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Bowdoin College elects its first woman president

Safa Zaki will serve as the college's 16th president and first woman president.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Bowdoin College announced Thursday its Board of Trustees has unanimously elected a new president.

Safa Zaki will serve as the college's 16th president and first woman president, a news release from Bowdoin College said.

Zaki currently serves as the dean of the faculty and the John B. McCoy and John T. McCoy professor of psychology at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, according to the release.

The college said Thursday that Zaki's appointment follows a national search for a new president.

She succeeds Clayton S. Rose, who will have served eight years in the role when his tenure comes to an end, the release said. Rose announced in 2022 he would be stepping down from the position at the end of the current academic year.

"Safa’s character, exemplary scholarship, and teaching, dedication to students, and deep experience as an administrator and colleague to faculty and staff make her the perfect leader for Bowdoin,” Rose said in the release. “Bowdoin is an extraordinary college and community, and I am thrilled that Safa will be our next president.”

Zaki was born in Egypt and grew up in a number of countries, including Syria, Jordan, Tanzania, and Trinidad and Tobago, the release said.

She has a bachelor's degree in psychology from American University in Cairo, and a master's and doctorate degree in psychology from Arizona State University.

“My years at Williams have been wonderful,” Zaki said Thursday, “And I know Bowdoin shares many similar values, along with its own unique sense of community and its own traditions. I am particularly inspired by Bowdoin’s commitment to the common good, something I sensed in all my conversations throughout the search process and in my time on campus. I am so looking forward to joining the Bowdoin community, and to meeting and learning from everyone in it. I am honored, grateful, and excited to have been selected for this amazing leadership position, and to be the beneficiary of those who have made Bowdoin one of the world’s most distinguished liberal arts colleges.”

Zaki will assume the role of president of Bowdoin College on July 1.

You can read the full announcement here.

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