Every new entering class includes several Òlegacies,Ó members with a direct Bowdoin connection, be it a father or Mother (sometimes both,) or a grandfather Or brother or sister. That is as One would expect it to be, for Bowdoin has long been a place that Inspired family loyalty (ÒweÕll send Our sons to bowdoin in the fall!Ó). Some students over the years have had Extraordinary bowdoin family trees, With roots stretching back over the Centuries. Others have had three or More sibling polar bears. Here we Profile four bowdoin families with Extensive connections, with apologies To others with significant bowdoin Ties that have not been mentioned. With these examples, we aim to salute All bowdoin families who have blessed The college with their extraordinary Loyalty and their familial allegiance.
A hundred years after his great-great grandfather and Bowdoin president William DeWitt Hyde wrote the well known Offer of the College, Nate Hyde Õ07 prepares to take him up on it. As impressed as he may be with the college his ancestor shaped so importantly, Nate is less reverent than some about the family name Ñ in the time-honored traditions of youth. ÒItÕs kind of cool to have a dorm with the Hyde name on it,Ó he says, Òbut itÕs a quiet dorm, so I didnÕt want to live there.Ó
William (ÒBillÓ) DeWitt Hyde Õ38 splits the middle of the generations between Nate and BowdoinÕs seventh president. HeÕs the grandson of William DeWitt Hyde and NateÕs grandfather. Put simply, Bill is Bowdoin through and through. ÒMy father (George P. Hyde Õ08) never pressured me to attend, and I had the best four years of my life at Bowdoin,Ó he says. ÒI remember professors like Herbie Brown, who taught me how to write, and Robert Peter Tristam Coffin, who mesmerized me with his use of language, and Noel Little, who could multiply large figures in his head.Ó
Bill Hyde never met his famous namesake, but he did hear some interesting stories. ÒMy father was a Bowdoin student when his father was president, which presented a potentially uncomfortable situation for both of them. They each agreed to respond ÔI donÕt knowÕ to a question they didnÕt want to answer.Ó
Bill also remembers hearing how President Hyde would rid himself of the frustrations that occasionally become part of the complex job of running a college. ÒWhen he wanted to work off steam, he would put on ice skates and skate back and forth on the Androscoggin River, yelling at the top of his lungs.Ó
Bill HydeÕs brother Richard W. Hyde Õ43 went to Bowdoin as well, as did two of BillÕs own three children: William D. Hyde, Jr. Õ65 and Susan Hyde Piehl Õ82. And another grandson, Philip Jurgeleit Õ92, is also an alumnus.
Bill Hyde, Jr. recalls that Òvery little was explicitly said in my family about going to Bowdoin, although my two best friends in high school also attended Bowdoin, so it seemed like a natural choice.Ó Although he struggled with dyslexia, Bill compiled a fine record at Bowdoin and went on to earn his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. Ò
(My grandfatherÕs) Offer of the College means a lot to me,Ó says Bill. ÒI continue to believe that it is important to educate people to be citizens of the world.Ó
BillÕs younger sister Susan Hyde Piehl Õ82 says, ÒI visited several other colleges, but I had a strong preference for Bowdoin. IÕd always looked up to the people who had enjoyed their Bowdoin experience.Ó
Unlike her nephew Nate, Susan did spend her first year living in Hyde Hall. ÒI guess someone in housing thought it was just too good an opportunity to pass up. I got a lot of ribbing about that.Ó
ÒI had roots at Bowdoin,Ó says Susan, Òand that felt special to me. And IÕm so glad I went to Bowdoin. The College allowed me to grow up and become who I was going to be.Ó
Steve Hyde, NateÕs father and the third child of Bill Hyde, did not attend Bowdoin Ñ instead, he earned both a bachelorÕs degree and a law degree at the University of Maine. But having served for many years now as BowdoinÕs director of planned giving, Steve possesses both a keen sense of Bowdoin culture and a deep love for the College. He says, ÒBowdoin produces exceptional graduates, leaders with a world view. IÕve listened for hours to people (or their spouses) telling me what a difference the College made in their lives. I feel huge loyalty to Bowdoin.Ó
Before Jacobsen (ÒJakeÓ) Leland Means Ives Õ06 applied to Bowdoin, he didnÕt even realize that his Bowdoin roots stretched back nearly 200 years; he just knew it was somewhere right for him. ÒI learned to ride a bike on campus, in front of the Walker Art Building. And my dad was always saying what a great place it was. I knew it was for me when I first stepped on campus.Ó But stories of vast Bowdoin connections emerged when JakeÕs father Howard Rollin Ives, III Õ70 began constructing the Bowdoin family tree. JakeÕs paternal great-grandfather (Howard Rollin Ives, Sr. 1898) was the roommate of Donald MacMillan 1898, the famed Arctic explorer. His maternal great-grandfather (Leland G. Means Õ12) served on the committee that donated the Polar Bear statue that graces Hyde Plaza. And there were many many other leaves on his Bowdoin family tree. ÒItÕs very special to know that a ton of people from my family went to Bowdoin,Ó Jake says now, Òand to feel that IÕm keeping something going.Ó
JakeÕs father, Rollin Ives Õ70, a four-sport athlete at Bowdoin during his senior year (he punted for the football team in addition to playing soccer, basketball and baseball), says he owes a debt of gratitude to Frank Boyden, the former headmaster of Deerfield Academy. ÒFrank Boyden called up Hubie Shaw (BowdoinÕs director of admissions at the time) and assured him that I had great potential.Ó
ÒI love Bowdoin,Ó says Rollin today, Òand I love Maine. Bowdoin is as much a part of the state as pine trees and lobster.Ó
Virtually every student who attended Bowdoin in the late 1960s knows the Ives name. Rollin Ives overlapped three years with his cousin Robert (ÒBobbyÓ) E. Ives Õ69, and they shared more than last names and lineage. Both served as president of the Psi Upsilon fraternity; both served as president of their respective classes; and both went on to earn divinity degrees.
Like his cousin, when Bobby Ives reflects upon Bowdoin, he talks about his love of Maine and the ocean and the sense of Òcoming homeÓ he feels when he returns to the campus. But he conveys equal passion and enthusiasm for his remarkable grandmother, Hilda Libby Ives, Òa phenomenal person.Ó With her ordination in 1926, Hilda Ives earned the distinction of being the first woman minister ordained in the state of Maine. She became part of the Bowdoin family herself when the College awarded her an honorary doctorate of ministry in the mid-1950s. So any discussion of the Ives-Bowdoin connection, says Bobby, must include Hilda, even though she ÒearnedÓ her Bowdoin degree before the College began admitting women. (HildaÕs inspiration was clearly more specific than just to attend Bowdoin Ñ Bobby proved to be cut from the same cloth as his grandmother, and he won The Common Good award for his own ministry in the inaugural year of the award.)
I remember being placed on top of the lion in front of the Walker Art Building when I was about three years old,Ó recalls Patrick Woodcock Õ04, Òand I felt like I was king of the world. I also remember my brother and I playing with the Bowdoin Polar Bear at football games.Ó
Patrick was not the first of his family to step onto the beautiful Bowdoin campus or to marvel at those lions or cavort with the frisky Bowdoin mascot. His older brother Jack preceded him at Bowdoin, graduating in 2002. And then thereÕs his father, John Woodcock, Jr. Õ72. And his mother, Beverly Newcombe Woodcock Õ72. And his uncle, Timothy Woodcock Õ74. And another uncle, Robert Ervin Õ69. And his aunt, Elizabeth Woodcock Õ76. And his grandfather, John Woodcock Õ44. And great uncle, Allan Woodcock, Jr. Õ44. And great-grandfather, Allan Woodcock Õ12. And numerous cousins and second cousins.
ÒEven with all the family connections to Bowdoin, I had no idea what to expect,Ó says Patrick. ÒMy experience has been totally unique. ItÕs neat to have a family tradition, but then find your own way.Ó
Jack Woodcock Õ02 says he felt no pressure to attend Bowdoin, despite the long tradition. ÒIt was an easy transition because I knew what I was getting into,Ó he says. ÒAnd it felt natural having my brother there. My friends were his friends and vice versa.Ó Jack also enjoyed getting to know several of his cousins who were attending Bowdoin at the same time. ÒThey werenÕt just college friends, they were family members.Ó
Elizabeth (ÒLibbyÓ) Woodcock Õ76 recalls that having her grandfather (Allan Woodcock Õ12) move into their family home when she was a young girl made a big Bowdoin impression on her. Moreover, the fine experiences of her two older brothers at Bowdoin (John Õ72 and Tim Õ74) nudged her closer to the Pines, even though Bowdoin was still in the early period of admitting women. ÒBowdoin didnÕt Ôgo coed,ÕÓ she says, ÒBowdoin began admitting women. ThatÕs an important distinction. Bowdoin had a menÕs tradition, but great professors like John Karl and Jim Bland and Bill Geohegan always made the women feel welcome and respected. We werenÕt tokens; we were students with ideas, along with everyone else, right there in the pack.Ó
Beverly Newcombe Woodcock Õ72, an even earlier pioneer than her sister-in-law, has no reservations whatsoever about her somewhat daring college decision. ÒBowdoin offered a wonderful learning environment. IÕm thrilled with my choice.Ó Despite the prevalence of Bowdoin degrees in her family, she stresses that the college choice of her third son Chris, now a high school senior, will be totally up to him. BeverlyÕs husband John Woodcock, Jr., Õ72 echoes their joint resolve to have Chris make his own choice, just as he, himself, did 35 years ago. ÒIt wasnÕt predetermined that I would go to Bowdoin. I looked around at some NESCAC and Ivy League schools, before deciding. But Bowdoin was just the place I wanted to be.Ó John, an attorney who is now a federal judge in Maine, does take great pride, though, in the Bowdoin-Woodcock legacy. ÒWhen I walk around campus, I think of the people who have gone before me. ItÕs been a privilege to follow in those footsteps.Ó
ÒI was playing in a baseball game for Cheverus at Deering,Ó recalls Ed Rogers, Jr. Õ81 with a smile, Òand all of a sudden my dad came rushing up to the field to tell me that IÕd just been accepted to Bowdoin. He was beside himself at the prospect of having his oldest child go to Bowdoin. ÔDid I hear from Duke yet?Õ I asked him.Ó
But the story had a happy ending. Though Ed did get accepted to Duke, he chose Bowdoin. ÒIt was closer to home, and I thought IÕd have a better opportunity to play basketball.Ó
The happy ending also proved to be a happy beginning. For although Ed, Jr. was the first child of Judge Edward W. Rogers Õ51 to choose Bowdoin, he was by far not the only one to do so. Next came Steve Õ82. Then Chris Õ83. Then Mary Õ86. Then Andrea Õ87. Then Jennifer Õ89. Then, finally, Matthew Õ91. Seven children. Seven Bowdoin degrees. A clean sweep. And a new Bowdoin record, one that stands to this day.
When members of the Rogers clan discuss Bowdoin, they invariably mention their love for their father and his love for the College. ÒHe had a great experience at Bowdoin, academically and athletically. He was into the whole Bowdoin network,Ó says Ed, Jr.
ÒMy dad lived and died Bowdoin,ÕÓ says Matt.
ÒHe especially loved helping someone get into Bowdoin,Ó says Andrea.
ÒThere was probably no greater advocate for Bowdoin than my dad,Ó boasts Steve, who relates a telling story. ÒHe was preparing one of my friends for his Bowdoin interview. ÔHow will you respond,Õ my dad asked, Ôwhen the admissions officer asks you why you want to go to Bowdoin?Õ My friend said, ÔIÕll tell them that Judge Rogers will never let me back into his house if I donÕt go to Bowdoin.Õ And my dad roared with laughter!Ó
Many many students who attended Bowdoin between 1977, when Ed Jr. started out at Bowdoin, and 2000, when Judge Rogers died, knew about the tailgate parties. And the huge, second-hand, early Õ70s, bronze Cadillac that served as a table (and bar), of sorts. And the chicken salad sandwiches and egg salad sandwiches and sodas and beer and chips and brownies and Whoopie Pies served at those tailgate parties by the Judge and his equally enthusiastic wife and life partner Joyce. And, as important, the warmth and enthusiasm served along with the sandwiches and drinks.
ÒPeople used to say ÔThereÕs the RogersÕ tailgate,Ó recalls Matt. ÒIt always started at 9 a.m. the day of the football game. Those sandwiches were legendary around campus. My friends would ask me, ÔWhen is your dad coming up?ÕÓ
ÒWe were an institution for years,Ó recalls Joyce Rogers fondly. ÒSometimes the Meddiebempsters performed behind our car.Ó
The Judge and Joyce even accompanied the baseball team on spring trips south, tailgate hospitality and all.
Not a single member of the Rogers family reports having felt any pressure to continue the family Bowdoin tradition. With the exception of Ed, Jr., who was genuinely torn between Bowdoin and Duke, all of the Rogers clan applied Early Decision to Bowdoin. The family also established an extraordinary Theta Delta Chi tradition, with all seven Rogers children becoming TDs. Two members of the Rogers clan even found spouses at Bowdoin. Andrea Õ87 married Dave Burton Õ86, and Jennifer Õ89 married Brendan Hickey Õ88.
The RogersÕ close-knit quality didnÕt end after college. Today, all seven siblings live in the Portland area, within 5 miles of each other. They get together all the time to play sports, have picnics, celebrate birthdays, and share laughs.
Joyce Rogers, the proud matriarch of this Polar Bear family, went to Oxford, not Bowdoin. But she did serve as the President of the Society of Bowdoin Women, helping raise funds for scholarships. ÒI have great pride in Bowdoin,Ó she says. And she has great pride in her children. ÒI was an only child, so seeing all my children and grandchildren get along so well and merge and meld is the greatest boon in the world.Ó
The seven Rogers siblings have produced, among them, 26 children (the oldest is 13 years old), with #27 on the way. Rumor has it that Bowdoin has been bandied about as a possible college choice. Stay tuned...
David Treadwell Õ64 is not without some Bowdoin family ties of his own. His son Jon graduated in 1990. His grandfather William B. Kenniston graduated in 1892 and served as Class Poet; his great uncle George B. Kenniston, Jr. was in the Class of 1902 but never graduated as he died in the sinking of the steamer Portland; and his great-grandfather George B. Kenniston graduated in 1861 and has his name listed on the Civil War Memorial plaque in Pickard Theater.