Parents and Families
In a new article published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers claim that romantic partners share more genetic similarity than individuals who are randomly paired. Despite this finding, other factors contribute more to pairing, including education level, according to Discovery News.
Three University of North Carolina scientists argue in a new paper that more research needs to be done on “gerontogens” — the factors that can accelerate aging. Gerontogens can include arsenic in groundwater, benzene in industrial emissions, ultraviolet radiation in sunlight, many types of chemotherapy, some anti-HIV drugs, and the 4,000 toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke. Activities are also included, such as eating too many calories or suffering psychological stress.
Other studies have suggested that only about 25 percent of the variation in the human life span is influenced by genes, National Geographic reports, yet the study of gerontogens has lagged behind other areas of aging research.
Ever wanted a tour of the world’s weirdest house? Here’s your chance. With a photographic spread featuring such surreal attractions as the “Infinity Room” (pictured), the “Carousel Room” (which contains the world’s largest merry-go-round), and more, Slate attempts to explain the frankly unexplainable phenomenon that is Alex Jordan’s “House on the Rock” in rural Wisconsin.
For some, it was Maya Angelou’s landmark book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, her stark account of growing up in the Jim Crow South — and required reading in many high school literature classes — that brought her to the forefront of consciousness. For others it was her inspiring poetry or her oft-repeated quotes that shone with enlightenment.
Angelou died at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C., yesterday at the age of 86. Angelou spoke at the College in 1984, three years before she was awarded an honorary degree.
Last year at this time, Ambassador Thomas Pickering ’53 returned to campus for his 60th reunion and presented a lecture sharing his remarkable insights into U.S. foreign policy. Now, as Bowdoin alumni once again journey back to their alma mater from around the country and the globe, the College is embarking on a classroom renovation project in Pickering’s name.
Thanks to a gift of more than $100,000 gift from the Class of 1953 in honor of their illustrious classmate, along with a $150,000 grant from the George I. Alden Trust, the Hubbard West classroom in Hubbard Hall will be transformed over the summer into a restored, refreshed, digital-age version of its former self. The renovation reflects the College’s ongoing commitment to preserving the historic integrity of its classrooms while upgrading them to contemporary standards. Read the full story.
The College bestowed honorary degrees on four people at Bowdoin’s 209th Commencement. We caught up with this year’s crop of honorands during their various talks the day of Baccalaureate to learn a bit about their respective passions and how they came to receive an honorary degree.
Two behavioral scientists discovered that when a paid actor talked to a stranger on a train, that person reported having a more positive experience than those left alone to gaze off into space or listen to their earbuds. Part of this is because when we talk to a stranger, we “put on our happy face…reserving our crankier side for the people we know and love,” according to an op-ed in The New York Times. This can have the unintended consequence of erasing our bad moods and making us more cheerful. “Many of us assume…that our well-being depends on our closest ties, and not on the minor characters in our daily lives. More surprisingly, interactions with weak ties correlated at least as highly with happiness as interactions with strong ties. Even the bit players in our lives may influence our well-being.”
Awards honoring outstanding leadership and service to the College will be presented May 31, 2014, during Reunion Convocation.
The Common Good Award, selected by the Bowdoin College Board of Trustees, this year has three recipients, each of whom embody a profound and sustained commitment to the common good: Communities Without Borders co-founder Dr. Richard Bail ’64, San Francisco’s first Asian-American mayor Ed Lee ’74, and Forest Foundation founder Mike Poor ’64.
The Alumni Service Award and the Alumni Award for Faculty and Staff, chosen by the Alumni Council, recognize members of the Bowdoin community for their exemplary achievement and dedication. The Alumni Service Award will be presented to Bowdoin College Trustee Emerita Tracy Burlock ’81, and the Alumni Award for Faculty and Staff goes to 40-year Dining Service veteran Patricia Pye.
Whitney Soule, Bowdoin’s Director of Admissions, working with The Opportunity Network, has identified a number of ways to increase the odds for low-income and first-generation college students.
Soule and The Opportunity Network’s founder and CEO, Jessica Pliska, wrote an op-ed piece published on the website of WNYC, New York City’s NPR station.
The Bowdoin College sailing team is competing in a pair of events at the 2014 Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) national championships.
The Polar Bears have boats competing in the Sperry Top-Sider Women’s National Semi-Final and Final Championship (May 27-30) as well as in the Gill Coed Dinghy National Semi-Final and Final Championship (June 3-6). It will be the first-ever appearance for Bowdoin on both championships, which will be co-hosted by the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. and St. Mary’s College of Maryland in St. Mary’s City, Md. Read more and find links to live coverage.
Reprints from Commencement Weekend 2014 are now available for purchase online. Photographer Michele Stapleton has captured special moments from the Generations and First Generation Luncheons, Baccalaureate, Lobsterbake and Commencement. Peruse the images here.