Commencement 2014: Class Gift Remarks by Simon Brooks ’14

Senior Class President Simon Brooks ’14 delivered the class dedication at Bowdoin’s 2014 Commencement exercises, held May 24, 2014, in which he announced the Senior Class Gift.

I had just joined Bowdoin’s Improv Comedy troupe. It was right before my first show. I was a nervous and anxious first-year. I just kept thinking, please be funny, please be funny, please be funny — which, side note: The first show was an absolute train wreck, but I had a great time.

Simon Brooks '14

Simon Brooks ’14

Anyway, the senior leader of the group saw the overwhelming fear in my eyes and pulled me aside. He put his arm around me and said, “Just remember three things. One: Give gifts; make your scene partner look good and support the choices your partners make. Two: Work together; while you’re on stage, work as a collective group to build real relationships. Three: Chase the joy — remember that we do this because of the joy it brings us. That’s all we’re chasing.”

When I think about what makes the class of 2014 special, these words of wisdom resonate with me. Over the course of our time at Bowdoin we have all been giving gifts to each other. We give each other shoulders to lean on after a long day, we give sincere hellos even if we’re in a hurry, and we give support no matter the presentation, the show, or the sporting event.

From our Pre-Os to how we’ve been working together to build life-long friendships that could only be fostered here. The strong Bowdoin network has taught us the importance of working together with other Polar Bears.

Most importantly, though, Bowdoin has encouraged us to chase the joys of life. Whether it’s an in academia, the arts, or an athletic team, each of you came to Bowdoin College because of your unwavering determination to chase the joys.

It all truly culminated when the Class of 2014 announced that this year’s Senior Class Gift would be a scholarship fund for an incoming first-year. I am proud to say we have surpassed our annual target with 80% participation.

A heartfelt thank you to those who have already contributed to the campaign, and I encourage those yet to participate to consider making a gift to our class scholarship fund to help ensure someone can experience the joy of Bowdoin College.

As we transition from students to alumni, I hope you each find your own reasons to give gifts, work together, and chase the joy. Bowdoin College will always hold a special place our hearts, and, personally, I am honored that we have gifted someone the opportunity of a Bowdoin education.

Last, I want to thank the people who made my Bowdoin experience possible. To my family, I love you and I cannot thank you enough for your support. To the faculty and staff of the Bowdoin Community —President Mills, Dining, Security, Saferide, Student Activities the list goes on — thank you for working to make Bowdoin the unbelievable place that it is.

To my classmates, it’s been my pleasure to be apart of this class and I’m eager to watch you all succeed in the coming years. And finally, to my friends, I couldn’t have asked for a more loving and loyal group of people. You have such big hearts and have taught me so much. Thanks for the memories, and please remember, like improv, life is not scripted, but if we continue to give gifts, work together, and chase the joy, we will have a great time.

Thank you.

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