BRUNSWICK — Former Bowdoin College President Barry Mills stepped down June 30 as interim chancellor for the University of Massachusetts Boston, after less than two years at the helm.

Appointed as deputy chancellor in March 2017, Mills was then appointed interim chancellor of the school, which faced serious financial issues, in July 2017.

“I agreed to go in to try to stabilize the financial issues and set a course that would allow the school to be stable, and that’s what I did,” Mills said Friday.

The university still has a long way to go, he said, but it is relatively stable right now. Mills, who noted that he never intended to stay in the position long-term, said he felt the time was right to leave when Katherine Newman agreed to be the next interim chancellor and help keep the school on its current trajectory.

Mills, 67, led Bowdoin College for 14 years before retiring in 2015.

UMass Boston’s communications office noted after Mills’ initial appointment that he had increased Bowdoin’s endowment by nearly $1 billion, to nearly $1.4 billion in 2015.

The Boston Globe reported in October 2017 – when Mills announced his impending departure – that UMass had shrunk the projected deficit for the fiscal year from $30 million to $18 million.

“Certainly the experiences I had at Bowdoin helped me enormously on many, many issues,” said Mills, a Bowdoin graduate, “but being a corporate lawyer for 25 years also helped me with the complexity of a much, much larger and more complex organization with many more complex issues.”

Mills and his wife, Karen, who led the U.S. Small Business Administration during the Obama administration and is a senior fellow at Harvard Business School, have owned a house in Cundy’s Harbor in Harpswell since 2008.

“It’s my favorite place in the world,” Mills said.

They raised their children in Brunswick and think of it as home, and they’re wasting no time enjoying the midcoast again, having already taken in a museum opening and Maine State Music Theatre show on the Bowdoin campus. Mills doesn’t plan to get involved with the college again, though.

“I am confident I’ll find something to keep me busy as well,” he said, adding that, for now, he will often be found on Brunswick Golf Club’s course. “I’m going to chill out and refresh myself over the summer. I’m looking forward to spending more time in Maine.”

Bowdoin acknowledged Mills’ accomplishments at both schools.

“Barry’s tenure at UMass Boston is just the latest chapter for a leader who knows first-hand the power of higher education to changes lives,” Bowdoin spokesman Scott Hood said. “A first-generation college student himself, Barry’s career in higher education has been focused on improving access and opportunity for students, regardless of their income or background.

“It’s what he did at Bowdoin, and it’s now a big part of his legacy at UMass Boston.”

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