The Colgate Scene
Around the college
Colgate's Outdoor Education Program reached new heights when the first annual climbing competition took place at the Angert Family Climbing Wall. Brett Zefting, assistant outdoor education director, who is new to Colgate this year, planned the event in order to raise awareness about the climbing wall. The event's strong turnout indicated that his hopes will likely be fulfilled. "We had about fifty students turn up, a little more than half of which were from Colgate. The others came from places as far as Portland, Maine, or Saratoga Springs, New York." Zefting was able to attract such a large crowd by advertising the competition at various other climbing events and locations. All participants competed for prizes that were donated by several sponsors. — Brittany Messenger '10 [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]
At its January 28 meeting, the Board of Trustees elected J. Christopher Clifford '67 as chair, and Margaret A. "Peg" Flanagan '80 as vice chair. Clifford and Flanagan will assume their new positions at the conclusion of the board's June 2007 meeting.
Clifford succeeds John A. Golden '66, who has served a 13-year term of service as a trustee and six years as board chair. Flanagan succeeds Howard A. Ellins '73, who has served as vice chair since 2002.
"John Golden's leadership has been critical to the success that Colgate currently enjoys," said Clifford. "The selection of Rebecca Chopp as president, his support of an innovative residential education program, his commitment to academic excellence, and the design of a bold new comprehensive campaign are a few of the elements of the tremendous legacy he has provided this great institution."
Clifford is managing director of the Boston-based private equity firm Berkshire Partners. After earning his bachelor's degree from Colgate, he went on to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School. He has served on Colgate's Board of Trustees since 1999. His daughter Caroline graduated from Colgate in 1993.
"Howard and I are thrilled with the selection of Chris and Peg as the new leaders of the board," said Golden. "I am extremely confident that they will do a superb job of leading our board and partnering with President Chopp and the campus as Colgate moves further into the 21st century."
Flanagan was a litigation partner with the Boston firm Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault before leaving work to devote time to family and various community and school activities. After Colgate, Flanagan went on to earn a degree from Georgetown University Law Center. She has served on Colgate's Board of Trustees since 2001.
"By all objective measures, Colgate is a stronger institution today than it was six years ago," said Flanagan. "The enhanced stature Colgate enjoys is largely due to the ways in which this passionate group of trustees has engaged with faculty, students, and alumni and worked together to advance Colgate's academic mission."
Colgate's 34-member board is composed primarily of university alumni and parents from a broad range of class years and backgrounds and has responsibility for stewardship of the university.
Colgate has been awarded a $600,000 challenge grant from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation of Auburn, N.Y., to help endow the university's Upstate Institute.
According to institute director Ellen Percy Kraly, the funding will ultimately support the Upstate Field School, which matches Colgate students with community organizations to develop and implement projects that bolster capacity; a visiting scholar in regional studies; and targeted research on upstate New York.
"We hope that in growing the resources of the Upstate Institute we can also grow our contributions to the region — through the work of faculty and students in partnership with the vibrant upstate community," said Kraly. "The Emerson Foundation has done so much for our region, so their endorsement of our vision is deeply meaningful. We are pleased that they decided to support the university yet again, and are eager to meet the challenge."
Under the terms of the grant, Colgate must raise $5.4 million by November 1, 2009, in order to receive the Emerson Foundation's grant. "Partnering with the Upstate Institute has made a big difference in the development of the National Abolition Hall of Fame [NAHOF]," said Dot Willsey, chair of the organization. "It is not just the formality of the institutional cooperation that NAHOF appreciates; it is the spirit of partnership that each Colgate student and faculty member brings to the project that is greatly valued. I hope the Emerson Foundation grant will only make more regional projects — and partnerships — with the Upstate Institute possible in the future."
The Upstate Institute was launched in the fall of 2003 as a way to more closely link Colgate faculty and student research with the needs and interests of the regional community.
The Konosioni senior honor society recently distributed nearly $11,000 to four community organizations. Konosioni raised the money, a record $10,955, at its annual auction held last March. Members examined 20 applications during a thorough review period before making the awards, according to senior Matt Kroll, the society's treasurer.
The four groups receiving funds are the Oneida office of Liberty Resources, a human services agency, for its Victims of Violence program; the Madison County Office for the Aging; the Hamilton Food Cupboard; and Wanderers' Rest Humane Association.
The funds going to Wanderers' Rest, a nonprofit organization that runs an animal shelter in Canastota, will play an important role in caring for the more than 2,000 cats and dogs that enter the facility each year. "The care is never ending and the number of animals is never ending," said shelter director Kathy Gilmour. "The Konosioni funds mean a lot to our organization." The money will go toward buying food for the stray cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies that are brought to the shelter. It also will help buy medical and cleaning supplies and cover other general operating expenses, said Gilmour.
"These funds free up resources for us to meet our future goals, like providing more spay and neuter assistance," she said.
Gilmour mentioned that other Colgate students, through the university's Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education, also volunteer at the shelter, helping to exercise, groom, and socialize the animals.
For Konosioni members, awarding the grants was a difficult but productive process. "We truly wished we could fund every proposal that we received and help all in need," said Kroll. "But we are confident that the money we distributed will be a tremendous aid to the Madison County community."
Kroll hopes that in addition to the funding, the connections between Konosioni and the community organizations will prove beneficial for everyone involved. "One of the things we've learned in our time at Colgate is a sense of communal responsibility," he said.
"May I take your order?" Gary Ross, dean of admission, volunteered as a waiter for the Winter's Heart fundraiser in Merrill House in December. [Photo by Luke Connolly '09]
The Cooking Club and Davis Barnes, chef at the Merrill House faculty/staff dining facility, presented a five-course meal in December that raised $2,840 for the Mid-York Interfaith Holiday Project.
The meal was served by guest "waiters" and "waitresses" including Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson, Dean of Admission Gary Ross, and other members of the university administration, and was hosted by President Rebecca Chopp. Choices for the five courses included gorgonzola ravioli with sun-dried tomato drizzle, lobster pie, sesame-encrusted tuna steak with soy drizzle, roast duck with juniper berry sauce and glazed pear, a cranberry and lemon sorbet duo, and crème brûlée. Everything from the pasta to the sorbet was homemade, and the Colgate Thirteen provided entertainment. Patrons purchased advance tickets to the feast.
"We spent all week in shifts preparing what food we could ahead of time," said organizer Michaela Monahan '08. "The event was so much fun for me. It was like running a fancy restaurant for a night — students organized the decorations, dining room setup, and then, of course, the cooking."
Monahan described the Mid-York Interfaith Holiday Project as "a local charity that helps to make the holiday season memorable for every family in need in the Hamilton, Madison, Bouckville, and Brookfield communities."
"It was really a great experience to see all different students, faculty, administrators, and Hamilton residents working together and having a great time for a good cause," she said. "We were able to learn some interesting recipes and cooking techniques, have the unique experience of working behind the line in a busy restaurant, and work together as a team with top administrators, which is a rare experience for students. And the end result was being able to donate to a great cause."
Colgate students talk about their visit to a Hindu temple while enjoying Indian food at a Syracuse restaurant. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]
A group of nearly 40 Colgate students got a taste — literally and figuratively — of South Asian religion and culture in December.
After participating in a service at the Hindu Mandir temple in Syracuse, they chatted about the experience over an Indian feast. The outing was made possible by the Sophomore-Year Experience.
Most of the students on the trip were enrolled in one of four courses. Eliza Kent, assistant professor of religion, invited students from her Health and Healing in Asian Religions and The Hindu Tradition classes. Padma Kaimal, associate professor of art and art history and Robert H.N. Ho Professor in Asian studies, invited students in the Art of India and Core India courses.
It was the third time in four years that a busload of Colgaters visited the temple. As in excursions past, the goal was to help the students better understand the material covered in their classes, said Kent. "More than anything, it was an opportunity to see for themselves what Hindu ritual life is like in a real setting," she explained. "With Hinduism in particular, I think the more you know about it, the more you get out of it."
Kent kicked off the evening with an introduction and brief informal conversation with a priest at the temple. The pair talked about everything from the origins of the temple to Hindu holidays to the names of various deities. Then the priest began the aarti, or the act of worshipping a god or goddess through invocations, music, and rituals. During the ceremony, he chanted Sanskrit mantras, lit candles, burned incense, made offerings, and sang. The Colgate students observed in respectful silence for the majority of the service, but participated as well. At the end, a handful asked questions of the priest and a member of the temple who had stopped by that evening.
Then it was off to the Sahota Palace Indian restaurant for dinner and discussion. Meg Crackel '10, who was enrolled in Kent's Health and Healing and identified herself as a practicing Catholic, echoed the sentiments of many students by saying that it was helpful to see what they had read and studied in action. She drew some similarities between the service and the act of taking communion in her own church, but found the rest of the evening unlike anything she had ever experienced. "I think it's good to try different things at Colgate and to step out of the box," she explained. "There are a lot of people on campus with similar [i.e. non-Hindu] backgrounds, so it's nice to leave Hamilton from time to time and experience something totally new."
Abhinav Maheshwari '07, a member of the Colgate Hindu Student Association, welcomed such curiosity and exploration of his faith. Maheshwari participated not for a class, but simply for his love of Hinduism. He said he hopes that non-Hindu students got a better idea of the tradition involved in his religion. "And seeing how Hinduism survives — and flourishes — in other countries, that's a great aspect of this trip, too."
A December New York Times article, "Studying Philanthropy, and Doling Out Real Cash," highlighted the Student Philanthropy Council two-semester seminar that is offered at Colgate: "Many universities offer courses in philanthropy, but Colgate's is unusual because in early May, at the end of the school year, the students will award $10,000 to nonprofit organizations of their choice, after researching worthy recipients. Only a few such courses nationwide give students the opportunity to give away real money." As the main story in the education section, the article also featured a photo of students involved in the program.
A January Inside Higher Ed article, "Moving Beyond Affirmative Action," included this mention of a unique Colgate program: "At Colgate University, Breaking Bread requires members of disparate student groups to plan, prepare, and eat a meal together. By the end of the meal, the groups must have identified a collaborative campus event...A strength of Breaking Bread is that it uses everyday activities — preparing and eating a meal, as an opportunity to build bridges between groups that tend to have very little to do with one another."
At a recent Madison County 4-H Youth Fair, Colgate was identified as a "safe place" in the community.
In an activity sponsored by Madison County's Promise — The Alliance for Youth, young people were asked to name a safe place in their community other than home. Colgate was named, along with several other community organizations including Hamilton Central School and the Hamilton Public Library.
A "safe place" is identified as a location that provides opportunities for youth to spend time with mentors, learn and develop academically, connect positively with their peers, engage in community service, and nurture social skills.
Colgate seniors Sarah Caban and Jesse Quinn have been awarded prestigious National Geographic Society internships. Caban will work in educational programs, and Quinn will work in the television and film division; both will be based at the NGS headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Two additional students nominated for the award by Colgate, senior Meghan Reed and junior John Demler, were named as finalists. The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students in geography. Jayna Richardson '06 is a current NGS intern.
Bruno Marcotulli and Brian Sparks, fathers from the FX documentary TV series Black. White., spoke on campus in January about their experiences on the show. The following evening, members of the African American Student Alliance and the Debate Society planned a topic for debate based on issues presented by the speakers. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]
Lyle Roelofs, provost and dean of the faculty, announced that the Board of Trustees approved the following appointments effective July 1, 2007:
Receiving continuous tenure and promotion to associate professor are Jennifer Brice, Department of English; Alan Cooper, Department of History; David Dudrick, Department of Philosophy; Carolyn Hsu, Department of Sociology and Anthropology; and Spencer Kelly, Department of Psychology.
Receiving continuous tenure is Adrian Giurgea, Department of English.
Promoted to full professor are Bernadette Lintz, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures; Phillip Richards, Department of English; Marilyn Rugg, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures; Lynn Schwarzer, Department of Art and Art History; and Kira Stevens, Department of History.
Colgate launched a new, improved website in early January at www.colgate.edu. The redesigned site features include new Flash theaters on the homepage and main pages that allow for a more dynamic display of multimedia; consolidated navigation that allows for quicker access to all of the site; a wider browser window allowing for more viewable content with less scrolling; a bigger, cleaner typeface; and a new interactive screensaver. The site also hosts a channel page dedicated to the arts and revised department pages that allow for more individualized content.
"We wanted to provide a more dynamic way of telling the Colgate story," said Tim O'Keeffe, director of web content. "The new Flash technology lets us better feature our multimedia offerings, while our streamlined navigation and cleaner look gives users better access to important information."
The university web committee and an Information Technology Services team worked on the site with Enlighten, an agency based in Ann Arbor, Mich. The firm had worked with Colgate on the previous version of its website.
The redesign process started last January when Colgate contracted with the Bentley College Design and Usability Lab to test functionality of the previous site. Those results helped formulate the redesign plan. Campus users offered suggestions for the new site at a meeting held in May, and the initial design proposals crafted by Enlighten were put on the university's internal portal. Dozens of people from campus offered comments that were used to shape the final design. In focus groups, students provided feedback.
The Flash theaters provide a flexible platform for video and other multimedia, such as the university's podcasts. Most of the videos were created by students working with Ray Nardelli, the ITS digital media manager.
Initial reaction to the site has been favorable.
"It looks very fresh and full of life, and the Flash work is amazing. I am sure this will boost the school's image greatly," said first-year Safwan Shabab.
If you had caught the December staging of The Nutcracker by Colgate's Ballet Club, you might have noticed a few rookies dancing alongside the undergrads.
The enthusiastic actors and actresses, about two dozen Hamilton-area children ages 3 to 12, were tapped to participate in the production by Shannon Larabee '08 and Amelie Lipman '08, co-presidents of the Ballet Club.
Larabee, Lipman, the kids, and the occasion for their new friendship were spotlighted in the Syracuse Post-Standard. The newspaper also ran a separate photo of Lipman and some of her pupils.
According to Larabee, the performance was her organization's second independent production, and its first using children in the ballet's traditional kids' roles. In 2005, all of the parts were played by Colgate students.
To prepare the young dancers for their performance, Larabee and Lipman spent many Saturdays rehearsing with them.
"They were great because they were so enthusiastic and their parents said they really practiced at home," Lipman told the Post-Standard.
In addition to the Hamiltonians, Larabee and Lipman recruited members of the university's fencing and martial arts groups for various sword fighting scenes, and student musicians for the Arabian dance scene.
Larabee, though, believes that the children were what rounded out the production.
"I've been doing The Nutcracker since fourth grade, and there are always little kids for the Mother Ginger and party scenes. It really helps the illusion."
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