Rotary Club’s Bridgewater Citizen of the Year 2016: Samuel Baumgarten

“Professor Samuel Baumgarten is a Mover and Shaker, and through his efforts, Bridgewater has become healthier and more active.  Sam Baumgarten was born in Queens – in Far Rockaway.  He graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in economics, and from New York University with a master’s degree in physical education.  He was a teacher of physical education in a public school on Long Island. Along the way he fortuitously met Bridgewater State professor Bob Frederick.  Not long after this, Sam began teaching decades of teaching at Burnell Campus Laboratory School.  Though he officially retired five years ago, he still teaches classes in Folk Dance.  Sam met his wife Debbie at, of course, a square dance in 1987. Married in 1989, they have two daughters, Alyssa, 25, who teaches in Dorchester, and Kelsey, 23, who just completed an internship to become a Registered Dietitian.  A runner, a dancer, and self-described gadfly, Sam has done much to improve the health of this community.  He worked hard to promote and improve physical education at the town’s schools (“physical education has never been cut.”)  He launched the Bridgewater Kids Road Race 36 years ago; School-wide Olympics; a town-wide track and field program, now 26 years old; a town-wide cross country running program now in its 12th season; dance instruction and inclusion of Burnell students in the BSU Winterdance program; and coaching youth soccer, basketball and soccer.” As printed in Sam’s biography for the 17th Annual Citizen of the Year Awards from Rotary Club of the Bridgewaters. Sam was honored by Grand Sponsor, Bridgewater Savings Bank, a testimonial from Raymond Ajemian, and the Rotary Club.

Rotary Club's Citizen of the Year Presentation; courtesy of WBTV
Rotary Club’s Citizen of the Year Presentation; courtesy of WBTV
His biography continued: ” Sam was a member and President of the Bridgewater Running club, volunteers at Bridgewater television, and volunteers at Bridgewater-Raynham football games.  A faithful attendee of Town Meeting, Sam’s biggest political accomplishment was his leadership in the fight to implement a non-smoking law for all public places in Bridgewater.  This ban was enacted in 2003.  Sam has been an active member at First Parish for 30 years. He served four years on the Parish Committee, including the last year as Parish President.  Sam continues to promote dance as a healthy and fun way to move.  He established the Bridgewater Community Dance series for folk, square, and contra-dancing.  The series, now in its sixth year, takes place at the Bridgewater Senior Center.  The energetic professor has been an active contributor to his field, nationally and internationally, and published an important textbook on physical education for elementary school students.  Sam is a community-minded evangelist for physical activity and healthy living.”

The Rotary Club of the Bridgewaters is very much pleased to recognize Samuel Baumgarten as the 2016 Citizen of the Year for Bridgewater.