WCA Award Recipient 2014 Sally Lethbridge Hunsdorfer '73

June 11, 2014

Each year the Wells College Association of Alumnae and Alumni award an alumna/alumnus with their WCA Award. The Award Convocation happens during Reunion and is attended by all alumni and friends back on campus for the festivities.

The WCA announced the recipient in the fall. You may read the announcement on the WCA Award Committee website. Sally gave a wonderful speech to an enthusiastic audience in Phipps. Her speech is also on the WCA page. Below you will find the citation written in honor of Sally and her contributions to the global community.

The Wells College Association of Alumnae and Alumni proudly presents the 2014 Wells College Award to Sally Lethbridge Hunsdorfer, Class of 1973. Sally is recognized for her passionate work in community development and social outreach domestically and internationally.

After graduating from Wells in 1973 with her degree in sociology and anthropology, Sally and her husband, Peter, spent five years at The White Mountain School in Littleton, New Hampshire, involved in all aspects of boarding school life, from teaching and coaching to the role of dean of students. After the birth of their first son, Todd, Sally and her family settled at Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts, for several years, where her second son, Ben, was born. For fifteen years, Sally owned The Bookstall, an independent book store in Marion, which served as a wonderful magnet for community and social outreach.

In 1992, Sally became a founding member of the Marion Institute, and she continues her work with the Institute to this day. Based in Marion, Massachusetts, the Marion Institute identifies, promotes and fosters programs and local initiatives such as Green Jobs, Green Economy in New Bedford, Massachusetts, as well as global programs like the Greenbelt Movement in Kenya, which was the 2004 recipient of the Nobel Peace prize.

“Sally is a force of nature, a natural leader who is unstoppable when a project seizes her imagination,” say Desa VanLaarhoven, executive director of the Marion Institute. “Usually, people are scrambling to keep up with her high energy and enthusiasm.”

In 1997, Sally and Peter put their business on hold, took Todd, 16, and Ben, 14, out of school and backpacked around the world for a year. Along the way, the Hunsdorfers spent two months living and trekking in some of the most remote areas of Nepal, and it was during this time that The Himalayan Project was born. The Himalayan Project is dedicated to the cultural preservation of the indigenous people of the Himalaya through education, community development and social outreach.

Since 2001, Sally has traveled to Nepal every year for several months, leading fundraising treks, delivering fleece jackets, hygiene and school supplies collected from American schoolchildren and collaborating with community leaders on building projects for schools in remote mountainous areas. Recently, Sally’s primary focus has been on a school in the village of Chaurikharka, originally founded by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953 and meant to educate thirty village children. Now, sixty-one years later, the school has 400 students, many of whom walk several hours to attend class.

Margaret Lamar King, who attended the Albany Academy for Girls, from which Sally graduated in 1969, remarked that “Sally lives a life of service and hard work. She is the physical form of the word Namaste—the spirit in me meets the spirit in you.”

For her community-minded spirit and unwavering dedication to making a difference in the lives of people in the United States and abroad, the Wells College Association of Alumnae and Alumni is proud to honor Sally Lethbridge Hunsdorfer with its 2014 award.

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