Campus News

“Newman’s Own” Co-Founder to Deliver Keynote Address at Sarah and James Bowdoin Day Exercises

Story posted October 27, 2005

A. E. Hotchner, journalist, author, playwright, and co-founder with actor Paul Newman of “Newman’s Own” food products, will deliver the keynote address at the Sarah and James Bowdoin Day Exercises at Bowdoin College on Friday, October 28, in Morrell Gymnasium beginning at 4:00 p.m. Hotchner’s address is titled ““Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good.”

In 1978 Paul Newman and his longtime friend, A. E. Hotchner, decided to see if a few local stores would be interested in selling Newman’s own salad dressing – a home-grown product they had previously distributed by hand to neighbors. Much to their surprise, the salad dressing was received with unbridled enthusiasm, and all of a sudden, the two entrepreneurs had a full-fledged business on their hands – the first company to place all-natural foods in supermarkets. The rest is history, as “Newman’s Own” became a major player in the food business with salad dressing, spaghetti sauce, popcorn, lemonade and other products. Profits from the enterprise were donated to medical research, education, and the environment, and were eventually used to create eight Hole in the Wall Gang camps for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Born and raised in St. Louis, Hotchner earned his undergraduate and doctor of law degrees at Washington University. After practicing law for two years, he entered the Air Force, served with the Anti-Submarine command, and attained the rank of major.

Hotchner later settled in New York City to work as a freelance writer. He wrote more than 300 articles and short stories for such publications as Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, The New York Times, and Reader's Digest, and a series of distinguished plays for television, including prize-winning adaptations of Ernest Hemingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," "The Killers," and "The Fifth Column."

Hotchner went on to author 15 books, a dozen plays and musicals, and scores of television dramas. Among his works is the bestseller Papa Hemingway, which recounts his long friendship with Ernest Hemingway, a highly acclaimed memoir published in 34 countries in 28 different languages.

Hotchner has written such diverse works as King of the Hill, a memoir about his St. Louis boyhood; Blown Away, which looks at The Rolling Stones and the ‘death’ of the 1960s; Everyone Comes to Elaine's : Forty Years of Movie Stars, All-Stars, Literary Lions, Financial Scions, Top Cops, Politicians, and Power Brokers at the Legendary Hot Spot; the novels The Man Who Lived at the Ritz and Looking for Miracles; and the Broadway shows "The White House," "Welcome to the Club," "Exactly Like You," and "The World of Nick Adams," among others.

On Sarah and James Bowdoin Day, held during Parents Weekend, the College gathers to recognize its highest-ranking scholars and to hear speeches by an outstanding student and a highly recognized practitioner in one of the liberal arts disciplines. The recognition of James Bowdoin Scholars was begun in 1941 to honor those undergraduates who distinguish themselves by excellence in scholarship and to commemorate the Honorable James Bowdoin III (1752-1811), first patron of the College. James Bowdoin III, who asked that the College be named after his father, was an agriculturist, an art and book collector, and a diplomat who served as Thomas Jefferson's minister plenipotentiary to Spain from 1804-08. In 1997, by faculty vote, the commemorative day and distinction as scholar were changed to recognize both Sarah and James Bowdoin, who were married from 1780 until his 1811 death. Like her husband, Sarah Bowdoin gave many gifts to the College, including most of the Bowdoin family portraits, which were bequeathed to the College upon her death.

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