Sarah A. Seames has been selected to serve as director of Bowdoin’s Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good. Seames, who has been interim director of the McKeen Center since former director Susie Dorn’s departure last summer, assumes her new responsibilities immediately.
Established in 2007, the McKeen Center is the institutional focal point of Bowdoin’s longstanding commitment to serve the common good — a commitment first articulated by President Joseph McKeen at the opening of the College in 1802. Seames brings a proven commitment to this work and to the values that define and advance public engagement at the College, according to Tim Foster, dean of student affairs, and Nancy Jennings, associate professor of education and senior faculty fellow of the McKeen Center.
As interim director during the past eight months — and previously when the McKeen Center’s former director, Susie Dorn, was on educational leave — Seames earned our confidence as a leader who can plan, create, organize, motivate, manage and adapt to changing and challenging circumstances. This search was national and the search committee was able to review the candidacies of some truly outstanding candidates from Maine, New England and across the country.
Seames’ career has been defined by her passion for education, students, and service. A native of Greenwood, Maine, she graduated summa cum laude from New England College. She began her professional life in 2001 as leadership programs assistant for Campus Compact for New Hampshire. She later served in a leadership role with Maine Campus Compact/Points of Light Foundation in Lewiston, and as coordinator of community service at Lesley University.
Seames came to Bowdoin in the summer of 2005 as coordinator of community service programs before being promoted to senior associate director of the McKeen Center. In this role, she oversaw all student community service initiatives, managed the program budgets, and organized several important programs, including alternative spring break, Common Good Day, our four-day service trips during Orientation, and many others.
As interim director, Seames has had responsibility for strategic planning, staff supervision and collaboration with faculty in the creation of and support for community-based teaching and research. During her time at Bowdoin, Seames also earned her master’s degree summa cum laude in public policy and management at the Muskie School for Public Service at the University of Southern Maine. She believes strongly in the important role that public engagement plays in a Bowdoin education and in the undeniable value of direct involvement, critical thinking and problem solving in shaping a generation of new leaders for society.
As director, Seames will continue to manage the center’s staff and budget. She will also lead the important work at the McKeen Center to support student initiatives and leadership opportunities in community-based work; provide the vision, leadership, and strategic planning for service-related initiatives that connect students, faculty, and staff with local, national, and international communities; serve along with the Senior Faculty Fellow to promote faculty engagement with the Center and to embed public engagement in the intellectual life of the College; foster service to the common good through campus-wide events; and collaborate with students, faculty, staff, and community partners to plan, develop and evaluate Center programs and initiatives.
The following members of the search committee devoted many hours and focused attention to the selection of our new director: Marijane Benner Browne, trustee emerita; Allen Delong, director of student life and the David Saul Smith Union; Melanie Gaynes ’13; Heather Hietala, director of stewardship programs and associate director of leadership gifts; Belinda Kong, associate professor of English and Asian Studies; Micah Ludwig ’13; Andrew Rudalevige, Thomas Brackett Reed professor of government; and Dighton Spooner, associate director of career planning; and Dharni Vasudevan, professor of chemistry and environmental studies.
The McKeen Center formally recognizes and connects the Bowdoin of today with the ideals and values of our founders who understood that education, knowledge and service are the best means to advance and improve society.