As editor of Colby, one of my pleasures is seeing the connections that the magazine creates between alumni of different generations who share common interests.
Case in point: in the spring issue we ran a story about Colbians’ varied experiences in China. The story, reported and written by Martin Connelly ’08, was read with interest by Dana Robinson ’47, who wrote to inform us of his experiences in China and to share the text of a talk he had given about China’s future. He asked that the letter be forwarded to Connelly, also a seasoned China hand—and 60 years Robinson’s junior.
Robinson, who lives with his wife, Harriet Nourse Robinson ’47, in New Hampshire, grew up in Tianjin, and he lived and did business in China until 2002. His father, Arthur Robinson, Class of 1906, moved there in 1913 to work with the YMCA and stayed until 1937.
Dana Robinson recently had written to the College about establishing a connection with Nankai University in Tianjin. He also expressed interest in turning over his and his father’s collections of China-related materials to Colby.
Robinson corresponded with Associate Professor Ankeny Weitz, chair of the Department of East Asian Studies, who told him of a nascent network of China-connected alumni, of the expansion of the department in the last decade, and of the work of Assistant Professor Elizabeth LaCouture, who has spent extended periods of time in Tianjin doing research. LaCouture, it turns out, is studying Chinese families who lived alongside Westerners in foreign concessions between the world wars. Robinson’s would have been one of those Western families. Small world, indeed.
Weitz also asked if Robinson was willing to be profiled in a new Colby-China-Japan newsletter. The newsletter is on the to-do list for the coming year. Already in place, Weitz said, is a LinkedIn group for Colby East Asian studies students, faculty, and alumni. At last count, there were 76 members, with EAS alums offering internships to EAS students.
I like the fact that Colby alumni, the readers of this magazine, share more than having spent four years on Mayflower Hill. Intellectual curiosity, experiences abroad, fascination with other cultures—all of these link generations. In that way, we’re all part of a continuum. And if the magazine helps make connections, so much the better.
Martin, meet Dana. Dana, meet Martin. Elizabeth, meet Dana. It’s a pleasure helping to facilitate your acquaintance.
Gerry Boyle ’78, P’06