Campus News

Bowdoin to Award 432 Bachelor of Arts Degrees at 196th Commencement

Story posted May 11, 2001

Bowdoin College will award 432 Bachelor of Arts degrees when Maine's oldest college holds its 196th commencement exercises at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 26.

President Robert H. Edwards will preside over his last commencement ceremony as Bowdoin president; he retires June 30. He will award the degrees on the terrace of the Walker Art Building. In case of severe weather, the ceremonies will be held in Farley Field House. The public is invited to attend the ceremonies free of charge, space permitting.

Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives Mike Saxl '89 will present greetings from the state of Maine. Rabbi Ruth Smith will deliver the invocation.

Since 1806, Bowdoin has given the honor of speaking at commencement to graduating seniors, rather than to celebrities. Students compete to determine who will speak. This year Bowdoin's oldest graduate, Christine DeTroy of Brunswick, Maine, will give a speech titled "My Bowdoin Education Began in September of 1947." Christine, 72, first became familiar with the College when her husband was a student on the GI Bill after World War II. She graduates from Bowdoin 51 years after her husband did (and 31 years after her son).

Also speaking at commencement is Nathaniel Chase Vinton, of Salt Lake City, Utah. His speech is titled "Maine's Absent Presence."

Bowdoin will award honorary degrees to Maxine Kumin of Warner, New Hampshire, Pulitzer prize-winning poet and former poet laureate of New Hampshire; Mamphela Ramphele of South Africa and now in Washington D.C., a doctor, activist, former vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town and managing director of the World Bank; Paul Simon of Carbondale, Illinois, former United States senator; and Theodore Stebbins of Brookline, Mass., authority on American art and curator. An honorary degree will also be awarded to President Edwards.

The commencement procession will begin at 9:20 a.m. at Baxter House, led by Senior Class Marshal Peter Holman, Montpelier, Vt. Faculty marshals Denis Corish, Professor of Philosophy, and Helen Cafferty, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of German and the Humanities, will open the commencement ceremony. Senior members of Bowdoin's a cappella choirs The Indecisions, the Meddiebempsters and Miscellania will sing the National Anthem and the Alma Mater.

Following the ceremonies, a commencement buffet will be held for class members, family, faculty, staff and alumni.

On Friday, May 25 at 3 p.m. Bowdoin will host its traditional Baccalaureate service at First Parish Church, Maine Street and Bath Road. The event is open to the public, but seating is limited.

Honorand Ramphela Mamphele will present the Baccalaureate address. The student speaker will be Michael Micciche III of Reading, Mass., who will deliver a speech titled "Delivering the Goods, or So What's a Bowdoin English Major Really Good for Anyway?"

Anthony Antolini '63, Director of the Bowdoin Chorus, will play an organ prelude and postlude, Bach's Prelude and Fugue in G minor, and Louis Nicolas Clerambault's Caprice. Members of the Bowdoin Chorus and Chamber Choir will sing "The 23rd Psalm (dedicated to my mother)" by Bobby McFerrin. Dean of Student Affairs Craig Bradley will give selected readings from Bowdoin's past.

After the baccalaureate service, President Edwards will host a reception on the lawn of Cleaveland House, 75 Federal St. The day ends with Bowdoin's traditional lobster bake for students and their families, faculty and staff.

Among Friday's highlights will be a concert by senior music majors at 10:15 a.m., academic department open houses from 1 to 2:30 p.m., and a commencement dance for seniors and their families, faculty and staff at 9 p.m. in the Morrell Lounge in Smith Union.

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