Jessica Boyle’s Story

Inspires and Impresses

Thank you for sharing Jessica Boyle’s story (“Class Action,” Summer 2012 Colby) and highlighting the very real barriers that first-generation college students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds face in their pursuit of higher education.  As a fellow first-generation college student from Maine, Jessica Boyle’s story resonated with me deeply; from the general feeling of being an outsider to the more concrete anxieties surrounding how to pay for books and where to go during breaks.  I can’t help but feel that I let Ms. Boyle down by not tackling these issues years ago.  Thank you to Ms. Boyle and the team of Colby faculty and staff who are lightening the load for future Colby students.  

Sandra Hughes Goff ’98
Portland, Maine 

Thank you for your piece on Jessica Boyle ’12. I was impressed and inspired to read about her courage to stand up, not only for herself but other fellow students, through her determination to make Colby a place where individuals from all backgrounds can feel at home.  And I was happy to read that she received a supportive response from the Colby administration.  Similarly to the message in the article “The Power of Privilege” (about Professor Adam Howard’s research class, in the same issue), it is important to recognize that not all students come to higher education with the same cultural capital to support them in their transition to this new realm.  I hope the Colby community continues in that direction.  

Sarah Bandow Pearce ’03
Chicago, Ill. 

For some reason I started reading Colby.  I usually recycle it after glancing at the class notes. I’ve read two articles and just had to send Jessica Boyle a note. Seems like perhaps you’re doing something right, getting a curmudgeon such as myself involved. You are helping to improve my idea of what Colby is like these days. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even make a miniscule contribution some day. Mention that to the college person who gives you money.

Dick Walton ’60
Montpelier, Vt. 

A Jog Through Time 

I’ve never been much of a runner, so finding myself in Colby’s first Feminist Fortnight run in 1978 came as quite a surprise. I was skimming through the summer 2012 issue of Colby when I caught a glimpse of a familiar face. Could that have been me? I had to examine the photo of runners in the article about Dean Janice Kassman (“Mighty Impressive”) three times to confirm that, indeed, it was—front and foremost! Thanks for the memory.

Abigail Rome ’78
Silver Spring, Md.

Singing Machlin’s Praises 

Your Colby Summer 2012 issue created the perfect intersection of articles to prompt this note. (“Where have all the letters gone?” and Professor Machlin’s final concert.) Being 3,212 miles away in late April, I regrettably couldn’t join the altos in Lorimer Chapel, but I’m here to sing Paul’s praises in print. 

We were juniors when the nearly 20 of us music or music-and-another-subject majors watched this energetic, intense, challenging, lively-minded young professor make a place for himself in Bixler’s offices and classrooms, not with sharp elbows but with a kind of leaning forward that let you feel listened to and respected as a student—and, I imagine, as a colleague, too. This California import believed in excellence and asked for it, trusting we would meet him at that higher level of achievement. He also believed in giving us the room and the responsibility to grow, willingly turning a handful of us into TAs for the department in what was then Music 101. I will never forget Paul’s sharing what was rightfully his stage when finals review came around: “Feel free to field any questions you want as they’re asked.” No longer students, but colleagues. Paul was the alchemist for such a transmutation; he made it happen, and made us all larger for the experience.

After Colby, I headed straight into teaching. I’m still in the classroom. To this day, my closest Colby friends sing in choirs or continue to play instruments—with the kind of delight and passion that Paul tapped into in us and fueled. Henry Adams said famously, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Stop? With Paul, as near as I can tell it doesn’t.

Joy Sawyer Mulligan ’76
Ojai, Calif.

Saluting Colbians in Combat

I was struck by two articles that appeared in recent editions of Colby. Winter 2012 featured an article on Erik Quist ’99, who was severely wounded while serving in Afghanistan in 2011 for the United States Marine Corps. Spring 2012 had a piece on Elizabeth Hanson ’02, who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan in 2009 for the CIA.

While we probably don’t consider Colby to be a traditional feeder for our national security and military endeavors, I think we should all be thankful for and humbled by their selflessness and sacrifice.  Attendant to this, I am thankful for and humbled by the selflessness and sacrifice of three teammates on the Colby football team who also deployed in combat theaters: John Ginn ’97, Ben Lester ’99, and Dave Nasse ’99.

Tony Pasquariello ’99
New York, N.Y.

Heritage or Meritage?

In wrestling with our Colby heritage, how should we take account of the stars that have fallen from grace?  

Should we skip an issue of Colby in silent commemoration?  Should we publish an issue with black borders of different widths and saturations, available on demand—depending upon how hard or easy you personally take the fall. 

Or should we just summarily issue these shades of black depending on how close or distant one’s major lay to, say, banking or theater?

Or should this gloom be distributed chronologically—falling heavier on those subscribers who graduated just before … or, just after?  

Or we could simply change our typeface, in deference to those theorists and marketeers who claim the medium to be all the message.

Perhaps, more aggressively, we should dig up dirt on the proverbial Caesar’s wife, thus casting much of Western civilization in the gloom, and ourselves, by contrast, shining as brightly as daisies or diamonds?

Or we could just leave it up to our editors to look down on this sad arena and dip their Miltonic pens once or twice or not at all in these darkling tints of history.   

J. C. Foritano ’65
Cambridge, Mass.