Campus News

Herb French '46 Presented with Alumni Service Award

Story posted June 05, 2006

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Herbert S. French Jr.

Herbert S. French Jr. of Hopkinton, N.H., Bowdoin College Class of 1946, has been recognized by the Bowdoin Alumni Council with the 2006 Alumni Service Award, presented June 3 during Reunion weekend.

Established in 1932, the Alumni Service Award is the highest honor given by the Alumni Council. It is presented annually in recognition of an individual's record of volunteer service to the College, rather than a single act or achievement.

Over the last 60 years, Herb French has volunteered in nearly every imaginable capacity for Bowdoin College. Joining the Alumni Club Board as secretary in 1952, he became the Alumni Club president in 1962. His leadership for his class's 25th reunion effort in 1970 led to a four-year position as an alumni fund director, serving one year as chairman. French became an overseer in 1976 and served in this capacity until 1988, when he was elected overseer emeritus.

He also served the College in two capital campaigns and worked as an associate class agent. He interviewed countless prospective students through the Bowdoin Alumni Schools and Interviewing Committee (BASIC), and worked to provide a network for Bowdoin students and alumni, well before the Bowdoin Career Advisory Network (BCAN) was created.

In 2005, French and his wife, Marian, created the Thomas Simpson French, M.D., Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of their late son, Thomas, a member of the Class of 1983. The fund supports scholarships for Bowdoin students pursuing premedical studies.

During his first semester as a student at Bowdoin, Herb French was forced to take time off due to illness, followed by a three-year stint in the Army during World War II. He returned to campus after VE Day, and became a valued member of the student body. He joined Alpha Delta Phi, played football, and brought his musical talents to the Glee Club and the Meddiebempsters. He graduated in 1948.

Following Bowdoin French attended the Wharton School of Business and earned his M.B.A. in 1951. He started as a trainee at the investment company of Kidder, Peabody & Company, Inc., in that year, before retiring 30 years later as senior vice president of corporate finance. French also taught at Boston University's Graduate School of Business.

During a demanding business career, French donated countless hours not only to Bowdoin, but to numerous other volunteer organizations. He was a multi-term president of the Worcester (Mass.) Boys and Girls Club and served as the chairman of the Shrewsbury Red Cross Fund Campaign. He was also heavily involved with community boards in the Worcester and Boston areas, as well as in his current home state of New Hampshire.

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