I suppose that, being in Maine, one could be forgiven for sometimes missing the forest for the trees. There are a lot of trees in these parts.
I say that having spent the past few days prepping the fall issue of the magazine for the printer, and simultaneously trying to keep up with at least some of what is going on across Mayflower Hill.
Like what? Well, on the magazine front there were the stories and images you see in front of you: the opening of a civic engagement-centered complex on Main Street; students immersed in the world of refugees in the Balkans; a computer science professor heading a student team developing synthetic tendons; the long-awaited arrival of the 2018 Oak Fellow (the remarkable and courageous Syrian war photographer Bassam Khabieh); faculty considering ways race is embedded in our lives and how photographs affect views of refugees and immigrants; an alumna tapping day-old food to fight food poverty in London; and profiles of another group of climate change warriors, looking at everything from ancient ice to cities of the future.
Meanwhile, in real time, Colby faculty had big roles in a statewide series of events and exhibitions about immigrants in Maine and in a fascinating exhibition at the Maine State Museum on Jewish history in the state. Ditto for campus conferences convened to consider the humanities in the liberal arts, and another on the Prague Spring (a roster of international participants included a former prime minister of Czechoslovakia and the current chair of the NATO Military Committee).
Those were the trees. And the forest? A continuous wave that ripples outward from this hilltop in Maine to make a difference around the world.
It’s remarkable up close, and even more so when you take a step back. This issue of the magazine and the next, already taking shape. Not to belabor the metaphor, but more remarkable people doing important work. This is what we’ve come to expect from the world that is centered on Mayflower Hill, but it’s important to not take any of it from granted. Enough said.
* Another thing, while I have you. We want to hear from you and we’re not, at least not to the extent we did five years ago. Social media likes and comments are great, but they don’t equate to letters from our readers. There’s a lot for us to talk about. What do you think of Colby’s unprecedented investment in downtown Waterville? A longtime resident attending the ribbon cutting for the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons pointed out to me the location of the one-time Colby hangout, Park’s Diner. What are your recollections of Waterville? Is artificial intelligence technology really making our lives better, Alexa? See Mindful of the Machine.
* For the Colby Climate Project, we’ve queued up some good stories about remarkable people. They’ll be appearing online in coming weeks and months. To get a notification, go to colby.edu/climate and subscribe.
Gerry Boyle ’78, P’06