The Colgate Scene
March 2006

Around the college

Harvey Picker '36 and Lyle Roelofs, dean of the faculty and professor of physics, enjoy a party honoring Picker. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

NBA great gives Colgate students lesson in black history
In February, basketball legend and author Kareem Abdul-Jabbar signed copies of his book Black Profiles in Courage and spoke at Memorial Chapel.
Colgate announced receipt of a $6 million gift early this year from trustee emeritus Harvey Picker '36, one of Colgate's most generous donors.

Picker's latest contribution is designed to advance the university's position as a leading liberal arts university by directing resources to support interdisciplinary initiatives in science and mathematics, as well as the arts.

The $6 million donation supports two projects: $4.5 million will endow the Harvey Picker Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies in the Sciences and Mathematics; $1.5 million will improve the Picker Art Gallery's exhibition and storage facilities and provide new funds for the acquisition of art.

In recognition of a prior gift from Picker's mother, Evelyn, Colgate's fine arts museum is named in her honor.

Picker's $6 million gift supports Colgate's highest priorities and shows confidence in the university's leadership.

"I have been impressed with Colgate's sensitivity to the skills that will be needed by its graduates," said Picker, "and the recognition that most problems our civilization faces are not solved by a single field of science, but have to be solved by an understanding of the relationship of two or more sciences. Colgate is taking advantage of its new well-equipped science building to take a leadership role by opening this new exciting aspect of science for liberal arts students.

"Also impressive is Colgate's well-balanced approach," Picker continued. "Since it remains dedicated to the liberal arts, as it improves its scientific competence it also is greatly enhancing its fine arts capabilities so that graduates will have had access to a well-rounded education."

The new Harvey Picker Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies in the Sciences and Mathematics -- together with the physical space that will be provided by the Robert H.N. Ho Science Center now under construction -- is expected to attract a growing number of science-oriented students to Colgate and support and sustain their interest with vigorous interdisciplinary programs.

Likewise, it will enhance the collaborative research programs of Colgate's science faculty, afford more possibilities for student participation in research, nurture collaborations across divisional boundaries, and draw other talented faculty and visiting scientists to Colgate.

Most importantly, the Picker Institute will support Colgate's commitment to engaging all students in interdisciplinary science as an essential element of a liberal arts education in the 21st century.

"Beyond providing state-of-the-art physical space and equipment, Colgate must nurture a climate that enables people, programs, and research to connect," said President Rebecca S. Chopp. "The Picker Institute will serve as the catalyst for teaching, research, promotion, and discovery."

According to Lyle Roelofs, dean of the faculty and professor of physics, "Disciplinary boundaries are an artificial and unacceptable hindrance, yet larger research institutions are often too compartmentalized to cooperate the way we can at Colgate. Our great advantage is in the combination of the liberal arts structure of our curriculum --- featuring close faculty-student cooperation -- together with the scope and breadth of our course offerings."

Picker's latest gift also positions the Picker Art Gallery for the national spotlight and will help the gallery's new director, Elizabeth E. Barker, to elevate the stature of the gallery.

Barker expressed deep gratitude for the "extraordinarily generous" gift, which she described as "characteristic of Harvey Picker's bright vision of Colgate's future."

"This marvelous donation will ensure that Colgate's fine arts museum continues to realize the promise of its `Picker' name in the 21st century, by becoming an even more vital resource for Colgate students, alumni, and staff, and by emerging as a major cultural destination in New York State," said Barker.

Case Library is illuminated past dark as workers continue construction on the renovation and expansion project. Internal demolition work and asbestos abatement at the site is complete, and preparation for the additions to the east and west sides of the Case Library and Center for Information Technology started this spring.

At the Robert H.N. Ho Science Center site, excavation, concrete, and structural steel work started in October and continued through winter. The scheduled completion date is July 2007.

Visit to watch live webcams capture the progress of both construction projects. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

Although the early spring temperatures in the Chenango Valley aren't exactly conducive to outdoor study, hardier Colgate students can bundle up and take their laptops outside to work if they dare. According to David Gregory, chief information technology officer for Colgate, outdoor areas, all residence halls, athletics facilities, and many other spots where students gather, as well as the green downtown and the Colgate Inn, are now wireless.

"Better than 74 percent of campus is wireless," Gregory estimated.

The wireless project was made possible thanks to a generous gift from Trustee Dan Benton '80. Phase II of the wireless initiative, which will make academic buildings and the rest of campus wireless, is in the early planning phase.

Bernice King speaks to students, staff, and community members in the Chapel in January. [Photo by Aubrey Graham '06]

Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., challenged Colgate students in January to become agents of change, even if that meant taking risks and being labeled a "misfit."

King spoke at Memorial Chapel as part of the university's celebration of her father's life and legacy. Other events included readings of Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches and writings, music, and faculty- and student-led workshops on civil rights topics.

At the Chapel, King said students who are willing to become actively engaged in change, to take risks that might label them as "disturbingly different" in the process, can make a difference. She noted how a small group of people working with her father was able to advance civil rights. She urged students to fight against what she called the spirit of greed and pervasive love of money that has overtaken American society, and said that Americans were still grappling to some extent with the major threats to society that her father had identified some 45 years ago -- poverty, racism, and militarism.

"My father was trying to show us that we should be living at a higher standard, a higher level of living that can transform society in ways that could never be undermined," she said.

King, who earned masters of divinity and doctorate of law degrees from Emory University, was introduced by President Chopp. Chopp taught and later became provost at Emory, and King was a student in one of her first classes.

Prior to King's talk, three pupils from Hamilton Central School read their winning essays in Colgate's third annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Essay Contest. Colgate's Sojourners gospel choir also took part in the evening's activities, leading the audience in singing Lift Every Voice and Sing.

Lyle Roelofs, provost and dean of the faculty, announced that the Board of Trustees approved the following appointments effective July 1, 2006:

Receiving continuous tenure and promotion to associate professor are Kermit Campbell (writing and rhetoric), Richard Geier (chemistry), Yukari Hirata (east Asian languages and literatures), Peter Klepeis '94 (geography), Timothy McCay (biology), and William Peck (geology).

Promoted to full professor are Adam Burnett (geography), Robert McVaugh (art and art history), and Mary Moran (sociology and anthropology).

Students participate in an Indian wedding banquet in February held in Huntington Gymnasium. The presentation was provided by the South Asian Cultural Club. [Photo by Aubrey Graham '06]

Over winter break, a large number of students carved out time for service trips and career-oriented programs, either on their own or through Colgate.

Examples of university-organized events for winter break included:

A Day in the Life
Nearly 90 students worked with the Center for Career Services to arrange a day to shadow a sponsor in the workplace. This year, 125 alumni and parents volunteered to take part in the program. The sponsors worked at organizations such as CBS News, JP Morgan Chase, IBM, Harvard Medical School, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Hurricane relief trip
Thirteen students, two faculty members, and an administrator traveled to New Orleans to assist in the continuing hurricane relief effort. The group worked out of the Westbank United Methodist Storm Relief/Recovery Center in the Algiers section of New Orleans. Volunteers performed a variety of tasks including tree and debris removal and home repair. This was the third volunteer trip by Colgate students and staff members to the Gulf Coast.
Real World
Dozens of alumni came back to campus for a two-day career conference designed to help Colgate seniors. See a first-person account of the program by Sarah Howie '06.
Four Colgate undergraduates spent their breaks gaining valuable on-the-job skills and beefing up their resumes, thanks to the university's Upstate Institute. The institute coordinated internships for the students at local organizations including the National Abolition Hall of Fame, Madison County, and the Exhibition Alliance as part of its January Field School program.
Service trip
Mark Shiner, acting university chaplain, took about a dozen students to Nazareth Farm in West Virginia. Founded by the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, the farm serves communities by repairing homes for those in need.

Kirkus Reviews named I Got Somebody in Staunton, a collection of fiction stories by William Henry Lewis, associate professor of English, as one of the best books of 2005. Hailing the book as filled with "[e]vocative stories with a potent kick," Kirkus editors recommended I Got Somebody in Staunton as one of "25 Terrific Titles That Deserve Your Attention" in a year-end special review [1.3 MB PDF].

Patrons view the recent Picker Art Gallery exhibition of works by Chuck Close, Alex Katz, and Richard Serra. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]
When Paul J. Schupf '58 took the floor at a December reception at the Picker Art Gallery, the crowd hung on his every word. He spoke lovingly about newly exhibited works by Chuck Close, Alex Katz, and Richard Serra, and about contemporary American art in general.

The 19 prints, paintings, and drawings in the exhibition -- drawn from Schupf's private collection -- were on loan to the Picker through January.

He credited Picker director Elizabeth "Lizzie" Barker, President Chopp, and others for their interest and support for contemporary art, and vowed to be much more involved in the Picker in the future.

Schupf dedicated the exhibition to Harvey Picker '36, trustee emeritus, in recognition of Picker's longstanding generosity to Colgate and to the art gallery, on the occasion of Picker's 90th birthday.

Schupf is one of the 10 most generous donors in Colgate's history. He supported the university with the Paul J. Schupf Studio Arts Center, the W.S. Schupf Chair in Far Eastern Studies, and the Schupf Fellowship, which is the only annual fellowship for study at Oxford offered at an undergraduate liberal arts college in the United States.

A collaborative campus initiative takes advantage of the booming popularity of podcasts to highlight members of the Colgate community through online services such as iTunes.

A series of audio interviews called Colgate Conversations was launched last month by Information Technology Services and the Office of Public Relations and Communications.

Colgate Conversations are podcasts that feature faculty members, alumni, administrators, and students talking about everything from cutting-edge research projects to higher education issues, careers after college, and life on campus.

The first podcast involved President Rebecca S. Chopp, who explored the issue of science and technology at liberal arts colleges.
Chopp noted the numerous opportunities Colgate students have to conduct research with faculty members, not graduate assistants, and how those experiences are coupled with a rigorous core curriculum that spurs creativity and critical thinking.
She said that that kind of liberal arts experience prepares students for a world that, as author Thomas Friedman says, has been made "flat" and extremely competitive by the major technical advances of the past few years.

"I'm excited that we're taking advantage of podcasting to talk about these issues and to let everyone hear about the great things our faculty members, students, and alumni are doing," said Chopp.

Other Colgate Conversations include geography professor Adam Burnett talking about his lake-effect snow research; Gloria Borger '74, the U.S. News and World Report columnist and CBS News political analyst who discusses goings-on inside the Washington Beltway; Lance Morgan '72, president of Powell Tate/Weber Shandwick, who talks about the changing world of public relations; and English professor Michael Coyle, who talks about his love of jazz.

To listen to Colgate Conversations, go to The webpage has links to the available interviews and instructions on how to automatically receive future podcasts as they are rolled out.

Michael J. Wolk '60 chats with attendees during the first health care careers conference held on campus in January. Nearly 100 students registered to attend the Michael J. Wolk '60 Conference on Medical Education, where students heard from physicians about what it is like to work as a solo practitioner, at a small group practice in the suburbs, or for a hospital or health maintenance organization. Alumni and other healthcare practitioners helped undergraduates explore all facets of a career in healthcare. Wolk, a Colgate trustee emeritus who received the outstanding alumni award in 2000 and was awarded an honorary degree in 2004, said the conference, sponsored by his foundation, was patterned after one organized by a Weill-Cornell colleague, Stephen Scheidt. [Photo by Aubrey Graham '06]

"It is extraordinary that they [film-makers] worked so hard to get the scenes and the costumes correct yet continue to ignore the facts. They could have had a wonderful movie because she [Pocahontas] led an extraordinary life in her own right. Instead, they continue to cherish the idea that the Indians were gaga for the white man."
— Camilla Townsend, associate professor of history, commenting on inaccuracies in the movie The New World, as reported in a variety of national media. Townsend was also a guest on With Good Reason, a production of Vfh Radio at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, discussing "Jamestown: What Pocahontas Saw" in January. She is the author of Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma.

Gloria Borger '74, U.S. News and World Report columnist and CBS News political analyst, and Lance Morgan '72, president of the Powell Tate/Weber Shandwick public relations firm, give the keynote address to seniors at Real World. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

Editor's Note: Sarah Howie '06 attended Real World 2006 and wrote about her experience. Real World is a two-day career conference sponsored by the Center for Career Services, Office of Alumni Affairs, and the Center for Leadership and Student Involvement. More than 400 seniors registered for this year's event.

"Eighty percent of success is showing up." -- Woody Allen.

That's exactly what members of the senior class and approximately 100 alumni did for Real World 2006.

The tenth annual gathering was a testament to the continued commitment of former students to those who are beginning to find their world outside of Hamilton.

This was the Colgate Connection at its best. This was Colgate showing up, and what feeds its legacy of success.

Real World reaffirmed my role as a member of the Class of 2006 in that legacy, and introduced me and my classmates to the close-knit Colgate family beyond the Hamilton town limits.

The two-day gathering provided us with panel discussions that addressed specific topics and careers, as well as receptions to follow up conversations and begin new ones.

The weekend kicked off with a welcome from President Chopp and keynote addresses by journalist Gloria Borger '74 and communications strategist Lance Morgan '72, a Colgate couple and Washington, D.C., movers and shakers.

On day one, we chose from general panel discussions like Benefits and Budgets: Avoiding Common Mistakes, Graduate School Preview: MBA/Law, Entrepreneurship, and the classic, I Still Don't Know What I Want to Do.

Day two provided more career-focused panels ranging from Finance Alternatives -- Options Beyond Wall Street, Arts and Entertainment, and Science and Environment to Retail/Fashion Merchandising.

Among the truly sincere Real World catchphrases were: "We are here for you. Use us, ask us anything!" along with "Don't underestimate yourselves --- look at all you've done" and "Don't sweat it too much."

As a student quickly approaching graduation, these were cherished moments of calm and surety for me.

We were encouraged time and again not only to look at who and what we had to help us, but who we were and the natural gifts and education we bring to the table.

"Colgate kids can think, have the drive, and can communicate along the way. That's what sets us apart," said John Bonhomme '00, now a student at Cornell's Johnson School of Business.

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