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CHESTERTOWN, MD—Returning students may have noticed a couple of additions to the Washington College landscape in the form of an outdoor sculpture and a teak bench, both gifts in tribute to the popular former board chair who served as interim president of the College for the 2014-15 school year. Jack S. “Jay” Griswold stepped into the presidency at the request of the Board of Governors and Visitors after former president Mitchell Reiss resigned to lead the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Griswold won admirers and friends throughout the community— students, staff, faculty and Chestertown residents—with the commitment, wisdom, personal warmth, and good-humor he exhibited while guiding the College.
In honor of Griswold’s service, Board member Matthew Weir ’90 donated a sculpture depicting an adult osprey returning to the nest to feed two chicks. It was installed over the summer outside Hodson Hall Commons, on the lawn between the Goose Nest and Cater Walk. Weir purchased the sculpture from Wyoming artist Leland Johnson, who fashioned the nest from found metal much like an osprey creates a nest out of found objects. Weir displayed the piece in his Chestertown house for a number of years. But when he sold that house, the Washington, D.C. resident decided that the sculpture should remain on the Eastern Shore. “Ospreys are such a presence in the area; the sculpture really needs to be in Chestertown,” he said. It seemed fitting to donate it to College and dedicate it Griswold, he added, “because the osprey in the piece is nourishing its young, the College does a wonderful job nourishing young people, and Jay Griswold has given so much of himself to nourish the Washington College community.”
The new wooden bench, which is installed on Cater Walk near the bridge to the library, was purchased through donations from faculty members. English professor Richard Gillin quietly organized the solicitation and the purchase of the bench. “The Board of Visitors and Governors can sometimes view the faculty as being contrary,” he says. “But the bench can serve as a true expression of thanks for choosing someone so first-rate to get us through the interim period,” said Gilllin. An official presentation of the bench is planned for later this fall.