Turning the Page

By Anne Hinman Diffily ’73 / July / August 1998
November 30th, 2007

Over the years that I've worked for the BAM, I've come to enjoy spending the last Monday of every May scribbling in my reporter's notebook. I love the pageantry of Commencement, from the bands and bagpipers to the ceremonial Latin phrases rendered in diverse presidential accents: Howard Swearer's broad Midwestern vowels, Vartan Gregorian's Old World locution, Gordon Gee's Utah twang.I also enjoy seeing the stages of adulthood on parade. During the procession, after the "sock" formed by thousands of marchers turns inside-out partway down College Hill, fresh-faced seniors give way to young alumni, then to the middle-aged and the old. One of the most venerable this year was Chet Worthington '23, a former editor of this magazine (see page 46).

It was Chet's seventy-fifth reunion and my twenty-fifth, a neat coincidence as I approached the end of a chapter in my career. On July 1, I began a new job as Brown's editor-at-large, working on a variety of publishing projects, including some books. It's an opportunity to draw on all I've learned about the University in my nineteen years at the BAM, while expanding my editorial range

As July approached, I was excited—and sad. Working on the BAM has defined much of my adult life, and its readers feel like old friends. During the next few months there may be moments when I won't know quite who I am anymore. But my confusion will pass quickly - especially because I'm so confident that the magazine will be in good hands.

The BAM's new editor is Norman Boucher, its managing editor for the past four years. Norman is a 1973 graduate of the University of New Hampshire, where he also earned a master's in writing. Among his author's credits are A Bird Lover's Life List & Journal and articles for such magazines as the Atlantic, Audubon, and the New York Times Magazine.

When Norman interviewed for the managing editor job in 1994, he sat on the edge of my old blue sofa and proceeded to list what was wrong with the BAM and how he would fix it. My eyes must have widened, but I realized his advice was worth pondering. I needed a colleague who could help point the magazine toward the twenty-first century, and one who could write beautifully. I needed a perfectionist with a sense of humor. When the interview ended, I knew I'd hit the jackpot.

Norman joined the staff that fall and proceeded to write some of the finest prose seen in any university magazine. Last year he traveled twice to Vietnam to report on the Watson Institute's involvement in a historic war seminar and on the return of two Vietnamese-American students, former refugees who'd left the country as children. His interest in nature and ecology has given readers a window on work being done by faculty and alumni in those fields. And his editing of several departments has invigorated the BAM's campus coverage.

Two months ago, BAM writers Chad Galts, Torri Still '97, and Norman collectively won a gold medal for staff writing in the annual competition sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. This award-winning team will continue to produce a magazine you'll read with interest and pride.

As I will. The BAM is a unique, ninety-eight-year-old institution, and it has been my honor to serve as its steward these past five years. Now I look forward to becoming one of its most avid readers.


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Related Issue
July / August 1998