“It was Barry’s unwavering commitment to Bowdoin as a whole that I will never forget: his absolute conviction that we would stand together.”
In the fall of 2008, when the financial crisis was sending shock waves through higher education, I happened to be on the Committee on Governance and Faculty Affairs, and therefore ended up as one of the faculty members on what Barry dubbed—in a tribute to life in Maine, where things can sometimes seem to be perpetually under construction—the “Blue Tarp Committee.” This committee, made up of staff, faculty, and students, met with Barry, and with Katy Longley and her dedicated staff, to bring ourselves up to speed regarding Bowdoin’s finances and to weigh strategies for the future.
Anyone who was affiliated with higher education at that time knows what a scary moment this was (and its lingering effects on institutions are still being felt). The Blue Tarp meetings were tough and sobering. But Barry’s approach to the crisis was driven by one fundamental principle: we would confront this challenge as a community, to reaffirm and strengthen our sense of community. It was Barry’s unwavering commitment to Bowdoin as a whole that I will never forget: his absolute conviction that we would stand together. And, under his genuinely inspiring leadership, we did.
Associate Professor of English