Campus News

Bowdoin to Award 450 Degrees at 202nd Commencement May 26

Story posted May 16, 2007

Bowdoin College will hold its 202nd Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 26, 2007, and confer bachelor of arts degrees on 450 graduates.

Bowdoin President Barry Mills will preside over commencement and award degrees on the terrace of Walker Art Building on the campus quad. In the event of very severe weather, commencement will be held in Farley Field House. (Bowdoin has not held an indoor commencement since 1986.)

Of the 453 graduates, 55 are from Maine. Thirty-seven U.S. states are represented, including Massachusetts with 112, New York with 52, Connecticut with 27, California with 19, Maryland with 17 and New Hampshire with 12.

Thirty graduates are international students, representing 16 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. Past speakers have included poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1825, House Speaker Thomas Brackett Reed 1860, Arctic explorer Robert E. Peary 1877 and biologist and researcher Alfred Kinsey 16.

Anthony DiNicola, of Malden, Mass., and Haley Bridger, of Hamilton, Mass. are this year's commencement speakers.

Other participants include the Hon. Howard H. Dana Jr. '62, retired Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice, who will deliver greetings from the State, and the Rev. Larry Kalajainen of First Parish Church, Brunswick, Maine, will deliver the invocation.

Bowdoin will award honorary doctorates to Geoffrey Canada '74, president and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone; Roberto Díaz, internationally renowned violist and president and CEO of the Curtis Institute of Music; Stanley F. Druckenmiller '75, chairman, CEO and founder of Duquesne Capital Management; Drew Gilpin Faust, newly elected president of Harvard University; and Angus S. King Jr., Maine's 71st governor.

While the honorary degree recipients will not give speeches at the commencement ceremony, they will participate in a variety of events with members of the campus community.

On Friday, May 25, Druckenmiller will discuss "Obligations That Go with the Privilege of a Bowdoin Degree" at 2 p.m. at Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center. Diaz will perform with members of the Curtis Institute of Music's chamber group at 3:15 p.m. at Kanbar Auditorium, Studzinski Recital Hall. These events are not open to the public.

The College's baccalaureate ceremony, marking the official end of the academic year, will be held at 4:30 p.m., Friday, May 25, in Morrell Gymnasium. Geoffrey Canada will deliver the keynote address. Graduating senior Larissa Curlik 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. In addition to Longfellow, the class included writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. In 1875, on the day before commencement at the 50th reunion of the class, Longfellow recited his poem "Morituri Salutamus," an elegiac reflection on youth and age.

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

Click here for a schedule of events, answers to frequently asked questions and other Commencement information.

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