Chartered by Samuel Adams in 1794, Bowdoin College is nearly as old as the United States. The school has graduated American presidents and literary giants including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Bowdoin takes on another piece of history by becoming one of the first American colleges to join the You Can Play team, promising respect and safe locker rooms for all student athletes, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. More than 50 coaches and student-athletes took part in making the video including representatives from volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, field hockey, men’s and women’s hockey, football, men’s and women’s lacrosse, nordic skiing, men’s and women’s soccer, squash, tennis, frisbee, women’s rugby, swimming, water polo, softball, and baseball.
Molly Burke spearheaded the making of Bowdoin’s You Can Play video. She told the Bowdoin Orient, “Sports are so important as a part of bringing people together. Every team has a common goal, and for any athlete to feel like they can’t be a part of that because of their sexual orientation is heartbreaking. To grow up loving sports and to think that your sport doesn’t love you back is so incredibly sad.”
Molly had the support of Bowdoin AD Tim Ryan and members of the Polar Bears athletic community. She’d also spoken with Anything but Straight in Sports, a support group for LGBT student-athletes. Molly knows something about the subject. Her brother, Brendan Burke, was the openly gay student manager of the Miami University hockey team. Molly’s advocacy is rooted in the personal experience of wanting to make sports better for an LGBT athlete who is also a friend and family member.
Bowdoin’s emblem incorporates an image of the sun, signifying its location on the Maine coast as one of the first places in America to see each sunrise. It’s also a symbol of Bowdoin’s place in ushering in a new day for equality – a day in which character, talent and heart are the only things that matter.
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