Message to the Campus Community — April 9, 2019

To the campus community,

I am pleased to announce that, beginning this fall, Arthur C. Brooks will join the College community as Bowdoin’s inaugural Joseph McKeen Visiting Fellow, an appointment that will bring him to campus for two days each semester for a series of formal talks, student and faculty meetings, class visits, and other community events.

As many of you know, for the last decade, Arthur has been the president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank based in Washington, DC. He will step down from that position this summer to join the faculty of Harvard University, with a joint appointment between the Kennedy School and Business School. Arthur is also a columnist for The Washington Post and is featured in a new documentary film “The Pursuit,” set for digital release this May. 

Part social scientist, part economist, part public-policy analyst, Arthur is known for using self-effacing humor and his quick wit to offer insight on the intersections of culture, economics, and politics. Many of you will remember that Arthur came to Bowdoin in the fall of 2017 to participate in the conversation “Talking Face to Face When We Don’t See Eye to Eye,” an event that paired him with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni.

As the College’s inaugural Joseph McKeen Visiting Fellow, Arthur will deliver talks and engage with students and faculty by participating in classes and meeting with people in groups, both formally and informally. Some of his work on campus will be connected to Bowdoin’s Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good, which offers students opportunities to explore themes of community responsibility, active citizenship, and informed leadership through service and community engagement at the local, national, and international levels. McKeen Visiting Fellows will be appointed periodically to broaden the College’s exploration of the common good.

At the age of nineteen, Arthur left college to play the French horn professionally, spending twelve years touring as a musician in the US and Spain, including several seasons as a member of the City Orchestra of Barcelona. When he was in his late twenties, he returned to complete his bachelor’s degree in economics at Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey. He went on to earn a master’s degree in economics at Florida Atlantic University and later a doctorate at the Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School, a public policy program at the RAND Corporation, the non-profit global policy think tank. He served on the faculty at Syracuse University, where he taught economics and social entrepreneurship.

He is the author of eleven books, including the newly released Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt, which debuted as a national bestseller, as well as the bestsellers The Conservative Heart and The Road to Freedom.

 Raised in Seattle, Washington, Arthur lives with his family in Bethesda, Maryland.

This is exciting news for Bowdoin and a terrific opportunity for our students and others to interact with a leader who has long been active in American culture and public policy and who has demonstrated a capacity for reasoned discussion and debate on the important issues of our time. I look forward to welcoming him to Bowdoin in the fall.