MacMillan dedicated by alumni
Donald B. MacMillan House was dedicated last Friday in a ceremony attended primarily by visiting alumni. Formerly Theta Delta Chi, the House is named after Donald B. MacMillan, an arctic explorer, humanitarian, Bowdoin alumnus and member of Theta Delta Chi.
Speakers at the event included Michel LePage '78, the president of the Alumni Council; President Barry Mills '72; Horace Hildreth '54; Gene Boyington '62, current President of Theta Delta Chi House; and Mark Lucci '04, President of MacMillan House.
LePage welcomed the group of alumni and students, commenting on the "phenomenal change" that has taken place in the structure as a result of the renovation, and commented that, "yes, the smell in the basement is finally gone." LePage was a member of TDC while at Bowdoin, as were about half of the people in attendance.
Mills spoke next, explaining the affiliation system as well as the College House system, and commented that he was "proud of what this house represents and of the whole system." He described some of the possible projects MacMillan will be working on, including coffee houses and trips to art museums. Mills stressed the leadership opportunities that are available within the House System.
President Mills then introduced Hildreth, who sailed to the arctic as a teenager on the Bowdoin, Macmillan's specially outfitted boat. "Mac was a great person, great companion," recollected Hildreth. The goal of that summer's expedition on the Bowdoin was to collect specimens for the Arctic Museum. Almost all of the animal specimens in the museum were collected that summer, and then preserved until they could be stuffed by a taxidermist.
Next, Boyington spoke about the importance of the fraternity to the Bowdoin community, and expressed his wish for the values of the fraternity to be handed down to the House System. He also thanked Jack St. John '58 for a plaque bearing the Theta Delta Chi letters, which was presented to the college as a reminder of "historic and cultural values" that the fraternity and the college house have shared "for decades."
He went on to describe the fraternity as an institution that was "useful, valuable, even important to undergraduate life," referring to the fraternity as the "fabric of the college community." Boyington spoke of the enduring brotherhood and sense of family that was the fraternity, emphasizing the capital F in "Fraternity." In his closing remarks the president of Theta Delta Chi expressed a hope that the "love, courage, honor, compassion, respect, trust and commitment to the common good," that were central to TDC will be carried on by members of MacMillan House.
Lucci made a promise to take care of the house and to "fulfill the mission as a Bowdoin College Social House." Social House leaders will be the leaders of the community, and the organization will remain true to its "regimen of alcoholic parties as well as non-alcoholic social and cultural events," including intramurals, building with Habitat for Humanity, bringing jazz bands to the house and numerous other social and service events, and Lucci emphasized that MacMillan is not "solely an alcohol dispensing location."
Greek fraternities were a part of the Bowdoin social scene for many years; however, between the 1960s and 90s they devolved as an institution, according to Boyington. Then in the mid 90s the college instituted a major cultural and structural change by abandoning the frat system. Starting in 1997, old fraternity houses were purchased by the college and renovated into the current College Houses. The dedication of MacMillan marks the completion of the sixth such renovation.