Campus News

Mellon Award to Fund Ongoing Residential Life Programs

Story posted January 30, 2003

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Bowdoin College $100,000 to support the residential life program and increase faculty involvement in residential life.

These funds, distributed over four years, will support the continuation and enhancement of the academic community-building program Bowdoin initiated with a previous grant of $90,000 from Mellon in 2000.

The grant is intended to promote the mixing of academic and residential life on campus, and encourage students and faculty to meet outside the classroom.

Bowdoin students have established a wide variety of programs in the past two years with Mellon funds. Activities have included faculty dinners at College Houses, dinner with the governor, guest speakers, trips to Portland, a culinary series featuring guest chefs, Baxter House's "Loose Leaves" series, Howell House's "Notes 'n Folks," Quinby House's faculty lecture series, Boody and Quinby mural projects with Prof. Mark Wethli, a short story book club with Prof. Ann Kibbie, and "Indecision 2000," Baxter House's faculty/student debate.

The Mellon funds also supported Your Restaurant. Each Tuesday night during the 2002 spring semester, the experience of a gourmet restaurant was transported to the Bowdoin campus. Simon Gerson ’02, who had trained at Chanterelle in New York City, was inspired to open the restaurant after seeing the commercial kitchen in the renovated Ladd House. With a green light from Director of Residential Life Bob Graves and funding from Mellon, Simon forged ahead.

Simon and a volunteer student team (gare manger, sous chef, wait staff and dishwashers) spent each Tuesday preparing meals of house cured salmon, maple steak au poivre, baked tofu with curry creamed spinach and sweet rice, and portabella mushroom with red wine and thyme. They dressed up the Ladd dining room with crisp red and white linens, china, crystal, flowers, and candlelight, and served an eager clientele of students and their invited faculty guests, who learned quickly that reservations were a must.

While Your Restaurant may have been the highest-profile Mellon-funded project (with a “Where’s Amy” feature on WGME-TV news by reporter Amy Sinclair, and an article in the Times Record), it was just one of the many success stories made possible by the award.

With this latest Mellon award, students will be able to continue developing new ideas to promote student/faculty interaction on campus for the next four years.

Click here to read the Bowdoin Orient article on Your Restaurant from March 2002.

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