Story posted May 08, 2007
The new Osher Hall was dedicated with a ceremony held on Friday, May 11, 2007. The design of Osher Hall accomplishes several important goals for the expansion of residential space at Bowdoin. These include the creation of new space that reflects the traditions and social structure of existing first-year housing; the development of a new residential neighborhood at the College and the construction of a residential facility that meets new standards at Bowdoin for sustainability and environmental responsibility.
Located along a new residential green bordered by Stowe and Howard halls to the west and Ladd House to the north, Osher Hallís two-room doubles grouped along generous hallway common space continue the structural and social traditions established in Bowdoinís six existing first-year residence halls. With eighty beds, common social spaces at the entry, and smaller social spaces distributed throughout the building, the design of Osher Hall is in harmony with Bowdoinís other neo-Georgian residence halls, while the articulation of the brick facade uses large windows and common stairs to create a contemporary expression.
Osher Hall is also among the most energy efficient and environmentally sound buildings on the Bowdoin campus, having been certified "silver" under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, which sets national standards for "green" building design.
Osher Hall is heated and cooled geothermally, using water from 1,500-foot-deep wells and heat pumps. Well-insulated groundwater, pumped into the buildings, remains at a constant temperature of around fifty degrees; the heat pumps extract fifteen to twenty degrees to heat or cool the buildings. The system allows Bowdoin to save more than 40 percent of the energy usually consumed in a residence hall.
In addition, Osher Hall uses a system that pumps collected rainwater to the toilets, saving on potable water; EnergyStar©-rated white roofs, which necessitate less cooling for the building in hot weather; locally manufactured construction materials, composed of recycled content (including 99.9 percent recycled wallboard); individual thermostats in all rooms; large windows and skylights to allow for maximum natural light and reduce daylight electricity consumption and indoor bicycle rooms and outdoor racks, to encourage students to bike to class and town.
Osher Hall was made possible by the generosity of Bernard Osher of Class of 1948. A native of Biddeford, Maine, Osher is an extraordinarily capable businessman and generous philanthropist, whose quiet but steady support of education and the arts has enriched countless lives while strengthening important institutions in Maine and across America.
In 1963 Mr. Osher and members of his family purchased Golden West, a small savings and loan institution in California. Under his direction as senior vice president (1963-70) and chairman (1968-70), Golden West grew to be the nationís third-largest savings and loan institution.
A collector of American paintings of the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries, Mr. Osher purchased the fine art auction house of Butterfield & Butterfield in 1970 and oversaw its growth to become the fourth largest auction house in the world. In 1999, he sold the company to eBay.
Mr. Osher has served as treasurer of the San Francisco Opera, honorary trustee of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and vice chairman of the Jewish Museum. The Swedish government honored him with the Knight of the Polar Star and the Italian government conferred on him the title Commendatore.
The Bernard Osher Foundation, founded in 1977, seeks to improve quality of life for residents of California, Maine, and elsewhere through post-secondary student scholarships and arts, cultural, and educational grants. The Foundation also supports selected programs in integrative medicine as well as a national network of lifelong learning institutes. In recent years the Foundation has expanded scholarship funding to almost every state, targeting students ages 25 to 50 who have dropped out of college.
In recognition of his singular contributions, and with respect for his leadership and generosity, Bernard Osher was awarded the honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Bowdoin College in 2000.