Clayton S. Rose to Become the 15th President of Bowdoin College

Clayton S. Rose BRUNSWICK, Maine — Clayton S. Rose, Ph.D., of Brookline, Mass., has been elected president of Bowdoin College, effective July 1, 2015. The announcement was made today by Bowdoin Board of Trustees Chair Deborah Jensen Barker (Class of 1980) following the unanimous and enthusiastic recommendation by an 18-member Presidential Search Committee and a unanimous vote of approval this morning by Bowdoin’s Board of Trustees.

Rose will become the fifteenth president of the 221-year old college. Rose, 56, is currently a member of the faculty at the Harvard Business School (HBS) who teaches and writes on the responsibilities of leadership and managerial values. He succeeds Barry Mills, who will step down June 30, 2015, after a highly successful presidency spanning fourteen years.

“Clayton Rose is the ideal person to lead Bowdoin into the future,” said Barker. “He is immensely qualified academically, combining a passion for the liberal arts and a dedication to teaching and learning with extensive leadership experience. He’s going to be terrific as Bowdoin’s next president.”

Rose was selected for the Bowdoin presidency following an eight-month international search conducted by a committee comprising Bowdoin trustees (several of whom are also current Bowdoin parents); faculty, students, administrative and support staff; and a representative from Bowdoin’s Alumni Council. Current Bowdoin Trustee James E. Staley, a member of the Class of 1979, chaired the effort.

“Our search committee was a marvelously dedicated and eclectic group that worked hard and got along really well,” said Staley. “That said, with faculty, students, staff, alumni, trustees and parents, we never had a problem finding issues where people disagreed or had different points of view. We met many great candidates but in the end, the committee just rallied around Clayton because of his remarkable record of success throughout a varied career, his passion and vision for the liberal arts, and his ability to be embraced by very different communities.”

Rose earned his undergraduate degree (1980) and M.B.A. (1981) at the University of Chicago. In 2003, following a highly successful 20-year leadership and management career in finance, he enrolled in the doctoral program in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania to study issues of race in America, earning his master’s degree in 2005 and his Ph.D. with distinction in 2007.

He joined the faculty at HBS in 2007 and was named professor of management practice in 2009. He currently teaches an elective course that explores business engagement with society’s larger problems (“Reimagining Capitalism”), and has taught several others, including the required course on ethics (“Leadership and Corporate Responsibility”) and an elective titled “The Moral Leader.” He has also been engaged administratively at HBS, dealing with issues of community values and standards (including matters related to Title IX) and the school’s honor code, and has been part of a faculty group advising on improving the experience of women faculty and students at HBS. He has received awards at HBS for innovation in teaching and for service to the community.

He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the nation’s largest private supporter of academic biomedical research, having joined in 2009. He previously served on the board of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

Rose is a native of San Rafael, Calif. His wife of 32 years, Julianne H. Rose, originally from Rosemont, Penn., earned her undergraduate degree in biology magna cum laude at Boston College and her M.B.A. at the University of Chicago. She began her career in finance, held elected office at the municipal level for many years, and is preparing to launch a business in the summer of 2015.

“Bowdoin is an exceptional liberal arts college, with a rich history, distinct set of values, and a gifted, engaged and devoted group of faculty, students, staff and alumni,” said President-elect Rose. “I am honored and excited by the opportunity to lead this special institution, and Julianne and I are very much looking forward to becoming part of the Bowdoin and Brunswick communities.” 

Members of the Bowdoin community, including outgoing President Barry Mills and those who served on the Presidential Search Committee, expressed their enthusiasm for the appointment.

“This is a terrific choice for Bowdoin,” said Mills. “Members of the search committee, led with great dedication for the College by Jes Staley, faced very high expectations from a Bowdoin community that always demands excellence. The committee has done impressive work. Clayton Rose is a wonderful person and an accomplished leader. He will be a great fit for Bowdoin and I am confident that he will lead the College into a very bright future.”

Faculty representatives to the search committee said Rose’s teaching experience will be invaluable in helping him understand the needs of Bowdoin’s faculty.

“Clayton’s thoughtfulness, ability to listen, and desire to engage with the issues that matter most to faculty will make him an effective partner,” said Bowdoin Professor of Government and search committee member Paul Franco. “Also, as someone who has moved from the corporate world to academia and is convinced that liberal education is the one thing needed in our increasingly utilitarian universe, Clayton will be a powerful spokesperson for the value of the liberal arts.”

“Clayton has a deep knowledge of what we do at every level, from students and staff to faculty and trustees,” said search committee member Tess Chakkalakal, associate professor of Africana Studies and of English and program director of Africana Studies. “He also has a thorough understanding of the complex challenges, both financial and political, that liberal arts colleges face today. He is a reflective person who will consider multiple perspectives before taking action. He also has a true commitment to transparency and openness, which I believe will be appreciated by the faculty. Most importantly, he will listen to their concerns and be attentive to the differences among members of the faculty.”

“Clayton Rose is quite thoughtful with a great sense of integrity and a passion for social justice,” said Assistant Professor of Biology and search committee member Jack Bateman. “He beautifully articulates the value of a liberal arts education, yet he understands the pressures facing the College now and in the future. Of all of the amazing individuals that the committee considered, in the end it was clear that Clayton Rose is the right choice to be our next president.”

Student representative to the Presidential Search Committee Dustin Biron ’15 predicted that Rose “will be a strong presence in the life of the College,” while fellow student representative Oriana Farnham ’15 said she was impressed with Rose’s willingness to listen and his ability to ask thoughtful questions.

“I was convinced that Clayton Rose is the right person to lead Bowdoin when we had a conversation about the Women’s Resource Center over lunch,” said Farnham. “He asked me many thoughtful questions about what issues and programs Bowdoin women care about. His questions helped me frame the salient issues on campus in a way I hadn’t thought about before, and I could tell that he was sincerely curious about and invested in student life and our campus culture. I think he will relate to students by finding out what they care about. He will find out by asking them directly and respectfully, and he won’t be afraid to challenge them a little bit by asking even more questions. I think he will learn from Bowdoin students, and we will learn from him, too. I’m really excited by that prospect.”

Rose’s current and former colleagues echoed the enthusiasm of search committee members and trustees.

“Clayton Rose has a powerful commitment to the liberal arts and to the value of that kind of education, no matter what a person goes on to do,” said Dr. Hanna Gray, the former president of The University of Chicago and the Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor Emerita of History at Chicago, who has known Rose since he was an undergraduate and has served with him on the HHMI board. “He sees the liberal arts as a way of enlarging and enriching the ways in which people can understand, help interpret, and help make a difference in life, whether it’s the life of the mind or the life of the world.”

Clayton is an exceptional person,” said Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Laureate in medicine, president of The Royal Society, fellow HHMI board member, and former president of Rockefeller University. “He has a very quick and perceptive mind, which allows him to get to the crux of matters quickly and to analyze them very effectively. He also understands people, their motivations, their strengths and their weaknesses. As a leader, he isn’t locked on ‘the transmit button.’ He listens, and that is particularly important in the leadership of an academic institution. He is an articulate, cultured and charming man with wide interests and breadth, and I believe he will be very effective as president of Bowdoin College.”

In 2001, at the time of his decision to leave the world of finance to pursue his academic interests, Rose was vice chairman and chief operating officer at J.P. Morgan, the investment bank created in 2000 when J.P. Morgan & Co. merged with the Chase Manhattan Corporation. He previously served as head of global investment banking and head of global equities, among other positions at J.P. Morgan & Co.

Clayton and Julianne Rose have two sons: Garett, a graduate of The University of Chicago and the University of Chicago Law School; and Jordan, a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Business School. Garett and his wife, Meredith, reside in Washington, D.C., and Jordan lives in New York City.

Rose will be joining Bowdoin as the College prepares to begin its 214th academic year. Founded in 1794 when Maine was still part of Massachusetts, Bowdoin is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious liberal arts colleges. Today, Bowdoin enrolls approximately 1,800 students from across America and around the world who are admitted for their accomplishments and promise without regard for their financial circumstances. Approximately 45 percent of Bowdoin students receive need-based financial aid. Loans are not required, and the average financial aid grant is nearly $40,000 a year. Admission to Bowdoin is highly competitive. In 2014 the College received nearly 7,000 applications for about 500 spots in the Class of 2018. Bowdoin students study with highly accomplished and dedicated faculty in small classes (9:1 student/faculty ratio) and in world-class facilities that include modern and technologically advanced classrooms and laboratories, coastal research stations, a state-of-the art recital hall, two theaters, a renowned art museum, and a new facility for art and dance. With 31 varsity sports, many club teams, a well-equipped fitness center, and food that is consistently considered to be among the very best at any college or university in America, Bowdoin encourages health, fitness, teamwork, and competition. A Bowdoin liberal arts education and residential life experience instill principled leadership, lifelong learning, and service to the common good.

Notable Bowdoin alumni include:

  • Franklin Pierce (14th U.S. president) (1824)
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne (writer) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (poet) (1825)
  • John Brown Russwurm (abolitionist and editor) (1826)
  • Oliver Otis Howard (Civil War leader) (1850)
  • Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Civil War leader) (1852)
  • Robert E. Peary (Arctic explorer) (1857)
  • Alfred Kinsey (sex researcher) (1916)
  • Peter Buck (physicist; co-founder, Subway Restaurants) (1952)
  • Thomas R. Pickering (U.S. ambassador and diplomat) (1953)
  • George J. Mitchell (U.S. Senator and peacemaker) (1954)
  • Leon Gorman (chairman, L.L. Bean) (1956)
  • William S. Cohen (U.S. Sen. and Sec’y of Defense) (1962)
  • Kenneth I. Chenault (chairman and CEO, American Express) (1973)
  • Geoffrey Canada (educator and author) (1974)
  • Stanley F. Druckenmiller (investor and philanthropist) (1975)
  • Christopher Hill (U.S. ambassador and diplomat) (1974)
  • Lawrence Lindsey (former governor, Federal Reserve; former G.W. Bush economic advisor) (1976)
  • Cynthia McFadden (NBC News) (1978)
  • Joan Benoit Samuelson (Olympic champion) (1979)
  • Reed Hastings (founder and CEO, Netflix) (1983)