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Honorary degree recipients announced for Class of 2023

March 31, 2023

The College will award honorary degrees to five distinguished individuals at its 218th Commencement on May 27.

Stephen F. Gormley ’72, P’06, P’09, P’11 is one of this year’s five recipients. Gormley was a member of the Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2021 and chair from 2010 to 2013. He established the Gene Lil Scholarship Fund in 1998 and the Aroostook County Scholarship Fund at the start of the century.

President Clayton Rose, whose tenure as president will end on June 30, is also receiving an honorary degree, as is tradition for outgoing presidents. Rose has undertaken many critical initiatives during his tenure, including those pertaining to diversity, equity, inclusion and racial justice and financial aid. Formerly working in finance, Rose was a faculty member at Harvard Business School before his appointment as the College’s fifteenth president in 2015.

For Navarana K’avigak Sørensen, this honorary degree will deepen her historical ties to Bowdoin. Her parents helped Donald MacMillan, Class of 1898, during his 1920s expeditions, and her great uncle was one of four Inuit who aided Robert Peary, Class of 1877, and Matthew Hensen on their expedition to the North Pole. Sørensen provides an often-ignored Inuit perspective to institutions studying Arctic exploration, like the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum.

Another honorary degree recipient, Robert F. White ’77, P’15 served on the College’s Board of Trustees and the now-defunct Board of Overseers since 1993, serving on the 2000-01 and 2014-15 Presidential Search Committees. White helped found Bain Capital and now serves on the faculty of Harvard Business School and the board of the Boston Celtics.

Janet Yang, the final honorary degree recipient, was recently elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences after an award-winning career as a film and television producer. She has worked to connect producers and actors from Hollywood to the Chinese film industry for films such as “Empire of the Sun.” Yang founded Janet Yang Productions, developing “Over the Moon” and other projects rooted in Asian culture.


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