Bowdoin prize

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The Bowdoin Prize is a prestigious award given annually to Harvard University undergraduate and graduate students. It is considered among the highest academic commendations the University can bestow upon a student. From the income of the bequest of Governor James Bowdoin, AB 1745, prizes are offered to students at the University in Graduate and Undergraduate categories for Essays in the English Language, Essays in the Natural Sciences, Compositions in Greek, and Compositions in Latin. Each winner of a Bowdoin Prize receives, in addition to a sum of money, a medal, a certificate, and his or her name printed in the Commencement Program.[1]

The award has been given annually since 1790, and its past winners (with year of award and professional highlights) include:

  • Jared Sparks, 1815, historian and president of Harvard
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1820 and 1821, essayist and poet
  • Charles Sumner, 1830 and 1832, politician and US Senator
  • Jones Very, 1835 and 1836, Transcendentalist essayist and poet
  • Richard Henry Dana, Jr., 1837, lawyer and politician
  • Edward Everett Hale, 1838 and 1839, author and historian
  • Charles L. Flint, 1848, lawyer, horticulturalist, president of what is now University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Horatio Alger, Jr., 1851, prolific author of "rags to riches" novels
  • Henry Adams, 1858, historian and author
  • Richard Theodore Greener, 1866 and 1868, statesman and dean of Howard University School of Law
  • George Lyman Kittredge, 1882, educator and scholar in English literature
  • Alain LeRoy Locke, 1908, first African-American Rhodes Scholar, academic, writer, and "Father of the Harlem Renaissance"
  • R. Nathaniel Dett, 1921, composer
  • George Frazier, 1932, journalist
  • Nathan Pusey, 1934, president of Harvard (graduate)
  • Daniel J. Boorstin, 1934, Rhodes Scholar, historian, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize (undergraduate)
  • Howard Nemerov, 1940, poet and winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award (undergraduate)
  • I. Bernard Cohen, 1941, historian of science (graduate, English)
  • Robert Galambos, 1941, neuroscientist (graduate, natural sciences)
  • Arthur Kinoy, 1941, attorney and civil rights leader (undergraduate, English; third place)
  • Constantine Cavarnos, 1947, teacher, author, monk
  • Henri Dorra, 1949,[2] art historian[3] (graduate)
  • Christopher Lasch, 1954, professor, author, historian, and social critic (undergraduate, English; first place)
  • John Updike, 1954, writer (undergraduate, English; second place)
  • Allen G. Debus, 1957 and 1958, historian of science (graduate, natural sciences)
  • Larry Siedentop, 1959, Marshall Scholar, political philosopher (graduate)
  • James Samuel Gordon, 1961 and 1962, author, psychiatrist, and mind-body medicine expert (undergraduate, English; third and first places)
  • Robert Kirshner, 1970, astrophysicist (undergraduate)
  • Paul Starr, 1974, professor of sociology and public affairs (graduate, English)
  • Ralph Jay Hexter, 1974, professor of classics and comparative literature and provost (currently interim chancellor) of UC Davis (undergraduate, English; first prize)
  • James D. Weinrich, 1975, sex researcher and psychobiologist (graduate, natural sciences)
  • Robert W. Brooks, 1975, mathematician (undergraduate, natural sciences)
  • John Glover Roberts, Jr., 1976, Chief Justice of the United States (undergraduate, English)
  • Paul Alan Cox, 1978 and 1981, ethnobotanist (graduate, natural sciences)
  • Richard H. Ebright, 1979, molecular and microbiologist (undergraduate, natural sciences)
  • Mark W. Moffett, 1986, entomologist (graduate, natural sciences)
  • Jonathan Veitch, 1988, historian and president of Occidental College (graduate, English)
  • Nicholas A. Christakis, 1988, physician and sociologist (graduate, natural sciences)
  • Cyrus Patell, 1991, literary and cultural critic (graduate, English)
  • Faith Salie, 1992, Rhodes Scholar, actress, and media personality (undergraduate, English)
  • Kannon Shanmugam, 1992, Marshall Scholar, lawyer (undergraduate, Latin)
  • David S. Jones,[4] 1993, historian and professor of the culture of medicine (undergraduate, natural sciences)
  • Elaine Goldenberg, 1993, lawyer (undergraduate, English)
  • William Pannapacker, 1994, 1999, academic and journalist (graduate, English, American Civilization)
  • Mark Greif, 1997, Marshall Scholar, academic and literary critic (undergraduate, English)
  • Joe Roman, 2000, author and conservation biologist (graduate, natural sciences)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bowdoin Prizes for Undergraduates § Prize Office". Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  2. ^ "Bowdoin Awards Go to 5 Students | News | The Harvard Crimson". 2013-10-17. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  3. ^ "Henry Dorra". Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  4. ^ "David Jones | Department of Global Health and Social Medicine". Retrieved 2013-11-07.