2021 Messages to the Community

Season's Greetings 2021 (December 15, 2021)
With exams now underway, and as we approach the end of the fall semester, Julianne and I send our warmest wishes for a happy and peaceful holiday break.

Important Message for Students (December 10, 2021)
As you may have seen, Maine is reporting a record 2,148 new cases of COVID-19 today—a number well above the previous record of 1,460 cases set just yesterday. Dr. Nirav Shah, the head of the Maine CDC, describes the current conditions in the state as the worst since the start of the pandemic, and he believes these numbers will only get worse in the coming days.

Booster Requirement and Clinic (December 8, 2021)
I am writing today with an important update related to the College’s ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of our campus and local communities, and our plans to ensure a robust academic and student experience when we return to campus for the spring semester in January.

Finn Woodruff '21 Memorial Service (December 2, 2021)
The College is assisting the Woodruff family with arrangements for a gathering off campus to celebrate the life of Finn Woodruff ’21, who died in a kayaking accident in Washington state on November 17.

Time Change: Theo Danzig '22 Memorial Service (November 29, 2021)
There has been a change in the time for this coming Sunday’s campus memorial service for Theo Danzig ’22. The gathering will now begin at 2:00 p.m. (previously announced as 2:30) on Sunday, December 5, in Kanbar Auditorium, Studzinski Hall. There will be overflow seating in the lobby of Studzinski, as well as in Lancaster Lounge in Moulton Union.

COVID-19 Boosters (November 19, 2021)
If you have been following the news, you know that the COVID-19 pandemic is again on the rise in Maine, nationally, and around the world. In the US, a decline in the number of cases that began in late August bottomed out in October, and cases have been increasing ever since. Here in Maine, we have more cases of COVID-19 today than at any time during the entire pandemic, with the virus spreading primarily among unvaccinated people in the state’s rural areas.

Memorial Service for Theo Danzig '22 (November 9, 2021)
The College will hold a memorial service to remember and celebrate the life of Theo Danzig ’22 on Sunday, December 5, at 2:30 p.m. in Kanbar Auditorium, Studzinski Hall. A reception will follow the service. Theo’s family will be here to participate in the service.

Extended Thanksgiving Break (November 4, 2021)
These last twenty months have required you to contend with significant and persistent challenges that have fundamentally altered regular aspects of your lives. The emotional toll from this on everyone has been significant, and Theo’s death is a tragedy that has added great sadness on top of these challenges.

Theo Danzig '22 and Campus Resources (November 2, 2021)
Today in New York City, the Danzig family is holding funeral services for Theo Danzig ’22 with family and immediate friends, and we know that several members of the Bowdoin community are there to attend.

Holiday Break (October 25, 2021)
As we did last year, in order to give staff and faculty a well-earned and much-deserved break this holiday season, the College will be closed for two full weeks.

Family Weekend (October 19, 2021)
On Friday, October 22, 2021, as part of Family Weekend, we will have two exciting programs that I cordially invite you to attend.

MaineShare/United Way Campaign Extended to Friday (October 19, 2021)
The deadline to participate in Bowdoin’s 2021 workplace campaign in support of MaineShare and the United Way has been extended to this Friday, October 22. This is completely voluntary, but I have heard from several of you who, in this busy part of the academic calendar, had forgotten to renew or add their support last week.

Campus Climate Survey for Students (October 18, 2021)
You will soon be asked to respond to the National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates (NACCC) survey that will be administered at more than sixty liberal arts colleges in the US. It is an essential part of our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work because it provides systematic measurement and benchmarking of key aspect of diversity, equity, and inclusion regarding race and racial identity at Bowdoin.

Scott Meiklejohn to Retire (October 13, 2021)
I am writing to let you know that Scott Meiklejohn, who has served Bowdoin over the past quarter century, will be retiring from the College on October 29.

MaineShare/United Way Workplace Campaign (September 30, 2021)
Tomorrow, the College will launch its annual two-week workplace campaign in support of MaineShare and the United Way of Mid Coast Maine, an entirely voluntary program designed to help members of the Bowdoin community assist our neighbors in need.

Michael Reed Retirement (September 21, 2021)
I am writing to let you know that Michael Reed, our senior vice president for inclusion and diversity, will be retiring from the College on September 30, in order to focus on his health.

COVID-19 Adjustments (September 17, 2021)
As indicated in Mike Ranen’s message on Wednesday, our progress in controlling the spread of COVID-19 on campus has allowed us to ease some of the temporary restrictions put in place on September 2.

New Chairs to Honor Distinguished Black Graduates (September 14, 2021)
I am excited to announce the creation of four new endowed faculty professorships that honor distinguished Black graduates of our College. They will be used to bring new faculty to Bowdoin who will focus on the interdisciplinary study of race, racism, and racial justice.

Twenty Years After 9/11 (September 9, 2021)
This Saturday will be the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Few, if any, of our current students remember that shocking and terrifying day, but they have grown up in a world that has been forever changed by it.

COVID-19 Update (September 5, 2021)
To the campus community, Mike Ranen’s update from the weekend is appended below. In addition, I want to share a few thoughts with you.

Bowdoin's 220th Academic Year (September 1, 2021)
Today, classes begin. I cannot fully express to you how great it feels to have everyone back on campus. Yesterday, at Convocation, I shared with our first-year and transfer students, and with the faculty and staff in attendance, thoughts on the idea of “the best four years of your life.”

Remote Work Group (August 25, 2021)
I am pleased to announce that Mary Baumgartner has agreed to chair the College’s working group focused on remote work.

Mask Mandate (August 23, 2021)
Effective tomorrow, August 24—and for what I hope and expect will be for a limited time, as we welcome first-year and returning students to campus—the College will require face coverings INDOORS for all members of the campus community and all visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

220th Convocation (August 19, 2021)
This year’s Convocation, our 220th, will be held on Tuesday, August 31, at 3:30 p.m. in Pickard Theater. I cordially invite you to attend, and I hope that you will be able to be part of the official start to this academic year.

Fall Semester Update (July 30, 2021)
I hope you have been having a restful and fun summer, and that life has been moving closer to normal for you, your families, and your friends. With the arrival of first-year students now less than a month away and the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, I am writing to update you on our pandemic-related plans for the fall semester.

Hybrid Work Model (July 8, 2021)
I hope your summer is off to a good start. I am writing to let you know that we are modifying the requirement that all employees work in person at the College beginning on September 1.

Update on Racial Justice and DEI Work (June 28, 2021)
As this academic year draws to a close, we are writing—as promised—with an update on the work done across the College during the first six months of this calendar year to better understand the issues of racial justice and to change policies, practices, and operations in order to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion at the College.

Vaccination Policy Information (June 24, 2021)
As I announced on April 16, the College will require everyone in the campus community to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 when we reconvene for the fall semester. Having all of us fully vaccinated is the only effective way for the College to return to normal in the fall and to protect the campus and Brunswick communities.

Message to Faculty and Staff—Thank You (June 7, 2021)
Thank you! Commencement and our virtual Reunion are now both behind us, and the vast majority of our students have left campus, and all are on to their summer endeavors. We now turn both to summer work and to rest and recharge as we move close to the end of one of the most challenging periods in the long history of our college.

Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby Support Transgender Rights with Letter to Maine Legislature (May 10, 2021)
In a joint letter to state legislators, the presidents of Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby Colleges announced their strong opposition to two anti-transgender in sports bills currently before the Maine Legislature.

Message to the Bowdoin Community—April 28, 2021
I am very pleased to announce that Stephanie B. Frost will succeed Scott Meiklejohn as our senior vice president for development and alumni relations.

Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff—April 27, 2021
It is our tradition at the College not only to bestow honorary degrees each year to a small handful of people who are leading the way in their respective fields but to invite them to share insights from their worlds with the Bowdoin community.

Message to the Bowdoin Community—April 20, 2021
I know you join me in the hope that today’s conviction of former Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd provides some solace to Mr. Floyd’s family and friends, and to so many others.

Vaccinations, Working on Campus, and Remote Work—April 16, 2021
Thank you for all that you are doing to care for one another and yourselves each day. I am writing to provide more detailed information on our plans for the fall and an eventual return to the workplace for staff.

Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff—March 31, 2021
I am writing to share with you a message (below) that I sent today to Bowdoin alumni and parents.

Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff—March 30, 2021
Today I am delighted to announce that the College will award our highest honor—The Bowdoin Prize—to Kenneth I. Chenault ’73, H’96 in recognition of his extraordinary career as a visionary leader of immense integrity whose life and example have long inspired and motivated so many others.

Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff—March 26, 2021
It has been a month since our campus community completed the DiversityEdu courses, the official beginning of our college-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work together. I am grateful for the commitment of our enrolled students, faculty, and staff to completing the course, especially in light of all that has been required of you during the pandemic. There is more information about follow-on activities and learning opportunities from this course at the end of this message.

Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff—March 24, 2021
Violence against Asians, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and people of Asian descent did not begin last week or last month. While the brutal murders in Atlanta were shocking, members of the Asian community will tell you that anti-Asian racism, hate, and violence is not new and is an ever-present fear.

Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff—March 19, 2021
Our abbreviated “spring break” begins at the conclusion of classes later today, and I encourage each of you to step back from your work and get some rest.

Message to Faculty and Staff—March 18, 2021
I hope you will join me for a special event, Bowdoin’s first Celebration of Opportunity, to be held virtually on Thursday, May 20, at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff—March 17, 2021
Yesterday, we again witnessed horrific violence in our country—in this instance, the murders in Atlanta of six women of Asian identity and two white individuals.

Message to Bowdoin Alumni—March 16, 2021
Greetings from campus on a chilly but sunny early spring day in Maine. I hope you are staying healthy and safe. I’m writing to make a specific request related to our seniors, the Bowdoin Class of 2021.

Message to the Graduating Students and Their Families—March 12, 2021
I am very pleased to announce that we are changing our plans to allow for a limited number of guests to join us for Bowdoin’s 216th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 29, 2021.

Message to the Bowdoin Community—March 9, 2021
Late this afternoon, the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) announced plans to conduct limited spring sports play on a regional basis from mid-April to mid-May, with competition scheduled on weekends. Each school will make its own decisions about engaging in this limited competition, taking into account campus protocols, equity across activities, and the ability to field teams depending on the number of athletes on campus.

Message to the Bowdoin Community—March 4, 2021
The spring semester is well underway and off to a great start, thanks to the care for one another that is a hallmark of this college. Thank you for all you are doing to stay safe and for the sense of purpose and responsibility that you show each day. Let’s keep it up!

Message to the Campus Community—March 1, 2021
Today, it is my great pleasure to announce the appointment of Claudia Marroquin ’06 as Bowdoin’s next senior vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid, and Niles Bryant as our next senior vice president and chief investment officer. Both of these appointments are effective July 1, 2021.

Message to the Campus Community—February 26, 2021
I am writing to you again about racism in our society, and specifically about anti-Asian and anti-Asian American racism. A substantial number of Asian Americans and those of Asian identity have been subjected to physical attacks and incidents of harassment motivated by their race and ethnicity.

Message to the Bowdoin Campus—February 11, 2021
On the evening of January 6, in the aftermath of the insurrection at the US Capitol, I wrote to you to say, in part, that: "...today’s events are a stark reminder that we take our freedoms and our democracy for granted at our peril. They require our attention and engagement…" With this in mind—and with the understanding that the COVID-19 pandemic limits the ability of others to create various programs—I have organized a semester-long series of virtual discussions with leading experts on subjects that relate to the current state of and future prospects for American democracy.

Message to Faculty and Staff—February 9, 2021
I am writing with mixed emotions to let you know that Whitney Soule will be leaving the College at the end of the academic year to join the University of Pennsylvania as vice provost and dean of admissions—news that is being announced at this hour at Penn.

Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff—February 3, 2021
With just a couple of days until our students arrive on campus and less than a week until classes begin, I hope you are well and as excited as I am to get the spring semester underway. We are delighted that so many of our students will be on campus. We will miss those who will not be here and we look forward to engaging with them throughout the semester.

Message to the Bowdoin Community—February 1, 2021
I write with the bittersweet news that our extraordinary chief investment officer and senior vice president, Paula Volent, will be stepping down from her position at the end of the current academic year on June 30 to pursue the next chapter in what has been a varied and tremendously successful career.

Message to Bowdoin Students—January 26, 2021
I am writing today about Commencement, but first a word about the keys to making it through the spring semester safely.

Message to Faculty and Staff—January 19, 2021
I am writing today with good news: the compensation sacrifices that we asked of you at the start of the academic year will end this month.

Message to the Bowdoin Community—January 18, 2021
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday dedicated to the life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the struggle for civil rights and equality. More than five decades after Dr. King was murdered, we remain far from realizing his hopes for America.

Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff—January 13, 2021
We all know the sobering reality that the COVID-19 global health crisis continues, including here in Maine. The weeks ahead–perhaps longer–will be very challenging and will continue to bring bad news. However, the distribution of vaccines is underway, bringing with them the knowledge that things will begin to improve. Ultimately, we will return to life that is increasingly more normal.

Message to the Campus Community—January 6, 2021
“A violent act for political purposes.” That’s the Cambridge English Dictionary’s definition of terrorism, and that is exactly what we saw today at the US Capitol, a terrorist act. A huge mob stormed and breached the Capitol to stop an essential act of our democracy enshrined in our Constitution: the formal counting of the Electoral College votes. It was an act incited by the president of the United States and enabled by many others over the last four years, including today. To be sure, there have been voices pushing back on the president and his enablers, but too few.