Faculty surprised President Barry Mills at the faculty meeting on Monday by announcing the endowment of a new scholarship in honor of him and his wife Karen Mills and the commitment they have made to need-blind financial aid at the College. 

The scholarship, funded by donations from over 175 current and former faculty members and an anonymous alumni donor who contributed $30,000, is endowed in the amount of $100,000. Starting in 2015, one student each year will receive the “Bowdoin Faculty Scholarship in honor of Barry and Karen Mills” and will obtain roughly $5,000 as part of his or her financial aid package. 

Mills, who received a standing ovation after the scholarship was revealed, said he was “completely caught off guard,” by the gesture.

“I’m still sort of walking around in suspended disbelief,” Mills said. “This doesn’t happen very often that a college president sees this kind of recognition from faculty and I really admire these people. It’s really pretty cool... The fact that they chose to honor us in supporting financial aid and our commitment to students and families is incredibly impressive.”

On Monday, professor of physics and astronomy and Chair of the Committee on Governance and Faculty Affairs (GFA) Thomas Baumgarte presented Mills with a wrapped certificate that read, “The Bowdoin Faculty Scholarship in honor of Barry and Karen Mills presented to Barry and Karen Mills on behalf of the faculty with gratitude for their service to the College.”

Baumgarte said the committee and faculty wanted to give Mills a gift before he left, and after multiple conversations, the committee decided on endowing a scholarship.

Fundraising began at the start of the fall semester. 

“The [faculty] worked together through the fall semester to raise the money to do what they needed to do to endow it and kept it all a secret,” said Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd. “It expresses the faculty’s shared commitment to need-blind financial aid. It expresses the gratitude for Barry’s commitment to financial aid and what he has done for the College.” 

Baumgarte said that the idea was well received by faculty and that it was easy to convince faculty to participate and donate to get the scholarship endowed.

“We think that financial aid, student support and accessibility to the College are the issues that he feels most passionately about, and we would like to honor and celebrate that engagement and commitment of his,” said Baumgarte. 

Mills was particularly glad that the scholarship was named in honor of both him and his wife. 
“The idea that they recognize the real important contributions she’s made to the College over the years means a lot to the both of us,” he said. “It’s an incredible statement by our faculty.”