Samuel Bowlby ’04 returned to Hamilton on Nov. 11 to present the sixth annual General Josiah Bunting III Veterans Day lecture. Bowlby is a veteran who served as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps.
At Hamilton, he majored in government and captained the football team. He also played on the college golf team. Bowlby said that his experiences in athletics at Hamilton taught him the importance of pushing himself. “If I wanted to accomplish anything meaningful, it meant pushing my boundaries.”
Bowlby said he was just a typical college student until the September 11th attacks happened. A couple months after the tragedy, he was inspired to join the Marines after seeing a recruitment poster along Martin’s Way.
“This was pretty bold on my part, to think that I could actually do this,” said Bowlby. “But then I remembered that I played football in the NESCAC, I can accomplish anything.”
Bowlby took this boundary-pushing from Hamilton to his military training. Though mentally and physically drained on a daily basis, he said he pushed through his “brutal” Infantry Officer Course training. “I was continually inspired by the other lieutenants,” he said. “We leaned on each other and motivated one another to keep moving forward when the situation was bleak.”
Through his efforts, he was awarded the coveted position. Just a short time after his training was completed, Bowlby and his troops were deployed in Iraq. “This is exactly where I wanted to be, this is where I worked so hard to be,” he said. “I knew there would be adversity heading into a place where I felt uncertainty.”
Early into his deployment, one of Bowlby’s troops was shot through the knee. The soldier, a squad leader, fortunately survived, but had to return home. “You never know what’s going to happen, so you always have to be prepared for the worst.” Even with this setback, Bowlby and his troops kept pushing forward through their deployment in Iraq. Bowlby received both achievement and commendation medals from the Navy and Marine Corps.
After completing his military service, Bowlby earned an MBA at the Franklin W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. For the past four years, he’s been using his education in economics working at Bridgewater Associates in Westport, Conn., making sure to push himself to do better.
At the end of his presentation, Bowlby left the audience with one final message about the importance of pushing yourself.
“If something scares you, but you think it’s going to make you a better and stronger person, you should do it,” he says. “No matter what it is, I think you should push yourself and do it.”
Bowlby’s talk was sponsored by the AHI Undergraduate Fellows with funding from the Alexander Hamilton Institute.