The second meeting of the Board of Trustees this academic year will be held in Palo Alto, California beginning next Thursday. It is the first time the meeting will be held outside of the Northeast.
“We wanted to engage with the culture of the ‘new economy’—not that new anymore—the culture of technology and innovation and entrepreneurship,” said President Clayton Rose.
“The idea of taking the Board out there is not to come back with a list of two or three specific things that we think we’re going to do immediately, but rather to allow the Board to soak in some of what’s going on out there to help inform it in some of the work that it’s going to do in the medium to long term,” said Rose.
The Board will be using Stanford University’s facilities and has made arrangements to visit Apple thanks to Philip Schiller P’17, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing. Schiller and his wife Kim Gassett-Schiller announced a $10 million donation to upgrade the Coastal Studies Center in September.
During the weekend of committee meetings, the Board will consider a number of topics, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, online education, ‘design thinking,’—a bottom-up approach to problem solving which has been promoted by Stanford’s ‘d.school’—and the use of space as it relates to creativity and collaboration.
Rose also said they would consider Silicon Valley’s culture.
“The good and the bad out there, and there are both,” he said.
Bowdoin has leaned on its significant network of alumni, trustees and parents in Silicon Valley to set the agenda, according to Rose. In the past two weeks, Kenneth Chenault ’73 H’96 joined the boards of Facebook and Airbnb.
The Board has held offsite meetings with some regularity since 2001, but they have always been held in Boston.
Along with the College’s 42 trustees and Rose, who is also president of the Board, Bowdoin Student Government President Irfan Alam ’18 and Vice President for Student Government Affairs Ben Painter ’19 will be in attendance.