Campus News

252 Scholars Honored at 2011 Sarah and James Bowdoin Day Ceremony

Story posted October 28, 2011

Bowdoin's highest-ranking scholars were recognized at the College's Sarah and James Bowdoin Day exercises Friday, October 28, 2011. 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 Sam Hanson '11 and Goodwin Prize winner and student marshal Kathryn Skyler Walley '12.

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 22 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 Kathryn Skyler Walley ‘12.

Walley, a psychology major and English minor from New York City, is a two-time Sarah and James Bowdoin Book Award winner and recipient of the Faculty Scholar Award. She is very active in the Bowdoin Women in Business Club and is a student mentor in the Students Mentoring Through Art (SMART) Program. When she is not studying, or running marathons and triathlons, Walley is a wrangler and riding guide at a ranch in Wyoming.

Other Phi Beta Kappa members from the Class of 2012 are:

John McBride Bunke
Tarara Faith Deane-Krantz
Hannah Butler DeBlois
Amanda Dorea Gartside
Malachi McLaughlin Graham
Mikel John McCavana
Anirudh Sreekrishnan
Brittany Renee Strohm
Caroline Rogers Tory
Alexander Henry Williams

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 Carol Berkin, Presidential Professor of American Colonial and Revolutionary History at Baruch College, and senior Samuel Hanson.

Dr. Berkin is a pre-eminent scholar of early American history and a pioneer in the field of women’s history. From her first book, the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Jonathan Sewall: Odyssey of An American, Berkin established herself as keen historian and master storyteller. Her award-winning 2002 book, A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution, illuminated the human quirks and conflicts among the key framers of the Constitution.

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President Barry Mills and Carol Berkin.

Berkin has also lent her insights and commentary to more than a dozen historical television documentaries, including the PBS productions Dolley Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Abigail and John.

President Mills noted that as Bowdoin celebrates the 40th anniversary of women at the College with a year of special events, lectures and classes, "we are especially fortunate to have with us a scholar who shows us how to listen attentively, thoughtfully, to what history has to tell us."

In her talk, "What History Is — and What it is Not," Berkin describes herself as a time traveler, and the study of history — a great adventure. Read the text of Berkin’s address.

Hanson, from Wayland, Mass., is a Sarah and James Bowdoin Scholar and winner of the 2011 Mary B. Sinkinson Short Story Prize. An English major, Sam is currently working on an honors project, a collection of short stories, called "Above and Below." Hanson has been a leading force in Bowdoin’s alcohol education program and is part of a group of students, deans and faculty who are fostering a campus culture that supports healthy decision-making. Additionally, he has contributed to the literary magazine The Quill and is, he says, “a proud defending champion of the Pete Schuh Softball Tournament.”

In his talk, "To End Our Parades: What Tietjens Can Teach Us,” Hanson takes us along on the personal journey of how he “set his life on fire.” Read the text of Hanson’s address.

As is his tradition on Sarah and James Bowdoin Day, President Mills offered a brief history lesson of the College, and this year took the opportunity to speak about Sarah Bowdoin Dearborn, the wife of James Bowdoin III and also one of the founders of the College.

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 Kathryn Skyler Walley ‘12.

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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