February 22, 2006
To Members of the Bowdoin Community,
I am delighted to announce that William M. Shain, currently the dean of undergraduate admissions at Vanderbilt University, will become Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Bowdoin, effective July 1, 2006.
Bill 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. He is committed to liberal arts education, 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.
Bill's admissions career spans four decades, with service in leadership roles at Vanderbilt, Macalester College, and at Princeton University. A graduate of Princeton, Bill 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 - Bill 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.
As dean of admissions and financial aid at Bowdoin, Bill takes the leadership role in a program that has seen remarkable and sustained success throughout the 1990s and into this new century. 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, allowing us to build a first-year class of high-achieving young men and women who will be society's future leaders. Our admissions program has also made tremendous 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 we have also broadened our geographical outreach and attracted more applications from first-generation and low-income students.
This success can be traced directly to the work of Dick Steele and Jim Miller and the team of professionals and volunteers who staff our student recruitment efforts. I want to take this opportunity to thank Dick, especially. Last summer, when Jim Miller was named dean of admissions at Brown - a wonderful opportunity at his alma mater - I asked Dick if he would consider stepping in to lead our admissions program while we conducted the national search necessary to identify Jim's permanent successor. Without hesitation, Dick temporarily left behind a retirement he was clearly enjoying to return to Bowdoin. His enthusiasm, good humor, and professionalism have never waned, and we are all in his debt for his devoted service to our college.
I want to thank members of our search committee for their hard work and enthusiasm. Our success in bringing Bill Shain to Bowdoin would not have been possible without the full engagement in the effort by Rick Broene, Sara Eddy, Mary Hunter, Martha Janeway, Nancy Jennings, Sarah McMahon, Stephanie Pemper, Andrea Richards, Bill Torrey, and Leslie Wittenbraker '06.
I am very pleased with the result of this important search. We all look forward to welcoming Bill and his wife, Sandra Lipsey, to Bowdoin.