The Colgate Scene
Novermber 1998
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Around the college
Family Weekend was filled with events -- concerts, games, faculty receptions, fine dining -- and parents, siblings, relatives of all sorts -- nearly 3,000 strong. Whether relaxing at the Barge, shopping the Farmers Market or picnicking, a good time was had by all.
Conrad scholars converge at Colgate
In August Colgate was host to the International Meeting of the Joseph Conrad Society of America. More than 50 papers were presented, including plenary papers of eminent scholars Andrea White and Frederick Karl, a biographer of Conrad and editor of his multi-volume edition of letters.

     Editors of the collected edition of Conrad's fiction, memoirs, plays and essays, currently being published by Cambridge University Press, also discussed their work and research.

     Crawshaw Professor of Literature Neill Joy, who organized the four-day meeting, said, "The conference was a great success intellectually and professionally, bringing scholars together from here and abroad who specialize not only in English literature but other fields, too, such as psychology, drama, European history and political science.

     "The main reason for hosting the Conrad conference at Colgate is the extraordinary Joseph Conrad collection that Henry Colgate assembled and gave to the college," said Joy. Carl Peterson, special collections librarian at Colgate, prepared a catalogue to accompany a bibliographical exhibition of 80 items, including manuscripts, first editions, correspondence and memorabilia preserved in Case Library. A dramatic reading of Conrad's one-act play One Day More and the film Dîtes-lui que je reviendrai demain . . ., conceived, written and produced by French scholar Claudine Lesage, rounded out the meeting's events.

     A selection of papers from the conference will appear in a forthcoming issue of Conradiana, a scholarly journal devoted to the life and works of Conrad.

[IMAGE] Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian playwright, novelist and poet considered by many to be Africa's finest writer, spoke on campus in September. He discussed the continuing repression foisted upon the peoples of Africa by its military governments, and the role of artists and writers in encouraging positive change. Soyinka's talk was part of the series "Disturbing History: Art out of Atrocity" sponsored by the Center for Ethics and World Societies.

Student publishes on Third World pension reform
While on the fall '97 Geneva Study Group, Michele Ryba '99 wrote a seminar paper whose findings were embraced and then published by an international organization.

The Office of Undergraduate Studies celebrated its 30th anniversary with panel discussions involving faculty, staff, students and alumni, a tailgate, banquet and Whitnall Field carnival, complete with a dunking booth and cotton candy.
     The International Labor Organization in Geneva published Ryba's paper, titled, "The Role of the ILO and the World Bank in Pension Reform in Africa," as a working document. It is available to ILO officials, researchers and other governments interested in her topic. The ILO has its Central African headquarters in Kinshasa, the former capital of Zaire.

     "I got really interested in how the Third World is being incorporated into the new international framework," explained Ryba. "There are problems in Africa not present in other areas of the world. I looked at how the ILO has been incorporating Africa into their organization and examined whether their approach to pension reform was working."

     Not finding much published on the subject, Ryba conducted interviews and information sessions with officials in the field. "I gave them my ideas and got a lot of feedback." The officials suggested she would be helping them by writing the paper.

     "One of the ILO officials asked for a copy," said Ryba. "He e-mailed me over the summer and said they wanted to publish it. It was handed around the ILO for comments and edited. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be published, especially as an undergraduate," remarked Ryba, an international relations major with a minor in environmental studies.

     Professor Robert Rothstein, who led the study group, remarked on the significance of Ryba's accomplishment: "In 28 years I have never seen a student's paper officially published by an international organization."

Frank receives national fellowships
Assistant Professor of Religion Georgia Frank has received two national fellowships for the 1998-99 academic year in support of her postdoctorate project in the history of Christianity, from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Educational Foundation in Washington, D.C. and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS).

     "I am examining the role of the physical senses in Christian spirituality during the fourth through seventh centuries," said Frank, who is at work on her second book during her one-year sabbatical. "In particular, I focus on the `eye of faith,' as Byzantines referred to their deepest visual experiences. Its full dynamics can be traced through saints' lives, letters, liturgical works, homilies and visionary writings of the time. The visual piety that took shape through these devotional practices transformed the Christian through the process and effects of seeing."

     Last fall, Frank explored this topic with "an exceptionally stimulating group of undergraduates" in an upper level religion seminar, and was able to obtain a Mellon grant that funded the development of a related Web site by one of her students, Honor Paul '99.

The Hamilton Fire Department introduced its new tower ladder by giving students a bird's eye view of the Quad. The truck, which will be used primarily for rescue, reaches 95 feet into the air and can pump 1,500 gallons of water a minute. The university made a substantial contribution toward the purchase of the vehicle and is also well-represented among the department's volunteers. Eight students are firefighters this year.
     Frank is among only 12 women to receive a national postdoctoral/research leave fellowship from the AAUW Educational Foundation this year. The AAUW is one of the largest noninstitutional sources of funding for graduate women in the world. The ACLS, a non-profit private federation of 61 scholarly associations devoted to the advancement of humanistic studies in all fields of learning, awarded 62 national fellowships this year.

     A member of Colgate's faculty since 1994, Frank serves on the Women's Studies Faculty Advisory Committee. Recently, she organized a series of colloquia on the art and craft of teaching for junior faculty.

[IMAGE] Ugandan singer/songwriter Samite performed in the Chapel in September. A 1982 political refugee of Uganda who has settled in the United States, Samite sings in Luganda, his mother tongue, and performs on traditional African instruments such as the kalimba, marimba, a seven-stringed Kenyan instrument known as a litungu and flutes. With the addition of modern technology and a touch of jazz, Samite merges traditional with contemporary music, resulting in a unique and highly accessible fusion.

Hindus research
This summer, junior Jessica Brunn, on a research grant through the Russian department, was introduced to a well-known and historically important alumnus. She organized the Maurice Hindus '15 archives, translated documents in Russian and French, and read many of Hindus' works. She found his story exciting and worth sharing with the community.

     Maurice Hindus moved to America from Byelorussia around the turn of the century. Shortly thereafter, he procured a job as a farmhand in Brookfield, N.Y. His desire for intellectual stimulation led him to Colgate, and from there he became a correspondent and journalist in post-revolutionary USSR. His works address his love for both Russia and upstate New York. When he passed away, he left an extensive collection of correspondence, manuscripts, and notes to the Case Library archives.

     Though he was a busy man, Hindus frequently visited Hamilton and corresponded with many lifelong friends from the area. It is obvious that Colgate greatly influenced the life of this intelligent and impassioned man. As Jessica Brunn's research revealed, Maurice Hindus was proud to be an alumnus.

Triskaideka Society
A collaboration of faculty, staff and students has resulted in the establishment of what has temporarily been named the Triskaideka Society, an intellectual discussion group focusing on current events, politics and social issues.

     Judy Fischer, associate director of career services, identified a need for such a group, especially for those applying for scholarships such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright and Watson, who would benefit from a forum for discussing current affairs and global issues. Fischer's idea attracted the interest of sophomore Reid Blackman, who did much of the legwork to formulate the society, and Joseph Wagner, professor of political science, who stepped forward as faculty advisor.

     "We've often talked about how we wish there were opportunities for students to become more intellectually excited," said Wagner, "and that there were opportunities for students to explore and develop interest beyond their particular fields of study."

     Modeled in part after intellectual groups such as the Yale Political Union, the Oxford Union and the Cambridge Society, the organization has a constitution and is open to all who are interested.

New signs appeared on campus as part of the Lally Lane project. Not only are the new road and its parking slots identified, but buildings in the area are announced now, too. Visitors will no longer have to search for "the building that looks like a piano." Dana, like the student union, is clearly marked.
     "An executive board has been formed," said Wagner, "and Deans [of the faculty] Pinchin and [of students] Michael Cappeto have been very supportive." Blackman serves as president.

     "I am pleased about the interest and turnout so far -- 38 people [including several professors and an administrator] attended our first formal meeting, and I have 138 people on our e-mail list," said Blackman. "I am now looking for the membership to grow. Our goal is to increase and support the intellectual atmosphere on campus."

     The society has met several times this semester, both formally and informally, to discuss issues such as affirmative action, the Clinton scandal and whether it can be right for governments to lie to their citizens.

     The name Triskaideka is taken from the word triskaidekaphobia -- fear of the number 13, which, of course, those with the Colgate Spirit embrace instead as lucky. Still, the board is currently considering renaming the group.

Last spring, senior Michael Lanford, a timpanist in the University Orchestra as well as a talented pianist and composer, was invited by music director Marietta Cheng to compose a work for the orchestra. His Two Reflections for Orchestra, the result of a summer of intense creative endeavor, had its world premiere Family Weekend, to an enthusiastic audience. Lanford intends to continue with composition study in graduate school. [IMAGE]

Colgate on the Web
Colgate's homepage on the World Wide Web ( has undergone a complete redesign and includes new imagery and improved navigation -- and the site has a new Webmaster. Michael Evans, who joined the information technology staff in October, will guide the ongoing process of the site's development and upkeep.

     The Colgate Scene, which has been online ( since November of 1995, has also recently been refreshed, by W. Kris Arnold '98. Thanks to the immediacy of the technology, the Scene's online version is available before the paper version is mailed, usually in the first week of the month of issue, and Alumni News is typically posted a week or more before that. In addition, back issues of the Scene are archived.

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