Vol. LXX, No. 3
Bonded through Books, Part II 14
Dan Westerhof, ’04, on Life in the Peace Corps 20
Family Fun with Word Games 41
winter - spring
T he M agazine
Moving Forward President Peter Mitchell, ’67: We are educating ‘a pivotal generation’ of students.
A lbion C ollege
Open up a world of opportunities! Create an 1835 Scholarship for a deserving Albion student. Your gift of $1,835 commemorating the College’s founding year will provide a scholarship for a worthy student—and help bring an additional $1-million in scholarship support. We invite you to become a charter member of The 1835 Society today! Rich Baird, ’78, chairman of Albion’s Board of Trustees and chair of the $140-million LIBERAL ARTS AT WORK campaign, has generously provided a twophase $1-million challenge gift to encourage new and sustained membership in The 1835 Society and secure much-needed funding for annual scholarships over the next decade. Become one of the first 100 charter members during the 2005-06 fiscal year, and you will help us successfully complete the first phase of the Baird Challenge. “I could not have attended Albion College without the scholarship I received. I have created the Baird Challenge in appreciation for the lifechanging experience I had at Albion and ask you to help bring an Albion education within reach for other deserving students by joining The 1835 Society this year.” —Rich Baird, ’78 Make your gift online at: www.albion.edu/alumni/makinggift.asp
office of institutional advancement 611 e. porter st. albion, mi 49224 517/629-0242 email@example.com www.albion.edu/alumnigiving.asp
Susan Sadler is a partner in the law firm of Dawda, Mann, Mulcahy, The Lux Fiat Society ($50,000 and above) Albion College Io Triumphe! Society ($25,000-$49,999) and Sadler,The PLC, in Bloomfield Giving Societies The Trustees’ Circle ($10,000-$24,999) Hills, Mich. She is currently a The President’s member of Albion College’sAssociates Alumni ($5,000-$9,999) Purple & Gold Society ($2,500-$4,999) Association The Board of Directors. The 1835 Society ($1,835) The Briton Round Table ($1,000-$2,499) The Crest Club ($500-$999) The Shield Club ($100-$499) The Stockwell Society (Deferred gifts)
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IoTriumphe! winter-spring 2005-06
“Booking it” in Stockwell Library. For “professors’ picks” of some great reads, go to page 14.
The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of Albion College
Looking Ahead President Peter Mitchell, ’67, assesses the state of the College and Albion’s role in preparing tomorrow’s leaders.
Albion faculty talk about books they love to read . . . and share with students.
Creating a Place Where Kids Can Be Kids
Bonded through Books, Part II
Welcome to Becky Mitchell’s world.
Student creations delight the eye and challenge the mind.
Alumni Association News
Peace Corps volunteer Dan Westerhof, ’04, reflects on what he has learned by moving outside his comfort zone.
8 Cover photos by Morris Arvoy, ’90 (Robinson Hall) and David Trumpie (Peter Mitchell).
IoTriumphe! Magazine Staff Editor: Sarah Briggs Contributing Writers: Morris Arvoy, ’90, Jake Weber, Bobby Lee Class Notes Writers: Nikole Lee, Luann Shepherd Design: Susan Carol Rowe
Confessions of a ‘Helicopter Parent’ I admit it. I’m a “helicopter parent.” You may have seen the newspaper accounts describing the baby boomer parents who hover over their college-age children, providing for their every need—like the mother who flew in from Salt Lake City to protest her daughter’s biology grade at Harvard, or the parents who insisted Colgate University deal with the less than desirable plumbing their child encountered while studying in China. Suggesting just how pervasive this phenomenon is, University of Georgia professor Richard Mullendore says the cell phone has become “the world’s longest umbilical cord.” While I don’t talk with my children, now 18 and 23, several times a day by cell phone, I confess I am involved in my children’s lives more than they like and more than I should be. This tendency may be the result of our own experiences growing up as part of the baby boom generation. Our sheer numbers caused us to compete strenuously for places on sports teams and at the top of the class, for admission to the best colleges and later the best graduate and professional schools, and finally for the top jobs. As our children have come along, we have felt compelled to make the way easier for them, to clear away the obstacles that may lie in their path to success. Caring for our children’s welfare and helping them out along the way is a fundamental part of a parent’s role, of course. But we baby boomers have made this nurturing an extreme sport. In my case, I was there in
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the school principal’s office putting in my requests for specific teachers to ensure that my children would get the best education possible. I have constantly monitored deadlines for them, whether it’s for completing a homework assignment, filing a college application, or lining up a summer job. While my husband and I have worked hard to ensure that our children are independent thinkers, we still inject ourselves into their decision-making far more than our parents did in ours. “Never leave anything to chance” has become our mantra in parenting. This involvement with our children seems right to us. Isn’t this what good parenting is supposed to be, we ask? But is it healthy? Shouldn’t our children be taking more responsibility for their own lives? Shouldn’t we recognize that encountering obstacles and overcoming them is often a valuable learning experience? And shouldn’t we back off and find something else to fill our days (and our ‘need to be needed’)? After all, most of us can expect to live at least 20 years past the time our youngest child has left the nest. As baby boomers, we don’t want to accept that we are aging, much less acknowledge our own mortality. The reality is that we will not always be there to help our children along. Will they be ready, when that day comes, to cope with whatever life brings them? Sarah Briggs, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org 517/629-0244
Web Manager: Nicole Rhoads Io Triumphe! is published three times annually by the Office of Communications, Albion College, 611 E. Porter St., Albion, MI 49224. It is distributed free to alumni and friends of the College. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Office of Communications, Albion College, 611 E. Porter St., Albion, MI 49224. World Wide Web: www.albion.edu Albion College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability, as protected by law, in all educational programs and activities, admission of students, and conditions of employment. About Our Name The unusual name for this publication comes from a yell written by members of the Class of 1900. The beginning words of the yell, “Io Triumphe!,” were probably borrowed from the poems of the Roman writer, Horace. Some phrases were taken from other college yells and others from a Greek play presented on campus during the period. In 1936, the alumni of Albion College voted to name their magazine after the yell which by then had become a College tradition. For years, Albion’s incoming students have learned these lines by heart: Io Triumphe! Io Triumphe! Haben swaben rebecca le animor Whoop te whoop te sheller de-vere De-boom de ral de-i de-pa— Hooneka henaka whack a whack A-hob dob balde bora bolde bara Con slomade hob dob rah! Al-bi-on Rah!
The latest n ews arou n d campus
B r ! to n B ! t s the Rock
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Albion’s 20-person Jazz Ensemble, under director James Ball, plays monthly at Cascarelli’s in downtown Albion and appeared at the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival and at the Firefly Club in Ann Arbor at the end of February. The group’s repertoire includes music by the great bands of Ellington, Basie, Goodman, Kenton, Jones & Lewis, and Gordon Goodwin. The Music Department’s orchestra, choirs, and symphonic band will all perform their final concerts in April. For details, see the calendar on page 40.
Albion College science faculty are key beneficiaries of two significant research and equipment grants announced recently. n With major funding from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Albion biologist Jeffrey Carrier is currently teaming up with researchers at the University of Michigan on a project examining how shark sensory systems function. Much of the work will be conducted in a specialized laboratory in the College’s new Kresge Hall. The initial year of what could become a multi-year grant also provides support for Albion student researchers who will carry out targeted projects in neural systems, behavior, and neural engineering. “Our ability to conduct research of this scope,” Carrier says, “not only allows faculty
to explore new investigative areas, but also creates opportunities for Albion students to better prepare for careers in basic research.” n A CEQ8000 genetic analyzer has been added to the equipment now available on campus, thanks to a recent $100,000 grant from Beckman Coulter, Inc. Four biologists, including Sheila LyonsSobaski, Ken Saville, Molly Scheel, and Dan Skean, and mathematician Darren Mason wrote the grant proposal, and all will use the CEQ to enhance classroom teaching and lab work, as well as their own research. “We have a lot of uses for this machine, to do things we just couldn’t do before,” LyonsSobaski says. “I’m excited!” The CEQ performs a variety of functions for genetic analyses, including DNA sequencing and fragment analysis. Mason’s
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Science Faculty Land Major Grants
Biologist Jeffrey Carrier and Lindsay Rubin, ’07, check a nurse shark’s blood chemistry in Kresge Hall’s new aquatic research lab. mathematical modeling students will use information generated by biology students to conduct mathematical analyses of genetic data. “This is a great example of the vision for the science complex, that we’re all working together,” Mason says. “I like the idea of working with people outside of my field.” Winter-Spring 2005-06 | 3
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find it on the web
Haven’t been back to campus lately? Well, you can hop on the Web for a virtual tour that will show you the latest additions as well as your old favorites. And try out the “Explorations” feature on our news pages to get an ‘up close and personal’ look at scientific research activities on and off campus. These Web links and more are listed below.
Violinist Carter Headlines Symposium
• Virtual Tour www.albion.edu/tour/
In a departure from past keynote addresses at the Elkin R. Isaac Student Research Symposium, jazz violinist Regina Carter will offer a lecturedemonstration as this year’s speaker. The event, slated for Thursday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Goodrich Chapel, will inaugurate the Joseph S. Calvaruso, ’78, Lecture Series at the symposium. Calvaruso and his wife, Donna, recently endowed the spring lecture. He will also speak on Wednesday, April 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Bobbitt Auditorium. It’s not the first time Carter has broken with tradition. She gained worldwide attention in 2001 when she performed jazz standards and original works on Paganini’s famed violin (“The Cannon”) at a concert in Italy.
• Online Research Tools and Search Engines www.albion.edu/library/ • AlbionView www.albion.edu/ac_news/, click on “AlbionView” • Albion Explorations www.albion.edu/ac_news/, click on “Albion Explorations”
landmarks & legends
ALBION COLLEGE ARCHIVES PHOTO ALBION COLLEGE COMMUNICATIONS PHOTO
A favorite after-hours haunt situated off I-94 between Albion and Marshall, the 115 Truck Stop still serves legions of Albion students looking for a home-cooked meal in the wee hours of the morning. Nearly everything on the menu is made from scratch, and the meat loaf and biscuits and gravy are staples in the diet of the students (and truck drivers) who fill the eatery’s booths. General manager Janet Randall says Albion students “have a lot of fun, and they make it fun for the night-shift waitresses.” The exterior was renovated four years ago, but the interior is instantly recognizable as the dear old “115.”
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• Science Complex Updates www.albion.edu/sciencedrive
Late Nights at the ‘115’
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From Virtual Tours to Science Explorations
President Samuel Dickie Though best known today for his 20-year tenure as Albion College’s president (1901-1921), Samuel Dickie also earned considerable fame nationally as a prohibition advocate. While a professor of mathematics and astronomy at Albion from 1877 to 1888, he ran for Congress and for governor on the Prohibition Party ticket. He also chaired the National Prohibition Party presidential convention in 1884. Dickie engaged in two celebrated debates on the temperance question in 1909 with David Rose, mayor of Milwaukee, considered one of the “wettest” cities in America. On the night of the second debate, held in Chicago, the students of Albion College were called upon to defend the Dickie family as well as College property. It was the last day of operation for saloons in Albion, and townspeople stood outside the Dickie home, threatening to “burn his house and set fire to his damn College buildings.” A crowd of students, armed with clubs and canes, came to the aid of Mrs. Dickie and her young child and repelled the intruders from the campus. As an Albion professor during the 1880s, Samuel Dickie raised funds for the construction of the Observatory on the Quad. He later served as the College’s president from 1901 to 1921 and was also a leader in Prohibition Party politics.
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In recognition of his outstanding contributions in the area of servicelearning, Albion sociology professor Len Berkey is the recipient of the 2005 Michigan Campus Compact Faculty/ Staff Community Service‑Learning Award, the top statewide honor the organization bestows on faculty and staff. Berkey currently works with student mentors who are tutoring and building relationships with some of Albion’s most academically-challenged children, and he has helped the local schools address the problem of bullying and other forms of aggression among children. “Len Berkey has had a decades-long commitment to helping our students become engaged citizens,” noted President Peter Mitchell.
Longhurst Receives Posthumous Service Award in remembrance
While she was an Albion College student, the late Jessie Longhurst, ’06, devoted her energies to building stronger ties between the College and the Greater Albion community. Those efforts were honored this past summer when The President’s Volunteer Service Award was presented to her posthumously during the National Youth Summit: “Youth in Action—Making a Difference” in Washington, D.C. Abby Longhurst, a student at Albion High School, received the award on her sister’s behalf.
“Jessie was one in a million, that exceptional student whose keen intellect was matched by an extraordinary commitment to public service and civic engagement,” noted President Peter Mitchell. “Her high energy and charisma were contagious, and she inspired students, faculty, and staff to strive to improve the human condition.” Prior to her tragic death in an automobile accident in Australia last April, Longhurst had volunteered with the Albion Youth Initiative, a collaborative effort of the College and the community to assist local students in preparing for college, and she also had initiated a “Poetry Slam” anti-violence project with the city’s Recreation Department. She was the youngest facilitator of the Healing of Racism program to be trained in the United States through her involvement with nearby Starr Commonwealth. An endowed mentoring program, called Jessie’s Gift, has been created in her honor. “Jessie’s Gift will provide a structure for students to mentor younger children in our community and will be Jessie’s legacy of hope for generations of students at Albion College,” Mitchell said.
New Format a Hit!
letters to the editor
We appreciated the many letters and e-mails we received commenting on our new look for Io Triumphe!, introduced in the fall 2005 edition. Below is a sampling. More letters are available at our Web site: www.albion.edu/iotriumphe/ .
Congratulations on the new format. I thought it looked spectacular—professional and on par with other prestigious college magazines! Albion is a first-class place, and now our new alumni magazine reflects it! Laura Blyth Poplawski, ’89 I really love your new online edition. You are doing such a great job. I just spent a half hour on e-mail with my friends talking about the latest Io. Thank you! Amy Yeager Scott, ’97 What a huge improvement! This version is far more inviting to read, and in this edition alone I read more articles in one evening than I’ve read in the last four editions combined. Tim Ward, ’86
Kresge Hall and Palenske Hall Open for Classes 14
Vol. LXX, No. 2
Campus Compact Honors Berkey
Science Symposium Highlights 15
The Best of Homecoming
T he M agazine
a lbion C ollege
A frog’s life
Albion College researchers explore what amphibians can tell us about our changing environment
Letters to the editor and alumni news notes may be sent to: Io Triumphe!, Office of Communications, Albion College, 611 E. Porter St., Albion, MI 49224; or via e-mail to: email@example.com.
Correction On page 31 of the fall edition, we incorrectly identified Marjory Burden Priest, ’57, as Mary Burden Priest. We apologize for the error.
Winter-Spring 2005-06 | 5
Two Minutes with . . . Dining Services’ Mary Johnson By Morris Arvoy
Io Triumphe!: When did you start working at Albion? Johnson: I started August 28, 1979, in the Keller. I made hamburgers, fries, and shakes, until March 1980, when my job here as a checker [of student IDs] became available. Since then I have always been a checker in Lower Baldwin Dining Hall. But your accent isn’t an Albion accent. I am from a place called Dry Creek, Kentucky, but now they’ve changed the name and it’s called Topmost. My husband and I came here in early July of 1963.
As a freshman, you knew you had arrived at Albion College when Mary knew your student number. Honestly, for years I knew every student’s number on campus, and at least 80 percent of their names. If I saw them walking across campus or entering Baldwin Hall, I’d have their numbers typed in before they came in. Many of those students have remembered you, as well. I think it’s just so neat when former students come back to visit me. There have been quite a few who have come back, and I have known their numbers!
Like 1987 graduate Brent Green? Brent was a very favorite student of mine. Every day he would give me a hug. He is just very, very sweet. His mom used to come to see him, and if she couldn’t find him she would come to me and say, “Mary, are you going to be seeing Brent?” A short time ago, he brought his little daughter, and he said, “I want you to meet Mary.” And she was just looking at me, and she said, “That’s my mommy’s name!” I said, “Well, isn’t this something!” What are some of your fun memories of working here? I remember for many years we used to have the midnight breakfast during finals week, and it was special for all the students. We would come back at eight or nine, and the cooks would make a complete breakfast, and professors and staff would serve the food to the students. It was so much fun. How about the Baldwin cat who would beg for treats outside the dining hall? Oh, everyone fed the cat. At one point we were told not to feed the cat anymore. But of course the students still fed it.
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What’s next for Mary?
While she doesn’t have every student’s ID number memorized today as she did in years past, Baldwin Dining Hall checker Mary Johnson still has a friendly word for the students who pass by her desk every day.
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I’m really not ready to retire yet. Sometimes I think I should, but my son says, “You’re not ready,” and he’s right. I love my job too much. I love the students, I enjoy being with them every day, and I have a really good time.
M. ARVOY PHOTOS
Jaime Fornetti’s Winning Ways
Jaime Fornetti has helped the women’s basketball program achieve quite a legacy with the 2004 MIAA Tournament championship, a share of the 2005 MIAA regular season title, and the team’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
By Bobby Lee Sports Information Director Much like the miller’s daughter in the Brothers Grimm fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin, everything Jaime Fornetti has spun during her time at Albion has turned into gold. Fornetti’s resume is enough to make the reader’s head spin. The senior biology major boasts a sparkling 3.97 grade-point average. Aiming toward a career in medical research, she is now awaiting the results of interviews with M.D./Ph.D. programs in Texas and Colorado. Athletically, she has used her quickness to become the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2004-05 and play a key role in the women’s basketball team’s rise to the league championship and NCAA Division III Championship competition last year. Involved in community service since high school, Fornetti now recruits other athletes on the women’s basketball roster to volunteer with the Harrington Elementary School mentoring program. Last spring, she traveled to Poland with a group of Albion students and staff for the Holocaust Studies Program Service-Learning Project devoted to restoration of a Jewish cemetery in Wroclaw, and she has also carved out time this year for service
projects for hurricane victims and other families in need. Most challenging, Fornetti says, was the summer she spent as a counselor at Baycliff Health Camp north of Marquette, working with four girls with cerebral palsy, one who was deaf, and one with Asperger’s Syndrome. “It was the hardest job I’ve ever had,” she reflects, “but I can easily say that it has also been the most rewarding thing that I have ever done. Helping the children work to overcome their disabilities really put things in perspective and made me appreciate the things that I am able to do.” With such a list of accomplishments, one has to wonder if the Iron Mountain native receives some sort of bonus on the 24 hours a day the rest of us get. “It is all about making priorities and keeping focus,” Fornetti says. “I step back and ask myself ‘What do I want to do?’ and ‘What do I want to do well?’” She adds, “There are times when [my schedule] gets overwhelming. When basketball season ends I have more time, but I find things to fit into that time.” Occasionally, her packed schedule has forced her to make some tough choices. She was a member of the track and field team her first two years at Albion and found that
Habitat for Humanity projects wouldn’t fit because the Saturday meets often conflicted with the service work. Academically, morning labs for her science classes have been at a premium (only her first two biology classes had morning labs), and she has had to plan the rest around Wednesday night basketball contests. To excel at academics, athletics, and service, Fornetti issues one piece of advice: Whatever you choose, do it to the best of your ability. “My mom never let me settle for anything [but my best],” Fornetti said. “If I’m going to do something, I’m not going to do it halfway. It’s a justification for me. If I’m going to do it, then I’m going to do it well.” Head women’s basketball coach Doreen Belkowski says Jaime Fornetti “exemplifies the term scholar-athlete to me. Jaime has everything going for her. She knows what she wants. She has her priorities straight.”
Briton Sports on the Web Did you know that you can find all of the following on the Albion College sports Web site?
The “A-Club Newsletter” also
• Sports news and results
• SportsNet broadcast schedules
provides season updates for
• Schedules and rosters
• Sports archives
Briton sports fans. To get
Follow the Britons at: www.albion.edu/sports/. It’s the next best thing to being here!
your copy, send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 517/629-0900.
Winter-Spring 2005-06 | 7
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LOOKING AHEAD President Peter Mitchell, ’67, assesses the state of the College and Albion’s role in preparing tomorrow’s leaders
Io Triumphe! editor Sarah Briggs met with President Peter Mitchell recently to talk about the challenges and opportunities ahead for Albion College.
Io Triumphe!: A recent Chronicle of Higher Education survey has shown that less than half of the American public has a great deal of confidence in colleges and universities. Why is this and how do we address this lack of trust? Mitchell: As the cost of attendance at private colleges has spiraled to well over $100,000 for four years, many are questioning whether a higher education—especially an education that doesn’t seem to offer an immediate payoff—is worth this kind of investment. Education, at least as we offer it at Albion, should result in nothing less than a personal transformation for our students—sharpening their power of judgment, refining their communication skills, exposing them to many different world views, and so forth. Beyond that, we point out that students (and parents) must look at education as a lifetime investment. The real value of a liberal arts education becomes more evident as you progress up the career ladder—as you are called upon to think creatively, make more complex decisions, and demonstrate effective leadership. I do think the public has every right to expect higher education institutions to deliver on their promises of high quality. At Albion, we have adopted
the continuous improvement model from the business world to ensure that we are giving our students the best experience possible. This model helped shape our LIBERAL ARTS AT WORK Vision and still guides our decision-making. The most exciting example from the Vision, I think, has been our Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity. Between 60 and 70 students each summer conduct original research under the guidance of faculty mentors. It’s an extraordinary learning experience for the students—not to mention the advantage it gives them when they apply to graduate or professional school.
The public has
All colleges today face the challenge of providing increased resources for financial aid, academic programs, and improved facilities. How do you manage that?
every right to expect higher education institutions to deliver on their promises of high
Today, private colleges and universities, including Albion, are supplying significantly more student financial aid from their own institutional resources than they have in the past. We remain committed to ensuring an Albion education remains affordable and to recruiting a diverse student body. Both of those goals are accomplished primarily through financial aid. And we are just as committed to the merit-based scholarships we award to attract the best students. What this means is that, for the current fiscal year, approximately 35 percent of our operating expense is for financial aid.
PICTURED WITH PRESIDENT PETER MITCHELL, ’67, ARE: (CLOCKWISE FROM LOWER LEFT) KAT SUTTON, ’06, MICHAEL CULLIVER, ’08, ADAM WHITSON, ’06, RACHEL DOHERTY, ’06 (BEHIND PRESIDENT MITCHELL), BOBBIE COLE, ’07, STEFANIE BERTEE, ’07, DAVID GOODYEAR, ’07, BETHANY GOZDZIALSKI, ’06, PATRICK RYAN, ’06. D. TRUMPIE PHOTO.
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The small liberal arts college may be one last bastion of hope for a civil and constructive conversation.
We have identified ways we can streamline our operations in some areas while maintaining or enhancing our core strengths.
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Because colleges want to distinguish themselves, they are investing in faculty and programs that will bring distinction to the institution and make it more competitive. They are investing heavily—and rightfully so—in improving the educational experience. At Albion, we have added 20 faculty positions to provide expertise in new areas, as well as to serve our growing enrollment. Likewise, colleges must constantly update their facilities and add new technology—a case in point here at Albion is our $41.6-million renovation and expansion of our science complex. That is an investment of historic proportions for a college like Albion—and one that is essential to academic quality. And then there are factors like rising energy costs that are largely beyond our control. In spite of the energy conservation measures that we have instituted over the past two decades, we have seen our energy costs increase from $2.2-million in 2004-05 to a projected $3.2-million in 2005-06. These demands put intense pressure on every higher education institution today. We cannot simply pass along our increased costs in the form of higher tuition. Last fall, our trustees, faculty, and staff looked in-depth at how we might control our costs and spend more wisely—and we have now identified ways we can streamline our operations in some areas while maintaining or enhancing our core strengths. And we are stepping up our efforts to raise private funds in order to increase our endowment and provide more scholarship help for students.
As American society has become increasingly polarized, it has grown more difficult to find common ground on political, religious, and other issues. What is Albion doing to counter this trend? In many ways, the small liberal arts college may be one last bastion of hope for a civil and constructive conversation, in part because of the intimacy of the environment—faculty, staff, and students all know one another in this setting. The heart of the liberal arts tradition is the free and open exchange of ideas in an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual respect. While our students should learn to become advocates for their own strongly held convictions, we hope those beliefs evolve from careful reasoning and an exposure to and appreciation for diverse perspectives. And we hope they will continue to listen to other viewpoints and integrate new ideas over time. Albion’s success in this regard plays out in our alumni: I find our alumni tend to be more balanced, more willing to see both sides of an issue, and more eager to see if there is some common ground that can be found. Albion’s Vision, LIBERAL ARTS AT WORK, has been constantly evolving over the past eight years. How do you view our progress to date? There’s no question the Vision has had a profound and positive impact on the educational experience of our students and even the ethos of Albion College. An assessment of the Vision that we have just completed suggests the most successful elements are those that are the most student-centered. The Vision has allowed faculty to design a curriculum that really will equip our students for life in the 21st century. It has had another benefit: it has given great encouragement to faculty
THE STUDENTS WITH PRESIDENT MITCHELL ARE: (FROM LEFT) PATRICK RYAN, ’06, A.J. DANCHO, ’06, LILIANE SALIBA, ’07, LAUREN HARMON, ’09, JOE TAYLOR, ’06. D. TRUMPIE PHOTO.
who want to experiment with more interdisciplinary teaching. This focus has given us a competitive edge in recruiting new faculty. These younger faculty members see something out of the ordinary in our Vision and want to be a part of it. The essence of a great college is talented faculty and the magic that happens when they intersect with bright and interested students—and that’s Albion at its best. A national study of first-year students in 2004 found that 75 percent of them came to college looking for a higher purpose. What’s your interpretation of this finding and how is Albion responding? I’m very encouraged about the future of places like Albion. We offer the total package . . . we are attracting students who are looking to develop intellectually, socially, athletically, and spiritually. We are seeing a burgeoning spirituality among students. Our College chaplain, Dan McQuown, is building a spiritual life program that is eclectic and interactive, yet also wellgrounded intellectually. I think you’re going to see that more and more on college campuses. I also see this trend among some of our younger alumni. They are taking time off from their jobs for service to those in need here in the U.S. and in Third World countries. That’s a very encouraging sign. People of goodwill are looking for ways to bring meaning and purpose to their lives.
As you meet with Albion alumni across the country, what do you hear most frequently? They are very interested in this generation of students—they see them as being a pivotal generation. And they want to be sure today’s students are being exposed to the great writings of the past as well as creative new theories, insights, and societal trends. Our alumni want Albion to maintain academic rigor, and yet they are sensitive to a rapidly changing society and recognize that our students need to be equipped to make sense of the world around them. It is encouraging to hear of their genuine hope for Albion being a place that can educate students to function effectively and provide leadership in turbulent times.
The essence of a great college is talented faculty and the magic that happens when they intersect with bright and interested
Peter Mitchell’s Presidential Credo • Have the courage to take risks. Maintaining the status quo is never good enough. True progress comes from a willingness to enthusiastically embrace change. • Trust the people; trust the process. People of goodwill, working together and believing in one another, can accomplish great things.
students— and that’s Albion at its best.
• Put our students and their education first. This mind-set informs decisions, inspires vision, and empowers our campus community. • Treat everyone with dignity and respect. The ethical way to lead organizations, this attitude creates a climate of mutuality that frees us all to be innovative, productive, and fulfilled. • Make every decision with a view for the long‑term best interests of Albion College, not the short‑term advantage of any one person or group. Winter-Spring 2005-06 | 11
PHOTOS COURTESY OF KNS
Creating a place where kids can be kids
Welcome to Becky Mitchell’s world By Sarah Briggs The Kids ’N’ Stuff children’s museum, the brainchild of Albion College first lady Becky Mitchell, has put the city of Albion on the map for the hundreds of mid-Michigan families and school groups who have visited each year since the museum opened in 2002. They are attracted by the museum’s colorful, handson exhibits that introduce youngsters to the arts, sciences, and technology, as well as to life skills they can take with them into adulthood. Now the museum’s new John W. Porter World Village is putting Albion on the map in yet another way, Mitchell says, by showing children from the area how their hometown fits into the global community. The World Village is just that—a collection of child-size “huts” filled with items drawn from cultures around the globe. The exhibit fulfills a dream Mitchell had when she first started thinking about establishing a children’s museum in Albion six years ago. “My real purpose was to bring children together in an environment where they could learn about the world,” she says. “So many of our children aren’t able to travel outside of Albion, let alone be really conscious of the vast world around them.” The World Village gives them that exposure. Made possible by a gift from Albion College trustee John Porter, ’53, the World Village is part of a $650,000 expansion in programs and facilities that Mitchell, who chairs the museum’s board, has shepherded over the past year. Kids ’N’ Stuff has more than doubled in size with the opening this past fall of a second building next door to its original downtown location. Both buildings
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were given to the museum by local businessman Tom Feldpausch. The enlarged facilities have permitted the addition of a health and wellness area complete with anatomical models and x-ray images, a speech and language area with high-tech recording equipment, a dance studio and multipurpose room, a “messy art” space, a musical instrument room, and a classroom that will eventually be set up for after-school programs and tutoring. Among those who provided the funding for these facilities were Oaklawn Hospital, the Gerstacker Foundation, the Olson Family Foundation, and the Albion Community Foundation. Visit Kids ’N’ Stuff on a typical day and you likely will see preschoolers “buying” groceries at the museum’s store, or elementary school students on field trips testing out the flight simulator or playing at the water table. During the evening, you might find kids learning new moves in a dance class or settling in for an overnight stay with their Scout troop. Themed programs are co-sponsored throughout the year by the museum, the Albion Public Library, Albion College’s Whitehouse Nature Center and teacher education program, and other organizations. And last fall, a new series of enrichment courses in creative thinking and performance was launched for Albion first- and second-graders, part of a continuing partnership between the museum and the local schools. Many of these programs, Mitchell points out, were developed to provide experiences that simply couldn’t be offered during a regular school day. Elizabeth Schultheiss, executive director of Kids ’N’ Stuff, believes Mitchell’s vision and commitment have been responsible for the museum’s success, evidenced by the 49,000 visitors recorded to date. “Becky is the heart and soul of Kids ’N’ Stuff,” Schultheiss says. “Her passion is contagious. She’s our biggest cheerleader.” Schultheiss notes that the rapid growth in the museum’s programs would not have happened without the help of dozens of Albion College students
Becky Mitchell’s dream for a hands-on discovery center for local children led her to found Kids ’N’ Stuff, which has attracted 49,000 visitors since it opened in 2002. Mitchell is pictured in the new John W. Porter World Village.
To learn more about Kids ’N’ Stuff, visit the museum’s Web site at: www.kidsnstuff.org .
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who have served as paid staff, interns, and volunteers. Community volunteers, including many Albion College alumni who have served on the museum’s board, have also played instrumental roles. Mitchell says she’s still amazed at how far the museum has come in such a short time, especially since she came into the venture with virtually no direct fund-raising experience. “I had never written a grant in my life,” she admits. What she did have was valuable background as the director of an early childhood development center and a strongly-held conviction that she wanted to make Albion a better place to live for young families. Then, after looking at other children’s museums and identifying what could be possible in Albion, she began knocking on doors. Starting with an initial award of $50,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 2000, she and Elizabeth Schultheiss have now raised over $1-million. The impact of her efforts was brought home to Mitchell one day as she observed a group of autistic children who were visiting the museum. One of the boys had donned a lion costume and was playing the part, pawing and growling at the other students. Mitchell recalls, “Their teacher turned to me and said, ‘That is just amazing. That child has never made an attempt to communicate to the other students in the class before.’ In putting on the costume, that little boy had become a different person. . . . If we can allow children to get out of their everyday circumstances, especially those who are in circumstances that aren’t very pleasant, we will have done a wonderful thing. We will have created an environment that really allows them to be children and to explore the world in the most positive ways. That’s the most important thing we can do.”
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Life’s journey By John Kondelik Director of Libraries When I was growing up, my family lived for a time at my grandparents’ house, and my grandfather’s library served as my bedroom. I spent many hours there, poring over the pages of encyclopedias and atlases, as well as The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence, Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham, and many other volumes that attracted my youthful interest. My grandfather, a native Czech, took great pride in building his personal library and shared his love of books and reading with me. It’s not surprising, then, that as Albion’s director of libraries I remain happily surrounded by books to this day. There are certain books that I go back to time and time again. One that stands out is Michel de Montaigne’s Essays, published in the late 16th century. It was Montaigne who first wrote about the idea that it’s the journey, not the arrival, that matters. I continually return to this theme—this is what life is about. Even in
day-to-day work, it’s the journey to the goal that really makes the experience worthwhile. Montaigne lived in a time of upheaval in France, and it was difficult for scholars to be free in expressing their ideas, yet he managed to navigate through all of that turmoil. I put that in the context of our own times with the threats and uncertainties we face today, and I remind myself that it is possible to live a life of the mind in the midst of whatever turmoil is around us. As director of libraries, I have welcomed new technologies that make information accessible in a variety of forms, and I encourage students to make full use of all of these resources. However, I do not believe that books are in peril as an important means of communication. Isn’t it interesting that Google has entered into agreements with the University of Michigan library and other major libraries to scan their book collections and make them accessible to readers worldwide? Doesn’t this say something compelling about the importance of books, whether or not in print form, in human life?
Making meaning By Judith Lockyer Chair and Professor of English “You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it.” Adrienne Rich’s charge, in her 1993 book of essays on poetry, What Is Found There, makes absolute sense to me. Of course, I am an English professor and lifelong reader. I like the sentence because it’s succinct and true, passionate and mysterious. Why must we do this? I have often found books that have given me escape and hope just when I most needed it. But reading and writing as if your life depends on it suggests more. For me, reading and writing are inextricably tied to who I am and what I do. Because I teach English, I know that many people think that literature and even writing classes are either a somewhat immaterial, impressionistic matter of talking about how a book or character makes us feel or keeping those commas in the right place. For some, the discipline of English has been diminished by those profs who think it’s all about “P.C. politics” and “messages” delivered. Why are those people wrong?
One of my favorite novelists remains William Faulkner because he first challenged me to take myself seriously intellectually. I read The Sound and the Fury when I was 13 years old because my English teacher dared me to try it. After the first page I was irritated, deeply moved, and hooked. It took me at least four more readings and 10 more years before I could move away from what other people told me it was about. Learning about this book’s narrator is one of the most powerful experiences a book can give. Faulkner called this novel his tour de force because he knew that he had written a masterpiece that never stops exploring the complex links among consciousness, language, and thought. The Sound and the Fury forces us to think carefully, to read closely, and to keep our hearts and minds open and nimble. To paraphrase Emily Dickinson, it’s the transport that reading gives us—and the challenge to think for ourselves—that is its greatest gift.
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The world outside and deep within By Bille Wickre Chair and Associate Professor of Art and Art History Reading is so much more than its description suggests. Reading opens worlds. It takes us far outside of and deep within ourselves. A paradoxically solitary and companionable activity, reading connects us with others and enlivens our solitude. Each reading experience is shaped by our history as readers. For me, it is my five-year-old self sitting beside my father as “we” read the newspaper, my inky and annoying fingers grasping “my half.” It is my mother’s voice reading to me as I fall asleep. It is the clacking of my roommate’s typewriter laying her words on the page long ago when she taught me to love words and savor the depths of their phrasing. It is the text that imparts wisdom, stretches our capacity to know, understand, and feel. The delights of reading begin, for me, with the elegant physicality of the book, crisply new or warmly worn and ragged. There is joy in the well-designed page, the complexity of binding the pages both literally and metaphorically, and the feel and weightiness of the book. Often I read with a pencil poised for dialogue, marking my path into the ongoing conversation in faint gray strokes. I am especially grateful in my history as a reader to have entered the conversation with Viktor Frankl, who opened my eyes to unspeakable horror and incredible strength, T.J. Clark, who taught me new ways to understand art, Richard Dyer, who helps me make “whiteness” visible to my students, Marilynne Robinson, who reminds me of the incredible visual power of words, Suzanne Clothier, who brought me to a level of meditation on the communion of beings I had not experienced before, Kim Edwards, whose words will always echo in my mind, Griselda Pollock and Linda Nochlin, who made feminist practice real in art history, and many others who share themselves through writing and reading.
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American idyll By Catherine Grimm Assistant Professor of German Reading literature allows us to contemplate the human condition in a way that engages our intellect as well as our emotions. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, a book that I read a long time ago as a teenager in Germany, offers a window on the human condition and especially on questions of personal identity. Although I have not reread Gatsby since that time, the impressions of that first reading have stayed with me over the years. Aside from the attractiveness of both the setting and story to a young Anglo/Ameriphile such as myself, I remember being immediately drawn to and identifying with the narrator, Nick Carraway. I, like many others, responded to his empathic “voice” as a reflective, cautious, but not uncritical observer. I was also immediately attracted to Fitzgerald’s style, which seemed to be a wonderful mixture of precision and lyricism. And then there is the character of Gatsby himself, who, however much his identity turned out to be a charade, nevertheless “turned out alright at the end,” according to Carraway. I like to think that this is because the impetus that compelled him to change his identity was a uniquely American one: the desire to take charge of one’s destiny, however humble one’s beginnings. However wrongheaded this desire proved to be, it was based on an optimistic estimation of the individual’s capacity to transcend the limitations of his or her surroundings. Beyond these literary attractions another more personal one emerges in retrospect. I realize that I was intensely curious about and attracted to the country depicted on the pages of that novel, so much so that I made a resolution to get over there and find out more about it, if I ever got the chance. Little did I know then that that resolution would eventually lead me to move here permanently, and even consider becoming an American myself.
Sounds of silence
By Wesley Dick Professor of History When invited to write about a book central to my teaching at Albion College, I thought immediately of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. My teaching career began in the turbulent 1960s, a decade that stimulated creative new ways of studying history, among them environmental history. Carson’s 1962 landmark book set in motion the forces that culminated in the first Earth Day, a national teach-in on the environment held on April 22, 1970. Albion College’s first environmental history class, my contribution to the national teach-in, was offered the spring semester of 1970, and my very first environmental history students were introduced to Silent Spring. Thirty-five years later, my history students are still reading her book and learning about her contributions. Rachel Carson and Silent Spring continue to resonate with students. Her warning about an environmental crisis, reinforced by current Nobel Prize-winning scientists, remains prophetic. With passion and vision, Carson defended the right to a healthy environment. Silent Spring emphasized the interconnectedness of all life, providing a much needed counterbalance to history’s examples of human domination. Silent Spring, in fact, could be called a “Declaration of Interdependence.” It was, however, a miracle that Silent Spring was completed. During the writing of the book, Carson was diagnosed with breast cancer. Illustrating phenomenal courage and commitment, she completed and defended the book while ill and in pain. Rachel Carson died two years after the publication of Silent Spring. Silent Spring and its creation contain valuable lessons for undergraduates, one of which is that knowledge carries responsibilities. Carson used her scientific expertise and writing skills to bear witness—an example that invites her readers to bear witness to the continuing crises of the world. Today there is plenty of depressing news regarding the environment and Rachel Carson did not spare her readers in 1962, yet the story of Silent Spring ultimately is inspirational. Faced with the thorny problems of the modern world, despairing students sometimes ask: “What can one person do?” Those students can be reminded that Rachel Carson was only one person, yet “‘a few thousand words from her, and the world took a new direction.’”
Looking for a good read? Give these a try. Many thanks to the Albion College faculty who have offered these book recommendations: Mary Collar, Catherine Grimm, Andrew Grossman, Deborah Kanter, John Kondelik, Judith Lockyer, Larry Steinhauer, and Bille Wickre. Pat Barker, Double Vision Sandra Cisneros, Caramello Suzanne Clothier, Bones Would Rain from the Sky Jeremy Cohen, Sanctifying the Name of God: Jewish Martyrs and Jewish Memories of the First Crusade Samuel Cohn, The Black Death Transformed: Disease and Culture in Early Renaissance Europe Michael Cunningham, Specimen Days Don DeLillo, Underworld: A Novel Kim Edwards, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter Louise Erdrich, The Master Butchers Singing Club Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex Neil Gaiman, American Gods Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln Andrea Levy, Small Island John Lukacs, Churchill: Visionary, Statesman, Historian Howard Markel, When Germs Travel: Six Major Epidemics That Have Invaded America and the Fears They Have Unleashed Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club Stephen Mitchell (trans.), Gilgamesh Joshua Muravchik, Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism Delores Phillips, The Darkest Child Marilynne Robinson, Gilead Phillip Roth, The Plot against America Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis Carol Shields, Unless Robert Silverberg, Roma Eterna Evan Wright, Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America and the New Face of American War
Sleuthing If you’re a mystery novel aficionado, here are some writers who may be new to you, courtesy of John Kondelik, Albion’s director of libraries, his wife (and former staff member) Marlene Kondelik, and their daughter, Vicki: Carola Dunn, Carl Hiaasen, Laurie King, Rex Stout (Nero Wolfe series), Randy Wayne White (Doc Ford series), and Jacqueline Winspear.
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Kelly Parsell, ’07, “Trace” (Book Arts, 2005). Digital inkjet.
Student creations delight the eye and challenge the mind “Poetic Navigation” (Visual Poetry, 2000). Letterpress and digital inkjet. Contributors: Kenneth Dixon, ’00, Julie Esh, ’03, Anne Holcomb, ’01, Miracle Hurley, ’01, Chad Kurzawski, ’00, Jacquie Salyer, ’04, Rebecca Schnorr, ’01, Jennifer Septic, ’00, Aubrey Thornton, ’01, Adrienne Trager, ’03, Sally Trombly, ’02, Lisa Chavez (former faculty), Anne McCauley (faculty).
Brianna Caszatt, ’07, “Elegy” (Visual Poetry, 2005). Letterpress and linoleum cut.
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Sabrina Friedline, ’02, “Local Voices” from “Changing Scenery: An Artistic Library on Urban Sprawl” (Honors Thesis, 2002). Digital inkjet.
Albion students have used several printing processes, including letterpress and digital inkjet printing, and traditional bookbinding techniques to create these stunning (and sometimes provocative) works, under the tutelage of art professor Anne McCauley. McCauley says she charges the students with using these varied media to express ideas important to them. In a Visual Poetry class that McCauley team-teaches with creative writing professor Helena Mesa, the students explore the relationship between original poetry and graphic imagery, and how the structural presentation reinforces those elements. These student works will give you a new appreciation for the artistry and the impact possible in books of all kinds. More student works appear in Io Triumphe! online at: www.albion.edu/iotriumphe/ .
Laura Beyer, ’07, “Songs for a Wounded Dove” (Book Arts, 2005). Letterpress and linoleum cut.
Lacey Doucet, ’05, “River Epitaph” (Visual Poetry, 2005). Letterpress and watercolor monotype.
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New Territory Peace Corps volunteer Dan Westerhof reflects on what he has learned by moving outside his comfort zone. By Dan Westerhof, ’04 A member of the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Policy and Service while at Albion, Dan Westerhof says he considered joining either the Peace Corps or Americorps after he graduated in 2004. “My desire to explore a culture outside the United States finally won out,” he says, and he is now in his second year as a Peace Corps volunteer training residents of rural Paraguay in beekeeping. Not only does beekeeping advance local agriculture by assisting with pollination, he explains, but the honey that’s produced yields extra income for the farmers. “A liter bottle of honey can earn the same as the average laborer’s daily wage in summer,” he notes. Below are his reflections on what he has learned about Paraguayan culture—and himself—in the course of his Peace Corps service.
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No longer is “slash-and-burn” a hypothetical issue that can be read about in a book or talked about at the dinner table from afar. It is a decision affecting real people who see no other way out.
At Albion my friends and I used to entertain our-
I visited several houses to invite people to a meeting
selves with a book of “either-or” questions that forced us to make and then explain our choices—say, between a large brown mole growing on the tip of your nose or a never-ending foot fungus. Through this game, we often learned more about our fellow players; in the previous example, we learned whether they were more interested in vanity or in being comfortable. Sometimes a question probed our morals. Many times we wanted to compromise because we did not really care for either of the answers given. However, by the rules of the game we could choose only one. I thought back to those discussions a few weeks ago when my neighbor Juan asked me to help him with his field. His moral dilemma came to an either-or question: cutting down a hectare of his rainforest land to sell the wood this season followed by burning everything else in preparation for a new field the next season or letting an unexpected financial difficulty keep him from providing for his family. In short, he faced a choice between proceeding with the “slash-and-burn” of a favorite forest parcel and covering his family’s unexpected expenses. He wanted to wiggle out of his choice, because, just as in our residence hall game, he didn’t like either option. Suddenly, slash-and-burn became a much more difficult idea for me. No longer is it a hypothetical issue that can be read about in a book or talked about at the dinner table from afar. It is a decision affecting real people who see no other way out.
later in that same week. The basics of these visits are easy—walking from house to house inviting people. The details are not much harder once they are committed to memory. Clapping three times lets people know there is a person in the yard. If people are at home, I need to shake everyone’s hand and kiss the cheeks of women whom I have met before. And only after both of these may I sit down without offending the host. But the words still trouble me. I hear yes everywhere, but which is true and which is polite? As a former volunteer told me at the beginning of my service: “It is a social insult for a campesino to tell a Norte Americano that he’s not going to come to a meeting. He says yes, so the meeting is scheduled. Twentyfive people said that they would come. Two show up. And those two, they weren’t among the original 25 who said they would come.” This statement holds a lot of truth. By saying yes, a person only hurts my feelings once when he or she doesn’t come. But if he or she says no, my feelings are hurt twice (when I am told no and again when he or she doesn’t come to the meeting). Though there are subtle hints to tell a person which is the true meaning behind the words, when conversing in a language that’s not my first, the difference isn’t always clear.
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that I would know what it is After looking at a 60-hour week of on-the-go business as hard work, I find that waiting for things to happen, and watching those things happen at a pace that seems exceedingly slow, can be one of the hardest parts of living here. The other hard part is erasing my preconceived notions of the way people should work. This past week two men worked for me to pour cement for a project. I had expected the project to finish up in a day, but instead it lasted three days as every person who came by got a full description of the work. We also followed the local custom of using caña or cane alcohol as a larger part of the payment scheme than money. Though I am less than half their age, the men gave me the title patron which indicates much more than the word boss in the community—it signifies a man who provides for almost every need. I’ve also had to get used to another new position, “idol.” I never seriously thought that I would know what it is like to be a member of the Backstreet Boyz. Now I do. The life of a Peace Corps volunteer drops you right into the center of attention. The preteen and teenage girls giggle when I walk past. Every day a couple of them stand at the path to my house waiting for me to come out, then run to hide behind a bush as I walk out, pretending to be doing anything but waiting for me. These girls are just the visible tip of an iceberg, the true extent of which I will probably never know. One day a neighbor woman asked me if I was sick, and I asked her why she thought that. She told me that she had noticed that I went to the outhouse more the day before than usual. Even the private aspects of life aren’t always private as the neighbors look on.
Appearances are important here. Often the substance does not matter as much as a pretty package. This carries through in all aspects of life. It is an affront to go into town underdressed or in dirty clothes. It took me a while to realize that a shirt in the style of a soccer jersey is dressier than most polo-style shirts in my community. A few months ago, 40 days into a drought so severe that the dust would blow if a cat coughed, I rode my bike into the small town or pueblo
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like to be a member of the Backstreet Boyz. Now I do.
near my site. Knowing that I would get dirty from the dust, I wore the clothes that I had been working in. Why dirty a new set of clothes? The next day word got back to me, not just from one person—but from five different people—that I was the talk of the pueblo because of my dirty clothes and dusty appearance. Over the next week, my neighbors advised me daily of the importance of a clean appearance while visiting the pueblo. How, I wondered, can a person make the five-mile journey into town without getting dirty? The dust made that impossible until I started watching Paraguayans. Walking like a speedy American kicked up dirt getting me dirty; now I slow down and walk like a Paraguayan. Nothing is so important that I need to get there right away. Moreover, going it alone is much harder than asking a stranger with a truck for a ride. Sharing a truck bed with half a dozen other strangers leads to a much cleaner and quicker trip than trying my luck on my bike.
On cold nights, the thought crosses my mind that I need to fix the gaps in my house to stop the drafts, but then I’d miss first light shining in to wake me up—at least on the mornings that it is worth getting up. In rural Paraguay if it is raining almost nothing happens. Most vehicles can’t get out through the muddy dirt roads. The two-inch-thick clods of red mud stuck to the bottom of shoes keep people from going much farther than a few hundred meters from home so people often stay in bed until well into the day.
The past encroaches on the present in the subtle hint of the way life used to be. The We sit in front of the store on the cracks of what looks like crumbling sandstone steps. He uses the knife, just sharpened by our mother (his by the grace of God through birth and mine by the grace of Eva through Peace Corps training), to slice away the hard green skin of the sugar cane. Hacking at a portion, he slides a smooth sliver of the skin off with a hearty swing of the knife. The thicker pieces require a little flick of the wrist followed by a slight twist. He’s not in a hurry, efficiently turning the cane to reveal its inner sweetness. In front of us sits a large well-worn flatbed truck; its bed is stacked high with the afternoon’s sugar cane harvest—a pile of green cane with a few stray leaves sticking out. Most of the other leaves are sitting in cow pens by now—ready fodder attached to a cash crop. I have just finished a run, and the sticky sweat is drying in the dusk’s cool breeze. The sticky feeling is comforting, though, a reminder of energy spent for want, not need. The sky slowly turns orange and blue with hints of pink and yellow in the perfect early summer night. Lost in thought, until I hear two loud hacks of the knife, I look over and see that he has just chopped off the end, leaving only the sweet white core of the cane. He bites into the flesh and sucks the sugarladen juices. He turns his head and smiles at me over his arm to ask, “Quieres?” Do you want some? “Un poco.” A little. He hacks off a piece for me. I bite the end as my youngest brother sits down next to me. He motions for me to turn it around and bite it from the side. I savor the taste. My brother with the knife starts skinning more of the cane as I lean back resting upon the metal bars protecting the front windows of the store. As I suck on the cane, a familiar taste comes through, just a hint, but enough to bring back memories of Michigan’s late summer sweet corn.
contentedness of this moment makes that former reality seem distant but no less real, like the ocean out the rearview mirror as the mountains dominate the windshield.
The past encroaches on the present in the subtle hint of the way life used to be. The contentedness of this moment makes that former reality seem distant but no less real, like the ocean out the rearview mirror as the mountains dominate the windshield. For a few minutes, it is possible to sit and enjoy the moment. The language of the moment among three brothers is the sweet juices of sugar cane dribbling down our chins, not something expressed by words.
Dan Westerhof’s latest posting from Paraguay is available in our online edition at: www.albion.edu/ iotriumphe. Albion friends are invited to write him directly at email@example.com, but note that he is only able to check and respond to e-mail once or twice a month. He will remain in Paraguay until December 2006. We welcome comments from the many other Albion alumni who have also served as Peace Corps volunteers. Simply go to the online version of this feature story and follow the instructions for posting your comments.
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A l u m n ! A s s o c ! at ! o n N e w s
Friday, Oct. 13 Tenth Annual Briton Classic Golf Tournament Join alumni and friends of the College for a great day of competition and camaraderie on the links.
Alumni and Student Bonfire and Pep Rally Join alumni and students as they show their school spirit at Albion’s traditional pep assembly.
Saturday, Oct. 14
Briton Homecoming Bicycle Ride Biking enthusiasts are invited to participate in a bicycle ride through the countryside of Calhoun and Jackson counties. The design of the bike trails will allow riders to do as little or as much riding as they desire. (Sag and light refreshments provided.)
Golden Years Breakfast All alumni who graduated in 1956 or before are invited to this complimentary breakfast.
Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony Help us honor this year’s Athletic Hall of Fame inductees for their contributions to athletics as students or alumni.
All-Class Picnic Luncheon for Alumni, Faculty, and Students All alumni are invited to a pre-game luncheon. There will be reserved seating for reunion classes.
The Class of 1956 hopes to host a symposium during its 50th reunion at Homecoming this fall. You will be invited to join in the celebration of “Fifty Years of Liberal Arts at Work.” Please contact Jane Redner at JaneRedner@earthlink.net for more information on this event.
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Make Plans Now for Homecoming 2006!
Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony A reception and program will honor this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.
Football vs. Olivet Pre-game festivities include presentation of the Hall of Fame inductees. The halftime program will feature the Homecoming Court, the British Eighth, and the Alumni Band.
It has become a Homecoming tradition for the Student Association for Alumni to decorate the campus with purple and gold ribbons, creating a festive mood for alumni and students. S. ALLEN PHOTO
Class Reunions For classes ending in “1” or “6,” 1951-2001. Reunion information and locations will be posted on the Web as details become available: www.albion.edu/homecoming/ .
Sunday, Oct. 15 Worship Services will be held at the First United Methodist Church on Sunday morning. Homecoming Choir and Orchestra Concert The Albion College Choir, Alumni Choir, and Albion College Orchestra will present their traditional Homecoming Concert.
Homecoming 2006 will offer a great opportunity to see the latest additions to campus, including the newly expanded and renovated science complex.
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For the Fr!Dge
Y OUR A L U M N ! A SSOC ! AT ! ON
Junior Visit Day Admissions Office April 7, 2006
Li’l Sibs Weekend March 24-26, 2006
Save the Date!
1 Art: Senior Art Majors Exhibition (through May 4)
5 Music: Orchestra Concert 7 p.m. Goodrich Chapel
22 Music: Symphonic Band Concert 8 p.m. Goodrich Chapel
Theatre: Spring Dance Performance 8:30 p.m. Herrick Theatre
Theatre: Spring Dance Performance 2 p.m. Herrick Theatre Isaac Symposium: Calvaruso Lecture by Regina Carter 7:30 p.m. Goodrich Chapel 26 Music: Choir Concert 4 p.m. Goodrich Chapel
21 Music: Jazz Ensemble 9 p.m. Cascarelli’s (downtown)
3 Music: Symphonic Band Concert 8 p.m. Goodrich Chapel
24-26 Little Sibs Weekend
19-22 Theatre: Communicating Doors 8 p.m. Herrick Theatre Black Box
24 Music: Jazz Ensemble 9 p.m. Cascarelli’s (downtown)
1-4 Theatre: A Midsummer Night’s Dream 8 p.m. Herrick Theatre
1 Art: “Natural Consequences,” Lauren Eisen and Jennifred Nellis (through March 18) Bobbitt Visual Arts Center
10-19 Spring break
27 Honors Convocation 10:45 a.m. Goodrich Chapel
30 Music: Orchestra Concerto Concert 4 p.m. Goodrich Chapel
13 Commencement 10:45 a.m. Campus Quadrangle
10 End of second semester
Theatre: Spring Dance Performance 8 p.m. Herrick Theatre
26 Isaac Symposium: Isaac Lecture by Joseph Calvaruso, ’78 7:30 p.m. Bobbitt Visual Arts Center
6-10 Final examinations
7-8 Music: Opera Workshop, “Pirates of Penzance” 8 p.m. Goodrich Chapel
23 Music: Choir Concert 4 p.m. Goodrich Chapel 6-8 Theatre: Workshop Theatre
9 Music: Jazz Ensemble Concert 8 p.m. Kellogg Center
www.albion.edu/calendar/. For all Briton sports schedules, go to: www.albion.edu/sports/.
at a nominal charge. For more information on these and other campus events, please call 517/629-0445 or go to:
Albion College Events Calendar
All alumni, parents, and friends are welcome at the events listed below. Note that most are free, but some are offered
28 Music: Jazz Ensemble Concert 8 p.m. Kellogg Center
On the Importance of ‘Wearing Your Colors’ By Pamela Gee Royle, ’60 Alumni Association Board of Directors Homecoming last fall was a special treat. It was one of Albion’s glorious autumn days with the sun shining, the stands full, the rock painted purple, and the campus extraordinarily beautiful. It was an especially lovely day for me as I watched my brother-in-law Jim Royle, ’63, his wife, Tammy, ’63, and their three children, Tim, ’89, Mike, ’92, and Megan, ’95, honored with “Royle Family Day.” Over the years I’ve watched Jim and Tammy contribute in many small ways to the betterment of Albion College. They’ve sent three children to Albion, honored each of them with a memorial brick, and purchased new band uniforms. They’ve joined the Alumni Choir on several tours including one in spring 2005 to England. You can probably count on one hand the number of Homecomings they’ve missed, and you wouldn’t have enough hands to count the number of students who’ve come to Albion because of their encouragement. What they haven’t done is contribute huge amounts of money. Endowments, scholarship funds, and challenge grants are critical to the well-being of Albion College—no question about it—but there are many other ways to contribute to Albion. Jim and Tammy are such great role models. They never miss an opportunity to host an event, attend a concert, or encourage a friend to send a son or daughter to Albion. Tammy has a closet full of purple, an abundance of Albion stationery, and enough stickers with the College crest to take us into the next century. As a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with many Albion alumni. I can almost predict one phrase that will be a constant in every conversation: “Albion changed my life.” I hear it over and over. How do we repay that debt if we don’t have large sums to contribute? I suggest we look to Jim and Tammy as role models. If we would each reach out to one person and encourage them to consider Albion for their education, if we would return to campus and reconnect with what makes Albion great, if we would think about creative ways to support the College financially, we could begin to repay the debt we owe to Albion’s influence. Over the years I haven’t made much of a cash contribution to Albion. I always thought if I couldn’t send a lot I’d rather not send any. I’m rethinking that. A recent conversation with Jim Whitehouse in the Office of Institutional Advancement was an enlightening experience as he showed me a variety of ways to contribute—ways that might begin small but over time will make a huge difference. Albion changed my life. Did it change yours? If it did, I suggest you think about Jim and Tammy and then give Jim Whitehouse a call.
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Words, Words, Words!
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Family fun with reading and writing
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Make a Book about Your Child (preschool): Take a blank spiral (or bound) notebook. Put your child’s picture, name, and age on the first page. Then each day, add a few sentences or words that describe your child and read the book aloud. Your child can illustrate each page. You will find that as the book (and your child) grows, your child will want to read it again and again. The Family Chat Book (K‑6): Have a spiral notebook (with a pencil attached by a string) on the kitchen counter for recording family messages. Family members can send messages to each other (thanks, favors, jokes, apologies, pictures, thoughts, or information). As a family member passes by, he/she can respond to messages from others or add something new. It’s a great way to communicate, and children enjoy going back to see how their writing has improved over the years.
Word of the Week (Grades 1‑4): Ask your child to find one word each week that is new to him/her. Post it on the refrigerator. Set a goal (say 20) of how many times he/she remembers to use the word correctly over the week. Once he/she reaches that goal, award a prize! Word Race (Grades 3‑4): Write down several words and time your child to see how fast he/she can find them in the dictionary. Keep track of the time and see if your child can best his/her record. These family activities come courtesy of Katha Starner Heinze, ’70, principal, Horizon Elementary School, Holt, Mich.
Hunting for Great Books for Kids? For starters, we’ve provided some titles below recommended by these alumni educators: Katha Starner Heinze, ’70, Judy Case Kingsley, ’63, Nancy Graham Roush, ’72, and Peg Mitchell Turner, ’69. Kate Banks & Georg Hallensleben, And If the Moon Could Talk Jan Brett, The Umbrella Eric Carle, Mister Seahorse Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell, It’s Hard to Be Five Barbara Lehman, The Red Book Audrey Penn, A Pocket Full of Kisses Louis Sachar, Holes Carl R. Sams II & Jean Stoick, Lost in the Woods David Shannon, Alice the Fairy; No, David! Walter Wick, Can You See What I See? Mo Willems, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
And check out the series featuring: Akiko, The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, Cam Jansen, and Hank Zipper. For more help on finding just the right book for the young reader in your family, try these Web links (at right) suggested by Albion College library staff and alumni. And don’t forget the joy of reading a book aloud. There’s nothing quite like the spoken word—even for children who can already read on their own. Turn off the TV and the computer and spend some family time sharing a good book! In addition to searching these Web sites, take a look at Books to Read Aloud for Children of All Ages (2003) and The New York Times Parent’s Guide to the Best Books for Children (2000) for recommendations.
Bank Street College of Education www.bankstreet.edu/bookcom/ The Horn Book Guide www.hbook.com/booklists/ Michigan e-Library web.mel.org/index.jsp At “MeL Internet,” click on “Children & Young Adults,” and then on “Children’s Resources” or “Resources for Young Adults” to bring up many nationally respected resources that review children’s books. Guys Read us.penguingroup.com/static/packages/us/ yreaders/guysread/ Kidsreads.com www.kidsreads.com
Winter-Spring 2005-06 | 41
Downtown Attraction: Albion’s Kids ’N’ Stuff
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“Shopping” at the mini-grocery store is just one of the many attractions that bring scores of schoolchildren and families to Albion’s Kids ’N’ Stuff children’s museum each year. Kids ’N’ Stuff opened the new John W. Porter World Village last fall, in honor of the 1953 Albion College graduate and trustee. Albion College first lady Becky Mitchell has been the driving force behind the museum. (To learn more, see page 12.)
Communications Office 611 E. Porter Street Albion, MI 49224-1831 Address service requested
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Published on Dec 16, 2009