Two Women Serving as College Presidents Announce Their Retirements

Clayton Spencer, president of Bates College in Waterville, Maine, announced that she will step down from her post on June 30, 2023. Dr. Spencer became president of Bates College on July 1, 2012. She had been vice president for policy at Harvard University. Before coming to Harvard, she was chief education counsel in the U.S. Senate, working for the Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

“I have loved my time at Bates,” said Spencer in a letter to the community. “On my first trip to campus in December 2011, when I was introduced to the Bates community, I was so impressed by the students I met and thrilled to get a sense, firsthand, of the beautiful work our faculty and staff do every day to make Bates the extraordinary place it is. I have felt so lucky to be part of this community, and I am proud of all that we have accomplished together.”

Dr. Spencer is a native of North Carolina. Her father served as president of Mary Baldwin College and Davidson College. She attended Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, and went on to complete undergraduate study at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where she graduated magna cum laude. Dr. Spencer earned a second bachelor’s degree at Oxford University and a master’s degree in religion from Harvard University. She is a graduate of Yale Law School where she was the editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Lori Bennett, president of Clovis Community College in Fresno, California, has announced that she will retire at the end of the calendar year. Dr. Bennett was named president of the college in 2016. Previously, Dr. Bennett served for three years as the executive vice president at Moorpark College in California. Prior to that, she was a dean of student learning, department chair, and business professor at Moorpark College.

In a message to the college community, Dr. Bennett wrote: “I have served in higher education for almost 30 years, as a faculty member and administrator, including six years as your president. I love our college and our district, but after much discussion, my family and I are ready for a new chapter in my life.”

Dr. Bennett received a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Southern California. She earned an MBA in marketing and finance from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from California State University, Northridge.

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