Dr. Sara Quay is no stranger to Endicott. For the past 25 years, she has been a fixture at the College in various positions, starting off as Assistant Dean of Arts & Sciences, then as Dean of the School of Education and Director of the Endicott Scholars Program.
In 2021, Dr. Quay became the first Vice Provost, supporting various strategic initiatives. In her new role as Provost, she will focus on the various academic programs at the College, working to support and provide the best education for students. We sat down with Dr. Quay to discuss her goals in this new role, favorite spots at Endicott, and who inspires her.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Moving into this new role, what are your goals for Endicott's undergraduate, Van Loan, and graduate programs?
Celebrate, elevate, and support academics at Endicott. What new opportunities will help us provide the best education for our students from the undergraduate through doctoral levels?
Why is the role of Provost important to you?
In my office I have a piece of art titled “Late Fall Practice.” It was my father’s from when he rowed on his college crew team and it features the outline of an 8-person shell of rowers heading for the finish line. Being a Provost is like being the coxswain on a crew. You want to make sure everyone is rowing in the same direction, pay attention when that is not happening, and ensure there is balance and collaboration across the entire crew.
You are in your 25th year at Endicott. Are there any moments in your career that stand out to you?
The most memorable moments have to do with the friends and colleagues I have worked alongside—whether for 1 month or 25 years—to help make Endicott what it is today.
Who inspires you?
I am always inspired by our seniors as they go out on their semester internships, clinicals, and practicum experiences. I love the look of confidence on their faces when they head out to that semester-long experience—they feel and are so prepared.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I am an avid reader and have been part of a book group for 20 years. I am co-founder of the Full Moon Story Slam hosted by The Actor’s Studio, where I cheer on local storytellers. I like to do yoga, walk, bike, and enjoy the outdoors, especially the ocean.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
One goal I have is to visit some of Endicott’s most popular study abroad locations in Madrid, Spain (our CIS partner); Cork, Ireland; and Florence, Italy.
What is a skill that you would like to learn?
If I could have an alternative career it would be in interior architecture. I have such respect for people who can create spaces that are beautiful, usable, and human-focused.
What’s your favorite place at Endicott?
The green roof at the Center for the Arts and the lawn behind College Hall. The Center for Belonging & Inclusion is a new favorite! Our Physical Plant team does an incredible job keeping every nook and cranny of our campus looking beautiful and welcoming.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“A kind word can change someone’s entire day.”
What was the last book you read that changed the way you think?
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It is a collection of essays that remind us about the wisdom of the natural world, indigenous peoples, and how everything is interconnected and interdependent.
What’s the most interesting thing you have in your office?
I have a snow globe of the Twin Towers, which were attacked and collapsed on September 11, 2001. This was a pivotal time in my life, and it reminds me that while we each go about our daily lives as individuals, we are best when we work together.
What is your favorite movie?
Love Actually. My husband and I watch it every holiday season and it never gets old.
What’s one thing that can instantly make your day better?
Coffee and a smile.
What is on your bucket list?
In July I checked a great item off my bucket list when I saw Elton John perform as part of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. It was phenomenal!
Are you a morning person or night owl?
I love to get up early, have a cup of coffee, and get to work. The morning hours are my best!
What does the average day look like for you?
Every day is different. I try to be out of my office and around campus, have meetings in other buildings, and see who I run into—students, faculty, and staff from all departments.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
The ability to solve problems so that everyone feels heard and satisfied with the outcome, even if compromises are made along the way.
What’s your favorite restaurant near campus?
For many years now the students in the Endicott Scholars Program have gathered for dinner at Siam Delight in Beverly and Passage to India in Salem. I’m a big fan of Atomic Cafe coffee and treat myself to the chicken kabob salad at Prides Deli.
If you had to curate the soundtrack to your life, what songs would be on there?
I am pretty much a Top 40 song lover. On a study tour to Finland and Sweden several years ago, I was thrilled when our whole group sang along to one of my favorites, ABBA’s Dancing Queen.
What are some words of advice you have for students for this academic year?
Read the syllabus. Find a few real friends who you can turn to for anything. Stretch yourself in your internship. Study abroad. Visit the Endicott Center for Teaching & Learning. Ask for help early—faculty and staff are here to help.