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Portrait of President Emeritus Norman Fainstein joins College's presidential gallery

President Emeritus Norman Fainstein speaks in front of his official presidential portrait.
President Emeritus Norman Fainstein speaks in front of his official presidential portrait.

Wearing long blue regalia and his signature white goatee, President Emeritus Norman Fainstein looks every bit the part in his official presidential portrait, which joined the College's presidential portrait gallery at an unveiling ceremony Wednesday. The painting, by distinguished artist Gerald York, now hangs alongside the portraits of Connecticut College's other past presidents in the Ernst Common Room of Blaustein Humanities Center.

President Leo I. Higdon Jr. led the ceremony honoring Fainstein, who served as president of the College from 2001 to 2006. Higdon credited Fainstein with leading the College during a period of transition and instituting financial practices that have allowed the College to remain financially strong in today's tough economic times. He also said Fainstein was instrumental in laying the foundation for the College's diversity efforts.

"Norman ensured that diversity was an integral part of every management decision the College would make," Higdon said. "Our success today - in diversifying the student body, in diversifying the faculty, in advancing diversity as a core value of this institution - stems from Norman's foresight and leadership."

Fainstein, who attended the ceremony with his wife, Susan, said he was honored to have the opportunity to see his portrait in the gallery. "They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. Well, this one is surely worth 2-3,000 words, because it's such an improvement over the actual object," Fainstein joked at the reception, drawing laughter from the crowd of faculty, staff and students.

During his presidency, Fainstein regularly taught a course in urban sociology and history. In the fall of 2007, after retiring from the presidency, he became chair of the sociology department and taught courses in urban sociology and sociological theory, as well as a first-year seminar on suburbia. He retired from teaching in 2010.

Recently, Fainstein and his wife returned from a teaching in Singapore. At the unveiling ceremony, he said it was interesting to note the rise of liberal arts education in Asia.

"It's a wonderful thing to be at the heart of what is still America's greatest export industry - education - and to be associated with liberal arts institutions that educate the whole person," Fainstein said. "No place does that better than Connecticut College."

April 27, 2012