The Colgate Scene
March 2004

Around the college

Craig Dana '91, left, and Bob Connelly '84 chat before participating in a panel discussion titled, "I Still Don't Know What I Want to Do: Ideas for Taking Stock and Moving Forward," during Real World in January. The annual Real World weekend brings members of the Alumni Corporation Board of Directors and other alumni to campus to provide seniors with practical advice and career workshops. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]
Alumnus to speak at commencement

Steve Burke '80, president of Comcast Cable, the country's leading cable and broadband communications provider, has been chosen to deliver the keynote address at Colgate's 183rd commencement exercises on May 16.

Burke will discuss the value of a liberal arts education in a rapidly changing world.

"I'm honored to be invited back to my alma mater to share this important day with the Class of 2004," said Burke, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa and is a 1982 graduate of the Harvard Business School.

Burke heads the country's largest cable television company with more than 21 million video customers and more than 4.8 million high-speed Internet customers. He recently has been praised for leading the highly successful and unprecedented integration of AT&T Broadband's cable operation with Comcast. He has earned numerous industry awards, including the 2003 Multichannel News Cable Operator of the Year Award and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association 2001 Vanguard Award for Cable Operations Management. He dedicates his time and expertise to numerous cable industry initiatives, serving as chairman of the executive committee for C-SPAN, a public service created by the cable television industry. Burke also serves on the boards of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Bank One and is a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

"Steve Burke represents all that we hope for our graduates -- he is a visionary in his field who invests both his time and resources in his community," said President Rebecca Chopp. "At a time when ethics and accountability in business are of high concern, Steve is recognized as a leader who has the respect of all who know him."

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. Robert Franklin, the Presidential Distinguished Professor of social ethics at Emory University's Candler School of Theology, delivered the keynote address, "Dr. King's Call, Our Response." [Photos by Timothy D. Sofranko] Standing tall are Hamilton Central School students Kendell Rusch, left, and Eliza Nolen as they read the essay they collaborated on during the third through fifth grade essay contest: "Letters to Dr. King." The competition's eight winning essays were read in Memorial Chapel by the authors during Colgate's Martin Luther King Jr. Day events.
Promotion and tenure

Five members of the faculty were granted tenure and will receive promotions to the level of associate professor, effective July 1: Claire Baldwin (German), Karen Harpp (geology), Ian Helfant (Russian), Nina Moore (political science), and Edward Witherspoon (philosophy and religion).

Promoted to full professor will be Michael Coyle (English), Enrique Galvez (physics and astronomy), Yufan Hao (political science), Harvey Sindima (philosophy and religion), Jill Tiefenthaler (economics), and James Wetzel (philosophy and religion). Raymond Douglas (history) and Linn Underhill (art and art history) will be promoted to associate professor.

In addition, four part-time members of the faculty will be granted tenure: Margaret Darby (interdisciplinary writing - humanities), Ulla Grapard (economics), Padma Kaimal (art and art history), and Victoria McMillan (interdisciplinary writing - natural sciences).

Molly Baker, co-director of outdoor education, addresses students and faculty members at the second annual Green Summit, held in the Commons in January. The summit, one piece of the larger Green Strides effort that seeks to reduce environmental impacts and promote environmental citizenship on campus, drew more than 90 people.

The participants, all volunteers, had three principal goals: to build on progress made last year, to strengthen and extend the Green Strides community, and to position the community to make more "Green Strides" for next year. Ten working groups, with topics that ran the gamut from air and water to dining/food, created action plans and projected how they could implement them on campus. A goal for next year is to establish a more formal structure, including the creation of an environmental council. In the meantime, each working group will have a lead contact who will provide a monthly report on their progress. [Photo by Aubrey Graham]


Colleen Nassimos, collection assistant in the music department, her daughter Rachel, 10, and son Daniel, 8, peer up at portions of the AIDS Memorial Quilt that were on display in the Chapel for three days in December. Colgate's display of the quilt, which is circulated around the country by The Names Project, was one of several AIDS Awareness Week events and programs sponsored by many campus organizations and organized by the LGBTQ initiatives office. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]
Bringing Colgate to Chinese youth

A student volunteer program went global when more than 300 students flocked to hear Hao Yin '07 speak about Colgate at his high school in Zhengzhou, China, during winter vacation.

"To my knowledge, this is the first time that one of our students has ever done a Colgate Admission Ambassador presentation for us overseas," said Gary Ross, dean of admission, "and it is definitely the largest presentation of its kind that we have ever had."

Each year, between 70 and 80 Colgate students volunteer to serve as Admission Ambassadors during a semester break, visiting their own high schools to share their personal experiences at the university with prospective students.

According to Yin, his information session made Colgate the first American liberal arts college not only to offer an information session at his high school (No. 1 Middle School of Zhengzhou), but also at any local high school in Henan province (the largest province in China, with a population of nearly 100 million). To his knowledge, he said, American universities tend to recruit students from international schools rather than local high schools. Yin said that he is the first from his high school ever to attend college in the United States.

Yin said he provided a general overview of the university and talked about the strength of the

international community at Colgate, the friendliness and accessibility of his professors, and the strong school spirit. He said he also "made a point of focusing on things that international students would pay attention to," such as visa issues, admission policies for foreign students, and academic readiness.

Yin remarked that "the students wanted to know very detailed things about what happens during the admissions process" -- but he was intrigued to find that "we had a very deep talk about what our lives are going to be like in the future and what our education should be. They wanted to know how to pursue knowledge, and how the liberal arts helps you do that.

"The students wanted to know the advantages of an American liberal arts education," said Yin. "Their questions gave me a very deep impression of what Chinese students are concerned about. They want to know about the meaning of life."

Yin said that he feels a personal responsibility to introduce the liberal arts to Chinese students, and also to bring back to China the values he has learned at Colgate, including the mission of giving back to society. He expressed gratitude to admission staff members for supporting his idea, saying that he felt that their effort "manifested Colgate's commitment as a global leader in liberal arts education."

In addition to the one at his high school, Yin also made an Admission Ambassador presentation to a smaller group in Beijing, and another Col-gate student from China, Hui Yang '05, gave one in Shanghai. Yin, who was acquainted with Yang before coming to Colgate, decided to come to Colgate in part based on Yang's recommendation. The pair organized the Beijing and Shanghai sessions in cooperation with student representatives from Swarthmore College.

"The overseas information session goes beyond the boundary of recruiting students. Colgate gave them a deep impression, regardless of whether or not they will apply. If we can continue this work, we will build a sound rapport with the elite students of China. Most will go to top Chinese universities, but presenting Colgate gives them another option," said Yin. "I believe that Colgate University's contact with elite Chinese students will ultimately benefit China. It is a channel that connects Colgate, as a paragon of American liberal arts education, with future business or political leaders of China."

Balakian receives NEH grant

The year 2003 ended with a flourish for Peter Balakian, the Constance H. and Donald M. Rebar Professor of the humanities in the English department.

Balakian, who has won rave reviews for his latest book, The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response (Bookshelf, Colgate Scene, January 2004), was awarded a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in December. He was one of 42 people receiving the $20,000 fellowships for 2004, which go to a variety of writers, from professors to auto-parts store managers, to help them hone their craft.

Balakian also recently appeared on C-SPAN to discuss The Burning Tigris, and on the PBS television program, The Charlie Rose Show.


Maura Stephens, writer, teacher, and former Newsweek editor, and her husband, George Sapio, playwright and photographer, presented images and dialogue from their recent book of photographs, Collateral Damage: Faces and Places of the People of Iraq, in Persson Hall Auditorium. Their visit was sponsored by the peace studies program. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]
Signature summer events announce 2004 programs

Two traditional Colgate summer programs have announced their 2004 lineups.

"Serenades of Summer" will evoke images of love, travel, and inspiration at the eighth Chenango Summer MusicFest, June 17-20, featuring classical musicians from around the globe. Mainstage chamber music concerts -- each preceded by a "Concert Conversation" with the artists -- will feature works by Boccherini, Brahms, Ginastera, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Cordero, Dvorák, Nielson, Piazzolla, Paganini, Schumann, and Wm. Grant Still. The Chenango Players student intern ensembles also perform throughout the weekend, and take master classes with the featured artists that are open to the public. An evening outdoor concert of Russian folk music tops off Saturday's Village Day, with its eclectic daylong mix of events for all ages.

The performing artists include festival founder and director Laura Klugherz, violin/viola (solo recitalist andFulbright scholar; USIA cultural specialist in South America and Mexico; professor of music at Colgate); Arón Bitrán, violin (founding member, Grammy-nominated Cuarteto Latinoamericano; teacher at National Conservatory, Escuela Ollin Yoliztly, National Center for the Arts in Mexico, and Carnegie Mellon University); Valerie Coleman, flute (founder, flutist, Imani Winds; 2003 Meet the Composer Van Lier Fellow; teaches at Juilliard School's Music Advancement Program); Steven Heyman, piano (top prizes in national and international competitions; teacher of piano at Colgate University, Hamilton College, Syracuse University); Roberto Limón, guitar (Latin Grammy nominee; director, Centro Hispanoamericano de Guitarra, and executive director, Orquesta de Baja California in Mexico); Linda Rosenthal, violin (founder, artistic director, Juneau Jazz and Classics Music Festival; professor of music, University of Alaska Southeast); and Susan Salm, cello (founding member, Raphael Trio; Concert Artist Guild Award prizewinner; visiting artist-in-residence, Manhattan School of Music). For schedule, tickets, or other information, call 315-228-7645/7642.

Fiction writers and poets enrolled in the ninth annual Chenango Valley Writers' Conference, to be held June 20-26, will spend a week on campus, honing their craft and discussing the writing life with senior staff members and taking in readings by two guest readers, Colgate's own Peter Balakian and Frederick Busch. Among the conference staff members are Lee K. Abbott (Wet Places at Noon; winner of the National Magazine Award for Fiction; director of Ohio State University's Creative Writing Program), Justin Cronin (Mary and O'Neil -- 2002 PEN/Hemingway Award and Stephen Crane Prize; professor of English, Rice University), Tessa Hadley (Accidents in the Home; teacher of literature and creative writing at Bath Spa University College), Karen Novak (Five Mile House; CVWC alumna); Bruce Smith (The Other Lover -- National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist; teaches in the graduate writing program at Syracuse University).

The conference includes workshops in fiction or poetry, craft talks, meals, readings, and time for reading and writing in the pristine setting of the Colgate campus. For information on the application process, which includes submisson of a manuscript, visit www.cvwc.net or contact Matthew Leone, director of summer programs, at 315-228-7770.

Colgate's front door

Renovations on the main lobby of the Colgate Inn got under way in January. The new design called for better use of the space to accommodate waiting restaurant patrons and other visitors, as well as easy check-in for large groups. The remodeled registration desk includes a more elegant work space, a plasma screen that provides campus event information, and a kiosk filled with infor-mation about Colgate and local attractions for the reception area.

The Hamilton Parlor was also upgraded, with floor jacks for Internet stations, a small library for books by Colgate authors and on local history, a redesigned fireplace, artwork, and comfortable seating for guests to enjoy views of the Village Green.

The renovation was important to polish the image of the university's "front door," according to Trish St. Leger, associate provost, who provides university oversight of the inn. "The message we're trying to send is that the Colgate Inn is a warm, relaxing, and welcoming place," she said. "We want guests' first impressions of Colgate and the inn to reflect the charm and vitality of Hamilton and the warmth of our community."

Work was expected to be complete by early March.

Top of page
Table of contents
<< Previous: Alumni affairs Next: Sports >>