Bob Bruce ‘01
On the first visit to Gould from Caratunk, my rural hometown in northwestern Maine, I knew within minutes of arriving that it was where I wanted to be. I'm not big on premonition but as soon as Dad and I drove onto campus, I just had a funny feeling that this place was perfect.
This feeling was accompanied by some apprehension because, while my family did not lack for happiness, we knew that I would never be able to attend Gould without financial assistance.
Happily the folks at Gould made the best decision of my young life when they took a chance and awarded me with generous financial aid from The Betterment Fund. For three years I received top-notch tutelage in small classes while enjoying active involvement in school.
Upon graduating in 2001, I was accepted at Dartmouth College, where I earned a B.A. in molecular biology and genetics in 2005. After a yearlong adventure in Alaska caring for a kennel of sled dogs and working as a deckhand on halibut fishing boats, I returned back East and spent two successful years researching chronic kidney disease in Boston. I'm currently at Tufts University School of Medicine. At the same time I entered Tufts, I accepted a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army as a participant in the Army Medical Scholarship Program. It's worth mentioning that an old friend and mentor from my years at Gould, Mr. John Todd, did me the great honor of driving down from Maine to Boston to administer my oath as an officer. Upon graduating from medical school, I'm proud to say that I will have the opportunity to serve the men and women of our nation's armed forces as a physician.
The generosity of the Betterment Fund and my experiences at Gould inspired me to do more with my life than achieve personal goals. That kindness I knew instilled within me the desire to ‘pay it forward’ and bring similar opportunities and support to others. Last spring, inspired by my work with Habitat for Humanity at Gould, I traveled to Guatemala for three weeks to build homes for needy families. I am also in the inaugural class of the Maine Track Program at Tufts. With an emphasis in rural medicine, the program seeks to introduce students to a life serving rural communities. My dream is to one day return to Maine and apply my skills as a physician by bringing top-notch medical care to rural communities.
I keep in touch with more Gouldies than any other friends I have made before or since. A fellow Gould grad and I hiked 150 miles of the Appalachian Trail from Mount Katahdin to the fjord at the Kennebec River. My best friend in the world is the same guy with whom I shared a room in Davidson dormitory for three years, and rare is the time we meet up when we don't tell a few glory tales about pulling off some of the finest pranks in the history of Gould (no worries…they were all laughable but quite benign!).
There are the ‘tangibles’: it's where I received the academic instruction and intense coursework that opened countless doors when I graduated, where I was introduced to French, learned how to swing a 5-lb felling axe and milk a goat, and participated in my first Habitat for Humanity build. More powerful than anything I can list on a resume are the ‘intangibles’ I took away, for it was Gould where I met my best friend, where I fell in love for the first time (alas, first-time heartbreak, too..), where I learned maturity and leadership, the pain from losing a close friend, and the power of trust.
For all of my life experiences, it was Gould where I became a man.