Name: Hank Payne
Occupation: President of Williams College
Record: What is the best part of your job?
Hank: The quality and variety of people I have the opportunity to work with. I am the only person who gets to experience every aspect of the college.
Record: How do you see the new performing arts building as adding to the Williams curriculum and atmosphere?
Hank: It will certainly build more excitement and interest in the performing arts. We will be able to attract more students interested in theatre and dance, and increase the presence of the performing arts on campus. It also allows us to affect the design of Spring Street and the center of the town.
Record: Do you have a favorite artist or artwork displayed in the Clark Art Institute or Williams College Museum of Art?
Hank: I think it’s the two Edward Hopper paintings, Morning in a City and Ranch House, Santa Fe, in the WCMA. I also like the works of John Singer Sargent.
Record: Every president of Williams except the infamous President Moore [founder of Amherst College] has a building named after him on campus. What would you like yours to be?
Hank: I seek no monuments. I’m a historian, and I hope I am remembered as someone who made a great college even better.
Record: What campus performances have you enjoyed watching this year? Was there one that stood out as a favorite?
Hank: I loved the pianist HÃ©lÃ¨ne Grimaud in Chapin Hall, and I am living in anticipation for the melodrama. As far as athletic performances, I loved the Amherst football game and the men’s Final Four basketball games in Salem [VA]. I also enjoyed watching volleyball; I have a special affection for it.
Record: Were you planning to let the 14 students who didn’t get housing move into your house?
Hank: Well, we’ve talked about it. Some juniors with a bad pick also asked to work out a trade. Students would find my house much too stuffy and formal, and there are no kegs allowed.
Record: Have you ever been to the Log on a Thursday night?
Hank: No, but I’d enjoy going down there. I’ve never been invited. [Pause ] I guess I don’t need an invitation.
Record: Would you consider throwing a party for the students at your house?
Hank: We entertain 2000-3000 guests each year, so we’re definitely a party crowd. By students’ standards these events may not be considered parties; we’re usually more sedate. I’m certainly open to suggestions.
Record: What type of music do you like?
Hank: My tastes are very eclectic. I enjoy classical music and Beethoven is my favorite. I am also partial to old 50s and 60s rock and roll. I believe there are really only two types of music, good and bad.
Record: We always see you and your wife walking the dog, but no one really knows much about the First Pet.
Hank: Her name is Ginger and she is a Golden Retriever. We acquired her ten years ago in Clinton, NY. My wife and I often discuss whether she is the dumbest or smartest animal on the planet. If intelligence is based on shaping the world to suit your personal preferences, she may be the pinnacle of evolution.
Record: What would you put on the “Hank Payne” sandwich at Pappa Charlie’s Deli?
Hank: It would probably be vegetarian, although I am not one. I would include goat cheese, avocado, sprouts, a little tomato, some peppers, and maybe some roasted eggplant.