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Campus Celebrities: Keith Tannenbaum & Holly Gurney

This week HCB is happy to present two campus celebrities: Keith Tannenbaum and Holly Gurney. These two Bates stars are household names and really require no introduction, but here’s a little background information about them:



  • Keith was born in Ohio, but grew up in Ann Arbor, MI. Keith then moved to Buffalo, NY, where he finished high school and college. Keith has been at Bates for almost 18 years. He started as the Housing Coordinator, and then switched to Student Activities and an Assistant Dean role in 1999. 
  • Holly was born and raised in Augusta, ME and has been at Bates for almost 16 years. She started at Bates in 1999 as the Assistant Dean of Students in charge of Residence Life. Holly then took on the Assistant Dean of Students position that focused on first year students and academic advising. She finally became an Associate Dean of Students working with first year students and programs as well as academic accessibility for students with learning differences and disabilities.
As we begin to approach our final Bates days with Holly and Keith, HCB wanted to reflect on the time and service they put into making our college experiences as best as they could possibly be. What developed was a list of the life lessons Holly and Keith have taught us during our time with them at Bates.
1. Put down the books and have some fun.
Keith taught us about the importance of student activities. He told HCB that academics at Bates are hard work so it’s important for students to have fun after their work is finished. 
2. Get some exercise.
Holly teaches yoga classes every Friday. She told HCB that exercise allows her to release negative energy, it increases her awareness of her physical self and how it’s functioning, and it often serves as a chance for her to meditate or “get away” for an hour or so. 
3. Ask for help when you need it – someone will listen. 
No matter how big or small your issue was, Holly’s door was always open. 
4. Respect that people have different interests. 
Through his work in student activities, Keith has taught us that not everyone has the same interests. As a result, Keith has tried to offer a wide variety of activities over the years. The Bates community genuinely seems to enjoy coming together and trying new things. 
5. Don’t let stress consume you.
It’s easy to get caught up in the stressors of life and college. Since Holly helps many students manage stress, HCB asked her how she stays grounded. She said that it’s all about perspective and it’s important to keep in mind that no matter how stressed you are at a given point, remember that it’s just one moment in your very long and rich life. 
6. Being responsible and having fun can go hand in hand.
Whether it was handing out release forms to jump on the inflatables or providing pizza for students at dances, Keith has taught students that it’s great to have fun, but to make sure that you’re doing it in a safe and responsible way.
7. Don’t forget the people who helped get you where you are. 
Nothing was more iconic than Holly’s email reminding students to call their mothers on Mother’s Day. 
8. Enjoy being part of the Bates community.
Keith told HCB that the students, staff, and faculty at Bates are amazing, and while you are only here for up to four years you need to make the effort to get to know as many of them as possible. He said the people here work hard because they believe in what Bates is, and that’s what has made this environment such a great place for him to work in.
9. Stay balanced.
Holly told HCB to remember that within all your ambitions, passions and goals, balance is the key to happiness and being grounded throughout your life. She said that she hopes students will do whatever is necessary to maintain a genuineness of heart and identity. 
10. Do what you love and do it well. 
If there’s one thing students can see in Holly and Keith, it’s that they truly love their work. They went above and beyond their job descriptions, not because they had to, but because they wanted to. 
Thank you Holly and Keith for everything you’ve done for students over the years!
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