|THE KEENE STATE COLLEGE MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS||VOLUME XXII NUMBER 1 Fall 2006|
Wednesday, August 23, 11 a.m.
It smells like rain out there on the campus, but that's OK for now – until students arrive this weekend to start everything for the fall. The welcome tent is already up, perfectly pitched, ropes tied taut onto iron stakes, all the knots identical.
It's my last day at Keene State. A new job starts Monday an hour east of here, and I'm heading to the Student Center to see if they're selling sandwiches this early. And I'm noticing things. I didn't intend to notice things, but it's all so vivid today. Two young women are here early (RAs, maybe) on cell phones, their flipflops slapping the bottoms of their feet. Most likely in January their flipflops will still be slapping, this being New Hampshire, where temperature isn't really anything to be too concerned about (except 90 degrees in July).
So I'm looking around and noticing. Those locust trees planted among the bricks along Appian Way have suddenly grown to 20 feet and have spread their branches over all the benches. I had thought they were still five-foot saplings. And this late in the summer, the flowers are still everywhere, thanks to the planning and planting of gardener Chris Feiker, whose work remains a signature of this campus, years after he left.
There's Tim Allen, the geology professor, with his son. He stops to close the door of a recycling bin left slightly ajar. People want this place to look nice, and not just those who get paid for that particular job.
Treasures are everywhere on this campus. The way the library's second floor opens above you in that grand-piano-lid shape. The miniature New England landscape in the Science Center courtyard. The radical shade of green in the new Media Arts Center. Great souls like Mike Ward in the Student Center, who can't help but suddenly appear wherever he's needed.
Farther down Appian Way is a kind of miracle. A couple of days ago, the new Butler Court dorm (we're supposed to say "residence hall," but it's my last day, and I'm taking liberties) seemed to the casual passer-by like a construction project midway done. But on Sunday, it'll be ready for returning students. Jay Kahn and his colleagues never cease to amaze.
There's so much more amazement in store for this college, says Helen Giles-Gee, and I believe her. I'm proud of this place, and the little bit I've helped with. I can't wait to see what happens next. I'll be sure to keep noticing.
Michael Matros was the director of College Relations at Keene State and editor of this magazine. We all miss his wisdom, his humor, and those doughnuts at staff meetings. Thank you, Michael.