Catching up with Helen Giles-Gee

By Courtesy of The Equinox At Kenee State College
Updated: September 8, 2005

Keene,New Hampshire–Helen Giles-Gee is the first African-American president of Keene State College. She’s the first subject in Catching Up, a new segment where The Equinox asks questions to someone related to athletics be it a student, a coach, or an administrator.

The Equinox: Has Keene State College been what you expected?

Helen Giles-Gee: Even more so. I’ve really been impressed with the community here and the willingness of people to help each other and support each other.

TE: What is your favorite place to eat in Keene?

HGG: That’s a tough question! That’s a tough question. There are so many wonderful restaurants that are amazing. Since I’ve been in Keene, I have eaten in 10 of them on Main Street and off, and it’s all been wonderful.

TE: What do you think the role of athletics at an educational institute should be?

HGG: I think the kind of combination of academics and athletics that exist here in Keene is very appropriate. One where the two support each other with athletes learning the role of time management with regard to their studies. The award, I think the ECAC, is indicative of the combination of excellence of athletics and academics that is demonstrated here. So I think we have the appropriate balance of responsibilities that students have to both their class work and to themselves, developing the ability to work in teams.

TE: Did you play any sports in high school or college?

HGG: To be completely honest, in high school I was very, very, very, poor in basketball. Too short. And there were some students where there was a lot of contact with contact that wasn’t supposed to happen in basketball. So no, I did not play. I was good at sitting in the stands and cheering, cheering for the team. And I continue to do that.

TE: What is your favorite sport to watch, not just in Keene but in general?

HGG: I have to say it’s basketball. My high school was too small to have too many sports so what it had was basketball, so I grew up watching basketball, and I continue to do that.

TE: What institutions besides KSC do you root for, if any?

HGG: Well I have been at other institutions which will play Keene State and well I have and I will root for Keene State, it’s a friendly competition! Um, I know the coaches very well at (SUNY) Cortland. And at Leland. When I was there, but definitely Cortland because athletics were important to me. But once they come in, I am going to root for Keene and I am going to shake their hands after we win and they lose.

TE: Keene State is not known for being ethnically diverse; how can athletics help that?

HGG: Well with athletics one big role the coaches play is to recruit students. I think their recruiting and talking about the values Keene supports, one of which is diversity, would assist in that effort. Also, and I think the other values of respect, of team play that is born by participation in sports also helps others look toward Keene, with the eye toward, maybe I can go there too, even though at this time it may not be ethnically diverse but they can feel the sense of fair play and I think basically that is what all of this is about. Respect for each other, and a sense of fair play.

Helen Giles-Gee is the first African-American president of Keene State College. She’s the first subject in Catching Up, a new segment where The Equinox asks questions to someone related to athletics be it a student, a coach, or an administrator.

The Equinox: Has Keene State College been what you expected?

Helen Giles-Gee: Even more so. I’ve really been impressed with the community here and the willingness of people to help each other and support each other.

TE: What is your favorite place to eat in Keene?

HGG: That’s a tough question! That’s a tough question. There are so many wonderful restaurants that are amazing. Since I’ve been in Keene, I have eaten in 10 of them on Main Street and off, and it’s all been wonderful.

TE: What do you think the role of athletics at an educational institute should be?

HGG: I think the kind of combination of academics and athletics that exist here in Keene is very appropriate. One where the two support each other with athletes learning the role of time management with regard to their studies. The award, I think the ECAC, is indicative of the combination of excellence of athletics and academics that is demonstrated here. So I think we have the appropriate balance of responsibilities that students have to both their class work and to themselves, developing the ability to work in teams.

TE: Did you play any sports in high school or college?

HGG: To be completely honest, in high school I was very, very, very, poor in basketball. Too short. And there were some students where there was a lot of contact with contact that wasn’t supposed to happen in basketball. So no, I did not play. I was good at sitting in the stands and cheering, cheering for the team. And I continue to do that.

TE: What is your favorite sport to watch, not just in Keene but in general?

HGG: I have to say it’s basketball. My high school was too small to have too many sports so what it had was basketball, so I grew up watching basketball, and I continue to do that.