Cohen Accepts Bowdoin Prize with Pride, Nostalgia
Story posted September 15, 2000
Sec. Cohen returned to the College on Sept. 7 for a full afternoon of events. Upon his arrival from the Brunswick Naval Air Station, he met briefly with local media. Representatives from Maine Public Radio, CSH6, Fox 51, WGME13, the Times Record, the Press Herald, the Associated Press and the Orient asked the Secretary questions about America's military preparedness and the strike at Bath Iron Works.
Following the press conference, Sec. Cohen sat for an interview that will appear in the next issue of Bowdoin Magazine. He then joined students, faculty, staff, members of the community and many returning members of the Class of 1962 at a reception on the Coe Quad and Dinner in Moulton Union.
The Secretary was visibly pleased when he stood to speak to about 600 people who had gathered to watch him receive the Bowdoin Prize. He told the audience what an important part of his life his years at Bowdoin had been, and even shared a poem written for A. Roy Gleason's class that earned him a "C." Secretary Cohen's speech touched on the meaning of his Bowdoin education, his belief in public service and his faith in America. The speech may be listened to through RealAudio on the archived speeches section of the SUN Online.
The Bowdoin Prize was established in 1928 as a memorial to William John Curtis, of the Class of 1875, by his wife and children. It is awarded every five years "to the graduate or former member of the College or member of its faculty at the time of the award, who shall have made during the period the most distinctive contribution in any field of human endeavor." It is awarded to those who, in the judgment of the Committee of Award, are "recognized as having won national and not merely local distinction, or who, in the judgement of the Committee, is fairly entitled to be so recognized."
Sec. Cohen was chosen to receive the prize for his distinguished career in public service. His nomination for the prize was confirmed by the Committee of Award, the members of which are the president of Harvard University, Neil Rudenstine; the president of Yale University, Richard C. Levin; and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine, Daniel E. Wathen.
The last recipient of the Bowdoin Prize was former Senator George Mitchell, of the Class of 1954. Among other past recipients are Rear Admiral and Arctic explorer Donald MacMillan 1898 and Olympic Gold Medallist Joan Benoit Samuelson ’79.
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