Happy Birthday, Bowdoin: College to Celebrate 223 Years

The signature of Massachusetts Governor Samuel Adams on the charter of Bowdoin College

This Saturday will be Bowdoin’s 223rd birthday. It was on June 24, 1794, the charter for a new college in Maine was adopted by an Act of the General Court of Massachusetts — the District of Maine being a part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in those days.

A bill titled “An Act to Establish a College in the Town of Brunswick, in the District of Maine, within this Commonwealth” was passed by both houses of the General Court of Massachusetts.

The Act ordered that “there be Erected and Established in the Town of Brunswick in the District of Maine, a College for the Purpose of educating Youth, to be called Bowdoin College.”

The charter was signed by a gunpowder-producing merchant and founder of Phillips Academy (President of the Senate Samuel Phillips Jr.), by the great-great-grandfather of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Speaker of the House Edward Hutchinson Robbins), and by a brewer-turned-rabble-rousing patriot and Founding Father of America (Governor Samuel Adams).

Exactly 216 years later, the timeline of Bowdoin College is a fascinating journey through the history of America and American higher education.

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