Geoffrey Canada of the Bowdoin Class of 1974 and Stanley F. Druckenmiller of the Class of 1975 will be awarded The Bowdoin Prize—the highest honor the College bestows upon its members—during a special ceremony on Tuesday, January 20, at the 1794 Society Reception for leadership donors to Bowdoin’s Annual Giving Program in the Grand Promenade of Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Canada is a visionary educator and passionate advocate for children, community redevelopment, and education reform. Druckenmiller is a legendary investor whose extraordinary success in the world of finance is matched only by his remarkable record of philanthropy. Together—with Canada as president and CEO and Druckenmiller as board chairman—they have been instrumental in the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City, an organization that is helping thousands of children and families by disrupting the cycle of generational poverty in Central Harlem.
Their nomination for the Bowdoin Prize was confirmed by the Committee of Award, the members of which are the president of Harvard University, the president of Yale University and the chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine.
The Bowdoin Prize was established in 1928 as a memorial to William John Curtis, LL.D., of the Class of 1875, by his wife and children. It is awarded every five years “to the graduate or former member of the College, or member of its Faculty at the time of the award, who shall have made during the period the most distinctive contribution in any field of human endeavor.” The Bowdoin Prize is presented to those who are “recognized as having won national and not merely local distinction, or who, in the judgment of the committee, is fairly entitled to be so recognized.”
From 1990 to 2014, Geoff Canada served as president and chief executive officer of the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City, an organization that targets a 100-block area in Central Harlem with a comprehensive range of services aimed at providing children and their families with support and resources that can transform lives and communities. He recently stepped down as CEO but continues as president of HCZ today. In October, the Harlem Children’s Zone headquarters building was renamed in honor of Canada.
Canada grew up in the South Bronx. He graduated from Bowdoin in 1974 and earned his master’s degree in education at Harvard in 1975. After graduating from Harvard, he decided to work to help children who, like himself, were disadvantaged by their lives in poor, embattled neighborhoods. He is the author of two books: Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America, published in 1995 by Beacon Press, and Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America, published in 1998 by Beacon Press.
In 2005, U.S. News & World Report named Canada one of “America’s Best Leaders.” A year later, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg chose him to co-chair a task force assigned to reduce poverty in the city. In 2011, Canada was named to theTime Magazine “Time 100” list of the most influential people of the year. Canada and his groundbreaking work have been featured on “60 Minutes,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Charlie Rose Show,” “Nightline,” and many other national television programs; and have been covered by a long list of national newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and others. His awards are many, including the first Heinz Award in 1994 and the Harvard Graduate School of Education Medal for Educational Impact in 2012.
A former overseer and trustee of Bowdoin College, Canada was the first recipient of Bowdoin’s Common Good Award. In 2007 he was one of five honorary degree recipients at Bowdoin’s commencement. The National Book Award-winning author Jonathan Kozol has called Canada “one of the few authentic heroes of New York and one of the best friends children have, or ever will have, in our nation.”
Stanley F. Druckenmiller
Stan Druckenmiller is a private investor who also serves as chairman of the Harlem Children’s Zone Board of Trustees. He is the former chairman, CEO, and founder of Duquesne Capital Management in New York City and a member of the Bowdoin Class of 1975.
He graduated from Bowdoin magna cum laude with degrees in economics and English, and after studying economics in graduate school, Druckenmiller embarked on a career that has been nothing short of breathtaking. Discovered by international financier George Soros when he was a rising star at Dreyfus, Druckenmiller would go on to become a managing partner at Soros Fund Management in New York with immense responsibility for what would become the world’s largest hedge fund. Today, he is widely regarded as one of the preeminent money managers in the world. He is also a person of deep conviction about the power of education and the responsibilities of those who attain it.
In 2009, Druckenmiller was recognized by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as the most charitable man in America, giving $705 million to foundations that support medical research, education, and anti-poverty, including a $100 million gift to found a Neuroscience Institute at the NYU School of Medicine. Stan and his wife, Fiona, are also principal sponsors of the New York City AIDS walk.
Over the years, his contributions to Bowdoin have allowed the College to enhance its science programs, improve student life, add faculty chairs, increase financial aid, expand arts facilities, strengthen its library, and acquire cutting-edge technology. But Druckenmiller’s generosity to his alma mater goes far beyond his financial contributions. He has also been a close advisor to two Bowdoin presidents, an active trustee, and a force behind efforts to build Bowdoin’s endowment in support of the academic program and financial aid. Druckenmiller stepped down from the Bowdoin Board in 2002. He was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree in 2007.
The Bowdoin Prize
The first Bowdoin Prize was awarded in 1933 to Dr. Fred Houdlett Albee, Class of 1899. Other Bowdoin Prize recipients are U.S. Senator Paul Douglas (Class of 1913), Red Cross Commissioner Harvey Dow Gibson (Class of 1902), Bowdoin President Kenneth C.M. Sills (Class of 1901), Rear Admiral Donald MacMillan(Class of 1898), U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harold Burton (Class of 1909), journalist William Hodding Carter Jr. (Class of 1927), penologist Austin H. MacCormick (Class of 1915), Dr. Leonard W. Cronkhite (Class of 1941), former Northeastern University President Asa S. Knowles (Class of 1930), Olympic Gold Medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson (Class of 1979), Bowdoin professors Samuel S. Butcher and Dana W. Mayo, U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell (Class of 1954), former U.S. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen (Class of 1962), U.S. Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering (Class of 1953), and L.L. Bean Chairman Leon A. Gorman (Class of 1956).