The Colgate Scene
January 1999
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Around the college

Compiled by Patricia Keith '99 and staff
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The Student Musical Theater Company presented A Chorus Line in December. Broadway's second-longest running show was directed by P.J. Haglin '01 and choreographed by Christy Visaggi '02.
Cosby at commencement
Many members of the Class of 1999 spent Thursday nights in the 1980s with the Huxtable family. This May, the seniors will welcome Dr. Huxtable himself when actor Bill Cosby delivers the commencement address.

     Colgate's Office of Undergraduate Studies had previously invited Cosby to speak at its 30th anniversary, but the actor was unable to attend. According to Assistant to the President and Secretary of the Board of Trustees Gary Ross, Cosby "made it clear that he thought highly of Colgate and would be open to another invitation that might better suit his schedule."

     By coincidence, Bill Cosby received the most votes in a poll asking seniors for their top choice as a graduation speaker. The Joint Committee on Honorary Degrees extended Cosby an invitation to deliver the keynote address and the entertainer quickly accepted.

     "I can honestly say the reaction that has come from all parts of the Colgate community has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Everyone is looking forward to hearing and benefiting from Mr. Cosby's tremendous wisdom," said Ross.

An avid student and supporter of higher education, Cosby is a graduate of Temple University and earned masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Massachusetts. Following university tradition, Colgate will confer an honorary doctorate on Cosby at the May 16 commencement.

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The old third floor squash court in Huntington is being transformed into the Stuart Angert '62 Family Climbing Wall. The facility, which should be ready for spring semester action, will accommodate eight to nine climbers at once. There will be a beginners' ramp, a "big roof" and one section that reaches up 40 feet. Lessons and physical education credit, as well as rentals for shoes and harnesses will be available.
Intellectual fire ignited
Colgate welcomed three renowned civil rights experts in a panel discussion that stirred the emotions and intellects of students and faculty alike.

     The October 10 panel was intended to focus on the broader concepts of "Race, Ethnicity and the Idea of Equality in America," but turned into a heated debate about affirmative action. "It got a bit rowdy, bordering on going beyond civility, but I would characterize the debate as a highly intellectual animated discussion," said Professor of Political Science Stanley Brubaker, who organized and mediated the event.

     Ward Connerly, chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute and chief sponsor of the 1996 California Civil Rights Initiative (Proposition 209); Linda Chavez, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity and director for the U.S. Civil Rights Commission from 1983-1985; and Rogers Smith, professor of political science at Yale University, author of Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History and Pulitzer Prize finalist in History were the members of the panel.

     Lead-off speaker Connerly, who is African-American, argued against affirmative action. "Public policy ought to reflect the ideal. You set a standard and try to demand compliance with that standard . . . If we really believe in the idea of equality, we will increase the pool, and we will reduce the need for preference," said Connerly.

     Smith, a Caucasian, defended preferential treatment for minorities. "Affirmative action is letting in qualified students. Qualified, competent people are being benefited by this training and have gone on to be very successful in their fields."

     Chavez, who penned Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation and is a nationally syndicated columnist, respectfully disagreed with Smith, arguing that preferential treatment does not help the students who need it most. "Affirmative action provides benefits not to victims, but to members that fit a certain racial class. The poorest students won't make it through the twelfth grade to benefit from affirmative action programs."

     Following the presentations, in which pros and cons of affirmative action were discussed, Brubaker opened up the floor to questions, leading to a highly charged intellectual and personal debate.

     Noted Brubaker, "the panelists were impressed with the intellectual quality of the students and their energetic engagement. All three were impressed with the level of discussion."


Archaeologist Anne Dowd '76 returned to Tony Aveni's class, where she was first inspired to pursue her life's work, to discuss her exploration and study of the history and art of Mexican ruins. [IMAGE]


Physics home work
Hamilton resident Ron Blackmore was given the rare opportunity to have his house evaluated for energy efficiency by Colgate students -- free of charge.

     Last fall, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy Beth Parks led a first-year seminar on global sustainability to Blackmore's Madison Street home. The class examined the feasibility of heating homes, namely Blackmore's, more efficiently, with the goal of eliminating the use of fossil fuels.

     "What makes for a successful class is where the students are presented with a project that they feel that they can't do, but we develop the skills that are necessary to complete it. What I found is that the students have a great deal of pride in successfully completing the project, and I think they enjoyed it."

     Blackmore opened his home for a day in October. The first-year students evaluated the main floor of the house as well as the attic and the unfinished basement for air infiltration and the amount of heat loss that the house experiences. The students, who were each assigned one aspect of the house, also counted and identified types of windows, evaluated insulation, calculated R-values and analyzed appliances such as the refrigerator, water heater and light fixtures.

     The students invited Blackmore to a class discussion, where they presented their findings. They calculated both the cost to make his house extremely energy efficient -- enough to eliminate the need to use fossil fuels for heating -- and the cost of incremental improvements as well as the subsequent paybacks that could be derived from the smaller improvements.

[IMAGE] Duran's service recognized
First-year student Diego Duran, who hails from Silver Spring, MD, received the Yoshiyama Award for Exemplary Service to the Community for a project he spearheaded while a student at the John F. Kennedy High School.

     The Yoshiyama Award, which is sponsored by the Hitachi Foundation, recognizes high school seniors who have distinguished themselves through extensive service in their communities.

     In high school, Duran felt that Latino students were being ignored and he decided to do something about it. During the summer before his senior year, Duran worked with an advisor to develop a mentoring and tutoring program. The result was Latinos United and Committed to Higher Achievement (LUCHA).

     "We took a more holistic approach to the tutoring," said Duran, who is contemplating a major in political science or Latin American studies. "We knew not only the students, but the parents and teachers needed to be taught. It would not have done any good if we tutored the students and then they went home and their parents asked them why they were doing work. It was a huge undertaking."

     Duran, who was one of 11 chosen to receive this national award from among 410 applicants, said that he wanted the LUCHA program to work with the most high-risk kids, "so we were with kids with the lowest Grade Point Averages (GPA), from 0.00 to 1.28. Some of the GPAs doubled as a result of the LUCHA program, and one almost tripled."

     Duran and the 11 Yoshiyama Award recipients spent October 24-27 on an island retreat on the Chesapeake and received a personal tour of the White House, where they were introduced to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. "It was absolutely awesome," said Duran about his White House experience. "The First Lady is a really classy woman, but she doesn't act like she is above everyone. She went around to each of us and made conversation."

     Duran has already brought his service and leadership abilities to the Colgate community. He is involved with the Student Government Association (SGA) as a senator-at-large and chairperson for SGA Affairs. Duran is also working hard to promote diversity on Colgate's campus as a member of the Latin American Students Organization (LASO) and a participant at the ALANA Cultural Center.

     Duran is also working on an initiative to encourage the matriculation of Latino students and faculty to Colgate. "I went before the Board of Trustees at their annual open meeting to express my concerns," said Duran. "They were receptive to some ideas."

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Nancy Snook from Community Memorial Hospital encourages Lisa Williamson '00 during a pulmonary function test at the Student Health Fair. Sponsored by Student Health Service, Center for Women's Studies and Student Activities, the fair included more than 20 representatives covering a wide range of health issues.
IR students online
In November, students in the "International Relations in the Post-Cold War Environment" class participated in the International Communication and Negotiation Simulations (ICONS) program.

     ICONS, which takes place over the Internet, casts students in the United States and other countries as high-level negotiators on issues of international importance for a period of three weeks.

     Visiting Professor of International Relations Peyi Soyinka-Airewele, who leads the class, said, "ICONS offers students a unique opportunity to interact with other students across the world and become engaged in a discourse on post-Cold War issues in a specific region."

     Students work together on "country teams," deliberating within their teams and negotiating between and among other country teams.

     Colgate represented both France and the Czech Republic in the negotiations on "Managing International Security in the New Europe."

     It was an honor for Colgate to be allowed to represent two teams in ICONS, according to Soyinka-Airewele. The majority of schools that participate only represent one country.

     Before the simulation began, students were divided into the two teams and assigned issue areas of economic security, military security and the environment. Extensive research and a position paper that specified country goals and strategies laid the foundation for their negotiation with other countries.

     In the past, Soyinka-Airewele had felt that students had a hard time understanding the political and cultural complexities of international politics, and she sought to find a program that utilized comprehensive teaching to bring her students closer to the real world.

     "From lectures and films, students don't grasp cultural differences that exist in international relations," said Soyinka-Airewele. "But by negotiating on behalf of a country, students have to understand the issues that are facing that country."

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Ramon Rodriguez's senior project exhibition had visitors to the Creative Arts House gallery gasping and guessing. "I don't know," said one student as she bent over a display of what a white-footed mouse might leave behind, "I'm not a scatologist." 4469 Droppings, which also featured man-made byproducts from moose, martens, birds and a lot of cows, was one of several shows that opened on campus at semester's end. Other works included computer graphics, photographs, paintings and drawings.
Colgate in the national media
Colgate has recieved a number of mentions in the national media recently. Associate Professor of Psychology Carrie Keating appeared as an expert source on lying on the Oprah Winfrey Show and in the Dallas Morning News and Washington Times.

     The New York Times and Computer World highlighted Alexander and Alice Nakhimovsky's Manna internet software program. The faculty couple, who teach computer science and Russian, invented the program to teach foreign language in an innovative way by splitting a monitor into four squares showing a film, the script, commentary in English, and a dictionary.

     Lee Svete, director of career services, was quoted on the Associated Press wire in a story about the direct link between job titles and employee job satisfaction that ran in the Chicago Tribune and St. Petersburg Times, among others.

     Music professor Marietta Cheng wrote an op-ed on the challenges women conductors face, which was published in Newsday and other papers nationwide.

     In November -- on the third Friday the 13th of 1998, to be exact -- the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones news wire, Wireless Flash News Service, ABC.com News and radio stations in San Antonio, Sacramento and Albany, N.Y. explained the phenomenon of lucky Thirteen at Colgate -- no triskaidekaphobia here!

     Psychology professor Jack Dovidio was quoted in a story on stereotypes and ignorance in issues of race on the Gannet News Service.

     Michael Johnston of the political science department was quoted in a Gore fundraising probe story on National Public Radio's Morning Edition and in an article on the Starr investigation in The Christian Science Monitor.

     Colgate's roommate matching strategies were cited in an article titled "Roommate Roulette" on Scripps Howard News Service and in College Bound Magazine.


Taxi!
Professor of History Graham Hodges is looking for help. Currently working on a book project, Taxi! A Cultural History of the New York City Cabdriver, Hodges is interested in hearing anecdotes about Big Apple taxi drivers. The project will produce the first book-length cultural history of the American icon, the New York City cabdriver. Mixing chronological and topical narratives, Hodges is employing sources from film, art, music, cabdriver memoirs and, of course, the passengers. Please send anecdotes about life inside the cab to Hodges care of the history department or call 315-228-1000 x7518.

     In a related note, Hodges hosted a faculty colloquium titled "Teaching Race and Class in a Global Economy," with members of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA).

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