The Colgate Scene
May 2007

Around the college

Students work at computer stations in the Case Library and Geyer Center for Information Technology, which opened its first four floors in early March. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

The Case Library and Geyer Center for Information Technology welcomed its first patrons in early March. Hundreds of students, faculty members, staff members, local residents, and parents stopped by throughout the day to explore the facility and see its newly upgraded spaces.

The university decided to make the first four floors of the building available for the rest of the semester while putting the final touches on the $57.5 million renovation project in order to give users a sneak preview of the community center it will become, said Joanne Schneider, university librarian. The formal opening and celebration of Case-Geyer is scheduled for the fall, but administrators felt strongly about letting patrons use what they could when they could, Schneider explained. "Students have been requesting the library's broader range of study spaces and technologies — as well as the more rapid receipt of materials — before the year ends," Schneider said.

The facility features a 24-hour study area, audio and video recording studios, a multimedia production suite, classrooms and meeting spaces, additional entranceways, expanded public computing, the high-tech library automated storage and retrieval (LASR) system, and Colgate's complete library collections and services, among other things. It also, for the first time, houses the library and ITS teams together under one roof. A range of networked spaces on the first four levels of the library are available for research and study, as are various technologies supporting listening, viewing, editing, and creating information by individuals and groups. The fifth floor, with its café and additional social and study spaces, will open in mid-May.

For more on the library, including photos of the renovated interior, visit

Bob Woodruff '83, former co-anchor of ABC's World News Tonight program, and his wife, journalist Lee McConaughy Woodruff '82, will together deliver the keynote address at Colgate's 186th commencement exercises on Sunday, May 20.

During the ceremonies, Colgate will award honorary degrees to the Woodruffs, along with baccalaureate speaker David Ellenson, president and I.H. and Anna Grancell professor of Jewish religious thought at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR); Raymond Cross, president of Morrisville State College; Carrie Mae Weems, award-winning photographer; and John Golden '66, outgoing chairman of Colgate's Board of Trustees and founder of the financial advisory firm John A. Golden Associates.

One of ABC's top news correspondents, Bob Woodruff joined the network in 1996 and has since covered countless international stories, including the war in Afghanistan, life behind the curtain in North Korea, and the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. He was a part of the ABC News team given an Alfred I. duPont award for live coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

Within weeks of being named co-anchor of World News Tonight in December 2005, Woodruff was seriously injured by a roadside bomb that struck his vehicle near Taji, Iraq, while he was reporting on U.S. and Iraqi security forces in the area. He returned to work in the fall to develop a documentary about his journey and that of other soldiers with traumatic brain injury. He and his wife, Lee, have also written a book titled In an Instant about their experiences (Books and media).

Lee Woodruff has operated her own freelance writing and marketing business from home for several years. Previously, she worked as a vice president for Porter Novelli in New York and San Francisco, and as an account supervisor for a public relations agency and at an American marketing firm in Beijing.

A performance of Ives's Quartet No. 1 by Colgate's quartet-in-residence, the Manhattan String Quartet, in the chapel in February also included a lecture by Jay Swain, associate professor of music. [Photo by Luke Connolly '09]

Kiplinger's Personal Finance has named Colgate the No. 8 school on its "50 Best Values in Liberal Arts Colleges" list.

The feature ranks private colleges and universities "that exemplify outstanding economic values and an exceptional education." Colgate and the other institutions were chosen, according to the high-profile money magazine, because they reflect "a trend among highly selective schools to level the economic playing field."

That's music to the ears of David Hale, financial vice president and treasurer, who said the university has been working for many years to do just that. "The financial assistance Colgate provides students is as generous as the aid offered by many of the wealthiest schools in the country, which helps explain the university's high ranking in the Kiplinger's list," he said. "We have a long tradition of offering generous financial aid packages to deserving students, so it is nice to be recognized in this way."

It's a tradition that won't be going away anytime soon, he added. "Since financial aid is one of the primary fundraising objectives of Colgate's campaign, we'll continue to expand aid opportunities to as many students as possible."

The Kiplinger's nod is one of several the university has received in recent months. U.S. News and World Report ranked Colgate No. 16 on its list of national liberal arts colleges, Men's Fitness named the university the No. 2 school on its "Fittest Colleges in America" list, and Kaplan and Newsweek listed the university as one of the 25 "New Ivies."

"This report by Kiplinger's and last fall's characterization of Colgate as a `New Ivy' are confirmation of our longstanding high quality and liberal arts tradition, as well as the significant progress Colgate has made in the past few years building on that strength," said Lyle Roelofs, provost and dean of the faculty. "It also underscores the impact Colgate faculty, students, and alumni are having far beyond their numbers throughout the nation and world. It is wonderful when groups that conduct careful studies of the higher education landscape recognize the quality and value of a Colgate education."

Kiplinger's, founded in 1947, selected Colgate from a pool of more than 1,000 private institutions for the "50 Best Values in Liberal Arts Colleges." It ranked the top 50 universities and top 50 liberal arts colleges based on admission rate, SAT or ACT scores, student-faculty ratio, four-year/five-year graduation rate, total costs, cost after need-based aid, aid from grants, cost after non-need-based aid, and average debt at graduation.

Retired four-star general Wesley Clark speaks in the chapel. [Photo by Kali McMillan '10]

Retired four-star general Wesley Clark shared his vision for the future of the nation with the Colgate and central New York communities in February. A near-capacity crowd of students, faculty, staff, and area residents packed Memorial Chapel to hear the former — and possible future — Democratic presidential candidate explore his views in a lecture titled "National Security and the Political Process in Post-September 11 America."

In the talk, Clark addressed the need for U.S. leaders to develop a clear-cut global strategy for the 21st century. He opened the discussion by posing a rhetorical question to the audience. "What has happened to this country?" he asked.

His answer: "We are losing in Iraq, we are losing in Afghanistan. What is going on?"

He went on to give his thoughts on a wide range of issues, including the Geneva Convention, terrorism, and the volatile situation in the Middle East, among others. Americans can resolve current problems facing the nation, for example, by learning from the mistakes of the past, according to Clark.

To remedy the current situation facing the country, he suggested returning to the ideals of liberty and freedom. "To win a war against terrorism we must start by strengthening American ideals, and stand up and protect constitutional rights...We must live up to our own values. No torture, no detention without habeas corpus."

He concluded by emphasizing that the single largest challenge facing the country in the 21st century is not terrorism, but rather the threats posed by a global economy. He also stressed the need for U.S. citizens to improve their skills in order to remain competitive in an expanding market.

After the speech, Clark entertained a series of questions from the audience that dealt with everything from campaign finance reform to his opinions on the Iraq Study Group. He then headed over to a reception in Lawrence Hall where he mingled with attendees and signed autographs.

Marty Shapiro '09, vice president of the College Democrats and lead organizer of the evening, said he was thrilled with Clark's entire visit, which featured a dinner at the Colgate Inn before his talk with students from a variety of groups. He was also glad that the former general was able to get the crowd thinking — and talking — about different topics. "It is nice to have an individual of Clark's stature realize that there are other issues out there than the war on terrorism." — John Kelly '08

Panelist Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor of the National Review, speaks at Lawrence Hall while Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute (center) and Ted Galen Carpenter of the Cato Institute listen. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

Three high-profile panelists offered their crystal-ball visions of the Republican Party's future as they debated the course of conservatism and dissected the labels often associated with the ideological wings of the GOP.

Colgate students and professors gathered in Lawrence Hall in March to listen to Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for foreign policy and defense studies for the libertarian Cato Institute; Michael Ledeen, freedom scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, an influential conservative think tank; and Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor of the National Review, the magazine established by noted conservative William F. Buckley Jr.

Audience members heard a wide-ranging discussion about the underpinnings of conservatism, the Bush administration, the terrorist threat, the Iraq war, and what the terms "neocon" or "theocon" actually mean today.

Ponnuru said such labels used in today's political lexicon are created by social liberals as a way to affix "scary" monikers to conservatives.

"So traditionalists became social conservatives, social conservatives became the religious right, and religious conservatives became theocons," he said.

In discussing how the GOP can overcome the current "crisis of conservatism," Ponnuru said the party must better address middle-class anxieties by providing solutions to issues such as affordable health care.

Ledeen, who was a consultant to the National Security Council, the Pentagon, and the State Department in the mid-'80s, said the future of the Republican Party, in fact the fate of the nation, rests on one thing: winning the war against Islamic-sponsored terrorism. Ledeen said Iran is driving the war against the Western world, and the United States must push for a "revolutionary change" that results in the ouster of the current regime.

Conservatives' advocacy of "regime change" is an ongoing concern of Libertarians, said Carpenter, of the Cato Institute. He decried the Bush administration's "empire and nation building," and said that the president had "blundered into an unnecessary war in Iraq." Libertarians also are angered by the significant erosion of civil liberties and by the GOP's less tolerant stance on many social issues, said Carpenter, and while they might not be completely ready to align themselves with the Democrats, there is a shift away from the GOP.

The Libertarians' potential role in the upcoming presidential election was a hot topic, and one which Kevin Glass '07 was glad to discuss.

"I think Mr. Carpenter is one of the extremes on the issue of Libertarians having abandoned the Republican Party altogether, but it made for some really interesting discussion," said Glass, a member of the College Republicans who organized the event with political science professor Robert Kraynak, director of the Center for Freedom and Western Civilization.

Kwame A. Appiah (center) talks with President Rebecca Chopp (right) and Brian Moore, director of the Africana and Latin American Studies Program, at Love Auditorium. [Photo by Luke Connolly '09]

Noted Princeton philosopher Kwame A. Appiah delivered a compelling examination of W.E.B. DuBois's vision of cosmopolitanism during a lecture on campus in February.

Appiah's appearance was the capstone event for the Africana and Latin American Studies Program, which also held a forum on bilingual education, an informal breakfast session, and a talent show as part of ALST Day celebrations.

Appiah told the Love Auditorium audience how DuBois, the black intellectual who helped shape the U.S. discussion about race in the 1900s, was himself influenced by his studies in Europe, primarily at the University of Berlin. DuBois, who also earned several degrees in the States, including the first PhD from Harvard ever awarded to an African American, was an advocate of cosmopolitanism, an idea grounded in the union of a concern for all of humanity with a concern for his own race. DuBois (1868-1963) broke away from the popular notion of race, one based strictly on biology, and viewed race instead as a form of identity that can be fueled by other peoples' communal experiences and that can change over time. He looked at race in a global context, said Appiah, urging people to look beyond difference and see how each group has a specific "genius" that can contribute to the wider world.

How that viewpoint coexists with the idea of nationalism and a person's "roots" was one that DuBois examined through his books and numerous essays and letters. Appiah suggested that the blending of cosmopolitanism and nationalism is an example of how individuals can possess different identities depending on the context in which they find themselves. He detailed how DuBois was greatly influenced by his travels across Europe and his studies in Germany, where he studied with some of the most prominent social scientists in Berlin, such as Gustav von Schmoller.

"DuBois was both a national and international figure of enormous repute, his accomplishments were universalistic, and even though he wrote eloquently on the issue of race and fought for black liberation, he was not imprisoned by race," said Brian Moore, director of Colgate's ALST program. Moore, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of history and Africana and Latin American studies, said having a preeminent scholar such as Appiah come to Colgate underlines the importance of the interdisciplinary work that ALST is doing.

That thought was echoed by Mary Moran, professor of anthropology and Africana and Latin American studies. "In order to understand complex topics like this, you have to range across a variety of fields," she said. "Mr. Appiah used amazingly different bodies of scholarship in delivering this lecture, an intellectual process that embodies what ALST is about."

Appiah is the Laurence S. Rockefeller professor of philosophy at the Center for Human Values at Princeton University. He has taught philosophy and African and African American studies at Cambridge, Duke, Cornell, Yale, Harvard, and Princeton universities. His latest book is Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. His other books include The Ethics of Identity, and In My Father's House.

Participants of February's 34th annual Gospel Fest sing in the chapel.

The 34th annual Gospel Fest brought sounds of joy and praise to the Chapel in February.

According to one of the event organizers, Mark Mann, associate university chaplain and Protestant campus minister, the gathering was a weekend celebration of "the good news of the Christian faith" in music and song.

Many members of the Colgate community participated in the gathering, which drew several outside groups to Hamilton. The university's Christian Fellowship Worship Band and Nzinga Job '07, for example, performed alongside choirs from both Utica College and Cornell University.

A Saturday evening choir concert was just one component of the two-day event, which was highlighted by the appearance of Gail Jones Thornton, formerly of the acclaimed Jones Sisters gospel singers, and her husband, Andre. Andre Thornton — former first baseman and designated hitter for the Chicago Cubs, Montreal Expos, and Cleveland Indians during a 14-year career in Major League Baseball — delivered the gathering's sermon Sunday morning.

Thornton was asked to tell his story about his life experiences. His faith helped him overcome a terrible personal tragedy in 1977 when his first wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. After the service, Thornton met with the men in attendance for a breakout session.

Wil Redmond '08, who worked closely with Mann to plan the event, described the purpose of the discussions with Thornton as a forum to explore "how you deal with [Christian life] on campus. It is totally different [at college] than it is at home, so we're just getting advice on that."

One of the participants in the conversation, Brian Haghighi '09, was struck by Thorton's words. "He encouraged everybody to really know what they believe."

Thornton's wife, Gail, participated in an informal discussion of her own with the women attendees. She explored the difficulty in marrying a man who had experienced such a horrific disaster, and how their faith kept them strong. She also chatted with students about the pressures a Christian woman faces in college and pre-marital life. "It was refreshing," she said of meeting with undergraduates. "It's always good to talk to college students."

"Even if you're not incredibly Christian, if you don't like it or if you don't believe in God, it was still something to come to and hear another opinion," said Redmond. "This is an intellectual institution, and hearing the opposite opinion in an informal setting is just as enriching as to hear it in a classroom." — Brittany Messenger '10

Works by Steven Heyman, piano artist-in-residence, and Rebekah Mosby, instructor of the Radio Writing course this past semester, were nominated for Grammys in the 49th annual Grammy Awards.

Heyman performed on the recording Corigliano: Violin Sonata, Etude Fantasy, which was nominated in the category of Best Chamber Music Performance.

Mosby was nominated in the category of Best Historical Album for Poetry On Record: 98 Poets Read Their Work (1888-2006). Mosby was the compilation's producer.

Although neither pieces won their categories, Mosby told the Syracuse Post-Standard that just being at the Grammys was experience enough.

She and her husband, Dewey Mosby, Picker Art Gallery director emeritus, were excited to meet recording artists Smokey Robinson and Joan Baez, and see the rock band The Police perform live. Mosby also made the acquaintance of fellow artists in the field, who complimented her on her work.

"The presenter for our category said -- and they didn't say this about any other category -- all the nominees were masterpieces, so that felt good," she said.

The highest praise of the night? "I was sitting next to the winner, and he said he had already bought my album."

Filmmaker Robert Townsend speaks to students after his lecture in February. The Brothers organization brought Townsend to campus to speak. [Photo by Kali McMillan '10]

When the Brothers organization at Colgate was deciding whom to invite to campus this year, they considered guest lecturers who would provide students with an inspirational message.

"I wanted the students to leave the lecture with something substantial," said Anthony Reyna '08, chief of the Brothers, a group dedicated to promoting awareness about social issues for men of color on, and beyond, campus.

Robert Townsend, an actor, director, writer, comedian, and producer, was the ideal man to give such a speech in Love Auditorium. Using hilariously entertaining anecdotes about his rags-to-riches life story, Townsend, who is African American, emphasized to students the necessity of "living your life against the grain" and "protecting your dreams."

Raised on the West Side of Chicago, he became the "TV Guide" of his family because his single mother would not allow her children outside due to the strong gang presence. Therefore, Townsend spent his days occupying himself with television and entertaining his family with impersonations of what he watched.

Townsend explained how his fifth-grade teacher discovered his talent when they were reading Sophocles' Oedipus Rex in class. While the rest of his classmates blandly reiterated the texts, Townsend boisterously acted out his lines just as he had heard on the Royal Shakespeare Company's record. He was able to harness his comedic talent in order to spark the interest of Chicago's Experimental Black Actors Guild X-Bag Theatre. From there, he began to work his way up the ladder of success until he realized that he reached somewhat of a "glass ceiling."

"The only roles being offered to me were pimps, `jive' men, and runaway slaves," explained Townsend. Black men were not being portrayed accurately, he said. In his time, they were being pigeonholed, despite the fact that they wanted to play "the hero, the guy who falls in love, the guy who has his heart broken, or just a regular guy."

Rather than continually playing one stereotypical role after another, Townsend decided to take his own initiative. He wrote, directed, and starred in Hollywood Shuffle (1991), in which he redefined "black" roles and addressed many controversial issues facing Hollywood. Townsend used this story to force the students to realize the necessity of taking their lives into their own hands. "If it's your passion, than you must do," he proclaimed.

Currently, Townsend is shooting a movie in Chicago, with several television shows up in the air. He is continuously creating and presenting the many different aspects of the African American world. "I love movies. I love creating. I understand images," he described.

As CEO of his new television company, the Black Family Channel, Townsend "aims to change the face of television."

"I know it's a tall order and I've set the bar really high, but in order to reach the stars you must set your sights on the moon." -- Brittany Messenger '10

Barbara Gorka has been named to the position of director of international programs. Gorka, with a BA in Spanish from Dickinson College and MA and PhD degrees in Spanish from the University of Pennsylvania, comes to Colgate from Temple University, where she served as associate director of international programs since 2002. She also brings international education experience as well as teaching experience from Muhlenberg College.

Photographer Frank Cordelle talks about his Century Project exhibition, a series of photographs of women whose ages span 100 years, in the Colgate Bookstore. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

When Merrill Miller, university physician and co-director of the Wellness Initiative (WI), started brainstorming with her WI colleagues ideas for health-oriented programming that they could bring to campus this semester, she thought immediately of the Century Project.

Miller had last seen the series of nude photographs of women whose ages span 100 years, accompanied by moving personal statements by the subjects of the images, at Colgate four years ago, and had never forgotten its message of unconditional acceptance of one's body, flaws and all.

"It was an amazing experience in 2003, and we now have a new generation of undergraduates on campus," she explained. "We felt it was important to have today's students see the photos and read the personal statements of joy and anguish."

So, at Miller's behest, the collection's photographer, Frank Cordelle, traveled to Hamilton for the second time to show his work and participate in a variety of WI-sponsored events with students, faculty, and staff.

The exhibition was displayed in the bookstore's third-floor event room and was open to all. The artist was present at the bookstore until the end of the showing.

"Cordelle's availability to talk about himself, his photo subjects, and his 25-year journey to this point make his time at Colgate an excellent educational experience for everyone," she said, adding that both men and women learn something by viewing the images.

The females featured in the Century Project are more than just models. Some bear the emotional and physical scars of sexual abuse, violence -- self-inflicted or otherwise -- eating disorders, or mastectomies. They are of all ages, sizes, shapes, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds, and display varying levels of confidence in their own skin.

The collection is a powerful statement about body image, society's portrayal of women in the media, sexuality, and female health issues -- all issues worth discussing on a college campus in particular, said Cordelle. "One of the Century Project's greatest virtues is that it takes topics that are difficult to talk about -- because they're taboo, very personal, or very private -- and it puts them on the table in a way that makes it okay to talk about them," said Cordelle, who participated in a brown bag discussion on Tuesday and several private showings with staff and student groups. "It's been very liberating for both the women whom I included in the project and for viewers who have their own reasons for identifying with the subjects of the photos."

That connection is what makes the Century Project as moving as it is, said Miller.

"There is great depth to the lives of each person who has graciously agreed to share her story. These are real people living in a real world, and that world has as many frowns as smiles."

The message comes through loud and clear, she said: "It is a powerful invitation to accept ourselves, no matter what."

The Wesleyan College Fire-dancing Team perform in the Quad (left) and children draw on the ice in Starr Rink (right) as part of the Colgate Arts! Festival. [Photos by Luke Connolly '09]

The fourth annual student-run Colgate Arts! Festival kicked off in February with a performance of The Vagina Monologues and a presentation of One Night Stand, a Valentine's Day-themed selection of new plays produced and performed by students.

The festival, featuring art, theater, and music events, ran from February 16 through February 24, incorporating the week that students at Hamilton Central School are on break. Colgate student volunteers hosted children's workshops that included ice painting, comedy improv, clay sculpting, calligraphy lessons, and an opportunity for children to make their own TV segments through CUTV.

The week ended with a snow sculpture competition on the Quad and later, a masquerade ball held at Creative Arts House.

The Colgate Arts! Initiative (CAI), which plans the festival, was founded in 2003 by Matt Brogan '05, Emily Kindler '04, and Rebecca Spiro '05.

Professor Michael Johnston and Watson fellow Lindsay MacKenzie '05 are the latest additions to Colgate Conversations podcasts.

Johnston, Charles A. Dana Professor of political science, talks about how the public's perception of corruption can have significant repercussions for elected officials.

MacKenzie, a Watson fellow who traveled the world, talks about her yearlong journey to 21 nations as part of her prestigious fellowship which she won while at Colgate.

Colgate Conversations is a series of podcasts that involve faculty members, alumni, administrators, and students talking about research projects, higher education issues, careers, and life on campus. To catch the latest installments, go to or subscribe through the Colgate Conversations page on iTunes.

Beverly Low, dean of first-year students, was featured in the Washington Post in "The Copter on the Quad," a story about "helicopter parents" -- parents who hover over their first-year college students.

The story said Low "acknowledges that saying goodbye is not easy. But in her August 2006 letter to parents of the class of 2010, she emphasizes that `among the many goals of a Colgate education is helping students to become resilient, independent, and self-sufficient adults.'

"To help with self-sufficiency, Colgate's —site offers tips for parents on `Partnering for a Colgate Education' in which they are encouraged not to be silent partners exactly, but also not to be `I e-mailed your professor about your term paper extension' partners either."

The article also includes tips for parents taken directly from Colgate's website.

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