our president

for more information

Lisa F. Tedeschi
Chief of Staff and Director of Strategic Planning
(603) 526-3451

president's messages

A New Year of Growth and Change

January 2007

As I write this, my second letter to the Colby-Sawyer community, a new year is beginning. It is that time in the cycle of nature when the earth prepares itself for the new growth that lies ahead, and it is finally cold in New Hampshire! At Colby-Sawyer, we are ready for the growth that the second semester will bring to our community, and specifically, to our students.

This past fall was fun, busy and engaging. Early on, I met with alumni and friends of the college from New London to Boston to California to Oregon. If we haven't seen you yet, we are coming. Ahead are visits to New York, Florida and other parts of the country.

On campus, I attended several classes as a guest lecturer and realized how much I hope to return to teaching next year. It was exciting for me to be part of the dynamic of students and faculty in our small, engaged classrooms. Teaching keeps me connected to why I'm in higher education in the first place.

I also participated in our fantastic Deans in Jeans program, visiting residence halls and meeting students. Dean of Faculty Deb Taylor, Dean of Students Dave Sauerwein and I heard about what students like and what they would like us to do even better. Groups of students also visited me over dessert in the President's House, and we enjoyed some wonderful conversations that will continue in the years ahead.

This fall I also watched our Chargers Athletic teams compete on the field, the courts and elsewhere. Among the highlights was the volleyball team's trip to the ECAC Finals and the first inductions into the Colby-Sawyer Athletic Hall of Fame. Winter sports are now underway, and the spirit of the student-athlete soars. Learn more about Colby-Sawyer Athletics.

Our Fabulous Faculty and Academic Programs

I also had informal meetings with groups of faculty in my office and home. Our faculty are deeply committed to, and excel at their teaching, yet they are also advisors, scholars, artists and mentors. They are omnipresent on campus. Our faculty members are well ahead of the national curve in emphasizing interdisciplinary education, in placing classroom teaching as their first priority, and in focusing on learning outcomes across the curriculum. Learn more about our Faculty.

Colby-Sawyer is extremely fortunate to have such an engaged, dedicated faculty. We will continue to support their efforts to enhance their knowledge and creativity through national and international venues, conferences, colloquia and other professional development opportunities.

To meet our goal of increasing the percentage of classes taught by full-time faculty, we are currently searching for nine faculty members who will teach all across the curriculum. The increased size of our faculty will allow us to continue providing our students with an excellent, challenging and personalized education.

On campus, we have begun critical discussions about the Colby-Sawyer of tomorrow. A key part of this process will be dialogue with faculty about our academic disciplines and programs. We will build upon our fantastic Liberal Education Program; we will discuss the evolution of our disciplines over the next five years, how these disciplines will inevitably overlap, and how the college might expand and deepen our academic programs. These discussions promise to be robust and exciting.

Honoring Our People

This year we will begin the search for a new academic dean. After two years of excellent service in that role, Professor of Social Sciences and Education and M. Roy London Endowed Chair Joe Carroll has decided to return to the faculty, where he will continue to follow his true calling and passion for teaching.

Another outstanding faculty member, Don Coonley, will leave teaching after 18 years at Colby-Sawyer to become a full-time filmmaker. Beginning in 1989, Don built the video arts program in Communications Studies. He has taught his students much and demanded much of them.

One of the highlights of every semester is the Festival of Lights, featuring Don's students' compelling, moving, creative videos about Colby-Sawyer, community service organizations, and everything else imaginable. We are all in Don's debt for his enormous contributions to our students, to the Colby-Sawyer education, and to our community.

For the last nine years, Judy Muyskens has served with intelligence, grace, distinction and dedication as Colby-Sawyer's academic vice president and dean of faculty, then as vice president for advancement, and finally, as interim vice president of enrollment management and college relations. Judy has decided to return to her native Midwest, accepting a position as vice president of academic affairs with the Appalachian College Association. We will miss her greatly and thank her profusely for her wise and compassionate leadership at Colby-Sawyer.

As time passes, I'm getting to know our fabulous staff even better. They have welcomed me with warmth, understanding, support and good humor. One of the fall's highlights was to present the Employee of the Year Award to Teresa Gallagher, known by our students as Mama T, and who richly deserves this special honor for her devotion and commitment to our students. It was a treat for me to learn about the 60 staff members nominated for the award this year; they do so much to make our lives better. They nurture our students in the residence halls, oversee cocurricular programs, work with student organizations, provide career counseling, keep the facilities in great shape, provide and oversee cutting edge technology, and much more. We are grateful to each and every one of them.

This year several staff members have retired after long and meaningful careers at Colby-Sawyer. Alumna Deb Reed worked with Treasurer Doug Lyon and Vice President for Administration Doug Atkins for many years. After all that diligent Doug-watching, she decided it was time for other pursuits. In December, we celebrated the career of Jane Graham, who has worked in a variety of capacities in our library over the years. Jane has retired to focus more fully on her volunteer work and bridge. We wish them both well and greatly appreciate all their important contributions to the college.

The campus also experienced great sadness this fall. We mourn the passing of two former trustees and friends of the college, Gerry Mayer and Saul Greenspan. We also feel the loss of our student, Corey Worsham, who died in a motorcycle accident just after Thanksgiving, and of our friend and former employee, Chris Otis, who passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. The Colby-Sawyer family extends our sympathies and healing thoughts to their families and friends.

Focus on Enrollment, Resource Management

Enrollment remains our number one priority, given the projected decline of New England high school students and the smaller than optimal size of our wonderful class of 2010. Fortunately, we are making great strides in our enrollment efforts for the class of 2011.

Judy Muyskens and her staff in Admissions have worked hard to communicate to prospective students about the distinctive nature of a Colby-Sawyer education. They are also working closely with the Personalizing Colby-Sawyer: The Focus on Enrollment Task Force to strengthen our internal admissions processes and reach out to greater numbers of potential students.

We are also focused on careful stewardship of our current resources, managing them as effectively and efficiently as possible, and seeking new ways to enhance revenue and manage our costs. To that end, we have formed a broad-based campus group, Reengineering Colby-Sawyer: The Revenue Enhancement and Operations Task Force. The group will work with the larger college community to review current operations, generate new ideas and collectively envision the Colby-Sawyer College of tomorrow. As always, the question, “How will this benefit our students?” is our highest priority. On January 19, we had a campus wide conversation on reengineering which was reenergizing and positive. Read more about Colby-Sawyer's Task Forces.

Foundations of Support

We've had several favorable decisions from charitable foundations this year. After their trustees visited the campus last November, the Davis Educational Foundation fully funded our request for $252,350 to undertake a major document imaging and workflow management project.

This will allow college records from the library archives, admissions, advancement, the registrar, the business office and others to be preserved in an accessible and searchable way, enhancing both the usefulness of the materials and the efficiency of operations. Read more about the Davis Educational Foundation-funded project.

Last year the college received a commitment from the Byrne Foundation to match up to $25,000 in new money for nursing scholarships. This year the Cogswell Benevolent Trust accepted our proposal to meet that challenge and has awarded us $25,000, resulting in an additional $50,000 in financial aid to help us bring the most promising nursing students to Colby-Sawyer.

The Skelly Foundation has also awarded us $30,000 for nursing scholarships, an increase of $5,000 over last year's gift.

We are extremely grateful to all of these wonderful foundations for their invaluable support of the college and its mission.

A Galligan Family Update

The holidays were great for all the Galligans. Susan and I left New London on December 20 and joined the rest of the family in Knoxville, where we spent a busy two weeks eating, giving, catching up with old friends, running, reading and going to the movies.

We even entertained two wonderful friends of Jennifer's from Proctor Academy, who met many of her old friends in Tennessee. It was a cultural exchange.

Now Patrick is pondering what he will do after he graduates from Bates College in just five short months. Sarah has left for a quarter in Toulouse, France, where she will live with a family, attend classes and come home speaking only French. C'est magnifique.

Aisling will finish high school in Tennessee and then join Sarah in September at that college up the road. Jennifer, after a fantastic fall at Proctor, has returned to her life as a high school freshman and is worried about biology, history, literature, French, geometry, chorus, basketball and a demanding social calendar.

Susan continues to commute between Knoxville and New London, moving between Aisling and Jennifer and me.

A Closing Story

Let me close with a story. On New Year's Eve, my wife Susan and I had dinner with friends who had also invited their neighbors, whom we had not met before. The neighbors were a married couple, both doctors. Early in the evening I found myself in conversation with one of the doctors, who asked me what I did for a living. I told him I was the president of Colby-Sawyer College.

“Tell me about Colby-Sawyer,” he said. As I was talking about our size, history and courses, he stopped me and asked me what made Colby-Sawyer different. I told him about innovatively integrating learning in the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation and about making every decision according to how students benefit.

I described our Pathways, our dedicated faculty and staff, our Capstones, and students' ePortfolios and about how we blend academics, and student development, athletics and internships into a cohesive learning experience. Finally, I talked about our beautiful campus and surrounding environment, and our great relationships with the many friends of the college and our neighboring communities.

“Wow,” he said. “Sorry to ask so many questions, but I'm really interested in small colleges. I went to a small college, and it made a huge difference in my life,” he said. “It gave me the skills I needed to succeed in life. It gave me the confidence to become a doctor even though I hadn't taken just pre-med courses. It gave me the ability to communicate and to solve problems. My education gave me the skills to be a good citizen in my community. I knew my teachers, and they knew me. They were great teachers who influenced my life and inspired me. From what you've told me, Colby-Sawyer is that kind of place.”

“It is indeed that kind of place,” I said. “I envy you,” he continued. “You have a great job.”

“Yes, I do,” I said. “I really do have a great job.”

The Colby-Sawyer community begins 2007 with great enthusiasm and anticipation for a new year of growth and positive change, both as individuals and as a community. As your new president, I'm thankful for your warm welcome and pleased to be part of this dynamic teaching and learning community.

All the best,

Thomas C. Galligan Jr.

President and Professor of Humanities
tgalligan@colby-sawyer.edu