Greetings on Behalf of faculty
Kate Ratcliff, professor of American studies and gender studies
I am privileged today, on behalf of the faculty—whose careers together span nearly the entire history of the college—to extend this formal welcome to Kevin Quigley, to Susan, Fiona, and to their extended family, and to old friends and new friends from far and near.
An inauguration is in some basic way, a ceremony of commitment. It’s an opportunity for the community to express its commitment to Kevin Quigley as the person we believe can best lead us at this moment in our history; it’s also an opportunity to articulate for ourselves and for Kevin what we are committed to. I’ve been teaching at Marlboro for 26 years, and what drew me to the college initially, and what has animated and sustained me over the decades, is the profound value this institution places on connection and integration.
When I think of Marlboro, I see a world of bridges—bridges between academic disciplines, between the passions that live inside us and the academic work we do, bridges between the different components within the Plans of concentration, between faculty and students as co-creators of knowledge, between staff and faculty as co-mentors of students, between the intelligent conversations of the classroom and the deliberations of Town Meeting, between the college community and the local town and the world.
In the short time that he’s been here, Kevin is already inspiring us in this work of connection with the way he has made service a centerpiece of his inauguration and the support he has communicated for new initiatives at the college that foreground service learning and community engagement.
All evidence to date suggests that Kevin Quigley is a natural bridge builder. Since their arrival on campus in July, Kevin and Susan have joyfully immersed themselves in the communities of the college and the town. A town resident observed that Kevin has not missed a single Sunday morning community coffee klatch at the MacArthur farm stand. Their first Marlboro Town event was the annual summer potluck supper and raffle where amazingly, Susan won a couple of laying hens which she deftly traded for what I hope is a generous supply of eggs.
Kevin and Susan bring to Marlboro the many connections they have made around the world. They have brought Thailand to the backyard of Mumford house in the form of a beautiful, traditional wooden spirit house. On the eve of the new semester, they invited students, staff, faculty, and members of the local interfaith community to a ceremony and celebration dedicating the spirit house and honoring the guardians of place, of the land and the woods.
Everyone I spoke with about Kevin highlighted his I spoke ability to connect with them—his careful way of listening and thoughtful way of asking just the right questions. One student marveled over an in-depth conversation she witnessed at the spirit house celebration between Kevin and Nane, who is the daughter of Nelli, our wonderful new colleague in Anthropology. The topic of the conversation was Nane’s Josephina doll. I love the fact that our president is equally at home engaging a 7 year old on the finer points of American Girl dolls, as he is engaging the faculty on the academic substance of their work or, as we imagine, he will be in engaging donors about the value of this small college on the hill and the graduate center by the river. The story he will tell about Marlboro will be about the many ways the college approaches academic life as part of a rich and integrated whole.
I have been privileged to spend not just the entirety of my professional career at Marlboro, but to build a life here in the company of an extraordinary group of people who have in common a passion for life and learning and for creating themselves and the world anew.
It is wonderful to invite Kevin to join us on the bridge that spans the next phase of Marlboro’s history, and to undertake our shared journey with a spirit of joy, commitment, and connection.