LEWISTON — The inauguration of Garry Jenkins as the ninth president of Bates College, postponed in October after a mass shooting took place nearby, has been rescheduled for May 4.

The 10:30 a.m. ceremony will take place in Merrill Gymnasium at the college after a procession slated to begin a half-hour earlier at the college’s Commons dining hall.

Jenkins took office last summer upon the departure of former President Clayton Spencer, who held the job for more than a decade.

His inauguration had been planned for Oct. 27, but the city was in lockdown that day as police hunted for the gunman who killed 18 people at two Lewiston entertainment venues two days earlier.

Bates College President Garry Jenkins addresses students and faculty Sept. 5 during convocation in the quad on the Lewiston campus. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file

Jenkins, a New Jersey native who served most recently as dean of the University of Minnesota Law School, is the first Black president at one of the first colleges in the nation to accept women and black students, which it has done from the day it opened its doors.

Jenkins has become a familiar face around campus, attending many academic, social and athletic events since coming to Lewiston.


He studied as an undergraduate at Haverford College. He later earned a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

Among the many positions he’s held in his professional career is a long stint on Haverford’s board of directors. He is on the board of the National Women’s Law Center in the nation’s capital.

Jenkins lives in the president’s house on campus with his husband, Jon. J. Lee, a professor at the University of Maine School of Law in Portland.

Bates has a tradition of presidents who serve lengthy terms. Prior to Jenkins it had eight college leaders since its founding in 1855, an average of 21 years per president.

Attending the ceremony requires tickets, though all faculty, staff and students are welcome if there’s enough space in the gymnasium. The 90-minute ceremony will be livestreamed.

The college plans a series of related activities during the inaugural weekend, but details are not yet available.

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