Mary Kaye Waldron

Award Winner

Philosophy professor is Waldron winner
Heights Issue date: 4/28/05

In 1995 the Boston College community lost one of its most inspiring and caring members when Mary Kaye Waldron died from cancer.

Today, her legacy lives on in an annual award, which was presented Monday night to philosophy professor Brian Braman, head of the Perspectives program.

The award is given to a faculty or administrator who "has demonstrated a continuing commitment to the values and ideals of Boston College" and who proves themself through not only dedication to their job, "but also through a deep belief in the need to enhance student life in a positive manner."

Braman was honored as a humble, passionate, and caring teacher to his students.

"He teaches you for life," said Carolyn Charpie, A&S '08. "What you learn shapes you as a human being."

The reception was held in the Heights Room and included an hour-long open session to allow students and friends to congratulate Braman. It then moved to a sit down, invitation only dinner.

Students shared how much Braman opened his entire world to them, especially by inviting students to his house for dinner.

The experience allowed them to build up a lasting relationship with Braman, and many labeled him as their greatest professor at BC.

Braman said the award was a great honor for him, foremost because it is named for a great woman and member of BC.

"It means a lot to me that the people that voted for me saw that there was at least something in me, and my commitment to them seemed to reflect who Mary Kaye Waldron was, and so it is a very special honor that way," he told The Heights.

He said he wanted to pass two important lessons to his children.

"What I tell my kids is two things - first of all, don't let fear get in the way of the choices that they have to make in life. And secondly, that they get turned on by the love of learning and really learn how to think more critically," he said.

After receiving the award from Edward Taylor, the 2004 recipient and a lecturer in the CSOM accounting department, Braman spoke only briefly, stopping to thank the students, his family, and the Waldrons.

He discussed how he had come to learn about Waldronthrough her mother, who also works in the philosophy department, and how humbled he was by the award.

Waldron was a member of the class of 1995 and is remembered as a leader throughout her time here, despite her sickness.

Each year the Waldrons present a copy of an audio tape to the recipient of their daughter's award, and on the tape is Waldron speaking about her illness to a group of young people, telling them how she managed to fight through it.

"Through it all I was amazed about the positive spirit she had and her enthusiasm for life despite all she had been through," said Taylor about the tape he received last year as the 2004 recipient.

"All you could see and hear and feel was her love for her family."

The award is unique in that it is one of a few awards chosen by an exclusively student selection board.

Craig Dorsett, CSOM '06, and Nicole Polizzi, A&S '07, were the heads of the committee this year as the UGBC's co-directors of Faculty and Student Relations.

Both of Waldron's parents spoke to the crowd briefly, conveying how much the idea that the award has continued to recognize important and caring people in the name of their daughter.

"It is a great privilege for our family to present this award in Mary Kaye's name," Bonnie Waldron said. "There is a connection here between Mary Kaye's belief and the recipient, that they do not save their energy for themselves."

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