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Assistant Class Dean Michael Wood prepares to finish the year in Dean Quinby’s role

February 23, 2024

Senior Associate Dean of Students Melissa Quinby ’91 is set to retire at the end of March. Though her position has not been permanently filled yet, Assistant Class Dean Michael Wood ’06 will be serving as the dean for first-years for the remainder of the academic year.

Wood has a long history with the College, from serving as a first-year proctor as a student to working after graduation in first-year programming beginning in 2012. In 2015, he was promoted to Assistant Dean of First-Year Students. He has been away from Bowdoin for the past eight years, but with many experiences in similar roles, he feels well-equipped to help new students adapt to campus.

“I’ve long had that kind of drive and desire to be the person who welcomes you, and helps you get adjusted and become oriented to understand the place that you’re in,” Woodsaid. “I have enjoyed that opportunity, and first-years are a lot of fun to get to know because they’re bringing all their newness to campus.”

Wood noted that his current role will encompass many different responsibilities, especially with the recent development of many administrative changes including Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs Janet Lohmann’s retirement at the end of July.

“Right now, I’m in some ways helping out in a jack-of-all-trades type of role. I’m learning,” Wood said. “I was working with [Associate Dean Khoa] Khuong [Wednesday] night to support the international students, working with…Quinby supporting first years, and then working on orientation…I think for the time being, my willingness and excitement to stay flexible in the role is something that I enjoy.”

For the past eight years, Wood has pursued an entirely separate career in the performing arts. He had been living in Washington, D.C. and acting full-time, when he found himself searching for a greater sense of community.

“Bowdoin has been a great source of community for me over the years in lots of different ways,” Wood said. “So for me, [it’s about] having the chance to really be a part of a community, getting to use a host of skills that I have that don’t necessarily show up in this other career path of performing arts.”

Though he is leaving Washington, D.C. behind, Wood says that the performing arts will always be a part of him. During his first stint in the Office of the Dean of Students, Wood collaborated with theater faculty at the College to teach workshops and hopes to join a professional panel of performing artists and alumni to speak with current students about the career path soon.

“These opportunities are really exciting to me. And I’ve danced with the dance department as a staff member before, in the spring performance, which is not a function of my job, but the fact that I’m on staff here means that I sometimes get those opportunities to blend these two parts of myself,” Wood said. “I find that in this community of Bowdoin and Maine that I can have a really beautiful balance and blend of a lot of the meaningful parts of my life.”

Wood also spoke on changes he is looking forward to, particularly in regards to new student orientation. Additionally, Wood is looking to broaden the orientation trip options for future students.

“I think we’re heading into a time of opportunity to think of what’s really important in our orientation process here,” Wood said.

As Wood looks to what’s next, Quinby reflected on her time at the College and reiterated her gratitude for the time she has spent with the community.

“I have had several roles during my time at the College and each one was rewarding in unique ways,” Quinby wrote in an email to the Orient. “The common thread throughout my time at Bowdoin has been the joy and satisfaction of working so closely with students. It’s what I will miss the most.”

Wood expressed his admiration for Quinby and the lessons he has learned from her in their time together.

“She’s just been a real, great resource to me in getting used to things and helping me really have a good perspective,” Wood said. “The last month has been really, really lovely and she has welcomed me back with open arms as she heads out into whatever her next adventure is.”


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