Campus News

Sue E. Marsh '82 Presented with 2004 Common Good Award

Story posted June 07, 2004

Sue E. Marsh of Roslindale, Mass., Bowdoin Class of 1982, has been honored by the Bowdoin College Board of Trustees with the 2004 Common Good Award, presented June 5 during Reunion weekend.

The Common Good Award honors those Bowdoin alumni who have demonstrated an extraordinary, profound, and sustained commitment to the common good, in the interest and for the benefit of society, with conspicuous disregard for personal gains in wealth or status. It was established on the occasion of the Bowdoin College Bicentennial in 1994, and is presented each year during Reunion Convocation.

Common Good Award recipients personify the idea of the common good as set forth by Bowdoin's first president, Joseph McKeen. In his inaugural address on September 2, 1802, McKeen reminded his audience that, "It ought always to be remembered that literary institutions are founded and endowed for the common good and not for the private advantage of those who resort to them for education. It is not that they may be able to pass through life in an easy and reputable manner, but that their mental powers may be cultivated and improved for the benefit of society."

For twenty-two years, Sue E. Marsh has been a steadfast and tireless advocate for the needs of the homeless and near homeless in greater Boston. As the Executive Director of Rosie's Place, a Boston-based service agency for homeless and poor women, she oversees programs that offer overnight and permanent housing, a food pantry and hot-meal program, support services, educational assistance, and job training. Each month, Rosie's Place serves more than 1,000 homeless and nearly homeless women. Marsh has been an advocate in reforming the food stamp program in Massachusetts, removing administrative barriers and simplifying the application process. She joined Rosie's Place in 1998 and today oversees a staff of 47 full- and part-time employees and more than 1,000 volunteers.

From 1986 to 1988, Marsh worked at the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless as housing policy coordinator and executive director. There, she raised awareness of the need for additional public and subsidized housing for the homeless, public-housing construction, de-leading, and fair-housing policies. She serves as a member of the Boston Mayor's Homeless Planning Committee and a director of the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless and the Greater Boston Food Bank.

Born in Hartford, Conn., Marsh graduated from South Windsor (Conn.) High School. At Bowdoin, she was a government major and a member of Alpha Rho Upsilon. As a senior, she was a recipient of an Undergraduate Instructional Fellowship and assisted in teaching an introductory government course. She graduated magna cum laude. Following graduation, she earned a doctorate in public policy from Boston University. In 1984, she joined Family Service Association of Greater Boston as a housing advocate.

Marsh has been named Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers, an Outstanding Advocate by the Massachusetts Human Services Committee, and an Unsung Heroine by Rosie's Place. She lives in Roslindale, Mass., with her husband, William B. Gove, and her two sons, Andrew and William.

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