Awards honoring outstanding leadership and service to the College will be presented June 2, 2018, during Reunion Convocation. Read about the other award recipients.
A dean’s list student at Bowdoin, Burns was president of the Political Forum, as well as being a swimmer, sailor, freshman football player, debater, and member of Masque & Gown. Graduating with high honors in his government major, he went on to graduate from New York University School of Law, after which he worked at the Federal Trade Commission, where he served as staff counsel.
Burns joined the New York law firm of Dannenberg, Hazen & Lake in 1963, where he was an associate for six years before forming his own firm. He maintained a general practice of law, solo and with partners (including his brother Bruce of Bowdoin’s Class of 1962) for fifty-plus years.
Always ready to volunteer for the betterment of his community, Burns also served as councilman, 1970-74, and supervisor, 1975-’78, for the Town of New Castle, New York. He was chairman, 1979-2000, of the Westchester Parkway Commission, and president of the board of trustees of the Westchester Library System.
Burns always made Bowdoin a priority and served the College enthusiastically and thoughtfully in multiple capacities over the years. Generous with his time, resources, and expertise, he was a member of the Alumni Council, an Alumni Fund director, and his class agent.
He has helped lead most reunions since his thirty-fifth and, as a co-leader of his 50th Reunion Committee, his vision and encouragement led to the class being the first at Bowdoin to reach 100 percent participation in reunion giving, as well as helping set a record for reunion attendance. Now, with his sixtieth reunion approaching, he is once again an organizer, booster, and leader of his class.
According to classmates and College staff, the extraordinary closeness, camaraderie, and loyalty of the Class of 1958 owes much to the efforts, warmth, and dedication of Burns. Several staff members have called him “one of the most dedicated volunteers we have had the pleasure of working with in our time at Bowdoin.” For his generous, enthusiastic, effective, and tireless work on behalf of Bowdoin, Burns is being presented with the Alumni Service Award for 2018.