2008 Humanitas Award: Mamiella Chavis Brown ’79
The Humanitas Award, awarded annually by the Alumnae Association, recognizes an alumna who is outstanding in her personal and volunteer accomplishments and is recognized for her concern for the interests and welfare of her fellow human beings. She exemplifies the qualities of personal dedication, compassion, selflessness and sacrifice through social action, education, and reform within the community, church, or world. The 2008 recipient is Mamiella Chavis Brown of Buchanan, Michigan.
The overriding theme in Chavis Brown’s life is service to the marginalized of our society. She is an educator and community volunteer without parallel. A native of Elkhart, she majored in education and psychology at Saint Mary’s. Immediately following graduation, she began teaching in the South Bend Community School Corporation in a gifted and talented classroom that was also multiage and multigrade. During the next six years, while teaching, she earned graduate degrees in education, counseling, and social work. She has served as a counselor in summer youth programs, Notre Dame’s Upward Bound program, and the St. Joseph County Juvenile Facility. Her career has included working as a certified bilingual and multicultural classroom teacher and as s counselor at Lincoln and Monroe Schools. In 2000, the school corporation recognized Chavis Brown for her many years of outstanding work as an educator and counselor.
In addition, Chavis Brown is a long-time member of the League of Women Voters, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Urban League. She has won numerous awards from these organizations and others for her extraordinary record of service—most recently, she was honored with the Rosa Parks Award at this year’s City of South Bend community celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Chavis Brown’s strong Catholic faith is the foundation of her work of service. She has been active in several area parishes, particularly St. Augustine’s in South Bend, where she is a Eucharistic minister, a music minister, and director of the after-school African American Tutor Program. In addition to her parish work, she has been a delegate to every national Black Catholic Congress since 1987.
Chavis Brown is an active Saint Mary's College alumna, especially with the College’s Center for Women’s InterCultural Leadership—participating in the Wellsprings Conferences, Catalyst trips, and involving Saint Mary’s students in her St. Augustine’s tutoring program.
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