For Cam Sarrouf '55, giving back to Bowdoin is the best way to say "thank you" to the professors and mentors he can no longer thank in person. When the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Lawyers recently presented Cam with its Lifetime Achievement Award, the event left him thinking of all the people who have influenced his life and contributed to his success; mentors like Bowdoin Professor John Sweet, who taught public speaking Cam's first year. Professor Sweet took Cam under his wing after a difficult first semester, and Cam went on to take the freshman prize for oratory and later starred as Richard III in the first production in Pickard Theater. The oratory skills he developed under Professor Sweet's guidance became central to Cam's career as one of Boston's top ranking trial lawyers.
In 1997, Cam and his wife Joyce founded the Sarrouf Family Scholarship Fund in memory of Cam's parents, providing the opportunity for students from the Middle East to receive the benefits of a Bowdoin education. "I was the first of my family to go to school, let alone college," Cam explains. "My immigrant parents, who never had an opportunity for even a rudimentary education, instilled in me the value of an education, and I feel an obligation to honor the heritage they passed to me."
Cam and Joyce have continued to build the Sarrouf Family Scholarship Fund through gifts of cash and appreciated stock.Working with the Gift Planning Office, they also created a charitable remainder unitrust that pays them quarterly income during their lifetimes and will provide a final legacy gift to the College. So far, the Sarrouf Family Scholarship Fund has helped six students attend Bowdoin. Joyce and Cam have supported many other projects at Bowdoin as well, including the renovations of Pickard Theater. Their spirit of giving back has become a family affair, with their children, Camille Jr., Leza '86, Thomas, and John '93, all deeply involved in philanthropy.
In a distinguished career of public and professional service, Cam has made Bowdoin a priority for more than fifty years. "Without financial aid and College interest-free loans, I could not have had a Bowdoin education. I have to give back."