College of Arts & Sciences

arts&sciences

Winning Alums

Through bikes, ballparks, and banks, the 2011 CAS and GRS Distinguished Alumni Award winners have found ways to help others.

By Andrew Thurston

Pedal Power

David Branigan (CAS'02) gives unwanted bikes a new lease on life around the world. As international programs director for Boston-based nonprofit Bikes Not Bombs, Branigan helps transport donated cycles to village nurses in Africa and youth groups in the Caribbean; some even become the pedal-powered engines of corn grinders and washing machines in Central America. Under his guidance, the organization annually ships some 5,000 used bikes from Massachusetts to communities in need around the world. Branigan spends much of his time visiting the countries supported by Bikes Not Bombs, notably Ghana, where he helped people with disabilities establish a co-op bike store.

Sox Success

Most New Englanders would give anything to share an office with Lawrence C. Cancro (CAS'77); for 20 years the marketing expert has worked for the Boston Red Sox. Currently the senior vice president of Boston Red Sox/Fenway Affairs, he's in charge of maintaining the club's relationships with local businesses and community groups—and booking rock's finest to play at the historic ballpark. Cancro's off-the-field contributions stretch far beyond the Green Monster (which he's credited with turning into a brand in its own right): He helped found the National Alliance for Autism Research and serves as director for a number of charitable organizations, including Melmark, which supports children and adults with developmental disorders.

Financing Progress

In 1997, Santiago Levy (CAS'77; GRS'78, '80) changed the lives of millions of Mexicans. As deputy minister of finance, he masterminded the government's inventive antipoverty program, Progresa-Oportunidades. With its combination of education grants, basic health care, and cash for improved nutritional support, Oportunidades—as it has since been renamed—is credited with improving living standards across the nation. Levy later became the Mexican Social Security Institute's general director. Today, he is a vice president at the Inter-American Development Bank, a prominent force in development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean, and a nonresident senior fellow at the public policy organization, the Brookings Institution.