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On Saturday, October 21, Colby College in Waterville will hold the inauguration installation ceremony for President William D. Adams. The 3 p.m. ceremony will take place in the Wadsworth Gymnasium of the Harold Alfond Athletic Center. It will be the first inauguration at Colby since 1979 and only the second since 1960. Adams is Colby’s 19th president since the college received its charter in 1813.
This summer Adams succeeded William R. Cotter, who served for 21 years as president of the liberal arts college. Both Cotter and Robert E.L. Strider, president from 1960-1979, are expected to participate in the ceremony.
Inaugural activities begin Friday, October 20, and will showcase Colby talent in a block-party format using the theme “The Colby Difference.” Events will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Dana Dining Hall, Foss Dining Hall and the Page Commons Room of Cotter Union. Each venue will feature multiple programs and desserts. Activities will include a “GPS Treasure Hunt,” an art contest titled “Representations of Colby in Art” and a web design contest. The evening will conclude at 10:30 p.m. with a fireworks display in front of Miller Library.
Other inauguration weekend events include the dedication of the Paul J. Schupf Sculpture Court at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Colby College Museum of Art. The court, redesigned this summer, features the sculpture “4-5-6” by American artist Richard Serra—a work that one critic called “a post-modernist masterpiece.”
William Adams came to Colby after an extremely successful tenure as president of Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. Prior to running Bucknell he taught political philosophy at the university level, ran the Great Works in Western Culture program at Stanford University, and was vice president and secretary of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
Adams has been an advocate of liberal arts education since his own undergraduate years at Colorado College. After interrupting his studies there to serve in the army in Vietnam, Adams graduated magna cum laude. He subsequently spent a year in France as a Fulbright Scholar and earned a Ph.D. in political philosophy at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Colby’s new president is married to Catherine Bruce, a former member of the U.S. World Cup ski team and three-time world’s professional ski tour champion. They are joined on Mayflower Hill by their son, Sean Vallant, age 11, and daughter, Carmen Adams, age 3.