IF WALLS COULD TALK: Long ago, president of N.H. college was Madison native; school now bears his name

Katie Ouilette Wallsby Katie Ouilette

WALLS, I know how much our faithful readers enjoy you, as, just last Wednesday morning, I had several women tell me how much they missed you when they didn’t have you to read for a couple weeks. Well, many thanks to The Town Line’s managing editor Roland Hallee for choosing your column to print for you faithful readers.

This week, we do have a surprise for folks, don’t we? Maybe our faithful readers have never known what the The Town Line has done so much for young folks and all the wonderful things they have done or are doing for their schools, their communities and themselves, but I guess that I am taking advantage of bragging rights.

Yes, yes, I’m about to talk about my ‘much younger’ years and the much, much younger years of a great man.

Walls, you know that I graduated from Colby Junior College, in New London, New Hampshire, but not even I knew that the man who ran from his home across from the college to welcome my folks and I, because, he said, he was so happy to see a Maine license plate! Well, in my high school mind, I thought that was strange. Oh, in conversation, I learned that we were talking with H. Leslie Sawyer, the man who, also in conversation, let us Maine folks know that, anyone who had the high marks and leadership qualities in high school would never be refused acceptance. Wow! Then, I found out that we were talking to the president of Colby Junior. Another WOW!

Well, WALLS, fast forward now, when I learned, when a student, that Dr. H. Leslie Sawyer was truly an incredible man who, after receiving his many degrees, began as a leader of a Woman’s Finishing School in that town. Then the girls ended up going to Colby Junior College, but Colby College, in Waterville, decided to sue the New London College, as Colby in Maine was not a Junior College. So the name was changed. Yes, a young man who lived in New London came
home from World War II and, unfortunately, needed home care, and that was the beginning of Colby Junior’s becoming a four-year college and, now co-educational, it is named Colby-Sawyer College.

Now, for your real news of the day by WALLS, faithful readers. Dr. H. Leslie Sawyer was born and grew up in Madison! His dad was a highly-respected physician and, surely, we of Madison, are very proud, as there are few small towns in Maine that can say that a college bares the name of a Madison “kid.”


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