Charles Terrell
Trustee Charles Terrell ’70 reflected on Colby’s history of activism—and his own—at a student-organized event in March.

One week after a group of students interrupted the ceremonial end to the Bicentennial Address Feb. 27, Charles Terrell ’70—an icon of activism at Colby for his leadership in the chapel takeover—delivered the endnote address for the Pugh Community Board-organized S.H.O.U.T! week activities exploring activism.

 

Terrell’s presence March 6 was timely given the recent events. His message to admiring students included inspiration and realism. He encouraged students to speak out, but he said speaking does not guarantee being heard. “The same thing doesn’t matter to everybody,” he said, “but it’s important I think to speak to those things that you think are important.”

In a walk through the history of activism at Colby, Terrell reminded students that speaking up is not always easy. “Activism is messy. It’s disruptive. It’s always inconvenient,” he said.

He spoke briefly about his involvement in the Lorimer Chapel takeover, though he expressed wonder at how he continues to be identified, at least at Colby, by this small part of his life. “It truly amazes me that students find this action so meaningful all of these years later.”

Terrell mentioned the student film Bicentennial that drove some of the activism on Feb. 27. “I think that’s very much a part of where Colby is now, and it certainly highlights a number of issues, things that matter,” he said. “But again, I want to remind us: everything does not matter to everybody. I just think it’s important that we have artists on campus who will bring things that they think matter to the surface.”

In closing, as music by Marvin Gaye filled the room, Terrell read the names of each member of the “Chapel 17,” most of whom he had lost touch with, he said. The dramatic ending clearly resonated with students present.

[In 2007 Terrell talked about his experience at Colby and his role as a trustee with Colby editor Gerry Boyle ’78.]