President-elect Spencer pays a visit to ’62

President-elect Clayton Spencer met with the 50th Reunion Class of 1962 on Friday afternoon, sharing a bit about her background and asking the attendees what they value about Bates.

President-elect Clayton Spencer enjoys a brief conversation with David Boone '62 after her visit with the Class of 1962, part of the class's 50th Reunion gathering on June 8. Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College.

The class took full advantage of their audience, urging the eighth president to uphold traditional Bates values: rigorous academics and engagement with the wider world.

These alums were seniors when the late Rev. Peter Gomes ’65 was a freshman, so the naming of the College Chapel in Gomes’ memory, to be made official in October, was on their mind.

Bates, they said, should treat Gomes as an “institutional icon” not only for his great contributions to religious and moral thought, but also for his racial identify as an African American man and his sexual identity as a gay man.

“Pragmatic, progressive orientation.”

A highlight was Spencer’s own description of why she chose to join the Bates family. Her three main reasons:

  • She is a self-described “higher ed junkie.” She cited her work with multiple presidents at Harvard University and a family history of academic leadership. (Her father, Samuel Reid Spencer Jr., was president of Mary Baldwin College in Virginia and Davidson College in North Carolina.)
  • She admires Bates’ history of inclusivity and its “pragmatic, progressive orientation towards the future.” When talking about Bates, she does not miss an opportunity to emphasize its distinct values and heritage.
  • She loves Maine, not only for its beauty but its substance and solidity. As she says, “I’m a granite person, not a sand person.”