Following 16 months as Interim Dean of Admissions, Scott Meiklejohn finally unpacked the remaining boxes in his office when he heard on Sunday that he had been named Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid.
"It's been a great week for me," said Meiklejohn. "I'm really excited and looking forward to really settling in a little bit more."
Meiklejohn was named Interim Dean of Admissions when Former Dean of Admissions William Shain left the College in July of 2007, after a two-year stint.
A College search committee made up of students and faculty was established in partnership with the search firm of Isaacson, Miller to conduct a comprehensive national search to find a replacement for Shain.
"We particularly asked them to look long and hard for diverse candidates to ensure that we were really understanding who was out there and who we might bring to Bowdoin," said President Barry Mills.
While Issacson, Miller scoured the country, the search committee engaged in conversations around campus.
"Informally, I think [we] spoke pretty extensively around the campus to a wide variety of people to get their views about the future," said Mills.
After hearing the findings of Isaacson, Miller, the committee agreed that the best man for the job was the one already in charge.
"We were presented with opportunities by the search committee, and we decided that Scott was far and away the best choice that was available to us."
Before his appointment as interim dean of admissions, Meiklejohn worked as assistant to the president and vice president for institutional advancement.
Though Meiklejohn's former title indicated that he held a temporary position, he still strove to move the office ahead.
"I tried to say to the staff and the trustees that I was...the interim dean, but I wasn't interested in Bowdoin having an interim period," said Meiklejohn. "Even though the title was temporary...the work needed to keep going, and I think we have done that."
Mills expressed satisfaction with Meiklejohn's work over the course of his interim period.
"I've been very pleased with not only the excellent Class of 2013 that is now here, but also with the way that he's performed the entire job," he said.
Mills added that the responsibilities of the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid are multi-faceted, citing the components of representing the College, selecting the correct students, considering appropriate financial aid policies and recruiting a diverse student body, and interacting with athletic and academic departments.
In addition, the dean must also often be the bearer-of-bad-news, given Bowdoin's selective admissions process.
"Since we reject far more people than we accept at Bowdoin, that's essential to me that people feel that in the end....that even if they didn't agree with the decision and are disappointed, that they feel they've been dealt with fairly by the College," said Mills. "I really think that Scott in particular has worked well on that issue."
Meiklejohn added that he strives to handle Bowdoin's selectivity combined with the strong pool of applicants with consideration.
"Our job is bringing a great class to the College but also trying to handle delivering the bad news, hopefully in as kind and thoughtful a way as possible," he said.
Meikeljohn said he hopes, that in the future, more students will be able to discover and apply to Bowdoin, regardless of their background or financial need.
"There are a lot of people out there who should know about Bowdoin who don't—yet—and so whether that's people in communities far from Brunswick, where they don't know about liberal arts colleges generally, or really bright students who are in schools where their counseling isn't strong and the parents aren't highly educated, there are lots of bright students out there who would be great at Bowdoin, and a big part of our job is to ensure that they know about it," he said.
Mills added that a challenge does lie in making the College accessible, "not only financially but....qualitatively, to middle-class and poor folks who look at these places and wonder whether they are the places for them."
Meikeljohn, who has worked to make financial aid accessible in his previous job as a school headmaster as well as during his time at the College, said the issue is very close to his heart.
"Everyone should be here, regardless of their circumstances," he said. "That's really important to me."