is a liberal arts college located
in Brunswick, Maine. The college was chartered by the legislature
of Massachusetts, of which Maine was then a district, in 1794, and was named for former
Massachusetts governor James Bowdoin. The first class matriculated in 1802. At the time of its founding, Bowdoin was the
easternmost college in the country--hence the sun in the college seal.Bowdoin is intimately connected with the American Civil War.
Some have said the war began and ended in Brunswick, as Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle
while her husband was teaching at Bowdoin, and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, an alumnus and later president of the college, led the 20th Maine
Infantry in a heroic defense at Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg and was responsible for receiving the surrender of
Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House in 1865.Union General Oliver Otis Howard was also a Bowdoin graduate. After the war, he served as first director of the Freedmen's
Bureau, established to assist former slaves, and was later honored in the naming of Howard University. Several Bowdoin alumni
fought for the South, and one honorary Bowdoin degree holder served as president of the Confederacy. Jefferson Davis of was U.S.
Secretary of War when Bowdoin honored him in 1858. The college turned aside wartime requests that it revoke Davis's honorary
degree. Davis's name and those of other Civil War-era alumni appear on bronze tablets in the college's Memorial Hall.For a time in the late 19th Century, Bowdoin functioned as a small university: besides the college, it operated an engineering
school and the Medical School of Maine, whose last class graduated in 1920.In 1970, the institution stopped requiring SAT
scores for admission. In 1971, the first coeducational class
matriculated. Just a few years ago the school received national recognition for converting the long-standing fraternities system to "the social house system,"
under which incoming freshmen are automatically assigned a house affiliation.Roughly 1600 students attend Bowdoin College, nestled in the pine trees of Maine. They study hard during the week and on the
weekends enjoy supporting Bowdoin athletic teams, especially against rivals Bates College and Colby College. Activist groups are beginning to gain momentum in light of the rapidly changing world
situation, and publications such as Ritalin
, a controversial humor magazine; Naked
, an opinion/literature mag; and
and the Patriot
, respectively the liberal and
are reflections of the ever-broadening student perspective. The Bowdoin Orient
is the main student newspaper and is the
largest one on campus; it claims to be the "oldest continuously published college weekly in the United States." Brunswick doesn't
offer a bustling night life for students under 21, but the larger city of Portland is just a half hour away.The Bowdoin Dining Services has a high reputation, and was rated the best college food service in the country by the Princeton Review in 2003. For whatever such rankings are worth, Bowdoin has
also regularly appeared among the annual listings of top-10 national liberal-arts colleges compiled by U.S. News and World Report
magazine.Among several well-rated departments, Government, Economics, Biology and Environmental Studies stand out as excellent.