Honoring Clayton Spencer’s Tenure at Bates

The following message was shared with the Bates community on June 1, 2023

Dear Members of the Bates Community,

As most of you know, Clayton Spencer will step down on June 30 after serving as Bates’ president for 11 years. I write today to share with you two updates related to her retirement.

First, I am pleased to announce a $1 million gift to Bates honoring one of Clayton’s most important contributions: the creation of the Purposeful Work program and the Center for Purposeful Work. It was Clayton’s vision that inspired the development of what is now a signature program for the college, and which has expanded opportunities for our students to explore connections between their Bates education and choices after Bates. The program has drawn national attention for the notion that a liberal arts education is a powerful model for preparing students for lives of meaning, purpose, and contribution and strengthened the value proposition of a Bates education.

The gift comes from a group of loyal and generous Bates leaders and friends, including members of the Cheney Society — former Bates trustees — and it establishes the A. Clayton Spencer Purposeful Work Internship Fund, an endowment to support paid internships for Bates students.

Second, I would like to draw your attention to a new website dedicated to telling the story of Clayton’s 11 years of service as the college’s eighth president. The site features speeches, writings, photographs, and videos highlighting important developments at the college under her leadership. 

As Clayton’s time as president comes to an end in a few short weeks, I hope you will join me in thanking her for her profound contributions to Bates.

Best wishes,

John Gillespie ’80, P’13, P’18
Chair, Bates Board of Trustees