After 14 years of service to the College, Bowdoin’s Ashmead White Director of Athletics Jeff Ward announced Monday he will leave his post at the end of July.
“I have enjoyed every victory, and there have been many, but my most enduring memories will be from my prime seat in watching the growth and development of hundreds of Bowdoin students,” says Ward.
In a message to the Bowdoin community, President Barry Mills and Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster praised Ward’s remarkable commitment to Bowdoin athletics and student-athletes, saying, “Of all that he has accomplished at Bowdoin, we know Jeff is most proud of his role as a teacher. While he treasures the enthusiasm and excitement that college athletics can inject into the lives of participants and the larger community — and the relationships that flow from these experiences — it is the educational component of sport that Jeff holds most dear.”
Message from President Mills and Dean Foster:
To Members of the Bowdoin Community,
Jeff Ward, Bowdoin’s Ashmead White Director of Athletics, announced this morning that he will be leaving the College to pursue the next chapter in his career. His announcement appears below. Jeff, who has led our Athletic Department with integrity for 14 years, will continue his work at the College through the summer to complete a number of important ongoing projects and to help us with the transition.
Jeff has built an enormously successful athletic department that reflects the ambition and values of the College. We want to take the opportunity here to highlight his most significant contributions and to say a word about the future leadership of Bowdoin athletics.
Jeff’s commitment to Bowdoin athletics and our student athletes has been remarkable. In addition to new programs and facilities, Jeff has built a talented and dedicated staff of coaches who serve as educators to our students both on and off the field. He has served as an invaluable mentor to young coaches, while also developing lasting relationships with countless student athletes, alumni and parents.
Every fan of the Polar Bears knows Jeff as our most enthusiastic cheerleader. He is a constant and passionate presence at contests both here and on the road, and he has built genuine pride in our athletic programs, services, and facilities. Bowdoin coaches and students are honored to represent the College and they all expect to be successful. That confidence and expectation for achievement speak for themselves, and they are a testament to Jeff’s leadership, his optimism and his pursuit of excellence.
Of course, Jeff has built much more than winning teams and a healthy spirit of competition. He has also integrated athletics more wholly into the life of the College in ways that have had a positive impact on our campus culture and on our broader community. Through the development of department-wide programs like Captain’s Training and Girls and Women in Sports Day, and by partnering with others at Bowdoin to develop highly effective programs addressing issues like sexual violence and homophobia, Jeff has transcended stereotypes, emphasized character, and shown us all the power of teamwork and cooperation.
Then there are the wonderful facilities that have come to life on this campus during Jeff’s tenure: The Sidney J. Watson Arena, the Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness, the Howard E. Ryan Artificial Turf Field, the Lubin Family Squash Courts, and the Joan Benoit Samuelson Track. All of these have been praised for their beauty, functionality, and durability — characteristics that can be traced in large measure to Jeff’s advocacy, guidance, and imagination.
Of all that he has accomplished at Bowdoin, we know Jeff is most proud of his role as a teacher. While he treasures the enthusiasm and excitement that college athletics can inject into the lives of participants and the larger community — and the relationships that flow from these experiences — it is the educational component of sport that Jeff holds most dear. He believes strongly that an outstanding liberal arts education and a great intercollegiate athletic experience are a powerful combination that prepares young women and men for a meaningful and enjoyable life. Aspiration, preparation, understanding, self-confidence, and personal responsibility are at the heart of both, and Jeff has worked hard to ensure that, at Bowdoin, they are complementary experiences.
In the fall, we will form a search committee for Jeff’s successor that will include representation from across the College. Upon Jeff’s departure later this summer, Associate Director of Athletics Tim Ryan ’98 will assume this important leadership position as interim director. Tim has our full support and we are grateful that he has agreed to take on this role.
Bowdoin College has been a huge part of Jeff’s life, and we are a better place as a result of his efforts. Please join us in thanking Jeff for his many contributions to Bowdoin and in wishing him the very best as he pursues the next chapter in his career. Plans to celebrate Jeff officially will be circulated when the College reconvenes in the fall.
Ashmead White Director of Athletics Jeff Ward’s announcement:
It has been such an honor to serve as Bowdoin’s Director of Athletics for these past 14 years. I have enjoyed every moment of my job, but I have come to realize that it’s time for me to move on. I preach to students all the time the importance of aspiration and challenge in a life well lived. That’s as true for me as it is for them. As such, I’m going to take a time out so that I can figure out where next to plunge in.
To work with such talented and caring colleagues has made even my most challenging day a true pleasure. I have enjoyed every victory, and there have been many, but my most enduring memories will be from my prime seat in watching the growth and development of hundreds of Bowdoin students.
I am very proud of Bowdoin Athletics. We are the best of college sports, a place where the experience of playing compliments and supports the education in the classroom. This past year, the Polar Bears likely enjoyed their most successful year in the arena. It is very gratifying for me to report that it was also likely our most successful in the classroom. Representing Bowdoin is important and meaningful for our students, but our contests are not the defining experiences of their lives, just part of the preparation.
Bowdoin is such a special place. I will remain a fan for life. Whether it’s pacing the sidelines or clicking “reload” on my computer live stats, I will always be a Polar Bear.