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Update From Michael Chu and Valerie Smith

To the Bates Community,

As you know, the work of our committee has come to an end, with the thrilling introduction of Clayton Spencer as the eighth president of Bates on Dec. 4, 2011. We could not be prouder or more excited about the promise of her tenure, which begins on July 1, 2012.

We’d like to tell you about the final phase of our work. The search began in the spring, and in late summer and fall we started to narrow an exceptionally strong field of more than 300 candidates from within and outside the U.S., diverse by every measure. We conducted intensive interviews with more than a dozen finalists, each remarkably qualified and passionate about Bates, its principled history, innovative approach to the liberal arts, and commitment to academic excellence. All shared the belief that Bates commands a distinctive position in higher education, with a mission and values that clearly resonate throughout the world.

Guided by our many conversations with every sector of the Bates community, we sought an inspired leader who understands global and higher education issues; can convey the value of a liberal arts education to a wide variety of audiences; embraces the Bates values of diversity, inclusion, and respect for human dignity; thinks strategically; possesses an inclusive leadership style and strong communication and listening skills; understands and can shape the relationship between Bates and the surrounding community; and, importantly, inspires individual donors, foundations and corporations to support the college financially and help develop its resources.

By mid-November we had decided on a candidate and were ready to make an enthusiastic and unanimous recommendation to the Bates Board of Trustees. On Sat., Dec. 3, the committee delivered a full report to the Board, which then voted unanimously to elect Clayton Spencer as Bates’ eighth president. Twelve of the individuals involved in the search process were on campus on Dec. 4 for her introduction to the Bates community.

For us and for every member of our committee, this search marks a high point in our lives as Batesies. Our assessment of candidates was remarkably congruent, and our work was infused with excitement for Bates and its future. We are delighted with the outcome and cannot wait to work with Clayton Spencer in realizing the full strength and potential of the college we all love.

In closing, we thank the members of the search committee for their tireless work, commitment to the college, good humor and individual and collective wisdom. We are grateful to Meg Kimmel, assistant vice president of communications, and Mary Main, director of human resources, for their professionalism and conscientious support of the search process. And we thank the members of the Bates Board of Trustees for entrusting us with this important responsibility and for their confidence in our judgment.

Valerie Smith ’75
Michael Chu ’80