For some, relocating to Maine and immediately immersing oneself into the heart of a small college while also starting a new career might be daunting. For Julianne Rose, it was yet another exciting shift in a life full of them.

Rose, who is married to President Clayton Rose, has quickly become enamored with her new home.

“It’s been fabulous. This is such a warm and welcoming community,” said Rose in an interview with the Orient. “Everyone here—the students, the staff, the faculty—has made the two of us feel so welcome. So the transition has been remarkably easy. Moving to an entirely new place and starting a whole new life here has been really pretty seamless. I attribute that to the community and the way everyone’s made us feel.”

It was exactly what the Roses expected at Bowdoin College, a place about which they had heard many great things.

“When Clayton was offered that job, we had talked to a lot of people about Bowdoin and knew a lot of people [in Maine], and the decision was just so easy,” said Rose.

“The day Clayton’s appointment was announced publicly, we came up here and there was an assembly at Smith Union to announce it,” she said. “I just thought it was wonderful to meet everybody. But the number of people who were coming up to me, I was really overwhelmed with how wonderful that was. I thought ‘This is going to be great.’”

When President Rose took office at the College on July 1 of last year, it marked a big day for the Rose family in more ways than one; it was also the opening of Julianne’s women’s accessory store, J.Rose, in Wells, Maine.

“About two years ago, I seriously started to think about it,” Rose said of opening her own store. “My business is women’s accessories. I thought combining the aesthetic part of it, which I enjoy, with the business part, which is my background, could be really cool. I thought, ‘If not now, when?’ So I just decided to take the plunge.”

For Rose, setting up the store—which is open seven days a week in the summer and two in the offseason—was both thrilling and arduous. 

“I went through doing my business plan, setting up my LLC and all that kind of stuff, doing the buying, figuring out inventory levels, and it was so much fun. A lot of work but so much fun."

While developing a retail space was a new experience for Rose, working in business was not. She received an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago (where she met Clayton) and worked on Wall Street for several years thereafter.

It was not always her plan to go into business, however. She graduated magna cum laude from Boston College in 1977 with an undergraduate degree in biology, and her first job out of college was as a lab technician.

"I was fortunate enough to get a job with the University of Pennsylvania at the medical school there working with a doctor who was doing research on leukemia, and I worked there for two years,” she said. "I loved working there for the reason that I found out what I didn’t want to do, which was work in a lab.”

Not entirely satisfied with the work she was doing, Rose began taking business classes at Penn’s Wharton School. It didn’t take long from there for her to realize that business school ought to be her next step.

"I had a strong math background,” she said. "It was the appeal of the quantitative side of it, and the University of Chicago is known for being a more quantitative school, so that was a natural fit for me. Transitioning into that was kind of a no-brainer.”

In 1981, both she and Clayton moved to New York to work as bankers on Wall Street. Julianne used both her biology and business educations, working in healthcare finance at Chemical Bank and Citibank. In 1985, they uprooted to London when Clayton took a position there with J.P. Morgan. They lived there for three years, and both of their sons, Garett and Jordan, were born there.

When they returned to the States, they settled in Essex Falls, N.J., where Julianne began a 12-year career in public service. She spent six years on the town’s school board and six more on its town council.

"They’re dealing with how to provide the best education to the children using limited financial resources,” she said of her work on the school board. "I hate to cut it down to that, but that’s so much of what you’re trying to do. You’re working with all sorts of constituents, with teachers and parents.”

When the Roses moved to Brookline, Mass. in 2008 and Clayton began teaching at Harvard Business School, Julianne was recruited for her experience in education to be on the town’s education foundation. Her skills will be similarly welcomed on campus at Bowdoin once she’s decided how she’d best like to use them.

"I certainly have gotten to know Bowdoin better, but as far as what my role will be? I don’t know yet. I really want to give that a little more time,” she said.