Service To Humanity Award

The Service To Humanity Award is presented annually to a member of the alumni community whose selfless and caring work and deeds benefit society and humankind.

2024 Recipient

Richard Pollard '74

At Bucknell, Richard Pollard '74 majored in animal behavior under the guidance of professors Douglas Candland and Alan Leshner. He drove school buses and waited tables at the Bison cafeteria to make spending money, literally serving humanity at the cafeteria during his time as a student.

He joined the Peace Corps after graduation, attracted by the promise of seeing the world while serving humankind. He spent two and a half years in Nepal teaching vocational agriculture and English at a secondary school in the Himalayas. The village's deplorable public health and sanitary conditions led him to pursue a master's degree in water resources management at the University of Wisconsin. He then joined a small team executing the USAID-financed Tanzania School Health Project where he managed the water supply and sanitation component in eighty rural schools in Tanzania.

Following that project, he joined the Technology Advisory Group (TAG) at the World Bank where he worked to improve the effectiveness of investments in water supply and sanitation services in poor communities around the world. TAG morphed into a larger Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) at the World Bank, where he spent the bulk of his career.

Pollard first worked in Lesotho where he managed the Lesotho Rural Sanitation Program to improve sanitation services and reduce diseases in Lesotho's rural areas. While there, he began supporting the education of a Mosotho child, which he continued through her high school and university years. He then moved to Pakistan where he provided advisory services for water supply and sanitation policies, and supported the design and implementation of several related infrastructure projects. During that period he also served in India and Bangladesh, as well as Nepal, where he led a joint WHO-WSP team in updating the national strategy for rural water supply and sanitation services.

Pollard then moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, and led WSP's regional team for East Asia and the Pacific. He introduced community-driven development approaches to water supply and sanitation projects and programs throughout the region. It was also here that he met his wife, Gadis Effendi, who he married in 1994.

He spent his final years at the World Bank's Washington D.C. office where he led water, sanitation and related operational research and policy advisory activities in Central Asia and the Middle East. Notably, his work in the West Bank and Gaza established a multi-donor infrastructure development trust fund to coordinate investments in water supply, sanitation and urban development.

In retirement, he volunteers at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate for children alongside his wife, Gadis. They have two children. Their daughter and son-in-law work with Greenpeace and the Environmental Defense Fund. Their son is employed at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland.

Service To Humanity Award

Contact Details

The Center for Alumni & Family Engagement