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Bates College names Harvard VP new president

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Section: News

December 9, 2011

Bates College named Ava Clayton Spencer, Harvard University’s vice president for policy, as its new president. Spencer will begin work as Bates’ eighth president on July 1.

A Winchester, Mass., native, Spencer has worked closely with the presidents and deans of Harvard, and was previously a lecturer at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Spencer also previously served as the chief education counsel in the United States Senate, as well as the executive dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and has served at Harvard since 1997.

“Bates has made a brilliant choice,” University President Drew G. Faust wrote in an e-mail to Harvard faculty and administrators, according to The Crimson. “Clayton … has been an astute and always forthright adviser to Harvard’s presidents, deans and governing boards for the last 15 years.”

She graduated magna cum laude from Williams College, earning a theology degree from Oxford in 1979 and a master’s degree in the study of religion from Harvard in 1982. Spencer later graduated from Yale Law School, and currently serves as a trustee at Williams College and as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. Following her time at Yale Law School, Spencer served as an assistant United States attorney in Boston, and later worked on Capitol Hill.

Spencer will succeed Nancy J. Cable, Bates’ interim president, following the resignation of Elaine Hansen, who left Bates to become the executive director for the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University.

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