The Colgate Scene ON-LINE

compiled by Abigail Henrich '98

USNews & World Report

For the ninth consecutive year, USNews & World Report has listed Colgate among the 25 "best national liberal arts colleges." The magazine's complex ranking system measures academic reputation, selectivity, faculty resources, financial resources, retention rate, alumni giving and (this year, for the first time) "value added," to arrive at an overall score. When all the variables were considered this year, Colgate finished at number 20.

Magic in Surrealist Pop Art: Paintings by James Lalleman opened the Longyear Museum of Anthropology exhibition season with a change of pace and a burst of color. The painter, a Columbian native, has lived in New York City since 1971. He was inspired by the works of Magritte, Warhol and Rauschenberg. Writes Carol Ann Lorenz, curator of exhibitions, Lalleman's paintings "are inhabited not by people but by the commodities with which we surround and even define ourselves."

Stewards and deacons

Thirty five students knelt, holding hands, on the stage of the Memorial Chapel for the service of ordination and commission of stewards and deacons of University Church. They not only dedicated their time and effort, but pledged their commitment to the ministry of University Church, a rare commitment in the secular age of the academy.

A spring issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly featured a front cover article titled "Searching for GOD." The article described, in amazement, how a handful of Princeton students took time from their academic responsibilities to practice their faith. Furthermore, the article, with great pride, painted a picture of a unified religious campus in which Protestants and Muslims held open discussions. This is not an aberration at Colgate, but rather a central part of many students' religious experience. There are few major holidays that pass without all the religious communities on campus gathering to discuss the spiritual importance of the event, and to lend support to the worshipping community. Moreover, there is an active Jewish-Christian dialogue with monthly meetings to strengthen the ties between the religious traditions that have had a history of conflict.

University Church in particular is an ecumenical community of approximately 100 active students who worship weekly. Impressively, the community is predominately student-run by a steering committee, referred to as the stewards, and an active board of deacons. Significantly, the article in the Princeton Alumni Weekly never mentioned a worshipping community on its campus, but supports and uplifts individual's commitments. In a secular age in which religion has been considered irrelevant to academia, University Church has demonstrated the possibility of wedding the two.

Links that connect

"Have your Linksters come to see you yet?" I asked.
"No! I sit here, watching the shadows pass under my door, and hope it is one of them coming by . . . but no one has."
"Yeah, I miss my Linksters."
"I know -- I wish it were orientation again."

This brief conversation between Links took place one Friday night when the entire Link staff gathered to barbecue and catch up from our now busy schedules. We were used to our large group, the dynamics of different personalities, and the multiple facets of Colgate life that it represented. We were the Link Staff, a group created in 1983 to ease first-years' transitions and to act as a guide through the four days of orientation (which, if you ask anyone, was the four longest days of their lives).

The Link staff gathered for the first time in August, a full week before classes began. After introductions we embarked on one of the most intense and rewarding training sessions at Colgate. For three days straight we began at eight in the morning, typically going until 11 p.m. to prepare for the first-years' arrival and adjustments. On the fourth day we were up at seven, dressed in '00 class tee-shirts and full of excitement to meet our incoming students. At day's end we were exhausted but we finished feeling as if we had made a great bridge between old and new Colgate and helped navigate a puzzling first day.

Links, however, function as more than guides. For many first-year students, they are the connection to upperclass students, reliable alternative resources, and hopefully friends. The Links also became good friends with each other. By the time this tight group gathered for a Friday barbecue, most of the first-years' questions had been answered, their fears allayed, their places on campus had begun to be established. Their work mostly done, the Links couldn't help it. They missed their Linksters.

AlliedSignal was well represented at a ribbon cutting to open Career Services' new interview center that bears the name of the multinational conglomerate. Assisting in the snipping was, from left, Rob Snell '95, director of Career Services Lee Svete, Anne McKay '85 and Ron Roy '63. Chairman and CEO Larry Bossidy '57 spoke to a packed house of students the night before the ceremony about the ever-changing business world and the opportunities available to students who are aware of the trends nationally and internationally.

Republishing a Living Writer

On the third page of Reginald McKnight's book of short stories, The Kind of Light That Shines On Texas, it reads: "Published in cooperation with the Living Writers course at Colgate University." Living Writers is one of the most valued courses on campus. The concept is simple: Read a book a week and at the end of that week the author comes to the class, to answer students' questions.

When Professor Frederick Busch discovered in May that Reginald McKnight's collection of short stories, which he had planned for his class to read, was no longer in print, he called McKnight's publisher. Without fully understanding what he was about to do, Busch asked if he could republish the book. Once the publisher granted permission, Busch contacted Keith Abbot at Southern Methodist University Press to seek advice. Abbot immediately showed interest and expressed his great admiration for McKnight's writing. He backed up that admiration with an offer for Southern Methodist University Press to publish the book if Colgate split the cost. Using funds specifically allocated for Living Writers, the deal was struck. By August, the book was ready for the students of Living Writers to buy and read. McKnight's appearance September 5 captivated his readers as he devoured their questions with enthusiasm and ease. The light was shining again.

All aboard the Barge

This summer Colgate leased two neighboring Lebanon Street storefronts, not far from the movie theater. The spaces, which once offered burrittos and beds (separately) were joined and renovated to create a coffee shop with the potential to be a gathering spot for town and gown.

After summer meetings between faculty, administrators and students, work began. While tearing down walls, remnants of two windows and a loading dock were found. The windows actually overlooked the canal that passed through the village in the 1800s, bringing a new prosperity to town and inspiring the coffee shop's name: The Barge Canal Coffee Company.

The Barge is a bright yet invitingly cozy space with rough brick walls, shiny coffee cups stacked on shelves, overstuffed chairs and sofas placed in corners, and games and magazines scattered. Of course, there is a wide variety of coffees (and other non-alcoholic beverages) and desserts, available from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. The Barge, which is already established as a delightful place to converse and even study, also features live performances and poetry readings.

The Colgate experience is more than academic -- it is about environment -- about the rolling hills of Hamilton, the small movie theater downtown, the beautiful dorms, the enveloping green chairs of the library, the boathouse on Lake Moraine, and now the coffee house. According to Dean of the College Mike Cappeto, the administration understands the importance of creating space outside of the classroom in which a student's Colgate experience can be taken and expanded.

Colgate is a school that values education as a whole, as an experience that doesn't end at the classroom door. The new coffee house is an expression again that Colgate cares about its students and the quality of their learning experience.

Cornel West captivates

Cornel West, the author of the controversial Race Matters, a Harvard professor and an ordained minister, strode onto the platform in Cotterell Court with ease and confidence to begin his lecture to a packed house.

He addressed his audience as brothers and sisters without a trace of patrimony to launch his speech dealing with the complex and contentious issues of race.

Matters of race are constantly debated on campuses and it was West's assertion that it is vital for a community to view itself as a community of individuals. Race is a construct, according to West, and we as a community continue this construction as we continue to view each other simply as blacks or whites. West quoted W.E.B. DuBois's basic tenet, "The problem of the 20th century is the color line." West then admitted that he himself had some white supremacy in him. He placed no blame but confronted each student.

Central to West's lecture was his definition of humanity's predicament -- the struggle with evil. "To deny, evade and avoid evil is to allow evil to grow. But to struggle with evil is to struggle with the fundamental issues of humanity." And herewith lie the issues of race that face our society. The solution, one could conclude, is in the struggle. West challenged Colgate students to "plunge into the depths."

West also spoke about our societal values, referring to them as "market values," which he felt were vital to democracy. It was West's contention that these values were, "emptying out the hearts and souls of each of us." He questioned if race was not really a reflection of economic standing. He further expressed his feeling that there was no tradition of struggle within the framework of market values.

Cornel West ended by telling his audience he was not an optimist but he had hope. His hope rises from a faith in the individuals of our society and country.

Some left the lecture with their confusion and disillusionment untouched, as if there are no answers to issues of race. Others choose to seize a similar hope. The discussion continues.

Huntington Gym has seen some strange sights but perhaps none more arresting than the 14 dinosaur trackways that were left across the hardwood floor in October. The tracks were actually a condensed reconstruction of a field site near Mt. Tom., Mass., and rather than make the long trip, associate professor of geology Connie Soja brought her students in the Evolution: Dinosaurs to Darwin course to the gym to answer a number of questions based on the prints. Gary Ward from the science machine shop cut the prints out of rubber-like matting and the students used measurements to determine everything from posture and speed to whether the dinosaurs were clumsy, slow and stupid. According to the prints discovered in Huntington, they were not.

Shaw collection swells

Richard S. Weiner '68 recently made another large gift of George Bernard Shaw manuscripts, letters, photographs and other related memorabilia to Colgate University's Case Library special collections department.

The first Shaw gift from Weiner came to the university in 1986, and he has steadily increased the Shaw Collection since. With his latest gift (although estimated values are difficult to compare), head of Special Collections and university archivist Carl Peterson feels Colgate probably has the largest Shaw collection in this country, and one of the largest in the world.

Experts have estimated that Shaw wrote more than 100,000 letters and postcards during his long life. The Weiner Shaw Collection reflects the breadth of Shaw's concerns, from the theater to politics to a universal language. It also documents the interests of the many strangers who felt somehow compelled to write to Shaw.

Weiner's latest gift includes a significant series of letters to Gilbert Murray (the most important translator of Greek and Roman drama of his day), letters to actors and actresses of the period such as Mary Grey, Sybil Thorndike and Ellen Terry, as well as an extensive correspondence relating to the movies made from Shaw's plays, including several letters to or from Sam Goldwyn. Possibly the richest collection is a series of letters from Shaw to Charles Macdona, a theater impresario who produced many of Shaw's plays in London and throughout England and France. In these letters, Shaw often goes into minute detail about how Macdona should stage a play or how a particular actor or actress should act a part.

The gift is also rich in visual materials, including a photographic diary Shaw kept in 1904, several other photographs also taken by Shaw himself, and many more by other photographers. Shaw, particularly in old age, was a favorite subject.

An item inventory of this recent gift can be made available to interested parties. A full bibliographic description of the entire collection is under preparation.

Junior Abby Henrich keeps on the go, with involvement in University Church, as a Link and playing rugby. A quilter, Abby stayed on campus between semesters to work for Summer Programs.