Barry Mills and I started at Bowdoin in the same year, fourteen years ago, and, while Barry has a few years on me, he has much less gray hair than I do. I like to think this reflects on his confidence and business savvy, but the pressures he must have encountered as president of a leading liberal arts college would have turned any genetically predisposed person gray. As the figure at the helm, he brought this College through one of the worst financial times since the Great Depression. No pay cuts, no major program reductions, and constant support for academic programs. For this I am grateful both personally and professionally.
“Barry has done what a good president should do: identified goals, raised money to address these goals, and then permitted the faculty do what they do best in the classroom and research setting.”
But Barry has done more than maintenance during hard times. He has outwardly supported and sought significant financial contributions for the Marine Science Program at Bowdoin, overseeing the hiring of a new director and development of new facilities [Bowdoin College Coastal Studies Center]. Combined with the Bowdoin Scientific Station at Kent Island, these two field stations are unique in the opportunities they provide students and faculty, and their future growth together is now possible through Barry’s efforts.
But the scientific stations are part of a greater vision for the life sciences. Barry has lent unwavering support for our initiatives in a climate where both teaching and research are partners for excellence. I know of few other institutions that provide such an atmosphere, and I thank Barry for the infrastructure and financial support so necessary to allow this to happen. Our task now is to follow through on this great start to coordinate visions and activities of the new earth and ocean sciences, environmental sciences, biology, the Marine Science Center, and Kent Island to provide the strongest possible program for students, faculty, and visitors alike.
Barry has also taken upon himself a crusade to make a Bowdoin education available to students from all walks of life. Again, against great financial and traditional barriers, Barry has delivered, as there is a richer diversity of students on campus. And now we need to bring this diversity into the science classrooms, laboratories, and field stations. On other fronts, Barry, along with Katy Longley and Keisha Payson, have found cost-effective measures to reduce our carbon use and partnered with Solar City to generate a small percentage of our campus electricity needs. This initiative is a good start, and it is our responsibility, once Barry is no longer at the helm, to follow through with a large expansion of these efforts, perhaps in concert with grass roots alumni initiatives.
So Barry has done what a good president should do: identified goals, raised money to address these goals, and then permitted the faculty do what they do best in the classroom and research setting. So, thank you, Barry, for your hard work, your generous support, and for helping Bowdoin make some wise choices.
Linnean Professor of Biology and Biochemistry