Snapshot: Patrice Boily
Occupation: I’m a professor of biology and also the chairperson of the Department of Biology at Western Connecticut State University (WestConn). I’ve been there since 2006 as a professor and am starting my seventh year as chair. Before that, I was at the University of New Orleans for ten years. In 2005, there was Hurricane Katrina and, living in the city, we were affected, so we decided to look for a new place to live.
Family: I live with my girlfriend, Karina. She works in New Haven in the field of healthcare. I have two sons. The oldest, Etienne, will start at WestConn this fall and will be in the digital and interactive media arts program. The youngest, André, will be a junior at Abbott Tech in Danbury.
How long have you lived in Newtown? After Hurricane Katrina, we ended up in Danbury for a year in 2006. In 2007, we moved to Newtown. We chose Newtown because we were told there were good schools, it was a nice place to live, and we had good recommendations from other professors who lived in town.
What do you like to do in your free time? Anything outdoors. In spring and summer, I like to hike, go camping, and sailing. In the winter, I like to go skiing and snowboarding. I actually teach snow sports at Mohawk Mountain. I volunteer for a group of Boy Scouts, so that keeps my camping activities going. I also volunteer for a Sea Scout Ship — Boy Scouts on the water — in Bridgeport.
What is your favorite travel destination? I still have family in Canada who have a beautiful house on a lake, so every summer, I go there. It’s close to mountains, too, so in the winter, we go there and go skiing.
What is the best part about Newtown? For us, it was a good choice because it’s been phenomenal for the kids — great schools, great support, and plenty of activities for them to get involved in to keep them busy. For me personally, I have easy access to outdoor activities. There is great hiking in town, it’s not too far from the mountains, and it’s not too far from The Sound.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My sons. When I think about how I decide things, my sons are the central factor.
If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? My family. I like to spend time with loved ones.
What is your favorite musical genre? I like just about everything. It can range from classical to hard rock to hip-hop. The only thing I don’t like is country music.
Do you have a favorite TV show? I have binge-watched Breaking Bad two or three times back-to-back. Also, The Office and The Crown.
What is your favorite food? I eat anything. I’m not allowed to eat it anymore, but I love mac and cheese from the box. I have a favorite cookie called Whippets. They’re made in Montreal and are similar to Mallomars — but they’re better.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? The Golden Rule of “Treat others how you’d want to be treated yourself.” That is a universal rule that works very well.
What is something you cannot live without? Other than cookies… I would say I could not live somewhere without seasonal changes. I love the change of seasons — winter, spring, summer, fall.
What is your proudest accomplishment? I’ve been lucky in life, and I like to give back. I think that volunteering for a number of organizations is something I’m very proud of.