Seal of Bowdoin College
|Motto||Ut Aquila Versus Caelum|
|Motto in English||As an eagle towards the sky|
|Established||June 24, 1794|
|Religious affiliation||Nonsectarian, originally Congregationalist|
|Postgraduates||Some postdoctoral students and visiting scholars|
|Location||Brunswick, Maine, USA
|Sports||30 varsity teams, 6 club teams|
|Athletics||NCAA Division III|
Bowdoin College (boʊdɪn), founded in 1794, is a private liberal arts college located in the coastal New England town of Brunswick, Maine. The college enrolls approximately 1,700 students and has been coeducational since 1971. It offers 33 majors and 4 additional minors; the academic year consists of two four-course semesters, and the student-faculty ratio is 9:1. As of 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranks Bowdoin sixth among liberal arts colleges in the United States.
Brunswick is located on the shores of Casco Bay and the Androscoggin River, 12 miles north of Freeport, Maine, and 28 miles north of Portland, Maine. In addition to its Brunswick campus, Bowdoin also operates a 118 acre (478,000 m²) coastal studies center on Orrs Island in Harpswell, Maine and a 200 acre (809,000 m²) scientific field station on Kent Island,  in the Bay of Fundy.
Bowdoin College was chartered in 1794 by Governor Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, of which Maine was then a district, and was named for former Massachusetts governor James Bowdoin, whose son James Bowdoin III was an early benefactor. At the time of its founding, it was the easternmost college in the United States. In 1806, 13 Harvard graduates opted to accept a Bowdoin degree along with their diploma from Harvard.
Bowdoin came into its own in the 1820s, a decade in which Maine became an independent state as a result of the Missouri Compromise and the college graduated a number of its most famous alumni, including future United States President Franklin Pierce, class of 1824, and writers Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, both of whom graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1825.
Bowdoin's connections to the Civil War have prompted some to quip that the war "began and ended" in Brunswick. Harriet Beecher Stowe, "the little lady who started this big war," started writing her influential anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin in Bowdoin's Appleton Hall while her husband was teaching at the College, and General Joshua Chamberlain, a Bowdoin alumnus and professor, was responsible for receiving the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House in 1865. Chamberlain, a Medal of Honor recipient who later served as governor of Maine, adjutant-general of Maine, and president of Bowdoin, distinguished himself at Gettysburg, where he led the 20th Maine in its valiant defense of Little Round Top.
There are other Civil War connections as well: General Oliver Otis Howard, class of 1850, led the Freedmen's Bureau after the war and later founded Howard University; Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew, class of 1837, was responsible for the formation of the famous 54th Massachusetts; and William P. Fessenden 1823 and Hugh McCulloch 1827 both served as Secretary of the Treasury during the Lincoln Administration. After the war, Bowdoin contended that a higher percentage of its alumni fought in the war than that of any other college in the North—and not only for the Union. In fact, Confederate President Jefferson Davis held an honorary degree from Bowdoin, which he received while United States Secretary of War in 1858.
In addition to Howard and Chamberlain, a third Bowdoin alumnus attained general officer rank in the Civil War: Brevet Brigadier General Ellis Spear, Class of 1858, who was Chamberlain's second-in-command at Gettysburg.
Although Bowdoin's Medical School of Maine closed its doors in 1920, the College is currently known for its particularly strong programs in the natural sciences. One illustrious alumnus was Dr. Augustus Stinchfield, who received his MD in 1868, who went on to become one of the co-founders of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He was asked to join the two Mayo brother's private medical practice in 1892. In 1915, the remaining partners in the then private practice embraced the creation of the non-profit Mayo Clinic. While perhaps Bowdoin's better-known alumnus in the sciences is the controversial entomologist-turned-sexologist Alfred Kinsey, class of 1916, the College's reputation in this area was cemented in large part by the Arctic explorations of Admiral Robert E. Peary, class of 1877, and Donald B. MacMillan, class of 1898. Peary led the first successful expedition to the North Pole in 1908, and MacMillan, a member of Peary's crew, became famous in his own right as he explored Greenland, Baffin Island and Labrador in the schooner Bowdoin between 1908 and 1954. Bowdoin's Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum  honors the two explorers, and the College's mascot, the Polar Bear, was chosen in 1913 to honor MacMillan, who donated a particularly large specimen to his alma mater in 1917.
Following in the footsteps of President Pierce and House Speaker Thomas Brackett Reed, class of 1860, several 20th century Bowdoin graduates have assumed prominent positions in national government while representing the Pine Tree State. Wallace H. White, Jr., class of 1899, served as Senate Minority Leader from 1944–1947 and Senate Majority Leader from 1947–1949; Joseph Finnegan, class of 1923, later served as Senator for MA, George J. Mitchell, class of 1954, served as Senate Majority Leader from 1989-1995 before assuming a prominent role in the Northern Ireland peace process; and William Cohen, class of 1962, spent twenty-five years in the House and Senate before being appointed Secretary of Defense in the Clinton Administration. Maine's First Congressional District has been christened the "Bowdoin seat" due to its long occupation by graduates of the College. A total of eleven Bowdoin graduates have ascended to the Maine governorship, and three graduates of the College currently sit on the state's highest court.
Over the last several decades, Bowdoin College has modernized dramatically. In 1970, it became one of a very limited number of selective schools to make the SAT optional in the admissions process, and in 1971, after nearly 180 years as a small men's college, Bowdoin admitted its first class of women. Bowdoin also abolished fraternities in the late 1990s, replacing them with a system of college-owned social houses.
Recent developments include the 2001 appointment of Barry Mills, class of 1972, as the fifth alumnus president of the College, and a 2002 decision by the faculty to change the grading system so that it incorporated plus and minus grades.
On January 18, 2008, Bowdoin announced that it would be eliminating loans for all new and current students receiving financial aid, replacing those loans with grants beginning with the 2008-2009 academic year. It will be joining a very small group of schools who have chosen the "no-loans" policy, among them Harvard University, Yale University and Princeton University, all of whom have very large endowments. President Mills stated, "Some see a calling in such vital but often low paying fields such as teaching or social work. With significant debt at graduation, some students will undoubtedly be forced to make career or education choices not on the basis of their talents, interests, and promise in a particular field, but rather on their capacity to repay student loans. As an institution devoted to the common good, Bowdoin must consider the fairness of such a result."
Bowdoin is consistently ranked among the top ten liberal arts colleges in the United States by U.S. News and World Report. In the 2009 edition of the rankings, Bowdoin ranks sixth, behind Williams, Amherst, Swarthmore, Wellesley, and Middlebury. In other years it has ranked as high as fourth. In 2006, Newsweek described Bowdoin as a "New Ivy," one of a number of elite colleges and universities outside of the Ivy League. Bowdoin is also part of the SAT optional movement for undergraduate admission. As of April 2008, Bowdoin was the first college to be named "School of the Year" by College Prowler .
Bowdoin offers majors in African Studies, Anthropology, Art History, Asian Studies, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Classics, Computer Science, Economics, English, Environmental Studies, Finance, French, Gender and Women's Studies, Geology, German, Government and Legal Studies, History, Latin American Studies, Mathematics, Music, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Physics and Astronomy, Psychology, Religion, Russian, Sociology, Spanish, and Visual Arts. In addition, the college offers minors in Dance, Education Studies, Film Studies, Gay and Lesbian Studies, Teaching, and Theater.
The Government & Legal Studies Department, whose prominent professors include Allen Springer, Paul Franco, Richard E. Morgan, Chris Potholm and Jean M. Yarbrough, was ranked the top small college political science program in the world by researchers at the London School of Economics in 2003. Government & Legal Studies was the most popular major for every graduating class between 2000 and 2009.
In 2009, Bowdoin's overall acceptance rate was 18.5% — lower than both Williams and Middlebury Colleges — making it the second most selective NESCAC school, and one of the most selective colleges in the country. 89% of enrolling students are in the top 10% of their high school graduating class.
The April 17th, 2008 edition of the Economist noted Bowdoin in an article on university admissions: "So-called “almost-Ivies” such as Bowdoin and Middlebury also saw record low admission rates this year (18% each). It is now as hard to get into Bowdoin, says the college's admissions director, as it was to get into Princeton in the 1970s." Although Bowdoin does not require the SAT in admissions, all students must submit a score upon matriculation. The middle 50% SAT range for the verbal and math sections of the SAT is 660-750 and 660-750, respectively — numbers only of those submitting scores during the admissions process. The middle 50% ACT range is 30-33.
While a significant portion of the student body hails from New England — including nearly 25% from Massachusetts and 10% from Maine — recent classes have drawn from an increasingly national pool. Although Bowdoin once had a reputation for homogeneity (both ethnically and socioeconomically), a diversity campaign has increased the percentage of students of color in recent classes to more than 31%. In fact, admission of minorities goes back at least as far as John Brown Russwurm 1826, Bowdoin's first African-American college graduate, and the third African-American graduate of any American college.
Many students apply for financial aid, and around 85% of those who apply receive aid. Bowdoin is a need-blind and a no-loans institution. Students applying to the school are evaluated independently of their financial situations, the college meets 100% of demonstrated financial need, and the college replaces loans with grants for all students on financial aid to lift the burden of significant student debt upon graduation.
Recalling his days at Bowdoin in a recent interview, Professor Richard E. Morgan '59 described student life at the then-all-male school as "monastic," and noted that "the only things to do were either work or drink." (This is corroborated by the Official Preppy Handbook, which in 1980 ranked Bowdoin the number two drinking school in the country, behind Dartmouth.) These days, Morgan observed, the College offers a far broader array of recreational opportunities: "If we could have looked forward in time to Bowdoin's standard of living today, we would have been astounded." 
Bowdoin is particularly well-known for its dining services, which the Princeton Review has ranked first in three of the last four years, including the 2006-2007 school year. The College has two major dining halls, one of which was renovated in the late 1990s, and every academic year begins with a lobster bake outside Farley Fieldhouse. Bowdoin also does well in other lifestyle categories; in 2004 it ranked 10th in dorm quality and 14th for quality of life. In April 2008, College Prowler, a publishing company for guidebooks on top colleges and universities in the United States and written by students, named Bowdoin College its "School of the Year" citing excellence in academics, safety and security, housing and dining.
Since abolishing Greek fraternities in the late 1990s, Bowdoin has switched to a system in which entering students are assigned a "college house" affiliation correlating with their first-year dormitory. While six houses were originally established, following the construction of two new dorms, two were added effective in the fall of 2007, bringing the total to eight: Ladd (affiliated with Osher Hall), Baxter (West), Quinby (Appleton), MacMillan (Coleman), Howell (Hyde), Helmreich (Maine), Reed (Moore), and Burnett (Winthrop). The college houses are physical buildings around campus which host parties and other events throughout the year. Those students who choose not to live in their affiliated house retain their affiliation and are considered members throughout their Bowdoin career. Before the fraternity system was abolished in the 1990s, all the Bowdoin fraternities were co-educational (except for one unrecognized sorority and two unrecognized all-male fraternities).
Bowdoin's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, which was founded in 1825, is the nation's sixth oldest. Among those who have been inducted to the Maine Alpha chapter as undergraduates include Nathaniel Hawthorne (1825), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1825), Robert E. Peary (1877), Owen Brewster (1909), Harold Hitz Burton (1909), Paul Douglas (1913), Alfred Kinsey (1916), Thomas R. Pickering (1953), and Lawrence B. Lindsey (1976).
In 2003, the Wall Street Journal ranked Bowdoin College among the top twenty colleges and universities in the United States based on the percentage of alums who attend a "top five" graduate program in business, law or medicine — ahead of a number of highly ranked universities, including Rice, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Caltech, Virginia, Notre Dame, William & Mary, Georgetown University, UC Berkeley, Tufts and Washington University.
According to payscale.com, alumni of Bowdoin College have a mid-career median salary of $106,000, making it the 29th highest among colleges and universities in the United States. The median starting salary of $52,700 ranked 55th in the same peer group.
Bowdoin's student newspaper, The Bowdoin Orient, is the oldest continuously published college weekly in the United States. The Orient was named the second best tabloid-sized college weekly at a Collegiate Associated Press conference in March 2007. Additionally, the school's literary magazine, The Quill, has been published since 1897. The College's radio station, WBOR, has been in operation since 1951. In 1999, The Bowdoin Cable Network was formed, producing a weekly newscast and several student created shows per semester.
Of the six a cappella groups on campus, the Meddiebempsters and Longfellows are all-male, Miscellania and Bella Mafia are all-female, and BOKA and Ursus Verses are co-ed. The Meddiebempsters, the oldest of Bowdoin's six a cappella groups and the third oldest collegiate a cappella group in the nation, were well known after World War II for performing at numerous USO shows in Europe.
The largest student group on campus is the Outing Club, which leads canoeing, kayaking, rafting, camping and backpacking trips throughout Maine . One of the school's two historic rival literary societies, the Peucinian Society, has recently been revitalized and has featured such people as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Joshua Chamberlain amongst its former members.
Museums on Bowdoin's campus include the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, the Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum, and the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum. Notable Buildings include Massachusetts Hall, Hubbard Hall, the Parker Cleaveland House and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House.
The Bowdoin Polar Bears compete in the NCAA Division III New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), which also includes Amherst, Conn College, Hamilton, Middlebury, Trinity, Tufts, Wesleyan, Williams, and Maine rivals Bates and Colby in the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin Consortium (CBB). The College's official color is white, though black is traditionally employed as a complement.
Bowdoin offers thirty varsity teams, including men's teams in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, Nordic skiing, sailing, soccer, squash, swimming and diving, tennis, and track and field, and women's teams in field hockey, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, Nordic skiing, sailing, soccer, softball, squash, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and rugby. Men's ice hockey is the most popular spectator sport, with hundreds of students turning out for games against arch-rival Colby. In 2004, Bowdoin became the second college in the United States to elevate the women's rugby team to varsity status. While technically still varsity, the women's rugby team competes in New England Rugby Football Union, rather than NESCAC. The sailing team, which competes in the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association (NEISA) is co-ed and was considered in 2006 to be one of the top 20 sailing teams in the nation by Sailing World magazine. There are also intercollegiate and club teams in men's and women's fencing, men's and women's rowing, men's rugby, water polo, men's volleyball and men's and women's Ultimate. Recent NESCAC champions include men's tennis (2008), men's cross country (2001, 2002), women's basketball (2001–2007), women's ice hockey (2002, 2004) and women's field hockey (2001,2005, 2006, 2007); recent NCAA tournament appearances include women's basketball (Elite Eight, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007; Final Four, 2004), men's rugby (sweet 16, 2001), women's ice hockey (Final Four, 2002, 2003; Elite Eight, 2004, 2005), and women's field hockey (Final Four, 2005, 2006). Bowdoin College has won two NCAA Division III Championships—both in women's field hockey; in 2007, defeating Middlebury College in the finals and in 2008, defeating Tufts University.
Bowdoin's athletic facilities combine modern & high-tech buildings with old traditions, and have been historically used as training grounds for Olympic athletes. In addition to several outdoor athletic fields, the College's athletic facilities include:
According to its Environmental Mission Statement, Bowdoin College "shall seek to encourage conservation, recycling, and other sustainable practices in its daily decision making processes, and shall take into account, in the operations of the College, all appropriate economic, environmental, and social concerns."  Between 2002 and 2008, Bowdoin College decreased its CO2 emissions by 40%. It achieved that reduction by switching from #6 to #2 oil in its heating plant, reducing the campus set heating point from 72 to 68 degrees, and by adhering to its own Green Design Standards in renovations. In addition, Bowdoin runs a single stream recycling program, and its dining services department has begun composting food waste and unbleached paper napkins. Bowdoin received an overall grade of "B" for its sustainability efforts on the College Sustainability Report Card 2009 published by the Sustainable Endowments Institute.
Bowdoin's Alma Mater is "Raise Songs to Bowdoin." Originally penned by Kenneth C.M. Sills, class of 1901, new lyrics have since been added by Anthony Antolini '63, who serves on the faculty of the College's Department of Music. Singers punch the air on the word 'friend' in both verses.
The original lyrics for the first verse were as follows. The changed phrases have been highlighted.
Famous Bowdoin graduates include:
Bowdoin graduates have led all three branches of the federal government, including both houses of Congress. Franklin Pierce (1826) was America's fourteenth President; Melville Weston Fuller (1853) served as Chief Justice of the United States; Thomas Brackett Reed (1860) was twice elected Speaker of the House of Representatives; and Wallace H. White, Jr. (1899) and George J. Mitchell (1954) both served as Majority Leader of the United States Senate.