Campus News

Bowdoin's 201st Commencement May 27

Story posted May 17, 2006

Bowdoin College will hold its 201st Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 27, 2006.

Bowdoin President Barry Mills will preside over commencement and award the degrees on the terrace of the Walker Art Building on the campus quadrangle. Though the Walker Art Building is undergoing renovation, the terrace and steps have been completed in time for the ceremony.

In the event of very severe weather, commencement will be held in Farley Field House. (Bowdoin has not held an indoor commencement since 1986.)

The graduating class, which will number about 426, includes 59 students from Maine. Other states with the most graduates are Massachusetts with 93; New York with 40; Connecticut with 34; California with 24; Pennsylvania with 17; Minnesota with 13; New Hampshire with 12; Illinois with 12; and New Jersey with 11; and Texas with 11.

Seventeen graduates are international students, representing 12 countries.

Since 1806, Bowdoin has given the honor of speaking at commencement to graduating seniors. Until 1877 every graduate had a speaking part. The custom of selecting student commencement speakers through competition began in the 1880s.

Alexandra Yanikoski of Harvard, Mass., and David Duhalde-Wine of New York City are this year's commencement speakers.

Senior Class President Harry Jones of New Orleans, La., will also address his classmates during the ceremony.

Senate President Beth Edmonds will deliver greetings from the State.

Bowdoin will award honorary doctorates to Roger Angell, senior editor at The New Yorker; Nawal M. Nour, physician and founding director of the African Women's Health Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital; Kiki Smith, renowned graphic artist and sculptor; Beverly Daniel Tatum, psychologist, author, and president of Spelman College; and Donald M. Zuckert, a member of the Bowdoin Class of 1956 and trustee emeritus of the College.

While the honorary degree recipients will not give speeches at the commencement ceremony, Beverly Daniel Tatum will deliver the keynote address at the College's Baccalaureate Ceremony Friday, May 26, at 4:30 p.m. in Morrell Gymnasium. Baccalaureate marks the official end of the academic year.

Graduating senior Ely Delman of the Dominican Republic will also speak at baccalaureate.

Bowdoin College was chartered in 1794, and held its first commencement ceremony in 1806 in the second meetinghouse of First Parish Church across the street from the College. There were seven graduates in the Class of 1806. The following year saw the smallest graduating class in the College's history, with just three members in the Class of 1807.

The best-known class was the Class of 1825, which included writers Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Other notable Bowdoin graduates include President Franklin Pierce 1824, African-American newspaper editor John Brown Russwurm 1826, Civil War hero Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain 1852, Arctic explorer Robert E. Peary 1877, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell '54, former U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen '62, and Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson '79.

Visit the Commencement 2006 Web site for more information.

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