College is a chrysalis into which 3 million hopeful young freshmen enter each fall. Four years later, most emerge smarter, surer, more worldly—ready to spread their wings.
For some students, the metamorphosis is far more significant, and more fundamental, than deciding whether to major in anthropology or astrophysics.
They start college as one gender. They leave as another.
In 1985, armed with a résumé that included a handful of coaching assignments—only two of which actually involved monetary compensation—Lisa Melendy arrived at Williams to coach the women’s varsity soccer team. Or so she thought.
In September, Charles N. Waigi ’72 received a Williams Bicentennial Medal for distinguished achievement. It was only his second visit to campus since his graduation 40 years ago. He’d been on the college’s list of “lost” alumni since 1979, around the time he left the U.S. for his native Kenya. But his classmates tracked him down in 2007, hoping to convince him to attend their 35th reunion.
A shared love of classical music initially drew art history professor Charles “Mark” Haxthausen into the world of Sol LeWitt. And a 2010 visit to LeWitt’s Connecticut home— where Haxthausen discovered 4,000 audio cassettes, meticulously catalogued and shelved in the manner of the artist’s iconic wall drawings—inspired the concept for the Williams College Museum of Art exhibition Sol LeWitt: The Well-Tempered Grid, on view through Dec. 9. Curated by Haxthausen, the exhibition explores the centrality of the grid and the ideas of theme and variation in LeWitt’s art.
We asked professors across the curriculum to share, in their own words, how these principles—and objects they’ve selected from the exhibition—inform and inspire their own work.