The top 13 Bates College Facebook posts during an unprecedented year put into sharp relief what the Bates community stands for: care for one another; respect for knowledge and science — as embodied by Dr. Anthony Fauci — and love and admiration for those whose work has made our lives and country better. (You also respond to beautiful Bates photography!)
As of today, the Bates Facebook page has 19,244 likes. So far in 2020, we’ve created 328 Facebook posts, many linking to Bates News stories. The posts have garnered 25,890 likes, prompted 1,270 shares, and attracted 1,331 comments. A total of 71,719 engaged users have performed some action on our posts.
Measured in terms of “reach” — the number of individuals who see a piece of content — here are the top 13 Bates Facebook posts of 2020:
Note: This post was updated on Dec. 15, 2020, to include an additional Facebook post — at No. 4, about the college’s Fulbright achievement — that was mistakenly left off the original list.
13. May 30 — A pause to acknowledge (reach: 5,498)
On Commencement morning, statements by President Clayton Spencer, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Noelle Chaddock, and Multifaith Chaplain Brittany Longsdorf acknowledged the continued race-based violence in America.
“These brutal patterns are the work of centuries and decades, and they are deeply embedded in the structures of our society,” said Spencer. “One of our most urgent commitments as a college community is to teach our students that it is up to each of us and all of us together to bear witness against the violence of racism, to act for justice, and to affirm our shared humanity.”
12. May 30 — Faculty and staff congratulate the Class of 2020 (reach: 5,513)
Very long videos don’t perform well on social media, unless it’s an unprecedented video featuring more than 100 Bates faculty, staff, and friends, whose recorded tributes were shared with the Class of 2020 on the day of their virtual Commencement.
11. Aug. 5 — The passing of Leigh Campbell ’64 (reach: 5,809)
Leigh Payson Campbell ‘64, the beloved longtime director of financial aid at Bates and scorer for the men’s basketball team, died on July 31 at age 79.
Bates men’s basketball coach Jon Furbush ’05 recalled arriving at Bates from South Portland High School in fall 2001, and how Campbell was one of the first people he met. “He reached out, said he just wanted to introduce himself and offer any support that I needed.
“When you meet a man like Leigh for the first time, you immediately think, ‘Wow, this is such an amazing place with a lot of genuine people. I think a lot of people have Leigh to thank for how we feel about Bates.”
10. Feb. 2 — Puddle Jump photo album (reach: 6,024)
The annual Puddle Jump was one of the last major students events not squashed by COVID-19. In our post we said the jump is “the wacky winter Bates ritual that tries to answer the profound question, ‘Why?'”
To which Judy Marden ’66, longtime Bates Outing Club adviser, replied, “Only one answer works: Why not?!“
9. Jan. 29 — Bates Outing Club centennial kickoff (reach: 6,380)
At the Jan. 15 kickoff for the Bates Outing Club’s centennial celebration, Ben Ayers ’99, who’s spent most of his working life in Nepal supporting sustainable economic development, was the featured speaker. He explained how trying and sometimes failing is not just valuable, but an obligation.
“Not everyone has the opportunities to fail, and if you do, you have an obligation to. It’s going to teach you courage and it’s going to teach you fear.”
He continued, “I’ve had the privilege to fail. I’ve had enough opportunity to try things I was bad at. And in doing that, I learned that at large, people are really forgiving, people are really understanding.”
Failing places one “in a position to accept help. By putting yourself in a position of being helped, you can then understand how to go about helping other people.”
8. Jan 10 — Film professor Jon Cavallero’s top films of the last decade (reach: 6,847)
In sharing his list of the top 30 films of the last decade, Associate Professor of Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies Jon Cavallero notes how such lists tend to “say at least as much about the critic as they do about the movies.”
In that sense, the list also reflects Cavallero’s expertise in film theory and criticism; race, gender, and international film, including Bollywood; and film history. Plus, his love of movies!
7. Sept. 7 — Sunset dinner on Garcelon Field (reach: 6,893)
The return of students to campus in August featured outdoor dining, creating this spectacular sunset scene on Garcelon Field captured by Samuel Mironko ’21 of Belmont, Mass.
6. March 13 — Bates transitions to remote learning due to COVID-19 (reach: 7,494)
The first wave of pandemic disruption arrived on the shores of Bates College on March 13, the last day of in-person classes for the 2019–20 academic year.
President Spencer’s message shared a theme that the Bates community would rally around in the months ahead.
“The members of this community share a seriousness of purpose, a generosity of spirit, and a commitment to educating students who will be ethical and effective actors in the world,” she said. “This moment of challenge and uncertainty calls on all of these qualities and more. I appreciate your patience and solidarity as we work through the many complexities that lie ahead.”
5. Oct. 18 — Sunday morning on the Historic Quad (reach: 8,183)
The more things change, the more we love what doesn’t — like the beauty of an autumn Sunday morning on the Historic Quad.
4. Feb. 10 — Bates is No. 1 in Fulbrights, again (reach: 10,324)
For the second time in three years, Bates College is the No. 1 producer of Fulbright Student awards among all U.S. liberal arts colleges, and our 24 Fulbright awards in 2020 are the most ever by a U.S. liberal arts college.
The secret to our success? One-on-one mentoring! “It’s amazing,” says Robert Strong, director of national fellowships for Bates, what Bates faculty and staff do to “help students grow intellectually and personally.”
3. July 18 — In memory of Rep. John Lewis (reach: 20,008)
His message is never more important. His message will never be forgotten.
In 2016, U.S. Rep. John Lewis brought his fearless spirit, powerful message, and generous humanity to Bates as the college’s Commencement speaker.
Recounting his first meeting with Martin Luther King Jr., Lewis said that the great civil rights leader “inspired me to stand up, to speak up, and speak out. And I got in the way, I got in trouble — good trouble, necessary trouble.”
Passing along that inspiration to the Class of 2016, he charged them with finding their own ways to “get in the way and get in good trouble, necessary trouble…. You have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate, when you leave here, to go out and seek justice for all. You can do it. You must do it.”
2. May 7 — Recalling Dr. Anthony Fauci’s visit to Bates (reach: 21,298)
Twenty-seven years ago, Dr. Anthony Fauci stood on the porch of Coram Library on Commencement Day to receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree for his work fighting HIV/AIDs — for “intentionally addressing robust human challenges,” said then-President Donald Harward.
Checking back in with Fauci — today a household name applauded for his smart and indefatigable guidance during the pandemic — he recalled his 1993 visit warmly. Being able to take a break from 24/7 science and policy work in Washington to be with smart and engaged Bates students was, he says, “food for the soul.”
1. March 31 — Jack Allard’s fight with COVID (reach: 23,257)
Last spring, Jack Allard ’16 endured a long hospitalization due to COVID-19, ultimately prevailing with a return to good health.
In late March, Bates men’s lacrosse coach Peter Lasagna poured his heart out in admiration for his former captain, writing in Inside Lacrosse “about how fervently he demands the ball, in the biggest, most stressful moments” of a game, and about the “gigantic outcomes he personally delivered, in some cases promised, with unrestrained joy and steely-eyed determination.”