Bowdoin College, located in Brunswick, Maine, is one of the country's most elite liberal arts colleges. Founded in 1794, the school boasts such famous alumni as Franklin Pierce, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, John Brown Russwurm, Robert E. Peary, Alfred Kinsey, and Joan Benoit Samuelson. Bowdoin is intimately connected with the American Civil War. Some have said the war began and ended in Brunswick, as Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin while her husband was teaching at Bowdoin, and Chamberlain was responsible for receiving the surrender of the Confererate army at Appomattox.
In 1970, the institution stopped requiring SAT scores for admission. In 1971, the first co-educational class matriculated. Just a few years ago the school received national recognition again for converting the long-standing frat system to "the social house system," under which incoming freshmen are automatically assigned a house affiliation.
As of 2003, 1600 students attend Bowdoin College, nestled in the pine trees of Maine. They study hard during the week, but an old hockey rivalry with Colby and beer pong largely fuel the social life on the weekends. Yet activist groups are beginning to gain momentum in light of the rapidly decaying world situation, and publications such as Ritalin, a controversial humor magazine; Naked, an opinion/lit mag; and the Disorient and the Patriot, respectively the liberal and conservative newspapers, are reflections of the ever-broadening student perspective. The Bowdoin Orient is the main student newspaper and is the largest one on campus; it claims to be the "oldest continuously published college weekly in the United States." Brunswick doesn't offer a bustling night life for students under 21, but the larger city of Portland is just a half hour away.
Many of the students are from New England prep schools, but the student population gets more diverse every year. The Bowdoin Dining Services has a high reputation, and was rated the best college food service in the country by the Princeton Review in 2003.