Katie Conboy's Letter to the Stonehill Community
January 11, 2013Dear Friends,
I'd like to thank Fr. Mark for the gracious announcement about my decision to accept the position of Provost and Senior Vice President at Simmons College. I write today to tell you, my colleagues and friends, what an incredible privilege it has been to work with you at Stonehill for more than a quarter-century.
I am so grateful for the ways Stonehill supported me as a teacher and scholar during my years on the faculty from 1987 to 2000. As many of you know, I never intended to make a move to the administration, but I was willing to serve when President MacPháidín asked me to step in "for just six months" as interim Academic Vice President and Dean. And when I saw that I might be able to make a difference as the College's chief academic officer, I was grateful that Fr. Mark had confidence in my leadership and asked me to continue as Vice President for Academic Affairs. It's hard to believe that another thirteen years have passed since then.
There's so much to be proud of in Stonehill's trajectory over that time. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to serve during a period of growth and change, a time when the faculty has expanded and has developed new and exciting fields and collaborations in the curriculum, when students have become more diverse and more excited about their roles as global citizens, when the physical campus has expanded and matured, and when the college has achieved an admirable level of financial health.
When I arrived at Stonehill in 1987, I could never have predicted the centrality this place would come to have in my life and in the life of my entire family. As I fulfilled my work as a faculty member, my children grew up coming to campus. They put together puzzles and popped balloons in a corner of my office while I advised students, and they played in the senior courts with Stonehill babysitters while I attended faculty meetings. Later, they all benefited from the expertise and generosity of various Stonehill faculty and staff members who took a genuine interest in them, offering research prospects, advice about majors, work-study opportunities, internships, and career counseling. The willingness of Stonehill folks to help students-even when they're not Stonehill students-has been a source of inspiration for me.
Tom and I have also formed deep friendships with members of this community-friendships that will certainly survive a little "transplanting." I know we will be invited back for several annual campus events, and we will be here for them. We do not intend to disappear altogether!
But I hope my "disappearance" on sabbatical this semester has been a kind of "practice" for this transition. I know that it has helped me to realize that the time is right for a career change, and I hope it has shown all of us that Stonehill will be fine without me. I am not so immodest as to suggest that I am essential to the smooth operations of the College, but I do have to hope that you'll all miss me. I will certainly miss you, the beautiful campus, the wonderful camaraderie, and the sheer joy I have had in all of my roles here.
That said, I am tremendously grateful for the people I work with day in and day out, and I am proud that I leave things things in very good hands.
Back when I first learned to sew, I picked up a phrase that I've followed in my life: "Measure twice; cut once." In recent years, I've fielded overtures from several other institutions to move on, but in each case I took the measure and declined. I believe that this is the right moment to make the "cut." Simmons College is poised, as I believe Stonehill has been, to realize its remarkable potential. Few people have the good fortune to say that they worked to make a difference in the life of one organization; I hope to be able to make a difference at a second place as well.
Since Fr. Mark has indicated that we will have a later opportunity for me to bid you all farewell, I will save further thoughts for that later date. In the meantime, please know that I already miss all of you and the remarkable spirit of this place that has enriched my life over the past 26 years.
In enduring friendship,
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