Campus News

Hamrell Wins Bowdoin College Common Good Award

Story posted June 15, 1998


BRUNSWICK, Maine -- Sven B. Hamrell of Uppsala, Sweden, a member of the Bowdoin Class of 1948, received the 1998 Common Good Award during the College's Reunion Convocation on Saturday, May 30.

The Common Good Award is presented annually by Bowdoin to alumni/ae who have "demonstrated an extraordinary, profound, and sustained commitment to the common good, in the interest and for the benefit of society, with conspicuous disregard for personal gains in wealth or status."

Hamrell is a senior advisor to the Dag Hammarskjšld Foundation, where he served 30 years as executive director. Throughout his career, he has played a pivotal role in communicating issues and problems facing Third World countries. He has also served as director of the Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, a member of the Commission on Aid to African Refugees, a member of the Swedish Government Committee on Humanitarian Aid, and chair of the Rural Advancement Foundation International. His work has helped resolve problems of health, housing, education, employment, and the effect of biotechnology on agriculture in developing countries. His work has led to reform in the United Nations and in setting policy for international development.

A native of Sweden, Hamrell graduated cum laude from Bowdoin in 1947. He spent two years studying political science at the New School of Social Research in New York City upon graduation, and later enrolled in Uppsala University, where he received a degree in political science and philosophy in 1956.

Established in 1993 as part of Bowdoin's Bicentennial celebration, the Common Good awards bestow high distinction on those Bowdoin alumni who personify the idea of the common good as set forth by Bowdoin's frst president, Joseph McKeen. In his inaugural address on Sept. 2, 1802, McKeen reminded his audience that, "It ought always to be remembered that literary institutions are founded and endowed for the common good and not for the private advantage of those who resort to them for education. It is not that they may be able to pass through life in an easy and reputable manner, but that their mental powers may be cultivated and improved for the benefit of society."

Only individual, living Bowdoin alumni/ae are considered for Common Good awards and those who have been widely recognized and honored by the College or by other organizations are not generally eligible.

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