President's Speeches and Remarks

September 3, 2002

It is a delight to welcome you all to the convening dinner of the Class of 2006.  As you can tell, we like to have parties and dinners at Bowdoin, every excuse for a celebration.  But, tonight we have much to celebrate.  We welcome you, the Class of 2006, to Bowdoin. You come to Bowdoin from right here in Maine and from all around the country and the world.  You are a remarkably talented and accomplished group of students who have shown great promise and achievement.  We are eager to be here watching you grow and achieve here at Bowdoin.

Tomorrow is also a very special day at Bowdoin, for tomorrow we hold convocation ushering in the start of the academic year at the College⎯the 201st academic year.  We open the year with convocation⎯an opportunity for the entire Bowdoin community to come together to demonstrate as a community our respect for the beginning of the proceedings here at Bowdoin that represent fundamentally what we are about⎯our academic program.  I look forward to greeting you tomorrow at this very special milestone in the academic year.

In a moment I will introduce to you our special guest⎯Governor Angus King⎯ who my guess is will speak to you, among other matters, about this wonderful state of Maine and the important contributions that Bowdoin has made to its history and future.  

But, let me take a moment to talk with you about a little more about Bowdoin.  My guess is that you have received about all the advice you can absorb or maybe bear over these last days of orientation⎯what are we on⎯day 5 or 6 of orientation.  But, bear with me, I will be brief.

As I said at the welcome on the steps of the Museum on Saturday evening, Bowdoin is fundamentally about the academic and intellectual program at the College.  Since I arrived at Bowdoin one year ago as its president, I have reinforced this concept and every decision we make is based on this central mission for the College.  It is my belief that you similarly should make your choices about your experience here at Bowdoin with your academic and intellectual growth at the forefront of your mind.

Now, much of what you will learn here will happen in the classroom, studio, theatre or lab or in independent study, all with our faculty.

But, given our commitment to the four year residential life model of liberal arts education, there must be more.  Why else would you decide to spend the next four years here on Bowdoin’s campus, rather than getting your education at some big university, or working and going to school, or doing some distance learning.  

Well, there is more and that is what you will learn from each other, from the extracurricular activities you participate in, and from the community service work that you do.  So, I encourage you to study hard, but also to get involved in the life of this college and its community.  At Bowdoin we say that there are no spectators, only participants and we know that your class will continue that tradition here at the College.

There is much hard work to do here at Bowdoin.  But, your passion for learning and your passion for getting involved in the life of the College will lead you to a lesson in life that is important to me⎯that is to really enjoy what you are doing and have fun doing it.

It is my pleasure this evening to introduce Governor Angus King, the governor of the state of Maine.  Governor King and his wife Mary are residents of Brunswick, living over on Potter Street, just a block from campus.  Their kids Ben and Mahli, who are here tonight, go to school and play sports with ours, they are a big part of this community.  They have also become wonderful friends to Karen and me.

The governor grew up in Virginia.  He tells me that he was the quarterback on the football team at his high school, the same school featured in the movie Remember the Titans⎯he played for one of the coaches featured in the movie.  He then went to Dartmouth, his mistake.   Then off to the University of Virginia for law school.  After graduating he returned to Maine and did public interest and other law here in Maine, before going into the energy conversation business.  

Governor King was elected as an independent in 1994.    He was reelected in 1998 and finds himself ready for retirement as governor this January because of term limits.

This is very sad for the state of Maine.  We have spent a good deal of time today talking about the difficulties in this state of finding jobs and opportunity.  Governor King has been committed to this task for eight years and has improved the condition of this State immeasurably.  He is a governor committed to opportunity for all⎯from all parts of this State.  He is very bright, imaginative, sincere and dedicated.  

The Governor has also appropriately focused on the education of Maine’s children as one of his highest priorities⎯recognizing appropriately that our children  are the future of this state’s success.  He has put in place a program to put in the hands of all junior high school students a laptop to allow them equal access to education regardless of their economic means.  Along with this laptop program, are programs for teachers in the schools to get them up to the level of their students in using and teaching technology.   Governor King is the rare leader who has the vision to identify the critical path to success and prosperity, and the commitment to make it happen.  

So⎯it is my pleasure to introduce to you tonight⎯our Governor and neighbor⎯ Governor Angus King.