The trustees were recently in Williamstown. Does Morty think about relations with trustees in the same way that William M. Chace, former president of Wesleyan, does?

I had to keep in mind that the duty of trustees is, in fact, to “contribute.” I learned, however, that trustee contributions are a mixed blessing. At their best, they bring, as the euphonious clichés go, “time, talent, and tribute” or “work, wisdom, and wealth.” But only rarely did any Wesleyan trustee, even those with “talent” or “wisdom,” possess the kind of sophisticated knowledge about the academic workings of the institution to be any more than a kindly observer of it. And we in the administration behaved as if indeed we were being observed. Hence the careful design of our staged presentations to the trustees, the formal introduction of one or another precisely selected star faculty member or student to speak to them, the scrubbed and polished views of the budget. We did not seek to deceive, but to convey what we could to a body of people who knew far less about the institution than we did and whose connection to it was, in sum, charitable but quite imperfect.

What presentations were “staged” for the trustees during this last visit? Just asking!

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