Dean of Student Affairs Craig Bradley spent the second week of Spring Break in Paris, where he and his family selected the school that his daughters will attend in the fall. Bradley, his wife Elizabeth, and his daughters, Anna and Laura, will be moving to France this summer when Bradley joins the Aga Khan Development Network, a career move that requires he step down as dean of student affairs at the end of the academic year.
"I hadn't been seeking to leave Bowdoin," Bradley said. "I've had overtures [to leave Bowdoin] over the past few years, but I've never really had any serious interest in doing that since this is my home, professionally and personally."
"That's the thing about a choice?there are trade-offs. The trade-off to leaving is making a contribution to this effort that is so compelling. I think I can make a contribution there and I'm drawn to do that," he said.
The Aga Khan Development Network is an organization that, under the direction of its spiritual leader, the Aga Khan, dedicates its efforts to serve others by providing education on a global scale. The network operates more than 300 schools in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Tajikistan in areas where education was once non-existent. The first of these schools was created over 100 years ago in Zanzibar.
"Their faith calls them to serve the poorest and most in need and their tradition is to build schools and libraries and places of learning," Bradley said.
Bradley consulted with the Aga Khan Development Network for a number of years before the opportunity to work full-time with the organization was presented to him in January.
Come July, Bradley will be working on the Aga Khan Development Network's new initiative to create K-12 academies that will educate students using the international standard IB curriculum to prepare them for higher education. The academies will be need-blind, partially residential, and wireless, even in countries like Uganda where only eight percent of the population has electricity, according to Bradley. The organization has already opened one such academy Mombasa, Kenya.
"Today, there are some opportunities, but there aren't many opportunities that will prepare [students] for places like Bowdoin. In addition to just giving people access to education, they look to create world-class international schools and the highest quality of education you can get," he said.
"Given the nature of the Aga Khan academy, this is a potential to serve the common good in a bigger way," Bradley said.
The search for Bradley?s replacement began within one week of the announcement of his decision to leave, according to Assistant to the President Scott Meiklejohn. The search committee, chaired by President Barry Mills, has already started reviewing applications.
Bradley leaves behind a multi-faceted legacy at Bowdoin. When he arrived in the summer of 1996, he immediately began work on the Commission on Residential Life, the committee that eventually proposed the idea of the College House System.
According to Bradley, when he first arrived at Bowdoin, there was data from the recent re-accredidation process suggesting an alarmingly low sense of community at Bowdoin. In fact, only 29 percent of students indicated satisfaction with community at the College.
When the same question on sense of community was posed to the student body again last spring, some 85 percent of students reported satisfaction.
"That's my legacy," Bradley said.
Director of Residential Life Kim Pacelli was one of three student representatives on the commission who worked alongside the new dean of student affairs to solve the problems posed by the Greek System at Bowdoin.
"Craig was incredibly respectful of Bowdoin's history," Pacelli said. "He listened closely to the experiences that many different Bowdoin students were having and thought critically about the role of fraternities at Bowdoin."
As advisor to the Judicial Board (J-Board), Bradley has also overseen the transition of the J-Board to a widely respected institution of the College.
"In terms of the J-Board, he oversaw instituting policies that were clear and fair and humane," Associate Professor of English Ann Kibbie said.
Associate Professor of Government and Asian Studies Henry Laurence, who works alongside Bradley training the new members of the J-Board, agreed.
"It's developed into an institution that takes academic standards of integrity very seriously," he said. "His handling of some of the really ugly Judicial Board cases that became lawsuits has just been exemplary."
Bradley also leaves behind an office of staff members who have worked together as a team for years.
"One aspect of his legacy is having built a really strong office and staff there. It's clear he's someone who can build a strong team, and which Craig at the helm of that, I've really relied on him," Kibbie said.
"He's built a team of people with his values of honesty, integrity, and humanness," Laurence said.
According to Laurence, Bradley saw the successful transition of the College from a typical university fraternity scene to an impressive and diverse institution.
"We've had a colossal change in the make-up of the College that Craig's really had to shepherd. The Bowdoin he leaves is a very different one than the Bowdoin he arrived at," Laurence said.
Associate Professor of English Peter Coviello agreed.
"His legacy will be having built up an institution where residential life is rigorous, thoughtful, intelligent, careful, and strong, in ways that really outshine other places I've been," he said.
In a campus-wide email sent March 3, President Barry Mills praised Bradley for his dedication to building a more diverse community during his 10 years at the College.
"An exceptional partner to me, our faculty, and our admissions staff in building a more diverse student body and a pluralistic college community, Craig and his staff have also done the essential work of helping our students succeed and thrive here," Mills wrote.
Faculty members have also commended Bradley for the receptiveness with which he tackled even the most difficult of problems brought before him.
"He's been wonderfully responsive to all sorts of problems I've brought to him," Coviello said. "I cannot say enough about the thoughtfulness with which he approaches the everyday problems," he said.
"All of these kinds of nasty problems?Craig takes them all on himself," Laurence agreed, mentioning the vast spectrum of concerns, from cheating to violence to vandalism to drug use, that the dean of student affairs has to deal with. "He handles all of that stuff in an incredibly responsible way, and he keeps an incredibly good humor about the whole thing."
Although the Bowdoin community is disappointed to see Bradley leave, students and staff understand that to work for the Aga Khan Development Network is a great opportunity.
"I think it's a wonderful use of his talents," Laurence said. "It's part of who Craig is?someone who wants to make a positive difference."
"We find great people, and they get even greater while they are here, and then they go off and do great things," Bowdoin Student Government President DeRay Mckesson '07 said. "And it's sad to lose them."
Bradley and his family will keep their home in Brunswick. His wife and daughters plan to return to Maine for entire summers, while Bradley plans to visit for at least a few weeks. During the year, the family will look to rent their home to visiting faculty or students.
"I've always felt from the first day I came here it was just the right place for us," Bradley said. "While this is a new chapter, I don't feel I am severing the ties to this place."
He concluded, "My 11 year old has declared that this is where she's going to go to college, now that she can't finish her childhood in Brunswick, and I couldn't be prouder."