BRUNSWICK, ME - During Bowdoin College's 210th Commencement ceremony, held May 23, 2015, bachelor of arts degrees were awarded to students from 36 states, the District of Columbia, and 18 other countries and territories.
Graduates included two students from South Orange, NJ:
Alexandra N'Diaye, a member of the Class of 2015, graduated from Bowdoin College with a major in Art History and German.
Jared Littlejohn, a member of the Class of 2015, graduated from Bowdoin College with a major in English and a minor in Theater.
Littlejohn was also one of three commecement speakers, and one of two chosen through competition along with Stephanie "Stevie" Lane, '15. As has been the tradition since Bowdoin’s first graduation ceremony in 1806, commencement addresses are delivered by graduating seniors.
Sharing his own experience of losing himself a little while trying to fit in during a summer job, Littlejohn ’15 used his talk, “Lost & Found,” to inspire the audience to be their authentic selves.
“Do not spend a day trying to conform, because it may turn into weeks, then months, then years,” warned Littlejohn.
“Be as weird as you want to be, cry if you want to, dance if you want to, sing if you want, laugh if you want to, smile if you want to, and frown whenever you please. As my Grandma Moore says, ‘“if you have to change who you are in order for people to like you, to heck with them.'”
Littlejohn was the winner of the "Class of 1868 Commencement Prize," and the entire text of Littlejohn's prize-winning essay and address, "Lost & Found" can be read here.
From South Orange, New Jersey, Jared Littlejohn is graduating with a major in English, and he has been a Residential Life staff member for three years, the past two as head RA for Chamberlain Hall. Littlejohn has volunteered for two years at Sunnybrook Village, a retirement home in Brunswick, and he has been a member of the Improvabilities Comedy troupe since his junior year.
He credits a class he took with professor Guy Mark Foster in his sophomore year for changing his “entire outlook on life. It made me a better person,” he said. That same year Littlejohn earned recognition on campus for an event he organized. He had seen a YouTube video posted by a bullied teenage girl before she committed suicide and he put together a fundraiser, Hugs Against Haters, to raise money for suicide hotlines. With the help of his fellow Residential Life staffers, Littlejohn stood outside Smith Union for three hours on an October afternoon giving out hugs for free and collecting donations to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and the Trevor Project, a suicide hotline for bullied LGBTQ youth.
When asked what motivated him to submit an essay for consideration of the Class of 1868 Prize, Littlejohn replied that he “wanted the opportunity to give something back to my family for graduation. It would be once in a lifetime gift, and my family deserves it.”
After Bowdoin, he will begin work as assistant to the CEO at Triumvirate Environmental, a Massachusetts-based environmental consulting agency.