Air date: Saturday, November 16
Guest: Clayton Spencer
Host: Steve Woods (Stevoe)
Studio Contributor Debi Davis
Executive Producer: Mark Gould (Sharky)
Assistant Producer: Shannon Maguire
President of Bates College, Clayton Spencer, grew up in Concord, North Carolina. Her father was a history professor and Dean at Davidson College, so Spencer was raised in an academic world. Spencer told Stevoe that as a child, she was a sponge for all that was going on around her on campus. She attended Williams College (graduated magna cum laude), where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history, then went on to Oxford for a bachelor’s in theology. Spencer returned to the states, first for a master’s in religion at Harvard, and then to Yale Law School.
In 1989, Spencer served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Boston, prosecuting criminal cases. While at Yale Law School, Spencer was an editor of the Yale Law Journal, winner of the Moot Court competition and chair of the Public Interest Council.
In 1993 she became chief education counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources under Senator Edward Kennedy. She managed the committee’s education staff and directed the legislative process for education legislation and policy, including federal student aid, science and research policy, the education budget and technology in education. Senator Kennedy was a tremendous influence for Spencer, “He was hugely progressive and relentless in pursuing his goals,” Spencer said. Spencer described herself as a higher education junkie, not a Kennedy groupie, when speaking with Stevoe about her experience working with Senator Kennedy.
She left government in 1997 and moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she served first as associate vice president and then vice president for policy at Harvard. At Harvard, Spencer was a key player in financial aid reform. Her steadfast goal was to make a Harvard education affordable to all deserving students, no matter their financial status.
Spencer stayed at Harvard until her appointment as president of Bates College in October 2012. Clayton Spencer was elected by the Bates College Board of Trustees as the eighth president of Bates on Dec. 3, 2011. She took office July 1, 2012.