Standing Joe: William Doak ’17 Brews Trilingual Honors Thesis from Chairless Italian Cafés

William Doak ’17 with Massimiliano Rosati from Gran’ Caffè Gambrinus in Naples

It was an observation made when passing through the Bologna airport — that its café, oddly, had no chairs — that led William Doak ’17 to write a trilingual 146-page honors thesis in English, Italian, and French.

The chairless café piqued Doak’s curiosity about why people stand up to drink their coffee in Italy, rather than sitting down as they do in neighboring France. That question led to a research project that covers the cultural history of French and Italian cafés, and how coffee drinking is tied up with modernism, industry, and the national identities of the two countries.

Read the story in Bowdoin News.

The Honorands: Chuck Leavell H’17 on the Key Issues of His Life and Career (WCSH)

Grammy Award-winning keyboardist Chuck Leavell H’17 can be heard on the works of The Allman Brothers Band, Eric Clapton, The Black Crowes, Indigo Girls, and many others. He is also a nationally recognized conservationist. Read more about Leavell’s life and accomplishments.

Watch his Commencement Weekend 2017 presentation (above) with Trustee Andy Serwer Trustee Andy Serwer ’81, P’16, P’20.

While Leavell was on campus, he sat down for an interview with Rob Caldwell, host of the WCSH newsmagazine 207, that would yield four segments. Watch them all here.


The Honorands: A Conversation with Pulitzer Prize-Winner Anthony Doerr ’95, H’17

Bowdoin awarded Tony Doerr ’95, author of two short-story collections, a memoir, and two novels, an honorary degree at its 212th Commencement this year. He spoke on campus last week with Professor of English Brock Clarke.

Doerr was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, for his book, All the Light We Cannot See. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Doerr graduated from Bowdoin cum laude with a history major in 1995, and earned his master of fine arts degree in creative writing at Bowling Green University in 1999. He lives in Idaho with his wife, Shauna E. Doerr ’94, and their two sons.

Museum of Art Portrait Exhibition in The New Yorker

Robert Rauschenberg, Self-Portrait (for “The New Yorker” Profile), 1964, ink and graphite on paper

Writing in The New Yorker magazine, author and art critic Calvin Tomkins made reference to Bowdoin College Museum of Art exhibition This Is a Portrait If I Say So: Identity in American Art, 1912 to Today, which ran from June to October 2016.

The exhibition took its name from a work by twentieth-century artist Robert Rauschenberg, who is currently the subject of a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. Tomkins, however, chose a work not featured at the MOMA show to write about. He refers to it as Rauschenberg’s “tiny masterpiece” that he created for The New Yorker in 1964, and which was featured in the This is a Portrait show: a self-portrait consisting of the artist’s thumbprint next to his initials.