Monday, June 16, 2008

Gramps, as told by Colby-Sawyer

I'm not ready to write something of my own yet, so I will instead post the memo Colby-Sawyer College sent to the current members of the Board of Trustees. It's hard to sum up such an amazing life, but here is his life, from the College's POV.

In Memoriam
Charles "Chuck" J. Lawson

Charles "Chuck" J. Lawson, former chairman of the Colby-Sawyer College Board of Trustees, passed away unexpectedly on June 8, 2008. Chuck was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1988 to 1998, serving as its chairman from 1992 until 1998. From 1998 until his passing, he served as an honorary life trustee. During his time on the board, Chuck was instrumental in conceiving the ideas and implementing the decisions which changed Colby-Sawyer from a college in financial and enrollment crisis to one of the strongest and most respected colleges in its peer group.

Chuck was a leader who was unafraid to take bold steps when they were complemented by careful stewardship. He was directly involved in the college's goal-topping, first-ever, comprehensive capital campaign, the continued improvement of its high quality academic programs, its consistent growth in both endowment and enrollment, numerous physical plant improvements, and its highly successful reaccreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. During his tenure as chair, Lawson Hall was conceived and constructed, and 116 acres of land for new recreation and athletic fields was purchased.

Both Chuck and his wife, Joan, who predeceased him in 2005, were passionate supporters of education, and their generosity touched every facet of the Colby-Sawyer community. They often said, "We like knowing that at Colby-Sawyer we can really make a difference." Chuck and Joan were members of the Legends Society, a group whose membership includes those who donate $1 million or more during their lifetimes to the college.

As a way of acknowledging all of Chuck's extraordinary contributions to Colby-Sawyer, in 1998 he was awarded the Susan Colgate Cleveland Medal for Distinguished Service, the college's highest honor. President Tom Galligan said of Mr. Lawson, "Chuck's commitment, intelligence, hard work, and dedication to our college were instrumental in significantly reinforcing the foundation upon which the strength of Colby-Sawyer is built today. He was a wonderful leader, a true gentleman, and a great friend of the college who could always be counted on to offer his time, financial support, and guidance as it was needed. We will all miss him very much."

Chuck was a 1943 graduate of MIT, completing his degree early in order to join the US Army. He served in Europe during WWII, and was discharged as an artillery captain in 1945. After the war, Chuck had a distinguished career in manufacturing management in companies such as IBM, Hancock-Telecontrol, and National Micronetics. He retired in 1983 as a group vice president of EG&G Industries, and president of their Rotron Division. He also served on numerous corporate and non-profit organization boards, including Labsphere and New London Hospital in NH and the Kingston Hospital and Marist College in NY.

Chuck was a resident of New London, NH and Naples, FL. He is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Tom and Nancy Lawson of Naples, FL, and his sister, Rev. Rosemary Peters of Halifax, MA, as well as by his children and their spouses, Charles [Jud] and Cindy Lawson of Springfield, NH, Bruce and Jody Lawson of Plattsburgh, NY and Gail and Reid Anderson of Tampa, FL. He will also be missed by his four granddaughters, Betsy Fujinaga, Susan Woodard, Julia Lawson and Mercy Anderson, and his great-granddaughter, Lilliana Cross.

A memorial service will be held at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, August 6, at the First Baptist Church of New London, NH, with a private interment at the Pleasant View Cemetery in Springfield, NH. Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent in his memory to The New London Hospital, 273 County Road, New London, NH 03257.

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