Honorary Degree Citation
Erik Christian Chenery Quist. Captain, United States Marine Corps. Decorated combat veteran. Leader and role model. You majored in economics at Colby and began a career in the technology sector. But a saying of your father’s—“What did you do for God and country today?”—rang in your ears, and like him, you joined the Corps. You served two tours in Iraq and then began an assignment in the effort to move Helmand Province, Afghanistan, toward peace. There, an improvised explosive device destroyed your combat vehicle and left you with severe injuries, and you came home to heal. Despite doctors’ worries that your feet might not be saved, you were determined to recover and to walk again—on your own two feet. Through months of treatments, surgeries, pain, and uncertainty, you remained a leader. As senior officer on the wounded warriors’ floor at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, you did not let your own pain keep you from what you viewed as both a responsibility and a privilege, wheeling yourself from room to room to encourage younger Marines, many of whom had lost limbs. You are the recipient of the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star with Combat V, and two combat action ribbons. Your courage and unfaltering sense of duty have earned the respect of others wounded in combat, of your fellow Marines, of the medical professionals who have treated you, of those who have followed your inspiring recovery, and of the College that is honored to count you as an alumnus. Colby joins a grateful nation in thanking you for your service to your country and to those you fight to protect.
By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, Erik Christian Chenery Quist, the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. The hood with which you have been invested and this diploma which I place in your hand are the visible symbols of your membership in this society of scholars, to all the rights and privileges of which I declare you eligible.
Conferred May 26, 2013
More about Erik Quist:
Erik Quist ’99 graduated from Colby with a major in economics and spent three years as a business process consultant before joining the Marine Corps and rising to the rank of captain. While deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, with 220 Marines under his command, Quist was injured by a roadside bomb. Initially facing possible amputation of his feet, Quist underwent multiple surgeries, was fitted with high-tech prostheses, and has begun preparing to run the Marine Corps marathon and, eventually, return to combat duty. Quist remains an active-duty patient with Wounded Warrior Battalion East. Decorations he has won include the Bronze Star Medal with “V”, the Purple Heart, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon.
Commencement 2013 Q&A with Erik Quist ’99
The Road From Marja | Colby magazine, Winter 2012
Back on His Feet | Colby magazine, Winter 2013
To the Colby Community, a Marine Says Thank You | Colby magazine, Winter 2012