organization that works to build and preserve green space all over New York City by turning abandoned lots into gardens.  In addition, to name a few of your auxiliary activities, you are president of City Limits Magazine, treasurer of Community Assisted Tenant Controlled Housing, representative to the Task Force on City-Owned Property, and a member of the Bar Association of New York's Ad Hoc Committee on the Legal Problems of the Homeless.

Your seemingly endless energy, your commitment to the principles of self-help and the empowerment of the individual, and your belief that people can each make a valuable contribution to effect change in their neighborhoods and communities, makes you a role model for those with whom you work and, indeed, for all of us.  It is for these qualities, which you employ each day in your continued efforts to help others help themselves, and for your achievements, that Bowdoin is proud to honor you with the 1997 Common Good Award."

May 31, 1997