President Barry Mills announced on Monday that he plans to step down at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year. Mills has been president since 2001.
“Transitions are inevitable, and after what will be 14 tremendous years as president, I believe it is time for me to make way for new leadership to propel Bowdoin into its next period of greatness,” Mills wrote in an email to campus.
In an interview with the Orient, Mills said that he came to the decision in March. He notified the Board of Trustees of his decision on Monday morning, followed by an email to the campus.
In 2011, Mills told the Orient that he would stay at the College for at least five more years, making his departure in 2015 a year earlier than expected.
Mills graduated from Bowdoin in 1972 with a double major in Government and Biochemistry. He holds a Ph.D in Biology from Syracuse University and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law. He was a partner at the New York-based law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP before assuming his position at Bowdoin.
He has been popular among students, with approval ratings in Orient surveys consistently above 90 percent.
“Barry’s been a really remarkable leader for this place,” said Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster. “I don’t think I know anyone who has such passion for Bowdoin. You take his strategic mind and his relentless drive and his high aspirations for this place, and it’s quite extraordinary to see what’s been accomplished.”
Mills has also proven an effective fundraiser, helping to grow the endowment from $433.2 million in his first year in office to $1.03 billion in 2013. The amout of money the College puts toward financial aid has more than doubled during his tenure—from $14.6 million (unadjusted for inflation) in 2001 to $32.3 million in 2013.
Mills is currently the second longest serving president in the NESCAC. Colby’s William D. Adams has been in office since 2000, but plans to retire at the end of this year. Mills’ tenure is the longest for a Bowdoin president since James Coles, who was in office from 1952 to 1967. Overall, Mills’s length of tenure will rank sixth-longest of 14 Bowdoin presidents.
Few members of the Bowdoin community knew of Mills’ plans before Monday.
“Everyone knew this day would come, but it was a surprise,” said Foster.
Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Katy Longley said she “was hoping it wouldn’t be this soon.”
Mills said the timing of his announcement was meant to give the Board of Trustees enough time to start thinking about the transition in time for its annual meeting in May. The Board now has 14 months to find a successor and prepare for the transition.
Chair of the Board of Trustees Deborah Barker said that the committee is going to revisit Bowdoin’s mission, and think about where the College is currently headed, and then draft a job opening based on these considerations.
“A president needs to be everything,” she said. “He needs to be a chief executive—or she does—a politician, a leader and a fundraiser.”
Barker said that the Trustees hope to approve a search committee at their meeting on May 7 and 8.
“That’s the most important responsibility the Trustees have,” Foster said. “We have a stellar board, and they’ll get it right.”
Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) President Sarah Nelson ’14 sent an email to rising juniors and seniors Wednesday night inviting them to apply to represent the student body on the search committee. According to Barker, the board has reached out to all constituent groups—students, faculty, and alumni—to find potential committee members.
Mills said he does not plan on being involved in the search process.
“It’s not wise for a person to be involved in choosing their successor, so it will be up to that committee and the trustees to find a new president,” he said.
He cited the College’s stability as the main reason for his decision to depart a year earlier than he had planned.
“It’s not a lot earlier,” he said. “I recognize I’ve been here a long time. Fourteen years is a long time to be a college president, and the transition is going to be somewhat challenging for the school. My own view is that it’s important to allow a place to go through a challenging point when it’s in an incredibly good position.”
Mills also emphasized the importance of a president’s commitment to a long tenure.“It’s an incredibly good time for the College,” he said. “It deserves a new leader who is going to have a run rate of 10 to 15 years.”
For now, Mills said he is focusing on his remaining time at Bowdoin.
“Lots of people have asked me to reflect on the past, and I’m actually not interested in reflecting on the past right now. I’m interested in thinking about the future,” he said.
He listed fundraising for the College’s financial aid endowment, supporting the Digital and Computational Studies program, and promoting the Coastal Studies Center as top priorities for his remaining time at Bowdoin.
As for his plans after Bowdoin, Mills said that his decision to step down should not be interpreted as a retirement—though he does not plan to practice law again.
“I don’t want to retire,” he said. “I have a lot more years ahead of me where I think I can be incredibly effective and energetic and successful. And so I’m open to all kinds of opportunities.”News Analysis
President Mills’ Monday morning announcement came relatively abruptly, but it was a coordinated effort. Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs Scott Hood said he learned of Mills’ plans in a “number of conversations over the weekend.”
“The first order of business once he had made his decision was to tell his bosses—the Board of Trustees,” said Hood.
After informing senior staff members of the decision individually, Mills placed a conference call to the trustees at 11 a.m.
An email announcement to staff, students and faculty came half an hour later, followed by an email from Debbie Barker ’80, chair of the Board of Trustees. Hood said that both of those emails were written over the weekend, and were not edited by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs beyond simple copy-editing.
After Mills’ email, Hood said, his office “took over with getting the word out.” The Bowdoin Daily Sun quickly posted online and promoted it on the College’s social media channels. The article was also sent in an email to alumni, parents, and the widows of alumni.
“The biggest challenge is making sure that things happen fast enough, so that you’re not leaving people out, so that they’re not hearing it in ways other than what we would prefer, which is from the College,” said Hood. “It was all done in 40 minutes.”
“Bowdoin students are very technologically savvy,” he added. “We knew that as soon as that email went out, it’d be out on Twitter. And it was.”
Mills himself was also involved in the social media blitz, posting a photo taken during the conference call to his personal Instagram account after the call ended.
“This was all Barry,” Hood said. “We’re sitting there, the phone call’s going on, and he hands his phone to one of the senior officers and says, ‘Take a picture!’”
Snapshot: 9/11 flag tribute
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Architect imagines campus of the future
The recent renovation of the first-year brick entrances is just the first step toward a broader redesign of the entire College. The creation of a new entrance to Moulton Union and renovations to the Longfellow School are next on the agenda. Facilities Management will work with private architectural firms to develop the renovation. Stephen Stimson is one architect working with the College to design these renovations, who made several recommendations for improvement to campus.
District 66 candidates speak at Quinby House
Last night the three candidates running for the District 66 seat in the Maine House of Representatives spoke at a forum held in Quinby House. Democrat Matthea “Mattie” Daughtry, Republican Grant Connors and Fred Horch of the Green Party are vying to represent the district, which comprises most of the College.
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The College is cracking down on vandalism this year, implementing stricter disciplinary sanctions for alcohol-related property damage. The change comes after nearly 80 percent of Bowdoin students responded that the College should respond to alcohol-related property damage with stricter disciplinary sanctions in last spring’s alcohol survey.
Anonymous online forum seeks to broaden debate
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Security warns campus of two local men
Just weeks into the new semester, the Office of Safety and Security has already sent two alerts warning the community about suspicious individuals.
Mills reminds entrepreneurs: education should be priority
In his convocation address, President Barry Mills urged student entrepreneurs to prioritize a College education over their own projects, a remark that caught the attention of Bowdoin entrepreneurs on campus and those taking time away from school.
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Students, faculty and alumni to participate in annual Common Good Day
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Obituary: Remembering Leslie Shaw, professor of anthropology
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“Leslie quietly set a high bar for service, excellence and collegiality, qualities that we each hope to achieve with some measure of grace but which she embraced with seeming ease,” Christle Collins Judd, dean for academic affairs, wrote in an email to the Orient.
Shaw demonstrated a clear passion for her work that was evident to students and colleagues alike. Professor Susan Kaplan, chair of the sociology and anthropology departments, said Shaw brought quiet, but palpable energy to the departments.“She’d come into a room and she’d be a powerful presence,” Kaplan said. “Very quietly, not grandstanding.”
- September 7
New system to change College House affiliation
On Wednesday, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster announced that the current system of affiliation between first-year bricks and College Houses will come to an end next fall, when each College House will instead be affiliated with floors from various first year bricks.
Editorial: Floor by floor
Bowdoin’s plan to change chem-free living will dramatically alter College House affiliations, but we should support its efforts to diversify the first-year experience.
Next fall will mark the start of a two-year trial program that will re-imagine first-year-College House affiliation. Each house will be affiliated with four or five floors from different bricks. Howell will remain a chem-free College House and will be affiliated with floating chem-free floors.
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First years should discover legitimacy of stereotypes for themselves
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After Troy Davis, students should continue fight against death penalty
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- September 7
Editorial: The Offer of Bowdoin.edu
Anyone who wants anything has a choice: build or buy. Do it yourself, or have someone do it for you. In the field of web development, the choice can be particularly difficult. This week, the College and the Orient are launching new websites. Independently, we have both chosen to build.
- September 7
Romney’s campaign to court female voters is all about making appearances
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- September 7
J-Board breaches honor and social codes
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- September 6
Half-Assed: Bookending Bowdoin: first years and seniors reign on campus
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- August 27
Editorial: A message to the Class of 2016
Orientation is dizzying and overwhelming—the days are long and laden with programming, you encounter a wide variety of people and remember very few names, and you travel constantly with your floor. It's a marathon meet-and-greet that will make the first few days of classes seem simple in comparison.
- May 4
Editorial: Staring at the Sun
The Bowdoin Daily Sun’s trivial posts reflect poorly on the College
On Tuesday, the Bowdoin Daily Sun posted an article lauding three Bowdoin students who secured internships at Goldman Sachs this summer. On Wednesday, the post was deleted from the site after drawing criticism for distastefully trumpeting the well-known fact that Bowdoin students often land prestigious internships, glorifying the financial industry, and neglecting to acknowledge two other students also interning at the bank.
King’s former students describe him as a measured statesman
When Roy Atkinson, a graduate student at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, heard that Angus King was running for the Senate, he got in his car and drove roughly 900 miles to Brunswick.
Talk of the Quad: Hot Dam: the river gets a makeover
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From bankrolling to lobster rolls: Luke’s Lobster ships Maine to NYC
When Luke Holden opened the first location of Luke’s Lobster in Manhattan’s East Village in 2009, he was still employed full-time at Cohen & Steers investment bank. The company has steadily expanded over the past few years and Luke said his immediate goals are to reach Boston and Philadelphia. The long-term plan is to see Luke’s outposts in San Francisco, Chicago, and L.A.
Talk of the Quad: Late for the Race
On Saturday morning, I decided to go for a short run before meeting a friend for brunch. I started off crossing Park Row towards Maine Street. Before I knew it, I was being stopped at the crosswalk at the end of Page Street.
Robbie Deveny ’13 works for catering company in Aspen, meets world’s VIPs
It is an honor to score an invite to the Aspen Ideas Festival, where participants like Katie Couric and retired U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal gather in the Colorado mountains for a week of debate on issues ranging from democracy to the societal roles of professional athletes.
Trip report: A bioluminescent midnight hike with the BOC
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Samantha Garvey ’16 gets shout-out from Obama at DNC
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- September 7
Record harvest means Maine lobstermen get raw deal
Maine’s seafood celebrity, the lobster, made national headlines this summer when fishermen across the state brought in record hauls of the crustacean, leading to low market prices and frustration in the lobstering community.
- September 7
‘Conning Harvard’: New book on Adam Wheeler will hit shelves this month
After filing a Freedom of Information Act request, sifting through hundreds of documents, conducting countless interviews and even spending a night at Bowdoin, Zauzmer sheds new light on how Wheeler was able to game the system.
- September 7
Beer and boys: My first college party at Bowdoin
This brings me to the first lesson I learned about college parties: if you actually want to party, being cool and fashionably late is not always the way to go.
Arts & Entertainment
Snapshot: Dog Days are Over
Benh Zeitlin’s ‘Beasts’ is magical, but lacks coherence
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Maine Pro Musica performs, brings Classical to campus
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Pioneering photographer Day featured in exhibit
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Cover band Suck My NESCAC to perform at Epicuria
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- September 7
“Hello Nature” shows Wegman beyond Weimaraners
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With profs. on sabbatical, Racer X tradition on hold
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Boeding ’14 captures summer scenes
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- September 7
Women’s Rugby sets sights on Nationals
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- September 6
Alum turns from biology to New York art scene
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Women’s soccer undefeated after sweeping first three games
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Ex-investment banker Tim Ryan brings unique skills to leading the athletics department
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A talented baseball and football player who went to Wells High School in Maine, Ryan says he chose Bowdoin because it was “the best academic school that [he] could get into and continue to play one or both sports.”
After first week, Volleyball undefeated at 5-0
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In first scrimmage of the year, football loses star wide reciever
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Athlete of the Week: Melissa Haskell ’13
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Tennis teams start strong opening tournaments
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Field hockey starts season 2-0 on rookie and veteran efforts
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Men’s soccer rebounds, defeats Southern Maine 8-0
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Bowdoin will face the University of Maine–Farmington in a home match at noon this Saturday.
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Women’s rugby posts two shut-out victories in first tournament
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The Bowdoin women’s rugby team cleaned up at last weekend’s Beantown Rugby tournament at UMass-Amherst, beating Williams, Amherst and Smith Colleges with scores of 59-3, 12-0, and 19-0 respectively.
The Polar Bears are now two-time defending Beantown champions and have won six straight matches at the tournament since 2010.
- September 7
Former Athletic Director went beyond coaching for 14 years
As the Fall athletic season builds momentum, the Bowdoin community adjusts to the departure of Jeff Ward—Bowdoin’s athletic director since 1998—who announced in early June that he would not return this fall.