For only the fifteenth time in the College’s 221-year history, Bowdoin is inaugurating a new president. This weekend, Clayton Rose will be officially welcomed with a variety of events, including a symposium of prominent alumni that promises to explore the power of the liberal arts. The Inauguration coincides with Homecoming as well as the Board of Trustees’ fall meeting, so campus will be packed with alumni. What’s more, Clayton Rose will have a significant and unique platform to speak to the College community during his inaugural address—a chance to shed light on his goals for his tenure here.  

This weekend marks a rare occasion in which many prominent alums from a diverse array of professions will gather to discuss topics of interest to the Bowdoin community. They will address the lasting relevance of the liberal arts—a theme featured in the inaugural ceremonies of many previous Bowdoin presidents. Take former president William Allen, who said in 1820, “The arts and sciences, besides conducing in a high degree to individual happiness, exert an important influence on the general state of society.” Or Rev. Edwin B. Webb, who, at the inauguration of former president William Hyde in 1885, said, “It is a foundation laid upon the bed rock, and a superstructure patiently raised in due proportions and symmetry that we covet. Let the specialty come after the curriculum has gone.”

Many previous presidents have also addressed more timely concerns facing the Bowdoin community at their inaugural events, and this weekend gives us an opportunity to hear from President Rose. Until now, Rose has made a point of hearing the voices of others at the College. In April, he told the Orient he was in a “listening and learning mode,” and in July said that the “broad theme for a while is going to be listening and meeting as many people as I can.” This is a commendable strategy for a newcomer seeking to understand a complex environment like Bowdoin. However, the time has finally come for Rose to speak and for us to listen. 

So far, he has given us little insight about the directions in which he plans to steer the College. For instance, Rose is highly qualified to address the lack of faculty diversity—an issue the College has grappled with for decades—having studied issues of racial diversity from an academic perspective. As the College experiments with different ways to complement its liberal arts program with business education, Rose, a president with years of experience in both the financial sector and academia, has clear expertise to contribute. We hope to hear his thoughts on these and other pressing issues facing the College this weekend. 

The Inauguration is more than just pomp and circumstance. It is a chance for the College to come together to reaffirm our commitment to the liberal arts and focus on the work that Bowdoin needs to do under President Rose’s leadership.

This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of John Branch, Sam Chase, Matthew Gutschenritter, Emma Peters and Nicole Wetsman.