Brad McArthur will have to take a break from conducting the orchestra that is the omelet station to speak at this year’s Baccalaureate. At the Senior Dinner this February, students nominated faculty or staff members who have a connection with the student body to deliver the speech.
This is not the first time Brad has been nominated, Baccalaureate Planning Committee Chair Eliza Kaplan ’15 told The Student, but this is his first time winning—other candidates for this year were Politics Professors Bill Corlett and Stephen Engel, Sociology Professor Emily Kane, and English Professor Robert Farnsworth. All nominees are consulted before the election proceeds.
“It [has been] very fulfilling and very rewarding the last few years, and suddenly they nominated me to be speaker,” Brad said. “I was thrilled that they thought… to bring me up.”
The Baccalaureate speech used to be delivered by staff members, while a member of the faculty spoke at the Senior Dinner. A few years ago the faculty speech was eliminated from the Senior Dinner, and the Baccalaureate speech was opened to both faculty and staff members.
The Baccalaureate Planning Committee, overseen by the Multifaith Chaplaincy and comprised of members of the senior class, helps to coordinate the event as well as facilitate speaker elections.
“It’s important to include both faculty and staff because there is such a wide range of people at Bates that have meaningful, impactful relationships with students,” Acting Multifaith Chaplain Emily Wright-Magoon said. “We all cherish the relationships we are privileged to create with you all, inside and outside the classroom.”
Brad first joined Bates Dining Services in March of 1996 as what Commons workers call a “redcoat,” or beverage worker. He has watched Bates grow out of Old Commons, build Garcelon Field, and go through multiple Presidents. He moved to the grill station around ten years ago, working the well-oiled breakfast machine, where many students begin their mornings.
Brad’s connection with students begins when he arrives at 6:00 AM. The regular, half-and-half, and egg white omelet pitchers remain in the same position each day. Brad coordinates chaos using the “line method.”
“The first thing to go on is the first thing to come off… I do everything the same—in line order,” Brad said. “That is really the only way we can keep track of it.”
The omelet station may seem like a collection of half-asleep students, but Brad acknowledges the little moments that happen there. Many students develop personal relationships with Brad throughout their four years; he watches them grow, which is partially why many students chose him to be speak at an event that ushers in the end of their Bates career.
“It is great to see freshmen come in a little shy and timid and you watch them through the years [as they] gain maturity and confidence,” Brad said. “I have two kids of my own, so it is nice to see some come in very uneasy and skittish and you try to give them a little confidence. You then see them when you are seniors and you think, ‘Can you believe you were worried about this and this and this?’ But now they are worried about the real world, but they will do well.”
The Student decided it was only fair to ask Brad how he liked his eggs.
“I like omelets,” Brad divulged. “I like the Western omelet the best, with the vegetables and the ham and the meat, which is probably why I don’t mind doing them [laughs]. People ask ‘How can you eat an omelet?’ and I say that I like them and it doesn’t bother me.”