May 4, 2009

To Members of the College Community,

I write to share the announcement of our 2009 honorary degree recipients, and to call your attention to the role of honorands in the College’s 204th Commencement weekend.
This year, the College will confer five honorary degrees.  The honorands are Edward Albee, Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Stephen W. Hannock ‘74, Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade and Kenneth Roth. I want to thank faculty members Roger Bechtel, Jorunn Buckley, Susan Kaplan, James Mullen and Olufemi Vaughan for agreeing to serve as hosts and presenters at Commencement.
Again this year, a series of special events with the honorands will be held during Commencement weekend.  Baccalaureate will be held in the Watson Arena at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 22 and the principal address will be given by Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch.  The day will end with a lobster bake for seniors, their families, faculty and staff from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. in the tents adjacent to Watson Arena and behind Farley Field House.  
Following the Friday departmental receptions and prior to Baccalaureate, three of our honorands will give talks and presentations for the College community.  Stephen W. Hannock ’74, renowned luminist landscape painter, will present, “From Paint to Pixels: Influencing the Culture from the Liberal Arts Community” at 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., in Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center. Sheila Watt-Cloutier, the environmental activist, will present “Bringing the Right to be Cold into the U.S. Climate Consciousness” at 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 pm, also in Kresge Auditorium.  Edward Albee, one of America’s most esteemed playwrights, will greet students and parents in the Shannon Room, Hubbard Hall at 3:00 p.m. for a discussion moderated by Roger Bechtel. Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade, a leading cancer researcher at the University of Chicago, will speak on Friday evening at a small dinner that Karen and I host for the honorary degree recipients and their families.  As we honor them, I am very pleased that the honorands have agreed to engage with faculty, students and families in what has become an important Commencement tradition.  
Commencement will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 23, in the quadrangle before the steps of the Walker Art Building, or in Watson Arena in case of severe weather.  Following the exercises, faculty and staff are invited to join graduates and their families at the Commencement buffet in the tents on Pickard Field.
I look forward to seeing you at these special celebrations in the life of the College.  If you would like to nominate individuals for future consideration for a Bowdoin honorary degree, please contact Scott Meiklejohn at 725-3460.
Barry Mills