Campus News

The Bowdoin Campaign Raises $293 Million

The Bowdoin Campaign

Story posted July 17, 2009




The largest fundraising campaign in the 215-year history of the College has raised a total of $293 million dollars for financial aid, the academic program and student life.

The total raised far exceeds the five-year goal of $250 million, and more than doubles the $136 million raised from alumni, parents, friends, and foundations during Bowdoin's last capital campaign in 1993-98. Of the total raised, approximately $100 million will be used to ensure access to Bowdoin for low- and moderate-income students through financial aid.

"This has been the most ambitious capital campaign in the long history of Bowdoin College, and it has concluded successfully during very trying economic times," said President Barry Mills.

"Our success is a testament to the quality of our academic program and residential life experience, the exceptional strength and professionalism of our development staff, and the loyalty and perseverance of a group of trustees and volunteers who have risen to the occasion during a critical period for Bowdoin. It is also a resounding vote of confidence by alumni, parents, friends and foundations eager to support our goals and our vision for a stronger Bowdoin College."

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Of the total raised, approximately $100 million will be used to ensure access to Bowdoin for low- and moderate-income students through financial aid.   Beginning with the 2008-2009 academic year, the College began replacing loans with grants  for new and current students receiving financial aid.


The Bowdoin Campaign has helped the College substantially enhance its faculty sabbatical program.   The Bowdoin Campaign helped create eight new faculty positions.

Mills adds that the funds raised have already been put to work at the College. In addition to providing new resources for student financial aid — including funds that have allowed Bowdoin to replace previously required student loans with grants — the College has used the money to create eight new faculty positions in critical areas of its curriculum; to substantially enhance its faculty sabbatical program; to provide new research opportunities for students; and to create the new Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good, which provides opportunities for students to discover the ways in which their talents, passions and academic pursuits can be used for the benefit of society through public engagement.


Bowdoin Common Good Day, a program of the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good   Tidal Pool Research at Bowdoin

Campaign funds have also been used to construct the new Studzinski Recital Hall and Kanbar Auditorium, to fully renovate and expand the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, to construct the new Sidney J. Watson Arena and to build the soon-to-open Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness.

Exterior  Performance in Studzinski Recital Hall and Kanbar Auditorium


Evening rendering of the northwest corner of the new Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness   Interior rendering of the new Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness


Interior, Bowdoin College Museum of Art  Walker Art Building, Bowdoin College Museum of Art


Sidney J. Watson Arena Exterior   Sidney J. Watson Arena Interior

The Bowdoin Campaign was co-chaired by Bowdoin Trustees Deborah Jensen Barker of Short Hills, N.J., and Robert F. White of Weston, Mass. A member of the Bowdoin Class of 1980, Barker is a former investment banker with Prudential Securities. White, who graduated from Bowdoin in 1977, is a special limited partner with Bain Capital in Boston.

"There are many wonderful people who have made this effort such a great achievement," said William A. Torrey, senior vice president for planning and development.

"Not only did thousands of alumni, parents, and friends support this campaign financially, but Bob White and Debbie Barker did a stellar job leading the legions of dedicated volunteers who, along with many members of the Bowdoin faculty and staff, supported this campaign with their time and determination to a successful conclusion."

Bowdoin's successful fundraising effort comes at a time when colleges and universities across America are facing significant financial strain caused by declining endowments and reduced contributions from alumni feeling the effects of the current national recession. Last January, Mills reminded students, faculty, and staff that Bowdoin was "not immune to current economic conditions and must make some difficult choices to remain secure financially."

A month later, Mills announced that Bowdoin would freeze faculty and staff salaries for two years and hold operating costs flat in the next budget cycle — flexible measures aimed at preserving Bowdoin's commitment to its academic program, student financial aid, maintenance of its campus, and its sense of community. According to Mills, today's announcement does not change Bowdoin's emphasis on holding the line on costs.

"There will always be more to do at a College that prides itself on advancing knowledge and scholarship, critical thinking, and leadership in a rapidly developing society and world, and these funds by no means solve the very significant economic challenges facing Bowdoin. But today is a time for pride and satisfaction in all that has been accomplished," said Mills.

Bowdoin provides financial aid to more than 40 percent of its students each year, with the average grant approaching $32,000 for members of the incoming first-year class. Beginning with the 2008-2009 academic year, the College began replacing loans with grants for new and current students receiving financial aid.

"The campaign was essential in maintaining need-blind admissions at Bowdoin and in enabling us to meet the full, demonstrated need of enrolled families," said Director of Student Aid Stephen Joyce.

"We didn't know that the economy would turn so dramatically when we began the campaign, but in retrospect, the support and new funding for financial aid has helped us maintain our core values and weather this storm."

More than 12,000 alumni and more than 2,400 parents made capital and annual gifts to Bowdoin's fundraising campaign, which was launched publicly in October 2006.


Kanbar Hall Exterior   Kanbar Hall Interior


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