Exclusive Presidential Interview: Reiss reflects on first year at WC

By Maegan Clearwood
News Editor

Maegan Clearwood: What’s your proudest moment from this year?

Mitchell Reiss: I think graduation will be, so that’s hard to answer. One was learning how many volunteer hours students volunteer to the community. That made me feel really good about what we do here. I was proud of all the students who make the honor societies because I know they work very hard to do that. I was proud of the women’s rowing team that won over the weekend. I was really proud of our lacrosse team in a loss to Dickinson but they kept fighting the whole time and it was very exciting. It showed they had a lot of heart and determination. I was really proud of the Washington Birthday Ball, actually. That was a real highlight, the amount of effort that went into that, how students conducted themselves. Same thing for the Relay for Life. It was well organized, and it had great spirit.

MC: How have you and your family adjusted to Chestertown life?
MR: I think we’ve adjusted really well. We sadly haven’t had more time to go out on the water, which is something we wanted to do, and we haven’t had enough time to explore the eastern shore. In particular for Elizabeth, Chestertown and the eastern shore are very similar to where she grew up in England, so we’ve enjoyed it.

MC: What was your most embarrassing “freshman” experience at WC?
MR: At the Feb. honors convocation, the inability of the WC community to remember the words or the tune to the alma mater. That was good.

MC: What are you most looking forward to next year?
MR: Teaching, which will allow me to spend more time in the classroom with students, getting to know them. Also, working on the strategic plan for the college with faculty and alumni.

MC: What’s biggest lesson you’ve learned from being President of WC?
MR: It’s one that I’ve relearned, which is that it’s absolutely essential to listen to as many people as possible before you make decision. We are collectively much stronger than we are as individuals. There are people who’ve been here for decades and it would be remissive if I make decision before listening to them. It’s something that’s always good to remember.

MC: What’s your favorite thing about Chestertown?
MR: The Saturday morning Farmers Market. It’s my favorite day of the week.

MC: What’s your funniest WC experience?
MR: When the students late at night walk home from the Fish Whistle and say in a very loud stage whisper, “That’s the president’s house,” usually at one in the morning.

MC: What’s the best event you attended this year?
MR: The boat race in the fall.

MC: How is WC different from other schools you’ve been involved with?
MR: I think the commitment to teaching is extraordinary. The ability to take advantage of our location on the river and the bay is wonderful.

MC: What are you doing over the summer?
MR: I’m going to be traveling to meet some alumni around the country. I’ll be going to be a foreign policy conference in August and taking a week off with my family to go to Alaska.

MC: Any last thoughts?
MR: Elizabeth and I have a deeper appreciation for this institution and its history and a greater sense of opportunity for its history than we did before.

May 6, 2011
Volume LXXXI Issue 25

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