I arrived at Bro’s office with a list of questions, just in case. Turned out I didn’t need it. The Q&A with President Bro Adams that begins on page 16 and continues online was gleaned from more than four hours of conversations in December. We sat in his office in Eustis, recorder on the table, and chatted. I wish we’d done it sooner.
Colby is a busy place, and running it is a more-than-full-time job. As Bro put it, for many years his life has been propelled by the next meeting. The daily schedule doesn’t usually allow a lot of time to reflect.
But for Bro, and all of us, it should.
That was one of the realizations I had as we talked about Colby—where it’s been and where it’s going, of course, but also why one would spend a career working at a college like this one and what that career would accomplish. We talked about what makes Colby “Colby,” and Bro’s characterization of the place was candid and perceptive and in some ways even provocative. We talked about his service in Vietnam and how that war pushed him to philosophy. We talked about how a single conversation with a bright and engaging student can turn a bad day into a very good one.
And much, much more.
I hope you enjoy reading this piece and seeing the sides of Bro Adams that it reveals. His tenure here has had tremendous impact, and he has moved Colby rapidly and significantly forward in so many important and even crucial ways. (Think programs, facilities, stature.) Bro, characteristically, deflects credit for this to the Colby community.
In the end, though, he said the most rewarding part of being Colby’s president has been the people he spends time with. Dining Services staff. Faculty. Senior staff. Physical Plant colleagues. Trustees. Alumni. Even a couple of first-year international students who walked into his office one day and said they wanted to get to know him. That led to a year-long and continuing friendship.
For me, this last observation was a reminder of the importance for all of us to occasionally pause and reflect on what we’re doing, what we hope to accomplish, and, most importantly, the ways we enjoy the people around us. In the wise hindsight of retrospection, that message came through loud and clear.
Gerry Boyle ’78 P’06