I had the honor of presenting the Wallace Award to Alan Bain on November 9, 2012. The Gala Dinner and Celebration was held at The University Club of New York City. The presentation follows:
Dr. Alan Lind Bain was born in England of Scottish parents. He received his formal education at Edge Grove, Mill Hill, and St. Catherine’s College of the University of Cambridge. He is also a graduate of Columbia Law School.
In 1959, Alan married Linda Miller and that union produced two children, a son Ian, and a daughter, Heather. Both are present tonight. Ian and his wife Jill have two children - Andrew and Emma, and they are here as well. I am sorry that Linda is not here tonight, I know she would be extremely proud of her family and especially of her husband. Perhaps she knows we are celebrating.
Alan started traveling the world for a computer leasing company and in those travels began to form the idea for a company. In 1970, he launched World-Wide Business Centres to help meet the needs of those who travel and need office space, meeting rooms and conference facilities with secretarial support. Today, there are office locations on every continent and in dozens of counties worldwide.
In 1993, the Board of Directors of the American-Scottish Foundation elected Alan Bain as their President. The American-Scottish Foundation was formed in 1956 in New York City by Lord Malcolm Douglas Hamilton. The Foundation’s charter gives it a broad mandate that includes building social, cultural and commercial ties between the United States and Scotland. In selecting Alan, they could not have made a better choice.
One of his initial objectives was to determine what role the Foundation should play in the American Scottish community. It has been an increasingly active role. In fact, the role that Alan and the Foundation have played has been the key element in the progress and development of the American Scottish community.
His regular trips to Scotland and his close personal relationships with business and governmental leaders have built a strong bridge between the two nations and its people. Both America and Scotland are indebted to this man for his continued efforts to strengthen relationships between our countries. Today, Heather Bain carries on that tradition as the present Chairman of the Board.
In 1996, Alan Bain and the Foundation met with seven other Scottish organizations to form the Scottish Coalition, an informal body consisting of representatives from these national groups. Alan became one of the unofficial leaders of this national effort. He gave them the concept of a national organization that included a paid professional staff.
He helped introduce the concept of a National Tartan Day in the United States. The date chosen and now approved by Congress is April 6th. No single person has done more to advance the cause of Tartan Day than has Alan Bain.
In 2000, Alan and the Foundation were asked to sponsor a National Tartan Day in Washington, D.C. He took on the challenge and it was a huge success; but it also incurred a large financial loss. By his own effort the loss was fully covered by gifts and contributions. The American-Scottish Foundation is a Founding Member of the National Tartan Day New York Committee which organizes the parade and many other events during Tartan Week.
In 2002, The American-Scottish Foundation and the Illinois St. Andrew’s Society in Chicago formed the Scottish North American Leadership Conference, a nation-wide event which brings together Clans, Scottish societies and other cultural organizations to explore and discuss themes of interest and issues of common concern. Alan has been a tireless worker in this effort. The tenth successful conference has just concluded in Detroit, Michigan with Gus Noble as the moderator.
Alan has been a most effective leader for the Scottish community. By the force of his own will, he has saved organizations and created new ones. There is nothing that concerns the American Scottish community that does not interest him. He supports everything that advances the cause of our two great countries. He is a visionary who often leaves people asking, “how can that possibly be done?” But, he never forsakes his vision or his work.
I have been privileged to know Alan since about 1996. We first met in Florida at a Scottish Coalition meeting. Over the years, we have worked together on various projects. We have become friends, not only because of our common interests, but also because personal events and family tragedies have molded our relationship.
I greatly admire him for his love of family and his loyalty to friends.
We are privileged tonight to honor Alan Bain for his vision, his generosity, his integrity, his love of family, his determination and courage. The Scottish community is forever indebted to him. He richly deserves the honor.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Dr. Alan L. Bain.