Each year, the HDS Alumni/Alumnae Council (AAC) recognizes exceptional graduates and one non-alumni Friend of the School with the Peter J. Gomes, STB ’68 Distinguished Alumni Honors. The award, given in memory of the late Reverend Gomes, celebrates community members whose excellence in life, work, and service pays homage to the mission and values of HDS.
“The Gomes Awards offer us a chance to celebrate outstanding HDS alumni and community members each year,” says Dean David N. Hempton. “It is a true joy to recognize leaders who exemplify the School’s mission.”
This year’s theme, “Nature,” centers the celebration on the connections between nature and well-being at the individual, local, and global scales.
“Our planet is in the throes of an unprecedented climate emergency, largely due to our human impact, and it is imperative that we focus our attention on how we can slow the devastation,” says Michelle B. Goldhaber, MDiv ’05, the Alumni/Alumnae Council chairperson. “At the same time, it is just as vital that we honor the Earth and the multitude of ways humans and nature are positively interconnected. Nature has been a balm, a unifier—a source of inspiration, healing, and nourishment—and humans have been advocates, allies, spokespeople, and stewards of the natural world. We seek to honor extraordinary HDS alumnx who have dedicated themselves and their work to honoring this connection.”
This year, the Council recognizes the following honorees:
- Marcus Briggs-Cloud, MTS ’10: Marcus Briggs-Cloud is co-founder and co-director of Ekvn-Yefolecv Maskoke ecovillage, an Indigenous off-grid, climate-positive, income-sharing community of Maskoke persons who, after 180 years of displacement from ancestral homelands, have returned to revitalize the Maskoke language and culture. An author of several academic publications, he serves as a consultant to endangered language programs worldwide. HDS recognizes Marcus Briggs-Cloud as a Gomes Honoree for ensuring the survival of Maskoke culture by championing native language regeneration, economic sovereignty, and ecological justice.
- Katherine Collins, MTS ’11: Katherine Collins is head of sustainable investing at Putnam Investments and the founder of Honeybee Capital. She is an author, beekeeper, and member of several nonprofit boards, including Harvard Divinity School Dean's Council, Omega Institute, Santa Fe Institute, and Wellesley Centers for Women. HDS recognizes Katherine Collins as a Gomes Honoree for leading sustainable business practices and reconnecting investing with the world it is meant to serve.
- Tori Murden McClure, MDiv ’89: Tori Murden McClure is an explorer, author, and president of Spalding University. She is perhaps best known as the first woman and first American to row a boat solo across the Atlantic Ocean, having accomplished the feat in 1999 after 81 days at sea. A decade earlier, she became the first woman and first American to ski to the geographic South Pole during a 50-day, 750-mile expedition. HDS recognizes Tori Murden McClure as a Gomes Honoree for exploring the farthest bounds of the earth and connecting lessons learned from nature to ethical leadership in education.
- Kareema Scott, MTS ’04: Kareema Scott is a memoirist, teacher, lawyer, and urban gardener. From a young age, she recognized that food was far more than sustenance; meals were threads that sutured her to her ancestors, cultures, and history. Scott now works with Boston Public Schools, where she helps lead a learning/teaching garden with the intention to present farming, gardening, and homesteading as a viable, dignified, and empowering vocation. HDS recognizes Kareema Scott as a Gomes Honoree for celebrating ancestral heritage and cultivating community through urban gardening, education, and respecting food as a love language that connects generations.
As they have in years past, the AAC also honors a non-alumnx member of the HDS community. This year, the council recognizes Dr. Rosalyn LaPier, an award-winning Indigenous writer, ethnobotanist, and environmental activist, who is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana and Métis. LaPier is currently an associate professor of environmental studies at the University of Montana (located in the heart of traditional Seliš-Qlispé territory) and a research associate at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. LaPier shared her expertise with HDS as a 2016-17 Women’s Studies in Religion Program research associate and has continued to offer her knowledge through events such as the widely attended Intersections of Spirituality, Social Justice, and Climate Change discussion in 2021.
“We are thrilled to recognize Rosayln LaPier as this year’s Friend of the School,” says Chandra Mohammed, associate director for alumni relations. “With a PhD in environmental history—paired with traditional ethnobotanist training by her maternal grandmother, Annie Mad Plume Wall, and her aunt, Theresa Still Smoking—Dr. LaPier leads important work with revitalizing Indigenous ecological knowledge and advocating for a healthier, more sustainable future for all.”
The Alumni/Alumnae Council will recognize the 2022 Gomes Honorees, with a special tribute to 2020 and 2021 award winners, during an event on Friday, May 13. To learn more about the AAC and alumni news, please visit the Alumni & Friends website
Due to public health guidelines in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, in-person attendance is restricted to a small audience of the honorees and their guests. Complete our online form at hds.harvard.edu/gomes-2022 to register to watch the livestream of the event, and email firstname.lastname@example.org with any event-related questions.
—by Amie Montemurro