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Bates College welcomes A. Clayton Spencer as eighth president during inauguration

Longtime Harvard University administrator A. Clayton Spencer was inaugurated Friday afternoon as the eighth president of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

Spencer, 57, was appointed by the Bates Board of Trustees last year and took office on July 1. She was officially welcomed to the institution by about 2,500 faculty, students, staff, and community members.

The college also planned numerous events surrounding the inauguration, including a concert by the rapper Dev for members of the Bates community on Saturday, along with two days of annual homecoming events. A naming service for the college’s century-old chapel was held Thursday.

“It is an uncommon privilege to be invited to step into the history of an institution, and it is a daunting responsibility to be asked to point the way into an inevitably uncertain future,” Spencer said in her inaugural speech.


Prior to Spencer’s arrival at Bates, she spent the last 15 years on Harvard University’s leadership team, and had served as the university’s vice president for policy since September 2005. At Harvard, she also taught courses on federal higher education policy, according to her biography.

Before working at Harvard, Spencer cultivated an extensive professional background, including working with US Senator Edward M. Kennedy when she was chief education counsel to the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources.

Along with her work in the field of law, Spencer was also a trustee of Williams College and Phillips Exeter Academy.

Spencer earned a juris doctorate from Yale University in 1985, a master’s degree in religion from Harvard in 1982, and a bachelor’s degree in history and German from Williams College in 1977, her biography states.

Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at sarah.mattero@globe.com.