Campus News

Bowdoin Set to Begin 197th Academic Year With Traditional Activities

Story posted August 15, 1998


August 28, 1998, BRUNSWICK, Maine - Bowdoin College, the oldest college in Maine (1794), will continue a 157-year tradition next week when the 439 members of the Class of 2002 visit the office of President Robert H. Edwards to sign the Matriculation Book resting atop a desk that once belonged to Nathaniel Hawthorne of the Class of 1825. As they sign, members of the class will have an opportunity to view the signatures of many Bowdoin students who came before them - including Civil War hero Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Class of 1852), Admiral Robert E. Peary (Class of 1877), U.S. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen (Class of 1962), Olympic gold medalist Join Benoit Samuelson (Class of 1979), and many others. Signing the Matriculation Book is one of several traditions that will mark the start of Bowdoin's 197th academic year.

Nearly two-thirds of the first-year class arrived on campus earlier this week, spent one night, and then embarked on Wednesday for four days of pre-orientation trips throughout Maine. These trips, which have been a tradition at Bowdoin since 1981, include sea kayaking, canoe trips, hiking trips at the Camden Hills, at Saddleback and Mt. Katahdin, wilderness workshops at Chewonki in Wiscasset, a service project at Camp Wazus in Damariscotta, a trip to Bowdoin's biological station on Kent Island in the Bay of Fundy, bike trips to Acadia National Park and the Rangeley Lake region, and several others.

All members of the class will be back in Brunswick on Saturday for the start of orientation activities which will include a convening dinner hosted by President Edwards at which Maine Governor Angus King will deliver greetings to the first-year class from the State of Maine - a tradition begun last year at the suggestion of the Governor.

For the past decade, members of the incoming class have been provided with a carefully selected text which they read over the summer and which is brought to life when they arrive on campus by the author, whose appearance and lecture are then followed by faculty-led seminars that discuss the book. This year, members of the class have read The Odyssey as translated by Princeton University's Professor of Comparative Literature Robert Fagles. Fagles will offer a reading and personal remarks about his translation of The Odyssey on Tuesday, September 1.

The rest of Bowdoin's 1,550 students will arrive on campus later in the week. The College Convocation, the official opening of the academic year, will be held on Wednesday, September 2 at 3:00 p.m. in First Parish Church in Brunswick. Classes begin the next morning.

There are 221 men and 218 women in the Class of 2002. The class includes 16 international students.

« Back | Campus News | Academic Spotlight | | Subscribe to Bowdoin News by Email