October 08, 2019 | Office of the President

Message to the Campus Community (October 8, 2019)

To the campus community,

As I announced in April, Arthur C. Brooks will be coming to Bowdoin twice this year as the Joseph McKeen Visiting Fellow. This is a new initiative at the College, as we explore ways for members of our community to meet and engage deeply with accomplished individuals on a variety of topics and important issues.

Arthur Brooks is the former president of the American Enterprise Institute and a former professor of business and government policy at Syracuse University who currently serves as professor of the practice of public leadership at Harvard Kennedy School and as Arthur C. Patterson Faculty Fellow at the Harvard Business School. He is a best-selling author of several books on topics that include the role of government, economic opportunity, happiness, and the morality of free enterprise. He has collaborated with the Dalai Lama for several years, and his latest book, Love Your Enemies, provides strategies for overcoming polarization and social division. He also shares his perspective—shaped by his education and experiences—in the documentary film The Pursuit, which is available on Netflix. 

Arthur Brooks will be on campus November 6–8 and will return for a visit in the spring. The goal for these visits is to provide an opportunity for members of the campus community to interact with Dr. Brooks—and with future Visiting McKeen Fellows—in ways that go well beyond what is possible with a single event or during the short Q&A session that typically follows a public talk. 

One of these opportunities will be a community forum on Thursday, November 7, facilitated by Tess Chakkalakal, Bowdoin’s Peter M. Small Associate Professor of Africana Studies and English and director of the Africana Studies Program, and by Associate Professor of History Page Herrlinger. The forum, to be held in a relatively small setting (with seating limited to sixty), will be open to students, faculty, and staff. The format is designed to allow for significant engagement with Dr. Brooks, through prior preparation, including reading Love Your Enemies, and watching The Pursuit. You may register for the event here. We will provide copies of the book and access to the film free of charge to those who would like to participate. 

The remainder of his schedule for the fall visit is set, with a great lineup of meetings focused primarily on student groups and class visits.

As I wrote in my message to the campus community last spring, these visits to Bowdoin by Arthur Brooks are opportunities 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 hope you will participate.