For Bates College, 2016–17 was a year of never-befores and how-about-thats, with a few way-to-goes along the way.

Here are the highlights:

Bates Campaign launch energized by announcement of Bonneys’ $50 million gift

Believed to be the largest single monetary donation ever to a Maine college, the $50 million gift from Michael ’80 and Alison Grott Bonney ’80, announced on May 16 with the launch of the Bates Campaign, will fund new and modernized science facilities at Bates.

“We have never been more optimistic about the future of Bates,” said Michael.

Kicked off with events in Boston, New York City, San Francisco, and on campus, The Bates Campaign has a goal of $300 million, making it the largest fundraising effort in college history.

President Spencer reveals the $300 million goal of The Bates Campaign. "We have gotten pretty far on high intention, good ideas, and great design. But I think we could get even farther if we combine those good ideas and great design with strong resources." (Jared Charney Photography for Bates College)

President Clayton Spencer reveals the $300 million goal of The Bates Campaign during the Boston launch event on May 16. “We have gotten pretty far on high intention, good ideas, and great design. But I think we could get even farther if we combine those good ideas and great design with strong resources.” (Jared Charney Photography for Bates College)


Women win second NCAA rowing championship

The team championship, Bates rowing’s second in three years, came thanks to gutsy performances by both Bates boats at the NCAA regatta, held May 26–27 on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J.

“It was really the epitome of what I love about this sport,” said Julia Mason ’17 of Niskayuna, N.Y.

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Bates seniors Julia Mason of Niskayuna, N.Y., Molly Pritz of Ithaca, N.Y., Katherine Traquina of Wayland, Mass., Abigail Bierman of Bethlehem, N.Y., and Jessica Vocaturo of Columbus, N.J., celebrate the college’s second team national championship. (Aaron Morse/Bates College)


Record Fulbright awards to Bates seniors and young alums

Through late June, the Fulbright U.S. Student program has offered grants to 22 seniors and young alumni for 2017–18 — the college’s highest number of offers ever.

“The Fulbright mission is about young scholars taking the initiative for intercultural exchange in our global society,” says Robert Strong, who guides Bates students in applying for Fulbrights.

“The Bates experience, set in the international community of Lewiston, is an ideal incubator for such leaders.”

One of 22 seniors and young alumni to receive Fulbright U.S. Student awards, Deshun Peoples ’17 of Chicago, a double major in studio art and rhetoric, received a Fulbright Open Study/Research Award for a project in China. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

One of 22 seniors and young alumni to receive Fulbright offers for 2017–18, Deshun Peoples ’17 of Chicago, a double major in studio art and rhetoric, received a Fulbright Open Study/Research Award for a project in China. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Bates teams achieve best ranking in NCAA championship success

Bates finished 20th in the 2016–17 Learfield Directors’ Cup, an annual ranking of the country’s most successful varsity sports programs based on their team performances at NCAA championships.

Bates ranked 20th out of 325 institutions that scored points in 2016–17. In all, there are 451 NCAA Division III member schools.

The following Bates teams earned Directors’ Cup points: women’s rowing (NCAA champs), men’s lacrosse (5th-place tie), women’s outdoor track and field (11th), women’s indoor track and field (11th tie), women’s swimming (13th), alpine and Nordic skiing (17th), women’s cross country (19th), men’s swimming (24th), and men’s indoor track and field (42nd).

Head coach Peter Lasagna and the men’s lacrosse team celebrate after defeating Middlebury at Garcelon Field. The win put Bates at 10-0. (Brewster Burns for Bates College)

Head coach Peter Lasagna and the men’s lacrosse team celebrate after defeating Middlebury at Garcelon Field in April. Bates (16-2) advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament in 2017. (Brewster Burns for Bates College)


Major U.S. higher education access initiative selects Bates for membership

In December 2016, the American Talent Initiative selected Bates on the basis of the college’s commitment to access, affordability, and post-graduation success.

“We are proud to join the American Talent Initiative and look forward to offering our energy, experience, and creativity to the campaign,” said President Spencer.

“Education remains the great equalizer in our society.”

Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the initiative seeks, over the next nine years, to expand by 50,000 the number of low- and moderate-income students attending 270 top U.S. schools.

“At a time when we’re too often reminded of issues that divide us, education remains the great equalizer in our society,” said Spencer.

Members of the Class of 2020 get acquainted during an academic-planning session in August 2016 as part of Bobcat First!, the college's program for first-generation-to-college students. The college's record of supporting student success garnered an invitation to the American Talent Initiative. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Members of the Class of 2020 get acquainted during an academic-planning session in August 2016 as part of Bobcat First!, the college’s program for first-generation-to-college students. The college’s record of supporting student success garnered an invitation to the American Talent Initiative. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)


Debaters advance to the globe’s upper echelons

In March, the team of Abby Westberry ’19 of Readfield, Maine, and Tessa Holtzman ’17 of Las Cruces, N.M., won the North American Women’s Debating Championship.

And in January, the team of Zoë Seaman-Grant ’17 of Charleston, S.C., and Matt Davis ’18 of Chicago made Bates’ first-ever final-four appearance at the World Universities Debating Championships, held in The Hague, Netherlands.

The performances have once again “solidified Bates as an elite program,” said Director of Debate Jan Hovden.

Debate partners Zoë Seaman-Grant '17 and Matt Davis '18 made it to the finals of the 2017 World Universities Debating Championships in The Hague, Netherlands.

Debate partners Zoë Seaman-Grant ’17 and Matt Davis ’18 made it to the finals of the 2017 World Universities Debating Championships in The Hague, Netherlands. (Photograph courtesy Brooks Quimby Debate Council)


Economist Michael Murray wins 2017 Kroepsch Award for Excellence in Teaching

Murray received the college’s signature teaching award for, among other things, “making econometrics click for [students] in a way that other people don’t,” said his colleague James Hughes.

Students don’t just rave about Murray’s ability to communicate econometrics. They say he even makes it fun. “He made complex concepts enjoyable and interesting to learn,” said Sarah Centanni ’17 of Hingham, Mass.

Economics professor Michael Murray works with students in his econometrics course on April 3 during the final week of classes. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Economics professor Michael Murray works with econometrics students during the final week of classes in April. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)


Ali Rabideau’s social-enterprise pitch wins top prize in $15,000 competition

The Bates senior’s winning pitch in the student-run Bobcat Ventures competition on April 1, 2016, grew from her summer job helping a Lewiston nonprofit, the Center for Wisdom’s Women, make some money by growing and selling products made from medicinal herbs and flowers.

Rabideau said that being able to knit together two strong strands of the Bates experience — entrepreneurism and social awareness — “was my favorite part of the experience: Having the kind of work you value brought to life by an entrepreneurship competition.”

Bobcat Ventures judge Chris Barbin '93 presents first-place winner Ali Rabideau '17 with a check for $9,000 to support Herban Works. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Bobcat Ventures judge Chris Barbin ’93 presents first-place winner Ali Rabideau ’17 with a first-place check of $9,000 on April 1, 2017. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)


Campus weathers historic five-snowstorm week

February 2017 delivered a one-two-three-four-five punch of snowstorms totaling around 47 inches, which is more than double the height of your average bobcat.

Midway through the February blitz, with the temperature at about 13 degrees and the wind gusting to 25 mph, we caught up with Kinsey Moser ’18 of Florida, at left, who was walking with Emma Foss ’19 and Adam Poulin ’19 of Maine and Jade Donaldson ’18 of New Jersey.


Bates takes national lead in sustainability with switch to Renewable Fuel Oil

Bates is cutting emissions and saving money as the first U.S. college to heat with an innovative fuel oil made from wood scraps and other cellulosic biomass products.

Bates sustainability manager Tom Twist estimates that burning RFO will cut the steam plant’s annual emission of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) from about 3,080 metric tons to 532.

“It’s a huge drop, which is pretty cool,” said Twist.

Tanks a lot: With a Cote crane poised for action, a rigger unfastens the Renewable Fuel Oil tank from its trailer on Dec. 9, 2016. (Doug Hubley/Bates College)

Tanks a lot: With a Cote crane poised for action, a rigger unfastens the Renewable Fuel Oil tank from its trailer on Dec. 9, 2016. (Doug Hubley/Bates College)


Attempt to suppress Bates student vote gets swift college response

Denounced with vigor by President Clayton Spencer, the dastardly attempt to discourage Bates students from participating in the 2016 national election on Nov. 8 captured national attention.

Two days before the election, orange fliers posted in Commons and residences by an unknown person implied that voting in Maine meant that a student must get a Maine driver’s license and, if they owned a car, register it with the state. Neither are requirements for students to vote in Maine.

In her statement to the community, President Spencer denounced the fliers as “clearly a deliberate attempt at voter suppression.”

Orange fliers with false voting information posted on campus on Nov. 6 were a deliberate attempt to discourage students from voting, said President Spencer. (Photograph by Sarah Frankie Sigman '18)

Orange fliers with false voting information posted on campus on Nov. 6 were a deliberate attempt to discourage students from voting, said President Spencer. (Photograph by Sarah Frankie Sigman ’18)


Marcy Plavin, a singular force for dance and dancers at Bates, dies at age 84

Plavin, who died Nov.  3, 2016, was the face and spirit of Bates dance and, for her students, “a spirited defender and nurturer of their aspirations and dreams,” said President Spencer.

Dance critic and historian Suzanne Carbonneau ’76 said that Plavin provided an entrée “to the world of artistic creation” for her students. “We learned that passionate engagement, an appreciation of the sublime, and the cultivation of compassion are forms of knowledge that none of us can afford to be without.”

Rachel Segall '91 and Michael Foley '89 embrace Marcy Plavin on May 2, 2015, during rehearsals for the evening's alumni dance concert to honor Plavin. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Rachel Segall ’91 and Michael Foley ’89 embrace Marcy Plavin on May 2, 2015, during rehearsals for the evening’s alumni dance concert to honor Plavin. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)


$10 million gift from Elizabeth Kalperis Chu ’80 and Michael Chu ’80 names new residences

Dedicated on Oct. 2, 2016, in honor of the Chus’ gift, Kalperis Hall and Chu Hall, located at 65 and 55 Campus Ave. respectively, provide housing for 243 students. In addition, Kalperis Hall features street-level space for the relocated and reimagined Bates College Store and Post & Print office.

The new buildings establish a new, dynamic area of college life on the south side of campus while offering a more defined and welcoming gateway to Bates.

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Elizabeth Kalperis Chu ’80 and Michael Chu ’80 pose outside Kalperis Hall on Oct. 28, 2016. (Josh Kuckens/Bates College)

The project is part of the college’s strategic efforts to improve residential offerings on a broad scale while maintaining campus enrollment at approximately 1,750 students.


Bates dedicates new rowing boathouse, ‘a place to call home’

The Bates rowing program had a housewarming on Oct. 29, 2016, formally dedicating its new donor-funded boathouse on the Androscoggin River in Greene.

The new facility has what the old boathouse, a rustic unheated pole barn, did not have: locker rooms, workout space, and secure storage for boats.

Still, some things won’t change. “We take pride in being the tough, gritty team from Maine,” said captain Abbey Bierman ’17 of Bethlehem, N.Y. “And this boathouse will not change that.”

The donor-funded boathouse was dedicated on Oct. 29, 2016. (Andree Kehn for Bates College)

The college’s new donor-funded boathouse was designed by Peterson Architects, based in Cambridge, Mass. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)


Museum of Art’s ‘Phantom Punch’ exhibition is among first in U.S. to present contemporary Saudi artists

You didn’t see it coming: A groundbreaking exhibition of contemporary Saudi Arabian art at the Bates College Museum of Art last fall and winter.

“We want to show that there are creative, interesting, critical people who are exploring the political and cultural issues in their society,” said co-curator Loring Danforth, Dana Professor of Anthropology.

"Tagged and Documented" (2013) by Hudu Bedoun appears in Phantom Punch.

“Tagged and Documented” (2013) by Hudu Bedoun appears in Phantom Punch.


Journalist and Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King speaks at Bates

Punctuating his remarks with penetrating detail, Shaun King, senior social justice writer for the New York Daily News and a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter movement, spoke to a capacity audience in the Gomes Chapel on Oct. 11, 2016.

“Sometimes human beings are amazing, and sometimes they’re really terrible,” King said. “Sometimes the quality of humanity goes up, and sometimes it goes really far down.”

Black Lives Matter activist and New York Daily News justice writer Shaun King delivers remarks on racism and police brutality at Gomes Chapel on Oct. 11, 2016. (Josh Kuckens/Bates College)

Black Lives Matter activist and New York Daily News justice writer Shaun King delivers remarks in the Gomes Chapel on Oct. 11, 2016. (Josh Kuckens/Bates College)

Chemist Tom Wenzel shares $900,000 grant for curriculum development

The grant will support work by Dana Professor of Chemistry Tom Wenzel and a collaborator to advance active learning, where students take a hands-on approach to solving problems that have their roots in real-world situations.

“This is a way to help faculty meaningfully change the way they teach,” Wenzel said. “To move away from lectures to doing in-class group work, and away from ‘recipe-driven’ laboratories to more open-ended experiments.”

Charles A. Dana Professor of Chemistry Tom Wenzel. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Charles A. Dana Professor of Chemistry Tom Wenzel. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)


Robert Flynn, a three-sport coach with ‘iconic Bobcat zen’ who elevated Bates skiing to national prominence, dies at age 83

Bob Flynn’s warmth and loyalty to his athletes embodied “the force, the spirit, and the iconic Bobcat zen” of Bates athletics.

At his induction into the Bates Scholar-Athlete Society in 2015, Flynn was honored for his many years of “encouraging Bates athletes to participate in all Bates had to offer. Most of all, he has assisted Bates students in challenging themselves.”

Whatever the sport, “it just didn’t matter to him who you were. He was nice — period,” said Dave Irons, a longtime friend and Maine ski industry journalist.

Whatever the sport, “it just didn’t matter to him who you were. He was nice — period,” said Dave Irons, a longtime friend and Maine ski industry journalist. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Bob Flynn, photographed in September 2012 while coaching the Bates golf team. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

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