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Updated: 10 min 13 sec ago

Bowdoin Quad Gets a New Memorial Flagpole (and Flag)

4 hours 46 min ago

For 84 years, a tall, straight pole made of Douglas fir supported the flag that flew above the southwest corner of the Bowdoin Quad. Of course, wood doesn’t last forever and this summer, the College replaced the original Memorial Flagpole with a 72-foot fiberglass pole that will be easier to maintain and should last quite a bit longer. The new pole also supports a larger flag — according to the experts the previous flag-to-flagpole ratio was a bit off.

Consigli Construction, which specializes in historic renovations, took down the old pole piece by piece in July. The company had to resort to using a high-pressured water hose to extract the base of the lodged pole, which ran all the way to the bottom of the granite monument. On August 19, the company erected the new pole, reattached the gilded eagle, and raised the new flag.

History buffs will know that Bowdoin’s Memorial Flagpole was designed by famed architects McKim, Mead & White, the same firm that also designed the Walker Art Building, the Class of 1875 gate, Moulton Union, and the Curtis Pool. Less well-known is that the flagpole was supposed to be situated out in the middle of the Quad. A group of students didn’t like that idea, so one Saturday night in the spring of 1930, before the new pole could be erected, they decided to move the pole into the Bowdoin Chapel. President Sills was not amused, but in the end a compromise was struck and Bowdoin’s Memorial Flagpole found a permanent home between Gibson Hall and the Walker Art Building. Read more about the history of the Memorial Flagpole in this account by Patricia McGraw Anderson.

“X” marks the planned original site for the Memorial Flagpole“X” marks the planned original site for the Memorial Flagpole

“X” marks the planned original site for the Memorial Flagpole

Students remove flagpole to the ChapelStudents remove flagpole to the Chapel

Students remove flagpole to the Chapel

A not-so-amused President SillsA not-so-amused President Sills

A not-so-amused President Sills

Removing the poleRemoving the pole

Removing the pole

Gilded eagle atop the Memorial FlagpoleGilded eagle atop the Memorial Flagpole

Gilded eagle atop the Memorial Flagpole

Categories: Bowdoin

Rudalevige on Obama’s ‘Un-vacation Vacation’ (NY Daily News)

5 hours 27 min ago
Andrew Rudalevige

Andrew Rudalevige

Andrew Rudalevige is everywhere these days. Bowdoin’s Thomas Brackett Reed Professor of Government has been tapped for insight and quoted in The Washington PostThe New York Times, and most recently, The New York Daily News

In a piece by Daily News Washington bureau chief James Warren concerning President Obama’s two-day break from a family vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, Rudalevige says “Obama presumably wants to avoid the mockery Bill Clinton got for doing polling over where he should vacation,” adding, “And I do think presidents are in a tough spot; they need some time for decompression, and that doesn’t really happen even on ‘vacation.’ Nancy Reagan said something like ‘presidents don’t get a vacation, only a change of scenery.”

Categories: Bowdoin

An Appleseed a Day Keeps the Doctor Away (The Atlantic)

5 hours 29 min ago

Christmas TreeJohnny Appleseed is lauded as an “American folk hero” for having planted and emphasized the importance of trees for future generations. As it turns out, there’s science to back his actions — research demonstrates health benefits for those who spend more time with trees.

In one study, gall bladder removal patients recovered faster when their windows looked out over trees as opposed to buildings. And on the flip side, acute respiratory symptoms and deaths associated with pollution are on the rise in areas where a lack of trees provides no defense against pollution. Read more about the current state of trees and pollution in The Atlantic.

Categories: Bowdoin

‘Mise-En-Place’ Put in Place in Real Life (NPR)

5 hours 31 min ago

cooking128It is a universal principle in the culinary world, especially among highly trained chefs: mise-en-place. The French phrase translates to English as “put in place,” and it is a mantra for having everything you need exactly where you need it, exactly when you need it. No more, no less. Most directly, chefs refer to this principle as they arrange all necessary kitchen tools and ingredients in reliable places at their work station. But it extends to all kinds of tasks — organizing your things for an entire day, internalizing lists, cleaning as you go. Chefs find that the rigor of mise-en-place seeps into all aspects of their lives, and they believe everyone could learn a thing or two from this culinary system of order.

Categories: Bowdoin

Whispering Pines: What’s Missing?

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 13:43


When I was young (a long, long time ago now), I used to enjoy the picture puzzles in the children’s magazines that could be found in the waiting rooms at the dentist’s or doctor’s office, especially those that had illustrations with  hidden objects or challenged me to find what was missing in a picture. Earlier generations may remember “what’s missing” illustrations created by Norman Rockwell for April Fool’s Day covers for The Saturday Evening Post in the 1940s. Similar games for children and adults are available as apps (applications) for smart phones, such as the popular “What’s Missing??”

This is the fiftieth “Whispering Pines” column that I have written for the Bowdoin Daily Sun, and although it is an artificial milestone, I’m still using it as an opportunity to reflect on what stories have – and haven’t – been covered in these essays over the past several years.

There are several assumptions and subtexts that apply to the columns:

(1) every member of the Bowdoin community shares ownership of the College’s historical legacy – the good, the bad, and the endlessly fascinating;

(2) the past is at least partially knowable at the scales at which people lived their lives at a particular moment in time, space, and circumstance, and made active decisions in the face of an uncertain future;

(3) new questions and insights can reinvigorate an oft-told tale, making what was once familiar seem exotic and fresh;

and (4) even though there may be a great divide that separates the historical and cultural contexts of a story from the present, there will always be a recognizable kernel of human experience or emotion contained therein.

I recognize that the limitations of my own knowledge and experiences have a direct impact on what I write about. What I think I may know is dwarfed by things about which I know next to nothing. It is a simple statement of fact that I am influenced by the historical, social, cultural, and intellectual circumstances of my own life (a white, male, middle-class baby boomer from Maine, who is an anthropologist/archaeologist by training). Each narrative is shaped by filters and blinders that are consciously imposed or operate below the threshold of my awareness.

Gallery: Stories not yet told. . . Pearl Bordeaux ’14 invented Maine’s first snowmobile in 1915 when he attached a Smith motor wheel on the back of a sled and fashioned a steering tiller so that he could deliver the mail on Mt. Desert Island. The Green Hornet Construction Company’s Hughes 1973 Pre-Med Memorial Cemetery was a poignant reminder of how the capricious assignment of grades could alter career paths. The cover photo on the January 8, 1940, issue of LIFE magazine, showed Ernest H. (“Hal”) Pottle ’41 and his date, Dorothy Ohlrogge, on a horse-drawn sleigh ride in Brunswick.  By the end of the year they were married and Hal was in the Navy for the duration of World War II. In the summer of 1950, actor Gary Merrill ’37 and his new bride, actress Bette Davis, drove up the front steps of the Walker Art Building in his convertible; President Sills was reportedly not amused. The origins and significance of Ivies Weekend are constantly (and creatively) reinvented by each generation of Bowdoin students. It’s a good thing for the UMaine black bear at the 1919 Homecoming football game that Arctic explorer Donald MacMillan of the Class of 1898 was unsuccessful in bringing back a live polar bear mascot from the Crocker Land Expedition in 1917.

I often find ideas for essays in some aspect of the College’s history, or in the intersections of lives and circumstances that reveal a different perspective on well-known historical events and figures. Instead of a following a linear historical path, I often find an interconnected and multi-branching thicket instead. As is the case when hand-picking wild blueberries, it’s sometimes easier to sit down in the middle of a patch and collect what is within reach than it is to contemplate a systematic sweep of a field from one end to the other.

For example, in last month’s column I wrote about Seropé Gűrdjian of the Class of 1877,  a classmate of Arctic explorer Robert Peary, inventor Freelan O. Stanley, and Charles W. Morse, “The Ice-King,” whose deeds and misdeeds roiled the American financial world for the first quarter of the 20th century (and who claimed that Peary would have reached the North Pole in 1906 if he had used a Morse tugboat to help The Roosevelt through the ice). Clearly there is a Charlie Morse Whispering Pines column in my future. Each of these students participated in the Drill Rebellion during Joshua Chamberlain’s presidency, was hazed by 1876’s Phi Chi, and learned the news of George Custer’s defeat at the Little Big Horn (and the death of Custer’s surgeon, George Lord of the Class of 1866) in the summer before their senior year. They may have glimpsed Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on campus before he delivered Morituri Salutamus, his 50th Reunion address, on July 7, 1875. One could write a book on the interconnected and yet independent lives of these few alumni as seen through a Bowdoin lens.

My favorite part of writing ‘The Whispering Pines’ is to read the comments from alumni, faculty and staff, parents, and friends who share their insights, knowledge, gentle corrections, and personal experiences. 

And now for what’s missing from these pictures. As I mentioned earlier, the subject matter for The Whispering Pines tends to follow what I think I know about. I tend to write essays about historical subjects, especially about events and people where enough time has elapsed to allow some historical perspective. Rummaging in a more distant past lowers the risk of mischaracterizing the actions of the living or of appearing to promote the accomplishments of a select few while ignoring the achievements of the many. This decision has introduced a number of demographic biases. There are fewer stories about women than there should be, and fewer stories about the students, alumni, and faculty of a College that has never been so diverse as it is now, as measured along any axis against that you might choose. For much of the richness of experience that collectively makes up the Bowdoin family, I am outside observer – an appreciative observer, but an outside one, nonetheless.

While a multigenerational connection to Bowdoin as an alumnus and employee may initially appear to be an asset in understanding the College’s history, it could be seen with equal justification as a kind of liability. Inherited stories and perspectives can obscure what others may be able to see more clearly through new eyes. A long time depth can give a valuable historical perspective, but also may involve embedded assumptions, a resistance to change, and a tendency to repeat received wisdom rather than to question it. If I accept the “insider” views passed down in my family about various Bowdoin presidents, administrators, and faculty, then I must also be open to the truths and lived experiences of others that may be at odds with my version of “the facts.”

Finally, there are self-imposed word limits on Whispering Pines columns of between 750 and 1,500 words. In a practical sense this means that stories that are complex or which require a lengthy preamble are not likely to appear in a column for the Bowdoin Daily Sun.

My favorite part of writing “The Whispering Pines” is to read the comments from alumni, faculty and staff, parents, and friends who share their insights, knowledge, gentle corrections, and personal experiences. Thank you, one and all!  Now, on to the next 50 columns…


With best wishes,

John R. Cross ’76
Secretary of Development and College Relations

Categories: Bowdoin

Bowdoin’s Rudalevige Weighs in on Obama’s Use of Executive Power (New York Times)

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 13:43
Andrew Rudalevige

Andrew Rudalevige


In a Monday New York Times article, Andrew Rudalevige, Bowdoin’s Thomas Brackett Reed Professor of Government, speaks about President Obama’s wield of unilateral power to advance his policy agenda.

“The executive branch is not really set up to be a deliberative body like the Congress is,” Rudalevige told the paper. “The process is certainly stacked toward the policy preferences of the administration, and they’re going to listen to the people they think are right, which usually means the ones who agree with them.

“Those who are ‘in’ will engage the White House and the agencies to get their priorities met, and if you’re ‘out,’ you turn to the legal process” to challenge the executive action after it is taken, he said.

Categories: Bowdoin

Lucy Knowlton ’15 Delves into Brunswick’s International Past

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 13:42
Lucy Knowlton ’15 at Simpson’s Point Landing, the area where the Brunswick shipyard was located

Lucy Knowlton ’15 at Simpson’s Point Landing, where the Brunswick shipyard was located.

Quick: what’s something that Singapore, Japan, and Cape Horn have in common? They were all destinations for a booming shipping industry of the late 1800s – one that was based in Brunswick, Maine. This summer, Lucy Knowlton ’15 has been working under a Gibbons Fellowship to explore the Brunswick shipping industry, using ArcGIS maps and the resources available in Bowdoin’s Special Collections.

Knowlton began her research by looking at payrolls and other documents that belonged to the Pennells, a prominent shipbuilding family, and went on to investigate individual members of the community through the Ancestry search engine. “One of the first things I learned how to do was to read this really old handwriting,” she said. “It was like another language.” Her research also included using ship logbooks to identify the latitude and longitude of the boats on their journeys, and visually mapping the voyages in ArcGIS. Continue reading about her project.

Categories: Bowdoin

Technology Tracking Shows Habit of Most Productive People (The Muse)

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 13:42

Alarm clock256The numbers 52 and 17 apparently hold some productive significance. Using the tracking application DeskTime to study the habits of the most productive employees showed that they did focused work for 52 minutes at a time – then took a focused break for 17 minutes. Rather than sneaking quick peeks at a phone or email, they let themselves be wholly invested in what they were doing for these periods of time, whether working or taking time to walk around the office and chat.

Categories: Bowdoin

Justin Pearson ’17 Offers Hope to Memphis Teens With Innovative Summer Program

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:17

Justin Pearson Camp HopeJustin J. Pearson ’17 has founded a new summer program this summer in his home city of Memphis, Tenn., for teenagers growing up in the city’s poorest, and sometimes violent, districts. He designed Camp Hope to give young people a chance to connect with their communities in a positive way.

“The best way for me to help back home was to bring an opportunity to students who might otherwise be involved in activities they shouldn’t,” he said, such as gangs, “and to give them an opportunity to come together and attach themselves to a better side of the community.” A critical component, he added, was “to give them a sense of the benefits of education — to show them there is a way they can move forward.”

Pearson grew up in poverty in Memphis in a family of five boys. In time, his mother and father went back to school to first earn bachelor’s and then master’s degrees. Now his mother is a teacher and his father a pastor. Watching his parents build a new life impressed Pearson. “I know education can be a ladder out of poverty,” he said. Read the full story.

Categories: Bowdoin

Do Women Increase the Likelihood of Peace? (The Guardian)

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:16

Peace-128The United Nations has crafted many a resolution to further women’s rights worldwide. But how do women factor into U.N. peacekeeping efforts in areas of conflict? As it turns out, encouraging women to participate in the peace process makes ending violence in conflict regions 24% more likely within one year. The U.N. has been criticized for its numbers-based quota for female involvement in peace, however; the same research shows that it is specifically local women from within the conflict who are vital to improving peace prospects.

Categories: Bowdoin

Susan Williams ’81 Opens New Show in Rockport

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:15

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 11.31.30 AM


A show of Susan Williams ’81 work opens August 20 at Pascal Hall in Rockport, Maine. Willliams aims to “follow instinct and emotion” in her dreamy paintings of trees, rocks and landscapes, which incorporate texturizing from razor blades and sable brushes.

Williams has already displayed several exhibitions in New York, Maine and Texas’s Barry Whistler Gallery, and groups of her paintings have been acquired by McKinsey & Co., and Goldman Sachs & Co.

The Pascal Hall show will remain on display through September 30, 2014.

Categories: Bowdoin

Science Explains Why You Hate Mondays

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:14

Sad Business Man


By now, you have “coffeed-up” and begun to rally amid your Monday, but, as is the case with so many things —  it doesn’t have to be this way. Chances are —  your sleeping, eating, exercise, and drinking habits are different during the week than they are on the weekend, disrupting circadian rhythms and contributing to “social jet-lag” — that groggy, grumpy feeling that starts off your Monday on a not-so-high note. Little life-hacks on the weekend can set you up for a great week.

Categories: Bowdoin

Former Defense Secretary William Cohen ’62 Among NCAA’s Celebrated Student-Athletes

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 13:05


Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and 1962 All-State basketball player William S. Cohen '62, H'75 shoots hoops in Sargent Gym.

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and 1962 All-State basketball player William S. Cohen ’62, H’75 shoots hoops in Sargent Gym in 2012.

The NCAA is celebrating former student-athletes with the launch of  “NCAA After the Game,” a compilation of stories that recognize the accomplishments scored after their playing days. Among those featured — former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen ’62, H’75, a standout basketball player during his years at Bowdoin.

Categories: Bowdoin

The East Coast’s ‘European’ Rails (National Geographic)

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 13:04

Interior of a Pullman train of 1930'sOne of the classic traveler fantasies about Europe is the ability to hop from one renowned location to another in a matter of hours, thanks to the extensive railway network connecting cities and countries alike. But who says you can’t have the same multi-city cultural experience in the U.S.? National Geographic‘s “Digital Nomad” made the trek by train from Washington D.C., to Philadelphia, Boston and New York in one trip — and he already looks forward to doing it again.

Categories: Bowdoin

Toph Tucker ’13 Is on the Cover of Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 13:02

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Toph Tucker ’13 wore various hats during his tenure at the Bowdoin Orient, who would have guessed he would be modeling as part of his job as graphics editor for Bloomberg Businessweek? He posed as the quintessential Silicon Valley Tech Bro — a nod to the Mark Zuckerberg archetype in his nonchalant hoodie. The cover article explores the truth behind this schema and the dynamics that tech companies have created in cities such as San Francisco.

Categories: Bowdoin

Got Five Minutes? You’ve Got No Excuse (New York Times)

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 13:00

Exercise ballFor the past few years, doctors have been recommending 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day for better health. But what if there was a shortcut to fitness that would also help you live longer? As it turns out, even just five minutes of running can add extra years onto your life and decrease your risk of dying from heart disease — significantly more so than moderate exercise. For those who can’t stand running, the good news is that any vigorous exercise counts.

Categories: Bowdoin

NBC’s Cynthia McFadden ’78 on the Life of Lauren Bacall (NBC Nightly News)

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 16:08
Cynthia McFadden '78, H'12

Cynthia McFadden ’78, H’12


Stage and screen legend Lauren Bacall died earlier this week at the age of 89. The Tony- and Oscar-winning actress, known to generations of fans for her smoky voice and smoldering look, was known to friends as Betty, the name with which she had been born.

Cynthia McFadden ’78, H’12, senior legal and investigative correspondent for NBC News, counts herself among those who knew the real Betty, and shared a look at Bacall’s life and career on The NBC Nightly News.

Categories: Bowdoin

Off-Campus Scholars: Studying Cosmic Rays and Fisheries Bycatch

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 16:04

davis unruhWhile many Bowdoin students stay on campus to do research over the summer, there are always some who pursue research opportunities elsewhere, sometimes on another university campus, a laboratory, or even an oceangoing vessel.

For instance, Margaret Lindeman ’15 and Sara Hamilton ’16 joined scientists in Greenland this summer to study the effects of climate change. Erin Voss ’16 traveled to Colorado’s Rocky Mountains to look into yellow-bellied marmot habitats and species distribution.

The Bowdoin Daily Sun caught up with two off-campus researchers, Davis Unruh ’16 and Karl Reinhardt ’15, who are, respectively, investigating the skies and the seas. Read about the summer experiences of Unruh and Reinhardt.

Categories: Bowdoin

The Freedom That Modern Kids No Longer Have (Slate)

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 16:02

003playgroundIf you were born prior to the 1980s, at what age did you start walking to school? Walking alone at night? Playing without an adult on the playground? Chances are, you walked and played without a whole lot of supervision at a much younger age than those born after the Reagan era would report.

The rise of media attention to kidnappers and other hazards to children during that time frame is one of the factors that has heightened parental vigilance. Changing attitudes toward some aspects of young life are also a factor. Slate asks, are we putting too short of a leash on our kids now – or should we have been paying more attention back then?

Categories: Bowdoin

Who Are We Tipping, Really? (Eater)

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 16:00

One dollar origami money butterflyThe end of a meal is a less-than-ideal, yet it’s the culturally sanctioned time to find yourself doing math (at least in America). “It makes no sense,” New York City chef Amanda Cohen laments, “at the end of the meal, just when people are very drunk, or very full, or very ready for romance,” they have to calculate a tip.

But it’s not just the buzzkill element that worries her: servers are relying on the generosity of customers to make up for sub-minimum wages. Studies have shown that the smallest of server behaviors and attributes, such as hair color or a smiley on the check, can affect how much gratuity they receive. And even if a diner leaves an extra-generous amount, the low-paid kitchen staff do not benefit from the surplus — not to mention that choosing how much to tip puts the burden on the customer to alert the manager of good or bad service. Cohen makes the case for service charges and the end of restaurant tipping.

Categories: Bowdoin