Sunbeam Gala 2021 – A Festive Evening of Friends

Sunbeam Gala 2021 – A Festive Evening of Friends

A view of the Sunbeam Award Gala 2021 at the Bar Harbor Club. The large tent used is partially visible.

NOTE: Thank you to Mission Director of Administration Ann Cox Halkett and Development Operations Associate Thomas Thompson for this Sunbeam Award Gala 2021 recap.

NORTHEAST HARBOR, ME — The Mission’s 2021 Sunbeam Award Gala was a great success, a joy to gather in Bar Harbor to honor Sigma Kappa and Acadia Senior College. The August 12 event celebrated two extraordinary organizations — Acadia Senior College and Sigma Kappa. Both have made great contributions to strong communities on Mount Desert Island, including the women of Sigma Kappa who have steadfastly supported the Mission for over 100 years

The gala was held on the Bar Harbor Club patio, and also under a large tent on the lawn. The weather was picture perfect. After our virtual Gala last summer, guests were happy to gather together with friends to support the Mission’s work.

Mission President John Zavodny welcomed guests and introduced David B. Woodside, Chair of the Board of Directors of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, one of the Gala’s Platinum sponsors. Following an entertaining video about Acadia Senior College, former Mission President Scott Planting gave the Sunbeam award to Acadia Senior College president, Linda Dunn. In her remarks, Dunn told of the College’s start and quick success, and pointed out that the room held dozens of Gala guests who have been College instructors, supporters, and students through the years.

Next, President Zavodny introduced Tony Shurman, President and CEO of Wyman’s, the Gala’s other Platinum sponsor. After a video about Sigma Kappa, Dan McKay, Chair of the Mission Board of Directors gave the Sunbeam award to Ann O’Connell Adams, national President of Sigma Kappa Sorority, and Dawn Copple O’Connor, President of the Sigma Kappa Foundation. Sigma Kappa Sorority was founded at Colby College, Waterville in 1874. President Adams recounted the partnership Sigma Kappa has had with the Mission since 1918.

It was a festive evening of old and new friends, good food, and abundant reminders of the importance of vibrant community. The work and activities of this year’s award winners demonstrate how strong community is built and enriched.

Thank you to all who participated, and to the Bar Harbor Club, who hosted us in a huge tent near Frenchman’s Bay. From the video of older Mainers naming their superpowers to the excitement of meeting Sigma Kappa members from across the country and hearing the hearty cheers of Senior College supporters, it was a memorable evening.

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Maine Seacoast Mission Announces Honorees for the 2021 Sunbeam Award Gala


Maine Seacoast Mission Announces Honorees for the 2021 Sunbeam Award Gala


NORTHEAST HARBOR, ME — Maine Seacoast Mission President John Zavodny has announced the two honorees for the next summer’s Sunbeam Award Gala: Sigma Kappa and Acadia Senior College. The Mission’s Sunbeam Award Gala is its centerpiece fundraising event, built around recognizing those who embody the ideals of community.

President Zavodny said the values and accomplishments of these two inspiring organizations are clear examples of actions and spirit that make communities strong. Maine Seacoast Mission is honored to celebrate these two organizations’ contributions.

Sigma Kappa, a national sorority was founded in 1874 at Colby College in Waterville, ME, and has been the Mission’s friend and partner for over a century. Valuing personal growth, friendship, service and loyalty, the sorority has initiated over 176,000 women nationwide. The purpose of Sigma Kappa is to “provide lifelong opportunities and support for social, intellectual, and spiritual development by bringing women together to positively impact our communities.” 

Sigma Kappa Foundation is the organization’s philanthropic arm, and its mission is to create and fund leadership, scholarship and philanthropic initiatives that reflect the values and spirit of Sigma Kappa Sorority. Sigma Kappa’s philanthropic priorities include the Maine Seacoast Mission and gerontology studies with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease research.

Sigma Kappa, through its Foundation, provides Maine Seacoast Mission with support for several programs including Housing Rehabilitation, Christmas gift program, and Island Services.

“As we approach our 150th anniversary in 2024, we often look to the constants in our membership experience and the Maine Seacoast Mission is among them. It connects us to our roots at Colby College and our founders,” shared Dawn O’Connor, Sigma Kappa Foundation president. “To be honored with a Sunbeam Award is humbling and very much appreciated.”

Acadia Senior College, located on Mount Desert Island, began as a community project to provide “intellectual stimulation, practical knowledge, social interaction, and fun” for older persons. In 2020, Acadia Senior College is honoring its 20th Anniversary. Acadia Senior College is a place where the knowledge and talents of community members work in service to the region’s senior population.

Acadia Senior College offers programming that informs, challenges, entertains, and strengthens community through courses in areas such as economics, ecology, health, opera, and literature. Acadia Senior College also provides fascinating keynote lectures, with coffees and lunches encouraging dialogue on current challenges and issues.

“The Maine Seacoast Mission has been fostering and supporting communities in Maine for many years. On behalf of Acadia Senior College, I am thrilled to be the recipient of this great honor. To be selected for this award acknowledges the vision of our founders to enrich the lives of seniors on MDI and in the surrounding areas”, Linda Dunn, President, said.

The Maine Seacoast Mission looks forward to celebrating these two honorees throughout the year. Sigma Kappa and Acadia Senior College join a wonderful list of Sunbeam honorees going back 16 years:

Past Sunbeam Award Gala Recipients

2019 – Bryan Colket and the Sunbeam “All Hands on Deck” Committee & Dr. Diehl Snyder and the MDI Hospital Behavioral Health Center
2018 – Marjorie Withers & and Maine Community Foundation, Hancock and Washington County Funds; Stephen Rowe, President
2017- Robin Alden & The Mount Desert Islander (Earl Brechlin and Alan Baker)
2016 – Edward R. Flanagan & Cookie Horner and Jack Russell (Co-Chairs, Acadia Centennial Task Force)
2015 – Joseph M. Murphy & Todd West
2014 – Senator George J. Mitchell
2013 – Charlie Harrington
2012 – Ashley Bryan
2011 – Edith R. Dixon & Ralph W. Stanley
2010 – Emily A. Sabah-Maren & Gary DeLong
2009 – Curtis L. Blake & Marianne Barnicle
2008 – Charlotte Bordeaux & Dr. Richard Dimond
2007 – James Gower & Henry Harris
2006 – Cornelia Greaves Bates & Alf Wakeman
2005 – Ruth and Tristram Colket & Myron Sprague
2004 – Jill Goldthwait & Fritz Dixon

For more information about the event, scheduled for August 12, 2021, please contact Anna Silver at 207.801.6011 or asilver@seacoastmission.org.

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