A. Clayton Spencer Purposeful Work Internship Fund

Endowed with a $1 million gift to the college, the A. Clayton Spencer Purposeful Work Internship Fund was announced on May 4, 2023, during the spring meeting of the Bates College Board of Trustees.

The fund will support Purposeful Work internships for Bates students, helping them to identify and cultivate their interests and strengths and providing them with opportunities to pursue their aspirations with imagination and integrity.

The gift comes from Bates leaders and friends, including members of the Cheney Society, former trustees of the college.

The landmark Purposeful Work program has won national acclaim and strengthened the value proposition of a Bates education. In 2017, Yeymi Rivas ’19 (left) of Richmond, Calif., had a Purposeful Work internship at the Conservation Lands Foundation in San Francisco, where her supervisor was Sam Goldman ’03, now with the Aspen Institute. They are pictured near Santa Cruz. (Eli Zaturanski for Bates College)
‘A Deep Aspect of Our Obligation’

At her inauguration, Spencer said that the “a deep aspect of our obligation as a liberal arts college to prepare our students for a life of purposeful work.” In May 2013, Spencer convened a working group of Bates faculty, staff, and students to “translate that commitment into action,” leading to the creation of today’s Center for Purposeful Work, which has earned national acclaim for Bates and strengthened the value proposition of a Bates education.

At Convocation in 2013, Spencer promised the incoming class that “helping you, our students, think deeply about the meaning of work lies at the heart of our mission in the liberal arts.” In summing up the promise of Purposeful Work, she said:

The more you are able to align your work with your authentic interests and talents, the less it feels like work, and the more it feels, simply, like living your life. When we talk in our mission statement about ‘the emancipating potential of the liberal arts,’ I think of the freedom and joy you feel when you achieve that alignment between who you are and what you do.