It is with both joy and some sadness that I write to tell you that our colleague Clayton Spencer has been elected president of Bates College, effective July 1, 2012.
Bates has made a brilliant choice. Clayton has served four Harvard presidents, arriving in Massachusetts Hall in 1997 and assuming her current role as vice president for policy in 2005. Among her many remarkable and enduring accomplishments are her critical contributions to the Harvard-Radcliffe merger, her work creating the Crimson Summer Academy, and her formative efforts in shaping and advancing Harvard’s pathbreaking undergraduate financial aid initiatives. She has managed task forces that have defined important strategic priorities, including the Arts, Common Spaces, and Harvard’s international profile and engagement. Perhaps most significantly, she has been an astute and always forthright advisor to Harvard’s presidents, deans, and governing boards for the last fifteen years, bringing her exceptional intellect, her wisdom, her unfailing sense of humor, and her deep commitment to higher education and its fundamental values to bear on the wide range of issues facing the University.
Clayton staffed the Radcliffe dean’s search that brought me to Harvard, served as interim administrative dean at Radcliffe during the initial months of my tenure, and has worked closely with me on presidential initiatives since I arrived at Mass Hall in 2007. While it is hard for me to imagine Harvard without her, it is also wonderful to anticipate Clayton making what I know will be a distinctive mark as the leader of one of the nation’s most distinguished liberal arts colleges. We will have opportunity to celebrate her in the spring, for she will continue her work here through Commencement. For now, please join me in congratulations and best wishes to Clayton. And please join me as well in congratulations to Bates on its outstanding decision.