Barry Mills to Step Down as President of Bowdoin College in 2015

By Brogan, Beth | Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), April 14, 2014 | Go to article overview

Barry Mills to Step Down as President of Bowdoin College in 2015


Brogan, Beth, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)


BRUNSWICK, Maine -- Bowdoin College President Barry Mills announced Monday that he will step down in June 2015.

Mills, 63, has served as president of the college for 13 years. In an email to the Bowdoin community, he wrote that he does not plan to retire but "will seek another 'professional challenge.'"

"Anyone who knows me knows how much I love leading Bowdoin, and Karen and I and our boys are proud citizens of Brunswick," Mills said in an email to Bowdoin students, faculty and staff. "It is the honor of a lifetime to serve as president of this fantastic college, which is as strong today as in any period during its proud history. In fact, it is because of this strength and because of my affection for the college that I choose to step down next year. Transitions are inevitable, and after what will be 14 tremendous years as president, I believe it is time for me to make way for new leadership to propel Bowdoin into its next period of greatness."

Mills became president of Bowdoin in 2001, replacing Robert Edwards, who had served as president of the college for 11 years.

Among the most notable accomplishments of Mills' tenure are the replacement in 2008 of student loans with grants for all students receiving financial aid and the 2013 financial milestone when the college's endowment surpassed $1 billion for the first time.

"He's an outstanding president," said Bowdoin Professor of Government Chris Potholm, who has worked with seven Bowdoin presidents since 1970. Potholm said Mills "guided the college through some financial difficulties and now the college has never looked better, the college faculty has never been stronger. Barry has been an extremely powerful, positive force for the college."

Mills on Monday declined to reflect on his tenure as president.

"While he made this announcement today, he is already back at work on behalf of the college -- with more accomplishments to come," college spokesman Scott Hood said in an email to the Bangor Daily News.

A native of Rhode Island, Mills graduated cum laude in 1972 from Bowdoin College with a double major in biochemistry and history. He earned his doctorate in biology in 1976 at Syracuse University and his law degree in 1979 at the Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. He then served as deputy presiding partner of the international law firm Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City.

Mills' wife, Karen Gordon Mills, served as administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration from 2009 to August 2013. She is currently a senior fellow at the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School.

Beginning in July 2014, she will be a member of the Harvard Corporation, known formally as the President and Fellows of Harvard College, the college's principal fiduciary governing board, according to the release. …

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