After a total of 14 years at Bowdoin College, alumnus and Associate Dean of Multicultural Students Wil Smith will be leaving his position to assume the role of Dean of Community Life and Multicultural Affairs at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass.

Smith will begin in his position at the start of the new academic year, and said he is ready and excited for the opportunity.

"It is an opportunity to take all that I've learned here [at Bowdoin] a student and a professional, to a different place to take on a leadership role."

"It's going to be a great opportunity, professionally, for him," said Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster, who was Smith's first year dean.

Smith said the position at the Berkshire School will entail "being the leader, shaping residential life and student activities."

Smith said the move will also positively affect his daughter, and he said he is looking forward "her growth in a first class educational environment".

As for plans to fill Smith's current position, Foster said the process will start with a national search.

"We're just getting started with it now," said Foster. "We'll do a national search...and hopefully hire an outstanding person."

According to Foster, the plan is to first post the job, then conduct phone interviews and finally, bring a small group of finalists to campus by early June. Foster said that he intends for the process to include students, faculty and staff.

Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs Margaret Hazlett, who is currently working on the job description for the posting, said that the person hired for the position would probably begin working at the College in early July.

"I think from the searches we've been running we'll have and outstanding choice of candidates," said Foster.

Although the College is optimistic about plans to replace Smith and is excited about his new opportunities, many, including Foster, will miss his presence on campus.

"Wil and I started at Bowdoin on almost the same day together," said Foster, who began working at Bowdoin 14 years ago when Smith was a first year student.

Smith's influence on the Bowdoin campus has been felt all during his "three tours of duty," said Foster.

Foster said Smith, who began his undergraduate studies while in his mid-20s with a daughter, was a "non-traditional student" who was an extremely "active student leader" and "a very involved student on campus."

After graduation, Smith was immediately hired as the Director of Multicultural Student Programs.

As Foster put it, the College "hired Wil right off."

In 2003, though, Smith decided to leave Bowdoin and pursue his law degree at the University Maine School of Law. But, it did not take long for him to return to Bowdoin.

Foster said that Smith was asked to return to campus as the Associate Dean of Multicultural Student Programs before he even finished law school. Since doing so, Smith has been a positive influence on both the campus and the surrounding community, according to Foster.

"He's been a really vibrant member of the community beyond Bowdoin," Foster said.

Among his many service commitments, Smith has coached high school basketball at Catherine McAuley High School in Portland, continues to coach a sixth grade boys' basketball team, is a member of the Navy Reserves, and is a director of Seeds of Peace, a program that brings Israeli and Palestinian youth together to design and approach conflict solutions.

While he manages many commitments outside of Bowdoin, much of the campus still knows Smith for his strong devotion to the College and its students.

"The thing that has been most important, from my perspective, is that Wil is really focused on the transition of students into this place," said Foster, who added that Smith's work with students, especially those from historically under-represented groups, has been "really important".

For example, Hazlett said Smith has been very involved in the newly formed Muslim Student Association this year.

"He connects. He's such a great listener and has a terrific sense of humor," said Hazlett.

Smith said that watching diversity on campus increase made him feel alright about leaving.

"I feel like I wouldn't be leaving Bowdoin if I felt it wasn't in a good place."

"I'm really excited [for Smith]," said Foster, "but sad to see him leave."

"The timing is right for him...[it is] a perfect growth opportunity," said Hazlett.

"Change in itself is exciting," said Smith.

When asked what he will miss the most, he said, "Of course the people. It's what makes Bowdoin such a special place—the students, all of my colleagues. I will miss Pat in the dining hall."