Four years at Colby is often just not long enough.
As motivated as I was to move beyond Mayflower Hill upon graduation, reflection during the succeeding years reinforced the unique and finite opportunities Colby students have to embrace the immersive breadth of a liberal arts education. Fortunately for me, I was able to come back to Colby as a member of the faculty nine years after earning my degree.
In my 11 years in the Chemistry Department, my affection for this institution and for the liberal arts has deepened, and I often ponder classroom opportunities I missed that may have further broadened my perspective. For instance, my wife, an artist, challenges me in ways no problem in chemistry ever could. I always regretted not taking art history as a Colby student.
Now on sabbatical, I’m furthering my chemistry research program investigating the mechanisms of action for an experimental anticancer agent. Concurrently, I am finally taking art history. My colleague, Professor Véronique Plesch in the Art Department, has been kind enough to allow me to audit her course, Survey of Western Art. Not only am I learning about the circular influence of creative expression and the human experience, I am reacquainting myself with the other half of the enterprise of teaching and learning. Professor Plesch is an engaging lecturer whose efforts have led me to appreciate everything from the 13th-century painter Cimabue (Giotto’s teacher in the Low Renaissance) to the Rococo period works of Jean-Honoré Fragonard. She is also fueling my love of teaching. I am confident that I will return to the front of the classroom with energy and open-minded perspective that only a liberal arts experience can inform.