Amid fond recollections of his deep devotion to Maine and to Bowdoin, a portrait of Trustee Emeritus Leon A. Gorman ’56, H’83 was presented May 11, 2017, in Moulton Union.
Gorman, the former president and chairman of L.L. Bean, and the grandson of the company’s founder, died in September 2015 at the age of 80.
President Clayton Rose recalled Gorman’s visionary leadership as a businessman, and his generous and quiet support, with his wife, Lisa, for the arts and culture, for health and medicine, and for community service organizations that change lives.
The portrait will hang in Moulton Union close to where recipients of The Bowdoin Prize are recognized. Gorman is there, as well, among the names of sixteen people who have received the College’s highest honor. Gorman received the Bowdoin Prize in 2010 for his distinctive contributions as a business leader, conservationist, philanthropist, and a for a life that modeled what it means to serve the common good
“Leon Gorman exemplified Bowdoin values throughout his life, and this is why we are so proud to place his portrait here in the center of our campus in this place of honor, and to have his life stand for generations to come as an example of what it means to be a leader, a citizen, and a selfless champion for improving the human condition,” said President Rose.
Lisa Gorman said the portrait had been more than a dozen years in the making as those close to her husband tried to convince him to do it. When he was finally on board with the idea, Leon and Lisa approached Bowdoin College Museum of Art co-directors Anne and Frank Goodyear to help them find the right artist.
“This was the perfect coming together of the loveliest and most talented people,” Lisa Gorman said. “Frank and Anne understood what we were looking for.”
Anne Goodyear spoke of the genesis of the project and delivered greetings from Jon Friedman, the artist who has also portrayed the likes of Michael Bloomberg, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Ted Turner.
Goodyear noted that there are a number of final studies; one hangs at L.L. Bean’s corporate headquarters in Freeport, Maine, and another is part of the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
“Reflecting Leon’s forthright personality, his love for his home and for his family, which were clearly grounding influences in his life, the work captures the story that resonates deeply with the spirit of Leon’s alma mater, reflecting as it does, the power of connection to community and to the common good,” said Goodyear.
Lisa Gorman recalled fond memories of having spent time with Leon in Moulton Union for many trustee dinners over the years.
“Leon loved Bowdoin,” she said. “He loved his years here. He enjoyed his years as a trustee, and he was very proud of his connection here, and I’m proud to have this hang here.”