Major Gift Endows New Social Sciences Professorship at Bowdoin

Story posted March 28, 2001

A major gift from an anonymous donor will endow a new professorship at Bowdoin College. The $1.5 million gift will establish the A. Myrick Freeman Chair in Social Sciences.

The endowment recognizes Freeman for his outstanding contributions to scholarship and teaching during his 36-year career at Bowdoin. Susan E. Bell, department of sociology and anthropology, has been named the first A. Myrick Freeman Professor in Social Sciences.

"Bowdoin College deeply appreciates this extraordinary gift," said Robert H. Edwards, president of the College. "The donor recognizes that endowed chairs are hallmarks of a truly distinguished faculty. Funds from the endowment will provide support for compensation, research, teaching expenses and sabbatical leaves. The gift will greatly enhance and forever enrich the study of the social sciences at Bowdoin."

A. Myrick Freeman is the William D. Shipman Research Professor of Economics at Bowdoin College. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Washington in 1965, at which time he was named to the Bowdoin faculty. Retired from the teaching faculty since 2000, he also served as chair of Bowdoin's economics department and director of the environmental studies program.

Freeman's principal research interests are in the areas of the economics of environmental policy, applied welfare economics, benefit-cost analysis, and risk management as applied to environmental and resource management issues. Much of his work has been devoted to the development of models and techniques for estimating the welfare effects of environmental changes, such as the benefits of controlling pollution and the damages to natural resources due to releases of chemicals into the environment. His most recent research has been on methods for estimating the economic value of ecosystems and their functions and services.

He has been the author or co-author of eight books including The Economics of Environmental Policy, The Benefits of Environmental Improvement: Theory and Practice, Air and Water Pollution Control: A Benefit-Cost Assessment, and The Measurement of Environmental and Resource Values: Theory and Methods. He has also published more than 70 articles and papers in academic journals and edited collections.

Susan Bell, professor of sociology, specializes in sociology of health and illness. "Susan is a model of the scholar/teacher at Bowdoin, devoted to her students and to rigorous teaching, while continuing wide engagement as a scholar particularly interested in individual narratives about illness and in the development of medical technologies," said Craig McEwen, dean for academic affairs at Bowdoin. "At the same time, Susan has continued to translate science and medicine for a wider audience with her continuing contributions to new editions of Our Bodies, Ourselves, one of the most significant books of the last several decades. She is a wonderful choice to be the first occupant of the A. Myrick Freeman Chair in Social Sciences."

Bell's research involves the experience of illness, women's health, and visual and performative representations of the politics of cancer, medicine, and women's bodies. She came to Bowdoin in 1983, and has served as chair of the department of sociology and anthropology. She has taught courses in constructions of the body, sociology of health and illness, and current controversies in sociology.

A graduate of Haverford College, where she now serves on the Board of Managers, she received her master's degree and doctorate from Brandeis University. She was a post-doctoral research fellow in sociology in the department of psychiatry at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center of Harvard Medical School.

She wrote the birth control chapter for the 1984 edition of The New Our Bodies, Ourselves, and revisions for the chapter in the 1992 and 1998 editions (Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century). Other recent publications include "Empowering technologies: connecting women and science in microbicide research" (Sciences Sociales et Sante), "Experiences of illness and narrative understandings" in Perspectives in Medical Sociology, "Narratives and lives: Women's health politics and the diagnosis of cancer for DES daughters" (Narrative Inquiry), and “Events in the Tuskegee syphilis project: A timeline” in "Tuskegee’s Truths: Rethinking the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.”

She has been awarded the Kenan Fellowship for Faculty Development at Bowdoin (July 1998-June 2001), a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, a Grant-in-Aid from the American Council of Learned Societies, and a National Research Service Award from Harvard Medical School. She is a member of the American Sociological Association and International Sociological Association.

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