Campus News

Mary C. and Armand L. Bernier Room Dedicated

Story posted November 28, 2001

The Mary C. and Armand L. Bernier Room in Cram Alumni House was dedicated Tuesday, November 27, as trustees, staff, faculty, friends and guests gathered to honor the couple who served the College with extraordinary dedication for a combined 61 years.

Following a reception, highlighted by the piano stylings of Lou MacNeill, the dedication ceremony in the Cram Barn opened with remarks by William Torrey, vice president for planning and development. Mr. Torrey began by reading the wording on the Bernier Room plaque: "This room is named in honor of Mary C. and Armand L. Bernier who served the College for 45 and 16 years, respectively, and who embody the spirit of dedication and loyalty to the College for members of the Bowdoin family and the larger community."

Robert H. Edwards, president emeritus, also spoke warmly about the Berniers. As President of the College during the last of Mary and Armand's years of service to Bowdoin, Mr. Edwards was a first-hand observer of their individual and collective contributions. During his remarks he recalled many of the key moments in Armand's and Mary's Bowdoin lives:

Armand began his Bowdoin career in January 1984 as a groundskeeper/mechanic. In 1992 he was promoted to landscaper, and in 1993 received an Employee Excellence Award. During his tenure, his warmth and good humor established him as a Bowdoin institution.

Armand's care with plantings around the College reflected his pride in his work and his deep affection for the Bowdoin community. He was the driving force behind the creation and maintenance of the quad's outdoor skating rink. Extremely dedicated, he often spent seven days a week working the campus landscape. He retired June 30, 2000, and now works on construction projects with friends and helps his neighbors with their gardens.

Mary was hired in August 1954 as a secretary in the Bursar's Office. She transferred to Development in 1962, and on January 1, 1967, was promoted to secretary to the vice president of administration and finance. Next she became assistant to the vice president for development. In 1991 she was promoted to director of development services and remained in this capacity until her retirement June 30, 1999, after 45 years of service.

Mary provided continuity and institutional memory in the administrations of Presidents Coles, Howell, Enteman, Greason, and Edwards. She was a source of information and historical perspective for administrative staff and members of the Governing Boards, having seen the turmoil of student strikes, budget crises, and four capital campaigns. She had been working at the College for 16 years when it became a coeducational institution.

Colleagues agree that Mary set a standard for Bowdoin's Development Office with her loyalty, judgment, humor, confidence, timing, and competence. Extremely generous, she is characterized as "always, always, always" doing things for others.

In her retirement Mary enjoys playing her new piano and the guitar, working in the garden, and spending time with family and friends. She and Armand also enjoy traveling, and last fall researched family roots in Ireland. They recently returned from a trip through the eastern provinces of Canada.

The Berniers' love for the College is further demonstrated by their establishment in 1997-98 of the Mary C. and Armand L. Bernier Scholarship Fund. The fund provides financial aid for students from the greater Brunswick area - from the communities in which they themselves are deeply rooted.

For many among the alumni and alumnae, faculty and staff, Mary and Armand are the embodiment of Bowdoin's hospitality.

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