Message to the Bowdoin Community (October 28, 2019)
To the Bowdoin community,
Next weekend (November 8–10), the College will recognize fifty years of Africana Studies, the John Brown Russwurm African American Center, and the African American Society, known today as the Black Student Union. This is a special moment for the College, one for both celebration and reflection.
These vital programs were built over this last half-century from a grassroots effort by students, alumni, faculty, and staff who lived the challenges and struggle of the black community, and those allied with them. Change came to Bowdoin in the form of new scholarly approaches and perspectives, in the creation of programs that built community and challenged injustice, and in the persistent efforts by so many to build diversity and inclusion at the College. With much remaining to be done, this is a moment to celebrate what has been built, and a time to reflect both on the journey here and our aspirations for the future.
Nearly 450 people—including more than 175 alumni from across the country—are registered to participate in the weekend’s exhibitions, symposia, keynote addresses, panel discussions, performances, and social gatherings. I am tremendously grateful to the many people across campus who were instrumental in planning these events and to the chairs and members of our alumni host committee for their insights, ideas, effort and enthusiasm. It will be an extraordinary weekend and a momentous occasion for Bowdoin, and I look forward to seeing you at these events.