Bowdoin Opens Academic Year with 212th Convocation

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The College’s annual Convocation ceremony, marking the official opening of the 212th academic year, was held on September 4 in Pickard Theater of Memorial Hall.

In his “Opening of the College” address President Barry Mills spoke of the purpose, value, and affordability of a Bowdoin education in the context of today’s economic environment and nationwide attitudes toward educational institutions.

The Convocation Address, “Winslow Homer’s Report Card,” was delivered by Professor of Art History and Chair of the Art Department Pamela Fletcher. Fletcher explored the roles that creativity and art play in society as well as in the lives of individuals. Citing her own recent foray into combining art history with computer programming, she stressed the importance of risking failure and seizing opportunities to branch out into unfamiliar territory — an approach that she described as vital for finding fulfillment.

Convocation Addresses
Read President Barry Mills’ Opening of the College.
Read Professor Pamela Fletcher’s Winslow Homer’s Report Card.
Read Dean Tim Foster’s Voices from the Past.

Dean of Student Affairs Timothy Foster, in his address “Voices from the Past,” read selections from The Rules of Bowdoin College from 1802 and other historic documents. He informed the members of the Class of 2017 that they have it easy compared to their 19th-century counterparts (who had to ask the president’s permission to leave Brunswick, and could be fined for playing musical instruments during study hours). Acknowledging that Bowdoin’s rules have evolved since then, Foster drove home the continued importance of integrity, character, and personal responsibility.

Pianist George Lopez, Beckwith Artist-in-Residence, performed the processional and recessional music, with selections from Partita No. 5 in G Major by Johann Sebastian Bach. The musical interlude was performed by cellist Daniel Lesser ’14, who played the Bach’s Prelude from Suite No. 3 in C Major.

Photographs by Tannery Hill Studios/Dennis Griggs and Diana Griggs

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