10 Fun Facts About Bowdoin College

May 09, 2016

What do the CEO of Netflix, co-founder of Subway, and President Franklin Pierce have in common? That’s right - they’re all Bowdoin College alumni. Find out how Bowdoin impacted two famous authors, and learn more fun facts about Bowdoin!

1. Go Way Back

Bowdoin was charted over two hundred years ago, in 1794, during George Washington’s presidency. The first class was only eight students, and since then, has grown to nearly 2,000 students.

2. Literary Giants

Well-known American authors Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow both graduated Bowdoin in 1825. They remained close friends, and Longfellow even became a professor at the college in 1829, teaching modern languages.

3. The Fight for Freedom

Bowdoin has a long history of equality in America. The third African American to graduate college in America, John Brown Russworm, graduated from Bowdoin in 1826. Alumni John Parker Hale also defended abolitionists, and ran for president against Franklin Pierce in 1851. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote her famous abolitionist novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin largely on the Bowdoin campus, where her husband graduated in 1824.

4. Making History

The oldest continuously published collegiate magazine in America began at the college in 1872. It’s called the Bowdoin Orient and it’s still in publication today.

5. Beary Cool

The Bowdoin mascot is the polar bear. Beginning in 1913, it represents a symbolic guardian of the students and athletic teams. It may also be a hint at the freezing winter temperatures in Maine.

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6. Males Only?

\For a long time, Bowdoin was a college exclusive to males. That changed in 1971 when the college became coeducational. Susan Jacobson was the first female to earn a degree, and she also gave the commencement speech that year.

7. The Offer

Bowdoin President William DeWitt Hyde wrote an offer in 1906, detailing the educational philosophies presented by the liberal arts focus at Bowdoin College. The school provides an education across several disciplines, geared towards benefitting the “common good” of the people, and teaching students to find meaning to education, rather than mere preparation for the workforce.

8. Location is Key

Bowdoin is located on the coast of Southern Maine, allowing for beautiful views of New England, and coastal activities. The town of Brunswick offers all the essentials, and the major hub of Portland is just thirty minutes away from campus. Also nearby are the mountains, where the Sugarloaf and Sunday River ski resorts are.

9. Something for Everyone

Bowdoin offers Bachelor’s degrees in several fields, across a variety of disciplines. The most popular fields at the college are social sciences, biological sciences, English, history, and cultural and gender studies.

10. Down with Chairs

One quirky tradition at Bowdoin occurs during homecoming week, where the social houses host a wooden chair-building competition. A large community bonfire is constructed, and all losing chairs are thrown into the fire, and only one winning chair survives.

About The Author

AdmitSee Staff
AdmitSee Staff

​We remember our frustration with applying to college and the lack of information surrounding it. So we created AdmitSee to bring much-needed transparency to the application process! Read more about the team here.




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