On November 11, Veterans Day, the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) sponsored at Hamilton College the Sixth Annual General Josiah Bunting III Veterans Day Lecture. Samuel Bowlby, a 2004 graduate of the College who led troops into combat in Iraq, presented on “Leaving Your Comfort Zone: The Ongoing Battle to Challenge Oneself and Maximize Potential.”

A 2004 graduate of Hamilton College, where he majored in both government and theater, Sam recounted how the terrorist attacks of 9/11 moved him after graduation to challenge himself by entering the United States Marine Corps. In Iraq as an infantry platoon commander, Sam planned, coordinated, and executed more than 600 combat missions. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for combat valor as well as the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

Sam’s engaging lecture can be seen in its entirety here.


“Sam Bowlby moved from the stage, classrooms, and athletic fields of Hamilton College to the battlefields of Iraq,” noted AHI Executive Director Robert Paquette, “and his lecture proved to be a moving tribute to family, friends, and country. He also demonstrated in a fascinating way how he drew on a traditional liberal arts education to become a more capable Marine officer. More than a few persons became choked up during the performance. It is truly an honor to know this exceptional young man, an exemplar of the finest patriotic sentiment that binds one generation to another. One mother, a middle-school teacher who brought her daughter to the event, came up to me after the lecture and described the power and integrity of Sam’s talk as ‘inspirational.’”

After leaving the military, Sam obtained an M. A. in business administration from Babson College. He currently works in investment management for Bridgewater Associates, Westport Connecticut.

Emeritus Professor of Government Theodore Eismeier, Sam’s former teacher and advisor, returned to Hamilton College to introduce him to the audience. Paquette introduced Professor Eismeier as “a legendary teacher at Hamilton College” and as someone who played a significant role in the creation of AHI itself.

The annual lecture honors General Josiah Bunting III, a charter member of the AHI’s board of directors. General Bunting was graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1963. He subsequently studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and at Columbia University as a John Burgess Fellow. During active duty with the United States Army, he served as an infantry officer in Vietnam with the Ninth Infantry Division. He received numerous decorations for his military service and went on to a distinguished career as a writer and educator.