Kelly Kerner has been named Bowdoin’s senior vice president for development and alumni relations, effective January 1, 2012. Kerner, currently vice president for college advancement at Bates College, brings two decades of fundraising and strategic leadership experience to Bowdoin’s award-winning development team.
President Barry Mills announced the Kerner appointment, the result of a comprehensive national search led by Mills and Stephen F. Gormley “˜72, the chair of the Board of Trustees.
“This has been a careful and important search for Bowdoin, and I am convinced that in Kelly Kerner we have found the very best person to lead our exceptional development and alumni relations team,” said Mills.
“All of us on the search committee were impressed with Kelly’s record of accomplishment and his leadership ability. He’s a professional with integrity who believes passionately in the liberal arts and their critical role in American higher education. He will be a fantastic leader at Bowdoin and I look forward to working with him on behalf of our college.”
Kerner comes to Bowdoin following more than three years as the chief development officer at Bates and 14 years in leading fundraising roles at Middlebury College in Vermont. He previously spent three years at the University of Portland in Oregon as a development director and athletics marketing director. A graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder, Kerner has been an internationally-ranked tennis player. He lives in Yarmouth, Maine, with his wife and two children.
“I am thrilled and honored to be chosen to lead one of the top development and alumni relations operations at one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the world,” said Kerner. “I am also excited and humbled to be working with everyone at Bowdoin, including Barry Mills, who has demonstrated his effectiveness as a national leader in the liberal arts. I will do all I can to ensure that Bowdoin continues to flourish in the areas of fundraising and engagement, and I look forward to working with the Bowdoin team to achieve even greater success.”
Kerner will report to Mills and will serve as a key member of the leadership team that sets the strategic direction of the College. Building on the assets of one of the nation’s most effective college fundraising programs, Kerner will provide strategic direction for an advancement operation that effectively engages a loyal and diverse group of alumni in the life of the College. Total giving to Bowdoin in FY 2010-11 was almost $36 million. Bowdoin’s Annual Giving program raised $9.8 million, with an alumni participation rate of over 56%. The College also raised over $2 million from parents in the last year.
“I was very pleased with the process that selected Kelly for this critical position,” said Gormley. “It is a role that carries great responsibility for the future of the College-something I and the other trustees on the search committee knew from the start. We have confidence in Kelly because he clearly has the experience, character, and leadership ability to ensure Bowdoin’s position as one of America’s very best liberal arts colleges.”
Kerner succeeds William Torrey, who stepped down in June after 20 years as Bowdoin’s chief development officer. During Torrey’s tenure, Bowdoin raised more than $600 million in contributions, a level of giving that “transformed the College,” according to Mills.