“If Bowdoin was a stock, I’d buy it.”
There is a saying in the investment business: “I’d rather be lucky than good.” When I stated in the early nineties that “if Bowdoin was a stock, I’d buy it,” I had no idea that within a decade Bowdoin would be fortunate enough to benefit from the service of perhaps its greatest president ever.
A college president faces the task of garnering the support of three constituencies: the faculty, the students, and the alumni/donors. Because the three more often than not have conflicting agendas, it is nearly impossible to garner the support of all three. Most presidents who capture two of the three are considered quite successful. At Bowdoin, Barry Mills captured the enthusiastic support of all three. He did so by combining strategic thinking with warmth and personal touch and a tireless work ethic. Of the countless students I have met in the last fourteen years, I don’t recall one who has not had a personal encounter with Barry. And of course his infectious optimism uplifted the entire Bowdoin community throughout his tenure.
As a result, by almost every metric, Barry leaves an institution in an enhanced position from when he arrived. Financially, the [per student] endowment is $678,588 versus $269,934 when he became president. While more qualitative in nature, both the school spirit and the perception of Bowdoin inside and out have reached new levels. And, finally, he reestablished Bowdoin’s tradition of attracting and maintaining a culturally and financially diverse student body (30 percent students of color in 2014 versus 13 percent in 2001).
Like all alumni, I will be forever grateful to Barry and Karen Mills for not only advancing the common good, but for taking Bowdoin College to new heights. In my opinion, their leadership rivals any in the 220-year history of our institution.
—Stan Druckenmiller ’75, H’07
Trustee emeritus, investor, philanthropist