CASTINE — A graduate student who graduated earlier this month has marked the occasion with a stunning gift to the school’s $1.6-million Bowdoin Centennial Campaign.
MMA President William J. Brennan recently announced that the campaign had received a lead gift of $500,000 from the Herman D. Pollock Family Foundation. The gift was initiated by Jeffrey Pollock of Houston, Texas, a master’s degree candidate in the school’s Global Logistics and Maritime Management program.
“A gift of this magnitude from a student is a first for Maine Maritime Academy, and we’re immensely grateful, and proud,” Brennan said in a written statement.
The Herman D. Pollock Family Foundation, of which Jeffrey Pollock, his brother Russell Pollock, and their mother Lois Geyer are trustees, was established to fulfill the founder’s wish to gift some of his wealth to a charity of the family’s choosing. He was Jeff and Russell’s great-uncle and he died when the brothers were young, but they remember going with their father, Gary, to bring a check from Herman’s estate to the Salvation Army around Christmas time.
“It was fun to give money away,” Jeff said.
The family members inherited the responsibility of gifting the assets remaining in Herman Pollock’s estate when Gary died. The family set up the foundation to fund maritime initiatives, and the gift to MMA will be the final gift to be disbursed from the foundation, which will be closed later this year.
“We’ve all been sailors our whole lives,” said Jeff Pollock. “Given Bowdoin’s legacy, I wanted to help, and to see this classic wooden sailing ship keep making history.”
“The purpose of the Bowdoin Centennial Campaign is to celebrate the Bowdoin in excellent condition on her 100th birthday in 2021, and to keep her exploring, sailing and training for another 100 years,” said Campaign Director Kay Hightower of Castine.
“Maine Maritime has maintained her so well over the years that Giffy Full, the renowned marine surveyor who has known the boat for over 40 years, said she’s in the best condition he’s ever seen her,” Captain Andy Chase said on Tuesday. He was the Bowdoin’s first skipper after the school acquired the schooner in 1988.
“To keep her in that condition, Chase said, it is “time to replace her decks. With that project in mind, and her future needs as well, we decided this was the time to initiate this campaign.”
According to Hightower, the deck replacement and related projects likely to be uncovered will cost approximately $600,000. The additional $1 million will go to “strengthen” Bowdoin’s endowment “in order to protect and preserve her in perpetuity.”
In addition to Co-Chairman Chase, the Bowdoin Centennial Campaign Cabinet includes: Co-Chairman Alexander Watson; Fred Atkins, Capt. Bill Cowan; Capt. Cate Cronin; Capt. Dave Fenderson; Lawrence Kaplan; Matthew P. Murphy; Capt. Alec Schoettle; Capt. John Worth and Capt. Heather Stone. The latter two have both served as skippers aboard the Bowdoin.
Honorary members include former Maine Governor and MMA President Kenneth Curtis; Pete Rand; Phineas Sprague Jr.; Ed Morse; and Gordon Bok.
For more information about the Bowdoin Centennial Campaign, contact Kay Hightower at 326-8932 or [email protected]
Correction: An earlier version of this article contained a headline error. The Herman D. Pollock Family Foundation donated $500,000 to the Bowdoin campaign.