The Colgate Scene
May 2001
Table of contents
People on the go

by Rebecca Costello
Davidson's new pastor
Reverend A. Allen Brindisi '68 broke a mold when he became senior pastor of the Davidson College Presbyterian Church in December. He's the first pastor in the church's 160-year history who isn't a Davidson College graduate.

     The church, on the campus in Davidson, North Carolina, has historically served as the place of worship for students, professors and staff. When he learned of the opening, Brindisi says, "I commented to my wife, if there's anything that sounds exciting and challenging, it would be a church in a college setting." He has served congregations in Pennsylvania and New York, and since 1987 had been pastor at Riverside Presbyterian in Cocoa Beach, Florida. As a family of liberal arts graduates (he and his wife Ann have two grown sons), Brindisi says they feel at home in that kind of community. He also recalls that the seed of his interest in working at a college had been sown when he preached at his 25th Reunion in 1993, upon the invitation of Colgate Chaplain Nan De Vries.

     "I got to know Nan a bit that weekend and I picked up from her the challenges of being a Christian minister on a college campus." Like Colgate, Davidson has changed from a church-centered college to "one that is as cosmopolitan as anywhere else, with students from every faith, nationality, race and culture. So the challenge for the church on campus is, how do we minister to them?"

     Brindisi conducts Sunday services, works with a church staff of 12 on a plethora of activities, and regularly visits the local church-founded retirement center. Davidson has its own chaplain, so he doesn't interact daily with students, yet students are involved at the church in a number ways, in worship, choir, assisting with youth programs and running a cold-night homeless shelter. As well, the church sponsors several student initiatives, including mission trips and an adopt-a-student program. The college musical groups rehearse and perform there and the building has a 24-hour student center.

     This opportunity also excited Brindisi because in recent years "the church has been in an explosion of opening up." The Charlotte region is experiencing rapid growth, and bankers, engineers and airline pilots are adding new diversity to the congregation that previously was mostly Davidson College folks.

     The son of a Presbyterian pastor from Utica, Brindisi attended Princeton Seminary after Colgate (he also holds a doctor of ministry studies degree in church revitalization from McCormick Seminary). He comments that his Colgate sociology major gave him a great background. "It enables me to look objectively at what is going on in or around a church and think of it in sociological terms." Performing with the Colgate Thirteen was a help as well. "It took away a lot of stage fright."

     Brindisi was formally installed at DCPC on January 28.

     "I've been on this crash learning curve of absorbing all the history and tradition," explains Brindisi, describing his arrival as a complete newcomer, into what he's found to be a warm, welcoming -- and invigorating -- place.

     "We're blessed with the culture of a college that spills over into the church. They are used to good academic research, and I think they expect to hear that from the pulpit."

     Pastor Allen Brindisi, who sees preaching as "a high responsibility and a joy," is embracing the challenge to fulfill those expectations.

Pat Grant '67, his wife Carla, and daughters Alexis '04, Sara and Cammie. ©Gutierrez/Rocky Mountain News
Citizens of the West
Pat Grant '67 is a member of the Colorado clan honored with the 2001 Citizen of the West award. Given by the National Western Stock Show, this most prestigious honor of the Rocky Mountain Region recognizes those who "best exemplify the spirit of the Western pioneer." This was the first time in its 22-year history the award has been bestowed upon a family.

     Grant's ancestors settled in Colorado before statehood and played an "important and most positive part in the history and the accomplishments of Colorado," says former governor John Love. The pioneer relations of Pat's parents, Ned and Mary Belle Grant, included, on Ned's side, mining machinery magnate Edwin Hendrie, eminent surgeon William West Grant and Colorado's third governor, James Benton Grant, and on Mary Belle's side, William and Marian Young and railroad surveyor Henry Azile McIntyre.

     "There are certain continuing themes of the Grant family," says Pat. "One is clearly civic involvement and civic leadership."

     Ned and Mary Belle, who raised their children while ranching on the high plains of eastern Colorado and above Steamboat Springs, set a strong example. A farmer, bank director, and school and museum trustee, Ned was also a Colorado Ski Hall of Fame inductee, an official of the company that made wooden skis for the 10th Mountain Division, and helped found the Centennial Race Track in Littleton. Ned also managed the horse show at the National Western Stock Show for 25 years. He died in 1968. Mary Belle was a member of the Denver Zoo board and Friends of the Denver Public Library; established a portion of the family's Steamboat ranch as permanent open space when it was sold; and provided inspiration for the Coors Western Art Exhibit and Sale, which is one of the top small western art exhibitions and sales in the country. She died in 1999.

     Pat himself has been president of the National Western Stock Show since 1991. Under his leadership, the rodeo has been named the top large Western rodeo in North America twice in five years. The horse show is among the most respected in the country, and the stock show is the most prestigious in the world. He's quick to point out he feels his staff deserves much of the credit.

     From 1985 to 1992, Pat held several leadership roles as a member of the Colorado House of Representatives. He and his wife Carla live in Cherry Hills and have three daughters, Sara, Cammie and Alexis Hendrie, a Colgate first-year who rows on the crew team. The Grants joined the Society of Families Steering Committee this year and recently hosted a parent/alumni event at their home.

     Pat and his siblings, Newell, Susan, Cecily and Annie accepted the award on behalf of themselves and their parents at a dinner at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Denver on January 8. He was pleased to report that "great friends" Pam and Ray Ilg '67 were present at the event.

Amy Hargrave '03 with two new friends
Spring break outreach
Seven students and an alumnus used their spring break to give back and learn about the strength and spirit of those less fortunate. Spending a week in the Dominican Republic through Orphanage Outreach Program, sophomore Amy Hargrave, her classmates Meghan Journey, Mena Ryley, Allison Hanson and Angela Johnson, Jessica Parshley '01, Christie Philbrick-Wheaton '04 and Joseph Fontana '00 were among 90 volunteers living and working at the Pentecostal El Buen Samaritano orphanage in Esparanza.

     The volunteers pulled stumps, built a concrete-block wall around the orphanage to prevent children from wandering off, organized recreational activities and taught in the school.

     Most satisfying for Hargrave was an experience on her first day.

     "A boy came up to me with the days of the week written in Spanish," she remembers. "He asked for them in English. Within 10 minutes I had two little girls leaning over asking me when their birthdays were. You could tell they really wanted to learn English."

     Hargrave helped build the wall and taught sixth-graders English with flash cards she had made, on colors, clothing, family words and basic phrases. "It's not organized like school here -- there are no tests, no grades."

     Bunking in dusty chicken wire and tarp quarters with limited supplies and basic meals of peanut butter, beans and rice, the students nevertheless recognized their privileges. "We were better off than the natives," Hargrave acknowledges. "We had water; we had beds. It was a culture shock, emotionally and physically, but it was a good experience."

     In addition to volunteering their time and labor, the students were required to make a financial donation (Hargrave's visit was made possible by an anonymous donation), and were encouraged to bring as many material donations as they were allowed to carry on the flight.

     "I collected stuff at home. It was neat -- you'd see a child wearing your little sister's t-shirt. I was able to put the money and donations to such a good cause."

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