“The college was extremely lucky that Barry made his decision to change careers.”

Barry became a member of the Board of Overseers in 1994 and then subsequently became a trustee. Few of his fellow Board members knew a great deal about him or had met him prior to his election. We soon learned that he was intelligent and extremely observant. For the first year or two Barry listened and quickly came to understand the workings and needs of the trustees, administration, faculty, students, and alumni.

When Barry spoke at board meetings, it was always after a great deal of thought and not done spontaneously. Bob Edwards recognized Barry’s many abilities and, fortunately for the College, he asked Barry to chair the upcoming Presidential Selection Committee.  Bob could not have made a better choice.

What impressed the other members of the selection committee was the amount of due diligence done by Barry on the future needs of the college and what type of individual would be best to continue to move it forward. Like Jes Staley recently, Barry spent hours talking with trustees, administrators, students, and citizens of the town of Brunswick. The committee quickly understood that Barry was an individual who was a born leader. We were very fortunate when, at some point in the process, Barry mentioned that he might someday like to be a college president.

When Barry became a candidate, I took over his job as head of the Search Committee. Originally, I thought there would be some push back from the faculty, even though Barry had a PhD and had taught at the university level prior to going to law school. What would the faculty think about a president who came out of a prominent New York law firm who had been away from academia for many years? We were fortunate to have Professor Steve Cerf on the committee, and Steve did a marvelous job in getting complete faculty support.

The committee knew that we had found an individual who was intelligent, extremely hard working, and had true leadership characteristics. In retrospect the college was extremely lucky that Barry made his decision to change careers. 

—Frederick G.P. Thorne ’57
Former Chair, Board of Trustees, 1996-1999