Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook

The Offer of the College

In 1906, Bowdoin's seventh president, William DeWitt Hyde, wrote the words below about the outcomes of a Bowdoin education. Over a century later, on a campus that has changed dramatically, they still guide us today. 

The Offer of the College
To be at home in all lands and all ages;
To count Nature a familiar acquaintance, and Art an intimate friend;
To gain a standard for the appreciation of others’ work
And the criticism of your own;
To carry the keys of the world’s library in your pocket,
And feel its resources behind you in whatever task you undertake;
To make hosts of friends . . .Who are to be leaders in all walks of life;
To lose yourself in generous enthusiasms
And cooperate with others for common ends—
This is the offer of the college for the best four years of your life.

Adapted from the original “Offer of the College,” published in 1906 as the foreword to The College Man and the College Woman by William DeWitt Hyde, seventh president of Bowdoin College (1885–1917).