The Colgate Scene
March 2005

Around the college

Alex Villaverde '07, Kellen Myers '07, and Liz Bubriski '08 (left to right) spend time together during Skin Deep, a weekend off-campus workshop where more than 25 students and other members of the campus community confronted issues related to diversity, such as social oppression, identification, and conformity.

"We discussed what our "ideal Colgate" would be, the barriers that would prevent aspects of it from occurring, and how we could overcome those barriers," Bubriski '08 told the Maroon-News. [Photos by Timothy D. Sofranko]

Colgate's million-dollar donors
The James B. Colgate Society welcomed 16 new members at a dinner in January.

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.
Playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith headlined Colagte's daylong celebration of Martin Luthur King Jr.'s legacy.

A different kind of holiday break
Ten Colgate students spent a week of their winter breaks volunteering in West Virginia.

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) and one of the nation's leading advocates for children, families, and disadvantaged Americans, will deliver the keynote address at Colgate's 184th commencement exercises on Sunday, May 15.

Under Edelman's leadership, CDF has become the nation's strongest voice for children and families. Edelman has received many honorary degrees and awards, including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award. She received the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings, which include seven books, among them Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change; The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours; Hold My Hand: Prayers for Building a Movement to Leave No Child Behind; and I'm Your Child, God: Prayers for Our Children.

Three Colgate professors who joined forces to study the impact of acid precipitation in the Adirondack Mountains have won a nearly $1 million grant, the largest research grant ever awarded to the university, from the National Science Foundation.

Tim McCay, assistant professor of biology; Randy Fuller, professor of biology; and Rich April, Dunham Beldon Jr. Professor of geology and natural sciences, are also working with Michele Hluchy '81 professor of geology/environmental studies at Alfred University, who is a former student of April's. The team received a four-year Cross-disciplinary Research at Undergraduate Institutions (C-RUI) grant of $975,807 to complete the study of how the loss of calcium from soil and water affects Adirondack forests, watersheds, and wildlife.

Calcium depletion is a major consequence of what is called acid deposition, which can take place in the form of snow, rain, fog, and sleet. Research shows that prevailing winds carry pollution from coal-fired power plants in the Midwest into the Adirondacks, making the region one of the hardest hit in the world by acid deposition. As the winds rise over the mountains, water droplets in them cool and condense into the clouds, which then reach the point of saturation. The resulting precipitation contains high concentrations of sulfur and nitrogen. Sulfur dioxides become sulfuric acid, and nitrogen oxides become nitric acid. Those substances then trickle into the soil column and water, depleting them of calcium and other nutrients.

The Colgate/Alfred team will examine how such acid deposition and low levels of calcium in the ecosystem affect litter decomposition, soil invertebrates, and small mammals in the forests, and bacteria, algae, and invertebrates in the streams of the Adirondacks. They also will compare the chemistry of soils to archived samples that April and Hluchy gathered in the 1970s and 1980s, when Hluchy was an undergraduate research assistant of April's.

The grant will also support 30 Colgate and Alfred student research assistants during the next four years and will allow the research team to launch outreach programs for high school science teachers to learn more about acid deposition and its consequences.

Other 2004-2005 Colgate National Science Foundation grant recipients and their project areas include: Adam Burnett (geography), lake-effect snowfall; Fuller, stream ecosystems; Karen Harpp (geology), volcano eruptions; Yukari Hirata (Japanese), native English speakers' acquisition of Japanese; Beth Parks (physics), terahertz spectroscopy and education; and Roger Rowlett (chemistry), research opportunities in the plant sciences with a consortium of six other colleges.

Dan Epstein (left), pianist in the Raphael Trio and professor of music at the Manhattan School of Music, works with Jeff Davenport '08 on a Mozart piano quartet. The Raphael Trio served as Colgate's 2005 Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation artists-in-residence, performing on campus as well as doing workshops with students. Davenport is a member of the Colgate Chamber Players.

Lyle Roelofs, provost and dean of the faculty, announced that the Board of Trustees approved the following appointments in January.

Receiving continuous tenure and promotion to associate professor are Antonio Barrera (history), Kenneth Belanger (biology), Glenn Cashman (music), Robert Nemes (history), Patrick Riley (Romance languages and literatures), Aaron Robertson (mathematics), Omid Safi (philosophy and religion), and Rebecca Shiner (psychology). Also granted continuous tenure are Raymond Douglas (history), Amy Leventer (geology), and Linn Underhill (art and art history).

Promoted to full professor are Yoichi Aizawa (East Asian languages and literatures), Mary Ann Calo (art and art history), Fred Chernoff (political science), Constance Harsh (English), D. Kay Johnston (educational studies), Ernest Nolen (chemistry), M. Anne Pitcher (political science), and Kevin Rask (economics).

Three faculty members were appointed to endowed chairs, effective July 1: Graham Russell Hodges, George Dorland Langdon Jr. Professor of history; John Knecht, Russell B. Colgate University Professor of art and art history; and Brian L. Moore, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of history and Africana and Latin American history.

Anne Pitcher, associate professor of political science, took her research in a different direction in December when she observed Mozambique's 2004 general elections on behalf of former President Jimmy Carter's renowned human rights watchdog organization, the Carter Center. She was one of just 60 international experts asked by the group to monitor the nation's voting procedures.

"It was very exciting to be asked to do it -- especially by President Carter," said Pitcher. "I first got interested in politics during his presidency."

Pitcher's research focuses on the comparative politics of developing countries. She has studied Mozambique for more than 20 years, and has spent time conducting fieldwork there and in several other African nations, including South Africa, Angola, and Uganda.

After three days in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, for briefings on the electoral campaigns of the country's main political parties, the role of election observers, and the challenges that might arise during the elections, Pitcher traveled to Tete, the province she had been assigned to help observe.

From Dec. 1 to 2, Pitcher and her colleagues trekked from polling station to polling station in Tete's 100-degree heat. They saw old and young Mozambicans cast their votes in thatched huts and cement school buildings and watched as votes were gathered, tallied, and certified late into the night. Immediately following the election, they filed a report of their findings with the Carter Center.

In the end, Mozambique's ruling party, the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo), came out on top, yet Pitcher is critical of the way it handled the electoral process. Even though this is the third set of national elections to have taken place in Mozambique since its civil war ended in 1992, intimidation and violence by opposing factions were still evident during the campaign and the voting, she said. Members of Mozambique's opposition parties were arrested, there were widespread reports of ballot box stuffing, and some polling stations never received election materials. These irregularities marred the process and led domestic and international observers to question the legitimacy of the election, she said. And according to Pitcher, the tactics were probably unneccessary, because the ruling party would have won anyway.

Regardless of the outcome, Pitcher said she was glad to have been able to do her part for the nation. "Two aspects of the election made a great impression on me. The first was how complicated, how difficult, democracy is from a logistical point of view. There are lots of things that can go wrong, so I'm impressed that developing nations can manage to carry it off. The second was how much the average Mozambican cared about being able to cast her or his vote. Many people waited in lines for hours in order to have a say.

"But," she added, "I only wish the ruling party valued the process as much as ordinary Mozambicans."

Bob Smoler '79, Kelly Roos '02, Scott Meiklejohn '77, Gary Ripple '64, and Tammy Tonucci McConnell '91 (left to right) talk to seniors about jobs in education at a panel discussion during Real World career exploration weekend in January.

Pushing the artistic envelope is accepted, indeed encouraged, at Little Hall. Home to the art and art history department, students find a nurturing environment and a welcoming audience for their artwork.

But what about when their work is presented outside the creative cocoon of Little and its Clifford Gallery? After all, art, in its many forms, can provoke different reactions from different people in different public settings.

As part of a project for Professor DeWitt Godfrey's Issues in Recent Art course last semester, nine students had to get their artwork placed somewhere on campus -- outside of Little Hall. They had to pick a venue and negotiate with faculty members and school officials to win approval.

All but one student received permission for their work to be placed, and even that interaction, an example of the friction that can develop between artist and audience, was a valuable lesson, said Godfrey.

The seniors' artwork was sprinkled across campus for varying amounts of time. Erin Dinsmoor's abstract landscape was perched outside Persson Hall, while Danielle Cheifetz's photos adorn a wall of a Persson lab; Deb Karpman's looming portrait of art professor John Knecht was at the O'Connor Campus Center; Sally Mazzochi and Katy Romano exhibited their artwork at Olin Hall; Heather Angstrom's pieces were at the Center for Women's Studies; Tim Kim's video was shown on the Coop plasma screens; and Alex Hallowell's piece elicited much discussion in a basement corridor of Lathrop Hall.

"What all art does is, once it engages with a viewer or the public, there is this kind of social interaction that happens," said Godfrey. "The focus of this course has been on that interaction. How do people receive it and how can you have some real control over how your work is received?"

Mazzochi's artwork -- in a glass case near the biology department office in Olin Hall -- was intended to elicit questions. She used squares of special graph paper to represent actual days in her life, starting with her birthday. Each square includes some text about what happened that day and bar or tree graphs that represent the kinds of experiences she had. But only she knows what the graphs represent; there's no key. The viewer is left trying to interpret what the graphs and patterns actually represent.

"I chose the biology department for a reason: biology is the study of life, and this is my life," said Mazzochi. "I really like the idea of people questioning whether it's art or not." Mazzochi had to explain to Barbara Hoopes, chair of the department, what her goals were and why her work should be allowed in a space normally reserved for biology presentations. Some members of the department were hesitant, wondering if the artwork would be mistaken for a science project, especially because there was no explanatory text. Professors e-mailed one another, and Mazzochi eventually was able to dispel their concerns.

"If I choose to exhibit my work after Colgate, I'll have to go through a process like this. I'll have to sell my work to people, explain why I want to put it there. I think this was a great opportunity," she said.

A fuller version of this story can be found in the news archives at

The Colgate Scene took the gold medal in the "Magapapers, one- to three-color" category in the recent Council for Advancement and Support of Education District II Accolades Awards competition. CASE is the professional organization for advancement professionals who work in alumni relations, communications, and development.

In addition, the photography essay "Small Wonders" by Timothy D. Sofranko, which appeared in the issue upon which the CASE award was judged (November 2003), earned third place in the 2004 National Press Photographers Association Best of Photojournalism competition, in the Nature and Environment Picture Story category.

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