Allen Delong, associate dean of student affairs, will depart from Bowdoin on November 10 to serve in the newly created position of senior associate dean at Bates College. Drawing from his experience developing student spaces at Bowdoin that better reflect the College’s changing demography, Delong will head the Purposeful Work program and Career Development Center at Bates, an office designed to help students prepare for lives of work and social contribution that align with the liberal arts values.
Delong joined the College in 2005 as director of student activities and has made substantial improvements to student life. In addition to leading annual McKeen Center orientation trips to his Maine hometown, Houlton, and serving on the presidential search committee, Delong led the launch and evolution of a number of student spaces, including what is now the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and the Student Center for Multicultural Life.
“In the last 12 years, the College has grown in these really cool ways,” Delong said. “The College [as well as higher education at large] was really acknowledging that the student demographic was changing dramatically in this beautiful way … Bowdoin was like we’re changing so fast, so let’s catch up to [be] as interesting as the students are. I was able to ride that wave.”
When Delong came to Bowdoin, the only space for LGBTQ students was a “literally a closet” at 24 College, where a staff member worked with students for only eight hours a week. With Delong’s contributions, this space grew into the resource it is today.
“The [room in the back of 24 College] was literally a garage,” Delong said. “There was no designated space for queer students to hang out. Through some creative savings in other places, we were able to save the money and to really work with stakeholders to turn a literal garage into … what I think is one of the most beautiful spaces on campus for queer students.”
True to his Maine roots, Delong will remain in Brunswick.
“I’m excited for him because he’s going to be able to do something new and different, to repot his plant if you will,” said Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster. “But he’s going to … still be an active member of the Brunswick community. He’s been a huge part of this place for a dozen years … He’s going to be missed but I’m glad he’s going to be up the road.”