President's Speeches and Remarks

September 28, 2007

Welcome back to Bowdoin and to this dedication of Reed House in honor of Thomas Brackett Reed of the Class of 1860. It is a pleasure to see you here today.

This year, we added the seventh and eighth houses to the College House System with Burnett House and now Reed House, the former Chi Psi Fraternity House.

We are indebted to members of the fraternity for their help and interest in making this event possible, particularly Charlie Packard of the Class of ’57; John Papacosma and Dick Burns of the Class of ’58; Brian Hawkins of the Class of ’67; and Greg Hastings of the Class of ’83.

I and many others at Bowdoin recognize that this house and these grounds bring back fond and vivid memories for generations of alumni, and that the transfer of ownership to the College has been, for some, a difficult process. But as today’s students make this property their campus home, I have every expectation that the fellowship, friendship, and camaraderie experienced here in the past will continue well into the future.

Your program details the remarkable career of Thomas Bracket Reed, one of the most gifted and powerful political leaders in 19th century America. So I won’t belabor the point. But I did want to note that throughout his life and with all the trappings of power, Thomas Brackett Reed maintained a love for this college and for his fraternity, and a strong appreciation for the education he attained here.

Nearly three decades after his graduation in 1860, Reed delivered an address in Brunswick. “Bowdoin has many superiors in wealth and size,” he said, “but for the production of men of good sense, culture, intellectual grasp and capacity for affairs, it has few rivals and no superior.”

With the addition of “women of good sense,” no one here today would argue Reed’s point.

This house now joins other properties named in honor of the distinguished men and women of Bowdoin’s past: Chamberlain, Howard, Stowe, Hubbard, Jewett, Russwurm, MacMillan, and many others. It takes the name of a man not only listed among Bowdoin’s most distinguished alumni, but also a person long revered in Maine. His is an appropriately strong legacy for this house and for Bowdoin. As one classmate wrote of Reed: “…when [he] was called I always sat a silent, wondering witness at the perfect exhibition of intellect, and its steady magnificent work.”

In dedicating this house to Thomas Brackett Reed, we remind all who live here – as well  and those who will one day call Reed House home – of a life of public service, a career of principled leadership, and of all that is possible through education, fellowship, and seriousness of purpose.

Again, thank you to the members of Chi Psi for their support and participation, and to everyone who has made this event possible for Bowdoin.

It is now my pleasure to introduce Timothy Poulin, a member of the sophomore class from Silver Spring, Maryland, and president of Reed House.