Finnegan M. Woodruff ’21

Finnegan M. Woodruff ’21 died on November 16, 2021, in White Salmon, Washington.

(The following notice was shared by President Rose on November 16, 2021)

To the Bowdoin community,

This afternoon we learned the terribly sad news that Finnegan Woodruff ’21 drowned today while kayaking in Washington state. This tragic accident took place on the White Salmon River in White Salmon, Washington, as Finn was doing something he loved.

The son of Bowdoin Outing Club Director Mike Woodruff ’87 and Lucretia Woodruff, Finn grew up in Maine with a deep passion for the outdoors nurtured from boyhood by his parents. An environmental studies and music major at Bowdoin, he was taking classes at Lewis and Clark University at the time of his death, working toward the Bowdoin degree he was to receive next month.

This is an unfathomable and devastating loss for the Woodruff family, for Finn’s classmates and friends, and for our entire community. In many ways, Finn grew up here—Bowdoin was home. Salutatorian of the Brunswick High School Class of 2017, he was an accomplished musician and artist with a sharp entrepreneurial mind. When an injury forced him to take a medical leave during his first year, he discovered a sewing machine in the Woodruff basement and began experimenting with fabric. Vests, hoodies, shirts, and the perfect pair of pants would follow, building into a funded internship. What Finn discovered in the process was a deep devotion for creating things matched only by his steadfast and boundless love for the outdoors.

There are really no words to express the profound sadness many of us are feeling as we think about Finn and the Woodruff family. Our hearts go out to them, and to the many people at Bowdoin who watched Finn grow up and who came to appreciate all that he contributed to our community as a young man.

It is no exaggeration to say that the Bowdoin Outing Club was Finn’s home away from home, even before he became a Bowdoin student. So, this evening the Outing Club will be open from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. as those who knew and loved Finn gather to remember him, to mourn his loss, and to support one another. Support will also be available at 30 College Street between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Please remember that many campus resources are available to assist members of the Bowdoin community at this very sad time. Support for students is always available by contacting Bowdoin security (207-725-3314) and during business hours at the Counseling Service (32 College Street, 207-725-3145). The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to faculty and staff seeking support.

This is a very difficult time for our community. Please tend to your own emotional well-being, reach out for help if you need it, and offer to support others as you can.



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