Campus News

Nicholson Gift To Recital Hall is Part of Record-Setting 50th-Reunion Giving

Story posted November 20, 2006

Norm Nicholson '56 is quick to deflect any credit for his recent gift to the Recital Hall, which has brought the College closer to completing its funding effort for the impressive construction project. Nicholson's $250,000 donation also represents a significant piece of the most robust reunion giving effort in the College's history.

“Music was one of the many highlights of my four years at Bowdoin,” said Nicholson. “I enjoyed being a part of the glee club and the Meddiebempsters and I had a number of friends who performed or were involved in the performance end of things. I really developed an appreciation for the arts and what they meant to Bowdoin while I was in school.”

Nicholson knew he wanted to make a gift during his reunion and, during a conversation with Bill Torrey, senior vice president for planning & administration & chief development officer, he realized that recital hall would be a perfect fit for his philanthropy.

“I had a very small part in the entire project, but it is very rewarding to participate," he said. "As the building nears completion, I am very excited for its opening and the opportunity to attend performances. This is a great way to have a direct impact on the College.”

With its location at the center of the campus, replacing Curtis Pool, the recital hall will be a focal point of the impressive arts and music departments at Bowdoin. It will be accessible to students and community members and the creative use of an existing building will add to its charm.

The recital hall will have a performance space with 290 seats, first-rate acoustics, a rehearsal room, and nine practice rooms. Conceived of as a warm, intimate space that celebrates a sense of community among audience and performers, the hall has been designed to accommodate a range of musical programs including classical, jazz, electronic, and world music.

In Nicholson's association with the College since graduating over 50 years ago, many things have changed, but the core values have remained untouched.

“The College is a very different place than when I attended in some ways and very much the same in others,” said Nicholson. “When I was in school, Bowdoin was all-male and very fraternity-dominated. I see, however, the same types of students on campus - those interested in a liberal arts education with many diverse talents.”

“Bowdoin has done a great job of changing with the times but maintaining its unique feel. The campus is very much the same as it was in the 1950s.”

The similarity of the campus feel is comforting to people like Nicholson, who returns to campus three to four times per year for hockey games or campus events. The creativity or repurposing existing buildings on campus, like Curtis Pool, helps to maintain the character of Bowdoin's campus without compromising the ever-changing needs of the students. This is possible when people like Norm Nicholson are there to provide the financial support for such efforts.

Norm Nicholson '56 is quick to deflect any credit for his recent gift to the Recital Hall, which has brought the College closer to completing its funding effort for the impressive construction project. Nicholson's $250,000 donation also represents a significant piece of the most robust reunion giving effort in the College's history.

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