One Goal Leading to a Different OutcomeNick Ciarlante ’14

On September 3, 2010, after convocation had ended and I said goodbye to my parents, I began new student orientation with one goal in mind—transferring to Boston University the following year. BU was my dream school and having been denied admission to a place that I wanted to call home, I was devastated. As classes began, I would continue working towards that goal, including thinking how I would become involved with student life. Three weeks into classes —September 20, 2010—was Mountain Day and looking back on that day nine years ago, it was that day that would shape my entire Colby-Sawyer experience.

After reaching the summit of Mount Kearsarge, taking a bunch of photos to send home because I had never hiked a mountain, signing the banner, and posing for the group photo, my roommate Dan and I decided to take the shorter, but steeper path down. A few steps onto the trail we met President Galligan. In response to several of his questions, I told him that I was from Stoneham, MA, I was pursuing my degree in business administration, I was looking to get involved with student life, and most importantly that I was enjoying my first Mountain Day. Dan and I only expected a brief conversation with him, however, the three of us would end up hiking the entire way down together.

A couple of weeks later after having successfully been elected as Vice President of the Class of 2014 and as a Senator to the Student Government Association, still with the mindset that I wanted to transfer to BU, I received an e-mail from the President’s Office asking to set up a meeting. Meeting with President Galligan, after talking about my first couple of months at Colby-Sawyer and my excitement for the Patriots season to start, he informed me of an issue that the college was having with its retention rates and asked for me to serve on the student success and retention committee. I was excited for this opportunity and looked forward to the committee’s work over the course of the next two semesters.

As the fall semester wrapped up, I was asked by the Student Government Association executive board to serve as acting secretary beginning in January. Additionally, our class president withdrew from Colby-Sawyer so I assumed the role of class president. After returning back to campus in January, I received an e-mail from Robin Davis asking for me to serve as a student representative on the academic dean search committee. Prior to the start of spring break, I had already made up my mind—I would not seek to transfer from Colby-Sawyer and I would end up having the best experience as a Colby-Sawyer student.

Over the next three years, I would be involved in many facets of student life, including serving three years as president of the Student Government Association—in which I had the opportunity to plan and celebrate the College’s 175th birthday in 2012—three years as president of the class of 2014, and vice president of ENACTUS. I played Leon Trotsky in the play the Variations of the Death of Trotsky, I worked in Admissions, Campus Safety, and was often seen driving students in a college van to Hanover, Concord, Manchester, or Boston. I had the opportunity to help Ed Winters coach the women’s hockey team, I interned in Enrollment Management, and to answer a question that was frequently asked of me, yes, I attended classes.

Now to today to why we’re here. For me, the easiest decision in my college career was to remain enrolled at Colby-Sawyer because I was given opportunities that only a school like Colby-Sawyer can give its students. Five years later, the easiest decision that I’ve been faced with was naming Colby-Sawyer as the beneficiary of my Thrift Savings Plan.

Thinking about all that I’ve done in the past five years since graduating from Colby-Sawyer, I truly believe that my success can be attributed to my Colby-Sawyer experience, particularly my liberal arts education. My Colby-Sawyer education prepared me for graduate school, my Colby-Sawyer education prepared me to enter the workforce, and most importantly, my Colby-Sawyer education prepared me for life. Whether it was Macroeconomics with TQ, Public Speaking with MB, Business, Government, and Society with Leslie Campbell, the American Presidency with Eric Boyer, American Rebels and Constitutional Law with President Galligan, Organizational Behavior with Beth Crockford, or Strategic Management, every aspect of my Colby-Sawyer education has prepared me to work for the United States House of Representatives where I am responsible for the budgetary and programmatic oversight of the United States Intelligence Community.

My investment in the future will allow Colby-Sawyer College, a place that I love and a place that I call home to thrive for the next 182 plus years. My investment in the future will allow graduates to continue to make meaningful contributions to their professions and communities. And finally, my investment in the future will allow students to feel a sense of place where they can learn amongst friends, have a personal and holistic learning experience, and a transformative education that can shared inside, outside, planet wide.