The Colgate Scene
March 1999
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Around the college

Compiled by Patricia Keith '99 and staff
Associate Professor of Anthropology Jordan Kerber congratulates an Oneida Nation student on a discovery during last summer's dig.
Shared artifacts
A new exhibition at the Oneida Indian Nation's Shakowi Cultural Center features artifacts discovered in a Colgate/Oneida archaeological dig near Oneida Creek in Verona.

     The dig was led by Associate Professor of Anthropology Jordan Kerber and began with a two-week archaeological workshop for Oneida Nation youths last summer that was funded by Members of the Oneida Nation's Men's Council and Clan Mothers. "The Oneidas consider the youth the `Seventh Generation' or the people of the future, and they were excited about this opportunity because the past contributes to the future," said Kerber.

     Although this was the first archaeological dig on the Oneida Nation land, Kerber has led summer workshops with the Oneida Nation youth in the Colgate area in recent years. For this past summer's dig, Kerber was assisted by Dixie Henry '96.

     Colgate students returned to the Oneida Creek site last fall as part of Kerber's "Field Methods in Archaeology" class. "We found more than 5,000 cultural remains. It was a wonderful and educational experience, not just for the Colgate students, but for the Oneida youth, too," said Kerber.

     The artifacts were cleaned, sorted and catalogued by the Colgate students. The items, most of which were four or five thousand years old, were presented back to the Oneida Nation in January for the Shakowi Cultural Center exhibition.

     Finding a piece of history was what made this experience special, said Kerber. "It is an immediate link to the past. It is hard to describe the feeling you have when you find something. You realize that you are the first to touch something in more than 1,000 years. Immediately you feel a connection to the last person to handle this piece. It is the legacy of that person that is in your hand. The Oneida students have an additional connection because it is their direct heritage."

The Student Musical Theater Company presented The Fantasticks in February. The family included, from left, Kyle Donahue '02, Casey Wait '00, Steve Wait '01 and Kelly Rodden '01. Larry Berkowitz '02 directed the show, which is nearing its 40th anniversary off-Broadway.
Making a splash
Five Colgate alumni on the road are being met with critical praise. The Broken Lizard Comedy Troupe -- Jay Chandrasekhar '90, Kevin Heffernan '90, Steve Lemme '91, Paul Soter '91 and Erik Stolhanske '91 -- are promoting their highly acclaimed independent film Puddle Cruiser at colleges around the country. On February 1, the Winnebago tour stopped at the Clinton Theater for a Colgate and Hamilton showing.

     Filmed entirely in Hamilton during the summer of 1994, Puddle Cruiser portrays life inside the Colgate bubble and is an outgrowth of earlier improvisational work by the troupe, the founders of Charred Goose Beak. The Colgate traditions of fraternity life, New York Pizzeria, The Old Stone Jug and run-ins with Campus Safety officers are the backdrop for comic college rituals. All five members wrote and starred in the movie, which was directed by Chandrasekhar.

     Puddle Cruiser has already made a splash on the independent film circuit, taking home the grand prize at the Hamptons Film Festival and winning accolades at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. Said Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly, "[T]he most sheerly entertaining movie I saw at Sundance was Puddle Cruiser, a wonderfully funny and observant comedy."

     Puddle Cruiser is set to be released nationally this fall.

Stephen Perkinson '89, who teaches at Skidmore, was on campus in February to talk about "The Louvre Painting of King Jean the Good and the Question of the Origins of Portraiture." Perkinson's address was part of the Art and Art History Department's Visiting Lecture Series. [IMAGE]
President Neil Grabois was one of the speakers at a gathering outside the Coop in response to an incident of hate graffiti. With Grabois is Drahcir Smith '02, who helped organize the speakout.
Cheng takes center stage
Professor of Music Marietta Cheng took center stage at a Carnegie Hall symposium on Tchaikovsky. The New York City event, held on December 12, focused on the Nutcracker Ballet and Cheng was asked by the Carnegie Hall staff to be one of three guest lecturers.

     Colgate's conductor of the University Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra presented an overview of the Russian composer's life and work to music educators as part of Carnegie Hall's Professional Development Workshops.

     Although Cheng previously performed at Carnegie Hall as a member of a collegiate chorus, this was the first time she performed solo on the stage. "There is that caché feeling of being in Carnegie Hall. Walking the same halls that all these great composers and conductors once walked, there is a special feeling," she said.

     Following the symposium, questions were posed to the audience about the effectiveness of the presentations. Said one respondent, "Every presenter was passionate about the subject and conveyed this. However, the most moving presentation was that of Marietta Cheng, who really brought Tchaikovsky to life." Another respondent said simply "Marietta Cheng -- excellent."


Colgate's Peace Corps legacy
With 12 alumni currently working for the Peace Corps, Colgate was named 21st on the 1998 list of smaller colleges and universities with graduates currently serving. Colgate alumni bring the skills and knowledge that they acquired during their four years in Hamilton to such diverse places as Guatemala, Lithuania, Ukraine and Papua New Guinea, among other locations.

     Colgate's class of 1998 sent four of its members to make a difference in the day-to-day lives of men, women and children. Five members of the class of 1999 have been nominated to continue the Colgate legacy to the Peace Corps, according to Director of Career Services Lee Svete.

Andrew Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic and author of Virtually Normal, was the keynote speaker at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Conference "Breaking Down Society's Closet" in mid-February. Sullivan kicked off a weekend of events with an address that focused on same-sex marriage. [IMAGE]

Climbing wall brings new challenges
During February, the Angert Family Climbing Wall opened to Colgate thrill-seekers of all abilities. The wall, located on the third floor of Huntington Gymnasium, was named in honor of its primary donors, Stuart Angert '62, his wife Joyce, and their daughter Meredith '94.

     The Outdoor Education Department will monitor the climbers, who will have to choose a "route" when they sign up to climb and all will be required to take a free, one-hour climbing fundamentals clinic before facing their challenge.

Real World kicked off the second semester with a full slate of events for seniors. Among the many alumni taking part in workshops about what the Class of 1999 can expect out there were, from left, Mike Martin '69, Regina Regazzi '92 and Carrie Clifford '93, all members of the Alumni Corporation Board of Directors. The trio spoke about how to succeed in business.

A wine tasting featuring the fruits of alumni vintners was also part of Real World.

A petrifying experiment
Walter Fullam '32 is crazy about dinosaurs and is fascinated with Colgate's petrified Oviraptor philoceratops egg -- he's always asking that it be displayed during reunion.

     Senior Dave Sunderlin, a biology and geology double major, has researched eggs and has also loved dinosaurs since he was "a little boy."

     Senior Stephen Close wanted to work on his geology senior research project with Professor of Geology Constance Soja.

     Soja wanted to link everyone together. The end result was the first study of how Colgate's dinosaur egg became petrified in the Gobi Desert 100 million years ago.

     Last summer, supported by generous donations from Walter and Dorothy Fullam, the Division of Natural Sciences and geology department, and armed with emu and ostrich eggs from farms in New York, Massachusetts and Colorado, alligator eggs donated from Florida and Colorado egg farmers, and chicken eggs from the supermarket, Sunderlin, and Close went to the Great Sand Dunes National Monument in Colorado to bury the eggs in the dry climate. The four types of eggs, which are similar to Colgate's dinosaur egg in shape, size or shell thickness, were also planted at a similar "wet" Nebraska dune field for contrast. Soja and Close returned to Colorado last fall to dig up the buried eggs, while Sunderlin reclaimed the eggs at the Nebraska sites.

     Said Close, "The experience itself was exciting because we did not know what to expect. It turned out well with interesting conclusions, but more work needs to be done on the subject."

     Close, Sunderlin and Soja found that a high percentage of the eggs in Colorado were consumed by scavengers, leaving few eggs that could become fossilized. However, in the wet climate of Nebraska, few of the eggs were disturbed, giving more of a chance for petrification. They concluded that Colgate's Oviraptor philoceratops egg originated in a mesic environment where brooding adults and their eggs were buried by moist sand flows.

     Sunderlin, who will be presenting the research at the North East section of the Geological Society of America meeting March 22-24, said "the fieldwork is a ton more exciting and fulfilling than working in the lab. It is quite a challenge to see what we dealt with in the field. It is an incredible opportunity that Colgate gives you."

Prepaid tuition plan in the works
Colgate has recently become a founding member of a new pre-paid tuition program that will provide families with a new way to protect themselves against rising college costs. "This plan aims to provide another way for families to save for college, by creating a national vehicle for tax-deferred savings and investment accumulation, comparable to the very best of the existing state plans," said Elizabeth Eismeier, financial vice president and treasurer.

     Through Tuition Plan, Inc., parents and other family members will be able to purchase pre-paid tuition contracts that would allow the beneficiary to lock in future tuition at TPI member schools at a discounted cost. In addition to the discount guarantee, upon passage by Congress of proposed legislation, contributors would benefit from a tax advantage in which investment earnings from the contributions would be tax deferred, and, when withdrawn, would be taxed at the student's tax rate. In addition to Colgate, more than 100 independent American colleges and universities, including many peer institutions, have joined TPI. The TPI program is the first nationwide prepayment plan for private colleges and universities.

     TPI anticipates being able to begin enrollment in early 2000. For more information, contact the TPI office at 864-294-7444.

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