In Brief

Sugaring Time Again; Former President Writes Autobiography; Alum Signs with Baseball Team; News from the Nursing and Business Administration Departments and more.

Making Their Mark

Learn about how our community members engage in writing, presentations and exhibitions.

Past as Prologue

Explore Haystack, a portal to the history of Colby-Sawyer College.

Colby-Sawyer Courier

Keep up with campus news from students' perspectives through the Colby-Sawyer Courier.


This new literary magazine features creative writing in many genres by current students and alumni, faculty and staff, and a few friends and partners.


Find out what Colby-Sawyer alumni have been up to since graduation.

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A Winter's Tale: How President Galligan Met Colby-Sawyer College

Thomas Galligan first visited Colby-Sawyer College on a quiet, midwinter afternoon early in 2006. “I had never seen the campus in person,” Galligan recalls. “I had seen pictures on Web page, and in materials sent to me by the [Presidential] Search Committee.

“Earlier in the day I'd been to my initial interview for the president's job, held in a hotel in Manchester. Then I just drove up I89, got off at Exit 11, and came up to the campus.

“It was an unseasonably warm day for January. It may have been 60 degrees, very warm, not cloudy. It was also very quiet. I think school started up again on the following Monday. A local volunteer rescue dog group [New England K-9 Search and Rescue] was having a training exercise. So there were people with dogs walking around campus.

“I liked what I saw a lot. I drove down to the College Café, got around to Seamans [Road] to see the campus from the back. Then I headed up to Hanover and spent the rest of the day with my daughter [a sophomore at Dartmouth College] and her friends. Then the next morning I went back to New London and took another spin around the campus.

“The college campus did make an impression, a very positive impression. I felt an emotional connection when I first saw it--- that great arc off Main Street was really striking, the famous cupola, the Georgian buildings. They really say 'College.' At the same time, when you get inside it is just as nice. Not that there aren't a few physical facilities that we don't want to improve. But I would say the campus immediately sends a very positive message about what the college is about.”

Getting to Know You

Galligan soon met the college and local communities as well. “After the appointment [as Colby-Sawyer's president] was announced, we came to campus and were introduced. It was a wonderful day---minus 11 degrees but gorgeous. The sun was out, and you could the see the snow crystallizing and sparkling in the air. The weather was cold but the emotions were warm.

“I was struck by the statement I so often heard: 'At Colby-Sawyer, every decision starts with asking: how will students benefit?' Then the question for me became 'how true is that? Is it really a value or just a tag line?

“As I met the board, met faculty, met the staff, I could see that it really was true. I could understand that people here ask that question all the time. There is a sense of common mission, of people work together collaboratively. And they have fun doing it.

“Having a big mission and long-term planning are very important. But we all live day to day. People here seem to understand the importance of having enjoyable day to day experiences. And that really made a positive impression, too.”

The Gown Goes to Town

A working knowledge of New London and the surrounding towns came a bit later. “I'm still getting to know the area. We were privileged to be in the Hospital Days Parade last summer. We discovered Pleasant Lake. I found the road around Little Lake Sunapee. I'm a jogger, and I like to run around the lake. I get there by Burpee Hill. The beauty helps you get up the hills, and there are hills everywhere!”

“People in town say really good things about the college. And the college really appreciates the support of community. A lot of people [from the town] work out at Hogan [Sports Center]. A lot of people come to art shows. People have children at the Windy Hill School. People come to our athletic events.

“Then our students connect with the community in various capacities. They work in local businesses, do internships in New London. Some produce videos for local organizations, others participate in testing water quality around Lake Sunapee for the Lake Sunapee Protective Association.

“For many people who have moved here in recent years, part of the reason is because there is a college in town. They want to be involved. They are committed to lifelong learning. They become involved with governance.

“If you look at the board, many members' connection is because they live in New London. The college's by-laws provide that at least one of trustees has to have been a resident for at least five years. Of course we also have wonderful graduates who serve on and lead the board.”

The Liberal Arts Foundation

Galligan's children also played a role in bringing him to Colby-Sawyer. Two of them are undergraduates at New England liberal arts colleges. Campus visits reintroduced him to the region and liberal arts ideals.

“When we visited our son's school, it reintroduced us to benefits of a liberal arts education. The way these programs were described, the sort of engagement a liberal arts curriculum provides, both academically and intellectually, planted a seed in my mind.

“When I looked at the Colby Sawyer materials, I was quickly drawn to the Liberal Education Program. It is an innovating, interdisciplinary curriculum. The Pathways program is really exciting. I was talking about the Pathways courses with one of our new Admissions counselors and he said 'I want to take them all!'

“[Colby-Sawyer's Pathways program] is not just a freshman seminar but a linked group of five courses over two years. The Pathways courses themselves are thematically organized around issues that come at you the way life comes at you.

The Goals of a Colby-Sawyer Education

“I'm sure the [Pathways] program will keep evolving. It sets a theme, which is growth. Then you think about a major and the growth continues and here that growth is going to culminate in something.

“When I finished the last course in my major, I just checked the last box. Here you are going to have a Capstone project--an internship, a portfolio, something that, when you are interviewing for jobs, you can show the person what you did in your education. Finally, as a student you will be able to reflect upon your growth and your learning, what you have accomplished.

“What is really interesting to me is that the faculty here are committed to making sure students are learning, not just the course material, but what we want them to learn 'from 30,000 feet'---critical thinking, communication skills, developing an ethical perspective, how to look at problems from multiple perspectives, commitment to lifelong learning.

“We always need to think--what outcome do we want? How are we trying to achieve that outcome from studying a particular subject? As teachers, we sometimes tend to get lost in our subject. We are only there for a semester. As educators, we need to have an eye on short-term and long- term goals. We have to ensure that we offer a more effective education and develop an engaged, committed student. Colby-Sawyer does exactly that!”