November 12, 2018 | Office of the President

Message to the Bowdoin Community (November 12, 2018)

To the Bowdoin community,

Our dean of student affairs, Tim Foster, has informed me that he will retire at the end of the current academic year in June. He plans to take some time to focus on things his approach to the job has not allowed and will then consider what he might devote his considerable talents and energies to in the next chapter of his life. 

Tim has had a profound impact on our College and on the lives and experiences of so many students over so many years. His work here spans more than two decades, including what will be thirteen years as our dean—a position with huge responsibility and with challenges that are constant and often complex, spread across every aspect of the Bowdoin experience. His level of energy is extraordinary, as is his devotion to the College and to our students. While I very much respect and admire his decision, I cannot overstate how much I will miss working closely with him, his wise counsel and steady hand, his thoughtfulness, and his fabulous sense of humor.

Perhaps foremost among Tim’s long and impressive list of accomplishments have been his ability to build and nurture extraordinary teams in student affairs and his unmistakable determination to champion a more diverse and inclusive community at Bowdoin. He has set a standard here for a life based on integrity, character, and compassion. We know Tim as an ardent advocate for student academic and personal success, as an architect of the strong sense of community we enjoy on our campus, and as a leader especially devoted to the health and well-being of every Bowdoin student. Day in and day out, he cheers on our athletes and guides student organizations with vision and genuine enthusiasm; advocates with senior colleagues and trustees for every aspect of student life; and builds cocurricular and extracurricular programs that support our academic mission and that truly set Bowdoin apart. And, we all marvel at his unique glossary of phrases and colorful expressions.

As the academic year comes to a close in the spring, we will celebrate Tim and all that he has accomplished at Bowdoin. In the meantime, I have begun the process of a national search for Bowdoin’s next dean of student affairs. This will not be someone who replaces Tim—that would be impossible—but rather someone who will help shape the experiences and the health and well-being of our students over the next several generations in their own way, as Tim has done so magnificently.

Come July, Tim will have more time to glory in the exploits of his beloved Boston Red Sox, but even they will never supplant the affection and deep pride he has in everything Bowdoin. I know each of you joins me in wishing Tim the very best and thanking him for making our College ever stronger.