Garry W. Jenkins Will Be the First Black President of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine

The board of trustees of the highly selective Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, has chosen Garry W. Jenkins as the ninth president of the liberal arts educational institution. When he takes office on July 1, Jenkins will be the first African American to lead the institution since its founding in 1855.

Bates College enrolls just over 1,800 students, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Education. Blacks make up 6 percent of the student body.

“I am overjoyed to join the Bates community as the college’s next president,” Professor Jenkins said. “Bates is a remarkable institution that is exceptionally well-positioned for the future. Even among the nation’s very best liberal arts colleges, Bates stands out for its illustrious history, academic excellence, vibrant and supportive community, innovative spirit, authentic relationship with its hometown, and the talent and dedication of its people. Simply put, everything about Bates and its culture resonates with me.”

He added, “We are at a pivotal moment for American society and higher education. The world urgently needs leaders who have been challenged, developed, and nurtured by Bates and a liberal arts education. I am excited about what our community will accomplish together in the years ahead.”

Since 2016, Jenkins has been dean and the William S. Pattee Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School. Prior to joining the Minnesota Law School, Jenkins was a professor of law at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law for 12 years, including eight years as associate dean for academic affairs. In 2014, he was named the school’s John C. Elam/Vorys Sater Professor of Law.

Professor Jenkins was raised in northern New Jersey and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. He holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Kennedy School at Harvard University and a juris doctorate from the Harvard Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Civil Rights–Civil Liberties Law Review.


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