The Colgate Scene
May 2004

Around the college

Erin Silver '06, president of the Colgate Jewish Union (center), Naveen Hussain '06 (center right) and Lesleigh Cushing (left), assistant professor of religion and Jewish studies, discuss the new Torah at the Saperstein Jewish Center. The Torah was obtained in February by Rabbi Michael Tayvah, Colgate's Jewish chaplain, who learned about it from his former scribable arts teacher. According to Tayvah, the scroll was written in Jerusalem about 60 years ago. It is written in a Sefardi Torah script, on parchment sheets about 15 inches high, making it a small, light scroll. The Torah is stored in an octagonal Yemenite case, or tiq, which gives the ark at the Saperstein Center a visual representation of the Mizrahi and Ashkenazi traditions within Judaism. The scroll will be used whenever the Torah is ritually read, said Tayvah, who hopes to expand the number of times when Torah is ritually read on campus during the year. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]
Two garner NEH Fellowships

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton met with nearly 70 regional academic, business, and civic leaders and addressed more than 2,000 people as part of the first conference hosted by Colgate's Upstate Institute
For the fifth year in a row, two faculty members have earned National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fellowships. Barry Shain, associate professor of political science (also an NEH Fellow in 1992), is researching "Revolutionary America's Declaration of Independence: The Nature of Rights at the Founding." Camilla Townsend, associate professor of history, earned the award for her project based on documents written in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs: "Don Juan Buenaventura Zapata y Mendoza: An Intimate Portrait of an Indian Nobleman."

The NEH received 1,289 eligible applications for 180 fellowships, which carry a stipend of $40,000 to support individuals pursuing advanced research that contributes to scholarly knowledge or to the general public's understanding of the humanities. Recipients usually produce scholarly articles, monographs on specialized subjects, books on broad topics, archaeological site reports, translations, editions, or other scholarly tools.

Nelofer Pazira, writer and star of the film Kandahar, discusses her personal experiences in Afghanistan under Russian occupation during her lecture, "Kabul to Baghdad: Tell Us About Democracy" in Golden Auditorium in February.
A physics home run

For the first time, Enrique J. "Kiko" Galvez, professor of physics and astronomy, and his student researchers have measured a new optical geometric phase that could have the potential of helping to bring the red-hot field of quantum computing from the theoretical realm to practical applications.

Their accomplishment, which was published as the cover story in Physical Review Letters (May 23, 2003, Vol. 90, Num. 20), recently earned a place on the list of "Top Physics Stories of 2003" published by the American Physical Society.

"No faculty member has ever been published in Physical Review Letters for work done at Colgate before," said Joseph Amato, professor of physics and director of the natural sciences and mathematics division. "It's the most selective physics journal in the world, and also the most highly cited," he said.

The measurement, a challenging problem that Galvez began trying to solve four years ago, falls in the area of optical physics: "We were attempting to measure a property, called geometric phase, of exotic light beams that have a peculiar shape. We could not figure out how to do certain alignments that would allow us to measure the property," he said.

After two years, the group had hit a dead end. "I almost shelved the project," said Galvez, "but somehow we broke through, and figured out a measurement that got around the alignment problem."

Embedded in the significant amount of publicity that followed their discovery is the assertion that the measurement Galvez devised has the potential of being used as a system for quantum computers. According to Galvez, quantum computers are still only in the "holy grail stages" of scientific pursuit, but their development would allow for significantly more powerful computations than today's binary computers can perform.

Galvez's student researchers and co-authors included Patrick Crawford '04, Henry Sztul '01, Matthew Pysher '04, Preston Haglin '01, and lab technician Roger Williams. "This is really a home run for us," said Galvez.

"Each generation is an opportunity to make this a more perfect union. Young America, come alive. When we do, we make great things happen," said Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder of the progressive social change foundation Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, to a capacity crowd in Memorial Chapel in February. His visit was sponsored in part by The Brothers, a student group addressing issues of importance to men of color on campus, with the university at large in mind. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]
Mellon Foundation supports faculty development

Colgate will launch several new faculty development programs beginning in the next academic year, thanks in part to a $600,000 grant awarded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant, awarded to a four-college consortium that also includes Hamilton, Skidmore, and Union, allows the four schools to pilot new programs that will enhance the careers of tenured faculty members.

The first is an exchange program in which professors spend a term teaching at one of the other consortium schools, providing the opportunity to work with another set of scholars, explore new curricula, and experience a different institutional culture. The Mellon funding also makes available sabbatical enhancement grants, the first of which were recently awarded by the university's Research Council as part of its major grants program.

Power, politics, and the press

Journalist Gloria Borger '74 and U.S. Senator Joseph Biden (D-Del.) treated an audience that included Presidents' Club members as well as students on the Washington Study Group to an evening that touched on power, politics, and the role of the press in Washington, D.C., in February.

Following an introduction by Borger, Biden laid out his view of the war in Iraq and possible consequences for the Bush administration regarding their case for initiating the conflict.

Borger, who is a contributing editor at U.S. News & World Report, the cohost of CNBC's Capital Report, and a regular panelist on the PBS public affairs program Washington Week in Review, presided over a post-speech discussion.

Just a pinprick

More than 125 members of the Colgate community put their best finger forward by registering as potential bone marrow donors during a drive held in March at the ALANA Cultural Center. By allowing a small sample of blood to be drawn through a fingerprick, each participant is registered with the National Marrow Donor Program, which provides marrow and stem cell transplants for patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases.

Tamara Serrano, coordinator of multicultural affairs, who helped organize the drive, said an education campaign, from videos and informational boards at the Coop to campuswide e-mails, seemed to help people overcome any initial reluctance to the registration process.

"Some people tend to freak out when they hear the words `bone marrow.' But I think the people who registered realized that they could be the last option for a lot of people in need," she said.

The drive was specifically targeted toward people of color because there is a critical need for more minority donors to help the many minority patients searching the registry. Amanda Erekson '03, an operations manager for MAVIN Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works on multiracial initiatives, had asked whether Colgate would become one of 30 colleges in the nation to take part in the foundation's latest "Marrow-thon." Serrano worked with Erekson and Dr. Merrill Miller, director of student health services, to organize the two-day drive; samples were collected by representatives from the American Red Cross. Serrano reported that 61 registrants were people of color.

Avraham Burg, former speaker of the Knesset, and Geneva Accord Negotiator, relaxed with Steven Kepnes, Murray W. and Mildred K. Finard Professor of Jewish studies, before giving his lecture, "God, Politics, and Power: One Israeli's View," in Love Auditorium in late March. [Photo by Aubrey Graham]
Ringside for rhetoric

Four sophomores traded rhetorical jabs and counterpunches during the final round of the Colgate Debate Tournament at the Palace Theater in downtown Hamilton in early March. Sponsored by Colgate's Harry C. Behler Debate Society, the debate involved two teams of two students each that had emerged victorious from preliminary rounds held on campus the previous weekend. Team members practice weekly and travel to two to three tournaments a semester.

The Palace Theater tournament followed the rules of parliamentary debate.

For the final round, the teams were presented with this situation: The Pope lapsed into a coma. He had a vision that essentially threw all of his beliefs and the basic tenets of the Catholic Church into question. Should he reveal this, or keep up appearances and pretend nothing has happened?

David Aldrich and Steven Segall said the Pope should merely resign, and tell people he can no longer continue as their leader. The pontiff allowing people to continue placing their faith in a flawed doctrine or having them pray to the wrong god "would be unforgivable," they argued. The opposing team of Mikey Carrington and John Drymon argued that there would be widespread "existential despair" if the bedrock beliefs of the Catholic Church were put in doubt and that the collapse of the church would create a worldwide economic upheaval and a crisis of faith.

Each side spoke three times before the matter was turned over to the judges, Alan Cooper, assistant professor of history, and Patrick Kabat '06 and Elias Shakkour '06, debate society co-presidents.

The verdict: Aldrich and Segall won the debate, and the $500 prize, based on the presentation of their case. Cooper said that debate is a terrific exercise because "it's hard to argue about tough issues" and the ability to think on one's feet and present a persuasive argument is critical in so many things that students will be doing in their lives and careers.

Sophia D'Addio '06 can't help but smile as the men of the Colgate Thirteen serenade her. The group performed at a picnic behind Little Hall as part of the Colgate Arts! Festival weekend in March. Featuring more than 20 events, from performances by a jazz combo and the Colgate Chamber Players to a "battle of the bands," from a student artwork competition to entertainment by the Charred Goosebeak comedy improv troupe, the festival was organized by a new student group called the Colgate Arts! Initiative. [Photo by Aubrey Graham]
Fair integrates off-campus students with residents

Landlords and merchants from the village of Hamilton mingled with Colgate students looking to live off campus next year during an informal gathering at the O'Connor Campus Center intended to solidify town-gown relations. Mayor Charles Getchonis and President Rebecca Chopp also attended.

For landlord Leroy Hodge, it was a chance to meet some of the students who will be downtown tenants next year. "This kind of thing helps keep relations strong," said Hodge, a Hamilton resident who has rented apartments for 24 years. Hodge said he has appreciated being informed about what's going on with the off-campus students by Tim Mansfield, associate director of residential education. The fair also provided merchants with a way to introduce themselves to potential customers.

Two years ago, Mansfield launched the Neighbor to Neighbor program, which offers support and resources for both seniors living off campus and for Hamilton residents.

And while the students will be more on their own, they will in no way be cut off from the university, said Gary Bean, director of campus safety. Each year, he and Mansfield visit every downtown residence that houses students. Throughout the year, barbecues and get-togethers are held to reinforce the connection between administrators and off-campus students.

Colgate administrators also held a gathering at the Palace Theater for current off-campus students, to remind departing seniors that they need to be respectful of their village neighbors during the last few weeks of the semester. And, Bean said, they offered tips to students on security deposit issues, turning off utilities, and other ways to get things wrapped up for the year.

The seniors were asked about their experiences while living off campus. Administrators will use that information to better assist students in the coming years. Bean said the feedback is also provided to landlords, and their input is solicited so a dialogue can be maintained on ways to sustain the good ties between students and the village.

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