President Clayton Rose
Clayton is now in his seventh year as the president of Bowdoin College. Prior to his appointment, he served on the faculty of the Harvard Business School, where he taught and wrote on issues of leadership, ethics, the financial crisis that began in 2008, and the role of business in society. He spent the first twenty years of his career in finance, retiring as vice chairman at J.P. Morgan, having run several global divisions of the bank. He earned his undergraduate degree (1980) and MBA (1981) at the University of Chicago. In 2003, following his business career, 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 PhD with distinction in 2007. Clayton is the chair of the board of trustees of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the nation’s largest academic biomedical research organization, with an endowment of $27 billion. He is also a member of the board of directors of Bank of America. He and his wife of thirty-eight years, Julianne, have two sons, two daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren.
Over the past six years, Clayton’s focus has been on furthering the intellectual mission of the College; advancing the imperative of diversity, equity, and inclusion and racial justice; strengthening access and opportunity for all students; ensuring the continued financial strength of the College with an ambitious $500 million comprehensive campaign; enhancing the academic program and student life with the construction of new facilities that further the mission of the College; continuing the College’s leadership in sustainability, and fostering the skills of respectful discourse and engagement with new and challenging ideas and by developing a disposition among students for “intellectual fearlessness.”
- establish a culture where everyone has a true sense of belonging and where everyone has the same opportunities to find success;
- ensure that majority members of our community are truly engaged in this work;
- understand the history, context, and lived experiences in the Bowdoin community of those who are not white, as well as those who are marginalized in other ways;
- build a shared understanding of the issues of race and nature of racism, and of the challenges facing those of marginalized identities more generally; and
- develop the tools to have honest and respectful discussions about these issues.
Clayton has consistently reaffirmed Bowdoin’s commitment to admissions and financial aid programs that welcome all students regardless of their financial circumstances, with the aim of attracting the very best students and of building a community where everyone has the opportunity for an equally robust experience, regardless of their economic status, background, or identity. Bowdoin is one of only nineteen colleges and universities in America that provide need-blind admissions, meet the needs of students for all four years, and do not require loans in their financial aid packages. More than half of Bowdoin students now receive need-based, no-loan financial assistance from the College.
THRIVE—an initiative established in 2017 and funded by Netflix CEO and Bowdoin alumnus Reed Hastings ’83—aims to substantially transform the experience and improve the graduation rates of low-income students, first-generation college students, and those students traditionally underrepresented on college campuses.
Today, Bowdoin students hail from 49 US states—with nearly two-thirds from beyond New England—and from 54 foreign countries. More than a third are students of color, and 15 percent are the first in their families to attend college.
Bowdoin is one of a very small number of colleges and universities in the country to declare carbon neutrality, accomplishing the goal in 2018 two years ahead of schedule. The College is now developing an even more ambitious climate action plan to guide its sustainability efforts through 2040, and has joined with four Massachusetts liberal arts colleges to help fund a 75-megawatt solar project in Farmington, Maine.
During Clayton’s administration, the College has added new and transformative facilities dedicated to the teaching and study of the environment and other facilities built to rigorous environmental standards. These include the Roux Center for the Environment (2018), which earned LEED Platinum status from the US Green Building Council and an expanded Schiller Coastal Studies Center on Orr’s Island in Harpswell (2020), where the new Living and Learning Center has been certified for environmental efficiency by the Passive House Institute US. A third facility focused on the environment and on Bowdoin’s historic connections with Arctic exploration and culture, the John and Lile Gibbons Center for Arctic Studies will open in 2023 adjacent to another new academic building, Barry Mills Hall (to be completed in 2022). The Gibbons Center and Mills Hall are being constructed using mass timber, an increasingly popular building product seen as a more sustainable alternative to concrete or steel. Other projects include two new student residences built to “passive house” environmental standards—Park Row Apartments (2019) and Harpswell Apartments (2020).
In February 2019, Bowdoin was recognized by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education as a STARS Gold Institution, and in August 2019, the College opened four new student residences built to “passive house” standards.