252 Scholars Honored at 2010 Sarah and James Bowdoin Day Ceremony

Story posted October 22, 2010

Bowdoin's highest-ranking scholars were recognized at the College's Sarah and James Bowdoin Day exercises Friday, October 22, 2010. Sarah and James Bowdoin scholarships are awarded each fall on the basis of work completed the previous academic year.

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Student speaker Gina Lynn Lonati '12 and Goodwin Prize winner and student marshal David Ariel Plotkin '11.

The award is given to the 20 percent of all eligible students with the highest grade point average.

Book Awards are presented to every Sarah and James Bowdoin Scholar who earned a GPA of 4.00.

The Award bears a replica of the early College bookplate serving to distinguish the James Bowdoin Collection in the library.

A total of 252 students were named Sarah and James Bowdoin Scholars, with nine of the Scholars earning Book Awards.

The Almon Goodwin Prize, presented to a member of Phi Beta Kappa chosen by vote of the Board of Trustees of the College, was awarded to David Ariel Plotkin '11.

A three-time Sarah and James Bowdoin Book Award winner, Plotkin, of Newton, Mass., is a double major in math and physics, minoring in economics. He has studied snow and ice samples from Greenland and Antarctica with Prof. Mark Battle, a project that led to a paper published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics; and he’s working on an honors project on modelling communication in cell networks with Prof. Mary Lou Zeeman. In addition to all that, he's a calculus tutor, a swing dancer, and the Maine State Chess Champion for 2009-2010.

Other Phi Beta Kappa members from the Class of 2011 are:

Michael Christopher Barish
Caitlin Chien Clerkin
Randy Michael Kring
Molly Anne Kwiatkowski
Katharine Davis Ransohoff
Kathryn Ann Shaw
Kevin John Stansky
Sharon Swain Ulery
Yasmine Nicole White
Teerawat Wiwatpanit
Brian George Wu

Sarah and James Bowdoin Day speeches are delivered by a highly recognized practitioner in one of the liberal arts disciplines and an outstanding Bowdoin student.

This year's speakers were Louis Menand, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of English at Harvard University, and Gina Lynn Lonati '12.

An accomplished author, Menand won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 2002 with his book, The Metaphysical Club, an intellectual and cultural history of late 19th- and early 20th-century America.

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President Barry Mills and Louis Menand.

Menand has also earned critical praise for his essays and articles, which have appeared in publications including The New Yorker, for which he is a staff writer.

He also contributes regularly to The New York Review of Books.

Menand's latest book, The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University was released earlier this year. Read the text of Menand's Sarah and James Bowdoin Day address, "What It's All About."

Lonati, of Franklin Lakes, N.J., a biology major and chemistry minor, is a two-time Sarah and James Bowdoin Scholar. Lonatie says being a student-athlete is a big part of her life. Her research has included studying manatee feeding and coral mortality in the Florida Keys, interning with the New England Aquarium Rescue/Rehabilitation Department during the summer, and she plans to study abroad this spring at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia.

Meanwhile, she's been a member of the Women's Varsity Volleyball team and the Varsity Indoor and Outdoor Track teams, served as an intramural basketball and soccer official and player, and worked volleyball clinics for Brunswick Elementary School children. Lonati has also been on the Residential Life staff and an Out Allies member, and volunteered at the Maine Street Veterinary Clinic. Read the text of Lonati's Sarah and James Bowdoin Day address, "Can We Give More?"

President Barry Mills congratulated the scholars on their academic achievements and encouraged all to be fearless learners, whether that be questioning conventional wisdom or visiting the Museum of Art. Read the text of President Mills' Sarah and James Bowdoin Day welcoming remarks.

During the Sarah and James Bowdoin Day ceremony, the Bowdoin College Concert Band led the processional and recessional. The student marshal was Goodwin Prize winner David Ariel Plotkin '11.

The recognition of James Bowdoin Scholars was begun in 1941 to honor those undergraduates who distinguish themselves by excellence in scholarship and to commemorate the Honorable James Bowdoin III (1752-1811), first patron of the College. James Bowdoin III, who asked that the College be named after his father, was an agriculturist, an art and book collector, and a diplomat who served as Thomas Jefferson's minister plenipotentiary to Spain from 1804-08. In 1997 by faculty vote the commemorative day and distinction as scholar were changed to recognize both Sarah and James Bowdoin, who were married from 1780 until his death in 1811. Like her husband, Sarah Bowdoin gave many gifts to the College, including most of the Bowdoin family portraits, which were bequeathed to the College upon her death.

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