Page 1

Volume1, Number 3

Spring 2006

Pancakes fuel for nursing scholarships

Turkey: Bridge between East and West - page 2

Hot Spot

page 4

page 6

Human strength test page 10

Snippets Central Wyoming College is a half million dollars closer to its goal of building an Intertribal Education and Community Center. CWC Political Science Professor Jim Thurman has the opportunity to return to Turkey this summer. A scholarship created by the veterans group Forty and Eight will be here long after the pancakes are eaten. What is lurking in the hot springs of Thermopolis? A CWC student and faculty member hope to find out. CWC has revised its science programs to make them more student friendly. An inspirational story of hope and a real test of human strength.

...........1 ......... 2 ..........4 .......... 6 .......... 8 ......... 10

Connect is a publication of the CWC Public Information Office and is scheduled to be published quarterly.

A GREAT Communicator CWC Publications Coordinator RoJean Thayer was honored by her peers at the March convention of the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations in Austin, Texas as District IV’s “Communicator of the Year.” District IV of NCMPR, which includes Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, usually holds a regional meeting in the fall where the “Communicator” is honored. But because the national NCMPR convention was scheduled in Austin, the two conferences were held concurrently. The CWC Public Information Office picked up several Medallion Awards at the meeting for publications and ad campaigns.

Brochure/ Flyer 3 GOLD RoJean Thayer

Government/ Community Relations Project SILVER Carolyn Aanestad

Brochure/ Flyer 2 GOLD RoJean Thayer

Postcard SILVER RoJean Thayer

Central Wyoming College is a half million dollars closer to its goal of building an Intertribal Education and Community Center at its Riverton campus thanks to the generosity of a Jackson couple. Berte and Alan Hirschfield, 20-year residents of Teton County, made the $500,000 gift and challenged others to match the amount. CWC has been working with the Hirschfields and with the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes for several years to get the center built. Alan Hirschfield said Native Americans deserve a place to “rejoice in their culture.” Berte Hirschfield said it “seems so essential in our state” to have a place where both natives and non-natives can realize the depth and beauty of the culture. “It’s a dream Alan and I have shared for many years.” Last month, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi announced a $1 million federal appropriation he secured for the

center’s construction, and $1.1 million was included in the Wyoming Legislature’s 2006 budget bill for the center. The college still needs to raise $1.8 million to complete the $4.4 million project. Upon hearing of the federal and state support for the facility, the Hirschfields promised CWC President Jo Anne McFarland to make a $300,000 donation. But the couple surprised project supporters by upping the amount by another $200,000 at a recent campus event where a funding raising strategy was unveiled. Hirschfield, formerly the chairman and chief executive officer of 20th Century Fox Film Corp., and CEO of Columbia Pictures Inc., said when “you are fortunate enough to have success in life, you are obligated to give back.” President McFarland said the half million dollar challenge will “make us reach higher” and asked (continued on page nine)

Native hoop dancer Jake Hill entertained guests at Central Wyoming College when Berte and Alan Hirschfield (seated in the audience at left) announced a $500,000 donation to the college’s proposed Intertribal Center. Right of Hirschfields are CWC President Jo Anne McFarland, Shoshone Business Council Chair and CWC Foundation member Ivan Posey, and retired CWC counselor Scott Ratliff, who also made a donation to the center on behalf of his family. Photo by Lonnie Slack


CWC instructor shares internatio


im Thurman infuses an international dimension to his teaching at Central Wyoming College. A new professor of Political Science, Thurman comes to CWC from Turkey where he spent four years at one of the country’s best private universities, Bilkent University, located in the capital city of Ankara. He has the opportunity to return to Turkey this summer to develop a course with substantive international focus that will give students in Wyoming an opportunity to develop an intercultural awareness and appreciation for politics of this country that is said to be the “bridge” between the East and the West. Thurman was a doctoral student in Ankara and is the first American to ever finish PhD coursework in Turkish politics there. While at Bilkent, he taught American government and politics, so he’s returning this summer to renew relationships with some of the best political minds in all of Turkey to


CWC Political Science Professor Jim Thurman spent four years at a university in Turkey. He is pictured at the Ancient Stairs at Hattusas.

prepare for the development of the course that he will teach in Wyoming. More and more colleges and universities in America are “internationalizing” their curriculum to educate students to function as global citizens. Thurman obtained a U.S. Department of Education grant through a University of Wyoming program to conduct the additional research and will develop the course so that it can be used at CWC and at UW. “The government is trying to help fund efforts to fill the gap to better inform people about lesser known places,” Thurman said. A former linguist in the U.S. Army, Thurman had been living abroad for a number of years, including time in Germany and the Crimean Republic of Ukraine. Largely by chance, he ended up in Turkey and continued his graduate studies in Turkic people and language. His return to Turkey this summer has a different focus. He’ll renew acquaintances, some who are the top teachers of Turkish politics, diplomats and government employees and members of the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

onal experiences “The best people are right there in the capital of Turkey,” he said. Life in Turkey isn’t radically different than living in the U.S., but the history of the country is long and very significant. Slightly larger than Texas, Turkey is simultaneously part of the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Mediterranean, Central Asia and Europe, he said, explaining the country is in a “tough neighborhood” as it is surrounded by Iraq, Iran, Syria, Russia and Armenia. “Since the days of the Ottoman Conquest, Turkey has been alternately feared, despised, and loved by its neighbors, and by the West,” Thurman said. The modern Turkish Republic, which emerged from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, is pursuing peaceful policies in a region that has many conflicts. The country is surrounded by traditional enemies. At one time or another, Turkey has fought with most of its neighbors. Recently, Turkey had disputes with Bulgaria. Relations with Greece, Russia and Armenia are stable, but all are historical enemies. “The neighbors get increasingly worse,” he said of Iran, Iraq and Syria. “It’s

Turkey is indeed the “bridge” between the East and the West, and has troublesome neighbors. hard to imagine more difficult neighbors.” Turkey’s geography makes it a “natural conduit” between the Middle East and Eastern Europe, he said, making it a challenging place to study “because it doesn’t fit into just one regional category.” Turkey borders eight countries, and its northwestern region, Thrace, is considered by geographers as part of Europe due to certain cultural, political and historical characteristics. Istanbul is the only city in the world that lies in both Asia and Europe. Because of its geographical position between Europe and Asia and three seas, Turkey has been at historical crossroads; the homeland of and battleground between several great civilizations, and a center of commerce. Turkey’s conflict with neighbors, its predominately Muslim population, and its geography have also hampered its entrance into

the European Union, Thurman explained. Turkey, a NATO ally, refused to cooperate in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq which shocked many in this country, including some at the highest levels of government. “In fact, Turkey’s refusal is just one example of a long history of misunderstandings between Turkey and the Western world,” said Thurman, who will focus on Turkey’s relationship with the West when developing his course. Before the Turks came to Asia Minor, the region’s history dated back 10,000 years. One of the oldest cities in the world was found in Turkey, dating back to 7500 B.C. “Half of all the action that takes place in the Bible is in Turkey,” he said. The first exposure the West had with the Turks was when they expanded out of Central (continued on page 13)


PANCAKES PANCAKES PANCAKES Pancakes – fuel for nursing scholarships

The Fremont County Voitures 40 et 8 are creating a scholarship endowment for Central Wyoming College nursing students that will be around long after the veterans are done flipping pancakes. The 22 members of the organization have depleted their bank account to establish the fund which will provide scholarships to nursing students at CWC now and way into the future. The veterans are looking for other donors interested in nurses training and education to add to the permanent endowment. For almost two decades, the men of the Forty and Eight have been raising funds for the nursing scholarships by holding annual pancake breakfasts in Lander and Riverton. The Endowment Challenge Match, a fund created by the Wyoming Legislature to double donations to community colleges for permanent endowments, stirred interest in the veterans as membership in the organization is dwindling. The Forty

and Eight was formed in 1920 by American Legionnaires as an honor society and from its earliest days it has been committed to charitable aims, especially nursing education, said George Burns, who is the director of the local chapter’s nurses training program. “They recognized our shortage of nurses back in the ‘30s,” Burns recalls. The 40 et 8’s titles and symbols reflect First World War origins. American servicemen in France were transported to the battle front inside Voitures, boxcars half the size of American boxcars built for narrow gauge railroads in Europe. Each French boxcar was stenciled with a “40/8,” denoting its capacity to hold either 40 men or eight horses. Now composed of mostly of veterans of World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, and Desert Storm conflicts, membership in the 40 et 8 has steadily declined. In fact, Fremont County has the only whole chapter in the state, said Dennis Clark, a Vietnam veteran and the club’s “chef de gare,” or president. And even the local group’s numbers are diminishing with some men moving away to be closer to family. Longtime member Bob Siewert recently died. The idea of creating a “perpetual” endowment appealed to the 40 et 8 because they understand the (continued on page five)

(continued from page four)

scholarship will outlive all of them. “We wanted this to go on indefinitely no matter where we are,” said Clark, who noted the endowment was unanimously approved by the membership. “The matching funds are what sold it to us.” While the proceeds from the pancake breakfasts have been the main source of scholarship funds, the big endowment check presented recently to the CWC Foundation came from a donation 20 years ago to memorialize member Hub Cramer of Lander. That $3,000, which was raised by memorials and an auction of Hub’s uniforms and souvenir collection, was put into a certificate of deposit, which over the two decades has doubled. Though the fund has been established, don’t expect the Voitures to stop selling pancakes. “As long as we have people who will flip pancakes, they will continue,” said Burns of the annual events held in October and November in Riverton and Lander. “We’re getting so good at begging.” The Voitures credit county grocery stores and other businesses for generously supplying the organization so that pancake breakfast ticket sales are mostly all profit. Burns said member Bill Ainslie, who is now living in Osage, Wyo., would walk up and down Federal Boulevard dragging his oxygen

La Societe Des 40 Hommes et 8 Chevaux is a French title meaning “The Society of the 40 Men and 8 Horses”. The phrase is derived from the rail cars used during WWI to transport troops to the Western Front in France. Each car was supposed to have capacity of 40 men or eight horses. tank along pre-selling tickets. “People would see him coming and they would start writing a check,” Clark said. “Without the support of the community, we wouldn’t be able to do half of what we have.” As a result of their aggressive fund raising, the organization is now able to award four scholarships annually. The members become very attached to their scholarship recipients. At the end of the academic year, the organization takes them to dinner and the night of the annual Nurses’ Pinning Ceremony, the members have an informal ceremony to award them with a special diamond nursing pin and a gift. The veterans are often publicly recognized at the Nurses’ Pinning Ceremony, which is scheduled this year for May 11 at

7 p.m. in the Robert A. Peck Arts Center Theatre. They remember each recipient, including their first, Lloyd Carter, a Native American student who graduated in 1991. The recipients also remember the Voitures and their efforts of maintaining an adequate core of local nurses. For example, Penny Mann-Wood, who graduated in 1996, makes additional donations when she attends the annual breakfast in Lander. With continued fund raising, members of the Forty et Eight hope their endowment reaches a minimum of $20,000 before the conclusion of the Endowment Challenge Match, though they are hopeful others in the community have similar sentiment about (continued on page 12)




acteria living in the thermal features of Yellowstone National Park has been the foundation of impressive developments in medicine and biotechnology, prompting a Central Wyoming College research project this summer to study the organisms that thrive in the hot springs at Thermopolis. Physical Science Professor Suki Smaglik and student Sage McCann will collect water samples to analyze chemistry and microbe samples to begin categorizing thermophiles, the slimy matter growing in the hot springs in Thermopolis. Enzymes from these tiny microbes which are able to live in the hot

springs have proven to be of great use in the biotechnology industry, especially in relation to DNA sequencing. The unique enzymes of these bacteria are finding wide industrial and medical use, and have become the basis of a multimillion dollar industry. According to Thomas D. Brock in a booklet published by the Yellowstone Association for Natural Science, History and Education, Inc., the nation’s first national park may have a “$1 billion potential for the biotechnology industry.” The hyperthermophilic bacteria of Yellowstone hot springs are attracting biotechnology

researchers from around the world, according to Brock, and “virtually every week of the year some researcher is exploring Yellowstone’s hidden resources. It is certain that there are thousands of new bacteria waiting to be discovered.” “It has revolutionized crime scene investigations,” said Smaglik, who noted in the 1980s a biochemist developed a powerful method of copying DNA that required enzymes that could withstand repeated cycles of heat like the bacteria growing in the hot waters of Yellowstone. (continued on next page)

CWC science student Sage McCann is anxious to apply what he’s learning in the classroom to an outdoor laboratory.

(continued from previous page)

A university patented that microbe discovered in Yellowstone, and today, park officials are reluctant to give colleges sampling permit. “We don’t know enough about the global diversity and other possible uses,” Smaglik said of her continuing research of thermophiles. “It’s a cutting edge thing.” A University of Montana biology professor agrees. “What is particularly exciting about your proposal is that it represents an

opportunity to compare the rich database of information on microbial community structure from extensively studied Yellowstone springs with the diversity of geographically close yet understudied communities at Thermopolis,” said Professor Scott Miller, who often conducts research in Yellowstone. For McCann, he’s excited to apply what he’s learning in the classroom to an outdoor laboratory. “It will give me a real sense of what a scientist does day to day,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to this.” As McCann’s professor, she wants CWC students to have research experiences like this one as undergraduate students. She has also submitted a grant proposal for student Robert Howells to conduct geology research near Table Mountain in the Sinks Canyon. With grant resources from IDeA Networks for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), Smaglik and McCann will begin collecting and preserving samples so they can be analyzed by a DNA sequencing lab in Casper, also supported by INBRE. Simply put, the research of these microbes relates to life on earth. “Each of these microbes exhibits different chemical characteristics and chemical gases that have to do

with the evolution of the earth’s early atmosphere,” she said. There is very little fossil evidence of life of any kind of the first four billion years on earth, Smaglik said. By characterizing hot springs and microbes in these thermal features around the world, scientists will be able to learn more about the evolution of life as it is connected to climate change, for example. These organisms grow, and actually flourish in these very harsh environments, challenging some basic ideas of what is required for life. A geochemist, Smaglik took advantage of a NSF-sponsored professional development opportunity for college professors last summer held in Yellowstone. Smaglik enrolled in the Yellowstone program to learn more biology and to enhance a course she teaches each fall that takes place on a field trip to Yellowstone and wanted to learn more about the amazingly versatile microbes that are found in such profusion there. While the geothermal features in Thermopolis are similar to those in Yellowstone, Smaglik recognizes they are only “distantly related.” To date, she’s yet to find any major research that has been conducted in the state park, which claims to have the largest mineral hot spring, The Big Horn Spring, in the world. Professor Miller said the CWC project “promises fresh insights into the contributions of rules and chance to the assembly of hot springs communities.”


Science programs more student friendly Interested in science? Central Wyoming College has revised its programs and the intent of the degrees to better fit the interests of students. In years past, CWC lumped together physical sciences with math and biological sciences and range management. That didn’t make sense to Professor Suki Smaglik, who teaches chemistry and geology, because the faculty and courses to fit those degrees have changed. Now, students can major in biological sciences, physical science, mathematics, and earth and environmental science, or follow a pre-engineering or pre-health professional curriculum. The programs allow students to focus on a specific area and garner a broad exposure to topics in the area and then transfer the Associate of Science degree to a university for work toward a related bachelor’s degree. “We didn’t change or add any courses,” Smaglik said. “We just re-arranged the degrees to make them more flexible for the student. Now the degrees make more sense.” The college developed the Earth


Hiking in the Wind River Range with Nylon Peak in the background. Photo by Deborah Sussex, NOLS

and Environmental Sciences degree to provide a broad foundation of earth science while allowing students to concentrate on specific aspects of environmental science such as chemical, biological or geological. CWC already has programs in Environmental Science and Leadership and Outdoor Education and Leadership. Both are provided through a partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School and combine the wilderness experience courses offered through NOLS worldwide with a rigorous science curriculum offered through CWC. The new Earth and Environmental Science degree at CWC allows students to concentrate on a specific aspect of environmental science such as chemical or biological. The degrees offered with NOLS have sparked great interest from students nationwide. Smaglik said she receives about seven to 10 calls per week. She believes with the changes made in the science curriculum at CWC, students will find CWC more attractive as a transfer institution. “More students are coming here from out-of-state without a major recruitment effort,” she said. “These students broaden the diversity of the CWC student population.”

Half a million closer (continued from page one)

Leave a legacy at Central Wyoming College by purchasing a place on the

The Central Wyoming College Foundation hopes you’ll preserve your memories and leave your mark by purchasing a place on the Petroglyph Pathway. The pathway is designed with a braid symbolizing intercultural unity and is stamped with local petroglyphs. The path will be poured between the proposed Intertribal Education and Community Center (related story on page 1) and the Robert A. Peck Arts Center. Your donations to the pathway, which will be matched by another donor’s pledge, will be used for the center’s operations/programming endowment in your name or toward construction of the Intertribal Center – whatever you choose.


1000 Your Name







If you have questions, call 307.855.2035 or 1.800.735.8418, ext. 2035

for support of the college’s “Walk With Us” campaign. For donations as small as $50, names of donors or groups of donors can be imprinted in a braided pathway that will be constructed between the campus’ Robert A. Peck Arts Center south to where the college proposes to build the Intertribal Center. It is President McFarland’s hope that CWC will break ground on the 11,500 square foot facility during the college’s 40th Anniversary celebration this fall. “The children of the Wind River Reservation deserve all the support and vision that is available,” said Hirschfield, who developed an appreciation for native art and culture growing up in Oklahoma. “Indian culture has meant a great deal to me.” The couple became associated with the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming several years ago, developing a relationship with Ivan Posey, now the chair of the Eastern Shoshone Tribal Business Council and a member of the CWC Foundation. Before the Hirschfields would commit to the project, the couple wanted assurances the college had total support of the Wind River Reservation. “The key component to us was that both tribes give their blessing to the project,” Berte said. The conceptual design of the center is by Arapaho architect Dennis Sun Rhodes.


Three-inch wire tests human strength


What started out for Beth Gray as the “longest day of golf” ended up as a true test of the strength of human spirit. Beth’s husband, Alan, a professor of agronomy and director of a University of Wyoming research facility near Powell, received severe brain injuries last July following a mishap in the field. Beth, a Central Wyoming College professor of business, has been by his side since the ordeal unfolded. It is an inspirational story of hope. On July 27, 2005, Beth, an avid golfer, received a call detailing Alan’s injury while she was on the 8th hole at Riverton Country Club. Ironically, Beth was playing what the golf course sets aside as the “longest day of golf” because of thicker rough, difficult pin placements on the greens and longer-thanusual fairways. It truly became her longest day. Alan was working with graduate students at UW’s Research and Extension Center near Powell. The flail harvester he was using to chop alfalfa at a test plot ran over a metal stake holding up a flag. The machine chewed it up and shot a 3-inch piece of rusty wire through his nose and into his brain. He was immediately transported to St. Vincent’s

Hospital in Billings, Mont. It was serious. The wire damaged the frontal lobe of his brain. In the meantime, Beth frantically made the five-hour drive north. When she arrived,

Alan Gray, with wife Beth, proudly displays the plaque recently presented to him by the Fremont County Alfalfa Growers.

the doctors asked if Alan had a living will and wondered if he was an organ donor. They told Beth her husband of almost a quarter century was brain dead. But the next morning, the doctors began scratching their heads. Alan miraculously woke up. While he wasn’t making much sense, Alan was conscious. His brain was not dead. But his troubles weren’t over. He had weeks, which turned into months, of a long row to hoe. During his seven-week stay at the Billings medical facility, Alan suffered from massive blood clots in his legs and one in his arm, he had allergic reactions to antibiotics, a pulmonary embolism, a pseudo aneurysm and twice he became hydrocephalic and doctors had to drain spinal fluid from his brain. “Every time I turned around something bad was happening,” Beth recalled of those seven weeks in Billings. Alan wasn’t giving her too many signs of a speedy recovery either. She vividly recalls the day, however, when Alan was finally able to lift his leg one inch off the mattress. “I was concerned he’d never be able to walk,” Beth remembered. “You just don’t know.” (continued on next page)

(continued from previous page)

Finally, the doctors in Billings installed an internal drain in Alan’s head so that he could be flown to Denver to begin treatment at Craig Rehabilitation Hospital. But as soon as he arrived in Colorado, Beth realized her husband was not improving. His temperature was elevated and he “really wasn’t doing very well.” Alan had developed a massive infection and the end of his drain was plugged so again he became hydrocephalic. Back to the operating room – this time at Swedish Hospital in Denver. They removed the internal shunt that caused the infection and then, for a third time, installed an external drain. After his infection cleared, doctors replaced the internal drain. “It was like having an ice pick jammed through his brain on four different occasions,” Beth said describing the procedures. After two weeks, he returned to the rehabilitation center and Beth believed her husband could finally begin to make some progress. By this time, the fall semester was already underway at CWC. Beth, perennially elected by students as their favorite, had to take a leave of absence. Although she was really sa d about missing school, Beth wasn’t going to leave Alan’s bedside. The autumn in Denver turned into win-

ter, and finally Alan was released from Craig at the end of the year. “I was getting so protective of him it was awful,” she recalled, emphasizing her gratefulness for the outpouring of love and support she received from the staff at CWC, friends and family. “How do I ever repay people for their kindness? Everybody has been so supportive – from Jo Anne (CWC President McFarland) down to my students.” This spring, Beth returned to the classroom though her hours at the college are kept at a minimum because Alan still requires a great deal of care. At first glance, Alan looks the same though he’s lost some weight. His long-term memory is intact though his short-term memory is still an issue. He doesn’t remember the accident. He doesn’t remember his hospitalization. Sometimes, he doesn’t remember if he had breakfast. Multi-tasking and “executive functioning” are still issues for him. “He’s improving,” Beth said, not really knowing how much progress he’ll make. The Discovery Health Channel sent a production crew to Wyoming to do a story on Alan’s medical miracle. They filmed Alan at the Powell Research Center and will re-enact the accident for a show that will be aired in June or July. Photo by Justin Lessman/The Powell Tribune

“I’m not sure what the future will hold,” she said. “But, he’s alive.” Alan is anxious to get back to work, but still requires daily physical, occupational and speech therapy. Recently, Fremont County Alfalfa Growers presented Alan with a special service award and Alan is very proud to show it off. Despite the dehumanizing types of treatment long term hospital patients are forced to endure, Beth said her husband has “been such a class act through this whole thing.”


(continued from page five)

nursing students and the continued shortage of nurses in the U.S. Individuals and businesses interested in helping the Voiture endowment grow may contact the CWC Foundation, where the donations become tax deductible. Foundation staff may be reached at 855-2254 or 1-800-735-8418, ext. 2254.

40 et 8 have history of scholarships Nationally, 2,131 nursing students have received more than $1.1 million in scholarships this past year from the Forty & Eight organizations. In total, the organization has granted in excess of $20 million and graduated over 23,000 Registered Nurses since the inception of this program. At CWC, 18 nursing students with 40 et 8 scholarships have graduated (number does not include the 2006 class). Lloyd Carter 1991 Linda Plush 1993 In 1949, France sent 49 of Holly Long 1993 those boxcars to the United Jamie Gilbert 1995 States (one for each state Penny Mann 1996 then in existence and one for Washington DC and Hawaii Christine Rushing Mary Miller 1997 to share) laden with various Amber Miller (Ketcher) 1998 treasures, as a gift for the Connie Duty 1999 liberation of France. This train Suzanne Nelson 2000 was called the Merci Train, and was sent in response to Jennifer Fergeson Lora Koenig 2001 trains full (over 700 boxcars) of supplies known as the Nan Bell Judie Brister 2002 American Friendship Train sent by the American people Earl Maxson Bralli Lynch 2004 to France in 1947. Wyoming’s box car is at Cheyenne’s Rose Maksin Carol McLeran 2005 American Legion Hall.


Cheryl L. Koski, (top right) the executive director of the Wyoming State Board of Nursing, visits with CWC nursing professor Kathy Wells (left) and CWC Director of Nursing Janet Harp. Harp was recently appointed by Gov. Dave Freudenthal to the State Board of Nursing. Above, Koski visits with CWC nursing program graduates about the licensing exam they will take this summer to become official Registered Nurses.


(continued from page three)

Asia and “terrorized” medieval Europe. “The Turks were considered weird and ferocious people,” Thurman said, noting the Turks were first called “Tatar,” a word similar in Latin to the word for hell. From the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish Republic was born in 1923, he said, explaining Mustafa Kemal Pasha, a military commander, eventually became the republic’s first president. He was granted the named Atatürk, which means “father of the Turks.” “He wanted to reform the country in every way,” Thurman said of Atatürk’s efforts to “drag Turkey into the 20th Century.” He used a western model and began changing things that were a “symbol of being backwards,” including the traditional red fez. Thurman also said Atatürk thought the Islamic clergy was slowing the country down. In recent times, Iran, Iraq and Syria have had an interest in keeping Turkey destabilized, and have played on Turkey’s concerns about the possibility of an independent Kurdistan arising from a geographic region which is part of all four countries. Turkey’s reluctance to join in the Iraqi war is related to such concerns, and also out of fear the “U.S. would leave them to deal with an angry Iraq,” Thurman explained. “What Turks were really concerned with

most of all was the potential retaliation of its neighbors,” he said. The Turkish position on Iraq is further complicated by the fact that the “much coveted” areas of Mosul and Irbil are “very close to the Turkish border.” Thurman may incorporate a study abroad component into his course on Turkey, a useful option to bolster any course in international studies. While students seem to be interested in Turkey, he’s not sure if the interest will translate to a desire to travel there. Turkey has been a very popular destination for Europeans because it has similar Aegean resorts at about one-quarter the price of a Greek vacation, though tourism has been strongly impacted by fears about travel in the Middle East.

Life in Turkey isn’t radically different than living in the U.S., but the history of the country that is said to be the “bridge between East and West” is long and very significant. At left is a fruit and nut market in the capitol city of Ankara. Above is Safran Bolu Street. The Safran Bolu Mosque is in the distance. Photos courtesy of Jim Thurman


Join in our celebration this fall. Watch for details.

0 4


Spring 2006 Connect Magazine  

Central Wyoming College Connect magazine spring 2006