our president

for more information

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

president's messages

How Will Our Students Benefit?

January 2008

It is January at Colby-Sawyer College, and winter is really here. We have snow covering the ground and more certain to come. It's a wonderful time to ski or snowshoe, or even just sit by the fire. It's a great time to take stock of what we have accomplished and all we hope to achieve in the months and years ahead. The new year also gives us an opportunity to reconsider the things we truly believe in.

At Colby-Sawyer College, we believe in an individualized educational experience for every one of our students. Our belief in our students and in their education is a defining value and trait of this great institution, and one of the reasons we make every major decision by asking: How will our students benefit?

I believe in the values and benefits of a Colby-Sawyer education for many reasons. We all know that education provides opportunity, but an education provides much more than an opportunity to succeed economically. It provides the opportunity to find the things one truly loves. An education can show us what we find rewarding in a personal and a societal sense, and what we can hope to be and create in our lives.

Moreover, a college education can make someone an “educated” person. That may sound circular, but education teaches a person how to think critically, how to communicate, how to lead, and how to understand and apply multiple perspectives. Education prepares one for a life of ongoing learning and makes one comfortable and happy in the world of ideas.

An education encourages a person to always ask questions. Why are things the way they are? How could they be better? How might I play a role in creating that better world? An education can enhance and refine our sense of beauty. It can meaningfully link a person to one's own cultural background and to the cultures and histories of other people, communities and societies. An education broadens perspective and can open the door to a fuller, richer life.

At Colby-Sawyer, we integrate professional preparation with teaching and learning in liberal arts and sciences. We strive to link the personal and professional opportunities an education provides with the intrinsic benefits and values of a liberal arts education. We seek to merge life in the tangible world with life in the world of ideas. I can imagine no higher goal for an undergraduate institution.

Plans in Progress

As I take stock of our work so far this year, I am excited about how committed I am to the great projects we are diligently working on and the tremendous progress we are making. I would like to update you on some of those projects.

Last summer we began the process of updating the college's Strategic Plan. We have articulated eleven college-wide goals and how to achieve them. The goals relate to: enrollment, academic excellence, student development, human resources, diversity, trustee involvement, advancement, communications, town/gown relations, facilities and financial strength. At the same time, we are taking steps to streamline and update our annual planning, budgetary and personnel processes, and connect them to the Strategic Plan's goals.

We have shared the goals with the college community and gathered feedback, which we have begun to incorporate in our usual collegial manner. We will present the revised goals to the Board of Trustees at their February meeting. A good plan evolves and improves as it is implemented, and we look forward to this ongoing, dynamic process.

All about Enrollment

On the enrollment front, we are heading into one of the busiest times of the year. As of mid-January, we had 377 more applications for admission than we had last year at this time. This year's entering class was the largest in reliable recorded history—381. Our goal for next year's entering class is approximately 355 students, which will put us at our residential student capacity.

In fact, it will be necessary for us to build additional rooms, which we currently propose to do in three of our beautiful residence halls—Colby, McKean and Page. Our success in enrollment plays a key role in our conversations about the college's optimal size for the future. As you will recall from my fall letter, we never want to be too large to provide an individualized Colby-Sawyer education for each of our students. At the same time, we want to be large enough to provide the educational benefits we deem essential.

Next year, we are committed to doubling the population of our international students, which will provide us with a richer, more culturally diverse community. A larger international student population will also improve our ability to prepare American students for life in a global community.

As we strive to increase international diversity, we are also deeply committed to attracting greater overall diversity, which would benefit the entire community and improve our students' ability to employ and understand multiple perspectives. Greater diversity will make our classrooms, laboratories, residence halls and cocurricular activities more vibrant and representative of the world in which we live and work.

Excellence in Academic Programs

Moving from enrollment to academic excellence, our faculty continues to develop new academic programs. While we have instituted our Liberal Education Program and other meaningful improvements to our overall educational programs, we have added just one major field of study in the past decade. We now believe it is time to slightly increase the number of majors to improve the overall educational experience of our students and to provide them with more choice. More choice will also help us to recruit and retain students as we move forward.

We are also formalizing advising programs that have existed for years but have not always been clearly communicated to prospective students. These include pre-med, pre-law, pre-vet and pre-physical therapy advising. Our ability to recruit and retain outstanding students is particularly important as there will be fewer high school students in New England in 2010 than there are today.

Additionally, we are committed to increasing the size of our full-time faculty. We know that our students benefit from having full-time faculty available in the classroom and on campus. Full-time faculty are here to teach, advise, mentor and more. This year we are engaged in searches for 13 new faculty members who will teach across the entire curriculum. We are excited about this great opportunity to welcome new colleagues into our community.

Student Development and Athletics continue to do outstanding work to extend the educational experience of the classroom to the residence hall, the competition arena, and beyond. Deans in Jeans was named by the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education in the state of New Hampshire as Program of the Year. Student Development also continues to work on many other projects, including emergency preparedness.

Support Makes the Difference

Like many great institutions, Colby-Sawyer College depends upon the generous support of alumni and friends. Tuition revenue provides about 85 percent of the cost of each student's education, and the rest is provided by you, our alumni, parents, friends and college community members.

For that generous and critical support, we all say thank you. Our Advancement goals this year include increasing the number of alumni who support the Annual Fund. So far, we are significantly ahead of where we were last year at this time, and we are grateful to all who have participated to date.

Those who support Colby-Sawyer sometimes tell us they wish their gift could be larger and wonder whether a small gift makes a difference. Believe me, it does. Every gift you make to Colby-Sawyer makes a positive difference in our students' lives. Whether your gift is five dollars or $5 million, you make a difference.

By supporting Colby-Sawyer, you show that the college matters to you, and you show other donors and foundations that you want to participate, and that you believe in our academic mission and the distinctive educational opportunities we offer. If you have not yet participated in the Annual Fund, please know that your gift would be appreciated and immediately put to good use.

We strive to nurture and enhance the college's already strong relationships with the town and surrounding community. We are extremely proud of the Adventures in Learning program, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and of the Chargers Club, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Expanding the Arts

Finally, we continue to celebrate and preserve our beautiful facilities. This year, we created a campus-wide Sustainability Advisory Committee that is working to improve the ways in which we steward our campus and surrounding resources. We are also excited about the chance to create inspiring, responsible new facilities.

As many of you know, our next major project will be a new fine and performing arts center. A new facility for these disciplines will transform and inspire our community just as the Sawyer Fine and Performing Arts Center and Marian Graves Mugar Art Wing and Art Gallery, Ware Campus Center and the Susan Colgate Cleveland Library/Learning Center have with their presence.

A new fine and performing arts center will improve and change the college and our community, just as the additions of the Dan and Kathleen Hogan Sports Center and the Curtis L. Ivey Science Center have in more recent years. We are excited about this project and look forward to keeping you informed about its progress as we move forward.

To return to the theme with which I began, it is great to teach and work at a place as wonderful as Colby-Sawyer College. In fact, it is fabulous to teach, work and live at a place in which I so wholeheartedly believe. I wish you all a happy winter, spring semester and new year. Please stop by and visit when you are near our wonderful college. Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas C. Galligan Jr.

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