Photo Friday: At Home in the “Chancellor House Mansion”

Black and white photo of Ernest L. and Kay Boyer sitting in the living room of the SUNY chancellor’s home in Albany. - BCA

Black and white photo of Ernest L. and Kay Boyer sitting in the living room of the SUNY chancellor’s home in Albany. – BCA

Earlier this week, Service Fulfilled previewed Many Mansions: Lessons of Faith, Family, and Public Service (ACU Press, 2014), the recently-released memoir by Ernie Boyer’s wife, Kay. In the book, she traces her family’s life journey by focusing on the many homes they occupied throughout the U.S.: from their first “Honeymoon Cottage Magical Mansion” in Orlando, Florida, to their final “Family Home Mansion” in Princeton, N.J.

One of the mid-life homes — the “Chancellor House Mansion” — was the Boyer’s residence while Ernie served as the head of the State University of New York from 1971-1976. Today’s Photo Friday post showcases a photo of Ernie and Kay relaxing in that home. (More details about the photo here.)

In Many Mansions, Kay describes the house’s primary function: hospitality.

From our earliest days in the Chancellor House, we felt it was important to reach out with warmth and hospitality to many groups. Ernie wanted to focus his leadership on students, so our first big event at Chancellor House was a large reception for student-body presidents, members of student senates, and student editors from all of the sixty-four SUNY campuses. A little later, we gave a reception to show friendship to the people living on our street, and then to a large group of members of the news media. Ernie and I shook hands with everyone and then moved among the guests to show friendship.

The main function of the house was as a gathering place for the daylong meetings, special lunches, and formal dinners. These could involve groups of the campus presidents, administrators, faculty leaders, student representatives, Ernie’s central administrative staff, and others. The goal was to create a warm, friendly, home-like atmosphere that would make it easy to create personal connections. Ernie and I both made considerable efforts to remember each person’s name at every event. This was all part of his leadership style, and I enjoyed working in partnership with him. I planned the menus and directed events, which gave me wonderful opportunities to meet many outstanding students, faculty members, and administrators.

To read more about the “Chancellor House Mansion,” as well as the Boyer family’s other residences, check out Many Mansions, now available to purchase.

Many Mansions: Kathryn Boyer’s Memoir

Ernie and Kay Boyer on their wedding day. -- ELB Center Archives

Ernie and Kay Boyer on their wedding day. — ELB Center Archives

If you spend enough time immersed in Dr. Ernest L. Boyer’s professional work, it won’t take long to discover tiny glimpses of his life at home. Anecdotes of his family crept into speeches and impromptu remarks. It’s a nice reminder that despite his devotion to public service and commitment to quality education he also held a deep devotion to his family. Boyer understood that serving his wife and children as a good husband and father was just as (perhaps more so) important as his career.

Now we have the opportunity to peer deeper into Boyer’s dedication to his family with the publication of Kathryn Boyer’s memoir, Many Mansions: Lessons of Faith, Family, and Public Service.

many-mansionsOfficially released last year at a private reception at Messiah College, the memoir chronicles the myriad experiences of the Ernest L. Boyer family. Each chapter focuses on a different house (there are 20 total!) the family lived in and the memories made in those homes. For any scholar of Ernest L. Boyer, Kathryn Boyer’s memoir in memory of her husband expands his legacy even further and widens our comprehension of the man behind the service.

You can purchase your copy of the book, published by Abilene Christian University Press, here.

Look for more posts about this book coming soon!