Looking back on Bowdoin at his 50th Reunion, Dick Burns '58 reflected, "the good fortune I had to be able to go to Bowdoin has been a significant and positive force in my life. I have been most fortunate in my family, my children, my grandchildren, my work and my circumstances, all of which I know Bowdoin directly or indirectly contributed to and enriched." Bowdoin has, in turn, been more than fortunate in having Dick as a committed and engaged alumnus. Along with his wife Martha, Dick is now a part-time resident of Mere Point in Brunswick, which makes it easier for the College and the Class of '58 to "keep him busy and out of mischief." And, indeed, Bowdoin has kept Dick very busy; in recognition of his outstanding and dedicated service in a wide variety of roles, including class agent, reunion planner, Alumni Council member, Alumni Fund Director, and phone-a-thon volunteer, the Alumni Council awarded him the 2002 Polar Bear Award. Dick also served as Gift Co-Chair for his 50th Reunion.
Dick went on from Bowdoin to earn a law degree from New York University and has spent close to 50 years practicing law in New York City, including a 23-year partnership with brother Bruce Burns '62 and many years serving in local and state government. Martha has worked with Dick as manager of his law practice since 1984, and they raised four children together.They now enjoy four grandchildren, including granddaughter Colleen Maher '12.
Dick and Martha have contributed generously to the College, helping with the renovations of Pickard Theater and the Curtis Pool, funding scholarships, and supporting the Polar Bear Fund, and the Alumni Fund. In 2008, they donated a lithograph by Käthe Kollwitz and a painting by Aaron Henry Gorson - two wonderful pieces that are now part of the Museum of Art's permanent collection. In honor of Dick's 50th Reunion, they created a legacy gift at Bowdoin by establishing a charitable gift annuity to fund the Richard E. and Martha F. Burns Endowment Fund to provide general support to the College. Dick notes with approval that the College "continues its vital and unique connection to the State of Maine and continues to get better and more successful with the passage of time." Dick says he is fortunate to count himself a Bowdoin graduate; the College is fortunate indeed to have Dick and Martha's support, both now and in the future.