During our annual stint on the Great Day to Be a Bobcat livestream, we shared a few fun and interesting CatFacts with viewers, which we now share with you.

Great Day 2023 was another great success: 2,315 alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students, and friends made gifts this year, far surpassing the donor goal of 1,855 (a number that represents Bates’ founding year). All told, donors contributed $839,026 to Bates. 

Mays and Carter

Benjamin Mays, the revered civil rights leader who graduated from Bates in 1920, and former President Jimmy Carter were close friends.

Attending the 1985 dedication of the Muskie Archives and receiving an honorary degree, Carter spoke about Mays, saying, “I want to thank this college for making it possible for Dr. Benjamin Mays to overcome the handicaps of white supremacy and racism and to take his place among the prominent leaders of our nation and the world.”

In this circa 1980 photograph, Carter and Mays warmly greet one another.

Howard University

Play Ball!

This vintage Bates baseball glove belonged to Donald C. Webster ’41, a 6-foot-5 Bobcat pitcher who was dubbed a “lanky portsider” by The Bates Student and an “elongated lefty” by the Bangor Daily News.

Items from the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library for Bates Magazine "Archives" section -- November 2015.Baseball mitt; belonged to Donald C. Webster '41. Box 6, Item 294.
Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library

Remembering Rand

The first Bates baseball field was on the old Rand Field.

Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library

‘Fruitful Diversion’

In 1983, when Julia Child (right) received a Bates honorary degree, she was praised for creating “recipes for fruitful diversion and happiness among friends.” At center is President Hedley Reynolds; trustee at left is unidentified.

David Wilkinson / Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library

Fantastic Five

The Bates field hockey team was undefeated in its first five years of intercollegiate competition, 1967–1971. Its first loss came in November 1972.

The Mirror image below is from 1967, the team’s inaugural season, in which Bates defeated the University of Maine–Farmington; Gorham State College, now part of the University of Southern Maine; Westbrook College (twice), now part of the University of New England; Colby; and the University of Maine.

Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library

Bates Illustrated

This Bates–Colby football photo, taken by Daryn Slover for Bates College when Garcelon Field was a natural grass (or mud) field, was splashed over two pages in Sports Illustrated on Dec. 6, 2006, for the magazine’s “Football America” issue.

Bates senior Jamie Walker (Needham, Mass.), No. 39, carried the ball 43 times for a total of 135 yards in the Bates versus Colby College football game, Oct. 28, 2006, at Garcelon Field. Brian Bachow's 22-yard field goal in the fourth overtime period gave the Colby College football team a 10-7 victory over Bates College Saturday in the driving rain. Photograph by Daryn Slover.
Daryn Slover for Bates College

Bette Davis Eyes

Legendary actor Bette Davis’ father, Harlow Morrell Davis, was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Bates in 1907. She didn’t think much of him: “He was too bright to enjoy being alive,” she wrote. “His contempt for all of humanity including himself was so great that he abused and neglected himself physically…. He worked himself to death.” The elder Davis died of a heart attack in 1938 at age 52.

We Dig It

In January 1980, 12 Bates students, led by Nick Kofos ’80, set a Guinness world record by playing volleyball for 71 straight hours in the old Rand Hall gym. From the 1980 Mirror, the photo below shows the games-played total with 16 hours to go.

Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library

Nursing School

In 1942, to meet the need for healthcare workers in World War II, Bates launched a five-year nursing program. It graduated nearly 100 students before ending in 1958. This nursing cap has the official Bates Department of Nursing pin.

Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library

Let’s Dance

In 1922, the Bates trustees voted to allow students to have campus dances. Campus dancing had been prohibited since the college’s 1855 founding. With the ban lifted, Chase Hall Lounge became the place where Bates men and women went cheek to cheek for the first time in public.

After Bates lifted its ban on dancing in 1922, Chase Lounge was where students went cheek to cheek. Photograph courtesy of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collection Library
Muskie Archives and Special Collection Library

In League with Jimi

On March 16, 1968, the Bates rock band The Hanseatic League opened for legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix at the nearby Armory. The photograph of Hendrix below appears on the website Concert Archives, Also performing that night was the legendary Lewiston garage band Terry and the Telstars. In 1975, Queen performed at the Armory.

Concert Archives