Four Endowed Chairs for Scholars on Race Established at Bowdoin College in Maine

Bowdoin College, the highly rated liberal arts educational institution n Brunswick, Maine, has announced the establishment of four new endowed chairs. The college will consider scholars and artists from across the academic spectrum for whose teaching and research will address race, racism, and social justice, with a particular focus on the challenges, histories, movements, and artistic and cultural productions of Black communities in the Americas.

“We made it our goal to hire four new and distinguished faculty members who would in various ways address those issues,” said Jennifer Scanlon senior vice president and dean for academic affairs and the John S. Osterweis Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Bowdoin. These scholars can be from any discipline, explained Scanlon, but their teaching would help students better understand the challenges facing Black communities, especially those in the Americas and the U.S., and their presence would help shift us in the direction of greater diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The chairs, which are fully funded by donors, are named in honor of four distinguished Black graduates of the college:

Matthew D. Branche, Class of 1949, the first Black student to serve as class president at Bowdoin and to be pledged by a chapter of a national fraternity with a membership policy of racial exclusion.

Iris W. Davis, Class of 1978, a student leader in the early days of coeducation at Bowdoin, an outstanding athlete, trustee of the college, environmental scientist, and policy leader in Massachusetts.

Rasuli Lewis, Class of 1973, a founder and leader — with Geoffrey Canada, Class of 1974, and current Bowdoin trustee George Khaldun, Class of 1973 — of the Harlem Children’s Zone.

Frederic Morrow, Class of 1930, the first Black person to hold an executive position in the White House and a civil rights advocate, author, and business leader.

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