President Mills Gives Annual Founders Day Address at Centre College


President Barry Mills ’72, with his Ph.D. from Syracuse and Columbia law degree, is adding another feather to his educational cap. Centre College is awarding Mills an honorary degree at the private liberal arts college’s annual Founders Day ceremony January 18 in Danville, Kentucky.

President Mills is also to deliver the talk, “Teaching, Learning and Technology,” following a similarly themed address presented at Bowdoin’s 210th Convocation and referenced in an essay Mills wrote for Inside Higher Ed.


The Citation

Barry Mills, distinguished educator, you have seen a new future for higher education. Centre College today honors your remarkable willingness to embrace technology and your perceptive appreciation of how it might transform and improve our teaching and learning in the liberal arts.

I am hereby pleased to confer upon you, by the authority of the Centre College Board of Trustees, the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, with all the honors, rights, and privileges thereto appertaining.

I therefore present you with this diploma,and ask that you be invested with the appropriate hood.

January 18, 2012

by Centre College President John A. Roush

The Presentation

Presented for an honorary degree Doctor of Laws

President Roush: It is with respect and admiration that I present Barry Mills for an honorary degree.  Dr. Mills has been president of Bowdoin College since 2001.  During more than a decade at the helm of one of the nation’s premiere liberal arts colleges, he has led a major curriculum reform, replaced loans with grants for all students receiving financial aid, and built or renovated arts buildings, athletic facilities, and residence halls. Given Bowdoin’s strong emphasis on sustainability, it will be no surprise that many of the new facilities are environmentally responsible. Under his leadership, Bowdoin completed a $293 million capital campaign to strengthen the academic program that not only raised $43 million more than the original goal, it did so two years early. He holds weekly office hours to meet with students and writes a column for the Bowdoin website on topics ranging from the challenges facing liberal arts colleges to being a Yankees fan in Red Sox territory.

His wide-ranging interests, talents, and career trajectory perhaps stem from his undergraduate experience with the liberal arts.  After graduating cum laude from Bowdoin in 1972 with a double major in biochemistry and government, he earned a Ph.D. in biology at Syracuse University in 1976. A law degree from Columbia University followed in 1979. During a successful two decade career in New York City with the international law firm Debevoise & Plimpton, he ultimately became deputy presiding partner. He was a Bowdoin trustee for six years before returning to the college as president.

Of particular interest to him is the potential for the power of technology to transform teaching and learning in the liberal arts. He is convinced that technology and “modes of learning emancipated by technology” will enhance our educational model and make it possible to offer more broadly the best of a liberal arts education.

In appreciation of his efforts to explore technology’s role in strengthening the liberal arts and because of his outstanding leadership in higher education, I am delighted to present Barry Mills for the honorary degree Doctor of Laws.

Presented by Stephanie Fabritius, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College

January 18, 2012

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