Greetings on behalf of Staff
Julie Richardson, assistant dean of academic records and institutional research
Hello everyone. I’m happy to be with you all today as we welcome Kevin to Marlboro.
I felt very honored that Kevin asked me to speak on behalf of the staff because he had so many good people to choose from.
I first came to Marlboro 18 years ago, and my perspective is unusual given that I have left here twice—for “bigger and better” schools—from California to western Mass. But something keeps bringing me back, and my view of Marlboro is influenced by my experiences of working elsewhere.
Of the places I’ve worked, Marlboro is my favorite and I’ll frame that today using Kevin’s theme of a sense of place.
There’s the physical place. The beautiful, simple, secluded spot on the hill, that I love, but sense of place for me transcends the physical.
As I was getting ready to speak to you today I realized that of the people I am close to in my life, there are an awful lot of Marlboro people on that list. It’s mostly because of those connections I hold dear that Marlboro has a special place in my heart.
Marlboro’s size has long been a subject of debate, but being small is a big part of what makes Marlboro, Marlboro.
This place is a crucible for relationships. We see each other. A lot. In fact, it can be harder to avoid people at Marlboro than it is to see people at bigger places. Marlboro is a place that has always attracted talent, and it cultivates that talent into something more.
When you work here, you get good at doing lots of things because you have to do lots of things. When you work at a place this small, you’re both a specialist and a generalist. Duties that would be divided between many people somewhere else are covered by one or two people here.
Yet there's a degree of no-nonsense willingness, concern and sheer competence I’ve found in the people I work with at Marlboro that I have not encountered to the same degree anywhere else.
Cathy Fuller is a master of the dizzying world of financial aid. Try to find a student accounts person who’ll get back to you faster than Jeremy Faucher, or a friendlier carpenter than Don Capp, or a more talented programmer than Elliot Anders, or a more enthusiastic alumni director than Kathy Waters. Lynn Lundsted, Catherine O’Callahan, Sunny Tappen. I wish I had more time to tell you about the people who work so hard to serve our students and support our faculty, and I love being one of them.
Marlboro is a pretty self-selecting place. People get a sense quickly about whether they can see themselves here, whether they feel they belong.
I once told a dear friend, one of my Marlboro people, that when I moved to Vermont in high school I felt so at home that I had come to consider myself a Vermonter. My friend's father—the retired executive of a Fortune 500 company—who had been listening in on our conversation looked over at me and said, “Just ‘cuz the cat has the kittens in the oven don't make ‘em muffins”.
He was saying that just because I called myself a Vermonter didn’t make me one. I didn't meet the “requirement” of coming from a family that had been here for generations. Why did he say that? I have come to think that his comment was rooted in a deep sense of protectiveness of both a place and a way of life.
Today I’ll tell you that I consider myself to be a Marlboro person and I’m glad there isn’t a longevity requirement for that. There are lots of people who feel part of this community whether or not they studied or worked here. They feel kinship and connection to the place, the people and our way of life.
Kevin, this spring when I heard you were coming to join us and read about you, I was so excited that Marlboro had attracted someone of your caliber.
And when I listened to you speak to the staff that day in May, I remember thinking, “He gets us”.
You’re one of us now, not a kitten or a muffin, but a Marlboro person in your own right.
The staff and I are excited you’re here. We look forward to working with you to bring your vision of Marlboro to life.
I’m sure you know that many of us feel protective of Marlboro—it has a special place in our hearts—and we hope you will take it deeply into yours.