Campus News

William Shain Named Dean of Admissions at Bowdoin

Story posted February 23, 2006

William M. Shain.

William M. Shain has been named dean of admissions and financial aid at Bowdoin College. Shain, who currently serves as dean of undergraduate admissions at Vanderbilt University, will assume his new responsibilities on July 1, 2006. He succeeds Richard E. Steele, who led Bowdoin's admissions efforts from 1991 to 2001, and who has served as the College's interim dean since James S. Miller left Bowdoin last August to become dean of admissions at Brown University. Shain's appointment was announced by Bowdoin College President Barry Mills.

"Bill Shain is very much the talented and dynamic individual we have sought for this position, and is a person capable in every measure of advancing the tremendously successful admissions program led in recent years by Dick Steele and Jim Miller," said Mills. "He is committed to liberal arts education and to providing opportunity through financial aid, and has a proven track record of building and sustaining regional, racial, socioeconomic, and other forms of diversity in a student body. I couldn't be more pleased with his appointment to this vital position at Bowdoin."

Shain's admissions career spans three decades, with service in leadership roles at Vanderbilt, Macalester College, and Princeton University. A graduate of Princeton, Shain earned a law degree at Columbia. He began his career in education as a junior and senior high school social studies teacher in Long Island, N.Y., after which, in 1976, he joined the admissions office at Princeton. From 1977 to 1980, he served as Princeton's regional director. He was named dean of admissions at Macalester in 1980. During his 17 years there, Macalester set application records and oversaw a steady increase in the academic qualifications among enrolled students. At Vanderbilt - where he has served as dean of undergraduate admissions since 1998 - Shain has overseen the recruitment and selection of new students for the university's College of Arts and Science, School of Engineering, Peabody College of Education and Human Development, and the Blair School of Music. During his tenure, Vanderbilt became increasingly more selective, admitting 35 percent of its applicants last year, compared with 61 percent when he arrived.

"It is a great honor to be invited to join the Bowdoin community," said Shain. "I am excited to be coming to an institution that is intellectual but unpretentious, cohesive yet diverse, and most of all just simply a really great college. The hiring process has allowed me to meet a real cross section of the Bowdoin community and it's amazing how much I both liked and was impressed by everyone I met. My wife and I look forward with enormous enthusiasm to being part of the Bowdoin family."

As dean of admissions and financial aid at Bowdoin, Shain takes the leadership role in a program that has seen sustained success. With nearly 5,400 applications for the Class of 2010 - a seven percent increase over last year's record number of applications - Bowdoin continues to attract interest from across America and around the world. Bowdoin's admissions program has also made significant strides in building a student body that is more reflective of society at large. Over the past five years, applications to Bowdoin from students of color have increased by more than 55 percent, while the College has also broadened its geographical outreach and attracted more applications from first-generation and low-income students.

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