James S. Coles
|James S. Coles|
|9th President of Bowdoin College|
|Term||1952 – 1968|
|Predecessor||Kenneth C.M. Sills|
|Successor||Roger Howell, Jr.|
|Born||June 3, 1913
|Died||July 13, 1996
|Alma mater||Columbia University|
Life and career
After having graduated from Columbia University in 1936, Coles earned a PHD in chemistry at Columbia and taught at several educational institutions including Middlebury College and Brown University before becoming president of Bowdoin. Additionally, for his work in anti-submarine warfare during World War II done at the Underwater Explosives Research Laboratory at Woods Hole, he was awarded the President’s Certificate of Merit.
Coles became president of Bowdoin in 1952 and served until 1968. Coles was the first president to build dorms for seniors and saw the sizes of his student body, faculty, and campus grow dramatically. Notably, the Coles Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Maine, was built during his tenure. Originally known as the Senior Center, the 16-story building was an educational experiment that brought virtually the entire senior class into a single residence hall and made a senior seminar part of each semester's course offerings.
After he left Bowdoin, Coles became president of Research Corporation, a private foundation for the advancement of science and technology. During his occupancy, the foundation’s assets increased from $11 million to $46 million.
Kenneth C.M. Sills
|President of Bowdoin College
Roger Howell, Jr.