Campus News

NCAA Award Show Honors Sen. George Mitchell '54 on ESPN

Story posted February 12, 2010

The 2010 NCAA Honors Celebration, the ceremony at which Sen. George Mitchell '54 was presented the Theodore Roosevelt Award, was broadcast on ESPN2 and ESPN HD February 15, 2010.

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Sen. George Mitchell '54 (left) and Director of Athletics Jeff Ward in Atlanta.

The event, originally held January 15, 2010, in Atlanta, Ga., was videotaped and aired as an hour-long special.

The NCAA's highest honor, the Roosevelt award is presented each year to a former student-athlete for whom competitive athletics in college and attention to physical well being after graduation have been important factors in a distinguished career of national significance and achievement.

It is the second time a Bowdoin graduate has been honored with the award. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen '62 was recognized with the award in 2001.

Bowdoin joins Stanford, UCLA, the U.S. Naval Academy, Ohio State and the U.S. Military Academy as institutions with multiple "Teddy" award winners.

"The truth is, I was not a very good athlete," said Mitchell in his acceptance. "I see this award as recognition of the fact that if you really try, you can succeed even though you may not be the best at what you're doing. And so I accept this award with great gratitude to the NCAA and with great gratitude to Bowdoin College. I was 16 years old when I graduated from high school. I was insecure, uncertain and as naive as a 16-year-old human being can be, and Bowdoin College changed my life in ways that have made a difference."

Click here to read a complete transcript of Senator Mitchell's speech.

Mitchell was a four-year member of the basketball team at Bowdoin before completing a two-year stint in the military. He intended to practice law but ended up in politics.

Mitchell has since gone on to compete at the highest levels of the national and international legal and political arenas.

In addition to a stint as a federal judge and his 14-year tenure in the Senate (where he spent six years as Senate majority leader), Mitchell has been heavily involved in peace negotiations in Northern Ireland and between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

In 2009 President Obama appointed Mitchell special envoy to the Middle East.

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