Since arriving in Brunswick over two decades ago, Bill Torrey has traveled the world over raising money for Bowdoin. As the College's chief development officer, it's not unusual for him to be in London one week and Los Angeles the next. Yet his days of tracking down alumni are numbered, as Torrey, senior vice president for planning and development, will step down from the post this coming June.
In an email sent to trustees and employees of the College, Torrey said that he had decided, reluctantly, to pursue new professional goals.
"I have to admit a personal need—after nearly a quarter-century and at this stage in my life and career—to look at other things that I might do," he wrote. Torrey noted he will remain on campus for an additional year as secretary of the College, a position he also currently holds, allowing time to figure out what comes next.
During his tenure at the College, Torrey directed two 5-year-long capital campaigns, one in the 1990s and the other in the 2000s. Though the final year of the most recent campaign coincided with the financial crisis of 2008, Torrey's office managed to surpass the campaign's $250 million goal by $43 million. He also played a pivotal role in the planning and financing of many signature buildings on campus, such as the Sidney J. Watson Arena and the Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness.
As the conduit through which alumni revealed their pride in or frustration with Bowdoin—by donating money in the former case or withholding it in the latter—Torrey developed a nuanced understanding of the forces which shape students' experiences for better or worse.
He harnessed this expertise as a member of The Commission on Residential Life, the committee which proposed the plan to abolish the fraternities and establish the College House System in 1997. While proud of his formidable fundraising record, Torrey said that designing a new model for residential life and witnessing how the community benefited from it was the most satisfying task of his tenure in Brunswick.
Following the announcement, President Barry Mills said a search committee would be convened to locate Torrey's successor.