President's Speeches and Remarks

September 2, 2003

Welcome to the convening dinner of the Class of 2007.  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 2007, 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 202nd 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.

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.

I will refrain from doing the Something About Mary stuff that Professor Light delighted us with yesterday. His message is actually very, very impressive, even if during the presentation I turned redder than sky over the museum on Saturday night.   But, there is a message from Professor Light’s book that he didn’t mention in his talk and it is important.  And that message is get involved in the life of the College and the life of the Brunswick community.   There is much to learn in the Bowdoin classrooms and that is where our core mission lives.  However, you will become more engaged and have a more rewarding experience academically if you also get involved in our College life.  There are a myriad of activities for you to get involved with here at the College- get involved- not because you are trying to build your resume- but because you want to learn and have fun.

If you follow this advice and the other lessons you have heard over the last few days- you are certain to Get The Most Out of College.

In four years, we will meet again in this room for the Convening Dinner.  We will be together a great deal over these next four years.  I look forward to getting to know all of you.

It is my pleasure this evening to introduce Governor Angus King, the former 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, 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 retired at a very young age because of term limits. Governor King was a remarkable leader of this State and we accomplished much with his leadership.  

The Governor appropriately focused on the education of Maine’s children as one of his highest priorities⎯recognizing 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.  

Now in retirement, Governor King and his family set off on a trip around the United States in an RV that was large enough that it has its own zip code.  His trip is chronicled on the family website and was followed on NPR.  Angus, Mary and the kids are back in Brunswick now and we are delighted.

Angus’ future is now linked to Bowdoin.  Angus has agreed to become a Distinguished Lecturer at Bowdoin this year and will teach a course next semester at the College.  He will also be spending some time with our students in the College Houses talking about government, politics and leadership.  We are delighted that Angus is willing to walk down the street from his home and become an important of our Bowdoin community.  There is much we can all learn from him and his wisdom.

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