Bowdoin’s Scholarship Appreciation Luncheon was held Wednesday, May 12, 2016. The annual event brings together hundreds of students with the donors—alumni, parents, and friends of the College—who have provided the financial support that makes a Bowdoin education possible for them.
“To those alums, families, friends, and parents who make the financial aid, the need-blind admission, the opportunity for 50 percent of our students who are here, happen: thank you,” said President Clayton Rose. “It is simply remarkable.”
Following a performance by BOKA, the oldest co-ed a cappella group on campus, Trustee Joseph V. McDevitt Jr. ’75 made the point that “good access to Bowdoin starts with awareness, improves with encouragement, and finishes with funding.”
McDevitt, spoke of working as a milkman in the early 1970s to earn half of his college expenses—and expressed gratitude for the fact that the other half was provided by Bowdoin through student aid.
“It’s obvious how much more challenging it must be today for most students and their families to fund a college education,” said McDevitt, who with his wife, Won Young, established the McDevitt Family Scholarship Fund in 2007.
“More than ever, Bowdoin’s strong financial aid program is a mission-critical necessity if the College is to continue to serve the common good and attract talented students from diverse backgrounds.“ Read the text of McDevitt’s remarks in their entirety.
Tenzin Tsagong ’16, a first-generation college student from Brooklyn, N.Y., originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, shared her research into and personal experience with language, the “apt indicator of one’s social status, education, and social and economic capital.”
“My father’s inability to speak English marks his otherness, and moreover excludes him from fully participating in mainstream society,” Tsagong said, and then noted that while Bowdoin has helped equip her with the language she uses to communicate, “it also alienates me from my own family as it further marks the difference between me and my parents, a difference that is only exacerbated by my own personal struggle to communicate thoroughly in my native language of Tibetan.”
Tsagong, the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research in China next year, adds that language is also liberating.
“In giving this speech about language and education and its more alienating nature, I do not mean to give what may sound thus far like a completely despondent portrayal of my educational experience at Bowdoin. Only to show that upward mobility is not a path replete with challenges, because while we all do come together at Bowdoin to come together as a community, our experiences that are marked by race, ethnicity, class, are experiences that we embody in our everyday life, and are not something we simply abandon because we come to campus. We don’t start with blank slates.” Read the text of Tsagong’s remarks in their entirety.
President Rose spoke of the transformation, opportunity, and change that happen at Bowdoin.
“From an intellectual perspective, we enter as empty vessels and the skills of critical thinking, of analysis, of an ability to learn, the ability to communicate, in the written word and orally, are all things that take a vertical learning curve while we’re here.”
Rose told the enthusiastic crowd of about 450 people filling the dining room at Thorne Hall, representing nearly 900 funds supporting scholarship aid, that the day was a celebration.
“What you are doing with that opportunity is you are changing lives. That is amazing,” he said.
“Where else in our society today can you have such a direct and immediate impact on the lives of talented and amazing young people who will transform our world? For that, we thank you.”
Slideshow images by Dennis Griggs/Tannery Hill Studios