Campus News

More than 1,900 Attend Largest Reunion Ever

Story posted June 08, 2004

Alumni, their families and friends traveled to the Bowdoin campus from across the country and from many corners of the world June 3-6 to celebrate a memorable Reunion. At more than 1,900 strong, it proved to be the largest Reunion Weekend in Bowdoin's history.

More than 900 alumni were in attendance from 53 different classes, 41 U.S. states and nine foreign countries. Christopher R. Hill '74 traveled the farthest, arriving from Poland by way of Washington, D.C., to attend his 30th reunion. Jan Haas '84 traveled the longest direct route, coming to Brunswick from Berlin, Germany, for his 20th reunion. The most senior alumnus in attendance - at 102 years young - was Barrett Nichols '25, who was recognized Friday afternoon at the Old Guard Luncheon.

The Class Reunion Trophy, given to the class with the highest percentage of attending classmates, was awarded to the Class of 1954. The class set an all-time record for 50th Reunion Class attendees, with 91 of 174 members present -- a mark of 52%. Records were also set for the 40th and 15th Reunion classes, as well as for overall number of alumni.

Forty-five current Bowdoin students served as Ambassadors to greet and host alumni during the weekend.

According to Kevin Wesley '89, director of alumni relations, Reunion 2004 seemed, more than ever, to be characterized by a strong sense of family on many levels: a record number of families in attendance, the families comprising the many Class years, and the Bowdoin family at large, all sharing a weekend on campus.

Dozens of events were enjoyed both indoors and out, the latter being blessed with sunny, "perfect" New England springtime weather. Celebrants were treated to numerous lectures, panels, and performances featuring Bowdoin graduates, faculty and staff; concerts; sports; games; and of course, excellent food, and great conversation with old and new friends.

Saturday morning's Convocation ceremony featured the presentation of four important awards:

The Common Good Award was presented to Sue E. Marsh '82, executive director of Rosie's Place, a Boston shelter dedicated to helping poor and homeless women. Click here to read more about Marsh and the Common Good Award.

The Alumni Service Award was presented to Albert F. Lilley '54. Click here to read more about Lilley and the Alumni Service Award.

The Alumni Award for Faculty and Staff was presented to Mary Lou Kennedy, Bowdoin director of dining and bookstore services. Click here to read more about Kennedy and the Alumni Award for Faculty and Staff.

The Distinguished Educator Award was presented to Kathryn Graff Low '78, associate professor of psychology at Bates College. Click here to read more about Low and the Distinguished Educator Award.

Speakers at Convocation included President Barry Mills '72 and Michel J. LePage '78, president of the Alumni Association. The Reunion Chorus, directed by Anthony F. Antolini '63 and accompanied by pianist Sarah Bond Phinney '99, performed "Hail Black and White" and "Beneath the Pines."

There was standing room only at many of the Back to School Speaker Series events. The presentations, lectures, demonstrations, and exhibits included:

The Honorable George J. Mitchell '54 reflected on Bowdoin, America, and his career in public service. Click here to read the text of Mitchell's talk. Kari W. Antholis '84, vice president for original programming at HBO Films, presented "Hollywood Babylon: Anecdotes and Behind-the-Scenes Stories." Paul P. Brountas '54, senior counsel at Hale & Door, LLP, talked about corporate governance in the presentation "Could Enron Have Been Avoided?"

Christopher R. Hill '74, former U.S. ambassador to Poland and next U.S. ambassador to Korea, was joined by government professor Allen L. Springer for a discussion on "Mediating Peace." Click here to read a summary. A roundtable discussion on "Balancing Work and Family" featured comments and perspectives by Rachel Connelly, Bowdoin professor of economics, Deborah M. Merrill '84, associate professor of sociology and associate dean at Clark University, and Deborah J. Swiss '74, business consultant and author. The discussion was facilitated by Kerry A. McDonald '99, president of Point of Action Customized Training Solutions.

Dale E. Arnold '79, play-by-play announcer for the Boston Bruins, reflected on the latest issues facing professional sports in "Keeping Score: Sports in America." Mary Lee Moseley '79, senior manager, Deloite and Touche, LLP, gave a presentation on "Estate and Gift Planning." Jan Pierson '74, president of Field Guides Inc., and Liz Pierson, co-author of A Birder's Guide to Maine, led an outdoor introduction to "Birding in Brunswick." Ronald C. Brady '89, school director of the Trenton Community Charter School in New Jersey, was joined by Bowdoin associate professor of education Nancy Jennings, for an examination of the promises and realities of the "No Child Left Behind" education act.

Other Bowdoin faculty giving presentations included Eric Chown, computer science, who discussed "Robots in the Classroom and Beyond: Remaking the Computer Science Curriculum," and Scott MacEachern, sociology and anthropology, who discussed five years of small-scale archeological surveys on the Bowdoin campus in "A Small Site in Maine." Steven Cerf, German department, Barbara Weiden Boyd, classics, and William Whiteside, professor of history emeritus, presented "Passion and Intellect: Reflections on Teaching at a Small College in Maine," moderated by Lawrence G. O'Toole '69. Susan Wegner, art history, was joined by Bowdoin's capital projects program manager Don Borkowski for a presentation on the reconstruction of the Chapel spires and the rich history of the building.

Katherine M. Westley '03, Mellon Curatorial Intern at the Museum of Art, gave a gallery talk about the exhibit "Surrealist Drawings from the Drukier Collection." Museum director Katy Kline and curator Alison Ferris presented "On Our Way: The Future of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art," and touched on the museum's role on campus and the impact of the upcoming renovation of the Walker Art Building.

Reunion is always a family affair, and the kids were kept busy with a nature and art walk through the Bowdoin Pines, the Reunion Carnival, "Be Your Own DJ" on WBOR-FM, Craft Hour, pool and ping pong in the game room, family film screenings, a climbing wall, kayaking in Greason Pool, family story hour, and "Electronic Exploration" with Jennifer Snow '91, Ruth Maschino and Nancy Grant of the information technology staff. The always-popular "Phun With Physics" with Elroy O. LaCasce '44, physics professor emeritus, was not limited to the kids in the crowd. Prof. LaCasce demonstrated some ingenious and entertaining science experiments to the delight of all.

Lobster bakes and barbecues were worked off on the annual "Fun Run" around campus and a hip hop class taught by Bowdoin students. Kids of all ages joined the Bowdoin Polar Bear for the traditional Alumni Parade. "The 4s" took on "the 9s" in alumni softball, while other sports enthusiasts hit the links at the Bath Country Club or served up a few aces on the outdoor tennis courts at Farley Field House.

Entertainment throughout the weekend was provided by Schooner Fare, the Royal River Philharmonic Jazz Band led by Olin M. Sawyer '58, stand-up comedy by Alexa Fitzpatrick '94, rock 'n roll by Dr. Whitebread and His Jam featuring Scott Mills '79 and Randy Shaw '82, and pianists Lou MacNeill of Facilities Management, and Scott Steinberg of Admissions.

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