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summer 2017

THE RISE AND FALL OF PAID INTERNSHIPS • EVERY CRISIS IS A CRUCIBLE • BEHIND THE STRUGGLE TO FREE SOUTH AFRICA • ON SET AND IN THE WRITERS’ ROOM AT NETFLIX • PLAY LIKE A MAN, WIN LIKE A WOMAN • BLACK SPRING AT BENNINGTON


BENNINGTON COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES As of April 2017 Priscilla Alexander ’58 New York, NY

Alan Kornberg ’74, Chairman New York, NY

Tracy Katsky Boomer ’91 Studio City, CA

Genelle Rankin ’15 Allston, MA

Susan Paris Borden ’69 Calgary, AB, Canada

Daniel B. Rowland Lexington, KY

Suzanne Brundage ’08 Brooklyn, NY

Charlene Solow Schwartz ’54 Newtown, PA

Matthew Clarke New York, NY

James Simon ’97 Akron, OH

Barbara Ushkow Deane ’51 New York, NY

Ben Simpson ’16 St. Paul, MN

William Derrough New York, NY

Nick Stephens ’77 Bronxville, NY

Michael Hecht New York, NY

Catharine Stimpson New York, NY

John J. Kenney New York, NY

Penelope Perkins Wilson ’45 Malvern, PA

Bobbie Knable Brookline, MA

Mariko Silver Ex-officio

LEADERSHIP Mariko Silver President Paige Bartels Senior Vice President for Strategic Partnerships Zeke Bernstein Dean of Research, Planning, and Assessment Hung Bui Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Heather Faley Director of Human Resources Xenia Markowitt Dean of Students Holly McCormack Dean of Field Work Term Brian Murphy Vice President for Finance and Administration David Rees Senior Vice President for Institutional Initiatives Matt Rizzo Vice President for Institutional Advancement Isabel Roche Provost and Dean of the College

ON TH E COVE R Assembly (Lorem Ipsum), 2017 Exterior house paint, mirror, site-specific dimensions Courtesy of the artist For the opening of MASS MoCA’s Building 6, faculty member Mary Lum was commissioned to create a large-scale wall work for the bike tunnel that spans the ground floor of Building 6, piercing one of MASS MoCA’s biggest buildings to connect the Adams—North Adams—Williamstown bike trails. Lum’s monumental painting, covering four walls, is inspired by Lorem ipsum, the meaningless text that graphic designers and typesetters use as mock filler content, placeholders for actual texts, and which was originally drawn from Cicero’s writings on ethics. Lum’s intricate work vibrates between writing, image, and pattern, and speaks to the fragmented way in which we acquire information and see language in today’s world.

Andrew Schlatter Associate Vice President for Facilities Management and Planning Oceana Wilson Dean of the Library


—Kiran Desai ’93, The Inheritance of Loss


FROM THE PRESIDENT

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Work at Bennington

Bennington students across the generations have much in common, but one quality stands out. Scrappiness, resourcefulness, tenacity, determination—call it what you will. It comes from pursuing an education where nothing is predetermined and where every student forges a new path, driven by their own sense of purpose. Watching young people take on that challenge now—and hearing from alumni talk about their own trajectories, both while at Bennington and in the years since—is a lesson in how creativity and innovation is born from friction. For August de los Reyes ’95 [p. 14], Gay Johnson McDougall ’69 [p. 24], and Gail Hirschorn Evans ’63 [p. 38], grit took over in the face of the most daunting obstacles. Their accounts are extraordinary—but they are also reflective of the mindset of so many of our students, past and present. Our students and alumni have learned how to deal with the unexpected, an invaluable lesson for anyone trying to find a place for themselves in a world that is changing faster than anyone can keep up with. As an institution, we have to think about those transformations, too, and choose how to respond. Especially as we work to make a Bennington education increasingly accessible to people of all backgrounds and experiences, we must ensure what had once been a challenge to students hasn’t become an insurmountable barrier. We are never alone in our work. Nor should we be. What Bennington teaches, I hope, is that learning, making, and doing is a collective effort—one in which we all are given enough room to fail, but also what we need to succeed. That help comes in many forms: faculty advising, collaboration with peers, expert resources on and off campus, mentoring by alumni and our network of friends and supporters, and, for many, much-needed financial assistance that makes accepting a great Field Work Term opportunity—or attending college at all—possible [p. 30]. As we’ve done for the 80-plus years since our founding, we calibrate according to the world we live in now so that friction never grinds us to a halt, and so Bennington continues to be a place where students continue to surprise themselves—and enliven the rest of us—with what they can achieve.

With warm regards,

Mariko Silver President

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COVER NOTE

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No Experience Required

BENNINGTON MAGAZINE Briee Della Rocca Editor & Creative Director Carol June Jessop Graphic Designer Heather DiLeo Copyeditor / Proofreader WRITERS Michael Blanding Brian Davidson Jeva Lange ’15 Sarah McAbee ’07 PHOTOGRAPHY Grace Clark Front cover Briee Della Rocca Back cover and pages 2, 8–11, 30–37 Matthias Mann Pages 3 and 49 Photo courtesy of Gay Johnson McDougall ’69 Page 24 Keegan Ead Page 28 Olympia Shannon ’13 Page 51 CONTACT

magazine@bennington.edu Direct correspondence to: Bennington Magazine Office of Communications One College Drive Bennington, VT 05201-6003

Cummings, Hooksett, NH Printer Bennington is published twice a year in the winter and summer. Bennington magazine is the recipient of a University College Designer’s Association (UCDA) Excellence Award and a Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District I Publication Honorable Mention.

Bennington’s fingerprints are all over the walls of MASS MoCA’s new Building 6. Particularly prominent are the work of faculty member Mary Lum, whose Lorem Ipsum mural is featured on this issue’s covers and described on the inside cover, as well as the instruments of former faculty member Gunnar Schonbeck (1917–2005), pictured here and restored by Bennington students and faculty with MASS MoCA’s staff. The instruments, big and beautiful, swim in a sea of diverse sound. Gunnar Schonbeck: No Experience Required draws in viewers young and old, experienced and inexperienced—inviting them to play. On the walls there are Schonbeck quotes and one in particular seems most fitting: “Music belongs to everyone.” S U M M E R 2017 • 3


2017 SUMMER

A piece by Rainer Hunt ’13, exhibited at the Usdan Gallery as part of a young artist-in-residence pilot developed from an anonymous grant that honored faculty members Barry Bartlett and Jon Isherwood. Read more on page 49.


BRIEFS 6 BOOKSHELF Nationally reviewed literary work recently released by members of the Bennington community

12 41 BRIEFLY Judith Butler ’78 on what makes for a livable world 57 BRIEFLY “Dreaming in Foreign” by Safiya Sinclair ’10 #BENNINGTON The ongoing view of work on Instagram

SHORTS 8 ASSIGNMENT Three classes, one big assignment: unearth and exhibit the history and present day experience of black lives at Bennington

20 BEHIND THE SCENES They put words in actors’ mouths. They move scenes seamlessly. They design iconic sets. Alums at Netflix develop the shows you can’t help but binge watch— and you likely didn’t know their names or how they do what they do, until now by Sarah McAbee ’07

28 THE DIGITAL STORY Google, Harvard, PBS, and the Vermont State House on why employing Bennington interns is good for business and good for education

42 44 COME BACK Alumni come back to campus throughout the

FACULTY NOTES Updates on faculty work and achievements

year but in the last several years more alumni are returning to campus through programs the College has developed

46 CLASS NOTES Alumni at work and at home

LONG READS OUTSIDE THE CUBICLE 14 After an accident left him paralyzed at 42, August

de los Reyes ’95, head of research and design at Pinterest, gained valuable perspective that would reorient the focus of his work and challenge the paradigms of 21st century design by Brian Davidson

( PRO ) FILES 24 MacArthur “Genius” and international civil rights

leader Gay Johnson McDougall ’69 shares her story of working to help free South Africa from apartheid rule by Jeva Lange ’15

30 THE NATIONAL CONVERSATION Employers are looking for internships on students’ resumes, and more colleges than ever before are requiring them as part of an education. But with so many unpaid internships, how can these opportunities be made accessible to all students? By Michael Blanding

38 SHATTERED CEILINGS Gail Hirschorn Evans ’63 worked at the White House in the Office of the Special Counsel to the President during the Lyndon Johnson Administration and was instrumental in the creation of the President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity and the 1966 Civil Rights Act. Decades later she is challenging our biases and raising the volume on civil conversations by Jeva Lange ’15


BENNINGTON BOOKSHELF

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Recently published works by members of the Bennington community, reviewed nationally

FICTION Luke Mogelson ’05 These Heroic, Happy Dead Tim Duggan Books (April 2016)

Hannah Tennant-Moore MFA ’10 Wreck and Order Hogarth (February 2016)

Kaitlyn Greenidge, faculty member We Love You, Charlie Freeman Algonquin Books (March 2017)

“Mogelson gives a “Terrifically nuanced, auspicious empathetic …Ms. look into lives irrevocably Greenidge has charted altered by conflict.” an ambitious course for —The Nation a book that begins so mock-innocently.”

“[An] astute, restless début... The novel glows with the malaise of the Bush years.” —The New Yorker

—The New York Times

NONFICTION

POETRY

Claudia Rowe ’87 The Spider and the Fly: A Reporter, a Serial Killer, and the Meaning of Murder Dey Street Books (January 2017)

“Her book exposes and implodes ...façades.” —People

Phillip B. Williams, visiting faculty member Thief in the Interior Alice James Books (January 2016)

“[Williams] sings for the vanished, for the haunted, for the tortured, for the lost, for the place on the horizon where the little boat of the human body disappears in a wingdom of unending grace.” —The Best American Poetry

LITERARY HONORS Master of Fine Arts in Writing faculty member Amy Hempel was elected into the American Academy of Arts and Letters for literature in May.

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Amber Caron MFA ’16 won a PEN/ Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers for her story “The Handler,” which was originally published in Southwest Review.

Master of Fine Arts in Writing faculty member Kaitlyn Greenidge won a Whiting Award for her debut novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman and visiting Master of Fine Arts in Writing faculty member Phillip B. Williams won for his debut poetry collection, Thief in the Interior.


Safiya Sinclair ’10 Cannibal University of Nebraska Press (September 2016)

“Rich and mythic, heavy with the legacy of family and history, many of Safiya Sinclair’s poems are inspired by her childhood in Jamaica; a richness and density in the imagery conveys a lush beauty and danger...Follow her sparkling, detailed phrasings and lines and you will arrive drenched in human contact.” —2016 Whiting Award Selection Committee

Cannibal is the winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award, the Addison Metcalf Award in Literature, the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, and the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature (Poetry). It was also an American Library Association Notable Book of the Year and longlisted for the 2017 Dylan Thomas Prize and the 2017 PEN Open Book Award. Sinclair’s début book was named one of BuzzFeed’s Best Poetry Books of 2016, The New Yorker’s “Books We Loved in 2016,” Publishers Weekly’s “Poetry Top 10,” and Poets & Writers’ Top Ten Poetry Debut of 2016—among many other honors.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters recognized the work of poetry Master of Fine Arts in Writing faculty member Kathleen Graber and alumnus Lee Clay Johnson ’07. Graber won the Arts and Letters Award in Literature and Johnson was honored with the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction.

The Bennington Bookshelf includes work that has been published within the calendar year and that has been reviewed by national publications. To submit a book to Bookshelf, email magazine@bennington.edu with your name, class year or affiliation to the College, title of your book, and a link to a national review. You may also mail the books directly to the B Rocca: attention of Briee Della Bennington College One College Drive Bennington, Vermont 05201

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ASSIGNMENT

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Two classes, one big assignment: exhibit, catalogue, and archive black lives at Bennington in a multimedia performance exhibition in Usdan Gallery by Briee Della Rocca.

BLACK IN THE CENTER OF THE BLACK SPRING EXHIBITION in Usdan Gallery at Bennington is a Bill Dixon room that faculty member Karthik Pandian calls “a cube-like gem.” Impossible to contain in the center gem is Dixon’s legendary improv recordings and journaling. Music faculty member Michael Wimberly tells me he recorded everything. There was no starting and stopping, he would record the full improv session and listen later, in retrospect, for the gold. There is something of that approach in the way Pandian and Wimberly began the course taught this spring, given the same name as the exhibition itself, Black Spring. The collective class assignment was to develop an exhibition reflecting and documenting black lives at Bennington. The exhibition would evolve each week as students would add audio and visual pieces, as well as live performance and engagement elements staged each Tuesday in Usdan Gallery. “It’s challenging to work on an exhibition with students. We had to give them latitude but also enough structure,” Pandian explains. The act of designing the exhibition, he says, is where improvisation meets structure. “From the beginning we knew this wasn’t going to be a show where we would install, install, install and be done. It had to feel like something was alive and growing and changing.” So, Wimberly says, “We started in the space. The first minute of the first day began in Usdan Gallery. We came together to imagine what was possible and to let that moment guide us to ask open questions, not for the sake of specific answers” but as a way of looking at contemporary experiences and connecting those experiences to the past. For the first few weeks, students in Pandian’s class were split up into groups, combing the archives for relevant texts, images, and sounds. Wimberly’s students were pulling from interviews and recordings, and drawing in sound from campus in response to prompts from Wimberly like “What does Bennington sound like? What does the dining hall sound like?” among others. For the remainder of the seven-week course, the groups were refined into a video team, a team responsible

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for a performative wall installation, another team dedicated to combing through the archives, and one that would organize the public/performance dimension. And unlike traditional exhibition designs, for Black Spring sound design led the spatial configuration of the exhibition and mapped the gallery. In many ways that was a technical necessity, but, as Pandian notices, “It’s also symbolic. The Black Music Division was really out ahead of this at Bennington.” Opening in April and closing in May, the vast, multimedia show called on the past with essays written by alumni like the late George Pitts ’73, who went on to lead Vibe’s and Life’s photography departments, as well as Adele Smith; through photography and sound/scores with pieces such as “Laughing in Blackness,” which collaged Maya Angelou’s “The Mask”, and Nina Simone’s “Work Song” with legendary black comedians Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappelle. It also wove present lives at Bennington with video installations, performances, and in direct engagement with students who came to the show or recorded their experiences in sectioned-off sound booth areas in the space. These were just some of the elements included in what Pandian calls, a modest project. “When you start with huge goals, when you face gigantic questions, we had to remind ourselves we were making an exhibition. That’s what our labor was going towards, that and making sure it has a life after it’s done.” What will become of the show was the work of the second half of the course, which was split into two seven-week sections. The same group of students shifted their focus from staging and exhibiting to cataloguing, documenting, and disseminating the material and performances that emerged during the first seven weeks. In the end, though, what did Pandian and Wimberly want their students to take away from the assignment? The same thing they wanted to provoke in the viewer: the question of what’s next. “The hope is that students will become the leaders of the next questions, that they are the next ones that come to the table.” B


SPRING

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BLACK SPRING

PERFORMANCES 4/11 JAZMIN ANDERSON & ASH HAYWOOD opening reception 4/18 LULU MULALU & MICHAEL WIMBERLY 4/25 IMANI LEWIS-SHIRLEY, ANDRE JAMES & PHILLIP WILLIAMS following Theaster Gates 5/02 THE HEALING COLLECTIVE & KAMERYN CARTER 5/09 DEJA HALEY, TRISTON WALKER & JAZMIN ANDERSON

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BLACK STUDIES BLACK STUDIES: BLACK SPRING I (Spring 2017) Karthik Pandian Students who have taken Black Studies courses in the Fall 2016 term will use this course to realize an exhibition in the Usdan Gallery based on their work and research into the past, present, and future of black lives at Bennington College. While the centerpiece of the exhibition will be the collaborative video produced in Black Studies: Black Video Division course, it will be contextualized by archival materials, props, costumes, and other artifacts from the shoot. This class will collaborate with Michael Wimberly’s Black Studies: Black Music Division on sound work for the installation. BLACK STUDIES: BLACK MUSIC DIVISION (Spring 2017) Michael Wimberly Students will use this course to collaborate and realize an exhibition in the Usdan Gallery based on their work and research into the past, present, and future of black lives at Bennington College. While the centerpiece of the exhibition will be the collaborative video produced in Black Studies: Black Video Division course, it will be contextualized by archival materials and other artifacts, including sound bytes, original inspired songs, scores, and foley produced this spring term. BLACK STUDIES: BLACK SPRING II (Spring 2017) Karthik Pandian Students who have taken Black Studies courses in the Fall 2016 term will use this course to realize physical and digital documentation of their work and research into the past, present, and future of black lives at Bennington College. Participants in this practical course will archive and disseminate the work of Black Studies engaging technologies of print media, video, and web distribution.

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#BENNINGTON

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Highlights from our social media channels

THE ONGOING VIEW OF WORK If you’re looking for pastoral photos of bucolic Bennington, you won’t find them on Bennington’s institutional Instagram account (@atbennington). Instead, the College’s 1,800 followers are greeted each week with a different view of the College. For the last three years, the Bennington Instagram account has offered a revolving view of life at Bennington, as seen by weekly guest editors. Last year, we invited house chairs to share their house community. It was less an architectural tour than a culture preview. Every Field Work Term, interns take over the account and share their work. This year, we extended those lines and invited alumni to contribute their work as well. From recent grads to established professionals, this year’s @atbennington Instagram feed is putting work front and center for followers. These are just some of the scenes our editors have published. Follow us for the ongoing view. B

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S U M M E R 2017 • 13


OUTSIDE THE CUBICLE

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After an accident left him paralyzed at 42, August de los Reyes ’95, head of research and design at Pinterest, gained a valuable perspective that would reorient the focus of his work and challenge the paradigms of 21st-century design. By Brian Davidson

EVERY CRISIS I 14 • B E N N I N G T O N M A G A Z I N E


IS A CRUCIBLE O

n April 12, 2013, in a small theater in Seattle, August de los Reyes ’95, then lead designer for Xbox at Microsoft,

was presenting a lecture on “The Future of the Future of Design” as part of an ongoing speaker series for the local creative community.

He began the talk, which can still be found

on YouTube, by examining the origins of his own obsession with the future, tracing it back to an early childhood fear of the unknown. He recalled, at age eight, watching The Man Who Saw Tomorrow, a documentary on the 16th-century visionary Nostradamus, and his ominous predictions for the future. The film left him “terrified, depressed, and engulfed in helplessness,” he said. How could he prepare for these catastrophes to come?

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“I would argue that I was transformed,” de los Reyes said. “Now that I’m thinking back on it, this was one of the milestones in my life.” From that point forward, de los Reyes was captivated by anything related to the nature of time. Is time a function of order or chaos? If the former, is the order linear or cyclical? If the latter, what can prior cycles tell us about the future? Moving through his lecture, de los Reyes referenced what’s known as the Strauss-Howe Generational Theory, which posits that Anglo-American history repeats itself every 80–100 years through four distinct periods: the high time, the awakening, the unraveling, and the crisis. Currently, we are experiencing the unraveling; the crisis lies ahead.

He decided to pursue the subject in college, enrolling in the University of Minnesota’s Scandinavian Studies program—one of four such programs in the country. By the end of his second year, however, it became apparent that the program’s career track pointed straight back to academia. At around this time, de los Reyes was reading Donna Tartt ’85’s recently published debut, The Secret History, which is set at Hampden College, a fictional facsimile of Bennington, where de los Reyes had previously considered applying. He connected to one passage in particular, in which Tartt’s narrator, Richard Papen, recalls coming across an old admissions brochure he received from Hampden before ultimately deciding to apply.

“ Design is a dissatisfaction with the status quo,” he says. “It’s a willingness to make changes to our current situation in order to improve it. Design is about envisioning a preferred future, and taking steps toward realizing it.” But de los Reyes no longer felt terrified, depressed, or helpless, he told the audience. His early obsession with the future had pushed him toward the field of design, which not only plays a role in shaping the future, but also gives us the tools to adapt to it as it unfolds. “Every crisis is a crucible,” he said, the words projected on a screen behind him. He could never have predicted, 47 days later, how profoundly those words would resonate in his life.

Growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana, where his father, a doctor, held a faculty position at Louisiana State University Medical Center, de los Reyes found himself fascinated by the subject of mythology. In school, he studied Greek mythology, Hindu mythology, the Ryukyuan religion, and took a particular interest in the hammer-wielding, raven-flanked gods of Norse paganism.

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Even now I remember those pictures, like pictures in a storybook one loved as a child. Radiant meadows, mountains vaporous in the trembling distance; leaves ankle-deep on a gusty autumn road; bonfires and fog in the valleys; cellos, dark windowpanes, snow. “I knew exactly what [Tartt] was talking about,” de los Reyes said. “For me, it was that famous late 80s admissions brochure. From a graphic design standpoint, it was just a beautiful print piece—it was back when the Bennington mark was in this sort of condensed Bodoni type—and I thought ‘wow, what a fascinating school.’” Intrigued by Bennington’s progressive approach to learning, he transferred in 1994, the same year the College was chosen as one of 22 academic institutions to participate in the newly formed New Media Consortium. A joint initiative launched by Apple Computer, Adobe Systems, Macromedia, and Sony, the Consortium was designed to examine ways in which these companies’ emerging tech-


nologies might find meaningful applications across the disciplines. Bennington was the only liberal arts school included. As a charter member, Bennington was provided cutting-edge technology—Mac computers, scanners, laser printers, digital video editing equipment—to establish its New Media Center on campus. The College was then tasked with forming a working group, which de los Reyes joined, to design and execute a project that demonstrated the advantage of having such technology available. The group ultimately produced a digital admissions brochure in the form of a CD-ROM, which followed the life of four Bennington students as they went about their days. At certain points, the students would interact, and users could stop following one student and jump on board with another. “It sounds so dated now, but this notion of non-linear storytelling through interactive media was really fresh at the time, and super fascinating,” de los Reyes said. The group was invited to present the project at the 1995 Macworld Expo in Boston. De los Reyes, who had by now just graduated, joined a few other team members to represent Bennington’s work. They all left the event with job offers in hand.

On May 19, 2013, five weeks after his lecture in Seattle, de los Reyes was shifting to the side of his bed, on which he had a brand new, deceptively large comforter, and fell. He was not supposed to fall. He had, in fact—after being diagnosed years earlier with ankylosing spondylitis, an autoimmune disorder that makes the spine susceptible to breaking—taken a great deal of care to prevent such a fall. He’d put a non-slip shower mat in his bath tub. He held the handrail walking down stairs. He no longer rode his bike. There was a long list of everyday preventative measures included in the patient education packet provided by his doctor. Also listed, in the event that he did fall, were the telltale signs of a spinal injury. From a pain standpoint, de los Reyes didn’t feel like he had broken his back; but the symptoms—abdominal discomfort, tingling, lightheadedness—were there. That night, when he got out of bed to use the bathroom and saw stars, he called an Uber to take him to the hospital.

The emergency room doctors were more concerned with his abdominal symptoms than his back. Despite de los Reyes’ insistence that he might have fractured his spine, they performed a CT scan of his abdominal cavity and, not finding anything, sent him home with medicine for his discomfort. Over the next 10 days, his symptoms not resolving, he would be sent home from the emergency room two more times before the doctors finally agreed to admit him for further testing. At this point, de los Reyes had suffered what’s known as a “chance fracture” of his spine, meaning, although fractured, his spine had not yet shifted out of place. On May 29, as the medical staff transferred him onto a gurney for an MRI, de los Reyes screamed out in pain he doesn’t attempt to describe. What he can describe, and what he won’t soon forget, were the horrified expressions of the people in the room. “No one knew what was happening,” he said. “No one knew what to do.” There was the sheer pain, and then there was the sheer absence of pain—one extreme as concerning as the other. De los Reyes was quickly transferred to another hospital for emergency spinal surgery. He was paralyzed from the waist down.

At the time of his injury, de los Reyes had already left a substantial mark on 21st-century technology and design. Had his career ended then, it would have certainly been noteworthy. In the early 2000s, he helped usher Philips Design into the digital age as art director of their interactive design group in Amsterdam. He led design for the internationalization of Kodak’s website in 32 countries. He became a

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leading expert in the development of Flash-based wireless platforms, and wrote a book on designing interfaces for mobile devices using Flash. Microsoft took notice and in 2003 offered him a job at their sprawling Redmond, Washington, headquarters. Over the next 14 years, de los Reyes would hold senior design positions in virtually every major division at Microsoft. He worked on such projects as MSN, Windows, Surface, and Xbox. On the front lines of the development of Natural User Interface, or NUI (think touch screens), he’s one of a handful of designers referenced on the NUI Wikipedia page. He became an affiliate faculty member of the Design Division at the University of Washington, a position he still holds today, and has lectured around the world at institutions that include MIT, University of Toronto, University of Ljubljana, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and the University of Southern California. A common theme at the center of many of de los Reyes’ lectures is his anthropological view of design as a fundamental human drive. “Design is a dissatisfaction with the status quo,” he says. “It’s a willingness to make changes to our current situation in order to improve it. Design is about envisioning a preferred future, and taking steps toward realizing it.”

De los Reyes has little recollection of the weeks following his surgery. He was in the neuro-ICU, often medicated to the point of delusion. At one point, he thought he was conducting a photo shoot for an Argentinian grocer, and 18 • B E N N I N G T O N M A G A Z I N E

that he was being paid in a very rare honey. Some things his family tells him, other things they don’t. He spent hours every day in a full-torso cast, his body wrapped in bandages to keep his blood pressure up, being rolled back and forth to avoid bed sores. After nearly two months, he was finally transferred to a rehabilitation unit, where he spent another month preparing for day-to-day life in a wheelchair. His sister helped him find a first-floor, wheel-chair-accessible apartment, and by mid-September, he was home. The world that de los Reyes returned to, he quickly found, was not designed for him. Even things that met ADA (American Disabilities Act) standards were often thoughtlessly arranged. While a handicap parking space may indeed be the closest spot to a building’s entrance, that matters little when an abutting dumpster makes the deployment of a wheelchair ramp impossible. The frequency of unnecessary inconveniences he experienced on a day-to-day basis astonished him. And they all had one thing in common: bad design. After three more months of intensive physical, occupational, and vocational therapy at home, de los Reyes returned to work. Microsoft, in the meantime, had adapted his entire office building—doors, elevators, bathroom stalls—to make it wheelchair accessible. De los Reyes was no doubt appreciative, but still couldn’t help but wonder: Why weren’t the rest of the 120 buildings on campus like this? Why aren’t buildings designed for inclusion to begin with? De los Reyes found that the changes made to his office were, in fact, beneficial to everyone. For someone carrying a tray of coffee in one hand and a laptop case in the other,


a button that opens a door is a wonderful thing. “Designing for the majority, and then building these gracefully degrading workarounds, in my opinion, is the wrong way of going about it,” he says. “The truth is, everyone experiences disability throughout the day.” The same critique could be made of the digital world, de los Reyes realized. He wondered: What if Microsoft started designing with overlooked populations in mind—the deaf, blind, or dyslexic? How might the majority benefit as well? These questions would be central to what de los Reyes has dubbed “inclusive design.” At Microsoft, with buyin from his colleagues, inclusivity soon became a guiding design principal. Today, inclusive design projects are being developed at the company every month. Examples include a font and text wrapping system that makes reading easier for dyslexics—but also enables those without dyslexia to read faster. Another enables Bing users to map directions by visual cues and land-

On his own time, de los Reyes has been immersed in what he calls his passion project. As part of his settlement with the hospital where he was paralyzed, he’s been leading a case study to determine what broke down between members of his care team, and what measures can be instituted to prevent such missteps in the future. While it’s independent from his work with inclusive design, the underlying principle is the same: What would have

“ Designing for the majority, and then building these gracefully degrading workarounds, in my opinion, is the wrong way of going about it. The truth is, everyone experiences disability throughout the day.” marks, rather than direction and distance alone. As Kat Holmes, Microsoft’s principal design director, told Fast Company, “We’re re-framing disability as an opportunity.” De los Reyes left Microsoft in 2016 after being recruited by Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp to join the burgeoning company to lead design. Coming up on his one-year anniversary at Pinterest, he remains staunchly committed to inclusive design. One concept he’s currently overseeing is called Pinterest Lens, which enables people to use the camera in their Pinterest app to take a picture of a physical object, and find similar designs or styles in the Pinterest database without having to manually enter search terms.

improved patient safety for de los Reyes should improve patient safety for all. De los Reyes’ agenda for the future of design doesn’t end at inclusion. His vision for 21st-century design is also marked by equitability, meaning design that’s accessible to marginalized communities beyond by ability differences, and sustainability—design that reduces waste by virtue of durability. He plans to spend the remainder of his career pursuing this vision. “Something I’m really interested in at this point is thinking about what kind of legacy I can leave,” de los Reyes says. “I’ve learned so much from so many people, who I’ll never possibly be able to pay back, so my goal now is to pay it forward.” B S U M M E R 2017 • 19


BEHIND THE SCENES

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They put words in actors’ mouths. They move scenes seamlessly. They design iconic sets. Alums at Netflix develop the shows you can’t help but binge watch—and you likely didn’t know their names or how they do what they do, until now. By Sarah McAbee ’07

ON SET AND IN THE WRI NETFLIX HAS MORE MEMBERS than some countries have citizens. The DVD-by-mail turned streaming content giant now has 93.8 million members with 19 million new members added in just this year alone. It will not be long before the hybrid media company reaches 100 million members—a loyal audience built on a foundation of original programming. In 2011, Netflix made a decision to invest in developing, not just distributing, shows. That investment paid off hand over fist with record membership, viewership, and industry 20 • B E N N I N G T O N M A G A Z I N E

awards. Netflix shows have become must-see TV having never hit cable. The meteoric rise has happened in large part thanks to originals like Orange Is the New Black and Grace and Frankie. Alums James Bolenbaugh ’05 and Julieanne Smolinski ’05 share what it takes to make these shows so absolutely watchable.

ON SET

Litchfield Penitentiary’s cinder block walls are painted industrial gray and sandy yellow. The linoleum floors are scuffed and always look dirty, despite

their regular mopping by inmates. Meals are served from a short cafeteria line and eaten at rectangular stainless steel tables. Each inmate stores her personal items in a dented, rusty metal cabinet at the foot of her bed. Sunlight filters in through the roof of the prison greenhouse, down to the wooden plank floor littered with leaves and potting soil. Some of the planks are loose. There aren’t really any prisoners living in Litchfield, of course. The cell blocks, common room, visitors area and other spaces we see on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black


SOL I have to go back. I have to at least check on him. GRACE No, not you. You can’t. He won’t even let you in the door. SOL I have to do something. GRACE I’ll go make sure he’s OK. For right now, you just stay here. FRANKIE Oh! Can I just say that I’m concerned about the “stay here” part? SOL I hate to ask, but if you’re going, could you please get my wallet? I ran out without it. It’s right on the table in the foyer. GRACE Sure. SOL It’s salmon-colored raffia woven in the shape of a tortoise. GRACE I remember.

TERS’ ROOM are all sets designed in part by James Bolenbaugh ’05 and built on sound stages at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens, New York. Bolenbaugh has worked on all five seasons of OITNB, first as a set designer and then as the art director for seasons four and five. “I started on season one, before Netflix had made any shows,” he explains. “I’d tell people ‘I’m working on this women’s prison show that’s going to be on Netflix.’ The next question would be, ‘Is that porn?’” But by the time production began on the show’s second season, “all you

SOL It says “Chill Out” on it. GRACE I remember.

had to say was ‘I work on Orange Is the New Black,’” he says. The show quickly earned near-universal critical raves and the distinction of being Netflix’s most watched original series. Viewers passionate about OITNB often focus on what’s easiest to see and hear: the talented, diverse cast (including Bennington alumnus Joel Marsh Garland ’97) and the stories and dialogue. The physical world of Litchfield is so authentically and completely rendered that it can seem almost unremarkable—until you remember that it was designed and built from the

ground up by Bolenbaugh, the production designer, and more than 100 other designers and highly trained craftspeople, including carpenters, scenic artists, and set dressers. In the show’s early seasons, Bolenbaugh drafted scale drawings of sets that he describes as “lots of prison bars, cinder block, and scenery.” Despite the somewhat limited room for creative expansion—the show is set in a prison, after all— Bolenbaugh, in his own words, “grew up and matured with the show.” As art director, Bolenbaugh supS U M M E R 2017 • 21


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ports the vision of the production designer and producers by “keeping people in touch with each other, keeping people communicating, and keeping everybody organized,” he explains. One day, he may shepherd a design from the set designer to head of construction, scenic charge and the rest of the crew—“all the people who will build it and paint it and put lights in it and all that,” talk through the plans, determine the cost to build it, and where on the set it will be built. On another day, he may attend a concept meeting with the director and producers of an episode to discuss the episode’s needs, or go on a tech scout, where he walks through a location and works with the director and department heads to plan what needs to happen and communicate that information to the rest of the crew. “A big thing I love about working in film and TV is that it’s inherently collaborative,” Bolenbaugh says, but TV will always win out over film as far as he is concerned. “If you have a set in a movie, it might only be in a scene for five or ten minutes, and then it’s gone. But if you have a set in a TV show, it becomes a character. It’s something that evolves as the show goes on. You can add things to it, and you can spend a lot more time with it.”

while eating snacks in a big, stuffy room. “We’re sitting at a huge table, throwing ideas and jokes at each other and eating takeout,” she says. “On the best day, this can feel like the most fun you ever had at your high school lunch table. On longer days, or when we’re stuck, it can be like being in the longest corporate-job staff meeting of all time.” But a staff meeting where the ideas include “Sam Waterston confronts an escaped python.” A season of Grace and Frankie begins with what the writers call “Big Ideas” (somebody gets a younger boyfriend, somebody gets pregnant, somebody dies), which then

IN THE WRITERS’ ROOM “We certainly like to confuse the screen legends we write for,” says Julieanne Smolinski ’05, a writer on the Netflix series Grace and Frankie. (If you haven’t caught an episode yet, those screen legends are Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen.) Smolinski, who has written for all three seasons of the show and is currently at work on season four, describes her work as “making up fake problems for imaginary people”

get worked down to episodic ideas and then individual scenes, jokes and details. The entire group pitches jokes, and ideas, then “breaks” the episode to determine what happens in each scene. Only then is the script assigned to an individual writer, “who goes off to essentially put down in script form these extremely detailed stories we’ve come up with together as a group,” Smolinski explains. “By the time a writer goes off to script, it’s likely that the vast majority of the episode—down to individual jokes

“You don’t have to structure a comedy as rigidly as you did in 1996. You don’t even have to make a ‘comedy’ anymore. You can do something that’s a little more in-between.”


“On the best day, this can feel like the most fun you ever had at your high school lunch table. On longer days, or when we’re stuck, it can be like being in the longest corporate-job staff meeting of all time.” and the looks the characters give each other—have already been decided on by the whole room of writers.” Grace and Frankie is the kind of Netflix show that may surprise a typical subscriber. “We’re a little more of a traditional half-hour comedy and that’s cool for us,” Smolinski explains. “If anything, we nudge the envelope.” Since debuting its first original series, House of Cards, in 2013, Netflix has rapidly ramped up the production and distribution of its “Originals” and “Only on Netflix” content, releasing 126 original films and television series in 2016 alone. “They do everything from premiumcable-esque dramas to laugh-tracked sitcoms to Adam Sandler movies,” Smolinski says. Netflix shows aren’t merely distinctive because of their genre or quality, but largely because of how viewers experience them and how writers can create them. Not tied to a weekly time slot, shows are not competing head-to-head

for our attention during the same evening hours, nor do they need to meet strict specifications for running time or season length. A show is allowed to find its audience over time, and doesn’t risk cancellation over a week’s ratings. Unlike traditional television networks, which use pilot episodes to evaluate a series’ viability, Netflix tends to order complete seasons and renew shows quickly. The horrorcomedy series Santa Clarita Diet, produced by Tracy Katsky Boomer ’05, received an order for a second season just a month and a half after its series premiere. In Smolinski’s view, “streaming services certainly seem willing to take bigger risks, and have really changed the playing field in terms of format and tone—you don’t have to structure a comedy as rigidly as you did in 1996. You don’t even have to make a ‘comedy’ anymore. You can do something that’s a little more inbetween.” B

SEE THE WORK OF BENNINGTON ALUMS IN THESE NETFLIX ORIGINALS: Melissa Rosenberg ’86 | Executive producer, Jessica Jones Shawn Paper ’90 | Editor, Santa Clarita Diet Tracy Katsky Boomer ’91 | Producer, Santa Clarita Diet Julieanne Smolinski ’05 | Writer, Grace and Frankie James Bolenbaugh ’05 | Art Director, Orange Is the New Black, Love Joel Marsh Garland ’97 | Actor, Orange Is the New Black

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( PRO ) FILES

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International civil rights lawyer Gay Johnson McDougall ’69 and the story behind what it took to free South Africa from apartheid rule. By Jeva Lange ’15


BEHIND THE STRUGGLE TO FREE SOUTH AFRICA To dance the toyi-toyi you need to lift your legs high. You rock your body back and forth, as if you’re jogging in place to create a beat with your fellow dancers’ bodies, a pulse with your synchronized movements. And when your leader calls out “Amandla!” or “power,” you complete it with “Awethu!”—“to us.”

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“It’s sort of a dance and a jump,” Gay Johnson McDougall ’69 recalled of doing the toyi-toyi with the leaders of South Africa’s anti-apartheid liberation movement. “I was never able to master it. But it was the dance of activism that they’d do, and it was powerful.” McDougall’s work is as powerful as the country’s protest dance. Early in her career she did what few thought was possible: mount a legal strategy and defense to help free South Africa from apartheid rule. If a picture speaks a thousand words, the famed shot of Mandela casting his

of her undergraduate education. Although, the integration only went so far. McDougall still remembers her meeting with the college’s president before moving in when she was told she’d be given her own room rather than be assigned the customary roommate, because the school couldn’t spring that on a white girl. “You understand,” he said. She transferred to Bennington two years later, pursuing studies that would help her fulfill her dream of becoming a civil rights lawyer. Though, by the time she graduated the “air sort of went out of the move-

ballot in the country’s first free election may speak to how central she was in the fight for freedom: she was right beside him. Despite living and working across continents, McDougall’s early encounters with activism were not so unlike the stories of South African activists. As a child growing up in Georgia during the waning days of Jim Crow, McDougall was surrounded by homegrown resistance to American segregation. Her sister was active in the sit-ins in North Carolina. One of McDougall’s aunts worked for the YWCA, which attempted to unite white and black women across the South. McDougall’s great-grandfather was an influential AME minister and a presiding elder. And McDougall integrated Agnes Scott College, where she spent the first two years

ment.” It was an opening for McDougall and others with activists’ fire still in them to take up work through the Black Power movement to support African activists and their struggle for liberation. Working for a national association of black activist lawyers McDougall was focused on linking the South African liberation movement to the civil rights movement in the U.S. In London, where she moved to continue her studies in international human rights, she quickly connected with the South African liberation movement’s arm headquartered there. “I was getting deeper into the fold,” McDougall laughs. In 1980 McDougall moved back to Washington, D.C. to head the Southern Africa Project. “A lot was happening,” McDougall recalled.

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“The first couple of months after I moved to Washington when I would speak about apartheid, nobody knew what I was talking about, nobody cared. By the end of that year, the townships were being burned, people were rioting in the streets of South Africa. Everybody cared.” It didn’t take long for McDougall to go from being “a voice in the dark” to a voice of the movement and preeminent authority on South Africa. Her authority wasn’t just a legal authority, she was also becoming a fundraising force. She raised millions of dollars for the cause from donors throughout the world. The trouble was finding a way to smuggle those dollars into South Africa. “I tried to get into the country for years,” McDougall explained. Despite years of trying, she was repeatedly denied visas to visit and she was never given a specific explanation as to why, but it was clear: her work was causing a lot of trouble for the white government. So her first visit to South Africa was one she made illegally in the mid-1980s when she crossed the Botswanan border in the trunk of a car. On another trip, McDougall wanted to test if she could travel to Namibia on a Namibian visa, as the country was in the very early stages of being liberated from South Africa. But McDougall’s plane from Zimbabwe had to pass through Johannesburg, where the trip to Namibia was treated as a domestic transfer. “It was like flying from Georgia to Alabama,” McDougall explains. When her plane landed at the airport, a policeman escorted her to the Namibia departure gate. But, the plane to Namibia wasn’t scheduled to depart until the next morning. “I had to stay in the airport all night, and the policeman said he had


been instructed to stay overnight with me the entire time,” McDougall says. “The next morning he said, ‘You know, they told me that I should not leave you until you are strapped into the seat.’ Then he looked at me and asked, ‘Lady, what have you done?’” R aising money, designing defenses from afar, where it was legal and safer, had certain strategic advantages but in struggles that call on such personal sacrifice and connections, being removed from her friends in South Africa was trying. “When people would get out of jail in South Africa and they would have a party, I was not there. When things went wrong…I was not there.” It was particularly difficult when the African National Congress decided to use the defense strategy McDougall developed. A defense that had members go before the judge and testify that they were, in fact, prisoners of war and did not recognize the jurisdiction of the courts in South Africa. “Well, those first cases, the judge said, ‘Well okay, take them straight to jail.’ They executed them immediately. That was harder than missing the parties,” McDougall recalls. In 1990, she was finally granted a visit visa to the country whose freedom she had long fought for. When she arrived, she found her name and work were well known to those in government and those on the ground. When McDougall presented her passport to the South African immigration officer he exclaimed, “You’re Ms. McDougall? Your file is gigantic!” It was not long before the American lawyer with the gigantic file would be appointed to the Independent Electoral Commission, an international body of 16 members— McDougall the only American among them—designed to ensure that the first all-race election in South Africa was free and fair. It was a monumental call that required she move to South Africa during the year leading up to the historic event. “We decided everything about the election. How it

The first couple of months after I moved to Washington when I would speak about apartheid, nobody knew what I was talking about, nobody cared. By the end of that year, the townships were being burned, people were rioting in the streets of South Africa. Everybody cared. would be conducted, where the polling stations would be, training people to be poll officers—the whole thing.” Even with a year to prepare an election of such magnitude, nothing was taken for granted. She worked feverishly, around the clock putting out fires, including getting ballots to key townships where they were missing. In the famous photograph, where McDougall is pictured beside Mandela, she laughs out loud describing herself. “I’m comatose,” McDougall revealed. After the election, McDougall returned to the U.S. with mixed emotions. It was in those first uncertain weeks that McDougall went with a friend to the house of the poet Maya Angelou, where she confessed, “I’ve already had the most incredible thing happen to me in my life.” Angelou looked her in the eye. “Baby,” she said. “Don’t you dare say that. Because you never know what is coming down those lines.” Angelou was right. Working to free South Africa from apartheid was only the start of what McDougall would contribute to advancing human rights around the world. She would

be recognized by the MacArthur Foundation in 1999, honored with the prestigious “Genius” grant. She would become an independent expert for the United Nations’ International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and the first independent expert for the United Nations on Minority Issues. McDougall would become the executive director of Global Rights, Partners for Justice and work throughout the world, advocating and setting legal standards for the prosecution of systematic rape and sexual slavery during armed conflicts, and for equal opportunities in more countries that she can count off hand. It is harrowing, unimaginable work. But, she told Law Crossing, “I can’t imagine that I could have had a more exciting and satisfying career. This has taken me right to the frontlines of a lot of human dramas. I’ve learned that there is a lot of suffering in the world, but right there is where you find all of the people who have an amazing wherewithal to overcome suffering, so you walk away with a net gain, in terms of inspiration and hope.” B S U M M E R 2017 • 27


DIGITAL STORIES

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On the value of a Bennington intern, as told by the people who hire them

We asked Field Work Term supervisors from Google, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, PBS, and at the Vermont Statehouse to describe their Bennington interns. The report was glowing. Check out these video story online at www.bennington.edu/magazine.

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THE NATIONAL CONVERSATION

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More and more employers are looking for internships on students’ resumes, and more and more colleges are requiring them as part of an education. But with so many internships unpaid, can students afford to do them? By Michael Blanding

the rise and fall of the paid internship


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t may have taken several decades for colleges throughout the country to embrace the value of internship experience as an integrated part of a good education, but Bennington has known the importance of hands-on, in-field experiences from the moment it was founded. In a College with few strict requirements, one stands out and has since the beginning: every Bennington student, every year, must pursue jobs and internships during the College’s Field Work Term (formerly Non-Resident Term). While this requirement has remained unchanged for the last 80 years at Bennington, economic complexities and employer support have changed dramatically. Today it is widely understood that post-graduation success in large part hinges on a graduate’s work experience, but getting that experience is no longer as straightforward as it used to be when the majority of internships were paid. A growing number of students, institutions, and employers are grappling with how to offer internship opportunities without the same economic norms and support that once defined internship compensation models. As schools across the country are catching up to what it takes to design a meaningful internship program, Bennington is focused on developing funding mechanisms that will help level the playing field for students unable to pursue more relevant, unpaid opportunities on the rise in the U.S. It is estimated that between one and two million interns are working each year. Of those, however, only about half are estimated to be paid, and in the non-profit, arts, and government sectors—which students at liberal arts colleges tend to pursue—those numbers are usually considerably smaller. According to Bennington’s Dean of Field Work Term Holly McCormack, there has been a dramatic decline in the number of internships that are both paid and directly align with the educational pursuits of Bennington students. By 1994, 50 percent of Bennington internships were paid. In 2004, that percentage had shrunk to 30 percent, and in 2014 only 10 percent of Bennington interns were paid.

“ According to a 2012 survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media’s Marketplace, employers ranked internships as the number one attribute they looked for when hiring college graduates— beating out college major and GPA.” “Every year Bennington ensures there are paid internships available in the College’s database, but fewer internships offer compensation, even if they are essential to a student’s education,” McCormack explains. “Students with financial need must weigh opportunity and education costs against the actual cost of living.” S U M M E R 2017 • 31


LEARNING ON THE JOB

For Ron Anahaw ’19, getting an internship with PEN America, a literary organization that champions free expression around the world, seemed like a perfect fit. With a Plan that concentrates his studies in literature and drama at Bennington, he was inspired by PEN America’s emphasis on supporting marginalized voices in literature. While in New York this past January and February, he began work with the dedicated team at PEN contributing to their fundraising efforts from working on donation processing to philanthropy communications. “I was learning what it takes to keep a non-profit afloat,” he says. At the same time, however, he was challenged to keep himself afloat—a reality he knew he’d confront when he chose to go to New york City for the internship. While Bennington provided a grant to help cover his rent and PEN gave him monthly Metrocards for transportation, his money did not go far enough. “I’d never had to think about food so much. Like, ‘I have three chicken breasts in the fridge, is that enough to get me through the week?’” His dilemma reflects challenges faced by students all around the country who are working unpaid internships. It is especially felt by students who choose to intern in cities where the cost of living has skyrocketed. Those same locations are often where the most desirable internships and jobs tend to be situated. For stu-

dents like Anahaw, it’s a difficult choice. “It’s an amazing way to build your resume, but at the same time I know some friends of mine who would not be able to survive,” Anahaw says. Internships as we know them are a relatively recent phenomenon. Bennington’s Field Work Term started at the time of the College’s founding in 1932, making it one of the oldest student internship programs in the country. Structured internships at other institutions only started to emerge more regularly by the late 1970s and early 1980s. Some universities, such as Northeastern, Drexel, and the University of Cincinnati, have long established co-op programs in which long periods of full-time work are part of the educational experience. Others have shorter programs that generally run part-time during the school year or summer. And not all internship programs were created to be a fully integrated element of a student’s education. While many business schools and others brought internship programs online in an effort to help boost their graduate’s resume, McCormack explains, “Bennington’s internship program comes from a pedagogical impulse: How do we broaden and deepen students’ learning?” That impulse not only changes the nature of the way Bennington structures the program, but it also places a greater responsibility on the institution to level the opportunities she says. “Students get out of the classroom and

“ At a time when the demographics of college students is changing—with more first-generation students and students from economically challenged backgrounds—colleges across the country are struggling to figure out how they can offer meaningful work experiences to students, while at the same time ensuring those opportunities are being equally afforded to all students.” 32 • B E N N I N G T O N M A G A Z I N E


into the field so they can test out the concepts they are learning in class and return with a much more nuanced perspective. For many, the most critical thing they may learn is not only what they like to do, but also what they don’t like doing. That is just as important.” Ideally, exploration and testing align with developing a deep set of skills and networks, but often students need a leg up during FWT. That leg up, for many, comes from family. Webb Crawford ’18 came to Bennington to study music composition, but the Brooklyn native was mindful of the fact that she might need a more practical skill to lean on after graduation so she spent her first Field Work Term in Brooklyn (where she could live at home) working with two women who build and restore stringed instruments. “Composition is not really a money maker,” she says. “As a guitarist, I was drawn to working on guitars. I thought I could better understand the instrument and have a job I could pursue coming out of school.” For students taking on unpaid internships, there is often a delicate balancing act between pursuing their passions and managing practicalities. Crawford’s instrument-building workshop in Brooklyn was unpaid. “If I

didn’t have family in New York, it would have been totally unaffordable for me,” she says. “If your family is well connected and wealthy you can find incredible opportunities and fund yourself to go to Copenhagen—but if you are not the kind of kid who comes from wealth or can live at home for free, it’s a problem.” Many students need to hold in balance similar questions when pursuing an internship: will they be paid, will there be public or other transportation available, how much will it cost to live near or at an internship location? What many may not realize is that having to consider these factors may have an impact on one's educational possibilities and post-graduation job outlook.

THE EQUALITY IMPERATIVE

According to a 2012 survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media’s Marketplace, employers ranked internships as the number one attribute they looked for when hiring college graduates— beating out college major and GPA. In keeping with that fact, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) student survey last year found students who completed internships were more likely to receive job S U M M E R 2017 • 33


offers and higher salaries than those who didn’t. And when it comes to hiring, there is a difference between paid and unpaid internships. Students working in paid internships are 15 percent more likely than those interning for free to secure a job after they graduate. What’s more, those working in paid internships are also more likely to have a greater starting salary—they will earn on average $10,000 more than their peers who worked unpaid internships. And yet a smaller survey of college students by NACE found that while unpaid internships correlated with lower salaries, compared to paid internships, students participating in them reported better outcomes in “confirming or rejecting career interests” and “setting and attaining career goals.” In addition, the same survey found paid internships were more significant in skills development, but unpaid internships were more significant in increasing academic understanding. “There is absolutely value in unpaid internships,” says NACE spokesperson Mimi Collins. “It’s just not necessarily in terms of employment.” Given that value, colleges and education observers have begun to worry that students from disadvantaged

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backgrounds may lose out on the opportunity to take internships if they are unpaid. Over the past 20 years, college demographics have changed dramatically, with an explosion of first-generation college students and students more likely to come from challenged financial circumstances. “If internships are primarily going to students who don’t need financial aid or who aren’t students of color or the first in their family to go to college, then it only creates a further bifurcation between the haves and have-nots in education,” says Lumina Foundation President Jamie Merisotis.

HOW WE GOT HERE: AN OFF-CAMPUS VIEW OF THE NEW NORMAL

Unpaid internships increased after the economy crashed in 2008, when budgets for both for-profit and non-profit companies tightened. However, the rate of unpaid internships has only risen slightly despite the economic recovery seen over the last eight years. “The norms have changed,” Ross Eisenbrey, vice president at The Economic Policy Institute explains. “Thirty years ago an unpaid internship was rare. Now in fashion, film, tele-


vision, and radio, it’s hard to find a paid internship.” In an attempt to stem that tide, the Department of Labor issued guidelines in 2010 spelling out six criteria for-profit employers of a certain size must meet to offer an unpaid internship legally—including, that it be primarily educational, benefit the intern rather than the employer, and not displace any regular employees. Starting in 2013, students and recent graduates began bringing class-action lawsuits against major employers, they said violated those guidelines, including Condé Nast, Harper’s Bazaar, Gawker Media, NBC Universal, and Fox Searchlight pictures. Condé Nast settled for $5.8 million (between $700 and $1,900 for each intern), and NBC Universal for $6.4 million. The Fox Searchlight case went to U.S. District Court, which ruled that it was violating labor standards and that interns were entitled to back pay. The company appealed the decision, however, which was overturned by the 2nd District Court of Appeals. That court rejected the sixpoint test in favor of a simpler test—whether the intern benefitted more than the employer. “It was really a proemployer holding,” says David Yamada, a professor and founding director of the New Workplace Institute at Suffolk University Law School. The response by many for-profit employers to the litigation has been to either end internships or convert them into paid opportunities. “When Condé Nast was sued for back pay, the first thing they did was close down

internship opportunities that are exempt from the Department of Labor guidelines, only 42 percent of government internships and 33 percent of non-profit internships are paid. Some employers pay interns on principle. The Maria Mitchell Association, a non-profit science institution on Nantucket Island, employs 20 interns during the summer to run science programs for kids as well as its aquarium and open house nights at its observatory. Not only does the Association provide housing on Nantucket (which can run $30,000 for a six-person apartment for the summer), but it also grants a stipend of $3,000 per student for living expenses. “Without the interns, we would not be able to open these buildings and operate in the summer,” says Executive Director Dave Gagnon. “They provide mentorship to

“ If internships are primarily going to students who don’t need financial aid or who aren’t students of color or the first in their family to go to college, then it only creates a further bifurcation between the haves and have-nots in education.” what had been a very prestigious unpaid internship program,” says Yamada. “Very soon they announced a paid fellowship program. They didn’t want to miss out on bright students.” As a result of the lawsuit and guidelines, the number of paid internships offered by for-profit employers has increased over the past several years. However, of the

young people and education for our visitors. It only makes sense to take some of our income from that and pay the folks who make it possible.” On the other hand, the organization is not able to pay students who come for Field Work Term to do astronomy research in January and February, when the non-profit isn’t bringing in revenue. “We hope in the future that we S U M M E R 2017 • 35


can find some grant money to pay for these in-between students,” says Gagnon. Given that the greatest number of Bennington students tend to focus on the humanities and the arts means the College has a higher percentage of unpaid internships than most schools. “It’s simply not feasible for many of those organizations to pay, even if they wanted to,” says McCormack. Small non-profits like PEN America rely on interns as an essential part of their work but are also limited by the funding available to them. “Interns are here every day doing research on free expression developments around the world and sharing them with our hundreds of mem-

former interns that we now see working at Penguin, Random House, or Google.” For employers who aren’t able to offer compensation, McCormack works with them to see if there are other benefits they can provide—such as housing, or lunches, or reimbursement for expenses, and works with her team to also start conversations with students early about what kind of resources they can bring to bear, helping students leverage their networks to find housing with friends and family. “For students who are less resourced, we ask how we can help level the playing field and use the Bennington alumni and parent network,” McCormack explains.

ENDOWING EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES

In order to make unpaid internships more viable, many colleges have begun raising money for stipends. Gifts to support Bennington’s Field Work Term have increased in the last year, but the College still has a ways to go in order to meet students’ needs. Last year, Bennington awarded $67,750 in Field Work Term grants to 126 students—five times the amount the College awarded five years ago. However, students requested $215,443, leaving a significant gap between what the College was able to provide and what students actually need. “It is becoming absolutely apparent that we have got to go out and raise an endow-

“ Last year, Bennington awarded $67,750 in Field Work Term grants to 126 students— five times the amount the College awarded five years ago. However, students requested $215,443, leaving a significant gap between what the College was able to provide and students’ needs.” bers to make sure the issue stays at the forefront of their minds,” says Communications Director Sarah Edkins. But, she says, “as a non-profit organization, we simply don’t have the resources to pay interns.” Edkins says some of the ways PEN compensates its interns is by trying to give them work that they feel contributes in a substantial way to the organization—and is an entrée to the New York literary world. “What they get here are really excellent references,” she says. “We have 36 • B E N N I N G T O N M A G A Z I N E

ment for our Field Work Term,” says McCormack. “The education and postgraduate benefits of Field Work Term are clear, but what has also become clear is that most employers are not paying students for internships any longer at a time when they’re more important than ever. If we are serious about our commitment to students we must do everything we can to equalize the opportunities and experiences so essential to a Bennington education,” President Mariko Silver explains.


But making that case with alumni who participated in wholly different economic and job landscapes can be challenging for institutions like Bennington. Although alumni understand the importance of FWT, they also understand it in a totally different context. Bennington’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement Matt Rizzo says the FWT program is a fundraising priority for the College, as evidenced by the high volume of student grant applications and the relatively small amount of financial resources that are currently available. “Field Work Term is one of the distinguishing features of the Bennington education—and one of the most innovative internship programs in the country. It requires students to research and secure positions that are of interest to them and appropriately fit their Plan, as well as solving logistical details. The process itself is a tremendous learning experience for our students. We ask a lot of them, and because of these requirements students should never be in a position to turn down their top choice because of financial constraints. A significant portion of FWT grants are funded by private philanthropy from Bennington alumni and parents, and there is a great opportunity to enhance the program so that no student ever has to pass on a FWT that best fits their academic Plan. Cash-strapped organizations are also doing their part. At the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Visual Art Coordinator Kristan Kennedy stretches her

curator’s budget to provide lunches and travel to students when they are on the job. For her last Bennington intern, she added a bigger perk—opening up her own home to her intern. “I got the sense that the intern wouldn’t be able to come at all because of the struggle to find housing,” she says. “I said, I have this if she wants to take it and go out on a limb.” Kennedy is still in touch with all of her past Bennington interns, who have “become like family,” she says. “It’s not just about unpacking boxes and hanging things on the wall. A lot of times we say we are curating people. With a small organization of nine people, interns attend the same meeting as the executive director and curators and are assigned to specific projects, researching them, visiting artist sites, and helping build the exhibition.” she says. “Suddenly, they are face to face with the kinds of artists they are learning about or may want to become and [because] they are treated as equals, they rise to the occasion pretty quickly.” Whether an internship is paid or unpaid, says McCormack, she reminds employers one of the most important things to do is find a balance between the routine work that keeps an organization running, and projects that allow students to grow. “It’s fine to have an element of the stereotypical copying and making coffee—everyone has got to pay their dues,” says McCormack. “But students need to be engaged in doing meaningful work that advances the work of the organization, even if in a small way.” B S U M M E R 2017 • 37


SHATTERED CEILINGS

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Gail Hirschorn Evans ’63 worked at the White House in the Office of the Special Counsel to the President during the Lyndon Johnson Administration and was instrumental in the creation of the President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity and the 1965 Civil Rights Act. Decades later she is still challenging our biases. By Jeva Lange ’15

FROM CIVIL RIGHTS TO CIVIL CONVERSATIONS “HERE IS YOUR RESULT.” The words are written in black, bolded letters across the top of my computer screen. The next line says: “Your data suggests a strong automatic association for ‘male’ with ‘science’ and ‘female’ with ‘liberal arts.’” The sinking feeling in my chest is as immediate and crushing as if I have received an F on an algebra test. Sexist? Me? As a West-Coast-raised, Women’s March-protesting feminist, I am shaken to my core. Where did I start internalizing this? And even more distressing, when? I took the Harvard Implicit Association Test at the direction of Gail Hirschorn Evans ’63, who has spent nearly a lifetime trying to understand just this. As she tells me on the phone, “People who consider themselves great liberals say things like, ‘I don’t see race. I see the person.’ That’s BS. It’s just not true. ‘I don’t see gender in my hiring, I see the quality of the person and their accomplishments.’ That’s not true.” After having spent decades working in male-dominated

industries, Evans knows what she is talking about. Evans began at CNN in 1980 and by the time she retired in 2001, she was the executive vice president of the entire newsgroup. In 2000, she used her experience in the business world to publish a bestseller titled Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman: What Men Know About Success That Women Need to Learn, which lays out in conversational terms how women can tweak their thinking in order to make it to the top. As Evans notes, “At the end of my career, after I wrote Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman, I was giving a speech one day and I said, ‘Oh, isn’t that interesting? My career has actually been circular.’ I never even thought about it.” That circle begins back when Evans was in fourth grade, when she read a biography of Clare Boothe Luce, the first woman to be appointed to a major ambassadorial post. “I read this book and was like, ‘Oh, look, a woman could do that!’” Evans recalled. “I think it sort of inspired me. Now, I never understood when I was young, she was daughter of Henry Luce, who was the publisher of Time Inc. But to me, it was just that she was a woman.” Luce sparked Evans’ passion for politics, and all the debate and ruckus that comes with it. “My mother always used to scream at me, ‘Just remember, it took Republican money to make you a parlor pink!’” said Evans, laughing. By the time she was in college, Evans was interning for a woman at the Asia Society in New York, who eventu-

“There were always either personality

disasters or legal disasters or political

disasters, and you just had to figure out the best way to handle it.”

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ally connected her with a man named William Fitts Ryan. Ryan, as it turned out, was planning to run for the House of Representatives. He won, and Evans worked for him during every Field Work Term and summer that followed until graduation. Then she moved to Washington. It was the early 1960s, and America was roiling in the civil rights conflict. After working on the staffs of two other Congressmen, though, Evans began to get restless—and ambitious. “Anytime I went to any parties or did anything in Washington, I would say, ‘If anybody knows anybody who’s looking for somebody at the White House, I’m game and available.’” That is how Evans eventually landed in the Office of the Special Counsel to the President during the Johnson administration. Evans took to it—she loved the challenge and didn’t mind the long hours that came with the job, either. “There were always either personality disasters or legal disasters or political disasters, and you just had to figure out the best way to handle it,” she says with surprising enthusiasm. Most of her work at the time centered on research for the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity. She describes an atmosphere where, while it was predominantly men talking about the legislation in the congressional chambers, it was ambitious young women who fueled the research behind their landmark bills. “There’s a lot of hard work and a lot of research that goes into creating those kinds of things,” Evans said. “Then there’s the glory part at the end, where the president and everybody puts it together and sells it. But to get there, with the right language, with the right verb tenses, to make sure it will politically hold up—that takes a lot of staff time.” So whenever a question would come up—was this the right language? Was there a historical precedent for that?—Evans or

one of her three or four colleagues in the office would rush off to find out. A lot of Evans’ energy went toward getting the business community on board with the equal opportunity legislation: “Part of what you did was help identify who are the business leaders who need to be talked to, how do they need to be talked to, what are their interests, where are the sweet spots with all of them,” Evans says. “Literally—and I was a young nobody, you would do anything from plan the party to do the research about the people who were coming, and then if one of the waiters didn’t show up, you’d pass the drinks.” But while the legislation would include the protection of women in its language, at the time it was much more centered on minorities. “I don’t even remember much discussion about women,” Evans admits. “I actually think I was probably very naïve. I believed if you were smart and you worked hard and you knew what you were doing and you understood politics, then opportunities for women were not going to be that different than for men. It was not until I got deep into my career that I realized the higher I went, how few other women there were.” In fact, Evans believes that in the decades since the landmark civil rights legislation was signed, the discrimination against women and minorities has become increasingly subtle. Soon enough, she says, Americans forgot how to talk about issues of race and gender altogether—or perhaps they never really understood how. “When women talk about gender [today], men feel attacked,” Evans says. “When black people try to talk about race, white people feel attacked, or they feel guilty. We never sit down and ask each other questions: How do you feel, why do you feel that way, why was that your reaction?” Today, when Evans teaches on the topic at Georgia Tech,

S U M M E R 2017 • 39


“We want to say, ‘When I’m hiring, gender and race doesn’t make any difference to me, I don’t even see it. All I see are the qualifications on the paper.’ It’s not true. And it doesn’t mean the person is bad, it just means the person somehow doesn’t understand.”

she makes her students anonymously write down questions they wish they could ask a member of another race, and then she reads them all out loud to the class. She says that the exercise is not about how shocking the white students’ questions are, “it’s how shocking everybody’s questions are.” How come they can say the n-word and I can’t? How come white people say ‘hello, how are you?’ and don’t actually want to know the answer? Why are Asians such bad drivers? How come white people wear shorts and flip-flops when it’s 30 degrees out? “The total absurdity of the questions shows you how little we understand about each other,” Evans says. “And how we’re not willing to venture out because we can’t ask those questions.” Evans’ point isn’t that anyone is “bad” for wondering these

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things, just as she isn’t trying to shame me when she suggests I take the Harvard Implicit Association Test. But while Evans’ early days in government may have been spent protecting against the glaring biases of Jim Crow and the open discrimination against women in male-dominated industries, in the 21st century she has focused on a subtler foe. The antidote? We need to notice other individuals in their entirety, rather than shy away from what could feel “wrong” to acknowledge that we see. “We want to say, ‘When I’m hiring, gender and race doesn’t make any difference to me, I don’t even see it. All I see are the qualifications on the paper,’” Evans said. “It’s not true. And it doesn’t mean the person is bad, it just means the person somehow doesn’t understand. I actually want people to be really aware of a woman,” Evans said. “And most black people and most Asian people and most Hispanic people want you to be aware: That’s who I am. That’s a good thing. That’s not something you deny.” B


“What makes for a livable world is no idle question. It is not merely a question for philosophers. It is posed in various idioms all the time by people in various walks of life. If that makes them all philosophers, then that is a conclusion I am happy to embrace. It becomes a question for ethics, I think, not only when we ask the personal question, what makes my own life bearable? But when we ask, from a position of power, and from the point of view of distributive justice, what makes, or ought to make, the lives of others bearable? Somewhere in the answer we find ourselves not only committed to a certain view of what life is, and what it should be, but also of what constitutes the human, the distinctively human life, and what does not.” — JUDITH BUTLER ’78

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FACULTY NOTES

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Our faculty at work in the world

faculty notes In November, Public Seminar, an online forum hosted by the New School for Social Research, posted an opinion piece by David Anderegg called “From a Despised Elitist.” The forum promotes work that confronts “the pressing issues of the day and fundamental problems of the human condition.” In the article, Anderegg discusses the liberal-conservative divide from a psychological perspective. Josh Blackwell ’95 had a solo show at Museum of Arts and Design in New York City this winter. The show, Neveruses Report Progress, is based on “interventions into and upon the form of the plastic bag—a globally ubiquitous symbol of capitalist waste.” Blackwell also moderated a panel discussion at the Institute of Fine Arts in New York City. Cultural Anthropology published a collection of essays co-edited by David Bond in November. The collection featured work from leading anthropologists offering provocative reflections on Trump culture and popular misconceptions of class and race today. Kitty Brazelton is part of a group of American women (four composers and a librettist) whose song cycle Fierce Grace—Jeannette Rankin was 42 • B E N N I N G T O N M A G A Z I N E

performed at the Library of Congress in April. Brazelton is also working on a production titled The Art of Memory.

African Repertory including Blood Knot and A Human Being Died That Night at Mosaic Theater in Washington, D.C.

In December The Jerusalem Post published “Letter to America: Time to Nurture Democracy,” an opinion piece by Michael Cohen about Trump and the future of democracy.

Ella Ben Hagai was elected as a visiting scholar at the Center for Right Wing Studies (CRWS) at University of California, Berkeley.

Thorsten Dennerline showed A Cloud in Trousers, written by Vladimir Mayakovsky and translated by Michael Dumanis, at the Editions/Artists’ Books Fair in November. Marguerite Feitlowitz spoke as part of the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) on a panel about the gender divide in translation. In March, the online literary journal Catapult published Feitlowitz’s Spanish-to-English translation of “Phone Call from Hell,” a story by Luisa Valenzuela. Feitlowitz has also completed the translation of As One Would Chisel Diamond by Liliane Atlan. Michael Giannitti designed lighting for Tom Stoppard’s play The Hard Problem at the Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., Arsenic and Old Lace at Portland Stage Company, the dance piece The Ubiquitous Mass of Us All at Middlebury College, and the South

In November CounterPunch published “The Working Class, Reconsidered,” a piece by John Hultgren. Jon Isherwood’s work was featured in MESH, a show at Gallery Oldham in Oldham, UK, in March. Kirk Jackson was awarded a Creation Grant from the Vermont Community Foundation to develop and direct The Tarnation of Russell Colvin, written and performed by his partner Oliver Wadsworth. Based on a real-life unsolved murder in Manchester, Vermont, circa 1820, the show premiered at Dorset Theatre Festival in June. In conjunction with Curtains Without Borders, a Vermont-based not-forprofit that restores historic 19th century scenery, the show will travel to several town halls in the region. In February, Jackson directed The Book Club Play by Karen Zacarias at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, New York. The cast included


staff members Megan Demarest and Wade Simpson, as well as Morgan Morse ’18. Sam Levit ’18 served as Dramaturg / Assistant Director. Jackson partnered with Kerry Ryer-Parke in staging a collaboration with the Bennington County Choral Society that saw 17 students join the chorus of Mozart’s Idomeneo. Dina Janis, Artistic Director of the Dorset Theatre Festival, received an award from the State of Vermont in honor of the Festival’s 40th Anniversary, as well as for their New Play Development and Giving Back programs. Mary Lum was commissioned to create a large-scale wall work for the bike tunnel that traverses the ground floor of Building 6, piercing one of MASS MoCA’s biggest buildings to connect the Adams–North Adams–Williamstown bike trails. Lum’s monumental painting, covering four walls, utilizes Lorem ipsum, the text that graphic designers and typesetters use as placeholder text, in which Lum buried words and concepts related to the First Amendment rights that underlie the political dramas of the day. Art History published “A Psalm for King James: Rubens’s Peace Embracing Plenty and the Virtues of Female Affection at Whitehall,” by Vanessa Lyon. The London School of Economics’ political science blog featured a review of Mirka Prazak’s Making the Mark this winter. Robert Ransick participated in the Letters from Home project, in which residents of Queens, one of the most ethnically diverse places on Earth and the borough where Trump spent his formative years, sent postcards to then president-elect Trump. The project was organized by The Center for Artistic

Josh Blackwell ’95 had a solo show at Museum of Arts and Design in New York City this winter. The show, Neveruses Report Progress, is based on “interventions into and upon the form of the plastic bag—a globally ubiquitous symbol of capitalist waste.”

Activism with the help of the Queens Museum. It was covered in Hyperallergic in December. Sue Rees traveled to India this winter to continue her research, based at the Kattaikkuttu Sangam, through her Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Research Award. In April, an animation she created was included in the Tamil Film Festival in Norway. Rees also provided projections for the show Down on Griffin Alley by Jean Randich and Connie Winston and designed props and sets for the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival Educational Tour performance of Romeo and Juliet, directed by Tom Ridley. MFA in Writing faculty member Lynne Sharon Schwartz’s third poetry collection and 25th book, No Way Out But Through, published by the Univer-

sity of Pittsburg Press Poetry Series was released in February. Phillip B. Williams and Safiya Sinclair ’10 were included in an article in Poets&Writers titled, “The Shadows of Words: Our Twelfth Annual Look at Début Poets.” Kerry Woods coauthored a forum paper, “Combining Biodiversity Resurveys across Regions to Advance Global Change Research,” published in the journal Bioscience. The paper is a product of the recently formed consortium ForestREplot whose mission is to foster and facilitate integrative/synthetic research exploiting existing long-term vegetation studies to better understand the effects of environmental change. B S U M M E R 2017 • 43


COME BACK

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Alumni come back to campus throughout the year but in the last several years more alumni are returning to campus through programs the College has developed. These are some of the avenues alumni have used to come back.

LIFE IN AFTERLAB CLASS CONTACT FIELD WORK TERM FWT@BENNINGTON.EDU

CONTACT COORDINATING FACULTY MEMBERS

LIFE AFTER BENNINGTON (LAB) events, offered throughout the academic year, bring together current students, alumni, and families to explore what it means to expose/present work to the world. Here are the panel discussions, talks, and presentations alumni have presented this year as part of LAB’s programming.

Eve Sussman ’84 and Brooke Davis Anderson ’84 were invited to campus to speak as part of the College’s VISUAL ARTS LECTURE SERIES. The series features lectures by visiting arts professionals: artists, curators, historians, and critics that showcase the diversity of contemporary art practices.

Creating a Life in Drama and Theater—Jonathan Marc Sherman ’90, Paul Cello ’92, and Max Wolkowitz ’09

The CARRIAGE BARN CONCERT SERIES invites talented, innovative, and classically trained musicians to perform their work in the Deane Carriage Barn. Sarah Tenney ’71 and Kit Young ’76 performed this spring as part of the series.

Ways to Make Music Work—Nathaniel Reichman ’98 and Sam Clement ’08 Emerging Scientists at Work—Genelle Rankin ’15, Naima Starkloff ’15 Careers in Nonprofit Management—Carol Oldham ’93 Careers in Economics—Nejem Raheem ’94

POETRY AT BENNINGTON invited three alums to campus to read their work and speak with students: Mary Ruefle ’74, James Allen Hall MFA ’00, and Safiya Sinclair ’10.

Consulting in Technology—Shymala Dason ’82 Environmental Studies as a Career—Ben Underwood ’13

Gennelle Rankin ’15 returned to campus in October as part of the College’s SCIENCE WORKSHOP.

Interviewing for Programmers—Klemente Gilbert-Espada ’14 Professional Possibilities in Psychology— Adam Fisher ’79, Adam Feed ’08, and Amanda Sullivan ’09 Writing for Film—Gloria Norris ’76 The Working LIfe of an Artist—Mary Early ’97 and Nicole Czapinski ’06 Making Words Work: Tips from the Publishing World— Jill Eisenstadt ’85

Megan Marshall ’75 taught The Queering of Elizabeth Bishop: A Master Class on Literary Biography in April and also gave a talk. In March, Joel Marsh Garland ’97 read the play Down on Griffin Alley to students studying Drama and the Advancement of Public Action. In February, Cori Olinghouse ’01 and Melinda Ring MFA ’01 participated in a weeklong dance residency, Moving with and as Objects. Jaamil Olawale Kosoko ’05 came back to CAPA to give a talk titled, “Black Male Fugitivity in the Wake of Loss” in May. Lizzie Curran ’10—Returned for an Evening with Master Book Conservators

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WRITING REUNION FELLOWS VAPA40

In the fall, the College welcomed alumni to campus for the ALL-CLASS REUNION. The following alumni presented work, lectures, or readings during the weekend. Grace Wapner ’55—Sit Still with a Presence

Bennington’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing program developed a fellowship to bring back promising undergraduate and graduate alumni writers. BENNINGTON FELLOWS give a reading, develop a class, and gain teaching experience by working with an MFA faculty member.

Laurence Hyman ’64, Alex Brown ’74, James Allen Hall MFA ’00, and Chelsea Hodson MFA ’17—The Once and Future Bennington Review: Reborn at 50 Babette Allina ’81—STEAM: Arts and Innovation in the 21st Century SJ Chiro ’87, Debra Eisenstadt ’91, Maria Rosenblum ’91, and Brian Katz ’92—The Work and Process of the Independent Filmmaker Today Bill Scully ’94—Tour of the Vermont Tissue Hydroelectric Redevelopment Josh Blackwell ’95, Alex Huberty ’95, and Daniel Roberts MFA ’14— Runaways: Experimental Performance

JANUARY FELLOWS

John Umphlett MFA ’99—Inflatable Space Bryn Mooser ’01—Virtual and Augmented Reality and The Brave New World Cori Olinghouse ’01, Nicole Pope Daunic ’03, Katie Marie Martin ’04, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko ’05, Zornitsa Stoyanova ’06, Marie Blocker Haas ’10, Joseph Poulson MFA ’11, and Emily Climer ’12—Alumni Dance Work and Group Improvisation TIFFANY BRIERE MFA ’11

Odili Donald Odita MFA ’90, Lauren Seiden ’03, and Devin O’Brien Power ’05—VBS (violent burning sunset), Artist Talk

ANAIS DUPLAN ’14

Bruna Dantas Lobato ’15, Katie Foster ’15, and Tommy Melvin ’16— Bennington Translates, faculty session

JUNE FELLOWS

Nico Dregni ’16—42.921331, -73.241638 Diane Cameron Pascone MFA ’99—We're the Jam in the Sandwich: Caregiving for Any Age Ian Dolton-Thornton ’11—The VAPA Reader: Creating a publication from the archives and reflections Maia Friedman ’09—Uni Ika Ai

SAFIYA SINCLAIR ’10

MORGAN JERKINS MFA ’16

LIBBY FLORES MFA ’14

CONTACT THE MASTER IN FINE ARTS IN WRITING PROGRAM WRITING@BENNINGTON.EDU

The Paths to the Entrepreneurial Life—Riva Magaril Poor ’56, David Zicarelli ’83, Brendon Blake ’92, Blaine Graboyes ’95, and Adnan Iftekhar ’97 Architecture Pecha Kutcha—Annie Coggan-Crawford ’85, Kent Hikida ’85, Garrick Jones ’94, Josie Lawlor ’04, Viktorija Abolina ’05, Lawson Wulsin ’05, Sandra (Hanny) Ahern ’06, Jacob Perkins ’07, Kyle Schroeder ’09, Evie Garf ’11, Bobby DeLanghe ’13, and Chendru Starkloff ’13 THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF VAPA brought back several alumni residents throughout the fall season: Sally Dean ’99, Ariel Herwtiz ’05, Georgia Lassner ’09, Floryn Honnet ’13, Rainer Hunt ’13, Kaya Lovestrand ’14, Finn Murphy ’14, and Emma Villavecchia ’14.

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CLASS NOTES

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(News, work, and updates from Bennington alumni

40s

Cecily Henderson Pennoyer ’49 began her company Pennoyer & Newman in 1989 and it became her lifelong business. The company makes distinctive garden pots, fountains, and garden statuary— products frequently featured in Elle Decor, Martha Stewart Living, and Garden Design. Cecily now lives on a beautiful farm in Essex, MA, surrounded by her family.

50s

Joan Hutton Landis ’51 has published her second book of poems, A Little Glide, through Pen Stroke Press in Rochester, Vermont. Her time at Bennington in the late forties and early fifties is a major presence in the work.

SI grandchildren and, she reports, all but one attended her 80th birthday. Bourne Morris ’58 published her third mystery, The Red Queen Rules, through Henery Press. The book is about campus violence and freedom of speech. She is now at work on a new novel about neuroscience.

Uncle Julio, a play by Sidra Rausch ’59, was read in January. It was chosen to be part of the summer festival produced by Washington Women in Theatre in Washington, D.C.

60s

Meryl Green ’61 says she is still grateful for her Bennington experience, which continues to inform her weekly improvisation group. She invites anyone in the Westchester/ Southern Connecticut area to join. Margot Fass ’62 has published her first children’s book, Froggy Family’s First Frolic, complete with 16 of her painted illustrations. In February, her mixed media and collage work was shown at Gallery Q. She is writing her second book and continuing her private practice in psychiatry.

Elizabeth Lester ’55 is looking for Reva Brown ’55, cofounder of their sandwich coop!

Louise Reichlin ’63 received a WORD artist grant through the Bruce Geller Memorial Prize, a program of the American University’s Institute for Jewish Creativity. Her company, Louise Reichlin & Dancers/Los Angeles Choreographers and Dancers, also received a California Arts Council grant.

Catherine Parrish Fort Warner ’57, now divorced, loves living on Cape Cod with three families nearby. She has five children and ten

Vermont Public Radio aired an essay by Liz Blum ’64 in March reflecting on the history of the women’s rights movement in Vermont.

“Life begins at 89!,” Anne Adams ’54 reports after moving from the city of Lancaster to the suburbs of Lancaster, PA, where she recently exhibited seven art pieces.

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In February, The Huffington Post published an article highlighting the work and achievements of historically “overlooked or undervalued” black female artists, which included Maren Hassinger ’69.

70s

Deborah Borda ’71 was appointed as the new president and CEO of the New York Philharmonic following 17 years of leadership at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The New York Times praised the move, calling Borda “one of the most successful arts administrators in the nation.” Ann Goldstein ’71 and Christopher Johnstone ’71 recently met up in Auckland, New Zealand, where Ann appeared twice at a writer’s festival. Last March David Appel ’72 premiered Little Dances in Uncertain Times in Brooklyn, NY. He has also worked with Simone Forti, City Dance Theater of Boston as part of several dance/music collaborative and improvisation groups.


FORTIESFIFTIES IXTIESSEVENTIES RECENT RELEASES (Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry released recently)

Stephen Page ’08 published his book, A Ranch Bordering the Salty River, through Fishing Line Press. Red Dirt Press will release the memoir, Going to Wings, by Sandra Worsham MFA ’06 this summer. The University of California Press published The Prison School by Lizbet Simmons ’93 in November. Dirt, the fourth novel by Denise Gosliner Orenstein ’72, will be published in July by Scholastic. Barbara Kent Lawrence ’65 has published her eighth book, The Other Island: Ben’s Story. It is available online. Mary Kelley ’65 self-published her book The Weeping Angel: Letters and Poems from WWI France. Thinking with the Dancing Brain: Embodying Neuroscience by Rima Gitlin Faber ’65 was recently published by Rowman and Littlefield. Margot Fass ’62 has published her first children’s book, Froggy Family’s First Frolic. Bourne Morris ’58 published her third mystery, The Red Queen Rules, through Henery Press. Joan Hutton Landis ’51 has published her second book of poems, A Little Glide, through Pen Stroke Press in Rochester, Vermont.

Ferris Cook ’72 has finished her third collaboration with Iraqi translator, Sahar Ahmed. She has illustrated Ahmed’s Arabic editions of 100 Love Sonnets and The Heights of Machu Picchu by Pablo Neruda. Their newest project, The Sea and the Bells by Pablo Neruda, was published in March.

lished by NBC News and The Seattle Weekly, also inspired attorney general probes and a consumer boycott.

A series of 10 exposés on thrift stores, reported by Francesca Lyman ’72, won the national Arlene Eisenberg Award. She also won a Best of the West award for business reporting, and first place honors from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting. The investigative reports, pub-

Lisa Tucker ’73 welcomes emails from Bennington friends at DorseyTucker@gmail.com. She writes, “I’m enjoying life in the western hills of Massachusetts.”

Dirt, the fourth novel by Denise Gosliner Orenstein ’72, will be published in July by Scholastic.

Kit Young ’76 returned to campus in March to discuss and perform her work. In 2003 Young founded the music school Gitameit with Burmese colleagues, located in Myanmar. Dur-

ing her visit she was particularly inspired by a recent music library exhibition in Jennings, curated by music librarian Susan Reiss ’79. She writes, “Susan has created a remarkable oasis for musical encounters: hot tea, restored archives, a robust collection of scores and books with special attention to the music of past and present faculty, great audio equipment featuring a turntable for out-of-print vinyl records, comfortable sofas for conversation and a dedicated small room, ‘The Sanctuary’ is open 24/7 for students or faculty who need a quiet space.” Laurie Moss ’79 made a Bingham House gift to honor her roommate Marian C. Johnson ’79.

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CLASS NOTES

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(News, work, and updates from Bennington alumni

Peter Schuerch ’79 recently received his architecture license from the state of Connecticut. When he’s not playing violin in the Fairfield County Symphony or chamber music with his friends, he and his wife run an architecture and design business, while their two sons pursue higher education.

Barbara (Babs) Owen ’86 had work shown at the Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport, RI. “The Variable Line: Master drawings from Renaissance to Contemporary” included Owen’s X-Acto knife “drawings” that present the line as a physical form.

80s 90s Jill Goldman-Callahan ’83 is living in Concord, Massachusetts, teaching painting, printmaking, photography, and yoga.

In November Roxanne Steinberg ’83, P ’15, P ’20 performed at the Hammer Museum with her husband in Caddy! Caddy! Caddy!, a William Faulkner dance project created for their dance company, Lightning Shadow. Founder/Publisher of Red Dirt Press, LLC, Amy Susan Wilson ’83 wrote that they will be releasing the memoir Going to Wings by Sandra Worsham MFA ’06 this summer.

Kent Hikida ’85 joined top Manhattan interior architectural design firm The Switzer Group as a principal last spring. He also teaches construction management at Pratt Institute and interior design at Parsons School of Design. He lives in Manhattan with his wife Amy Schweitzer Hikida ’85 and their daughter Maddie. 48 • B E N N I N G T O N M A G A Z I N E

Caitlin Hotaling ’90 is the children’s program coordinator at her local library and a farmer at Popcorn Farm. She writes, “I’m doing the Berkshire Shuffle with so many jobs, but I love it here.” Margaret Seidenberg-Ellis ’90 exhibited her ceramic work in the Strictly Functional Pottery National; the Chestertown River Arts: Juried Painting, Sculpture, and Contemporary Craft Show; and at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia, PA. Visit www.msepots.com to view her work.

In December, Lizbet Simmons ’93 published her book, The Prison School, through the University of California Press. The book speaks about the criminalization of young black males inside public schools, within the context of mass incarceration. Last year Ben Mack ’94 donated an original Kurt Vonnegut silk screen to the College’s permanent art collection. In July, Ben will eat fire and perform magic in a “Poetry Cabaret” for the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C.

Nejem Raheem ’94 received the 2017 Huret Award for Research, which will support his work with scientists from the United States

Geological Survey, the Nature Conservancy, and the Wildlife Conservation Society to examine the effects of long term drought on human communities. “My Long, Unfinished Path to Becoming an American Citizen,” written by Mohammed Ali ’95, was published in the The New Yorker in March. Original woodcut prints by Nick Wroblewski ’96 illustrate the children’s book, Wake Up, Island, written by Mary Casanova and put out by University of Minnesota Press. The SEABA Center group exhibition, In the Details, featured the artwork of Carleen Zimbalatti ’98. In March, Entrepreneur interviewed Victoria Cairl ’99 about spearheading a start-up and “finding profit in passion.”

00s

Alice Van Ness ’00 moved to Boonville, CA last fall to teach math. She writes, “Say hello on Facebook or email me at alice.e.vanness@ gmail.com if you want to reconnect!” Rick Little ’01 has completed his training in the Himalayan foothills of Northern India and now teaches Vedic meditation. The Miami University’s Global Field Program brought Putnam Valley, NY resident Allison Hague ’04 to study the landscapes of Western


IGHTIESNINETIES THOUSANDS

Ariel Herwitz ’06, Floryn Honnet ’13, Rainer Hunt ’13, and Georgia Lassner ’09 were the inaugural class of a new residency for young alumni artists. Funded by a grant from an anonymous donor made in honor of faculty members Barry Bartlett and Jon Isherwood, the program invites recent sculpture and ceramics graduates to live and work on campus for two- to four-week stints. The alumni residents created new work in temporary studios set up in Usdan Gallery. That work was exhibited from November 28 through December 9 last year. The honored faculty members said the program was a success and hope to develop a second residency for 2017–18, depending on funding opportunities. For the full story, interviews with the alumni artists, and a gallery of their work, visit bennington. edu/news-and-features/young-alumni-artists-residence.

Cristian Petru Panaite ’05 covered 300 years of tattoo history in the exhibition “Tattooed New York,”curated for The New-York Historical Society in February.

living in Georgia, the prize includes a 2018 solo exhibition at the Hudgens Center for the Arts in Duluth.

Cosmo Whyte ’05 is one of four finalists for the $50,000 Hudgens Prize. Given biannually to an artist

After a decade living in New York City, James Bentley ’06 has relocated to Los Angeles and is working in the Storyboard department on Disney’s The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau.

Ghats as part of her graduate studies. Allison is also an event coordinator at the Bronx Zoo.

Simone Duff ’06 participated as a collaborator for the show Virtually There, performed at the Mana Contemporary in Jersey City. As part of the costume design team, she collected raw materials throughout New York City and spent months making five costumes. The show was covered in Vogue and Wallpaper. Former faculty member Danny Michaelson attended the opening. Mother Earth News featured Jonathan Leiss ’06, MAT ’07 and his wife Megan as “Homesteaders of the Year” in December. Growing for Market magazine included their farm in an

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CLASS NOTES

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(News, work, and updates from Bennington alumni

TENSMFAS article about no-till farming techniques, and they were also featured on a podcast. Jonathan writes, “The most important thing is that we finished and moved into our house, which we were working on since 2014.” Stephen Page ’08 published his book, A Ranch Bordering the Salty River, through Fishing Line Press.

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Margot Connolly ’12 is completing her second year at the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop where she’s studying to receive her MFA in Playwriting. She’s had two productions of her plays at the the university this year and is looking forward to workshopping one in New York City over the summer.

After completing her second study abroad semester, Angie Williams-Van Seedenberg ’17 attended an International Film Festival (Latin America) with her father in December.

MFAs

Last year, Sharon Cook MFA ’96 published her third book in the Granite Cove Mystery series, Laugh ’til You Die. *We incorrectly published the name of the book online. We apologize for the error.* Geography of Love & Exile by Susannah W. Simpson MFA ’07 was published in December by Cervena Barva Press. Many of the poems were written and revised during her

residencies at Bennington’s MFA in Writing program. Rebecca Manery MFA ’09 completed her doctorate in English and education at the University of Michigan in August and is assistant professor of English at Ball State University. Her poetry collection, View from the Hôtel de l’Etoile, was published by Finishing Line Press in December. She co-edited Can Creative Writing Really Be Taught?: Resisting Lore in Creative Writing Pedagogy, Tenth Anniversary Edition, forthcoming from Bloomsbury Press in July. An essay by Marine veteran Teresa Fazio MFA ’18 appeared in Rolling Stone in March. The essay addresses the problem of “toxic masculinity” in military culture.

Caitlin Ludin ’12 got married last summer. Brianna McGraw ’12 is a resident guest artist at the Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. A film created by her students, Halls of Ivy, was honored at the Annual Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center and screened at the Walter Reade Theater.

keep us posted

WE LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. SEND US YOUR NEWS AND UPDATES.

You can submit your Class Note in one of three ways: 1. by email to classnotes@bennington.edu or magazine@bennington.edu

Last March, Robynn Colwell MFA ’13 and Tim Kretchmer ’10 performed in a production of The Crucible with the American Theatre Company in Brussels. Tim and Robynn had never met prior to the production and discovered their Bennington connection only after being cast. Marie Jacobson ’13 received her Master of Architecture degree from the Pratt Institute in May. She was awarded the Richardson (Jerry) Pratt, Jr. Scholarship and Amy Koe Scholarship Fund scholarship for outstanding academic performance.

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2. online at bennington.edu (click on “Alumni & Families,” “Connect,” then “Share Your News”) 3. by mail to the Office of Institutional Advancement, Bennington College, One College Drive, Bennington, VT 05201-6003 Please note: Due to space constraints, Bennington reserves the right to edit and condense Class Note submissions. B

While every effort has been made to include class notes submitted on time for this issue, we apologize for any omissions. Please inform the Office of Institutional Advancement (800-598-2979) if we have omitted your class note in error. Thank you.


ALUMNI RELATIONS FROM THE OFFICE OF

COLLABORATION AND CREATIVITY • ALUMNI EVENTS IN REVIEW Thanks to the hundreds of alumni who returned to campus for gatherings, attended events throughout the country, or participated online over the past year for collaboration, (re)connection, and building community.

ALL-CLASS REUNION More than 70 alumni returned to campus to share their talents through performances, screenings, conversation, and Life After Bennington (LAB) programming with 800 members of the Bennington community of alumni, students, and families. LAB CONVERSATIONS Alumni have generously offered their time and insights with students on their post-Bennington professional trajectories throughout the spring. BENNINGTON REVIEW LAUNCH Alumni in the New York area celebrated the second edition of the renewed literary magazine with readings by contributors. ALUMNI COOPERATIVE / FIELD WORK TERM EVENTS There were robust gatherings of alumni and students, from casual showcasing of alumni work in Washington, D.C.; Portland, OR; Seattle, and San Francisco, organized by the Alumni Cooperative. ALUMNI 24 HOUR PLAYS More than 50 alumni and special guests were the creative force of writers, directors, actors, and crew behind the Alumni 24 Hour Plays for a one-night only sold-out show in support of the Spencer Cox ’90 scholarship for student activists at the Signature Theatre in New York. ART, UNCERTAINTY, AND CHANGE The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation hosted a lively conversation on the arts with alumni panelists Dan Cameron ’79, Lindsay Howard ’08, Carrie Moyer ’82, and Odili Donald Odita MFA ’90. CREATIVITY, INNOVATION & THE BUSINESS OF THE ARTS Disney Hall at the LA Philharmonic was the stunning backdrop to a dynamic conversation with Deborah Borda ’71, Andrea Fiuczynski ’85, and Max Nanis ’12, led by President Mariko Silver, with alumni, admitted students, and current families in attendance.

If you have an idea for an event or program, or if you think the College might not have your current email and location, please contact us at

ALUMNIRELATIONS @ BENNINGTON.EDU. S U M M E R 2017 • 51


IN MEMORIAM

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LOET VELMANS former trustee

EILEEN JOSTEN LOWE ’47

Former Bennington trustee Loet Velmans died on November 11, 2016, at the age of 93. Velmans was born in Amsterdam in 1923, and fled on the day the Netherlands surrendered to German forces in 1940. As a teenager he hopped from England to the Dutch East Indies to continue his studies, then enlisted in the Dutch Free Army. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese in Singapore, then sent to Thailand to build a railroad, cutting through rainforest to Burma. These experiences inspired Velmans to write—first, for a newspaper he started with his fellow P.O.W.s, and later, as a journalist and memoirist. Velmans met his wife, Edith—who had gone into hiding during World War II—while they were students at the University of Amsterdam. In 1949 they married, and in 1951 they emigrated to the United States with their twin daughters. Soon after, Velmans joined the prestigious public relations firm, Hill & Knowlton, despite his lack of PR experience. After 19 years of leading international operations for the firm from Paris, The Hague, Geneva, and London—as well as repairing business relations with post-war Japan—he became chairman and CEO in 1976, serving for ten years thereafter. After retiring and moving to the Berkshires, Velmans captured his life’s work in two memoirs—Long Way Back to the River Kwai (2003) and From P.O.W. to C.E.O.: An after-war memoir (2015)—and Edith wrote the acclaimed Edith’s Story (2000). Velmans served on Bennington’s Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2005 and Bennington’s 75th Anniversary Committee. He devoted time to 17 committees and nonprofit boards in total, including the J. Walter Thompson Group, Memorial Sloan Kettering, the Legal Aid Society, the Newhouse School at Syracuse, the U.S.-Japan Businessmen Council, the Lincoln Center Institute, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the American Friends of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, the NetherlandAmerica Foundation, the Mid-Atlantic Club of New York, the Global Public Affairs Institute, Amsterdam House, the Sheffield Land Trust, and the Berkshires Advisory Council of the Nature Conservancy. Velmans is survived by Edith, their daughters Marianne, Hester, and Jessica, five grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.

After attending The Ethel Walker School, Eileen Josten Lowe ’47 arrived at Bennington. The daughter of composer Werner Josten and singer Margaret, she studied music. Viola was a lifelong passion, and as an undergraduate she traveled between Vermont and New York City for lessons. To complete her final Field Work Term (then Non-Resident Term), Lowe took a role at the young Museum of Non-Objective Painting (later renamed the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum), traveling with its curator and director, the Baroness Hilla von Rebay. Lowe’s enthusiasm for collecting art, playing music, caring for animals, and seeking adventure threaded her life. Before marrying, she traveled throughout Europe and earned her pilot’s license. Later, as her family shared, “she moved to Brooklyn at age 70” and “embarked on more travel: she took the Orient Express from Russia to China; visited both Poles; went bird watching in Costa Rica; and went on safari three times.” Her love of Bennington stayed constant throughout her life. Lowe volunteered to interview prospective students and was a generous member of The Silo Society. She died at the age of 91 on December 4, 2016, and is survived by her brother, Peter Josten, four children—Sarah, Elizabeth, Stephen, and Cambria—and three grandchildren.

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JANE NEAL KELLER ’52 Jane Neal Keller ’52 died on November 10, 2016, at the age of 86. As a Bennington student, Keller explored a range of disciplines, from the social sciences to dance to mass communications. At her 50th class reunion, she wrote of her time at the College: “It shaped who I am, what I stand for, and what I am willing to fight for.” Her generosity shaped Bennington, too—she was an associate-level donor for more than 30 years, and she gave freely of her time at on-campus events and alumni gatherings. In 2002, the Board of Trustees honored her with the Hudas Schwartz Liff Award, in recognition of her outstanding volunteer service.


Keller was an avid tennis player and jewelry designer; her jewelry company, the Faraway Collection, followed her between homes in Weston, Massachusetts, and the Windsor Club in Vero Beach, Florida. She is survived by her husband of 61 years, Charles, three children—Charles, Thomas, and Merrilee—and four grandchildren.

HARVEY LICHTENSTEIN ’53 Harvey Lichtenstein ’53—known for resurrecting the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), transforming Fort Greene, Brooklyn, into a hub for innovative dance, drama, and music, and redefining the role of performing arts centers everywhere—died at the age of 87 on February 11, 2017. Lichtenstein studied dance at Bennington and at Brooklyn College. After performing in modern-dance troupes with pioneers such as Martha Graham and Sophie Maslow, he delved into arts administration at the New York City Ballet and the New York City Opera. In 1967, he stepped into his life-defining role as executive producer at BAM; for the next three decades, he transformed the center into a nexus for adventurous programming that couldn’t be seen elsewhere. In 1983, Lichtenstein established the Next Wave Festival, introducing audiences to cutting-edge performers like Laurie Anderson, Pina Bausch, Peter Brook, Merce Cunningham, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Jerzy Grotowski, Mark Morris, Steve Reich, Twyla Tharp, and Robert Wilson. In 1980, Lichtenstein received a Bennington Award for the arts, and in 1994, he spoke at the College’s commencement. President Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Arts in 1999, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented him with the Handel Award, New York City’s highest award for achievement in the arts, in 2013. Lichtenstein was a widower of Phyllis Holbrook, whom he married in 1971; he is survived by John, their son, and Saul, his son from his first marriage to Eve Johnson.

GEORGE PITTS ’73 George Pitts ’73, renowned photo editor, photographer, painter, writer, poet, and teacher, died at the age of 65 on March 4, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Jan. After graduating from Bennington, Pitts studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He began his editorial career as a photo editor at Time Inc. As founding director of photography at Vibe from 1993 to 2004, George created a profound, expansive view of black celebrity, making the magazine a visual go-to for the music, photo, and design industries. He was fearless in taking on new talent, fostering the careers of many young photographers. Pitts left Vibe in 2004 to become director of photography at LIFE. In 2006, he won the Lucie Award for Picture Editor of the Year. In 2007, he later became professor of photography at Parsons, where he cultivated creativity and drive in his students, with intelligence and passion, for two decades. Throughout, he continuously created his own artwork. His art and writing have appeared in numerous publications including Taschen, Musée, The Paris Review, The New York Times Magazine, The Partisan Review, aRude, S-Magazine, Complex and Big magazine. In 2016, he published his first book of poetry, Partial Objects.

MARC SPITZ ’92 When fellow music critics, novelists, playwrights, and friends reflect on the life and work of Marc Spitz, two traits reverberate: prolific and interesting. Spitz was born in Rockaway, Queens, and studied literature at Bennington. During his decade of music-writing at Spin, he wrote a notorious slew of articles—most notably, about Axl Rose, The Pixies, The Strokes, Trent Reznor, and Weezer. He also contributed to Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, and The New York Times. Spitz’s first book, We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk (2001), is the definitive history of the rise of punk

S U M M E R 2017 • 53


IN MEMORIAM

B rock in Los Angeles; his memoir, Poseur: A Memoir of Downtown Manhattan in the 90’s (2013), similarly captures a subculture in time. His other titles include How Soon Is Never (2003), Nobody Likes You: Inside the Turbulent Life, Times, and Music of Green Day (2007), and Bowie: A Biography (2010). Spitz also wrote a dozen plays, including Retail Sluts, (The Rise and Fall of) The Farewell Drugs, …Worry, Baby, Shyness Is Nice, and I Wanna Be Adored. He died at the age of 47 on February 4, 2017, and is survived by his father Sid Spitz, mother Susan “Ricki” Josephberg, stepfather Alfred Josephberg, and sister Nicole Spitz Miller. At the time of his death, Spitz was a writer for Salon.com and was working on a cultural history of rock and roll cinema, entitled Loud Pictures. In a Spin tribute, writer and journalist Chuck Klosterman memorialized Spitz succinctly: “I can’t recall any conversation I ever had with him when he wasn’t working on a new book… But the thing (of course) he loved talking about most was the transformative power of rock, a metaphysical possibility he accepted unconditionally…He was a true believer. Mythos was everything, for everybody (famous or otherwise).”

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HADIL MARZOUQ ’18 A beloved friend and passionate advocate for human rights causes, Hadil Marzouq will be deeply missed by the Bennington community. As her partners in the Refugee Solidarity project wrote, “She has left us with rich and wonderful memories, and we believe she truly embodied the kind of student activism that we have all been striving for. Her zeal, poise, thoughtfulness, and unending hard work have had a lasting impact on us.” In her too brief time at Bennington, Hadil touched those around her with her light, her compassion, and her determination to make our community—and the world—the best it could be. After she took the below photograph during her first year at Bennington, Hadil wrote, “Our ‘end of the world’ means that life is bigger and one end isn’t enough. In other words, what seems to be an end from far away may very well be a new start.”


ALUMNI The Bennington community extends its deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the following alumni who passed away recently.

Elsie G. Balmer ’38 January 21, 2017

Jane Neal Keller ’52 November 10, 2016

Mark Merenda ’73 March 12, 2017

Eloise Spencer ’41 November 11, 2016

Caroline Crane Kiyabu ’52 September 1, 2016

George E. Pitts ’73 March 4, 2017

Ann Browne Ward ’41 October 14, 2016

Harvey Lichtenstein ’53 February 11, 2017

Jane A. Gil ’77 November 1, 2016

Elizabeth Mullaney Rowe ’43 December 20, 2016

Mary Evelyn Jerome Lindsay ’55 February 10, 2017

Mary Ellen Sage Lane ’82 March 20, 2017

Vivian Lescher Werner ’43 December 23, 2016

Ursula Ruppel Lawder ’58 January 31, 2017

Marc A. Spitz ’92 February 4, 2017

Charlotte Cullingham Acer ’46 January 31, 2017

Louise “Ellie” Rooks ’59 September 17, 2016

Andrew D. Khu ’93 September 5, 2016

Lynn Phillips Rashbaum ’46 April 27, 2016

Louise W. King ’60 October 9, 2016

Matthew Vohr ’95 January 27, 2017

Eileen Josten Lowe ’47 December 4, 2016

Susan Plosky Miller ’62 March 5, 2017

Carol Skinner Lawson MFA ’99 November 17, 2016

Dorothy Morris Mudd ’48 December 1, 2016

Nancy Comstock Andrews ’63 April 3, 2017

Patricia Sutherland MFA ’06 March 4, 2017

Jane Lougee Bryant ’49 February 19, 2017

Yeddy Chisholm Kaiser ’67 December 24, 2015

William A. Burgess MFA ’15 December 27, 2016

Marjorie Wood Murray ’50 November 9, 2016

Peggy Goldstein Katz ’67 December 1, 2015

Hadil Marzouq ’18 December 21, 2016

Carolyn Mower Burns ’69 November 16, 2016

S U M M E R 2017 • 55


IN MEMORIAM

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FACULTY, STAFF, AND TRUSTEES We remember the following faculty, staff, and trustees who were vital members of the Bennington community. Linda Cross, staff November 26, 2016 Christopher Arthur Faris, former faculty February 3, 2017 Stanley R. Pike, former staff December 6, 2016 Loet Velmans, former trustee November 11, 2016

PARENTS AND FRIENDS The College is sad to learn of the following deaths of parents and friends of the Bennington community.

David Rockefeller, friend March 20, 2017

Leonard Weisberg P ’80 March 23, 2014

Phyllis Sherman, friend April 6, 2017

William Greaves P ’88 October 25, 2014

Neil Sherman, friend December 6, 2016

Morton Chase P ’97 November 17, 2006 Madeleine Shields P ’00 January 27, 2009

We acknowledge the deaths of the following members of the Bennington community of which we only received notice since the last printing of Bennington.

Mariclare Barrett P ’12 September 4, 2015 Austin Silber P ’83 June 4, 2009

Margaret Myers ’36 October 21, 2002 Jane Buckley Chapman ’38 February 3, 2014 Cynthia Cole Curran ’66 October 29, 2013

Laurie Hibner P ’20 March 19, 2017

Susan Carr Buckner ’67 July 21, 2002

John Doner Diffenbaugh, friend January 21, 2017

Adele Rosenthal P ’63 February 11, 2002

We honor the memory of those who have passed on, but regret that space restrictions do not allow the publication of full obituaries. This in memoriam list contains members of the Bennington community who passed away as of April 2017. If you would like more information, please contact us at alumnirelations@ bennington.edu.

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dreaming in foreign —after Caliban

Give your throat to everything, Not the word but the thing of it. What the body speaks is untranslatable, How always some unpeopled aching, Our mouths closed around the past like knives. Jah, mind our words, our wound. Our runaway climbed deep into these cockpit hills, kissed his good memory into limestone, into blue fern-gully, built that same fire combusting these stolen margins, our scarred double gaze, shantytowns slashed black from ear to ear. Circumstance has made us strangers here, wild dance we are slowly forgetting; what home. The Mobay sky a lingering torch to mutiny. Rebellion. Here I conspire with fish-monster, ignite and riot with sugarcane, with shame-a-ladies, brush palms in solidarity with each thorn, each shy tentacle, our bodies opening and closing eager, breathing the dark impossible. How time holds me under a shadow I cannot name, the bush-music and its sweet bangarang. Do not wake me. Downtown I’ll roam wild with the improbable goats, window-cleaners careening through traffic, ripe urchin bartering his endless hope: Each day is usable, I want to tell them. Our hunger is criminal, faces sewn shut. We are tongue-tied with the songs of unknown birds, an extinct diction. Fireburn that shipwreck, its aimless curse. Jah, guide these words, this life an invisible column, my one bloodline stretching, red livewire vein, to appear across these hijacked decades, inventing Paradise.

—Reproduced from Cannibal by Safiya Sinclair. Copyright 2016 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska.


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Bennington | Summer 2017