Leadership center for Outing Club dedicated
Winston Churchill once said "Initially people shape a building, but in the long run, buildings shape people."
Time will tell how the Bowdoin Outing Club's new home, the Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center, will shape the students, BOC members, and faculty that will pass through its doors; but the atmosphere at its dedication on Friday, October 18 indicated that those changes will be positive.
A reception attended by trustees, administrators, and students was held at 5:30 p.m. in the new building. Remarks were given by President Barry Mills '72, Director of the Outing Club D. Michael Woodruff '87, Allison M. Binkowski '03, and trustee Steven M. Schwartz '70 and his wife Paula Mae Schwartz, who donated the lead gift for the building. The value of outdoor education was a common thread through all the speeches. All who attended the dedication received a free t-shirt commemorating the event. The shirt, gray with green trim, features a drawing of the OLC and the Churchill quote.
After Chair of the Board of Trustees Donald M. Zuckert '56 opened the ceremony, Mills gave the welcome. The President shared some anecdotes of his recent adventures in the outdoors with his wife, Woodruff, and Associate Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Scott Meiklejohn, and remarked on the role of the Outing Club, Bowdoin's most popular student organization.
Woodruff thanked the donors and paid tribute to Jim Lentz, Bowdoin's football coach from 1968 to 1983, who was hired in 1984 as the BOC's first full-time director.
Binkowski, the BOC's Hiking Club head and Equipment Room Manager, reflected upon the BOC's impact on her Bowdoin career and remarked on how the new facility has made her job as Equipment Room Manager much easier than when BOC equipment was stored in "the dungeon" of Burnett House's basement. She then presented a polar bear welcome mat to the Schwartzes.
Steven Schwartz also commented on the importance of outdoor education. He characterized the OLC as "a thank you to Bowdoin." Paula Schwartz talked about some outdoor adventures with her husband and said, "I hope that the Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center will provide good feelings for all of you, inside and out."
Mr. Schwartz was a James Bowdoin Scholar and member of Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated magna cum laude with a Government major and English minor. He founded Schwartz Communications with Mrs. Schwartz in 1990.
The event capped off a big day for the Outing Club. Jill Fredston, co-director of the Alaska Mountain Safety Center and one of America's leading avalanche experts, visited campus. Fredston has worked on mountain stunts and safety for several feature films, including Seven Years in Tibet. She is also a master rower. Fredston spoke at Common Hour about her book Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Arctic's Edge, which relates to her many rowing expeditions along Greenland, Alaska, Norway, and more.
Fredston gave two classes for BOC leaders while she was here. In the morning she talked about avalanche knowledge and in the afternoon she gave a workshop on leadership and decision-making skills.
"She was very informative and a wonderful speaker, very personable, and an inspiration to all of us that are interested in outdoor activities and making a life out of them," said Laura Jefferis '05, who attended the afternoon class.
The OLC opened this summer and was used to launch the annual pre-orientation trips for the Class of 2006. The building was designed by Richard Renner at Van Dam & Renner Architects of Portland and features the environment-friendly "green design." The 1.25 million dollar facility includes staff offices, a map room, a kitchen, an equipment room, and trip lockers around the central Beebe Room, which was provided by a donation from E. Colman Beebe '33 and his wife Janet M. Beebe.
The Beebe Room features the James S. Lentz Hearth, dedicated to the Outing Club Director Emeritus and built using contributions from many of the football players Lentz coached at Bowdoin and Harvard. The room now has furniture around the hearth and is decorated with student art and donated snowshoes, skis, and a moose head.