Henry Wadsworth Longfellow writes that here at Bowdoin, “the sea so near [is] yet unseen.” This line is from a poem Longfellow wrote for his 50th class reunion in 1875. 147 years later, his words still hold water and a little bit of wisdom.
Some time ago, a liberal arts education grew laborious: the labor of academic work, the labor of extracurriculars, the labor of planning one’s future. As students of Ancient Greek know, the word ‘school’ comes from a Greek word antithetical to labor: schol?, meaning “leisure.” We lose a great deal of wisdom by ignoring this etymology.
Is it defensible that Bowdoin students must pay full tuition for a semester of online learning? Let us consider President Clayton Rose’s defense of this decision. In the June 23 town hall for returning students, President Rose reasoned, “As I worked through in my own head how to think about this challenge [pricing tuition], the essence of what we do at Bowdoin is provide our students with an outstanding education delivered by outstanding faculty…And I am certain that our faculty will deliver a great education to all of our students in the fall in this digital method.