On Monday, Bowdoin announced that Clayton S. Rose, a professor at the Harvard Business School, will be the College’s 15th President. Admittedly, Rose is not the most exciting or novel candidate, but that in no way means that he is not the best fit to lead the College. The dedicated members of the search committee spent countless hours evaluating candidates and we are confident that he is exceptionally qualified for the position. There is no sense in passing judgment on President-elect Rose’s ability to lead the College before his work has begun. While some may have initial reservations about Rose, we have every reason to be optimistic. 

While it is fruitless to scrutinize Rose before he takes office, it can be valuable to ask how his unique characteristics can help the College at this moment in its history. His tenure as chief operating officer of J.P. Morgan and his management expertise indicate he has the leadership skills the College will need. That he did research on race in corporate settings after transitioning to academia shows a commitment to addressing issues of diversity not unlike those that affect Bowdoin on a daily basis. Too often, the values of corporate America and the liberal arts seem in conflict with one another, but Rose’s résumé proves he can reconcile the two. His contributions to both areas can serve as a model for students looking to achieve business success without sacrificing a committment to the common good. 

When President Barry Mills announced his plan to retire, the Orient’s editorial board wrote, “An outsider will be able to evaluate campus culture without the bias toward the status quo that comes with having been a part of it; he or she will also have a fresh start with Bowdoin’s various interest groups—the students, the faculty, the staff, and the Brunswick community.” President-elect Rose’s position as an outsider will allow him to recognize the College’s strengths and also identify where it has room to improve. Rose has a clean slate with Bowdoin’s interest groups, which gives him an opportunity to forge new relationships between the administration and the student community. 

His experience makes him particularly well-suited to address several important areas of concern for the College. Increasing Bowdoin’s accessibility and diversity by growing the endowment and prioritizing financial aid was one of Mills’ strengths and should be a top priority for the president-elect. Rose must also continue to modernize the College’s curriculum while still maintaining its liberal arts identity. While addressing these issues and the others that will arise, we hope that Rose will be willing and eager to engage with students, faculty and alumni. Collaboration will be key to making Rose—a newcomer to the environment of a small liberal arts college—successful in his new role.  

Leadership changes in an institution like Bowdoin are an important time for reflection, not a time for quick criticisms. As our seventh president, William DeWitt Hyde, wrote in the Offer of the College, part of Bowdoin’s mission is, “To gain a standard for the appreciation of others’ work and the criticism of your own.” The Bowdoin community should receive Rose’s unique knowledge base with optimism and be ready to work toward preserving what we love about Bowdoin and changing what we do not.

This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Garrett Casey, Ron Cervantes, Sam Chase, Matthew Gutschenritter, Nicole Wetsman and Kate Witteman.