In "The Cotter Years," a videotaped tribute shown this spring at a banquet in honor of Bill and Linda Cotter, Vice President Arnie Yasinski tells a story about President Cotter's "sense of urgency" when it comes to Colby's business. "I think that we finally hit warp speed one day in senior staff when at the beginning of the meeting Bill asked if we couldn't get some new carpets in the entryway of a building, and at the end of the same meeting he asked me if it had been done yet," Yasinski said.
Apocryphal or not, the anecdote illustrates part of the Cotter legacy- one that will undoubtedly grow from legendary to mythic now that the Cotters have departed, bound for new challenges after 21 years on Mayflower Hill.
Anyone around long enough to have heard Bill Cotter's inaugural address, in 1979, is aware that he set that brisk pace right from the beginning. In that speech he noted among his priorities for Colby the need:
to increase the number of minority students,
to diversify the make-up of the faculty and
for increased consciousness of "attitudes that connote second-class citizenship" for women.
Then, before the inaugural speech ended, he announced:
creation of the Bunche Scholars program to recruit outstanding students of color,
addition of an African-American faculty member (an increase from none) for the spring semester and
a change in Colby's alma mater such that, beginning at that very ceremony and henceforth, students and alumni would sing, "Hail, Colby, Hail. Thy people far and near" rather than "Thy sons from far and near."
Hold onto your mortarboards; the Cotter era had begun.
"A Legacy of Leadership: After 21 Years at Colby, Bill Cotter Looks Toward New Challenges,"
Colby Magazine: Vol. 89:
3, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.colby.edu/colbymagazine/vol89/iss3/7