Campus News

Bowdoin Names Former Harvard Admissions Officer New Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

Story posted June 12, 2001

James S. Miller has been named dean of admissions and financial aid at Bowdoin College. Miller, who previously served as director of financial aid and as a senior admissions officer at Harvard College, will succeed Richard E. Steele, who retires this month after 10 years at Bowdoin. Miller's appointment was announced June 11 by Bowdoin College President-elect Barry Mills.

"I am tremendously pleased that Jim Miller will be joining the College to lead our admissions and financial aid programs," said Mills. "Jim understands well the highly competitive environment of college admissions and is one of the nation's experts on financial aid. I am confident that he will be aggressive and imaginative in seeking talented students from diverse backgrounds, both in this country and around the world, and in using Bowdoin's strong network of alumni volunteers. With his experience, excellent judgment, high integrity, and wonderful sense of humor, I know Jim will be a valued colleague and an effective leader."

Miller currently serves as project manager at The College Board in Reston, Va., where he is responsible for the design, marketing, sales, and implementation of an econometric tool used by colleges and universities to evaluate financial aid and admissions strategies. He begins his new duties at Bowdoin on August 1.

"I'm delighted and honored to be joining the Bowdoin community," Miller said. "This a wonderful opportunity for me to become part of one of America's premier institutions, and I'm looking forward to continuing and enhancing Bowdoin's successful efforts to bring to campus a talented, distinguished, and diverse student body. I'm also very pleased about the opportunity to work with President Mills and his staff. Barry's energy, passion, and vision for Bowdoin are evident and convincing, and I feel fortunate to be joining the College at this exciting and transitional point in its history."

A graduate of Brown University, Miller earned his master's degree in communications at Michigan State University. He served as a senior admissions officer at Harvard from 1980 to 1999 and - for the last 17 of those years - as Harvard's director of financial aid. During this time, he managed Harvard's $85 million financial aid programs, serving as one of three senior admissions officers responsible for all policy decisions related to admissions and financial aid. During Miller's time at Harvard, the financial aid program was greatly expanded to improve outreach to students from a variety of ethnic backgrounds from urban and rural areas of the U.S. and around the world.

"Jim is certainly one of Harvard's most popular, well-liked, and well-respected administrators," said William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard, who worked with Miller for 19 years. "He was a giant in financial aid, and he had the longest tenure of any financial aid director in Harvard's history."

Miller has been a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Ivy Financial Aid Committee, the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Advanced Studies Program, and the Ivy Athletic Policy Committee. Following his nearly two decades at Harvard, Miller served briefly as executive director of capital gifts at Brown before joining The College Board in 2000.

Miller was selected for the position at Bowdoin from a large pool of qualified applicants by an 11-member search committee chaired by Dean for Academic Affairs Craig McEwen and including President-elect Mills, several members of the faculty and administrative staff, and a student.

One of the nation's oldest colleges (founded in 1794), Bowdoin saw a record 4,534 applications this year for the 435-member Class of 2005. The College offers 30 departmental and seven interdisciplinary majors, a student-faculty ratio of 10:1, a library of over 900,000 volumes, and 31 varsity sports. For more information on Bowdoin, visit the College's Web site at:

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