Campus News

Edward Langbein '57 to Receive 2011 Alumni Service Award

Story posted January 31, 2011

For his decades of service and dedication to the College, Edward E. Langbein Jr., a member of the Class of 1957, has been named the recipient of the 2011 Alumni Service Award, the highest honor given by the Bowdoin Alumni Council.

The award is presented each year in recognition of an individual's record of volunteer service to the College.

Edward Langbein '57

A decorated war veteran, Ed spent 28 years in the U.S. Army, which included Command of Special Forces teams in Laos and the Republic of Vietnam, as well as two additional years in Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry Division. Duty assignments included the Military Science Department at Bowdoin and overseas postings in Korea, Okinawa, Turkey and the Netherlands.

His final five years of Army service were in Washington in the Office of the Secretary of the Army. He retired from military service in 1985 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, having earned numerous commendations during his career including five Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, and medals for meritorious service from the Army and Department of Defense, among others.

Leaving the military behind for the first time in nearly three decades, Ed, who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., retired to Brunswick in 1985, where he answered a new call to duty.

Describing himself as a class catalyst, Ed has made developing individual alumni involvement and building cohesiveness his mission.

"I've taken the approach that classmates care about what is going on with both Bowdoin and fellow class members," says Ed, who has made a career of reaching out to his fellow members of the Class of 1957. He has kept in touch as they've moved, and as their families have grown and welcomed grandchildren. And there are few more dedicated to bringing a class together; he has been the Class Reunion Chair for the 30th, 35th, 40th, 45th and 50th reunions. In and between those years, he can be found at Whittier Field, organizing tailgate parties.

Ed has served on the Bowdoin Alumni Council and presided over the Bowdoin Bath-Brunswick Alumni Club.

While living in the Washington, D.C., area, he was chair of BASIC (Bowdoin Alumni and Schools Interviewing Committee) for Northern Virginia and when he was back in Brunswick, he began an enduring relationship with the Association of Bowdoin Friends, at one time serving as its chair and subsequently playing many other roles.

"The Association of Bowdoin Friends serves to underscore Bowdoin's longstanding commitment to this area and to Maine, and to encourage our friends and neighbors to take advantage of the College programs and be involved with our exceptional students," he says.

"As a member and chair of the steering committee, I contributed to its resurgence and increased presence in the community."

As a student, Ed was a government major and a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He was a manager for the football team all four years and was Fraternity Athletic Chairman his last two. Later, as an alumnus, Ed became a volunteer track official, a role he continues to fulfill today, and was elected to the Bowdoin Track Official Hall of Fame in 1995.

Ed and his wife, Nancy, established the Edward E. Langbein Sr. Summer Research Award in memory of his father, who had served as president and secretary of the Bowdoin Fathers Association, which became the Bowdoin Parents Association. The couple was honored with the Polar Bear Award in 2008 for their outstanding support of Bowdoin athletics.

The Langbeins have two children, William E. Langbein and Susan L. Bear, a member of the Bowdoin Class of 1986, and six grandchildren.

First established in 1932 as the Alumni Achievement Award and renamed the Alumni Service Award in 1953, the award is made annually to the person whose volunteer services to Bowdoin, in the opinion of alumni, as expressed to the Alumni Council, most deserve recognition.

The Alumni Service Award will be presented Saturday, June 4, 2011, during Reunion Convocation.

Registration for Reunion 2011 (June 2-5) begins at the end of February. More information here.

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