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Called 'one of most important COA presidents'
Friday, July 15, 2011
College of the Atlantic honored its sixth president, Andy Griffiths, in a series of celebrations this month. Griffiths, COA's administrative dean, led the college for over half a year between the retirement of David Hales and the arrival of COA's seventh president, alumnus Darron Collins, who began July 15.
At COA, the college community gathered to thank Griffiths for his leadership during this transitional time. Dean of Development Lynn Boulger noted that a member of the board of trustees called Griffiths one of the most important presidents in COA's history. "The interim period between one president, and not having a formal president could have been tumultuous," she said. Instead, Boulger noted, the college has raised more money under Griffiths' leadership than it has in any other six-month period during her time at COA. "It's a huge vote of support," she added.
One of those supporters was trustee Jay McNally, a 1984 graduate. "I think retrospectively we'll look at this time as one of the high points of the college," he said. At a separate celebration, Bill Foulke, who chairs the trustee board, mentioned Griffiths' judgment, curiosity, intelligence, and capacity for analysis. "He uses graciousness as a great strength," said Foulke, adding that Griffiths illustrates the maxim, "There is no limit to the amount you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit."
"Andy is so much more to this college than interim president. He is a friend, a mentor, and an educator," added third-year student Cayla Moore at the community gathering. She recalled that in the discussions prior to choosing a new president the importance of an open door was stressed. "Andy has much more than an open door - he has an open mind."
Moore also mentioned a conversation she had recently with Griffiths. Leading COA, he said to her, "'isn't running a business, or running an institution. It's running a family.'" Added Moore, "I think that's how we feel about him, as a family member." Acknowledgements were also given to Griffiths' wife, Susan Dowling.
Griffiths, who will remain at the college in his role as administrative dean, closed the short ceremony by recalling how he came to COA seven years ago after serving as CFO of WGBH in Boston for nearly twenty-five years. Having completed a complicated real estate transaction at the public broadcasting company, Griffiths felt that it was time to move on, though he wasn't quite ready to retire. He told a friend who runs an executive search firm. "If you run across a nonprofit where I might be useful, where I would learn something, that would be idealistic-" As smiles of recognition crossed the hallway, Griffiths continued, "Like everybody here, I feel that I can contribute something, and I'm still learning a great deal."
To conclude his talk, Griffiths spoke about his excitement in welcoming COA's seventh president, Darron Collins. "He's got what the college needs ... and he'll carry on the tradition of a satisfying workplace."
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