Local student receives Father Jerome Toner Award from Saint Martin's

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Lacey, Wash. - Aaron Bonifield, a Saint Martin’s College senior from Olympia, is the recipient of the college’s 2002-03 Father Jerome Toner Award for achievements in social activism.

Bonifield’s name will be inscribed on a plaque. The honor also comes with subscriptions to The Catholic Worker magazine and The Nation magazine.

The award, presented by the college’s social science division to a student who works to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, was inspired by Saint Martin’s monk Father Jerome Toner, O.S.B., (1899-1977), an internationally recognized labor scholar and activist. Toner, often called “The Labor Priest,” at Saint Martin’s, served as a member of President Harry Truman’s International Labor Organization in Switzerland and as a grassroots labor organizer among the downtrodden of Brooklyn. Despite raising the ire of management, he persisted in fighting for the rights of workers and their rightful place in the economic world.

Bonifield, who is majoring in sociology/cultural anthropology and biology, was chosen for his unflagging work on issues of peace and social justice on campus and locally.

“Aaron’s work in the local peace movement and his efforts to infuse the campus with a spirit of political activism carries on Father Jerome’s proud tradition of feather ruffling,” said David Price, Ph.D., who chairs the college’s sociology/cultural anthropology department.

Besides working with the area peace movement, Bonifield founded and was elected president of the campus’ Social Action Club. He also was part of a group from Saint Martin’s who traveled to San Francisco in January for an anti-war rally. He and other club members staffed informational tables on campus and planned other activities to promote peace and social justice.

For more information:
Deanna Partlow
Senior editor; media relations coordinator
360-438-4541 or dpartlow@stmartin.edu