campus news and events

In Memoriam: Trustee William “Jay” J. Wilson

William “Jay” J. Wilson, a trustee of Colby-Sawyer, died on Sunday, March 22, at home in New London.

Jay was born in Minnesota in 1936. He earned an undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1958 and holds an M.A. equivalent in historical studies from Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, England. He did further graduate work in European Economic and Political Institutions at the University of Vienna.

Jay was elected to the Colby-Sawyer College Board of Trustees in 2012 and began his three-year term as a member of the Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management committees. He also lent his expertise and support to the college's largest branding and marketing initiative to date, and he served as a member of the Brand Stewardship Task Force and Alumni Opinion Research Planning Group. Jay and Gabi both supported the college with generous gifts to the Annual Fund.
“Jay Wilson has been a wonderful friend of the college and an incredible Board member,” said Colby-Sawyer President Thomas C. Galligan Jr. “He enthusiastically encouraged decision, action and risk. He brought the spirit of the entrepreneur to Colby-Sawyer and did so with a twinkle in his eye and a pat on the back.”

When Jay was elected, Board of Trustees Chair Thomas C. Csatari called him an “extraordinary corporate leader” who understood “the critical role of higher education in our society today.” Jay was, he said, “committed to providing … support, vision and guidance to our innovative educational community.”

A man with a quick wit and generous smile, Jay was also quick to act in the name of benefitting students when he saw a need at the college. Strong in his convictions, he even persuaded friends to contribute gifts to advance the goals of the students and the institution.

Jay left his professional mark on many other companies, institutions and organizations and will be remembered for his incredible loyalty and his generous encouragement to those who worked with and for him. He ended his 40-year career at Roper Starch Worldwide with an international company he had built virtually from scratch. Far from retiring, though, he remained active and interested in consulting work and served on various corporate boards until very recently.

He is survived by his wife, Gabi, children Amanda Wilson and Barbara Livingston '82, Heather and Ned Saunders, Adam Coatsworth, Helenka Coatsworth, Fred Wright and Bertie Wright, as well as grandchildren Natalie, Ellie, Madelyn, Max, Annabel and Charlotte.

Memorial contributions to create the W. Jay Wilson Memorial Scholarship Fund may be directed to Beth Cahill, Vice President for Advancement, Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, NH 03257.

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. The College's faculty, staff and students strive for excellence in an engaged teaching and learning community that fosters students' academic, intellectual, and personal growth. With a strong emphasis on learning outcomes, including breadth and depth of knowledge, self-growth, creative and critical thinking, and effective communication, Colby-Sawyer prepares students to thrive post-graduation and make a positive impact upon a dynamic, diverse, and interdependent world.

Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Learn more about the College's vibrant teaching and learning community at Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000