STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 12/20/2012

A Sense of Where We Are

By President Michael Lindsay 

President Lindsay speaking

To take some liberties with a line from T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets: “The city is within us; the city is all around us.” 

Gordon relocated to Wenham from Boston’s Fenway in 1955, and at the time that seemed like retreating from a world-class city to the country. But history has a way of coming full circle. Shortly before Gordon moved its operations into Frost Hall, the final segment of Route 128 (from Danvers to Gloucester) was completed. People sometimes called it the “road to nowhere.” 

Because of people like technology pioneer Ken Olsen, though, before long that road to nowhere became “America’s Technology Highway.” Olsen joined the Gordon Board of Trustees in 1961, bringing his blend of faith and business savvy to Wenham just one year after the College introduced its first science courses. 

Information technology’s center of gravity lies westward in California’s Silicon Valley, but the 128 beltway is now the Tigris and Euphrates of biotechnology innovation. Universities, research facilities and biotech businesses are spread along its path. Gordon grad Craig Story ‘89 earned his Ph.D. in molecular biology at Brandeis University in Waltham, and did post-doctoral work at MIT and Harvard Medical School. In 2002 he drove back up north to join the Gordon biology faculty, and began involving students in his research, creating diagnostic tools that can be used by the world’s poor. 

That’s just one example of how close we are to people and institutions of great influence. And there is much that we bring to these relationships as well. Trustee Joe Krivickas, CEO of the software company SmartBear, sees these partnerships and pathways as “beachheads.” Joe became increasingly invested in the College as he witnessed what can happen when students connect with people, places and resources they might not experience elsewhere. Gordon’s new Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, in which Krivickas is deeply involved, will help take these connections to the next level. 

The aerial view of campus on the opening page of the features section of this online issue of Stillpoint is revealing. The Coy Pond side of Gordon—the Olsen and Phillips buildings, Lane Student Center and the Chapel—dominates the foreground. The rest of campus blends seamlessly into the wooded suburbs of the North Shore. Clearly discernible, just 26 miles south, is a bright sliver of Boston skyline. To take some liberties with a line from T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets: “The city is within us; the city is all around us.” 

We will always love our beautiful wooded campus. But we will increasingly also stress our very real strategic location—and all that it links us to.

NEXT: President’s Challenge: “I Want to See ‘Savvy Grace’ Happen”