May 24, 2018
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Bowdoin College plucks from Bates for new development director

Kelly Kerner


BRUNSWICK, Maine — Bowdoin College announced Monday that it has drawn from the echelons of Bates College in Lewiston in hiring a new senior vice president for development and alumni relations.

According to a press release, Kelly Kerner, Bates’ vice president for college advancement, will begin his new post in Brunswick on Jan. 1. Kerner’s appointment was the result of a national search by Bowdoin President Barry Mills and Stephen F. Gormley, chairman of the college’s board of trustees. Kerner brings two decades of fundraising experience to Bowdoin.

“This has been a careful and important search for Bowdoin, and I am convinced that in Kelly Kerner we have found the very best person to lead our exceptional development and alumni relations team,” said Mills in the press release. “All of us on the search committee were impressed with Kelly’s record of accomplishment and his leadership ability. He will be a fantastic leader at Bowdoin and I look forward to working with him on behalf of our college.”

Kerner has spent the past three years as Bates’ chief development officer and the previous 14 years in fundraising roles at Middlebury College in Vermont. He also spent three years at the University of Portland in Oregon in development and athletics marketing. A graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder, Kerner has also been an internationally ranked tennis player.

“I am thrilled to be chosen to lead one of the top development and alumni relations operations at one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the world,” said Kerner. “I will do all I can to ensure that Bowdoin continues to flourish in the areas of fundraising and engagement and I look forward to working with the Bowdoin team to achieve even greater success.”

Kerner, who will report to Mills and will assist in setting the college’s strategic direction, joins a successful leadership team, according to information from Bowdoin. In fiscal year 2010-11, Bowdoin enjoyed almost $36 million in giving, including $9.8 million from its Annual Giving program, which has an alumni participation rate of more than 56 percent. The college also raised more than $2 million from parents of students in the past 12 months.

Kerner succeeds William Torrey, who stepped down in June after 20 years in his position. Under Torrey, Bowdoin raised more than $600 million in contributions which according to Mills “transformed the college.”

Gormley said he is pleased that Bowdoin was able to hire Kerner.

“It is a role that carries great responsibility for the future of the college — something I and the other trustees on the search committee knew from the start,” said Gormley. “We have confidence in Kelly because he clearly has the experience, character and leadership ability to ensure Bowdoin’s position as one of America’s very best liberal arts colleges.”

Bowdoin College, a highly selective liberal arts college chartered in 1794 by the General Court of Massachusetts, currently enrolls about 1,750 students from across the country and around the world.

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