By H. Jay Burns, Managing Editor
In April, staff writer Doug Hubley spent two days at Haverford College interviewing Bates president-elect Elaine Tuttle Hansen and her colleagues, family, and friends.
Upon his return, the magazine staff gathered to hear his assessment of the new president.
“She’s perfect,” he said. Immediately, the room fell silent.
You have to understand. We’ve all worked in or around newsrooms at one time or another, so a bit of irony, rather than sweet optimism, seeps into the give-and-take of our work, even in the refreshingly low-irony zone within Bates. So after Doug’s cheery setup, we waited — like sharks circling in chum — for the punch line.
Instead, he took us through his reporter’s notebook, reciting a catalog of glowing Hansen assessments. Page by page, Doug’s “they’re-never-gonna-believe-this” exasperation increased.
So as you read about Hansen and compare her qualities with Bates’ needs in the coming years, consider what President Harward said as he was stepping down last spring: “Bates continues to need champions who will claim the importance of the values of liberal learning and their relevance and their practice beyond Bates.”
If Bates needs its greatest champion in the President’s Office, then perhaps we can offer an appropriate (and yes, optimistic) punch line to describe the College’s seventh president: “She’s perfect. For Bates.”
And, finally, lest you think that Hubley is an easily wowed, neophyte president profiler, in his former life as a free-lancer he wrote about Bowdoin’s acclaimed new president, Barry Mills, for that college’s magazine. His assessment of Mills?