Campus News

Bowdoin Celebrates Annual Baccalaureate Exercises

Story posted May 15, 1999

May 28, 1999, BRUNSWICK, Maine -- Bowdoin hosted its traditional baccalaureate service Friday, May 28, in celebration of the College's 194th commencement.

Bowdoin president Robert H. Edwards presided over the exercises. He been pondering "this world of dot com," he said in his opening remarks, and was reassured that the human element remained of primary importance. "Behind all this, there is still education, and good minds must absorb knowledge and ask questions," he said. "...and it will always be thus."

Charles W. Olcott of Deerfield, Mass., gave the student address. In a speech titled "A Word or Two on a Roman Emperor and Moldy Love Letters," he urged graduates to embrace their dissatisfaction and let it spur them to do their best to live justly and legitimately and effect change for the better.

"There are days when I cringe at the condition of the world I am inheriting, the leaders I am to emulate and the professionals I am soon expected to be. For I am not at all sure that theirs is a legacy I want," he said. "What's more -- I know that I would not have it any other way at 22. I imagine that some of these ‘rejections' will soften or even disappear with time; but for now, I embrace them and the restless energy that is their source. If the knowledge that you have gained studying at this school has not shaken you to the core and left you more than a little dissatisfied - well, I think you have missed out on the best the Bowdoin has to offer."

Honorand Horst Albach, of the Bowdoin Class of 1956, delivered an address titled "On the Economics of Civil Disobedience, Loyalty and Trust." Drawing from his experiences helping Germany to strengthen and unify after World War II, he spoke of the importance of working in organizations that deserve loyalty and working with trustworthy people.

"Loyalty to efficient organizations is better than disobedience to inefficient institutions. It is our, and your, responsibility to set up and help maintain efficient organizations... It is our responsibility to keep them open to opposition and to remain innovative by encouraging voice and criticism. This is the essence of loyalty towards institutions in a dynamic environment. It is more likely to find people whom you can trust in such organizations than in others."

During the exercises, music was provided by the Bowdoin Chamber Choir and by Michael Timothy Naess '99 on the organ. Dean of Student Affairs Craig Bradley gave selected readings from Bowdoin's past.

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