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Asbury ’03 and Garcia-Moreno ’81 to spearhead Presidential search

May 6, 2022

Chayma Charifi

Following President Rose’s announced resignation, the College is in the market for a new President. Chair of the Bowdoin Board of Trustees Robert White ’77 P’15 appointed two trustees, Sydney Asbury ’03 and Bertrand Garcia-Moreno ’81 P’17, to co-chair a presidential search committee with the hope of finding a new President that aligns with Bowdoin’s institutional goals.

“Everyone has a sense of urgency around [finding a new President] because it’s very important that we get to work sooner rather than later,” Asbury said. “It’s going to take a remarkable leader to step into the role of President of Bowdoin College.”

The pair hope to form the presidential search committee by mid-May. The committee will be comprised of students, faculty and non-trustee alumni that Asbury hopes will reflect the varied interests of the College community. All groups have to be nominated by their peers, including students, who must be nominated by Bowdoin Student Government.

“I actually served as the alumni non-trustee representative on the last search committee [that nominated] President Clayton Rose,” Asbury said. “I think everyone is interested in and excited about what this next chapter looks like for Bowdoin.”

The committee will work to produce a presidential profile, which will detail the characteristics and values that the committee believes are paramount to the selection of the next president. The process is still in development, but the two hope to appoint a new president by June of 2023.

Both co-chairs have accomplished careers beyond Bowdoin. Garcia-Moreno is currently the Vice Dean for Natural Sciences at Johns Hopkins University and served as chair of the Department of Biophysics for thirteen years. In addition to teaching and conducting research on biothermodynamics and proteins, Garcia-Moreno is deeply involved in revitalizing undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins.

“My views about the extraordinary opportunities ahead for Bowdoin are shaped by my 30 years on the faculty at Johns Hopkins,” Garcia-Moreno wrote in an email to the Orient. “[My work] has made me acutely aware of the challenges and opportunities in higher ed for the decade ahead.”

Asbury echoed Garcia-Moreno’s sentiment, believing that her time at Bowdoin will fundamentally influence the qualities she looks for in a president. After being inspired by A. Myrick Freeman Professor of Social Sciences Nancy Riley during her time at the College, Asbury chose to pursue a career in politics following her graduation. During her career, she worked as the deputy chief of staff and campaign manager for Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts.

“I had an amazing time at Bowdoin [and] I also had the privilege of being at Bowdoin with two presidents,” Asbury said. “I saw how different individuals [can] impact the community and what characteristics are important in those leaders as we move forward.”

President Rose’s departure from the College comes during a wave of resignations within higher education. Many liberal arts colleges across the nation—including the College’s fellow NESCAC member, Amherst College—have been actively searching for their own presidents. Andrew Nussbaum, chair of Amherst’s board of trustees and presidential search committee, believes that it is important for members of the search committee to listen to the community.

“I think it’s a combination of having a committee that is diverse in all the meanings of that word,” Nussbaum said. “[The search committee provides] an opportunity to reflect and gather and assess and get input from, from the whole community … we were very glad to have done that.”

Both Asbury and Garcia-Moreno feel immense honor in having the responsibility of selecting the next President of the College.

“I’ve led a charmed life in no small part thanks to my Bowdoin experience,” Garcia-Moreno wrote. “Working as a trustee for the College is an extraordinarily rewarding way to give back, to put my appreciation to work for the College in a meaningful way.”


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