scene Spring 2017
Cover Story: Tony Aveni Living art Fat shaming News and views for the Colgate community
22 In a class of his own
Recently retired professor Tony Aveni recalls his storied tenure at Colgate.
28 Fat shaming
Two alumni challenge FDA guidelines restricting the use of adipose cells that can heal.
32 Living art
A scroll from India unfurls discussion among professors.
Message from President Brian W. Casey
13346 — Inbox
Work & Play
Tableau: “Frederick Busch and Me”
A pitch pipe, a song, and a smile
Life of the Mind
Arts & Culture
New, Noted & Quoted
The Big Picture
Class News 66 Marriages & Unions 66 Births & Adoptions 66 In Memoriam
“Graduation alterations” brainteaser, “13 Words (or fewer)” caption contest winners
On the cover: Illustration of Professor Tony Aveni by Tim O’Brien Left: Evidence that spring always arrives (eventually) in the Chenango Valley. Photo by Andrew Daddio
News and views for the Colgate community
Joe Biden in the (field)house
colgate.edu/biden Watch the former vice president’s speech on the digital revolution, the middle class, and our current political climate.
Pitch perfect Michael Blanding (“True believer,” pg. 44) is the author of The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps (Gotham, 2014). His work has appeared in WIRED, Slate, the Nation, the Boston Globe Magazine, and other publications.
Tim O’Brien (cover illustration of Professor Tony Aveni) creates intricately detailed illustrations and portraits from his Brooklyn, N.Y., studio. His art has appeared numerous times on the cover of TIME and been featured in Esquire, GQ, Der Spiegel, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He is the president of The Society of Illustrators.
colgate.edu/singing It’s a big year for the Colgate Thirteen and the Resolutions. Watch performances from all of the university’s a cappella groups (and read more about them in this issue’s Page 13).
colgate.edu/news Check out our redesigned news blog platform to keep up with the latest Colgate-related happenings.
colgate.edu/scene Visit us online, share articles with friends via social media, and add your comments.
colgate.edu/flickr This semester, Flat Raider has been everywhere from Wales to Wollongong, traveling with students abroad.
Volume XLVI Number 3 The Colgate Scene is published by Colgate University four times a year (autumn, winter, spring, and summer) without charge to alumni, parents, friends, and students. Vice President of Communications Laura Jack Managing Editor Aleta Mayne Editorial Director Mark Walden Creative Director Tim Horn Senior Designer and Visual Brand Manager Karen Luciani Senior Designer Katherine Laube Junior Designer Katriel Pritts University Photographer Mark DiOrio Production Assistant Kathy Owen
Contributors: Daniel DeVries, Admission Marketing and Media Relations Manager; Rebecca Downing, Editor; Matt Hames, Communications Strategist; David Herringshaw, Digital Production Specialist; Jason Kammerdiener ’10, Lead Information and Digital Architect; Brian Ness, Video Journalism Coordinator; John Painter, Director of Athletic Communications; Gerald Gall, Freelance Designer
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colgate.edu/flickr Raider and students in Morocco
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scene: Spring 2017
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Message from President Brian W. Casey
One of the two new residence halls to be built on the upper quad
College campuses have long held a special place in the popular imagination. Colgate, in particular, is regularly — and rightly — mentioned as one of America’s most beautiful campuses. Alumni from across the decades say that, when they first arrived at the foot of the hill and stared up at the architecture of the academic quadrangle, they saw a college at its most archetypal. I write today about Colgate’s plan for a series of new buildings, the steps the university is taking to preserve a place in the hearts and minds of alumni and students, and why the administration is acting now. As I noted in my winter column, I have spent the first months of my administration reinforcing the four fundamentals of an institution like Colgate: the academic enterprise, admission, campus life, and the campus itself. Colgate’s iconic buildings touch each one. The liberal arts experience requires facilities that support modern research and teaching techniques. These facilities ensure that Colgate competes favorably with other liberal arts universities in the admission marketplace. They provide the backdrop for vibrant student life. They remind students and faculty that they are in a special place, set apart for intellectual inquiry and engagement. With this in mind, the university has spent considerable time and resources assessing its campus footprint. In response to that review, millions of dollars have already been invested in renovating teaching buildings like Alumni, Lawrence, Lathrop, and Wynn halls for func-
tionality, safety, and access. We have also refurbished existing residences, including Andrews, Stillman, and Curtis-Drake.
“One new building, let alone a series, requires an act of faith and a respect for a university’s needs, its mission, and guiding principles.” The review, alongside developing campus initiatives, also highlighted needs for additional space. This spring, we will break ground on two new residence halls, to be located between Andrews, Stillman, and the O’Connor Student Center — a total of 84,862 square feet of living-learning space and 200 beds. Just across the quadrangle, between Olin and McGregory halls, we have broken ground on Benton Hall, a new home for the Center for Career Services and the Office of National Fellowships and Scholarships. (For more details, see pg. 10.) Colgate’s new residence halls will be the first added to the upper quad since the 1920s. They will allow all first- and second-year students to live on the hill, where they can become acclimated to the flow of campus life. The external design mirrors architectural themes found on East and West halls. Inside, classrooms, study areas, and social spaces will be located under the same roof with sleeping spaces; Colgate is embracing and evolving its
hallmark residential liberal arts program for new generations. Expenditures on renovations and new construction have been strategically made to safeguard the institution’s fiscal health. We have also taken great care to ensure that Benton Hall and the new residence halls blend with Colgate’s built and natural environments. Architects, administrators, and trustees have examined every exterior arch and stone, each interior design, knowing that these are permanent additions to a beloved landscape. In his book The Architecture of Happiness, essayist Alain de Botton noted that “belief in the significance of architecture is premised on the notion that we are, for better or for worse, different people in different places — and on the conviction that it is architecture’s task to render vivid to us who we might ideally be.” One new building, let alone a series, requires an act of faith and a respect for a university’s needs, its mission, and guiding principles. I have no doubt that historians of higher education will look back on this moment and take note of Colgate’s determination, at this time, to consider what it can ideally be, and to create spaces to contain those dreams. For nearly two centuries, this university has thrived on this hill. It is our task to make sure that we continue to do so, beautifully.
News and views for the Colgate community
hiding from it not to have known that there was a large and active community on campus.
Barb West ’89 Melbourne, Australia
Transgender alumnus’s story Better together His body, his self Stranger than fiction News and views for the Colgate community
The Scene welcomes letters. We reserve the right to decide whether a letter is acceptable for publication and to edit for accuracy, clarity, and length. Letters deemed potentially libelous or that malign a person or group will not be published. Letters should not exceed 250 words. You can reach us by mail, or e-mail sceneletters @colgate.edu. Please include your full name, class year if applicable, address, phone number, and/or e-mail address. If we receive many letters on a given topic, we will print a representative sample of the opinions expressed.
With “His body, his self” (winter 2017, pg. 30), you have done both Colgate and the larger community a great service. Chris Edwards ’91 is clearly a person of extraordinary courage, clearsightedness, and good humor — an exemplar of the classic “know thyself.” Aleta Mayne’s writing and the prominence of Chris’s book excerpt — both unflinching while dealing with a sensitive and challenging subject — make me very proud to be a part of an increasingly engaging Colgate community. Good for the Scene in offering us this portrayal. Colgate has indeed grown with the times.
scene: Spring 2017
Kudos for the article about Denise Contreras and the new sexual assault response center (“A new Haven,” winter 2017, pg. 11). While I am pleased that the center has been created, it is disappointing that there is still a need for this. The advent of co-education while I was at Colgate brought about a more civilized and cultured environment, contributing to the highly selective admission standards of today’s Colgate.
Owen ’71 and Margi (White) Rogal ’71 Hancock, Vt. Editor’s note: As it happens, on pg. 12 in this edition, an alumna writes about how influential Professor Busch has been for her. See “Frederick Busch and Me” by Caitlin Mullen ’10.
Richard Schaper ’67 Mill Valley, Calif. I wanted to thank you for the excerpt from Balls by Chris Edwards ’91. Very interesting. However, I must take exception to Edwards’s quote in the follow-up piece, “Rebirth”: “Still, ‘there was no LGBTQ community’ back in the late ’80s and early ’90s,” Edwards recalled. Au contraire! Colgate — from 1985–89 at least, when I was there — had a very active and welcoming community. In my first semester, my head resident had a program about the symbolism of the pink triangle as a dorm event (I still have the pink triangle he gave me). It continued right up through senior week 1989, when a large group of LGBTQ folks and an even-bigger group of allies went dancing in Syracuse at the gay club. For heaven’s sake, ActUp was on campus. You had to be deliberately
For a good cause, unfortunately
job. But we were looking through the summer 2016 edition and wanted to note an omission. There was a short notice about the return of the Living Writers course (“Living Writers, returned to life,” pg. 41). The course is so innovative and intellectually exciting, a course that helps set Colgate apart. I think the man who launched Living Writers should be given credit every time the course is mentioned. Fred Busch was not only an extraordinary writer, but also a gifted teacher. Don’t let your readers forget him.
Mentor, counselor, lifesaver One would like to think that all of Colgate’s accomplished students would have learned during their formative years to respect others and to treat others like they wish to be treated. Hopefully, instances of assault are infrequent and becoming less so. The university has an obligation to not only counsel assault victims, but also to see that those who perpetrate such inappropriate behavior are strictly dealt with. Peter Madison ’72 Princeton, N.J.
A professor to remember We think articles in the Scene have substance and interest. The Scene also gives a varied look at what is going on on campus today. You’re doing a good
I appreciated the article on Steve Hartshorne (“Rewind,” winter 2017, pg. 72) and great picture of him as I remember him. His Depth Psychology and Religion course was profound, and I collected transcripts of his sermons. He was my mentor and counselor, and I was able to maintain contact with him and his wife, Ruth, from then on. He literally saved my life at Colgate and helped me make a transition into my career as a psychologist. Gene Schulze ’53 Bradenton, Fla.
the upstretched arm and just touching the top of the cupped hand. Only got caught under the rope tow a couple of times. I knew the hill as Agony Hill, named by the Naval Air cadets who populated Colgate during WWII; they had to run to the top with someone on their backs and then ride down on the back of that person. I also knew and liked Doc Trainer. — Bud Danehy ’61
Hooray for President Casey For me, Colgate’s track record of hiring presidents looks like the ups and downs of my EKG. Quite the contrary, hooray for the “up” of Brian Casey’s incumbency so far. I met him on the front stoop of the Colgate Inn last summer at my 62nd Reunion — for about eight minutes — sitting on the front stoop while I smoked a cigar. With that delightful encounter, plus campus gossip, plus President Casey’s message in the last Scene (winter 2017, pg. 3), I’m positive he will successfully “focus on those four key elements of Colgate: its academic life, its students, the experience of the campus, the campus itself.” Hats off to Brian and the Scene! Peter W. Rakov ’54 Class president and class editor Hurley, N.Y.
Trainer Hill’s downside Nice story by Meredith Dowling ’17 on Trainer Hill Ski Area (“Ski story: The ups and downs of Trainer Hill,” winter 2017, pg. 13). The hill had one major flaw. It faced due west into the setting sun, so the snow melted quickly because it hit at a right angle. That was
why they had to add snowmaking equipment. The author might explore another winter sports artifact. In the ’50s, there was a wreck of an old ski jump at the far south end of the old golf course up on the hill. Bob Youker ’55 Rockville, Md.
What they’re saying online colgate.edu/scene “Ski story: The ups and downs of Trainer Hill” Winter 2017 Scene, pg. 13 I learned to ski there. My dorm buddy Turner Porter ’67 showed me the ropes — literally. That rope tow wasn’t so easy! I was sad when it was shut down. — Alan Brown ’67 As an 11- to 13-year-old “townie,” I used to ski on the hill in the mid-’40s, using leftover skis from the ATO house or from the athletics center, and boots that resembled cross-country boots — ankle height, heel with groove for the spring harness, square metal toe, and as much support as a pair of work boots. Proper skis were the height of
“His body, his self: Chris Edwards ’91” Winter 2017 Scene, pg. 30 Oh my gosh. This excerpt is outstanding! Congratulations on the publication, Chris! I can’t wait to read this for myself and also share it with my students. — Holly Rendle ’93
As a “townie,” I learned to ski there at age 5 in the after-school ski program. Eventually I became a ski patroller and an instructor. My mom even ran the snack bar there in the mid- to late ’80s. It was truly a huge resource for the community as a whole — local schools bused kids in for ski school or night skiing. I taught many of my friends to ski there. I was very sad to see it close down in the early ’90s. — Chris Wisnoski
Enjoyed the excerpt immensely. Looking forward to reading the rest. (And amazing that [Chris is] donating part of the proceeds to help transgender kids.) — Kim Wolf Price ’92 Congratulations to you, Mr. Edwards, and thank you for sharing your story in your memoir. — Amber Gregorio ’06 Chris spoke at Google last year. His talk and story were incredible! — Julie Edwards MacDonald ’93
My favorite campus job: ski instructor! — Holly Nye ’82
“My new normal: Katie Sullivan ’12” Winter 2017 Scene, pg. 12
As a kid growing up in Hamilton from 1949 to 1965, I used to go tobogganing down that hill all the time. What a blast! — Dan Amendola
Cried. You’re amazing and so inspiring! — Sarah Hill ’12
Scene pics for purchase Visit our galleries at colgate.photoshelter.com to order customized photographic prints in a variety of sizes. Bring home images you’ve seen in the Colgate Scene and other university publications as well as scenic views from around one of America’s most beautiful campuses.
News and views for the Colgate community
work & play 6
Campus scrapbook A
Nose to the grindstone. Photo by Mark DiOrio
Cuddle up! Miniature donkeys on campus during finals week provided some adorable stress relief. Photo by Mark DiOrio
Geology students hit the trails of Colorado. Photo by Austin Sun ’18
Gearing up for a day of service as the conclusion to Colgate’s Martin Luther King Jr. Week. Mark LaPan ’19 refurbishes bikes for children and families in need at Community Bikes. Photo by Mark DiOrio
Spring brings some long-awaited green back to campus. Photo by Andrew Daddio
There’s no masking the talent at this fall’s Dancefest. Here, Wolfpack takes the stage. Photo by Nick Gilbert ’18
Katie Curtis ’17 shoots a 3-pointer with the help of lucky number 13. Photo by Mark DiOrio
scene: Spring 2017
News and views for the Colgate community
work & play
must call them to task when they impugn the judiciary and forget that the separation of powers is what makes the Constitution work. “We are uniquely a product of our institutions, unlike any other democracy in the world,” he said as he strode the stage. “Without the system, nothing holds this country together, and that’s not hyperbole.” At the end of his talk, speaking directly to the students in the audience, Biden said: “You’re our hope. You are the kite strings that lift our national ambitions aloft. We’re counting on you — and no excuses.”
Biden: Bolster the middle class
At a time when society is plunging into a digital revolution, we need to improve living conditions for middleclass Americans, Vice President Joe Biden told a capacity crowd of 5,000 in Sanford Field House. The March 24 event was part of the Kerschner Family Series Global Leaders at Colgate. “We’re already seeing how digital advances are not only impressive but are also consequential and disruptive for all our economies,” he said. According to Biden, digital innovation is deleting jobs in sectors across the economy, leaving dual-income families in unprecedented financial straits. Drawing on 45 years of public policy experience, he outlined five steps that he believes will turn the digital revolution to the advantage of working-class Americans. They include basic protection for workers, modernization of infrastructure, a more progressive tax code, expanded access to capital, and increased access to affordable education. Continuing education is a must in a world thriving on technology, he noted. “In this digital revolution, there’s going to be a constant requirement for workers, whether you’re an astrophysicist, an engineer, or a mechanic, to constantly be retooled and retrained. For the pace of advances is going to be so significant that your fundamental education
“You’re our hope. You are the kite strings that lift our national ambitions aloft. We’re counting on you — and no excuses.” — Joe Biden
scene: Spring 2017
will not possibly be able to keep you competitive.” “Corporations and civil society will have to make some changes as well," Biden noted. “In this changing world,” he said, “it will be up to us to translate unprecedented capabilities into greater happiness and meaning, opportunity and freedom — not just for ourselves, but for everyone.” Following his speech, Biden engaged in a conversation with Colgate President Brian Casey, who described the former vice president as “a person for whom the conversation was essential, the debate a bridge, the handshake a means to move the world forward.” When Casey asked Biden if he regretted not running for president, Biden admitted that he wished he had been elected, but didn’t second-guess his decision not to run — borne of his need to focus on his son Beau, who, at the time, had developed the brain tumor that would ultimately take his life. Biden then switched between pol and preacher, prompted by questions that urged him to explain how America arrived at a Trump presidency and how the nation should move forward. “We made a mistake in not paying attention to traditional Democrats who have lost hope,” Biden admitted. The way forward is as clearly American as our ability to overcome another industrial revolution: “Just speak truth to power,” he said. “We have to keep calling these people to task.” According to Biden, Americans must call the administration to task when they denigrate the fourth estate and prevent it from doing its work. We
Civil rights influencer: Dream with your eyes open
Bakari Sellers — the keynote speaker for Martin Luther King Jr. Week — posed two questions to his audience in the chapel: “How far have we come?” and “Where do we go from here?” A politician, attorney, and rising Democratic influencer, Sellers
Associate Professor Emilio Spadola bought this shirt, featuring “New York” written in Arabic, when he was living in New York City and earning his graduate degrees at Columbia University back in 2002. Today, he’s teaching anthropology and Islamic Studies while he serves as director of Colgate’s Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program; the shirt still has a place in his wardrobe. “I was delighted that it expressed, in Arabic, a feeling of belonging in New York City, a love for the city,” Spadola said. “It made me proud to live in a global city for all people. The geometric script is based on the seventhcentury Kufic script, often used for calligraphic art and architectural decoration.”
explored the pursuit of equality and justice in America — from King’s fight to today’s battles. Sellers delivered his speech, “Education, Civil Rights, and Equality: Cornerstones of Our Future,” with humor and honesty. “Kids literally go to school today where they are punished because of the zip code that they’re born into … where their infrastructure is falling apart, where their heating and air don’t work, where their teachers are often overworked and underpaid,” he said. How far have we really come, he asked, when people in our communities fight to escape poverty without any structural support, just as “the proverbial dog chases its tail.” Sellers challenged the audience to think about the ways that education intersects with race and the criminal justice system to continue inequality in America. There’s been progress, but Americans “have a ways to go,” said Sellers. He advised people to “dream with our eyes open” to create change. For Sellers, that meant running for the South Carolina state legislature when he was just 22 years old and working within the political system to inspire change. For students, that could mean calling state representatives or speaking honestly with someone who holds different opinions than they do. “Our challenge, as change agents in this country, is to go in and shatter these systems that are broken,” Sellers said. “That’s what Dr. King was trying to do. “We have no choice but to be great. There’s a fierce urgency right now,” he said, echoing King’s famous phrase. “We’re
not the leaders of tomorrow … we’re the leaders of the moment, right here and right now. The world is depending on us.” Colgate’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Week began January 23 with a vocal performance by Jazmyn McKoy ’17 and a student keynote, “Remembering Ourselves,” by Ashleandra Opoku ’17. Other events included discussions on topics ranging from black feminism to King’s legacy in the new presidential era. The week concluded with a day of service in which students got involved on campus and in the local community, which was coordinated by the Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education. — Melanie Oliva ’18
Spring break redefined
In mid-March, eight students and Colgate staffer Lindsey Hoham piled into a van and headed west for Cleveland, Ohio, to pitch in for Habitat for Humanity. During the week, they worked at two houses and a Habitat ReStore (home improvement store and donation center). Although the houses they worked on hadn’t yet been assigned to families, the group did have the chance to meet other Habitat for Humanity families during an arts and crafts event. “It was extremely meaningful to interact with the children and their parents,” trip leader Kira Palmer ’19 said. “It helped put our trip into perspective because we met the people for whom we came to do this work.” The trip was coordinated by Colgate’s Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE). Other alternative spring break trips took students to New York City, West Virginia, and Georgia — organized through the COVE and the Office of the Chaplains.
Get to know: Lisa Heller
“We’re not the leaders of tomorrow ... we’re the leaders of the moment, right here and right now.” — Bakari Sellers
Amplifying her voice Lisa Heller ’18 has reached out to the world through her music, and the world is reaching back. Her single “Hope” has drawn more than 1.5 million views on YouTube, trending to number one in five countries, at press time. Through her song, its video, and the accompanying campaign, she’s touched people around the world. Heller found her love for singing through a series of unexpected events during her sophomore year of high school. “I was in the middle of running a race and my throat started closing up,” she said. “I wasn’t sure what was happening, but I just couldn’t get the air in.” Heller ended up collapsing over the finish line. A few months later, she was diagnosed with vocal cord dysfunction. Her doctor advised her to relax her vocal cords by singing or humming during her races. Around the same time, Heller taught herself how to play the piano when a Steinway was passed down in her family. “I wrote my first song and, after that, I became addicted to it and I couldn’t stop writing,” she said. She wrote “Hope” in January of 2016, recorded it in Los Angeles, and taped the video in May. “I wanted to make it universal enough that anyone could relate to it,” Heller said of the song that has an all-embracing message of inspiration. She took “Hope” to children with terminal illnesses in her community, playing the song at hospitals and homes. As her music video attracted more views, her message spread farther, too. “People from around the world started to reach out to me,” she said. The response motivated her to create the Hope Wall, an online forum where people can talk about their illnesses as well as the dreams that push them to persevere. At Colgate, Heller is a psychology major, following in the footsteps of her mom, Wendy (Loeb) Heller ’88. Lisa is also the event director for the Student Committee on Providing Entertainment, on the Colgate Activities Board’s music committee, and in Kappa Kappa Gamma. Hoping to make music her career, she has recently released a new song, called “Things You Never Said”; has another video coming out soon; and is continuing to write more. — Melanie Oliva ’18
L to R: Kira Palmer ’19, Zoe (Hua) Zhong ’17, Colgate staff member Lindsey Hoham, Taylor Huffer ’18, and Corryn Wetzel ’17 learn from a Habitat for Humanity construction volunteer.
News and views for the Colgate community
work & play
Views from the hill As students headed into spring break in March, we asked: What are your plans?
Above: Benton Hall Right: Front façade of one of the two planned residence halls. Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP
New buildings to boost careers and connections
This spring, Colgate launched two new construction projects designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects: Benton Hall, the future home of a center for comprehensive career development and a pair of residence halls geared to fuel collaboration and social connections. Both are planned to meet LEED Silver sustainability standards. Benton Hall, opening June 2018: Nestled just below McGregory and Olin halls, with welcoming entrances from both the Academic Quad and Oak Drive, Benton Hall will house the Center for Career Services and the Office of National Fellowships and Scholarships. Named for Colgate Trustee Daniel C. Benton ’80, P’10, H’10, the hall takes design cues from several classic campus buildings, including Hascall and James C. Colgate halls. Fronted by a gracious reception area, the space will offer interview suites, a flexible career commons for large meetings and lectures, and spaces for one-on-one career advising. Two residence halls, opening fall 2019: Rising behind Stillman and Andrews halls on the upper campus, and constructed of native stone, the as-yet-unnamed halls will add an outdoor quadrangle to the campus, and their exteriors will reflect Colgate’s historic architectural vernacular. Each 100-bed facility will feature three upper floors with double rooms, four-resident suites, and study lounges. To support intellectual inquiry and community building, the first floors and ground levels will feature seminar rooms, classrooms, offices, and social lounges. Meanwhile, several other residence halls will be reconfigured and renovated to offer these same benefits to students.
scene: Spring 2017
“I’m the president of the mock trial team and we will be going to Lancaster, Pa., to compete in the opening regional championships of the American Mock Trial Association. This is the first time in eight years that the Colgate team has qualified.” — Derek Baker ’18, a French major from Buffalo, N.Y. “I’m going to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for an ultimate Frisbee tournament, with the women’s and men’s teams. The women’s team won the tournament last year, and we’re excited for how we’ll fare this year!” — Megan Carney ’18, a geography major from Yorktown, N.Y. “I’m going to Liberia, Costa Rica, because I won a sweepstakes from Alaskan Airlines. Who knew that Alaska flew to Costa Rica?! I’m going to travel around and backpack to all the beaches.” — Jenny Lundt ’19, a peace and conflict studies major from Santa Barbara, Calif.
“High energy, love, and delight” filled Memorial Chapel during Gospel Fest on February 17, said Paul Jackson ’18, a president of Sojourners Gospel Choir. Jazmyn McKoy ’17 kicked off the event with two solos: “Keep the Dream Alive” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing” in arrangements by local musician Dianne McDowell. Next, Walt Whitman’s Soul Children of Chicago performed. “[They] are like family now,” said McKoy, who has sung with them at three previous Gospel Fest events. The show closed with the two ensembles joining together on the Sister Sledge classic “We Are Family.” The children’s choir danced their way into the audience of more than 400 people, who clapped and sang along. — Melanie Oliva ’18
Teaching through travel
Crete, Greece CLAS 252 Crete: Imaginary Pasts, Professor Naomi Rood Crete earned its fame as the site of a number of iconic myths, including the battle between Theseus and the Minotaur, and the births of the immortal Zeus and Hera. While these stories may be ancient history, this classics course made it clear that the legacy of these “imaginary pasts” continues to shape the culture and identity of the land. “We explored the sites in which the processes of identity creation took place, and did our best to reconstruct the lives of those who contributed to these processes, taking guidance from the texts we had read, our guides, and the local people. Our experience at Colgate and abroad strengthened not only our understanding of the Cretans and of our collective history, but also of ourselves.” — Matthew Kato (pictured at left, third from left)
Escaping snowy Hamilton for a week in January, four Sophomore Residential Seminar (SRS) classes traveled abroad to either London, Crete, India, or Paris. Sophomores accepted into the third-annual SRS program spent last fall living and learning together before going overseas to connect the classroom with world culture. As a member of Professor David McCabe’s SRS trip to London, I spent a week exploring the city’s abundant history and living in a flat just two blocks from the British Museum. Enamored with my own experience, I connected with other SRS students to hear their travel tales. — Brianna Delaney ’19
London, England CORE 152: Challenges of Modernity, Professor David McCabe London’s history as the birthplace of industrialization makes it a fitting location for a foray into the implications of “modernity.” By reading the works of Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Virginia Woolf, students gained insight into the late 19thcentury changes to morality, sexuality, identity, and religion. “We were able to actually see Freud’s house and the streets that Woolf describes in her novel Mrs. Dalloway. Similarly, we studied the artwork of Mark Rothko in class, and later saw his Seagram Murals in person at the Tate Modern art museum. Seeing the famous paintings on display in a museum as they were meant to be seen made it so much more enjoyable, and traveling to London made the class more meaningful.” — Ezra Hornik ’19 (pictured in tan hat, eighth from left)
Paris, France PHIL 216: Existentialism, Professor David Dudrick; director, SRS Program
Nietzsche, Camus, and Sartre, oh my! PHIL 216 was an introduction to the 19th- and 20th-century philosophy of existentialism, particularly through the lens of the Parisian existentialist couple Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. “Sharing philosophical ideas can be very personal, but the SRS experience allowed us to become comfortable enough to open up to one another. In one instance, we found ourselves walking through a museum debating the objectivity of morality.” — Michelle Tebolt ’19 (pictured second from the left)
India ARTS 244, Temples, Caves, and Stupas: The Art and Architecture of India Before 1300, Professor Padma Kaimal To prepare for their trip to western India, students researched a Buddhist stupa, an early mosque, or a Hindu temple that they would later visit. Their research, as well as photos and testimonials about their travels, can be found at http://srsindia.colgate.edu/. “Cave 15 at Ellora was my favorite because I did my project on the relationship between the three religions at the site. But even after all my research, nothing prepared me fully to see it with my own eyes. The idea that the site was an unfinished Buddhist cave later reconstructed for Hindu use was no longer some hypothesis from a scholar’s article, but something that I could agree with based on what I saw. It felt as if some great puzzle was being pieced together after so much time, and that’s a feeling I won’t soon forget.” — Gabby Yates ’19 (pictured above on the left) News and views for the Colgate community
Frederick Busch and Me By Caitlin Mullen ’10
I harbor few regrets regarding my education at Colgate. But the fact that I long, cold winters and gray skies, old roofs sagging under snow. never met Frederick Busch is a great — if unavoidable — one, a regret that Similarly, Busch’s work is invested in showing all facets of the human compounds the more I read his work. experience, in conveying the heroism of the average person, as well as our Busch, the critically acclaimed novelist and short-story writer who taught vulnerability to heartbreak, cruelty, violence, or disappointment. Reading literature at Colgate for decades, passed away a few months before I matricuBusch, we are reminded that love — for spouses, siblings, parents, and chillated in 2006. But his presdren — is both the root of our ence certainly still lingered in most profound pain and the Lawrence Hall when I arrived source of our salvation. His on campus, and I read my first fiction forces you to reckon Busch story fall semester of with the knowledge that all my first year. I didn’t know of us will make mistakes, then that I would end up mishandle the responsibility pursuing a graduate degree in of loving and being loved by creative writing, and I couldn’t someone else. Yet Busch was have imagined that I would not a pessimistic writer. In teach his stories to college fact, his work acknowledges students myself one day. that our human fallibility is At that time, I hadn’t read an important aspect of our many contemporary writers. humanity. Our mistakes hurt My high school English classbecause, for the most part, es left me steeped in Faulkner we try so very hard to be and Shakespeare, whom I decent and good. These kinds love, but at the cost of being of tensions and oppositions terribly ignorant of the fiction animate Busch’s work, and being produced during my make it hum and feel so own lifetime. The first Busch relatable and so alive. story I read was “Good to Go,” Ten years after reading about a mother struggling to Busch for the first time, I find understand and protect her myself humbled by the diffiCaitlin Mullen ’10 earned an MA in English at NYU and is currently completing her MFA at Stony Brook son, a war veteran who is a University, where she teaches undergraduate writing. Her work has most recently appeared in Joyland and culties of trying to both write the Baltimore Review. Her short story, “Ice Fishing, ” was nominated for a PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story traumatized, unrecognizable fiction and teach it. I tell my Prize. She lives in Brooklyn. version of the boy she raised. undergraduate students at I remember feeling a little Stony Brook — or perhaps it dazed that this was what someone could make out of life as I recognized it, is more accurate to say I warn them — that, as writers, we need to constantly out of the experiences of ordinary people, people like the ones I might pass expand our capacity for emotional generosity and cultivate a sense of in the grocery store, who might pull up behind me at the gas station. It did empathy that thins our skin. We need to notice and try to understand the what the best fiction can do: it made me more perceptive and more curious way others experience the world while knowing about the world around me, about what it felt like to be someone else. that the task is essentially impossible. That effort For Colgate alumni and students, there is the simple pleasure of recognialone makes the act of writing worthwhile, and I tion that comes from reading Busch’s fiction. Busch, who grew up in Brooklyn think this keenly apparent empathy is what the and spent most of his adult life near Colgate in Sherburne, wrote about camPulitzer Prize–winning author Elizabeth Strout referred to when she called Busch’s body of work I remember feeling a little dazed that this was what “relentlessly brave.” In Busch’s stories, we are in the presence of a someone could make out of life as I recognized it, writer with a bone-deep compassion toward his characters, a writer who seems to be reaching out of the experiences of ordinary people. toward the world even as he is no longer a part of pus and the surrounding area in many of his most well-known stories, such it. I’ll never know Frederick Busch, the person and as “Ralph the Duck.” As we read, we realize that’s our quarry, our quad, our professor, the way Colgate students before me campus set up on the hill, the windows of our gray stone buildings lit with did. But if a writer’s body of work speaks for them Frederick Busch soft yellow light. Beyond Hamilton, Busch’s work conveys the texture of life — tells us about the questions that preoccupied in and around the Chenango Valley: the rolling hills, the salt-strewn streets, them, the details they found worthy of notice, the sound of snowmelt trickling through aluminum gutters. He gives equal the way they expressed a love for life through their unwavering attention billing to the beauty and the melancholy that characterizes central New to what they saw and felt as they moved through the world — I’d say I have York, from the calm of deer grazing along the side of the road and the hush come to know something of what Busch was like and how he thought. I’m of a field under a blanket of freshly fallen snow to the backbreaking strain of immensely grateful for it. 12
scene: Spring 2017
A pitch pipe, a song, and a smile The history of harmony at Colgate By Brianna Delaney ’19
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This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Colgate Thirteen and the 25th anniversary of the Resolutions’ founding. We looked back at the tradition of a cappella at Colgate for some of the high notes.
In 1942, students established the university’s first a cappella group, the Colgate Thirteen. Among the oldest collegiate groups of their kind in the country, the Thirteen have produced 27 albums. Favorite tunes include 1950’s “Coney Island Baby,” 1964’s “Moon River,” and old-school standards like the “Colgate Hymn.” The Vintage Thirteen (alumni who fondly call themselves “Crusties”) reunite and perform together frequently.
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Sacred Music Society
A precursor to a cappella groups on campus, the Sacred Music Society, established in 1843, was the first musical group at Colgate. It later became the Glee Club, which remained completely student run until 1912, when the music department hired its first full-time professor — William Hoerner.
Four years after Colgate became coed (1974), female students created the Swinging ’Gates. Today, the ’Gates pair with the Thirteen for two annual concerts. The ’Gates are best known for their rendition of the traditional “1819,” which tells the story of the university’s founding.
Kate Pientka ’02 established the Dischords in 2001 because: “Many singers on campus wanted the experience and camaraderie that a cappella offers, but there weren’t enough groups,” she said. Now with 17 members, the Dischords perform biannually, featuring covers of pop hits.
Formed during Spring Party Weekend of 1992, the Resolutions — a.k.a. "the Resos” — ushered in a new era of coed a cappella. The initial members, Marc Gironda ’94, Marisa Bond ’94, and Jason Corrigan ’95, created a group that current director Lauren Moscato ’17 said, “takes discord and transforms it into harmony — a sound of resolution.”
Mantiphondrakes Originally dubbed the Mandrakes (as in the mythical plant known for its deafening screeches) when it began in 2011, the coed group was renamed the Mantiphondrakes — combining the original name with the musical term “antiphon” — in 2012. The founder, Steph Arditte ’11, “intended to provide a space for students to grow together while understanding each other’s differences, outside of traditional forms of campus culture,” said current group leader Jason Alexander ’17. Images courtesy of Special Collections and University Archives
ANNIVERSARIES — Find out about upcoming events for the Thirteen and the Resos at colgate.edu/scene.
13 Page 13 is the showplace
for Colgate tradition, history, and school spirit.
scene: Spring 2017
life of the mind 14
There in the Chenango Valley where 13 sang my soul to flight, basketball laid siege to my soul.
Personal magic: Adonal Foyle ’99 returns for poetry series
Retired NBA player Adonal Foyle ’99 read from his new book, 31: poems, on March 2 in Love Auditorium as part of the English department’s poetry series. The soucouyant parades the tarry sky / As trembling in my childhood bed, I lie. These two lines of “Island Witch,” which harken back to Foyle’s imagination while growing up in the Caribbean, highlight how he weaves his identity into his work. “Poetry continues to be a necessary marker in his life, a fundamental way of making meaning,” said English professor Peter Balakian, who has coordinated the poetry series since 1988. “His poems take on a broad range of experience that include personal relationships, politics and race, life in the NBA, and his childhood.” Although Foyle left Colgate in 1997 for the NBA, he was committed to graduating. He took a creative nonfiction tutorial with Balakian, faxing the professor installments of his work from stadiums around the country. Throughout his successes as a basketball player, Foyle continued to write. He even wrote a poem when he retired from the NBA in 2010, reflecting on Colgate, the place that sparked his basketball career and his passion for poetry. Titled, "Love Song to a Game," it reads, in part: There in the Chenango Valley where 13 sang my soul to flight, basketball laid siege to my soul.
Following Foyle’s reading, Balakian hosted a reception at his home for students and faculty. Said Balakian, “These moments embody something special about Colgate’s liberal arts culture and can bring a personal magic to the learning experience.” Colgate’s poetry series continued throughout the semester, welcoming Yusef Komunyakaa, Molly McCully Brown, Matthew Cooperman, and Aby Kaupang. The late poet and professor Bruce Berlind started the poetry series in the 1960s. It has been a major part of Colgate’s culture and literary curriculum, bringing poets such as Ted Hughes, Anne Sexton, and Robert Pinsky to campus. — Melanie Oliva ’18
Ammerman assembled a team that included two physicists and another archaeologist, all from Catalonia, Spain, to explore this further. Using a database of dates that mark the first instances of Neolithic people at more than 40 different sites throughout Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, Ammerman and his team traced the pattern of Neolithic Transition using four different computational models to test ways that early farming may have spread.
Waterways were key to Neolithic Transition
In Europe, the transition from hunting and gathering to farming did not happen overnight. But in the western Mediterranean, it happened much faster than anywhere else. Albert Ammerman, a research professor in the classics department, has developed new insights on factors that caused this change — called the Neolithic Transition, which spanned thousands of centuries, from before 8,000 to after 4,000 BCE — to occur so quickly along the Mediterranean coast. This research is the culmination of projects that Ammerman has been working on in the Mediterranean for decades. “In 1971, Luca Cavalli-Sforza and I did pioneering work and measured for the first time the overall rate [of Neolithic spread] for Europe as a whole to be about 1 kilometer per year,” Ammerman said. “At the time, we thought the rate in the West Mediterranean might be twice as fast.” More recent archaeological evidence has shown, however, that the rate of Neolithic spread in the western Mediterranean was even faster than imagined. Between northwest Italy and central Portugal, the rate of spread was 8.7 kilometers per year. The most common explanation is that this happened because the area’s first farmers could use coastal waterways to travel and interact with hunter-gatherers along the way, allowing them to share their knowledge more easily.
Professor Albert Ammerman
In models that didn’t take voyaging into account, early farming reached other places more than 1,000 years later than the archaeological evidence indicates. “Voyaging was the key to the fast rate of the spread of the first farmers in the west Mediterranean,” Ammerman said. He and his co-authors published their full findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January. — Meredith Dowling ’17
“What is the most effective way to help generate a more balanced discourse about migration and therefore more evidence-based policy making?” asked Michele Klein-Solomon ’83, a senior policy adviser at the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM). Klein-Solomon spoke on her work and the common misconceptions regarding migrants in “International Migration and Human Mobility: Opportunity or Threat in an Interconnected and Insecure World,” a March 8 lecture in the Ho Science Center.
Above: Michele Klein-Solomon ’83 (left) and geography professor Ellen Kraly both attended the UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants in September.
“The perception is that migration is out of control, [that] people are coming to take jobs and benefits from citizens,” she said. “And oftentimes, political decisions at national and international levels are made on the basis of supposition or gut feelings, and not so much on evidence.” But the evidence is clear that migration provides benefits not just for migrants, but also for the nations that they inhabit, Klein-Solomon said.
“ We worry at a gut level
about belonging to our small units — our family, our communities, our countries, our historic identities, and our religions. And it takes a while to overcome that and have a broader sense of belonging.” — Michele Klein-Solomon ’83 “Migrants actually contribute more to the societies that they come to — whether in taxes, skills, investment, or in spin-off employment and employing natives — than they take.” So where does this disconnect between fact and opinion originate? Human nature, Klein-Solomon said. “We are fundamentally, as human beings, tribal. We worry at a gut level about belonging to our small units — our family, our communities, our countries, our historic identities, and our religions. And it takes a while to overcome that and have a broader sense of belonging.”
She concluded by describing what she called the “governance challenge” — how to create better systems to ensure the safety and rights of migrants while also guaranteeing the security of states and ensuring that societies benefit from migration. In trying to solve this question, Klein-Solomon said, she must often challenge herself to engage with people who have different perspectives. “I [recently] had dinner with one of the major immigration opponents from the United States,” she said. “I deeply wanted to understand his outlook and perspective. I think it’s possible to have civil discourse and at the same time present new narratives and new ways of thinking things that open up people’s minds.” Klein-Solomon will receive an honorary doctorate from Colgate at commencement. Prior to joining the IOM, she served as an attorney adviser with the U.S. Department of State. — Brianna Delaney ’19
Trey Spadone ’20 was part of a group of Colgate students and professors who attended the Women’s March on Washington in January. Spadone also was part of a larger effort, as a student researcher for Mobilizing Millions: Engendering Protest Across the Globe, a national project created by sociologists. The ongoing study aims to understand what issues and objectives motivated millions to attend the marches. As such, Spadone administered surveys and noted his observations. Attending the march “changed me,” he said. “I’ve never seen so much unity and love; the sense of solidarity gave me chills.” Although the age-old issues that people rallied behind are nothing new, Spadone said, “three million people around the world came together to make the point that we’re taking our lives, our country, and our world into our own hands.”
Live and learn:
Crossing borders Everett Egginton ’65 (standing, far right) volunteered to lead eight Colgate pre-med students who are members of the Global Health Initiative group to Mexico on a trip in January. It was supported by the Center for Leadership and Student Involvement, the Lampert Institute for Civic and Global Affairs, and the Center for International Programs. Egginton shared his travelogue with the Scene: Our journey took us to a variety of places, including New Mexico State University [where Egginton is a professor emeritus] to observe programs for the area’s marginalized refugee population. We also went to the University of Texas at El Paso to learn about its border-health commitment and its work on behalf of the region’s vast, largely undocumented migrant communities. Then, we crossed the border to Juarez and Chihuahua City, Mexico, to learn firsthand about the activities of the Binational Commission on Border Health, the Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua, and the Fundación del Empresariado Chihuahuense, A.C. Most importantly, our odyssey took us to the Sierra Tarahumara region of Chihuahua — the predominantly indigenous, geographically remote, mountainous, and formerly cartel-controlled area of the state — where, for five days, we observed the urgent and vital medical care provided to the region’s indigenous population by state-run and nonprofit hospitals. Here, we witnessed life-saving health care delivery by volunteer doctors. These hospitals and all of their equipment, plus the living costs of their surgeons, physicians, nurses, and administrators, are totally dependent upon donations, largely from faith-based groups both from within and outside of Mexico. Our last evening together was spent back in Chihuahua City, at the home of my close friend and former colleague, Dr. Raul Favela, chair of the University of Chihuahua Medical School’s Department of Reconstructive Surgery. We were warmly and generously feted by a large entourage of Mexican medical and university personnel, there to thank Colgate students for their interest and concern.
Trey Spadone ’20 (right) and fellow Colgate students at the Women’s March on Washington in January.
News and views for the Colgate community
arts & culture
“ To what degree can we engage with the world of the film if this eye of the camera is constantly roving?” — Mary Helena Clark The Longyear gets fired up
Visiting professor Mary Helena Clark’s film Delphi Falls was in the 2017 Whitney Biennial.
Professor’s films screened at the Whitney Biennial
The Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2017 Biennial included two films by visiting art and art history professor Mary Helena Clark, known for her experimental short films. “It’s an honor to be a part of a show that’s such a high-profile survey of American art, and there are so many exciting artists this year, with really different backgrounds,” Clark said. Screened by the Whitney in late March, her films Delphi Falls (2016) and The Dragon is the Frame (2014) are very different in their approaches. Delphi Falls plays with “story and narrative, to test the limitations of identification that we can have with the camera’s point of view,” Clark said. “To what degree can we engage with the world of the film if this eye of the camera is constantly roving?” The Dragon is the Frame, a tribute to her late friend and artist Mark Aguhar, is a much slower and more personal film. Shot on 16mm film over two years, it focuses on the idea of an image as a clue. With scenes from Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo mixed in with observations from her own life, The Dragon is the Frame is part diary and part detective film. “These two movies exemplify a common idea across all my work, which is using the language of collage in film and video,” Clark said. “My work thinks about how we can use the formal devices of cinema to explore the collapse of more traditional dichotomies of self and other, of interior and exterior.” — Meredith Dowling ’17
Earth to Fire: Pottery Technologies Around the World, on display until June 4 in the Longyear Museum of Anthropology, takes a fresh look at pottery by focusing on how various cultures handled discrete steps in its production. The exhibition probes a variety of questions, from how South African Zulu communities shaped pottery vessels to how Peru’s Sicán and Chimú cultures used reduction firing to achieve a rich black finish. “We wanted to look beyond the aesthetic qualities of the objects and take a more functional approach,” explained assistant curator Christy DeLair. “We asked, ‘Why did people make things the way that they did, how did they figure out how to make them the way that they did, and how does that knowledge get passed down?’” Student curatorial assistants Sierra Sunshine ’17, Cameron Pauly ’19, and Carrie Zhang ’20 helped to plan the exhibition. Each student focused on a different region, conducting research and updating information on museum objects, which are part of the permanent collection. They also wrote labels and designed their sections. “This was a great chance for me to have firsthand experience on how [planning an exhibition] works,” Zhang said. “The formalized approach was very intuitive, and I was able to learn a lot.” Some Colgate anthropology classes visited the exhibition, and DeLair works with professors to bring relevant objects into their classrooms. — Alec Jones ’19
Mark R. Williams (2)
Left: Ceramics from Thailand, 13th–16th century CE. Below: Pot stand and globular pot from Nupe, Nigeria
scene: Spring 2017
Zoe Zhong ’17
Go figure: A note-able birthday
“ It was amazing to hear how the group could flit between themes in perfect unison. They made their music come alive.” — Erin Hoffman ’19 Harlem Quartet jazzes up the classics Beats from Cuba and Brazil mixed with the classics when the internationally acclaimed Harlem Quartet performed at Memorial Chapel on February 19. The Grammy Award– winning group, founded in Harlem in 2006, has become known for incorporating diverse styles of music into their performances. With Ilmar Gavilan and Melissa White on violin, Jaime Amador on viola, and Felix Umanky on cello, the group started its performance with one of Mozart’s most famous quartets, String Quartet No. 17, “The Hunt,” in B-flat major, K. 458. They followed with Brazilian chart-topper “The Girl from Ipanema.”
“The Harlem Quartet’s performance was, in a word, breathtaking,” said Erin Hoffman ’19. “As a violist in the Colgate Chamber Players, I pay particular attention to the way instrumentalists interact with one another during performances, and I was astounded by the quartet’s unwavering synchronization.” The quartet’s next piece was “Guaguanco” by Guido Gavilán, which is named after and inspired by the eponymous Cuban rhythm and dance. The musicians added percussion to the piece by tapping on their instruments. Hoffman was especially impressed by how the quartet played its last piece, String Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 27, by Edvard Grieg. “It was amazing to hear how the group could flit between themes in perfect unison. They made their music come alive,” she said. The final notes of this piece brought everyone in the chapel to their feet for a standing ovation, encouraging the quartet to return for an encore performance — of “Take the ‘A’ Train,” the song that started their foray into jazz. — Meredith Dowling ’17
El Gigante de Paruro y Victor Mendivil Cusco Martín Chambi, 1925 In the exhibition Our People, Our Land, Our Images, the photography styles on display range from straightforward documentary accounts, such as the image at left, to altered images combining overlays and collage. But the works — indigenous people photographed by indigenous photographers — stand united in exploring their makers’ connections to their lands, communities, and traditions. The photographers come from the United States, Canada, Peru, and New Zealand; they are 19th-century pioneers, established contemporary practitioners, and members of the next generation of emerging artists. On display in the Picker Art Gallery through May 21, the traveling show is accompanied by a display of indigenous artists’ works from the permanent collections of both the Picker and the Longyear Museum of Anthropology. Related lectures and film screenings include a short by two Native American filmmakers, who also visited Native American art and women’s studies classes.
The Franklin G. Brehmer Holtkamp Organ in Memorial Chapel just turned 40. Here are some key facts:
built by walter holtkamp jr.
University Chorus, University Orchestra, Chamber Singers, and Chamber Players use it for accompaniment
50 ranks (sets) of pipes
2 religious services Protestant and Roman Catholic services feature it
4 organists have had residencies at Colgate 6 colgate presidential inaugurations
have featured organ music — Melanie Oliva ’18
News and views for the Colgate community
Olympic medalist Livia Altmann ’20 will be going for the gold with the Swiss hockey team again in 2018.
Starr makeover: phase 1
On to the Olympics
Livia Altmann ’20, from Arosa, Switzerland, helped the Swiss women’s national ice hockey team qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeong Chang, South Korea. Altmann won the bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics as part of Team Switzerland, with whom she’s been a captain for the past two seasons. At the Olympic Qualifying Tournament this past February, the team had a perfect 3-0 record, beating out Denmark, Norway, and the Czech Republic.
Colgate’s all in for ‘It’s On Us’
The athletics department and counseling center are collaborating on the “It’s On Us” campaign to help keep women
and men safe from sexual assault. The campaign asks the community to pledge not to be bystanders to sexual assault, but to be part of the solution. A video — featuring studentathletes, administrators, and counseling center staff members — debuted at the men’s hockey game against Dartmouth in January. The event “gave us the opportunity to spread awareness about sexual violence on and off campus,” said Dawn LaFrance, director of sexual violence support for the counseling center. “We were able to promote the Haven, Colgate’s new sexual assault response center, and connect survivors to the resources to help them.” Watch colgate.edu/itsonus.
Colgate unveiled a brand-new hardwood practice court to the benefit of the Raider basketball and volleyball teams. “Ever cognizant of our academicsfirst commitment, this new space provides greater flexibility for our student-athletes to practice during hours that enable us to minimize scheduling conflicts,” said Vicky Chun ’91, MA’94, vice president and director of athletics. The court represents the first phase in the process of repurposing Starr Rink — the former home of men’s and women’s ice hockey — since Riggs Rink opened in October. It is a Connor Sports QuickLock portable floor, the same brand that is used for the NCAA basketball tournament as well as by several NBA teams.
Pucks in the park
On a weekend off from competition in January, the men’s hockey team still hit the ice when they volunteered in New York City’s Central Park with the organization Ice Hockey in Harlem. “It was a perfect backdrop — an outdoor rink with snow falling — with Division I college student-athletes and young players speaking the same language: hockey!” said head coach Don Vaughan. Colgate’s players and coaches spent two hours with the children, teaching hockey fundamentals and having a blast on Central Park’s outdoor rink.
Cotterell Court was nearly filled to the rafters for the Second Annual Kids’ Game for Colgate Women’s Basketball in January. The Raiders hosted Army West Point’s Black Knights, which won 76–69. Children came from seven local schools: Path Finder Village, Hamilton Elementary, Harts Hill Elementary, Madison Central Elementary, Morrisville-Eaton, Otselic Valley Central, and Sherburne Elementary. Sponsors Gilligan’s and Oliveri’s provided 2,000 cups of ice cream and 180 pizzas, respectively. In addition to free treats, the kids received pompoms and coupons for a future Colgate basketball game.
scene: Spring 2017
He wrapped up the regular season averaging a team-best 14.4 points per game in addition to 4.5 rebounds per contest and a 44.3 field goal percentage. The New York City native contributed an average 14.9 points per Patriot League contest, which was the eighth-best record in the league and first among league first-year students. He tallied 22 double-digit scoring efforts, including six 20-plus–point performances, and led Colgate in scoring in 10 games this season. Rayman becomes Colgate’s fourthever basketball Patriot League Rookie of the Year and first since 2001. He joins the elite company of former standouts Adonal Foyle ’95, Pat Campolieta ’99, and Mark Linebaugh ’01. Rayman is the 15th Raider to earn a spot on the All-Rookie squad. The men’s Raiders spent an afternoon in Central Park volunteering with Ice Hockey in Harlem.
“Our guys had just as much fun as the kids,” Vaughan said. “Smiles all around.”
New all-time saves record for men’s soccer
Goaltender Charlie Finn ’17, from North Vancouver, British Columbia, made 26 saves January 27 against Dartmouth and set an all-time program record, bringing his career total to 3,072 saves. With just over seven minutes left in the game, Finn made an incredible blocker save in front of a wide-open net on a shot from a Dartmouth player, preserving Colgate’s 2–1 lead. Later, with just 10 seconds left, Finn made his 26th and final save to break the previous Colgate record — 3,071 saves by Mark Dekanich ’08 — that had stood for the past nine seasons.
Colgate and Cornell in Ithaca along with other children from Camp Good Days. Based in Mendon, N.Y., the camp is the largest organization of its kind, working to improve quality of life for children with cancer and their families.
Patriot League Rookie of the Year
After a stellar campaign, men’s basketball forward Will Rayman ’20 has been named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year, in addition to earning a spot on the All-Rookie Team.
sity of Connecticut, where she was a four-year letter winner and led the defensive unit to a No. 1 national ranking as captain her senior year. Connecticut made four NCAA and four Big East tournament appearances. The Huskies also captured three Big East regular-season titles and two conference tournament crowns during her time in Storrs. Cornell continued her studies at Hofstra, earning a master’s degree in business administration in 2013.
Afriyie named multiple All-American
Football defensive end Pat Afriyie ’18 has been a popular pick on the postseason All-America awards circuit. Named to four different All-America teams, he is a recent addition as a second-team member of the STATS FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) squad. Afriyie also was a second-team pick by the American Football Coaches Association and a thirdteam selection by the Associated Press. College Sports Madness kicked off the postseason awards bonanza by naming Afriyie to its third team in December. The Sandy Hook, Conn., native earned ECAC Division I FCS and Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year honors after posting 10 sacks for minus-83 yards and 21 tackles-for-loss for minus-108 yards. Afriyie led the Patriot League and finished fourth nationally in both of those categories. He was an ECAC All-Star and All-Patriot League First Team selection for the second year in a row.
New head field hockey coach
April Cornell, a central New York native, is the new head coach of Colgate’s field hockey team, the fifth in its history. A 13-year coaching veteran, Cornell arrived at Tyler’s Field after spending 11 seasons at Hofstra University. Throughout Cornell’s tenure at Hofstra, the Pride boasted a 26–13 overall record during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. She helped 19 student-athletes to receive All-Region honors and 30 to the All-Colonial Athletic Association. A native of Afton, an hour south of Hamilton, Cornell earned her psychology degree in 2005 from the Univer-
Forward Will Rayman ’20 (#10)
Historic academic achievement
For the first time, the average GPA of Colgate student-athletes (3.25) exceeded the average GPA of the overall student body, during the fall 2016 semester. The average GPA of Colgate student-athletes has risen in each of the last five years; here’s a breakdown of their fall semester numbers:
Raiders host family from Camp Good Days
• 24 had a perfect 4.0 • 143 (24 percent) made the Dean’s
List with Distinction, requiring a 3.6 GPA or better
List with a GPA of 3.3 or higher 331 (55 percent) earned a 3.25 GPA or higher 23 of the 25 varsity teams had combined GPAs of 3.0 or better
• 293 (48 percent) made the Dean’s
Notre Dame athletics
To honor Camden Cross, a teenager who overcame leukemia as a toddler, the men’s ice hockey team welcomed her and her family to one of their practices in January. The Crosses watched the Raiders practice before having pizza and getting to talk to the team in the Tighe Sullivan Suite at the Class of 1965 Arena. The Raiders presented Camden with a jersey with her last name on the back. A week later, she was honored at the Courage Classic Game between
News and views for the Colgate community
new, noted , & quoted
Books, music & film Information is provided by publishers, authors, and artists.
How to Get the Death You Want: A Practical and Moral Guide John Abraham ’69 (Upper Access, Inc.)
Based on John Abraham’s 45 years as an Episcopal minister and thanatologist, How to Get the Death You Want is a comprehensive, advice-filled guide for both those approaching death themselves and those who care for them. With detailed descriptions of the nature of death, the legal documents needed to clarify one’s wishes, working with doctors, and much more, this book examines death from every angle.
What I Lost
Alexandra (Cann) Ballard ’96 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) This debut novel follows 16-yearold Elizabeth, who has lost: 40 pounds, four jean sizes, a boyfriend, and her peace of mind. As a result, she’s finally a size zero. She’s also the newest resident at Wallingfield, a treatment center for girls like her — girls with eating disorders. Elizabeth is determined to endure the program so she can go back home, where she plans to start restricting her food intake again. She’s pretty sure her mom, who has her own size-zero obsession, needs treatment as much as she does. Maybe even more. Then Elizabeth begins receiving mysterious packages. Are they from her ex-boyfriend, a secret admirer, or someone playing a cruel trick? Readers accompany Elizabeth as she takes this journey to recovery, hoping to get back all that she’s lost.
Liking Ike: Eisenhower,
scene: Spring 2017
Advertising, and the Rise of Celebrity Politics
Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City
Although many people credit John F. Kennedy as the first president to harness the power of television, David Blake mines the Eisenhower Presidential Library and some of the country’s top advertising agencies to argue that Eisenhower was the first presidential candidate to fully embrace Hollywood and the media. He was spotted with celebrities so often that critics from both the left and the right accused him of being merely a glamour candidate. Meanwhile, Madison Avenue executives designed TV programs and slogans that brought them into the political fold. Liking Ike explores how the rise of television and mass advertising in the 1950s changed the way Americans saw politics, paving the way for media-managed, celebrity-studded campaigns from then on. For more on Blake, see pg. 64.
Derek Hyra chronicles the changes of a single neighborhood in Washington, D.C., as it goes through rapid gentrification. With in-depth descriptions and analysis, Hyra tells of how the neighborhood’s open-air markets and soul food establishments have been replaced with expensive foie gras burgers and thirdwave coffee shops. Along with this has come an influx of young, white, wealthy professionals who are mixing with and then pushing out predominantly black, longtime residents as the neighborhood becomes more upscale — and more expensive — each year.
David Haven Blake ’85 (Oxford University Press)
Ecological and Social Healing: Multicultural Women’s Voices Edited by Jeanine M. Canty ’92 (Routledge)
This collection of essays by 14 women — prominent academics, writers, and leaders from a wide range of ethnic and religious backgrounds — considers the myriad ways that the relationship between the ecological and social has informed their work and their experiences and led to identifying new forms of teaching, healing, and positive change. Rooted in academic theory as well as personal and professional experience, the collection highlights emerging models and insights. Jeanine Canty is a professor and chair of the environmental studies department at Naropa University in Boulder, Colo.
Derek S. Hyra ’96 (The University of Chicago Press)
Backstrap: A Novel
Johnnie Dun, pen name for Chris Jones ’87 (Pearly Baker Press) Can you redeem your life in a corrupt world? That’s the question for Callie Byrne, a street-savvy Iraq vet recently out of drug rehab for heroin addiction, trying to reclaim her life and regain custody of her son. When a friend gets entangled with her ex-dealer, Callie must navigate the underground world of drug and sex trafficking between the jungles of Guatemala and a shady Manhattan leather import business. She then meets Ixchel, a young Mayan woman who wants to be smuggled to the United States, and she’s faced with yet another dilemma. Backstrap is a morally complex tale of the harrowing decisions that define the lives of two young women connected across borders and struggling with their own guilty pasts, dreams of a new life, and the acts of sacrifice required of them.
In the media The Park Bench
Feature film written and directed by Ann LeSchander Raziel ’87 (Cake and Ice Cream Productions) A mix of live action and vivid animation, The Park Bench shows how deeply books shape our lives by telling the story of two people who get to know each other through what they read. The story begins when Emily, a librarianto-be, is assigned to tutor an undergrad named Mateo in American literature, but as with any classic story, things get more complicated when they share more than just books. With Walter Perez (The Avengers, Friday Night Lights) and Nicole Hayden (Mad Men, How I Met Your Mother) as the leads, this award-winning film is now available online.
Seeing the Myth in Human Rights
Jenna Reinbold (University of Pennsylvania Press) Colgate religion professor Jenna Reinbold looks at the role of mythmaking in the creation and dissemination of the 1984 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Despite being a nonbinding document with no legal authority or means of enforcement, the declaration is still considered one of the most powerful documents in history, and violating it can set off a major chain reaction. Drawing on religious scholarship, Reinbold goes beyond the conventional idea of myth and instead portrays it as a way that humans generate meaning, solidarity, and order. She then explores how this document’s rhetorical power and influence have made it the foundational myth of human rights and develops a new understanding of this unique document.
Right Brain Red: 7 Ideas for Creative Success
Coauthored by Tim Walsh ’87 and Reyn Guyer (River Grove Books) In Right Brain Red, Tim Walsh covers creativity with Reyn Guyer, a toy inventor who also won a Grammy and two CMA Song of the Year awards, plus put 46 singles on the country and pop music charts. Guyer also formed a learning company credited with giving the gift of literacy to more than a half-million students all over the world. Guyer shares ideas that have worked for him across multiple fields to create and recognize opportunity, inspiring readers who want to make their own ideas a reality.
Also of note:
In The Haywire Heart: How too much exercise can kill you and what you can do to protect your heart (Velopress) by Chris Case ’99, Dr. John Mandrola and cyclist Lennard Zinn offer athletes tips on how to enjoy sports for the rest of their lives. It’s been said that we each lose more than $2,000 of socks in a lifetime. Two children are about to find out firsthand who is responsible for their missing socks in Where Do They Go? Part 1 (Tellwell Talent) by B.D Donaldson ’03. With 19 collections of poetry and 8 Pushcart Prize nominations under his belt, George Held ’57 goes to the moon in the poetry collection Phased II (Poets Wear Prada). Neoliberalism and Environmental Education (Routledge), co-edited by Joseph Henderson ’03, invites readers to reexamine how economic policy and politics shape the cultural enactment of environmental education.
“Humility is critical … because it will come in handy in life when you, as we all do, get kicked in the teeth.” — Gregory J. Fleming ’85, former president of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Investment Management, in the blog The Life Advice Guide: Insights for Young Adults from Stars of Business and Beyond
“You have a lot of people telling the pollsters nowadays, ‘Politicians don’t care about people like me’… That’s pretty serious business in a representative democracy.” — Michael Johnston, professor of political science emeritus, on corruption, in Government Technology
“Growing up, my mother always told me that she wanted me to get my education, and I felt it was important because it was something she’d worked so hard to give me.” — Rose Gilroy ’16, on following in the footsteps of her mother, actress and former model Rene Russo, in Vogue
“I would have a nonviolent foreign policy based on feeding, housing, clothing, educating, and employing — that’s the key — the Third World. That would reduce war and what is called terrorism dramatically.” — Ed O’Donnell ’70, who has declared he will be running for president in 2020 for the 10th time, on Philly.com
“Embrace all you can, try to understand what you cannot fully embrace, and continue to dialogue and listen if you feel that your core values are being challenged.” — Mahadevi Ramakrishnan, senior lecturer in French, on the importance of forming interfaith coalitions, in the Utica (N.Y.) Observer-Dispatch
“Anything to chase away the evil spirits.” — Tony Aveni, professor of astronomy, anthropology, and Native American studies, on the origins of popular New Year’s traditions such as fireworks and noisemakers, in LiveScience
“A lot of schools focus on the study of entrepreneurship. And that’s all well and good, but there is really no replacement for rolling up your sleeves, getting out the door, and making stuff happen.” — Wills Hapworth ’07, executive director of Colgate’s Thought Into Action entrepreneurship program, in EdSurge News
News and views for the Colgate community
IN A CLASS OF HIS OWN Fall 2016 marked the end of an epoch at Colgate.
At 2:35 p.m. on Thursday, December 8, 2016, astronomy professor Tony Aveni closed his last class, retiring after 54 years on the hill. Aveni arrived at Colgate at age 25, when space was at the forefront of America’s consciousness and at the top of its agenda. Thanks to the nascent space race, astronomers were in high demand — both in industry and in higher education. But Aveni wasn’t just a man on the verge of a marketable PhD. He had a passion for the skies and for his students. Steeped in Colgate’s creative atmosphere (and enveloped in its snowy winters), he soon became a liberal arts convert, mixing his traditional academic background in the sciences with newly acquired insights into Mesoamerican religion and culture. He applied this scholarship to the analysis of Mayan calendars and architecture, to the printed and unprinted record of a people who seemed constantly to be looking upward. The Mayans knew no boundary between science and religion, and Aveni shied away from that duality as well. He discovered that, whether fact- or faith-based, Mayan beliefs were the platform for an astonishingly precise Earth-bound space program. Year after year, expedition after expedition, Aveni compounded his body of work until it placed him in the pantheon of archaeoastronomy, the discipline that studies the astronomy of the ancients by sifting through their written records and the rubble of their ruined cities. It traces its origins back to the late 19th century, when British gentlemen like Sir Joseph
Norman Lockyer took the measure of Stonehenge and used the angle of the stones relative to the sun to estimate the age of the site. Aveni advanced his field by honing its techniques and bringing new technology to the intellectual frontiers of Central and South America. “I certainly consider him the founder of modern archaeoastronomy of Ancient American civilizations,” said longtime colleague Johanna Broda of the Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Aveni's distinctive voice, quick wit, and professional dedication inspired thousands of students, from grade-schoolers to adults, in person and in print. “His book Skywatchers is the most important introduction and methodological guide to Mesoamerican archaeoastronomy,” Broda said, “but his numerous edited volumes and specialized articles on the subject are fundamental as well.” Fans of the pioneering archaeoastronomer shouldn’t despair at news of his retirement from the Colgate classroom. Aveni’s career is merely entering a new phase. Before leaving town for a fellowship at the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Engagement at Dartmouth next fall, Tony Aveni cast his mind back to the pre-dawn of his career, reflecting on the constellation of characters and events that have made his life better than average. — Mark Walden
As told by Tony Aveni...
went to a poor inner-city school in West Haven, Conn., and I went to undergraduate school at Boston University — I never had a class with fewer than 100 people in it. I scraped through with a 3.2 GPA, which was about average in those days. I was admitted to the University of Arizona’s astronomy PhD program in 1960. There were only four astronomy professors there at that time, but the U.S. government decided to put up the Kitt Peak National Observatory right outside Tucson. That ended up populating Tucson with the largest number of astronomers per capita in the world. Right place, right time. I remember very well starting my dissertation. I was on Kitt Peak when my wife, Lorraine, came across the gangway into the observatory and hollered up to me at the telescope as I was preparing for the nighttime activities. “Tony, we’re broke,” she said. “We’re broke?” I asked. “I have a $2,200 fellowship, and you’re working for Ma Bell in the telephone department making $1 an hour. How can we be broke?” She went through the budget with me — as she still does — and verified that we had no money. Up the mountain that night came my adviser, Aden Meinel, a solar astronomer who worked on solar physics and building telescopes, and he asked me, “How’s it going?” I answered, “Lorraine says we’re broke.” “Why don’t you get a job?” he suggested. “You can do your dissertation in absentia. Just look at the bulletin board the next time you’re on campus in Tucson. Go to one of the small colleges somewhere in the Northeast so you can get your writing done and then start moving up.” I went to the bulletin board, and there were all these notices — Florida State, Colby, Colgate, Montana State, and the U.S. Naval Observatory, which was the plum job. Aden talked me out of that. He said, “Too much administration; you just want a year or two to get your dissertation done.” So, I dialed Colgate. Actually, I called the Hamilton operator, and I said, “Get me 4.”
(Madison County was about the last place in the country to go dial telephone, so Colgate’s phone number was 4. The bank was 2.) The operator for the university connected me with Professor Clem Henshaw, chairman of the physics department. Wonderful man, and he interviewed me for about 10 minutes. This was 1963, middle of the summer, two years after John F. Kennedy said that we were going to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. That meant that anybody who could breathe on a mirror and who was studying astronomy was going to get a job, because all the astronomers were going to NASA, Goddard, and Grumman Aircraft. Henshaw said, “Yeah, you’re hired.” And he mailed me a map to show me how to get to Colgate. Lorraine and I — along with our daughter, who was 2, and our son, who was in utero — drove across the country in a non–air-conditioned Volkswagen. I never looked back. I stayed one year, then another, then another. I got my degree and a $300 raise in 1965, tenure in 1969. I remember getting the letter that said, “You have hereby been awarded continuous tenure at Colgate,” and I didn’t know what it meant. So I went to the dean, and I asked him. He said, “It means, unless you walk around the Quad naked, we can’t fire you.”
New techniques, new disciples My colleagues, the elders who reared me, were so good at letting me do what I wanted to do. Being an impetuous kind of person, I wanted to do a lot of things. We had J-term, which started in 1965 — 10 students and a professor, and you’d do one thing for the entire month of January. I liked that. But I made the mistake of offering a course on astronomy in the observatory, where we’d learn how to take photographs and take measurements. It was wonderful to work with those students, but the drawback was, you couldn’t work at the observatory in January. Two of my students were treated for frostbite. It was cloudy and snowy all the time, and I thought, “I’ve got to give this up.” So I taught a course on cosmology. We allowed
“You have hereby been awarded continuous tenure at Colgate,” and I didn’t know what it meant. So I went to the dean, and I asked him.
“It means, unless you walk around the Quad naked, we can’t fire you.”
the students to dress in black robes and wear cone-shaped hats with suns, moons, and stars on them, because that’s what you do when you study cosmology. I remember class one day, it was snowing like mad. We’d been reading a popular book called Stonehenge Decoded, by Gerald Hawkins, that suggested that there were lines that pointed to the sun and the moon, and these ancient people who built this megalithic structure were astronomers par excellence who knew more about the sky and mathematics than the Greeks did. It was kind of overstated. But there was a footnote in that book that changed my life. It said that there had reportedly been pyramids in Mexico that lined up with the sun and the moon and so on. And I’ll never forget, two students came over at the end of class and said, “You know, professor, we should go measure those pyramids down in Mexico. Why don’t we do that next January?” I said, “That’s the dumbest idea I ever heard.” Then, I looked out the window and saw the snow coming down horizontally, and I said, “Hmm, yeah, maybe we should do that.” The next year, on the day after Christmas, about 12 of us piled into a couple of vans in the parking lot of Lathrop Hall, where my office was located. We drove for 31 days, 11,000 miles, to 25 sites in Mexico. I developed a technique for measuring alignments of pyramids using astronomical settings so you didn’t have to use a magnetic compass, which wanders. We measured true north by using the sun and stars as a fix, using a surveyor’s transit and chronometer to get accurate time. We didn’t know what we were doing, and we didn’t care — it was a good way to get out of the Hamilton winter. We were in Monte Alban, which was about eight hours’ rough drive south from Mexico City in those days, and there was a pentagonal building. We read in the guidebook that the corners pointed to where the sun goes down on the first day of winter, spring, summer, and fall. They didn’t. We measured them. While we were there, Stanford University archaeologist John Paddock climbed up the monument we were measuring, and he asked one of my students, “What are you people doing here?” My student astutely told him, “We’re measuring the orientation of this building.” “How are you doing that?” he asked. “Well, it’s like navigation,” the student said. “You have to have a chronometer and the latitude, longitude.” “I’ll ask your professor to come over to the next valley where I’m excavating a site,” he said. “Maybe you could measure that one.”
The next day, we went over there and measured his building. While we were there, David Peterson, another archaeologist working in another valley, came over and said … We didn’t have time that January to measure more locations. So we said we would come back the next year. We did it for 39 years. Colgate eliminated J-term in 1989, and I didn’t want to give up traveling to Mexico with my students because, first of all, it was wonderful experiential learning, and I was collecting a lot of useful data.
In developing an understanding of cultures other than our own, I realized how important the liberal arts are and how important Colgate’s core program is. You cross disciplines and focus on broad problems and issues. So I’m a convert. I came here as a hardline quantitative scientist, but “interdisciplinary” is the key word today. Everything is interdisciplinary, cross-disciplinary. When I started doing it in the 1970s, not a lot of people were doing it. It wasn’t cool to do it. Now, if I become passionate about something, it doesn’t matter to me that it’s not
“It took me a while to realize that learning is a process. It isn’t about the product, and it isn’t about the transmittal of knowledge to the student. It's about the process of learning.” So I offered a spring-term course, Field Work in Archaeoastronomy, which is the interdisciplinary study of the practice of astronomy in ancient cultures, including the written and unwritten record. That became an extended study, because I told the students, “If you want to enroll in my course, you have to meet me in Guatemala City on December 27.” This was even better than J-term, because I had my hands on those students for the spring, and they could do their research papers on where we’d been. Then I instituted a prerequisite in front of that in the fall term. So they took Archaeoastronomy, which is a course I developed, in the fall term. Those who wanted to go all the way through would then pick up with the interterm and fieldwork course for a whole year’s experience. Out of that, I got some good scholars who went on to PhDs in archaeology and anthropology: Persis Clarkson ’75, Anne Dowd ’78, Steve Fabian ’78, Peter Dunham ’80, and Beth Ferrigno DeWolfe ’81. Also, David Carballo ’95 is in the archaeology department at Boston University. He was a poli sci major who came out of nowhere and just took this class.
Learning to learn Trained as a scientist, originally I rebelled against the very notion of teaching any class in the liberal arts, especially in a core program in which I was not an expert. How could I teach about Darwin if I’m not a biologist? It took me a while to realize that learning is a process. It isn’t about the product, and it isn’t about the transmittal of knowledge to the student. It’s about the process of learning. I began to feel that I was at an advantage when I didn’t know that much about the discipline, because I wasn’t encumbered with all the jargon that comes with it. I wasn’t rigorous in my position about what’s so important to teach, and so I’d be treading water with students — who could be going under — and pulling them up in that experience.
something I’m qualified to do. I’ll work with the people who are qualified, and I’ll learn something. I’m a student in that sense. Had I chosen that other leaflet and gone to Florida State, I doubt very much I’d be doing this.
Eye-Opener In 1982, I was awarded the National Professor of the Year [by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education]. It’s the highest award for education nationally at the undergraduate level. That was a big deal for Colgate and my mother. (I never for one moment believed that I was the best professor in the United States. I know what I represented: Here’s a professor who publishes, writes books, takes students to Mexico, works in the liberal arts core program. That’s what I symbolized, and I think there have to be many hundreds of professors in the country who do that.) Consequently, I take a lot of time to prepare class because people expect, oh, you’re such a big deal professor, you better damn well be good. So one thing that really bothers me is when students fall asleep in class. I remember a class in which I was lecturing at the blackboard, and I heard this loud snorting noise coming from behind me. I turned around and there was this guy sprawled out over two or three seats, snoring. So I quietly dismissed 123 students. I then banged my stick on the
doing a little surveying and stumbled over a stone. He looked down, and he could see some colored paint. So they dug around it and they discovered this beautiful mural on a wall, dated to the 8th century A.D. I said, “That’s very interesting, but what do I care about a mural?” “Well,” he said, “there were several microtexts on there.” The inscriptions were mathematical, Maya notations of dots and bars. It turns out that the table runs for about 13 years, and it’s a table of moon phases — months where you go from new moon to full moon back to new moon. And the months are organized in semesters. (That’s a familiar word for us here in the academy. This is where it
“The finding at Xultun was the single-most important discovery in Mesoamerica pertaining to astronomy in my lifetime.” table and started to lecture. The student woke up, blinked his eyes, and started to take notes. Then he turned to the right and saw an empty auditorium. He turned to the left, and there was no one there. I’ll never forget: He leapt up, notebook in the air, flew over the seats in the auditorium, bounded out the back door, and I’ve never seen him since. True story. I know a lot of students don’t like to be embarrassed. I cold call a lot in class. I tell students what they’re volunteering for, and I get e-mails years later. I had one from a student, Cynthia, and she said, “You forcing me to talk in class was one of the best experiences I ever had. Now you can’t shut me up, and I want to thank you for encouraging me.”
Putting it in writing I’ve written or edited 35 books, translated into 13 languages. Most of the books I’ve written are about archaeoastronomy and cultural astronomy. My most recent paper, which is a team effort, is about a Maya mural. I’m writing it with archaeologist Bill Saturno, who has dug all around the Maya area. He used to chide me about archaeoastronomy in a friendly way. At meetings, he’d say, “Oh, the Maya couldn’t have been doing all that astronomy stuff in these buildings and making eclipse predictions.” Then one day in 2011, Bill called me up and said, “I found something in Xultun.” Xultun is a Maya site in the northeast corner of Guatemala in the rainforest, very isolated, very overgrown. Bill told me that one of his graduate students was
scene: Spring 2017
comes from: seis meses, en español, means sixmonth periods.) This was a table that certainly was used for a number of reasons, to fix the year and so on, but also to predict eclipses. Previously, the only extant document we had from Maya land that has anything to do with eclipses is a document called the Dresden Codex, found in a library in Dresden, Germany probably brought over to Europe in the aftermath of the Inquisition and the burning of documents. That book is all about astronomy, calculating eclipses, and the appearance and disappearance of planets and so on for astrological purposes, because the Maya lived by omens. Who cares if it’s astrology? The point is the astronomy. The science is being driven by religion. Here you see this wonderful melding of the interest in religion and science coming together in studying these documents. The finding at Xultun was the singlemost important discovery in Mesoamerica pertaining to astronomy in my lifetime. Thanks to this painting, we have proof that the Maya were predicting eclipses at least 700 years before the written evidence in the Dresden Codex. And I’m lucky enough, on the tail end of my career, to have witnessed it and contributed to it. We have a few publications on it, and I’m giving talks on it at various places, including the Society for American Archaeology. Again, credit goes to a lot of other people. This is a team effort.
The end of days I had no intention of writing about Mayan endof-world predictions, because the Maya never said anything about the end of the world. They didn’t say it was going to be destroyed in 2012. That’s strictly American pop culture. But I was persuaded by Dylan Aucoin, a high-school student from Halifax, Nova Scotia,
who wrote to me in 2008. He said, “My friends and I are really concerned about the end of the world. We’re reading stuff online about what’s going to happen, how the world’s going to blow up.” I didn’t take this seriously. I thought it was a kid pulling my leg. But I did a little investigation. I went to a NASA website called Ask the Astrophysicist. A 15-year-old girl wrote to the NASA website and said, “My friends and I are thinking that suicide is the only way to get out of this, because the world’s going to come to an end.” Dylan was a little more rational. He put me wise to all the websites that talked about the end of the world, and he said, “Professor, you have to write about this.” He convinced me, and I wrote a little book called The End of Time: The Maya Mystery of 2012. All the media outlets interviewed me, and I gave lectures all over the place. It was quite a busy time. As I looked further into it, I realized that this whole idea about apocalypse is very American. I’m not saying that nobody else is as apocalyptically oriented as Americans, but we are, and the truth of the story of why we are goes back to before the Puritans — the idea of this being the land where the second coming of Jesus will take place. Columbus writes it in his diaries. The seeds of the Reformation were being planted in Europe, and the devil was there. They had to reserve this place so that they could restore religion to what it was before those awful Protestants like Marty Luther corrupted everything. I learned a lot about the study of religion, and I enjoyed talking to people. As a result, it was Dartmouth College’s religion department that invited me to be a fellow in the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Engagement this fall. If anybody told me 54 years ago, when I came to Colgate, that I would be writing something that people who study religion would be interested in, I couldn’t have imagined it. But you follow the interesting stuff.
Down Mexico way How has Mexico changed since 1969? In those days, it was easy to gain access to the ruins. You’d go into Ignacio Bernal’s office (the director of the National Institute of Anthropology), and you’d bring him a bottle of Scotch, and you’d say, “I want to go to this site and that site.” And he’d say, “Yeah, sure,” and take his pen out and write, “‘Tony Aveni and …’ how many estudiantes?” “Well, 12.” “‘… and 12 students have my permission to go to …’” and then he’d list the places where we would be going and give me the piece of paper. I would present this paper, and they would allow me to come in with my equipment. Now you’ve got to go through a little more bureaucracy, but the Mexicans are wonderful people. They’re diverse and they’re welcoming.
I’m 78, a little old to climb pyramids now (although I still do some of that). But taking students to Mexico made my life. I never would have dreamed I would be doing that and then studying this weird thing about Mexico — especially having gone to the University of Arizona, which is an hour drive from the border, and I had no interest in Mexico or anthropology. So it’s a good lesson in how your job or your service can change the direction of your life.
For more than half a century, Aveni has simply asked his students to stand next to him and look up at the sky.
People of the virtual sky The Robert H.N. Ho Science Center opened in 2008, and it features the Ho Tung Visualization Lab. At the time, I was writing People and the Sky, which is about how people from different walks of life understand the sky. There’s a chapter on the navigator’s sky, the astrologer’s sky, the emperor’s sky, and what fishermen do with the sky. I remember having the finished manuscript and going into the Vis Lab to meet with its director, Joe Eakin. I thought, “I could teach this in here.” So I created a course, Astronomy in Culture, which Joe and I taught together 10 times. Joe was able to translate into
visual imagery all of the ideas in that book. (What better thing to use with students today, who are so addicted to the image?) We had a series of lectures, discussions, and exercises, where we’d go to Stonehenge and see the stones. We’d go to Maya land and see the ruins, and the students would measure where the stars were and where the moon was. I’ve asked him, “Want to go to Peru and see if the snowcapped mountain is where the sun sets on the first day of winter and the other mountains in the other direction?” And Joe always says, “Yeah, we can do that.” When you work with people like Joe, and when you have these older mentors who’ll say, “Yeah, we’ll let you do that,” you develop a love for an institution. That’s what I appreciate so much about this place. I’ve been lucky enough to have these people work with me.
Alternately teaching and mugging for the camera, the professor is as likely to be caught laughing as lecturing.
The good luck of the Aveni-Colgate relationship, which began with a 10-minute interview over rotary-dial phones, goes both ways. “Part theater, part TED talk, and all pure passion; no other teacher even came close,” wrote political science major Robert Musiker ’80 in an online tribute to Aveni. “I took astronomy with Professor Aveni to fulfill my science core requirement at Colgate. Little did I know that this would be the most enlightening, entertaining, and energizing class I would ever take.” “Tony Aveni embraced us all, regardless of our level of acumen for science,” said Liz Lasdon ’76. “He was charming, engaging, and fun, no matter the celestial phenomena we studied. Apart from being a good teacher, he also warmly welcomed us all to his home.” Comments like these began appearing on aveniretirement.colgate.edu in the months leading up to Tony Aveni’s final day in the classroom, and they continue to flow in, illustrated with personal snapshots from trips to central America, parties on the old golf course, and alumni get-togethers. Alternately teaching and mugging for the camera, the professor is as likely to be caught laughing as lecturing. But that’s the Aveni magic. For more than half a century, he has simply asked his students to stand next to him and look up at the sky. Thanks to his wisdom, kindness, and clever wit, they have accepted the invitation by the thousands. And having stood under the heavens with him, they often decide that they would happily follow him — their teacher, scholar, and friend — to the edge of the universe. — MW
View more stories and photos at aveniretirement.colgate.edu. News and views for the Colgate community
The FDA says your adipose cells are a drug, subject to pharmaceutical regulation. Two alumni say that’s a big fat blunder. By Mark Walden
scene: Spring 2017
early 1.7 million women around the world developed breast cancer in 2012. Journalist and producer Shelly Ross was one of them. In 2013, after undergoing chemotherapy, she was one of 100,000 Americans to receive breast reconstruction surgery. It was all very straightforward. The surgeon used cadaver tissue as slings to support the implants that she slid under the skin of Ross’s chest. All should have been well. But post-op, Ross was, in her own words, “feeling toxic and weak,” and the feeling didn’t abate. Four weeks after her initial surgery, she was back under the surgeon’s scalpel. Her body had rejected the cadaver tissue, which fragmented and decomposed. Doctors removed the reconstruction and trained shower heads on the area to wash away the mess. They let the water run for more than an hour. The aggressive cleansing swept away all of the tissue between Ross’s skin and her ribcage, and scarring formed in its place. This was just the latest debilitating side effect of her cancer experience. Chemo treatments had already caused her rotator cuffs to tear. So, when she stared in the mirror, she told an FDA panel during public testimony in 2016, “I saw the devastating reflection of something that resembled a plucked chicken with two broken wings.”
But Ross had resources. Through the Cure Alliance, where she serves as president and patient advocate, Ross met a surgeon from Milan, Italy, who was repurposing his patients’ own adipose (a.k.a. fat) tissue for facial and wound reconstruction. After hearing that he had expanded his scope and successfully treated a patient like her, Ross boarded a plane. On Dec. 30, 2013, Ross underwent another reconstructive surgery — something that her American surgeons had assured her would be impossible. The doctor removed a little more than 12 ounces of fat from her back and abdomen, processed it, and used it, along with new implants, to rebuild her chest. He took some of the leftover fat and injected it into both of her shoulders. A week later, she was home and pain free. Nine months after her surgery, full range of motion had returned to her arms. The cure is astounding. As is the fact that Ross had to use a passport to access it. Dr. Ricardo Rodriguez ’76, plastic surgeon and researcher, was in the audience as Ross told the FDA her story. He was there on the same crucial mission: to urge the FDA to rescind draft guidances that, in the opinion of many practitioners and patients,
For Rodriguez, who has spent his career trying to repair cell damage, whether inflicted by age or accident, it was a miracle. inhibit the ability of U.S. citizens to take part in a worldwide medical revolution. Recent research has shown that your body potentially carries the tools it needs to repair surprising levels of damage. But the FDA, citing patient safety and referencing instances in which unqualified professionals have done more harm than good, has set up regulatory hurdles that the average health care consumer cannot leap. In some cases, those hurdles stand in the face of both basic science and common sense. Rodriguez has spent a decade studying the safe and effective healing powers of adipose tissue, and he was prepared to point all of this out to the government’s legal and medical experts. When he stepped to the mic to lay out his impassioned, airtight argument, he was drawing on an education that began at Colgate more than four decades ago — and a friendship that started with a little a cappella in West Hall.
The beginning of a beautiful friendship
Growing up in Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rodriguez always planned to be a doctor. In high school, he sat through an admission pitch for Colgate, where a couple of his friends — the O’Shea twins, George and Robert ’73 — had enrolled. He took his first trip off his home island for an exchange program to McQuaid High School in Rochester, N.Y., during the winter of his senior year.
When his hosts found out about his interest in Colgate, they drove him to campus for a tour, and he was hooked. “I remember seeing the golden dome of the chapel, and it was like a fairy tale,” he recalled. His love deepened in the fall of 1972, when he met his new Colgate classmates, particularly some of the first females to be admitted to the university. Colgate women were proud to engage in deep conversations, and Rodriguez “thought that this was the greatest thing in the world.” One of those girls, biology major Mary Ann Chirba, lived one flight down from him in West Hall. While Rodriguez chose Colgate for its scenic beauty, Chirba saw it as a new frontier for her gender. “It bothered me that there was a whole group of really fine universities that had been absolutely closed to women,” she said. “So I thought, well, that’s where I should go.” On her birthday in midSeptember of 1972, she was sitting in her room when she heard a booming voice in her doorway, singing “Happy Birthday” in Spanish. “I thought, what a character!” Chirba remembered. That character was Rodriguez, a French literature major who was still holding on to those medical aspirations. “We dated for a while, and then we didn’t,” Chirba said. “But we stayed really good friends.” After graduation, Rodriguez went off to medical school in Wisconsin, and Chirba took a job at Harvard Medical School. Rodriguez proceeded
to Tulane, then did his residency in plastic surgery at Yale, where he subsequently joined the medical school faculty. Today, he’s in private practice in Baltimore, Md., and holds a teaching appointment at Johns Hopkins University. Chirba, after being bitten by a lab rat, decided that medicine wasn’t for her. Instead, she went to Boston College Law School for her JD, then earned a master’s and a doctorate in public health from Harvard. She’s done her share of teaching as well — at Boston College Law, Harvard Law, and New York University. Rodriguez and Chirba have stayed in touch through the years, helping each other through rough patches. “I valued her for all of her qualities,” Rodriguez said. “She was an artist. She was better at science than I was. I always knew she’d do great things.”
Resurrection day In 2007, Rodriguez took his wife, Leeza, on an unconventional date to hear more about the use of stem cells in regenerative medicine. A picture of a rat’s heart matrix was projected on the screen in a Baltimore convention space. Devoid of blood cells, muscle cells, and nerve fibers, the heart looked like a pearly white grocery bag. Someone hit a button, starting a time-lapse video. Pipelines of red blood mixed with concentrated stem cells started to shoot into the heart matrix. The bag morphed into a quivering, translucent strawberry.
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The one-two punch: Dr. Ricardo Rodriguez ’76 and Mary Ann Chirba ’76, representing medicine and law, at the World Stem Cell Summit in Palm Beach, Fla., December 2016
More time. More blood. More stem cells. After a lapse of three weeks from the first injection of biological material, a fully functioning, pink and pounding heart filled the frame. For Rodriguez, who has spent his career trying to repair cell damage, whether inflicted by age or accident, it was a miracle. “That’s like a resurrection,” he said. “There’s no other way to explain it.” Somehow, stem cells went into the heart, looked around, and started to differentiate into the component parts of the organ, the muscles, and complex webs of nerves. The video helped to upend a principle that Rodriguez had held as true throughout his decadeslong career. Therapies are usually honed as much as possible to target a specific condition in the body and address it, in spite of the vast number of variables that exist from person to person. “You’re trying to find the most precise tool for the most precise effect,” Rodriguez said. “That’s how you prove it works, and that’s how the FDA approves it.” But stem cells represented the mirror opposite of that approach: take an element from the human body and send it into a complex scenario in which it will address a broad number of issues without any intervention from the physician. Then, study the reaction and try to replicate it. “You make your application, and then you try to understand how it happened to see if you can make it better,” Rodriguez said. Conversations Rodriguez was having with fellow plastic surgeon and educator Dr. Adam Katz at this time upended another principle. Conventional wisdom had previously held that fat couldn’t be used to repair a cancer patient’s breast tissue after radiation 34 30
scene: Spring 2017
treatment. Radiation reduced the flow of blood in breast tissue, and because fat doesn’t bring its own blood supply along when it’s transferred from, say, a thigh, it wouldn’t be able to support itself in the new location. “Even now, if you get the latest edition of a radiation therapy book,” said Rodriguez, “it will say that there is no cure for radiation damage.” Fat was therefore a terrible grafting material and a medical biohazard with a high disposal cost. But, because he had a surplus in his lab, Katz had started centrifuging this liposuction biproduct and had found concentrated stem cells at the bottom of the test tube. Consequently, he started experimenting with the use of fat stem cells (a.k.a. adipose stem cells) to reconstruct and heal breasts after cancer-related radiation therapy. It worked. Ever the scholar-practitioner, Rodriguez channeled his excitement into research on the promising developments he saw at his conference and in Katz’s explorations. Beginning in 2007, he started using Katz’s techniques, injecting concentrated fat cells into patients’ breasts after lumpectomy and radiation treatments. The cells not only provided structure for the breast, but they also healed the tissue damage caused by the radiation. The secret is in the stem cells. These cells have yet to become a specific kind of cell within the body — whether fat, muscle, nerves, or something else. Most people have heard about embryonic stem cells, because of the controversy that comes from harvesting them. But scientists have learned, through years of investigation, that stem cells also cluster around material like bone marrow and fat, lurking on the edges and conducting small-scale repair duties as needed.
Rodriguez and other reconstructive surgeons can use liposuction to remove a trove of fat, place it in a centrifuge to separate out the parts with the highest concentration of stem cells in tow, and inject that enriched concentration back into the patient. It all takes place in the same facility and during the same surgical procedure. Rodriguez calls it “supercharging the healing process.” If the liposuctioned fat left the room, required elaborate processing, or needed to be transported elsewhere, it would be in danger of contamination, and the FDA would wrap Rodriguez in red tape.
Regulation Government red tape comes in many forms, including guidances released by the FDA to clarify how they will enforce laws. At the end of 2014, the FDA released a new series of draft guidance documents related to the use of adipose cells. With every word he read, Rodriguez fumed. He knew he had to call his old friend. The guidance in question had the tantalizing title Human Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue-Based Products (HCT/Ps) from Adipose Tissue: Regulatory Considerations. Until its release, Rodriguez had believed that, if he liposuctioned fat in his operating room, enriched it on the centrifuge, and put it back into his patient immediately, the resulting adipose cells would fall under section 361 of the Public Health Service Act. He was removing structural fat from a thigh and using it to restore the structure of an irradiated breast and heal the tissue damage. Under section 361, that’s called minimally manipulated homologous use of a cell or tissue. Rodriguez could do those procedures all day, every day and never need to ask the government for approval. Among the reasons he was thundering on the phone to Chirba was line 182 of the guidance. It read: Example B-3: The basic function of breast tissue is to produce milk (lactation) after childbirth. Because this is not a basic function of adipose tissue, using HTC/ Ps from adipose tissues for breast augmentation would generally be considered a non-homologous use. Translation: Since the breast is only for producing milk and adding fat to the breast will only change its shape, not facilitate lactation, then this is not a similar — or homologous — use of the cells. Therefore, those cells will be regulated under section 351 of the Public Health Service Act. Your cells, under that section, are a drug, and they must be subjected to clinical trials and applications for approval, which can cost millions of dollars and take years to complete.
Rodriguez knew that the majority of women never use their breasts to feed children. But for all women, breasts serve as a secondary sex organ. Eight years after embracing the efficacy of adipose stem cells in the treatment of breast cancer patients who have had these organs removed, Rodriguez realized that a vital tool might be yanked from his surgical tray. “[We were] mutually appalled,” Chirba said. “As we have so often done over the years, we forged a game plan to solve a big problem.”
Tag team Sept. 13, 2016: day two of public testimony on the draft guidances that so enraged Rodriguez and Chirba. Eight FDA representatives sat onstage in an auditorium at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and Rodriguez rose to speak his piece. First, he told the panel, the FDA says that adipose tissue is a connective tissue that serves only a structural purpose. But the government’s own cited source also says that adipose tissue can serve several other functions. It can store and regulate energy, cushion and occupy space, or respond to stimuli from the nervous and hormonal systems. All of this is crucial because, to gauge whether or not you’re complying with an FDA requirement for homologous use, you have to know what the function of the product is in the first place. The multifunctional nature of adipose tissue, beyond its structural capacity, makes it possible to heal a breast damaged by radiation, he argued. Then there’s a second problem. Due to the government’s language, doctors aren’t allowed to take adipose stem cells and inject them into a mastectomy wound for the purpose of healing the damage, because adipose cells cannot restore lactation — which, according to the government’s guidance, is the single purpose of the breast. Chirba had zeroed in on this point during her testimony the day before. “I ask this agency,” she said, “to explain why a breast is mainly a lactation organ and nothing else.” She also gave them a lawyer’s perspective on their guidance. The judiciary regularly defers to executive agencies’ judgment when it comes to enforcing laws. But this guidance would certainly be ruled arbitrary, because the FDA ignored adipose tissue’s versatility and a breast’s multiple functions. The agency’s restrictions, if enforced, would preclude women from using their own cells for reconstruction therapies. With more than
100,000 breast reconstructions taking place in the United States each year, the academic quickly becomes practical. Just ask Shelly Ross. “High benefits, high rewards, high risks in some instances — the FDA doesn’t have a regulatory pathway that really fits this,” Chirba said. Thus, the fight over a few technical paragraphs in an obscure FDA publication.
The pathway forward The one-two punch, legal and medical, continues. Since teaming up to address adipose stem cell issues, Chirba and Rodriguez have appeared side-by-side on numerous panels, including those sponsored by IFATS, the International Federation for Adipose Therapeutics and Science, of which Rodriguez is currently president. Together, as classmates and collaborators, they have continued to raise awareness among researchers, practitioners, and legal experts,
With more than 100,000 breast reconstructions taking place in the United States each year, the academic quickly becomes practical. educating them on the healing potential and legal complexity surrounding adipose cells. All of this bickering misses the point, according to Rodriguez. The FDA was founded to make sure that drugs are pure, safe, and do the job that the manufacturer claims that they will do. The process of injecting refined fat cells into a breast to spur healing after radiation therapy is already proven to be sanitary, safe, and effective. According to Rodriguez and Chirba, the FDA should stop trying to shame fat for the wrongs that are caused by wayward practitioners. Fat cells don’t kill people. People — irresponsible doctors — do. “Any practicing physician here in this audience,” Rodriguez told the FDA panel last year, “knows that accreditation of practitioners and health care facilities is the industry standard for maximizing patient safety before, during, and after therapy. The specter of losing one’s credentials is a powerful motivator and deterrent.” If this were a movie based on a John Grisham novel, audiences across America could anticipate a dramatic conclusion. The FDA would hear two days of moving testimony. The panel would deliberate. An official would come to the podium in Bethesda and say, “The government withdraws its draft guidances and will work with IFATS, Rodriguez, Chirba, and other experts to design regulations that protect patients and their access to emerging therapies.” There would be cheering and crying. Rodriguez
and Chirba would toast with tumblers of 18-year-old Glenmorangie single-malt Scotch (product placement) from the doctor’s extensive cellar, and credits would roll. But the FDA hasn’t. And according to Rodriguez, they probably won’t. Because these are draft guidances and not yet binding, the agency will most likely not respond in any way to the testimony they heard in September 2016. They will simply leave the documents alone, and not enforce them. “[The FDA] was undermined by the ridiculousness of their position,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t think they’re going to try to enforce it, so we’re still injecting fat into the breast.” But what about the more creative uses of adipose tissue and the perfectly good fat that plastic surgeons throw away? What about the clear sack that was once — and then once again became — a fully functioning heart? “The minute that I take the fat out and inject it through the veins,” Rodriguez said, “that’s really poking the tiger, so we’re not going to do that, but these are things that we could be doing today. I think it would be great if we could inject stem cells into people who have been irradiated in the abdomen or in other parts of the body that are crippled by radiation disease — but we can’t.” So there are no credits rolling, although credit is due, and given. “I’m so proud of Ricardo,” Chirba said. “He is so devoted to this, purely because it’s medically important. He could be performing a lot more surgery and making a lot more money. Instead, he goes all over the world to train doctors. It’s like Where’s Waldo.” As in so many struggles where the little guy takes on the reigning power, sometimes you win by not losing. It’s not necessarily glorious, and there are no parades to welcome you back after a day of testimony in a government auditorium. But who needs a parade when you can see a cancer patient smile at the sight of her own body or know that a friendship is still thriving after 45 years?
A scroll from India unfurls discussion among professors
Song and scroll by artist Momi Chitrakar (Lyrics translated by Professor Navine Murshid)
And here I end this poem of prayers. My name is Momi Chitrakar and I am from West Bengal The cursed tsunami snatched away lives.
Hearing the news, groups of news reporters came They took pictures and said beautiful words to inspire people. Why did you take so many lives (God)? The baby in the sea, How did you know about the break in the ground? Hearing the news, news reporters arrived
Hearing the news, military units arrived To protect people who are in tears Why did you destroy, tell me (God), Thailand and Andaman? The cursed tsunami snatched away lives.
Mothers lost their children Husbands lost their wives What pain, merciful (God), what pain! Why did you destroy, tell me (God), Sri Lanka and Andaman? The cursed tsunami snatched away lives.
The tsunami took place in 2004 A hundred-year-old sage said, “I’ve seen nothing like this before” Why did you destroy, tell me (God), Thailand and Andaman? The cursed tsunami snatched away lives.
he cursed tsunami snatched away lives Sri Lanka and Thailand and Andaman The cursed tsunami snatched away lives.
ON DECEMBER 26, 2004, an earthquake in Sumatra, Indonesia, set in motion a series of tsunamis that bulldozed areas of southeast Asia and killed more than 220,000 people in 12 countries.
Eight years later, Colgate professors on a faculty
development trip to India stopped in the Delhi Craft Museum, where a 7-foot–tall scroll depicting the tsunami caught their attention. Its creator, Momi Chitrakar, performed for them a mournful song about the painting. The moment sparked a lively, on-the-spot exchange among the professors, who shared their own academic perspectives on the tsunami and the art it inspired. They decided to buy the scroll and brought it back to campus, where they began passing it around for further discussion in classrooms and at professional conferences.
This past January, thanks to art and art history professor
Liz Marlowe and support from the Teagle Foundation (see sidebar), the scroll took up residence in Case Library, in a
PA DM A KA I MAL, ART AN D ART H ISTO RY
specially built case. As part of the display, Marlowe also
The vertical layout of the scroll presents a coherent visual narrative of an incomprehensible tragedy.
reignited the conversation that began in the Delhi museum by inviting professors from around campus to write minicommentaries from the perspective of their disciplines. “Powerful objects like the tsunami scroll can pull people together in shared wonderment, curiosity, and inspiration,” Marlowe said. Beyond these excerpts about this living art, you can read the complete collection at colgate.edu/scene. — Aleta Mayne
At the top, a frightening deity with red eyes, fangs, and a gaping mouth personifies the tsunami itself. Halfway down the scroll, a helicopter lifts a woman from the water. The helicopter’s front half takes on a human form, a magical hybrid accomplishing a miraculous rescue. To the right, a bearded, holy ascetic touches his forehead in wonderment at the sight. Television cameras operated by two women on the left, two men on the right, flank the scene. Families at home watch the disaster unfold on their TVs. Those who die in the water join the goddess at the bottom of the scroll. The vertical third eye in her forehead marks her connection to Shiva, a god who governs the cycle of life, from life to death and rebirth.
M AURE E N H AYS-MITCH ELL, GEO GRAPH Y
The 2004 tsunami left a gendered landscape of disaster in its wake.
L to R: Padma Kaimal, Maureen Hays-Mitchell, artist Momi Chitrakar, and Liz Marlowe in the Delhi Craft Museum
All across the Indian Ocean, the death toll among women far exceeded that of men, as this painting accurately reflects. In many regions, women were less likely to know how to swim or climb a tree. Flowing dresses hindered rapid flight. In southeast India, December 26 was a festival day. Crowds of women brought offerings of food and flowers to the seaside. When the water suddenly retreated, many women and children rushed out onto the exposed sands to see the surprises the water had left behind. When the wave returned, it swept them and their bowls of offerings — also depicted in the painting — out to sea.
NAOM I R O O D , CLASS I C S
Momi Chitrakar’s practices and philosophical questions have much in common with those of ancient bards such as Homer. Both traveled around to religious festivals. Both adapted traditional songs, making modern notions of authorship and originality inappropriate lenses through which to view their work. Both seek to make meaning in the aftermath of chaos and catastrophe in order to preserve and shape cultural memory, and to explore human relations with the gods. Both ask what it means to be mortal.
“Powerful objects like the tsunami scroll can pull people together in shared wonderment, curiosity, and inspiration.” — Liz Marlowe, professor of art and art history
J OEL BO R D EAUX , R E L I G I ON
Scroll paintings are typically connected to medieval storytelling traditions.
CROSSING DISCIPLINARY BOUNDARIES
They served as visual aids during lengthy recitations of folk epics at temples and festivals. They often told stories about local deities who caused natural disasters to get people’s attention and spur them to worship.
Installing the scroll in Case Library was Colgate’s first object- and exhibition-based teaching initiative funded by the Teagle Foundation. The
KA RE N HAR PP, GEOL O GY
This scroll and song are a cultural form of scientific record. Details like the “break in the ground” and the painting’s squiggly lines radiating outward from the god’s head accurately capture the tsunami’s cause — the shockwaves that radiated out from a major earthquake on the Indian Ocean floor. Geologists have only recently begun to realize the wealth of information that can be learned from ancestral stories, songs, and artwork about natural disasters, the largest and most dangerous of which may only occur at intervals of hundreds or thousands of years. Fortunately, people have been preserving information about natural disasters since long before the first geologist tied her hiking boots.
three-year grant also supports parallel programs at Skidmore College, Hamilton College, and SUNY Albany. Each college rotates its faculty coordinator every semester, creating new exhibitions and projects for that term. Professor Liz Marlowe launched Colgate’s program in the fall of 2016. The scroll exemplified “the idea of an object standing at the intersection of multiple ways of knowing, multiple ways of thinking,” she said. “It’s the kind of thing that can bring us together across those disciplinary boundaries.”
CH R IST IAN D UC O MB , T H E AT E R
Like the script of a play, the scroll shapes but does not entirely determine the performance, which depends as much upon the singer’s voice as upon the painting itself. By unrolling, holding, and pointing to the scroll as she sings, Momi offers her audience an aural and gestural interpretation of the imagery. Together, the words, the painting, and the singer’s voice and actions create a multisensory performance of the trauma wrought by the tsunami.
EXTRAS WATCH Momi Chitrakar performing her song in the Delhi Craft Museum: colgate.edu/scrollvideo READ more about the professors’ trip: colgate.edu/2012india
News and views for the Colgate community
scene: Spring 2017
Ashlee Eve â€™14
News and views for the Colgate community
The co-founders of UNRAVEL, Hannah Shaheen O’Malley ’17 (pictured above) and Jehdeiah Mixon ’18 (pictured in far-right photo), enlisted the help of alumni like William Beckler ’97 (bottom photo) during a daylong dive into their venture.
The Office of Alumni Relations is pleased to offer many ways for alumni to stay in touch with each other, and with Colgate! E-mail me with questions or concerns at tmansfield@colgate. edu. – Tim Mansfield, associate vice president, institutional advancement and alumni relations Questions? Contact alumni relations: 315-228-7433 or firstname.lastname@example.org
scene: Spring 2017
Alumni programs, volunteer opportunities, career networking, and more
Hacking difficult conversations On the bright Saturday morning of March 11, approximately 25 Colgate students and alumni came together in New York City for a common purpose. The goal was to provide support for a student venture, UNRAVEL. Gathered in the spacious, loft-like office of First Look Media, the group utilized their varied backgrounds to propel forward the student project, through a full-day hackathon. UNRAVEL, co-founded by Jehdeiah Mixon ’18 and Hannah Shaheen O’Malley ’17, creates toolkits that unpack complicated issues for children to work through with adults. Their pilot package addressed consent by using everyday actions — such as friends making a pizza or playing soccer — to draw comparisons about coercing others into activities they don’t want to do. “I learned a lot of things in college that I knew and experienced at a younger age but did not have the language to express and skills to address,” O’Malley explained. She and Mixon decided that they wanted to create educational children’s books to
give children a way to talk about issues like sex, race, gender, death, and privilege.
The duo launched their pilot project last spring, and in less than two weeks, they sold all 120 units, which included a storybook, coloring book, and pamphlet for adults. The toolkits were sold at the Colgate Bookstore, Hamilton Center for the Arts, and online. “This year, we hope to take our venture to new heights with a crowdfunding campaign and increased marketing efforts,” Mixon said. To help them achieve those objectives, alumni and students broke into small groups at the Hackathon to write copy for their Kickstarter page,
integrate Google analytics and search engine optimization, create social media pages and e-mail campaign templates, and develop a promotional video concept. Alumni came from backgrounds including consulting, entrepreneurship, software engineering, and education. “The spirit of today is to be collaborative: to learn, teach, share, and build stuff,” said Jeff O’Connell ’94, one of the organizers of the annual event. “There are a lot of Colgate alumni who are doers. They have hard skills and we wanted to utilize that.” UNRAVEL is Mixon and O’Malley’s project through Colgate’s Thought into Action (TIA) entrepreneurship program, which is facilitated by the help of alumni mentors. The Hackathon was powered by support from the Digital Business and Technology Professional Network. — Emma Loftus ’16 TIA has 150 mentors at large, and approximately 25 come back to campus each month to work with students. Are you interested in being involved? Visit colgate. edu/entrepreneurship
It was a strong showing of Colgate love. Triskaidekaphilia Colgate Day — every Friday the 13th — is proof positive of the Colgate community’s love for the Raider’s Dozen. The most recent celebration fell in January, and alumni clubs around the country organized events to proclaim their triskaidekaphilia: 19 clubs hosted 700 people at get-togethers in 12 states and the District of Columbia. Folks from coast to coast shared Colgate Day pictures on social media and added to the cache at colgate.edu/project13. Notable celebrations included Colgate Thirteen, Swinging ’Gates, and Resolutions performances in Tampa, Fla.; New York City; and Boston (respectively). It was a strong showing of Colgate love and a perfect way to launch the countdown to our next Colgate Day in October.
January 13, 2017
Calling for freedom of expression Comparing himself to a war correspondent offering his notes from the front lines, Professor Robert Kraynak spoke about “The Intellectual Climate at Colgate: Campus Free Speech in the Age of Safe Spaces and Trump” at a Fairfield County Alumni Club event in March. More than 60 people gathered in New Canaan, Conn., at the home of Dina and Kevin Rusch ’85. “Our campuses seem normal and productive on the surface, but there is a battle for the soul of the universities in which academic freedom and freedom of expression are at stake,” said the political science professor and director of the Center for Freedom and Western Civilization.
“ There is a battle for the soul of the universities in which academic freedom and freedom of expression are at stake.”
Showing Raider pride, clockwise from top left: Karen Aguilar ’20; the Colgate Club of Cleveland; (L to R) Romario Lobban ’18, Tracy Milyango ’19, and Kristi Mangine; Recchi (owner Kim Siembieda ’10); and Natalie Smith ’17.
Next Colgate Day: 10/13/17
“We are losing the ideal of a ‘legitimate debate’ through rational discourse in which both sides — or all sides — are given a fair hearing, because certain viewpoints are considered off limits or too offensive to discuss,” Kraynak asserted. Citing recent violent protests at UC Berkeley and Middlebury College, he commented that those events contrast with daily campus life — which, at Colgate, “is fairly reasonable and cooperative.” Noting that there is uneasiness among minority and international students on campus because of President Donald Trump’s proposed travel ban, Kraynak said, “I detect greater anxiety over visa and travel plans, but not a decrease in the numbers of foreign students or participation in campus life.” At the same time, he acknowledged, “external pressures from new political currents like Trumpism” may produce a backlash — the government may withhold funds from universities that suppress unpopular opinions, creating a cycle of fear and outrage. So, although political pressures pose threats to the university, he said, it is just as perilous to stifle the freedom of expression. He concluded by asking the audience to help restore “the great ideal of the quest for truth through rational discourse, including all points of view (liberal, conservative, and radical), to our universities.”
News and views for the Colgate community
13 Words (or fewer)
For these students, study time is over. Now it’s your turn. Can you spot the 13 differences in the bottom photo compared with the top picture from a previous commencement ceremony? Find the answer key on pg. 61.
We received a flurry of submissions for our latest winter caption contest. Here are the winners:
Tunk! The sound when you toast with frozen beer. – Glenn Ivers ’73
Pete bet his scarf. I match that, and raise my pair of long johns. – Jim Humber ’64
Don’t you just love Colgate in June?
– Richard S. Lisella ’63
What were those thirteen thinking? A couple of dorms would have been nice! – Dan Saulsgiver MAT’76
Who knew this is what "dining out" meant when I enrolled at Colgate? – Art Brandon ’60
scene: Spring 2017
Above: Ulysses the squirrel has a near-death experience with a vacuum cleaner in the Childrenâ€™s Theater production of The Giant Ear. Photo by Mark DiOrio Back cover: Moon Over McGregory. Photo by Andrew Daddio
News and views for the Colgate community
scene: Colgate University
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