“This is the profound value of mentorship, friendship, and leadership.”
Captain Andrew “Ack-Ack” Haldane, Bowdoin class of 1941, was killed in action while serving with the United States Marine Corps in the island nation of Palau.
More than sixty years later, award-winning television executive Kary Antholis ’84 came across Haldane’s story while working with producer Tom Hanks on the HBO miniseries The Pacific—a World War II drama focusing on the Pacific campaign.
With the help of Bowdoin’s archival staff, Antholis was introduced to a series of letters between Haldane and Dean of Students Paul Nixon, written when Haldane was on active duty.
“Dear Andy,” wrote Nixon in one missive, “Indeed I do wish you luck and I have got every finger I own crossed several times and several ways.”
“Dear Dean,” replied Haldane, “At last I have a moment to write and let you know I’m still ticking. We have had a hell of a snap, but again we came out on top. It doesn’t pay to lose in this game.”
Haldane was killed by a sniper during the Battle of Peleliu on October 12, 1944.
“He was awarded the Silver Star for valor and was honored by his fellow Marine and Bowdoin alum, Everett Pope, with the establishment of the Haldane Cup, which every year [goes to] the the student who demonstrates exemplary leadership and character,” said Antholis, speaking at Bowdoin’s 2011 Scholarship Appreciation Lunch.
“I believe that those letters capture the timeless bonds formed at the College between students and their mentors,” said Antholis.
“They also reveal the profound values of mentorship, friendship, leadership, and the common good—which the school and its people foster and inspire.”
Antholis and his wife, Karen, established a scholarship in Haldane’s name, “to support students whose actions and leadership have been in the service of the common good.” Eight such students have been supported by the scholarship thus far.