Salem Award Foundation Advisory Board
Daniel Finamore is the Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History at the Peabody Essex Museum. He has conducted extensive archaeological field research in Belize and elsewhere, and was awarded a prize from the Society of American Archaeology for an outstanding doctoral dissertation. His research and exhibition projects have received support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts and others. He has written over 40 articles and chapters for academic and popular publications, and is the author and/or editor of five books, including Capturing Poseidon: Photographic Encounters with the Sea (University of Washington Press, 1999), Maritime History as World History (University Press of Florida, 2004), most recently Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea (Yale University Press, 2010). Finamore is a director of the Institute for Global Maritime Studies and has served on the executive council of the International Congress of Maritime Museums, the U.S. National Committee of the Census of Marine Life, and as a director of the Council of American Maritime Museums. Dan served on the Board of the Salem Award Foundation for Human Rights and Social Justice for many years.
Chris is Regional Communications Manager in Oxfam America’s Department Communications and Community Engagement in the organization’s headquarters in Boston. He works with a staff of writers and editors to produce material for Oxfam America’s web site and publications. He also works closely with staff working on media and communications in Oxfam America’s regional offices in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Several times a year his duties take him to areas where Oxfam America is funding work by local organizations, where he interviews project participants and documents their work and how it is helping them. Since starting work for Oxfam in 1998, Chris has visited projects in Guatemala, El Salvador, Mali, Sénégal, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Ghana, Bolivia, Ecuador, Haiti, Vietnam, Honduras, Cambodia, and Perú. Before working for Oxfam, Chris was a freelance writer and editor, and worked briefly at UNICEF at its New York headquarters after graduating with a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs where he studied human rights and humanitarian affairs. He also has a BA in English literature from Tufts University. Chris served as a board member of the Salem Award Foundation for Human Rights and Social Justice for 2 years.
John D. Keenan is the 14th president of Salem State University, a role he began on August 6, 2017. Mr. Keenan previously served as general counsel and vice president for administration at Salem State University before being named president. Mr. Keenan also previously represented the Seventh Essex District in the Massachusetts State Legislature for 9 years from 2005 to 2014. He was a leading proponent of gaining university status for Salem State in 2010. He also moved a number of significant public projects forward, including the building of the J. Michael Ruane Judicial Center, the Salem MBTA Station, and the Thaddeus Buczko Probate Court. He was the leading proponent of the $1 billion Footprint Power redevelopment of Salem Harbor Station, the largest project in Salem’s almost 400-year history.
Mr. Keenan resides in Salem with his wife, Kara McLaughlin, and their two children, Aidan and Erin. An avid bike rider, he is a 26-year participant of the Pan Mass Challenge, raising over $160,000 for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. In addition to his strong commitment to public higher education, Mr. Keenan’s time in the state legislature allowed him to be lead on issues of social justice. He voted to preserve marriage equality, address schoolyard bullying, and protect transgender employees in the workplace. While the bill ultimately did not pass, one of his proudest votes was in support of the DREAM Act, to provide in-state tuition for undocumented students.
Patty has been a force extraordinaire in Salem for years. She was one of the founders of the Salem Award Foundation, including the creation of the annual Salem Award, and has been a supporter of the SAF ever since. As co-chair of the Salem Witch Trials Tercentenary Committee, she initiated and oversaw the design competition, selection, and construction of the Salem Witch Trials Memorial. In 2012, she chaired the committee to restore and rededicate the Memorial, including spearheading a $100,000+ fundraising campaign.
For 25 years, from 1985 to 2010, she was the Director of the Salem Witch Museum, one of the city’s most prominent tourist attractions. During this time she also chaired the Salem Halloween Committee in 1995 and Museums of Boston, a collaborative of 30 area museums. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Salem Chamber of Commerce.
Today, Patty remains active in SAF activities, as well as chairing such events as the Red Barn Theatre Gala in Key West, FL, and the week-long National Optimist Sailing Regatta for children here on the North Shore. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Sail Salem Community Boating program.
Edward J. Wilkens
Edward Wilkens is the Emeritus Professor of Computer Science at Salem State University. Professor, Department Chair for six years, during which our Computer Science Department became the first Massachusetts State College to achieve ABET accreditation, and Associate Professor during a thirteen year period. He also was a Visiting Professor of Computer Science at the University of South Florida and Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Rutgers University. Served as Director of Software and Hardware Engineering at Computer and Software manufacturing companies, including Concurrent Computer Corp., Sequoia Systems, Thinking Machines, Computervision and Perkin Elmer. He also worked on the Information Systems Technical Advisory Committee to the US Department of Commerce, appointed during the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations. This committee created the technical limits on dual use computers for export. Wilkens has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania, BEEE and MSEE in Electrical Engineering from New York University and Manhattan College. Involved in Social Justice groups since the civil rights issues of the sixties and seventies though recent activities with the Salem Award Foundation for Human Rights and Social Justice where he served as board member for many years and the Essex County Community Organization.
Cheryl Springer, M.S.W., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at the Salem State University School of Social Work. She joined the Salem State faculty in 1998. She has been a social work educator since 1991 and has over 25 years of experience as a social work practitioner and supervisor. Prior to her appointments at Salem State University, Cheryl was on full faculty at New York University and adjunct faculty member at Smith College School for Social Work and San Francisco State University. She holds a B.S. degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a M.S.W. degree from the University of Southern California School of Social Work, and a Ph.D. from Smith College School for Social Work. Dr. Springer holds practice licensure in California, New York and Massachusetts where she is licensed as an independent clinical social worker (LICSW). Her scholarship and funded research focus on suicide prevention and intervention education, child and family welfare, and workforce development for child welfare and older adult services. In Academic Year 2009-2010, she was a member of the second cohort of social work deans and directors who were selected to participate in the New York Academy of Medicine Leadership Academy in Aging. Dr. Springer currently serves on the Board of Directors of North Shore Elder Services and the Advisory Board of The Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice.
Meg Twohey is a former Chair of the Salem Award Foundation. She currently serves as President of the Salem Athenæum. She is a past President of Historic Salem and past Co-Chair of the Federal St. Neighborhood Association. Before retiring, Meg was a practice manager for financial services for CSC Consulting. Earlier, she was a Vice President of Index, SEI, Data Architects and Logica, responsible for developing & delivering large custom projects and software products to clients in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Japan. She began her career at Raytheon where she became a cost center manager. Meg graduated from Smith College. She and her husband, Darrow Lebovici, live in Salem and love sailing and travel.