Bowdoin College celebrates its 217th launch

The class includes students from forty-three states, including Massachusetts with sixty-four students, New York with fifty-seven, California with forty-one, and Connecticut with twenty-two. Fifty-two senior graduates are from outside the United States, representing twenty-nine countries and territories.

College Marshal Jean Yarbrough, who is Gary M. Pendy Sr. Bowdoin’s professor of social science, officially opened the drill commencement ceremony. Eduardo Pazos Palma, director of the Rachel Lord Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, then offered the invocation.

“Class of 2022, through some of the toughest times we have ever had, you have made it through to this day,” Pazos Palma said, urging them to move forward fearlessly and “full of hope. for the brighter and better days that you are”. about to meet. Read the full text of the invocation of Pazos Palma.

Board Chairman Robert White ’77, P’12, introduced Thomas College President and Honorary Degree recipient Laurie Gagnon Lachance ’83, P’13, who delivered State Salutes , which are usually offered by a Maine representative.


Rose Clayton

Lachance explained how the rich histories of Maine and Bowdoin College are “inextricably linked.” The “bold and visionary leadership” of Bowdoin graduates, she said, “has shaped Maine’s unique character and heritage for more than two centuries and has helped shape our nation as well. What a great thought and what fun to look through those 450 faces and wonder who will step up to fill those shoes in the future. Read the full text of Lachance’s welcome message.

President Clayton Rose welcomed graduating seniors, family, friends and community members to Bowdoin, describing the event as a “joyful occasion”. Before celebrating the accomplishments of Bowdoin’s latest graduates, however, Rose took time to remember those who perished in the global pandemic and acknowledge the ongoing challenges faced by many across the country. “We remember those who were the targets of death and violence because of their identity – racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, sexual – most recently in Buffalo two weeks ago. And our hearts break for the families and loved ones of the nineteen children and two teachers who were murdered Tuesday in Texas.

Rose went on to celebrate a milestone in the College’s history, one that has been honored throughout the past year. “In the spring of 1971, transfer student Susan Jacobsen became Bowdoin College’s first female graduate. This fall – the fall of 1971 – 147 women enrolled here as the first official mixed class,” he said. It is a fitting tribute to this achievement, Rose added, that this year’s honors cohort includes “five distinguished women who have rendered great service to the common good and whose achievements and character are incredible examples to us all”. Read the full text of Clayton Rose’s welcome speech.

In her remarks, Rose paid tribute to senior graduate Alex Tyson, who a day earlier had been appointed to the United States Marine Corp in a ceremony outside Bowdoin Chapel. He also offered the senior graduates his thoughts on what he said was “one of the most important things” he learned in his own life: that “true happiness is not found in material success; it is found rather in the ties of family and friends. Happiness is about your heartfind and nurture those special relationships that make you whole…If we learned anything from the past of them yearsthat’s how much it mattershoh how essential it is.”

Rose also paid tribute to Henry Zietlow ’22, who died in 2019, and Theo Danzig ’22 and Finn Woodruf ’21, who died just seventeen days apart last fall. “They were men of promise who were loved by family, friends, classmates, teachers, our staff and everyone who was lucky enough to know them,” Rose said. . Both Danzig and Woodruff had earned enough academic credit to earn their degree. Bowdoin degrees. Rose invited the family members to the steps of the Walker Art Building to receive their diplomas, noting that Danzig and Woodruff also earned Latin honors (cum laude) as students, and that Danzig had been posthumously inducted the previous day into Phi Beta Kappa. “They were each extremely talented and wonderful men,” Rose said. “They were deeply loved by their families and friends, and they returned that love in full measure. We are so much better at knowing them, and their absence creates a permanent void in all of us.”

Keynote speakers

As has been the tradition since Bowdoin’s first graduation ceremony in 1806, commencement speeches were given by senior graduates. This year’s speakers, chosen by competition, were Ryan Britt ’22 and Journey Browne ’22, both Geoffrey Canada Scholars.


Browne Trip ’22

Class of 1868 Journey Browne ’22 Prize Winner

The main focus of Browne’s speech, titled “The Victory Mindset”, explored the importance of positive thinking and self-respect. “What exactly is victory mindset?” she asked. “It’s a mindset that declares that any action you take, no matter how small, especially in times of difficulty, whether global or personal, is a victory.”

Browne, who is a sociology major, pointed out that it’s not just big accomplishments, like finding a job that’s appreciated or moving to a new city, that should be counted as victories: “What about the little moments ? Getting out after a heartbreak. Find the will to eat when someone you love dies. Finally taking a shower after an internal mental battle… These are also victories and they deserved to be celebrated like all the other victories.

It’s crucial, she said, to embrace those small victories and nurture that voice of optimism within you. “Once you affirm that voice and stay true to the belief that victories come in all shapes and sizes,” she said, “you’ll never lose no matter what you’re going through.” Read the full text of Journey Browne’s speech.

ryan britt22

Ryan Britt ’22

Goodwin Ryan Britt ’22 Launch Prize Winner

Britt’s speech, titled “The Great Hope of a Bowdoin Education,” reflected his upbringing in an economically deprived corner of northeast Ohio, where he and his family “faced the daily struggles of poverty that are shaped by substance abuse, violence and trauma.” .” Britt described how it was part of his daily ritual to embrace the hope that one day he would be able to break out of what he called the “vicious cycle of poverty” that ensnares many parts of the country.

“Every day,” he continued, “I looked skyward over the low rooftops of my trailer park as I walked home from the bus, yelling Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ into my headphones as I imagined myself somewhere else. It was in those short moments of transition that I allowed myself to cling to hope for a better life and future until Bowdoin College gave me the opportunity to fully realize this hope.

Britt said his years at Bowdoin helped him “understand the many factors that underlie my upbringing and how cycles of poverty are created and maintained”. He said his upbringing gave him a “strength of voice” which he fully intends to use. Read the full text of Ryan Britt’s speech.

Honorary degree recipients

Bowdoin bestowed five honorary degrees at the ceremony:

  • contemporary artist Catherine Bradford
  • bestselling author Raquel Jaramillo (RJ Palacio) P’18
  • Economist and President of Thomas College Laurie Gagnon Luck ’83, P’13
  • Journalist and social activist Janet Langhart-Cohen
  • Decorated marathon runner Joan Benoit Samuelson ’79, P’12

Carlos Campos ’22

senior class gift

Class President Carlos Campos ’22 delivered the inauguration of the Senior Class Gift, a scholarship fund for a new member of the Class of 2026. In his remarks, Campos paid tribute to his parents, who, he said, survived the Peruvian Civil War and arrived in the United States “with only twelve dollars in their pocket”. Now that he and his classmates are graduating, Campos said they now have the “choice to re-engage with the communities where we come from.” Read the full text of Carlos Campos’ speech.

Launch music

Senior members of the Chamber Choir, Chorus and student a cappella groups performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Raise Songs to Bowdoin”, while the Chandler’s Band closed the ceremony with the launch march and the recession walk.

Read about Bowdoin’s Bachelor Ceremony, held on Friday, May 27, 2022 at Watson Arena.

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