While he was a student at Bowdoin, Jean-Paul Honegger ’15 revitalized the campus’s defunct French club, the Famille Francophone, and quickly brought its membership to 150 students — roughly 8 percent of the student population.
“Jean-Paul has singlehandedly done more for the diffusion and visibility of all things French and francophone on campus than any other student we have known over all our years at Bowdoin,” Associate Professor of Romance Languages Katherine Dauge-Roth said, speaking on behalf of the current members of the French department.
Besides holding crêpe and fondue nights, the Famille Francophone in the last couple of years hosted many successful cultural events, including the Tournées film festival (twice); an evening with the stand-up Moroccan comedian Gad Elmaleh; and a screening of a Daniel Leconte’s Charlie Hebdo documentary, C’est dûr d’être aimé par des cons. Honegger led a discussion following Leconte’s film on the recent terror attack at Charlie Hebdo.
In recognition of Honegger’s work promoting French language and culture on campus, the French Consulate in Boston on June 4 presented him with its annual Excellence Award. “I am very honored to have received this award,” Honegger said. “I hope that it will help give greater exposure to the Francophone community and culture at Bowdoin and in Brunswick.” After the award was presented in Boston, the Consulate held a reception and a luncheon in Honegger’s honor.
Honegger, who graduated in May and is a Swiss-Dutch native speaker of French, also launched and hosted a new Bowdoin radio show, “Pardon my French,” on WBOR 91.1 FM. In the show, he played francophone music, offered commentary on current events and socio-cultural questions in the French-speaking world, and interviewed French speakers. He says he plans to return to Europe and seek a job in broadcasting or print media.
Dauge-Roth said Honegger will be sorely missed at Bowdoin. “The French section and the campus as a whole have been amazingly fortunate to have benefitted from his energy and abilities,” she added.