Milton L. Lindholm ’35
Eight decades of Lindholm’s service to Bates included playing football
This induction of Milton Lindholm, Class of 1935, into the Bates Scholar-Athlete Society is no more than his second-best honor and celebration of this academic year. The best and most important occasion, with his wife Jane Ault Lindholm ’37, was a gathering in the Mays Center last September to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.
As half of another of these storied Bates marriages, he has 16 Bates graduates in his family. He also has the unique distinction of holding three degrees from Bates: his B.A., a master’s degree in the years when Bates had a small graduate program, and an honorary Doctorate. He has been given virtually every award that Bates has, including the first Alumni Distinguished Service Award.
Milt played football at Bates as the team’s center, and he played in the storied game that resulted in a 0-0 tie with Yale. A perhaps apocryphal but oft-repeated story is that the Bates Student sported the banner headline, “Bates Beats Yale, 0-0.” Over seventy years later, he still tries to make the games. Once asked why he didn’t go to Florida for the winters instead of staying at Bates, he answered, “Who would pick second place in the 60 yard dash at the track meets?”
That Milt Lindholm has two spaces on campus named for him — Lindholm House and Milt’s Place in the Commons — is only the tip of the iceberg of affection, trust and respect he has earned from eight decades of Bates people. Both through their own philanthropic generosity and the admiration and support of hundreds of alumni, Milt and Jane also have an endowed scholarship fund, an endowed library fund, and the leading scholar-athlete award, the Milton L. Lindholm Scholar-Athlete Award. Since the establishment of this Bates Scholar-Athlete Society five years ago, the winners of the Lindholm Scholar-Athlete Award each year have been inducted into this Society.
As the Dean of Admissions for 32 years, Milt Lindholm shaped the student and alumni body of Bates. Those who served with or after him have praised his criteria for admission to Bates, which never changed: “Motivation, imagination, initiative, strong personality and character.” While running a highly competitive admissions process, he was admired nationally for both his sense of fairness and sympathy, and for playing calculated hunches about people. He was very seldom wrong, and some of those hunches, which Milt often described with a gentle smile as “Lindholm’s mistakes,” went on to found firms, run major corporations, become academic leaders, or earn acclaim in the professions.
In the citation for Milt’s honorary degree from Bates, Peter Gomes, Class of 1965, University Minister at Harvard and Bates Trustee, said, “Institutions like Bates are measured, ultimately, by the character of their graduates…. Dean Lindholm was the chief architect of what a Bates student is. He looked for academic promise in the students he recruited, but he sought much more. With uncanny intuition, he discovered imagination, motivation, determination and decency. He worked to build this College’s national reputation, yet he never lost sight of the qualities that every Bates man or woman should possess…. Milt Lindholm delighted in making connections with young people and maintaining that connection long after they had left Bates. He invested in each student as an individual, whether he was a Japanese American just released from a U.S. internment camp, the first in her family to attend college off a farm in Aroostook County, or the son of a Bates alumna he had admitted years before. With his wife, Jane Ault Lindholm, Milt befriended students, faculty and staff; supported scholar-athletes, counseled students with problems; and monitored and praised their every success.”
For his life-long service to Bates, for his unwavering interest in our athletic efforts, and on behalf of the thousands of men and women whose lives have been changed because of his vision, we are honored to welcome Milton Lindholm to membership in the Bates Scholar-Athlete Society.