A new center for the study of the environment at Bowdoin College will bring faculty from many academic disciplines together to encourage collaboration and creativity in the teaching and scholarship of the environment and further strengthen Bowdoin’s position as a preeminent institution in this area of study.
Funded with a $10 million lead gift from David and Barbara Roux of Upperville, Va., the new building will be constructed at the corner of Harpswell Road and College Street on Bowdoin’s central campus. It is expected to open in the mid-to-late fall of 2018.
“This act of great generosity by Barb and Dave Roux will be transformative for Bowdoin, and we are deeply grateful for their support,” said Bowdoin President Clayton S. Rose.
“We have outstanding faculty and students in a variety of disciplines doing important work across a diverse set of problems related to the environment. This new building, tentatively named The Roux Center for the Environment, will bring together scholars and students from across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. It will create innovative opportunities for coordination and collaboration in research, teaching, and scholarship, and enable new and enhanced engagement with those involved in teaching, research, policy, practical uses, and stewardship of the environment locally, in the region, across America, and around the world.”
David Roux described a key motivation for their gift: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to support Bowdoin and, in particular, to provide an opportunity for the College to build on its many strengths and accomplishments as a leader among liberal arts colleges in the study of environmental issues. Our gift is not about the building itself, but rather about the opportunities for the critical work that can be done there.” Barbara Roux added: “With this support, we are confident Bowdoin will be able to further expand its focus on the environment, educating and motivating a new generation of scientists and policy makers to meet the world’s great environmental challenges.”
A program committee of faculty, staff, and students will guide and oversee the project. Preliminary plans call for new classrooms, laboratories, faculty offices, and an auditorium in a building designed by architects Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., to meet the very highest Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council (LEED Platinum). Construction is expected to begin in May 2017, pending final approval by the Bowdoin College Board of Trustees, the Brunswick Planning Board, and other local regulatory agencies. The planned location is directly across Harpswell Road from Bowdoin’s Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center on land formerly occupied by Lancaster House (the previous Alpha Kappa Sigma fraternity house).
Bowdoin’s teaching and scholarship around environmental issues currently include faculty and students in the departments of biology, chemistry, earth and oceanographic science, economics, government and legal studies, history, and programs in Arctic studies and environmental studies, among other areas of study. Ongoing research takes place on Bowdoin’s central campus and in other locations, including ornithology at the Bowdoin Scientific Station on three islands in the Bay of Fundy and marine biology at the Coastal Studies Center on Orr’s Island in Harpswell, Maine. In addition, a portion of the 250 acres of land to be acquired by the College at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station is likely to be devoted to environmental studies and other science programs.
A member of the Bowdoin College Board of Trustees, David Roux is a cofounder, senior director, and former CEO of Silver Lake Group. He was formerly chairman and CEO of Liberate Technologies, executive vice president at Oracle Corporation, and senior vice president at Lotus Development. In addition to serving as a Bowdoin trustee, Roux is the current chair of the Board of Trustees at the Jackson Laboratory headquartered in Bar Harbor, Maine, and a board member at the National Audubon Society. A graduate of Harvard College, Roux earned an M.B.A. at the Harvard Business School and an M.Phil. at King’s College, Cambridge University.
Barbara Roux owns and operates St. Bride’s Farm in Upperville, Va. The farm focuses on breeding and training American show jumpers, and last summer one of their horses earned a team silver medal at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada. Barbara Roux earned her fine arts degree from the University of Georgia.
David and Barbara Roux have extensive family ties to Bowdoin College, including David Roux’s father, Donald Roux ’55; his brother, James Roux ’81; his sister, Mary Roux Train ’91; and the couple’s daughter, Margot Roux ’14. David Roux’s mother, Constance “Connie” Roux—the sister of Maine’s former governor James B. Longley’48—also took classes at the College.