Bowdoin College President Clayton Rose will step down next summer after eight years at the school. His last day will be June 30, 2023. Photo by Derek Davis

Bowdoin College President Clayton Rose will step down next summer after eight years on the job. His last day will be June 30, 2023.

Rose, 64, said he is confident that by his departure date next summer campus life will have returned to normal as the college and greater community learn to live with COVID-19.

“With the clear prospect of life on campus and elsewhere returning to normal in the months ahead as we learn to live with the ups and downs of the virus, the end of next academic year will be the right time to welcome a new president to the college,” he said in a Tuesday release announcing his planned departure.

“I have reached this decision after considerable thought, and it was not taken easily – serving the college is the privilege of my professional life and being a part of the Bowdoin community is a joy,” Rose wrote in a message announcing his departure to the campus community.

He said one of his biggest accomplishments so far has been expanding financial aid.

The percentage of Bowdoin students on financial aid rose from 44 percent to 49 percent from Rose’s first academic year – 2015-16 –  to this academic year. The average financial aid grant rose from around $39,000 to almost $53,000 over the same period.


However, the cost to attend the college also jumped. Collectively tuition, room, board and fees went from $61,354 to $74,220 over Rose’s tenure.

Bowdoin is a need-blind school, meaning an applicant’s ability to pay for school is not factored into the decision of acceptance.

He also highlighted his work to improve diversity, equity and inclusion at Bowdoin. Since Rose became president, the school has created a chief diversity officer position and an office of inclusion.

Ryan Britt, a senior at Bowdoin and the president of the student government, also pointed to Rose’s focus on diversity, equity and inclusion work as a highlight of his tenure. He said he appreciates the school’s efforts to educate students on racial, social and economic inequalities in the area, noting that all students at Bowdoin are required to take an equity workshop before they graduate.

Faculty member Adam Levy, who is pushing 30 years at Bowdoin, said he will be sad to see Rose go. He said the president does a good job of communicating with faculty and respectfully responding to questions and concerns. “I think he’s done a good job of facing his constituents and responding to us openly,” he said.

He also said he appreciates Rose’s support of faculty ideas and his effort to support those with energy and passion in the projects they want to take on rather than telling them what to do.


“He takes on more of a cheerleader role than a general,” Levy said. “That’s a good way to harness the collective energy of the place.”

Rose said the most challenging part of his role as president so far has been managing the aftermath of the George Floyd murder, the polarization of greater society and creating a culture where students can respectfully engage with people they disagree with both on and off campus. “It’s been a challenging moment in broader American society with social and political-cultural divisions,” he said. “College campuses are sometimes a microcosm of our society, a magnifier.”

Over the next 14 months Rose hopes to continue the work the school is doing to support students and faculty, he said.

Rose said he has not yet decided what is next but that he hopes to spend more time with his wife, Julianne, his children and grandchildren.

Bowdoin Board of Trustees Chairman Robert White said the school’s trustees will be disappointed to see Rose leave, but respect his decision.

“We wouldn’t be here without Clayton’s vision, steadfast leadership, quiet confidence, and his insightful ability to bring people together for common ends,” said White.


Rose came to the Brunswick liberal arts college with experience in finance and education.

A graduate of the University of Chicago both for his bachelor’s degree and his MBA, Rose spent roughly 20 years in the finance industry, including as vice chairman and chief operating officer at the investment bank J.P. Morgan in New York.

Rose stepped away from the world of finance in 2001 to pursue a doctorate in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Before taking the job at Bowdoin, he held a faculty position at Harvard Business School, teaching management, ethics, leadership and managerial values, among other topics. Rose also focused on administrative issues at Harvard, working on the school’s honor code, improving the experience for women faculty members and students, and community service.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.