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2018 Magis Awards


Cheverus High School stands for much more than academic achievement, athletics, and extracurricular activities. Cheverus follows the Jesuit tradition which calls for the pursuit of excellence for the purpose of more fully becoming a “person for and with others.” When Jesuits and those familiar with Ignatian tradition identify this pursuit of excellence, they use the word magis, a Latin word meaning “more.” The choice of this word exemplifies the Ignatian ideal that one can always do more to serve others and God.

Every other year, Cheverus recognizes those in its community who live according to the imperative represented by the word magis. The Magis Award honors those who have achieved excellence as “people for and with others.” Award winners may be priests, teachers, volunteers with the sick or poor or might have spent their entire lives with the needy in a foreign country. They might be counselors, nurses, or doctors, or they might also be business owners who recognize the dignity of their employees, lawyers who defend the powerless, or philanthropists who give their fortunes to the needy and helpless. Regardless of what careers they have chosen, their lives must demonstrate that they have acted as “people for and with others” at the highest level.

Congratulations to the 2018 Magis Award Winners 

Awarded at Cheverus on Thursday, April 5, 2018


William G. Downes, Class of 1947

William G. Downes has lived the magis imperative through a life of quiet service for nearly 90 years. Downes understands the importance of community and responds to the needs of humanity through his work. He is best known for his hand-delivered donations to Cheverus each month; his devotion to his fellow classmates (whom he often visits at the hospital and nursing home) is inspiring. He values the human connection, and his spirit and quick wit are a source of joy to all those he encounters. A pillar of the St. Patrick’s Church community, Downes served as an usher and daily mass altar server, living his faith through service. Downes is an inspiration in many ways, but perhaps it is his commitment to the sacrament of marriage and his 62-year devotion to his wife Melda, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, that is the most profound. The quiet, tender care he provides his wife is a testament to the power of love and emblematic of a life fully devoted to service to others.

Kyle J. Milliken,* Class of 1998

Navy Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Kyle J. Milliken was a scholar-athlete during his time at Cheverus. A member of the 1998 state championship cross country team, Milliken was also a member of the relay team that set a state record in the 4x400 relay that same year. His track career continued at the University of Connecticut, where he graduated in 2002. Milliken was a highly decorated combat veteran who served 10 deployments during his 15-year military career. On May 5, 2017, he was caught in a firefight outside Mogadishu, Somalia, and died as a result of wounds sustained in the operation. He was awarded the Silver Star Medal (posthumously) for heroic actions in combat. Additional awards include Bronze Star Medal with Valor (5); Purple Heart Medal; Defense Meritorious Service Medal; as well as numerous other awards, medals, personal, and unit decorations. Milliken was a born leader who inspired those around him to achieve greatness. His presence built community. He was grounded by his faith and was a devoted husband and father. His service and ultimate sacrifice will always be remembered his class, his team, his school, his town, and his country. 

David D. Pearce, Class of 1968

Ambassador David D. Pearce boasts an impressive resume as a journalist and a diplomat, having served in 11 overseas posts throughout Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, as well as Ambassador to Algeria and Greece. After graduating from Cheverus in 1968, he completed a degree in Classics at Bowdoin College and earned an MA in Journalism at Ohio State University. Pearce's career saw him through intense challenges - covering the civil war in Beirut, serving in Iraq, and as Assistant Chief of Mission in Kabul, Afghanistan, and advocating for counterterrorism cooperation in Algeria after the Arab Spring. In doing difficult work in dangerous places, Pearce's career has been fundamentally rooted in service to others. He advocates for others to pursue public service and believes this work offers a meaningful way to create a more just world. In addition to his support of Cheverus, he and his wife, Leyla, give back to their community through their support of local non-profits and volunteer work, whether at home or at overseas postings. An inspiration to his peers, Pearce embodies the Jesuit ideal of choosing a path that serves the greater and more universal good.   

Peggy A. Cianchette, Parent '02, '06, '07, '10, Trustee

Peggy A. Cianchette is a prominent business leader in Southern Maine who selflessly shares her gifts and talents with the greater Cheverus community. Peggy and her husband, Eric, own the Portland Regency Hotel in Portland’s Old Port, as well as numerous other property management ventures in Maine and Florida.  A valued member of the Cheverus community for nearly 2 decades, Cianchette has graciously given back to the school as a loyal and dedicated Trustee, serving on the Cheverus Board of Trustees from 2006 - 2012, and then again from 2014 to present. She is a champion of the Cheverus mission and uniquely understands the school’s important role in educating students to be people for and with others. Cianchette’s service is what St. Ignatius would characterize as discreet charity: she offers her time and talent to benefit the greater good. A quiet, generous supporter of Cheverus, her contributions are countless and tremendously impactful. Cianchette is the mother of four Cheverus alumni: Michael ’02, Kenneth ’06, Erica ’07, and Emily ’10.

Richard "Dickie" M. Nee,* Class of 1976 

Parent '02, '04, '07, '09, '11

Richard “Dickie” M. Nee was a loving family man who served as the superintendent of the Calvary Cemetery in South Portland. In performing these corporal works of mercy, Nee showed respect and care for those who mourned - offering comfort and solace at one of life’s most difficult times. A graduate of the class of 1976 and parent to five Cheverus students, Nee provided a service learning opportunity at the cemetery, where students were invited to help beautify the grounds and honor the dead. Nee harnessed this teachable moment, encouraging students to recognize that each headstone represented a person, and showing them the grave of his own son, Seamus. His compassion and quiet service made a lasting impression on all those who met him. Nee was remarkably resilient and responded to life’s challenges with unwavering grace and humility. Nee was a loving husband of Katie and devoted father of seven children, Seamus ’02 (deceased), William ’04, Patrick ’07, Bridget ’09, Mary ’11, Coleman, and Annie. He was an advocate for children with special needs and held a deep faith in God. Nee passed away after a battle with cancer on December 24, 2016.

*in memoriam

Magis Award Honorees

  • William G. Downes, Class of 1947
  • Kyle J. Milliken,* Class of 1998
  • David D. Pearce, Class of 1968
  • Peggy A. Cianchette, Parent '02, '06, '07, '10, Trustee
  • Richard "Dickie" M. Nee,* Class of 1976 , Parent '02, '04, '07, '09, '11

  • Dr. Leo J. McDermott, Class of 1925
  • Dr. Stanley R. Liberty, Class of 1961
  • James A Ward, Class of 1963
  • Mary T. Honan, Former Board of Trustees
  • Mark D. LaPointe, Class of 1959
  • Maj. Charles J. Loring*, Class of 1937
  • Kevin J. Haley, Class of 1987
  • John M. Kerry, Class of 1982
  • John E. Marston, Class of 1965
  • Dr. Patrick H. Rombalski, Class of 1982
  • Stephen D. Goudey*, Class of 1970 
  • Earle E. Hannigan, Class of 1953
  • Daniel J. Honan, Class of 1978
  • Arthur B. Ledue, Class of 1950
  • Timothy E. Burton, Class of 1977
  • Richard M. Charette, Class of 1965
  • Francis E. Myatt, Class of 1953
  • Robert S. Nanovic, Board of Trustees 
  • John J. O’Leary*, Class of 1965
  • Kevin W. Concannon, Class of 1959
  • Joseph F. Boulos, Class of 1964
  • Stephen A. Barber, Class of 1973
  • Mary E. Campbell, Teacher
  • Anthony “Pat” Carey, Class of 1966
  • Steve Jerome, Class of 1967
  • Edward Leo Manning, Class of 1941
  • Michael J. Tarpinian, Class of 1969


* deceased