Congressman Bruce Poliquin ’72 greeted students and engaged in an informal Q&A session during breakfast in Upper Left of Paresky Commons last Monday morning.
Stopping by his alma mater before heading to Boston for events later in the day, Poliquin visited a History-310 class taught by Head of School John Palfrey and Jennifer Elliott ’94, Dean of Students and Residential Life. He was accompanied by classmates Charles Hirschler ’72, Tony Hewett ’72, and his son Sam Poliquin ’10.
Poliquin looks fondly upon his time at Andover.
“I love Andover. This is home to me. This is my family. One of the greatest accomplishments of my life has been graduating from this place,” Poliquin said in an interview with The Phillipian.
During the Q&A session, topics ranged from Poliquin’s time at Andover to his duties as Congressman of Maine’s 2nd District. He encouraged students to become involved in activities at Andover.
“Work hard. Have fun. Be honest. Do what’s right… get involved. Stay involved. Wherever it is, get involved. If you don’t get involved, don’t complain about the results,” said Poliquin in the Q&A session.
Arthur Paleologos ’17, 2016-2017 Student Body Co-President, said, “I have always had an interest in politics…and we get a lot of visitors to campus, but it was a good chance in a closer, smaller setting to talk to a person who is serving right now.”
“He [is] a Republican, and I feel that, especially where it’s no secret Phillips Academy leans a little to the left politically, it’s great to go and hear both sides to every story and I thought it was a great discussion,” Paleologos continued.
In the History 310 class, Poliquin casually conversed with students. Throughout the class, Poliquin shared stories about his time at Andover along with some of his political opinions and his experiences as a Congressman.
Shoshi Wintman ’17, a student in Elliott and Palfrey’s joint class, said in an interview with The Phillipian, “I think the class had a generally good response [to Poloquin’s visit]. There’s a pretty diverse group of political views in the class and he had fairly strong political views and so I’m not sure everyone agreed with him politically, but at the same time he was very friendly and very willing to discuss things,” said Wintman.
Jennifer Savino, Director of Alumni Engagement, wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “[Poliquin’s visit was] a wonderful opportunity to connect current students to other alumni across the decade and to have an alumnus come to a class that directly connects his job and service to our country.”
Poliquin represents the 2nd District of Maine in the United States House of Representatives. From Monday through Friday, he is based in Washington, D.C., and lives inside his office in the Capitol Building. Poliquin spends his weekends in his native state of Maine.
“It’s okay to have passion, and to believe what you believe, but at the end of the day, if you want to pass a bill, you have to compromise,” said Poliquin while describing his duties as a congressman.