Center for Ethics and World Societies
Thanks to an anonymous gift at the end of Campaign Colgate, the college has established a Center for Ethics and World Societies. The center, inaugurated in September, brings scholars and figures on the world stage to campus, with a focus on a topic chosen for the duration of the year, culminating in a conference involving distinguished visitors, Colgate faculty, students and alumni, and in published conference proceedings.
The topic for 1998-99 is "Disturbing History: Art out of Atrocity"; scheduled visitors include Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate and Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka, artists Alice Lok Cahana and Robert Barsamian, and president of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation Michael Berenbaum. Peter Balakian, professor of English, will serve as this year's faculty director and Ken Lewandoski, director of off-campus study, will serve as coordinator of programming.
"Like Wesleyan's Center for the Humanities or Mt. Holyoke's Center for Leadership and Public Interest Advocacy, like centers at Brown and Wellesley, Colgate's Center for Ethics and World Societies will become a forum for intensified study, a forum that supplements the curriculum, providing access to major intellectual figures and events that engage the community as a whole, as well as resources to enhance course offerings," wrote Jane Pinchin, provost and dean of the faculty, in her announcement of the center's creation.
The swans summered away from the hustle and bustle of Taylor Lake, raising their young on the tranquil waters of a marshy pond behind Tyler's Field.
Grants at work
The departments of biology and geology are abuzz with activity funded by the National Science Foundation. According to Richard April, director of the division of natural sciences, both areas have fared unusually well in the number and size of NSF grants. Fifteen grants currently being funded through the agency total more than $2 million. Many of the projects are providing research experiences for students working alongside faculty investigators.
In biology, a team of faculty from several institutions that includes associate professor Nancy Pruitt is developing a syllabus and textbook for teaching introductory biology to non-science majors and future teachers. Professors Robert Arnold and Randall Fuller received funding to equip two mobile computer labs and one dedicated computer teaching lab. The lab supports a program designed to teach statistics across the biology curriculum. In the area of DNA research, assistant professor Robert Coyne received a grant for a project that will examine and clarify the connection between chromatin structure formation and genome rearrangement. Assistant professor Barbara Hoopes' grant supports research into the regulation of a specific gene of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and assistant professor Heather McDonald received monies for investigation of the process of spindle pole body duplication in that same yeast. New faculty member, assistant professor Damhnait McHugh, holds a grant supporting research into the evolution of larval development in the marine invertebrates of the polychaete annelid orders Terebellida and Sabellida.
In geology, April submitted a successful proposal for an analytical x-ray system for research training and instruction in mineralogy, petrology, instrumental analysis and geochemistry. Amy Leventer, visiting assistant professor, is conducting work funded by three grants: one towards a multi-institutional project investigating the detailed climate history of the Antarctic Peninsula during the Holocene epoch; one for research into the late Quanaternary glacial and climatic history of the Ross Sea; and one for research on quantitative algal taxonomic work on ROAVERRS (Research on Ocean-Atmosphere Variability and Ecosystem Response in the Ross Sea), another multi-institutional project. Associate professor Constance Soja received a supplement towards her original grant funding her collaborative research on Silurian rock deposits in Alaska that would determine the paleogeographic setting of the Alexander terrane. Another new member, assistant professor Karen Harpp, has transferred two grants to Colgate. The first is for an inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer for the enhancement of interdisciplinary research and research training. The second is a Career Grant that funds research with students examining the interaction between the Galapagos Islands and a nearby chain of volcanoes known as the Galapagos Spreading Center; an integrated educational plan to help students develop essential scientific skills; outreach programs for elementary and middle school students and community groups; and the development of an environmental geochemistry course.
In addition to the NSF grants, both departments are benefiting from a major grant that underscores Colgate's commitment to interdisciplinary exploration. The W.M. Keck Foundation has awarded $675,000 for laboratory equipment and student research for the new environmental studies concentrations that include biology and geology as well as geography and economics.
Lineberry Natatorium was brightened considerably through the replacement of ceiling panels and the addition of windows behind the starting blocks.
Second annual MusicFest draws crowds
In the words of one Colgate alumnus, "Last year was great, this year was unbelievable!" Another commented, "I enjoyed every event . . . the variety, the sociability of the artists . . . it made me see Hamilton in a new way."
The second Chenango Summer MusicFest, held on campus and in the village of Hamilton, highlighted the latter part of June with an array of sunshine (not one single drop of rain), music by world-famous artists as well as local ones, and park activities. According to festival director and Professor of Music Laura Klugherz, concerts were nearly sold out, and Friday night was Standing Room Only. Village Day drew about 600 people to the park to sample the music and Summer Sweets, meet new friends and mingle with the village proprietors, residents and artists. Music from Boccherini and Schubert to klezmer and rock was the order of the day. Area restaurants generously contributed to the summer sweets sampling, which was a huge success. Saturday was also highlighted by a delightful rendition of George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man by the local off-off broadway theater troupe, The Ersatz Players.
During the entire festival, village shop windows were adorned by an art exhibition by Hamilton Central Artists, organized by local artists Denise Leone and Barbara Houze.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel made the first of his several campus appearances to deliver a lecture titled, "After Night: The Eternal Question of Suffering and Evil." The event was presented by the Murray W. and Mildred K. Finard Chair in Jewish Studies and the Center for Ethics and World Societies.
Writers conference comes of age
The third annual Chenango Valley Writers' Conference on campus June 28-July 4 proved once again to be a "transforming experience for both senior staff and participants, to a person," in the words of director Matt Leone. Thirty-five writers of fiction, poetry and nonfictional prose who enrolled from as far away as Zambia to hone their skills spent a week on campus with a diverse group of nationally and internationally respected writers for a series of readings, workshops, craft talks and consultations.
"The conference has had a great coming of age moment in the literary world," remarked Leone. He commented that fiction writer Ann Mohin, who worked on the first draft of her book The Farm She Was as a participant in the 1996 conference, has received national recognition for the book, on the 1998 Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Series.
"I would also love to encourage alumni who write to get involved in the conference as participants, readers and friends of the creative literary scene at Colgate," said Leone.
The 1998 faculty included Colgate professors and authors Frederick Busch, Peter Balakian and Leila Philip, who each gave readings from new works or works-in-progress. Poets Hayden Carruth and Tom Sleigh, short story author Lee K. Abbott, novelist, poet and nonfiction writer Kelly Cherry, novelists Reginald McKnight and Liz Rosenberg, poet and editor Gerald Costanzo and literary agent and editor Christina Ward were also on the staff.
Lally Lane, which provides parking and access between College Street and Broad Street via the student union, was opened just before first-year students arrived. The new road, made necessary by the planned construction of the art and art history building, was funded by Jack Lally '48.
Staffing changes in Public Affairs
Several recent promotions and appointments have taken place in the Public Affairs area of alumni, communications and development.
Murray L. Decock '80, director of the annual fund since 1995, was promoted to director of development. He leads the college's various fundraising initiatives with alumni, parents and friends, managing the efforts of staff and volunteers as Colgate builds on the successes of Campaign Colgate.
Formerly an associate director of capital support, Chris Haley was promoted to director of capital support, raising capital funds which include building and endowment money.
Elizabeth Edsall, also associate director of capital support, was promoted to director of corporation, foundation and government relations. She will identify and serve as contact for potential funding sources for institutional grants, lead the on-campus grants committee in developing proposal ideas, and serve as a liaison with the faculty.
Angela Chongris '98 joined the staff as assistant director of the annual fund and director of recent graduate programs. She coordinates various undergraduate programs, including the Sophomore Time Capsule Burial and Senior Class Gift, and manages the annual fund student interns as well as volunteers in graduated classes one to ten years out.
Barbara Kershaw, who received a Maroon Citation in 1996 for her treasured talents as office manager in student activities, where she has worked for 12 years, has taken the position of assistant director of development programs. She serves as liaison to the Women's Advisory Committee and coordinates the Sophomore Lunch program, Scholarship Recognition Dinner, and other special events and facets of gift stewardship.
The Class of 1936 held a late summer mini-reunion. In addition to seeing old friends and remembering how tough the professors were, the class toured the Picker Art Gallery. A good time was had by all.
The Class of 1976 pylon and Colgate seal was restored and moved to the front of James B. Colgate Hall. The Chenango Valley Alumni Club marked the occassion by planting mums. Robin Jaycox '53, Sue Lathrop '88 and Don Martin of the planned giving office set out the flowers and club members will maintain the bed.