Franco-American Seminar at Bowdoin College - Nov 13-15, 2006
Portland Press Herald, York County
Neighbors Edition, Thursday,October 19, 2006
By Juliana L’Heureux
Brunswick’s Bowdoin College is humble about its Franco-American connections. James Bowdoin (1726-1790), who the college is named after, descended from French Huguenots (Protestants) who were prominent in Massachusetts politics. In fact, Bowdoin was the second governor of Massachusetts from 1785 – 1787, which included Maine at the time. Unfortunately, Bowdoin’s gubernatorial administration became embroiled in the unpopular uprising known as Shay’s Rebellion and, therefore, his bid for re-election was upset by John Hancock. Bowdoin College was founded 1794, in Brunswick.
American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), author of the French-Acadian epic “Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie”, published in 1847, was a student and later a professor at Bowdoin College.
“It’s time to remember and celebrate our Franco connections with Maine and Brunswick”, says Chris Potholm, Ph.D., a professor and coordinator of a three day seminar November 13-15, on the Brunswick campus, to celebrate the Franco-American heritage of Maine.
Franco-Americans and the public are cordially invited to attend.
Kicking off the seminar at 6 PM on November 13, French Consul General François Gauthier from Boston will provide cheese delicacies from France for a reception, hosted by President Barry Mills. Following the reception, Severin Beliveau of Hallowell, will host a discussion titled “Tactics and Success in Franco Upward Economic Mobility” in the Daggett Lounge of Thorne Hall. Guest discussion panelists with Beliveau are Robert W. Daigle, President & CEO, Camden National Corporation, Lucien Gosselin, President, Lewiston/Auburn Economic Growth Council and Berthier Martin, former President, Fraser Paper Ltd.
Tuesday’s program begins at 5 PM on November 14, in Lancaster Lounge of Moulton Union, where President Mills will host a dinner. Following dinner, Potholm will conduct a panel discussion titled “Celebrating the Political and Legal Dimensions”.
Potholm has researched the Franco-American political impact on the voters and elections in Maine for over 20 years. Guest panelists to discuss the Franco’s ethnic ascendancy in politics are Paul Jacques, Assistant Maine’s Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Lisa Marraché, Maine State Representative from Waterville, John Martin, Maine State Senator from Eagle Lake and former Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, and Mike Michaud, U. S. Congressman from Maine’s Second District, from Millinocket, and former President of Maine’s Senate.
Beginning g at 3 PM on Wednesday, November 15, the film “Réveil - Waking Up French”, a 2002 documentary will be introduced in Daggett Lounge by producer Ben Levine of Rockland. A panel discussion will discuss “Cultural and Artistic Dimensions of the Franco-American Experience”, led by Juliana L’Heureux. Discussion will also address the loss of the French language among Maine’s Franco-Americans.
Panelists for the “Réveil” film discussion are Rita Dube, Executive Director of the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston, Yvonne Labbé, Founder of the Franco-American Studies Program, University of Maine, Orono, Françoise Paradis, Ed.D., author of the newly published” Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie”, and HanéthaVété-Congolo, Assistant Professor of Romance Languages, Bowdoin College. A wrap up dinner will be served in the Maine lounge at Moulton Union at 5:30 PM.
Bowdoin College President’s Office and the Departments of Government and Romance Languages are sponsors of all three days of the Franco seminar. Information about the program is being sent to news media in all the Franco-American communities in Maine, New England and Quebec, Canada as well as television stations.
In addition to supporting Maine’s Franco-American heritage, Bowdoin College also houses an antique collection of French books in its campus library.
For more information, link to the Bowdoin press release or contact
Vice-President for Communications at Bowdoin College