Connecticut College Magazine · Fall 2013

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Corrie Searls '14, an art history major from Minneapolis, at the site of her dream internship last summer, Christie's auction house at New York City's Rockefeller Plaza. Photo by Karsten Moran

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What I'll remember

What I'll remember

Leo I. Higdon, Jr., reflects on his seven years as president


As I look to my retirement in December, a number of people have asked me to sum up my presidency. “What is your defining achievement?” “What accomplishments are you most proud of?” “How do you hope people will view your presidency?”

These kinds of questions are natural — expected even — yet impossible to answer. How could anyone whittle down a presidency at an institution like this to a single, defining moment?

I prefer to think of my presidency as a series of defining moments that, in the end, are but one small part of a much larger continuum. This continuum began with a small group of visionary founders more than 100 years ago, it will endure long after I retire, and it will always be shaped and advanced by an extraordinary community of people.

Ann and I were embraced by this community from our very first moments in New London in 2006. Since then, we have traveled throughout the United States to visit with the people who define Connecticut College. We've met men and women from generations of graduating classes — people who are leaders in their communities, in their professions and in the life of the College. And we've welcomed many of you back to campus.

You come to New London for Reunions, for Fall Weekend events, for our annual Commencement ceremony. You come to watch athletics competitions, plays, recitals and concerts. You come for art exhibits, lectures and research symposia. And, perhaps most important, many of you take time to interact with students during your visits, sharing your stories and helping our students see how you've used your Connecticut College education to shape your lives.

It's this vibrancy, this personal interaction, indeed this support for future generations that I find so inspiring. Connecticut College provides an exceptional liberal arts education that prepares students well for lives of meaning and purpose.

I had been a college president before I came to Connecticut College, and previously, when I left a school, I always had a next presidency to focus on. Retirement will be very new to me, and I know Ann's goal is to keep me very busy. We hope to keep Connecticut College very much in our lives. We're looking forward to dropping in from time to time — perhaps for Reunions or other major events — and continuing to be part of the life of this College, this community, that has come to mean so much to us.

Seven years ago, I wrote in my first CC: Magazine column that “I have never felt more honored, or more excited about the future, than I am now as the newly inaugurated president of Connecticut College.”

I carried this sentiment throughout my term and it will stay with me forever. The honor and privilege of being president of Connecticut College is a defining part of my life, and I am more excited than ever about the future of this extraordinary institution.


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