C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n magaz in e
Grace Under Fire
FAL L 2 01 3
Alicia Moreau Shambo â€™89 could have run the other way. But when it mattered most, she didnâ€™t.
Fa l l 2 0 1 3 Volume XVIII, Issue 1 Editor
Mark Berry Art Director
SOMETHING THIS SEASON
Alfred Hall Managing Editor
Alicia Lutz ’98 Associate Editor
Jason Ryan Photography
Leslie McKellar Contributors
Kip Bulwinkle ’04 Phil Dustan Kristen Gehrman ’11 Martin Jones Jennifer Lorenz Luci Moreira Nancy Santos Leslie Sautter Noah Smith ’08 Abi Nicholas Stock ’07 Holly Thorpe Online Design
Charlie Stinchfield Alumni Relations
Karen Burroughs Jones ’74 Executive Vice President for External Relations
Michael Haskins Contact us at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 843.953.6462 On the Web
magazine.cofc.edu Mailing Address
C H A R L E S TO N
BASKE TB ALL Visit call
843.953.CofC (2632) for ticket information.
ATTN: College of Charleston Magazine College of Charleston Division of Marketing and Communications Charleston, SC 29424-0001 College of Charleston Magazine is published three times a year by the Division of Marketing and Communications. With each printing, approximately 60,000 copies are mailed to keep alumni, families of currently enrolled students, legislators and friends informed about and connected to the College. Diverse views appear in these pages and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editor or the official policies of the College.
[ table of contents ]
Madagascar The Beautiful
Around the Cistern
by Katie Browne ’09
Katie Browne ’09 followed her dream to serve in a foreign land. And while she did much to help the community she was assigned through the Peace Corps, the experience had a greater impact on her own life.
Freedom Fighter by Jason Ryan
Three men imprisoned in Louisiana State Penitentiary spent decades in solitary confinement for crimes they denied committing. Artist and social advocate Jackie Sumell ’96 fights for their freedom and for changing America’s prison system.
Life Academic 10 Making the Grade 20 Teamwork 24 Point of View
The Golden Hour by Alicia Lutz ’98
Alicia Moreau Shambo ’89 knew what she had to do. And – amidst the chaos, the fear and the blood at last spring’s Boston Marathon finish line – she knew she she didn’t have long. She had to save lives, and she had to do it fast.
The Royal Maroons by Mark Berry
For 20 years now, a group of CofC alumni and former students from the ’40s and ’50s have been coming together to break bread and continue the friendships they formed at the College.
on the cover: Alicia Moreau Shambo ’89 photo by Heather McGrath
AROUND the CISTERN What’s Old Is New
As the oldest institution of higher education in South Carolina and one of a handful of schools established during America’s colonial era, the College knows a little something about history. In fact, the College knows a lot about it. Whether you graduated 50 years ago, 25 years ago or just last May, you couldn’t help but feel connected to the generations of students that preceded you when you proudly crossed the Cistern stage to receive your diploma against the magnificent backdrop of Randolph Hall. That appreciation for the past served as a guiding light for the College as it reimagined its athletics marks this summer – a process that coincided with its entrance into a new athletics conference, the Colonial Athletic Association. “Like our decision to move to the CAA, the rebranding process was thorough and thoughtful,” Director of Athletics Joe Hull says. “Our new athletics logo gives us an opportunity to build on our brand identity on a local, regional and national level.
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
When our coaches and student-athletes step onto a playing field or into a gym, we need an identifiable mark that sets us apart and sends a strong message that ‘We Are Charleston.’” Led by Charleston-based Gil Shuler Graphic Design, the process incorporated the thoughts and feelings of students, faculty, staff, student-athletes, coaches and alumni. “We wanted to stay true to the College,” says Gil Shuler. “But at the same time, we wanted to create a mark that becomes the College’s foundation, its strength. We found this old letter C that we grasped onto: It was simple, strong and had longevity.” The new athletics logo incorporates a clean block C with a serif that can be traced back to several different decades
(1890s, 1920s, 1940s and 1960s). Alternate versions of the new logo that incorporate “The College” and “Cougars” were developed for multi-use on in-game gear and merchandise. “As the College receives more national exposure in the Colonial conference and in top media markets such as New York, Boston and Philadelphia, this rebranding could not have come at a better time,” President P. George Benson observes. “The new logo conveys the College’s history and traditions while also providing us with a distinguishable identity among the other academically elite schools of the Colonial.” And with this new simple, classic logo, Cougars fans will discover that history, when it comes to the College, is definitely worth repeating.
AROUND the CISTERN
A Historic Move when you’re in the business of collecting, you’re eventually going to run out of room – especially when you’ve been at it as long as the South Carolina Historical Society has. Established in 1855 with the mission of expanding, preserving and making accessible its collection of books, letters, journals, maps, drawings and photographs about South Carolina history, the SCHS is home of the state’s oldest and largest private collection, and it is constantly adding materials to its collection. And herein lies the problem. Housed in the Fireproof Building, a National Historic Landmark on Meeting Street, the SCHS has been so good at accomplishing the expanding aspect of its mission, the preserving and making accessible components have become jeopardized in recent years. “It had gotten to the point in the Fireproof Building that every corner was taken with something. That makes it hard to display and guard against moisture and other elements – and it also makes it hard to fulfill the goal of exposing the collection to the greatest degree possible to the general public,” says Dan Ravenel ’72, who serves both on the College’s Board of Trustees and as the third vice president for the SCHS. Enter the College of Charleston, whose Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library is built for expansion and offers all the right elements to further the SCHS’s goals. “Moving the collection to the College’s library was a fairly easy decision to make,” says Ravenel, noting that the facility not only could easily accommodate such a collection, but also could provide both a secure, temperature-controlled environment for preserving the materials and a built-in team of professional archivists to oversee them. “It was made even more attractive because of the flow of people that would be exposed to the collection. So, the College sort of won the day.” Truth is, the College won more than just the day. “This collection is a treasure of material. It makes our library a much stronger repository of research materials, bringing in first-class historians, researchers
and writers, as well as providing a unique and vast amount of material for the historical studies of students and faculty members,” says Steve Osborne ’73, executive vice president of business affairs at the College. “It’s an absolute winwin: It showcases the historical society’s collection better and, for us, it provides for more in-depth research.” “For historians and social scientists who come to the library, this gives them far better access to information – and to different information, different kinds of information,” agrees David Cohen, dean of the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs, who, as the former dean of the library, played an integral role in bringing the SCHS collection to campus. “It’s a combination of physically integrating the collections and integrating access to material. It’s also an integration of expertise. Bringing the expertise of archivists together gives your research more perspective. It just adds more dimension to the research.” But first, the College is going about adding dimension to the Addlestone Library. Beginning in early 2014, renovations will outfit the second floor with compact shelving, freeing up space for the third-floor holdings, which will
move down a story to accommodate the SCHS collection on the third floor. The renovations – which will also create additional student seating and some multipurpose classroom space – are expected to be done within a year, and the collection and a few SCHS staff members will move to the Addlestone shortly thereafter. (The majority of the SCHS staff, however, will remain in the Fireproof Building, which will become exhibition space for the society.) When it’s all said and done, the Addlestone Library will rank with the top research centers in the nation in Southern studies. “Truthfully, we will have the best collection of South Carolina history to be found in the world,” says Cohen, noting that the collection includes letters written by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, as well as a wealth of material documenting slave trade in the state. “It’s really a great advantage to the College and to our larger community.” And, of course, to the historical society – which gains not only physical space, but also access to the College’s digitization initiatives, thus giving it license to collect whatever it wants – without ever running out of room.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
Already a Legend
| an illustration of Gertrude Sanford Legendre in 1944 World War II by German prison guard Tony May |
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
Gertrude sanford legendre lived a life most people can only dream about. She was an international traveler extraordinaire, big game hunter, American spy, plantation owner and friend to the rich and famous. The daughter of New York congressman and industrialist John Sanford, Legendre became a world-class adventurer who made it a habit to see the world’s most interesting places and entertain the world’s most fascinating people. Lucky for us, Legendre preserved many of her life’s memories through photographs, film, scrapbooks, letters and more. Thanks to the generosity of Legendre’s family, Special Collections at the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library has been given this remarkable trove, which was previously housed at Legendre’s home outside Charleston, the historic Medway Plantation. It’s a collection remarkable for its breadth, says Harlan Greene ’74, head of Special Collections: “She lived almost the entire 20th century, participated in events that changed natural history and world history and came from a family that had been politically influential from the 19th into the 20th century. Her collection documents the international social elite, the Office of Strategic Services in World War II, fascist Italy, fashion, big-game hunting on several continents, polo, Charleston social life, 19th-century American politics and diplomacy and, of course, the role of women in the world.” This fall, Special Collections has begun processing and partially digitizing the archive – which includes letters she wrote while a prisoner of war in Germany, manuscripts of her books and portraits of Legendre by photographers Toni Frissell and Man Ray, among others – courtesy of a $138,750 gift from the Medway Charitable Trust. Given the scope of work, such a gift is critical for proper care of the archives. “Many donors of collections understand the commitment that comes with an institution’s acceptance of materials that will be kept ‘for all time.’ The hundreds, if not thousands, of work hours of cataloguing, rehousing, conservation and
AROUND the CISTERN
then ‘eternal’ preservation of materials in climate-controlled space demands great resources from libraries and archives,” says Greene. “Contributing to a collection’s maintenance, according to one’s abilities, allows the collections to become an institution’s priority and shows graciousness, generosity and good stewardship.”
The processing of the Legendre archive will be done alongside that of two other significant archives recently given to the College. A $193,500 grant is enabling the Rabbi William A. Rosenthal Judaica Collection, featuring the imagery of synagogues, to be processed, and a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission will allow for
the archiving of papers related to both Congressman Mendel Rivers and Burnet Maybank ’19, who served as a U.S. senator, S.C. governor and Charleston mayor. Thanks to the generosity of these gifts and the hard work of Special Collections, these archives will live on forever – something most people can only dream about.
| (clockwise, top left) canisters containing film of Gertrude Sanford Legendre’s many global expeditions; scientific journals from Natural History to National Geographic documenting Legendre’s travels; Legendre in her later years; a hunt at Legendre’s Medway Plantation in the 1950s, as captured by fashion photographer Toni Frissell |
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
AROUND the CISTERN
Shared Space Fresh Start Although it may be difficult for incoming students to imagine now, the College is their new home. At the sixth annual convocation ceremony, they were welcomed home by faculty and staff before they signed their names in the class ledger, formalizing their place in the College family. In preparation for the event, students read Jewel by convocation speaker and English professor Bret Lott, who has returned to the College after three years at Louisiana State University. Jewel gained national attention when Oprah Winfrey picked it in January 1999 as one of her book club selections. “Coming home to the College is a dream come true,” says Lott, who previously taught at the College from 1986 to 2004. “And speaking at the convocation underscores the fact that the College is and always has been my real home.”
According to Frank Lloyd Wright, “Space is the breath of art”: The areas around, between and within art can be just as meaningful as the piece itself – and, as Herb Parker and Joseph Burwell ’93 (pictured above) demonstrated in their conjoined exhibits at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art this fall, so can the areas around, between and within the artist’s workspace. Most, however, are nothing like the idealized art studios that we envision: “After nine years of periodically working on my studio,” says Burwell, “it never became the efficient workplace that I dreamt of before I had to move out.” That dream studio might in fact be just that: a dream. And so, when these two artists brought their studios together – Parker, a studio art professor, from just down the hall in the Cato Center, and Burwell, from Brooklyn, N.Y. – for one evolving exhibit, it not only compelled an examination of the relationship between the studio space, the artists and the works produced there, but also spoke to the ongoing collaborative relationship between the faculty and alumni at the College.
From the President
New Charleston As president, it’s my job to think decades into the future and to make sure the College is on track to achieve its potential and its envisioned future. Over the past year, I’ve devoted a considerable amount of thought and time to one issue in particular: Charleston’s rapid economic transformation and its implications for the future of the city’s higher education institutions, particularly the College of Charleston. I have discussed this issue with many of our region’s best minds and most capable leaders, including people from business, politics and higher education. I have sought their advice on ways the College could invest in and support the significant economic expansion taking place all around us in Charleston. One idea that I floated and that was immediately embraced in these conversations was that Charleston needs its own comprehensive research university, and that the College of Charleston should be a major player in its development. Yes, Charleston has the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and it is a research university, but it is not comprehensive. Charleston’s Evolving Economy Over the past 20 years, Charleston has evolved from a city whose economy was heavily reliant on the Navy and the tourism industry into a diverse, modern, complex economy that I call “New Charleston.” The growth of New Charleston has been fueled by the rapid expansion of a high-tech sector, the creation of thousands of manufacturing jobs, a thriving commercial real estate market and an influx of wealthy retirees. The most significant catalyst, however, is Boeing. In just over three years, Boeing’s North Charleston workforce grew from zero to 6,200 employees to manufacture the 787 Dreamliner. With plans to consolidate a third of its U.S.based information-technology functions in North Charleston, as well as plans to begin designing and engineering parts for the 737 airliner, it’s a safe bet that |
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
Boeing’s Lowcountry operations will add thousands of more jobs in the near future. In response to these transformative economic factors, the College has revised its Strategic Plan. As I have written about in past columns, our original 2009 Strategic Plan called for us to exploit, but also nurture and support Charleston’s existing assets. These assets include the port, historic preservation, the ecology of the Lowcountry, the tourism industry, African American history, urban planning and the arts. But as Charleston’s economy has expanded over the past few years, these traditional assets are no longer the only driving forces behind Charleston’s economy and its quality of life. The traditional assets are being joined by new and emerging assets in aerospace, health care and biosciences, and digital media and technology. Our revised Strategic Plan calls for the College to take advantage of and nurture both Charleston’s existing and emerging assets. Our reciprocal relationship with these assets will help us differentiate the College from other universities throughout the nation and around the world. Of course, other universities also see the growth and revenue opportunities in New Charleston. There are currently 28 universities and institutes with operations in Charleston – 21 for-profit private universities plus the College, MUSC, The Citadel, Trident Tech, Charleston Southern and a small collection of programs offered by Clemson and USC. Another way to look at this, is we have five regular universities in metro Charleston and 23 branch or satellite campuses. The conclusion of the vast majority in our business and local government communities is that New Charleston needs its own comprehensive research university, not a collection of branch campuses. And the consensus is that the College should lead the development of this research university. If the College does not step up to satisfy the demands of New Charleston, we risk losing our leadership role as a major economic contributor and hub of academic excellence. New Charleston wants more and needs more from the
College – it needs us to become or develop a comprehensive research university. Developing A Comprehensive Research University For the first time ever New Charleston is on the same radar screen as Austin, Texas; The Research Triangle; Boston; Northern Virginia; and Silicon Valley. We’re on the screen, but we still have a long way to go before we measure up to the prominence and success of those areas. One reason? They are all supported by one or more comprehensive research universities. Research universities employ topnotch resident faculty who are leaders in their academic fields; invest in research projects that create intellectual property, revenue streams and startup firms; and pump millions of dollars into their local communities through federal and private research grants. In order for New Charleston to develop its own comprehensive research university, one of three things must happen: Option one: Convince the state legislature to make the College a research university. We would become the state’s fourth research university. This would allow us to pursue Ph.D. programs in fields important to New Charleston and more adequately invest in academic programs aligned with New Charleston’s emerging assets. Option two: Merge the College and MUSC. Imagine an institution called Charleston University, the core of which would be the College of Charleston, similar to Harvard University and its Harvard College or Rutgers University and its Rutgers College. Around the arts and sciences core would be the professional schools: our business school and our school of education; and MUSC’s medical school, dental school, pharmacy school, health professions school and nursing school. Such a university would improve Charleston’s economy, its workforce and its quality of life. It also would encourage the strengthening of our existing academic disciplines and give our undergraduate students greater access to the health professions and medical research of MUSC.
AROUND the CISTERN
Option three: If a merger can’t be achieved, significantly increase collaboration between the College and MUSC. This option would retain each university’s identity, history and traditions while providing many of the resources of a comprehensive research university. There is almost no overlap between the College and MUSC. They complement each other and would fit together like two puzzle pieces. For example, MUSC’s health information systems work would be complemented by the work of our computer science department. Our philosophy department currently has general ethics courses and could collaborate with MUSC professors on developing curriculum for medical ethics courses. Our students in undergraduate public health could pursue grants and research opportunities with students and faculty in MUSC’s graduate public health program. Our chemistry
department working together with MUSC’s pharmacy school could discover the next pharmaceutical breakthrough. And since health care is clearly big business these days, our business school could help to optimize the performance and quality of hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices. I first began publicly advocating for a merger or increased collaboration last fall. I had many discussions about these ideas with MUSC President Ray Greenberg before he stepped down this summer to take a position with the University of Texas System. Dr. Greenberg quickly saw what I was seeing and supported my ideas. Dr. Greenberg and I took these ideas to Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, who quickly became a major proponent of greater collaboration or a merger and has helped galvanize support in Charleston’s business community. The mayor and I took these ideas to the Metro Chamber of Commerce, and they became
active advocates for the creation of a comprehensive research university. In response to the positive community feedback, a joint College of Charleston/ MUSC committee was formed this past spring to study the feasibility of greater collaboration between the two universities. Additionally, a review committee that included faculty from each institution examined examples of similar collaborative agreements and mergers elsewhere in the country. I am 100 percent confident that a merger or increased collaboration between the College and MUSC is the right thing to do. It will help us stimulate and nurture New Charleston and elevate the quality of our programs and the value we add to our students and their careers. As our city’s economy grows, so too should the role of her colleges and universities. – President P. George Benson
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
LIFE ACADEMIC Engineering Change gavin naylor told his protégé to give up. The biology professor conceded that Chenhong Li’s efforts had been valiant, his methods innovative and his ideas potentially groundbreaking, but, alas, a year of experimentation was not yielding results. “Move on,” he said, “you’re looking for a needle in a haystack.” Fortunately, Li ignored him. “He’s stubborn,” Naylor says of Li, who worked as a postdoctoral scholar in Naylor’s lab at the Hollings Marine Laboratory, “but also very persuasive and has unusually good instinct.”
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
In short order, Li walked into Naylor’s office and announced that he had found the proverbial needle. From that day forward, biologists seeking to understand differences across similar species could capture and isolate organisms’ genes much more effectively and then better analyze and compare their genomes. For Li and Naylor specifically, Li’s breakthrough meant they could much more efficiently study the difference in the genomes of assorted sharks and rays. As Naylor explains, at certain points
in time, species diverge, causing similar organisms to develop different traits – such as a saltwater fish developing the ability to live in freshwater. Naylor wants to discover what genes are responsible for the development of these kinds of traits. “We just really want to understand how life becomes diverse,” says Naylor, adding that different organisms will sometimes use different genetic methods to achieve what seems, by other methods of observation, to be the same adaptive function. “We use genes to understand the roadmap of the diversity of life.”
| Image courtesy of Callie Crawford |
| a CT scan revealing the skeletal system of Squatina nebulosa (angel shark) |
To further the effort, Naylor and his research team are building an anatomical database of sharks and rays, which will possibly enable them to link these differences in anatomical structures among species to certain genes. The work requires marine biology graduate student Callie Crawford to bring various smelly fish over to the Medical University of South Carolina, where she runs CT scans consisting of 2,000 X-rays, all stacked together. Back in the lab, Crawford processes these scans – a 25-hour undertaking that makes the skeletons easier to see and interpret. One day in July, Crawford was processing the scan of an angel shark while her Australian postdoctoral scholar colleague Shannon Corrigan worked with data regarding populations of Mako sharks. Naylor looked on cheerfully, regarding the skeleton of the angel shark with wonder. Viewing the shark’s interlocking bones, Naylor saw a marvel of engineering. But, even more marvelous than this
skeleton, he says, is that nature frequently takes an “end product,” such as this very able angel shark, and continues to change it drastically. Humans cannot engineer such radical changes. The best-designed vacuum cleaner, for example, cannot be
tweaked to suddenly become a toaster. “But,” says Naylor, “life can take a vacuum cleaner and make a toaster.” And life does this through genes, which – thanks to Li and Naylor – are more accessible than ever.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
The Root of Community option of going off by yourself, which makes it easy to be a good guest,” laughs France, associate professor of political science. “However, the sense of communal gathering was hard for me to get used to at first. As college professors, sometimes
singled her out as an outsider among the indigenous Amerindian people. Still, it was impossible for Hollis France to feel alone. Every morning, she rose with her host family and shared the morning chores, breakfast and stories with the extended family – sons, daughters, siblings and cousins living nearby in their little cluster of homes. They talked about their day ahead and then dispersed, one by one, to fetch their buckets of well water for bathing before they went about their days – which, of course, they would replay for one another when they once again gathered together at the family compound that evening. “As soon as I got there, I felt like I had this built-in family. You don’t have the
we live in our heads a lot. Here, in Charleston, I choose when I want to interact. There, you’re forced to interact. It’s all about contributing to and being part of that little community.” Community, in fact, is what brought France to Wowetta for four weeks last summer. More specifically, she was there to study a community-driven model for economic development. “These models take a holistic approach in terms of community because the social relations and environment are being considered as part of this economy,” she explains. “While the market-driven approach is individualistic, looking at how the individual benefits, this holistic approach keeps the community’s needs in mind.”
| Guyana images courtesy of Hollis France |
she was 2,272 miles from charleston, having left her daughter with her mom for the month and traveled by herself first to her native Georgetown, Guyana, and then to the village of Wowetta in the North Rupununi District, where her dark skin
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
France’s case study focused on Wowetta’s cassava income-generating project, a community project that employs local women to harvest and process cassava root, extracting the cyanide from it and producing the granular cassava, called farine. Her research began in the summer of 2012, when France went on a “getting to know you” mission, working alongside the women in the primitive cassava “factory.” “That was very important because I was building trust,” says France, who admits that “pulling the cassava and fetching it back in the warashee [a backpack woven from native plants] was very labor intensive. But it paid off. I got the biggest compliment from the women: ‘A lot of people come in and talk to us – you’re the first to work with us.’ That meant a lot.” This summer, she wanted to get an idea of the women’s intrinsic motivations (e.g., to give back to the community, to help support community development) and of the greater community’s perception of the project. “The big takeaway was that – while it gave the women a sense of independence, a sense that they are contributing and relieving some of their husbands’ or partners’ financial worry – the women didn’t want this to disrupt their regular lifestyles, their work on their farms, their social lives,” says France. “And, even though the men might want their women home taking care of things, they still felt it was important to be passing along the knowledge of the process of making farine. So, there is some community buyin in terms of recognizing the importance of cassava to the culture.” That community-based thinking – along with things like differential pricing for people outside and inside the community – is just the kind of holistic approach to economic development that France was hoping to find. “It definitely takes the community into consideration,” she says. “It gives you a sense that you’re a part of something bigger than yourself.” It gives you a built-in family, of sorts – which, as France found out, makes it impossible to feel alone.
Head Swim The doctor put a scare into Brian Lanahan. “Medical tests have revealed an area of concern,” the neurologist told the associate professor of teacher education. “We’re going to have to watch you.” Leaving the office, Lanahan feared the worst: a brain tumor. Contemplating his life ending much sooner than anticipated, he drew up a quick bucket list. Right at the top was an incredible athletic challenge: to swim the English Channel. He registered for the swim almost immediately and began training. Fortunately for Lanahan, his suspicious neurological symptoms turned out to be vertigo, an illness he learned to manage. But no matter this reprieve from the life-threatening tumor, in August he went ahead and attempted to swim the English Channel. To his dismay, the vertigo came back to haunt him. In an attempt to beat nasty weather on the horizon that would have canceled his attempt, he left the English Coast at midnight and began swimming in a heavy chop. It wasn’t long before the rolling of the ocean and the nonstop glare from a spotlight on his escort boat took their toll on Lanahan, whose vertigo is triggered by bright lights and motion. “I ended up with both of them on my swim,” he says. “The irony hit me immediately.” After 90 nauseous minutes he made the tough decision to abandon his attempt. Climbing back into the boat, he vomited. He did so again upon returning to the dock in England, and then had a headache for three days. You might think Lanahan would never want to swim again, but he’s committed to trying to cross the English Channel again within the next year or two and has already resumed training in a pool in Sarajevo, where he is living for the fall semester as a Woodrow Wilson International Center Scholar. Going forward, he knows that his ability to forestall the effects of vertigo is just as critical as his physical conditioning. “I know I can make it. It’s a point of figuring it out now,” says Lanahan. “I’m fully committed to going back.” S PRI N G 2 0 1 3 |
Shared Journeys Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? – Joseph Campbell
| Photo by Gately Williams |
Three years ago, Paul Allen dared. The professor emeritus retired from the Department of English after 36 years, bought a camper and moved out onto the road to see what there was to see, write what there was to write. The poet and singer-songwriter left this place, where he knew where he stood, and set out to find his footing in the big, open world: a reality check of his own size among the birds and the trees and the highways and the battlefields and the campgrounds and prairie and desert and open mics and his pen and his paper. He dared to answer the call of adventure – to make his very own journey, his very own pilgrimage. But, in a way, it’s also the College’s pilgrimage. He took a piece of the College out on the road with him, reading his poetry, singing his songs, visiting former students, getting new perspective, new material. In his search for song, his hunt for the poem, he’s found that, wherever the road takes us, we are never alone. From his campsite under the stars – or maybe from a pit stop along his way – Paul Allen shares his journey with us all.
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
Recalculating: An Essay from the Road Nonbeing can never be, being can never not be. – Bhagavad Gita Halt! That’s all, and the musket ball separates Officer from his mount, and soul. I halt 197 years later. Chalmette Battlefield, New Orleans. No other order, his troops stood where I stand, Fired on by “The Dirty Shirts,” Americans. Disciplined Brits, they took it like gentlemen, Were shot, at attention, until another officer Left his own troop to give these An order to do something else, quick time. I face the Rodriguez Canal, hit by a volley Of kid-yells on the Choctaw and Free Black End of the rampart, Old Hickory the other end. I’d like to hold the road a little while, No agenda and the rest of my life to accomplish it. My truck. My small camper. My nightly fire.
I cross borders, stop at welcome centers, And grab brochures. Do I stay in this state A couple of weeks to check out the Pow Wow Or go south to hang out a day or two At Willa Cather’s house in Red Cloud? View New Orleans, Vieux Carré, a month Of death and jazz, or Santa Fe, to stay Among the bronzed artists, books, cafes? So many towns to own! So many battles! The nameless voice behind the MRI Says, Maybe not so fast, old traveller. Report: “The patient has multilevel findings. L4-L5 disc degeneration … Osteophyte complex extending into Posterior disc … second osteophyte … Pressure … thecal sac … Arthropathy … L5-S1 disc degeneration ….” My spine’s as crusty as my social skills. I limp. I’m halt. I’m getting a little scared That streets of towns I’m stranger to will close, Wood trails will grow over – stenosis of brambles. And one eye’s going out (congenital), A bad crossing in the retina. But I can live this life with a blind spot. Even should it spread, I think I’d make A better blind tourist than a crippled one. There is no place or thing I ache to see. It’s not the seeing but the being there That moves me with at once a satisfaction And a longing. Pure being in pure Thereness, Wherever There finds me here and now: Billy the Kid’s cell or grave; the street In Clovis where Buddy Holly took a break. I sit beneath the chair in Deadwood, where Wild Bill Hickok sat as Jack McCall (“Crooked Nose Jack”) shot him from behind. The chair’s encased in glass up on the wall. I stood where Meriwether Lewis began His trek; I stood where Meriwether Lewis died, Hundreds of miles in distance from each other, And yet the two were one, the way I felt. I stood at Jefferson Rock where Jefferson stood – made it up o.k., the back, the leg – And stared where Jefferson stared, below, where The Shenandoah and Potomac meet To form the whole out-west in Jefferson’s mind. I lost my footing more in my descent. Not so much to see these Theres, but be, Being in them, of them, being them. It’s as though when I luck on a place, the place Has been waiting for me, no matter How touristy. I’m quieted by the spirits. Of course there are names – Jesse James, Bob Ford, Laura Ingalls Wilder, J.E.B. Stuart,
Geronimo, Elvis – hundreds posted: Who stood here, who walked there. I read Them, but it’s the there and here that matter. (I’ve read some saints who think such enstasy, Such loss of world and being purely here Might be the active presence of God). Maybe. I’ll take the presence of Lost Bird any day, Buried just outside the mass grave Of her blood kin Lakota at Wounded Knee. I didn’t have to see it. Get me there, Guide me up the hill from down below In the creek bed where her mother was killed And had scooped some earth and lay on top The infant, and four days later, in frozen ground They found the baby girl under her mother. Lost Bird. The little thing was alive. Tell me the story and then walk away, Leave me there awhile with the child. I didn’t have to see Mark Twain’s house In Hannibal nor the one in Hartford. I stand in rooms until others leave (It drives guided groups nuts for me To hang back, and they have to wait). I hate guided groups. I left the tour In New Orleans Museum of Art when Two loud couples discussed the painting Of Andrew Jackson, “also known as Stonewall,” One blustery husband said. I wanted to shoot him. I don’t know art. But I’d gone with Lauren To the house where Degas lived when he was here. And when the group left the room where He slept and painted, I held back and breathed Him into me. I stood on the two-foot Square patch of original flooring and felt The difference between Degas’ floor and the newer. I don’t see art as a connoisseur, But in my mind’s eye smell the sweat Or coal fire, feel the hands of the maker, know The final stopped hustle of his stepping back, His body relaxing for the first time in weeks, To say, “I cannot do any more than this.” It’s plain as a pikestaff: Tell me what you’re seeing And I see, then let me be. But I have to walk in the place, I have to feel Original ground or floor beneath my feet. It’s like some subcutaneous knowing that rises To my skin, inside and outside one mind, One world of being, whole and timeless as air. 01/01/1891, Wounded Knee, Pine Ridge Reservation, 290 Sioux, plus or minus, Mostly Bigfoot’s band who came surrendering, Who’d lain in position four days because Of the blizzard were gathered up (some Hauled back from 3 miles away, managing
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
| Photos by Gately Williams |
To run that far before exhaustion caught Up to them as did the soldiers who fired At close range to finish them off). More babies. The dead were thrown into the deep pit With its cleanly cut sides in frozen ground. They rest in the place where Hotchkiss guns were placed. People leave, as prayer, ribbon, rags, Apple; those with forethought: Sage, or flowers – Mostly plastic, but a thought. The Lakota Woman I was with suggested I leave Tobacco, which I did, a 17¢ Cigarette opened to the breeze, And the tobacco was, my friend told me, accepted. Below the hill, where slaughter was complete, There stands a stand worked by a man in his 40s, A woman, and an old man, a father or grandfather. All day, they sort and string and sell their beads. I picked up a pebble the size of a pencil eraser, And knowing how sacred the ground there is – As is the ground everywhere, I guess, But especially there, so much blood, so many Poverties – I asked the guy in charge If I might have the rock to send to a friend Who collects rocks from friends of hers who travel. The man turned to the old man, the oldest Of us all, and though the old man surely Must have heard me, the man put the question, “Can he have this?” The old man hung his half done
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
String of beads up, held the rock; open Hand, closed fist, then open again And said something I didn’t understand In Lakota and gave it back to him, not me. The man handed it to me, saying, “He Said, ‘Yes. It is from this ground but has No spirit power, since it is not round.’” I gave the guy a fiver, which he accepted And handed it to the old man who for the first time Looked me in the eye. Then he nodded, A nod that was both greeting and goodbye. Museums, art galleries, graves, battlefields Or natural woods where nothing special happened Except life and death and endless resurrection. All of them give me something there Unmolested by dualities – Past/present, good/bad, body/soul – A kind of being that for once seems whole. Jackson said that when this field went silent, The fog and smoke lifting, 2,000 red Coats broken and blasted from grape shot and musket, And the wounded beginning to rise and stagger, Here, here, there, there, here – Jackson said it looked like the Resurrection, The dead of the ages emerging from their graves. And they’re here still where I stand still. I’ll leave myself here too, as I left
Me other places on the road for you. We all lose hair and skin. All day We take a little of someone’s DNA Home or to the next monument. We lose 40,000 skin cells a day, About nine pounds any given year. They rise up to the surface from below, They hold us together, die, and then fall off. And because they flake from us like dust dots Off Pigpen and drift, we pass them on to others. You occupy me, I occupy your sons or daughters Or teachers or friends, or friends of friends, strangers. You picked me up when your arm brushed the counter At the liquor store or pharmacy last night. You dropped me on your table when you chastised Your kid for a D. I’m in bed with you and your lover. With more than skin and hair we gift each other. There are 10 times more bacteria – bugs! – In and on you than cells you claim as you. Something in the air, St. Louis, I coughed On the slanted, carpeted rest atop the arch. Whoever touched that, laid their breast there, Laid their breast on me and took me somewhere As they rode the rattling tram down to the world. Did you sneeze at the top? Within a few minutes – 30 In a space of, say, the cabin of a 747 – Everyone’s touched by the spray, a kind of relay Passing ourselves to lives we touch outside. Sweat contains urea. Essentially, then, We’re pissing through the skin. Then we touch. In the arch, I breathed deeply between coughs, Breathed in the kids on honeymoon, and outside, The arch as background, I held the camera Both hands taking on the Japanese family’s Oils and breath as I took their picture for them Then shook hands with the father in the sun. I’ve left me in Nebraska and gathered you In Memphis, Harper’s Ferry, Old Mesilla. You pass me on as I pass you on the road. I cannot die as long as you live, I cannot stop as long as you move. But all that’s simply riffing on the body, Though body can be metaphor for soul. Indeed, it might be more than metaphor. Body is dust to dust, and dust to molecule, Element, atom, energy. All is energy. Lavoisier: “Nothing is born, nothing dies.” All things made hold energy of maker. So somehow else I am the arch itself, That tug I hear on my flank up river, The grain on the barges it pushes, and the barge. I think we share spirit as equally As body through the nine gates of the body. Even with degenerating civility, Living as alone as I can afford, I and you take in each other’s selves.
The look in the eye of the clerk who hates his work Is in our lives forever, remembered or not. Here I give you the whispered voice of the woman At Wounded Knee I mentioned earlier. Take from her the fiery peace I found. From me to you, the boy I met in Nashville. Young man at previous week’s open mic. He found me as I packed, journeyman Blacksmith, wanted to be a songwriting farrier. I gave him a CD, invited him To my showcase the following week. He said He had to work that day, 40 miles One way, so he doubted he could make it. When I got up to do my set that night, I saw him from the stage all cleaned up. After, he told me he had something for me, As if being there (80 miles round trip!) Were not gift enough for an old loner. We walked out to his truck. He reached in, Drew himself out bearing a horse shoe He’d made for me an hour after work. All the sweat, and fire, and clanging, and yet Those rough hands gently presented to me the shoe As if it were the rarest butterfly. My album, his horse shoe; my horse shoe, his album, Both signed. Thereby we traded names as well. I left my town to be alone alone. Now, crippled, a bad eye, and alone for These two years, I know it can’t be done. Choctaw, Free Black, coyote, caterpillar, Samuel, Billy, Lauren, raccoon coming Just to the edge of the fire’s light, you In the arch and you not in the arch, Woman, rain, rock, pebble, boy: Whoever you are, holding me now in hand As you read this, you are my eyes. I Hear your hearing me, your steps my steps, As mine are yours on your journey. For you Do take my journey, I yours, your life on the road. Our one journey is the one whereby What we need is found in what we find. You take the highway of your lover’s back And off-road to the neck; you tour the heart. You watch the sundown or sunrise come across The lake of a job where everything fell in place. You stand on the overlook of your child’s crib, Your child, a sleeping village in the valley below. We’re one, with and on the Plains of Chalmette. Another officer, call him Captain Whim, leaves His troops of starlings, sun, cloud-shadow, grass, And orders me, and you in me, to move, To advance – haltingly! – but advance Back to our truck, our camper, our shared fire.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
Inside the Academic Mind: Susan Simonian Since 1993, Susan Simonian, professor of psychology, has been inspiring legions of students in her wide-ranging psychology courses. We caught up with Professor Simonian in between her hectic schedule of teaching and work as a clinical psychologist, and learned more about her research with children, her involvement in the College’s new graduate child life program and how she deals with stress. Where did you grow up? I grew up in a suburb of West Los Angeles. Southern California is really one continuous city, bordered by a beautiful coastline. I love the Pacific Coast, but sure appreciate the warmer East Coast water! When people find out that you teach psychology, what’s the most common question you get? Especially when they find out I’m a clinical psychologist, they automatically think I’m analyzing their behavior. I can be in a relaxed social situation and people will ask me questions about what I think about their behavior, or, more frequently, the behavior of their partner. Really, you don’t want me to answer these questions. I politely tell them that clinical science is a more complex and in-depth practice than superficial questions and answers in this setting can offer. I also tell them that a friendship relationship is very, very different from a therapeutic relationship, and I do not blur that boundary. Tell us your path to a career in psychology. I began my undergraduate career as a biology major set on pursuing medical school. I wanted a career in academic medicine, and I minored in psychology so as to gain experience in research methodology and statistics. I took a course in abnormal psychology and was totally fascinated with the study of psychopathology. I did my senior honors thesis at a university hospital’s pediatric oncology unit. My faculty mentor was an amazing psychologist, who asked me why I was pursuing medical school versus a doctoral program in clinical psychology. She was the first person who helped me to see the role of psychologists in multidisciplinary health care teams, and it was a role I really liked. Why have you focused your research on the psychology of children? If we consider development across the lifespan, many of the experiences and choices made during childhood and adolescence help to set the foundation for our adult health and mental health. It made sense to work with individuals during these formative years – before issues (e.g., anxiety, obesity, substance abuse) grow and compound. What have you learned about the effects of chronic illness on children and families? A great deal of respect for the children and families who face these stressors on a daily basis. The resilience of these children astounds me, and it’s a privilege to work with these families. It’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about the Master of Science
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
in Child Life program we’re developing here at the College. Child life specialists are specially trained professionals who work with children and families with chronic or episodic health care needs. Like pediatric psychologists, child life specialists have a strong background in child and family development, pediatric illness and psychological coping mechanisms. These professionals are often the primary members of pediatric multidisciplinary teams who provide emotional support for families facing medically challenging events. I’m thrilled to be the interim director working on the development of this important graduate program.
Abnormal psychology is a favorite class for students. Why do you enjoy teaching it? I think the most interesting aspect of psychopathology is that that there is a fine line between mental health and mental illness. It’s really an issue of quantitative versus qualitative differences in behavior. Many behaviors are normal until you exhibit higher levels of that behavior in terms of duration, intensity and frequency. For example, all of us experience anxiety, but we do not all have an anxiety disorder. It’s when the anxiety is frequent and intense and these symptoms are of a longer duration that it becomes a mental health issue. Speaking of anxiety, What’s the most stressful part of your job? Honestly, it’s not a frequent occurrence, but I get frustrated with students who aren’t excited to learn. Intellectual laziness to me is a great waste of potential. So then, how do you blow off steam? Exercise, particularly running. I can put in some long miles on a particularly stressful day! What’s your most prized possession in your office? Definitely family photos. Academically, I’m also proud of my Diplomate Diploma and American Psychological Association fellow and outstanding service awards. If your life had a soundtrack, what would be on it? It would be quite an eclectic mix from Tchaikovsky to the Grateful Dead. Each musical genre reminds me of a different time in life or a different place I have visited. What’s your favorite book and movie of all time? It’s hard to pick just one favorite book. Two of my favorites are Mutant Message Down Under and The Odyssey. They may seem like very different books, but both detail the journey of individuals through the intricacies of life; and both reveal great learning about self and world. I love movies and even teach a psychology in film class every so often. Every movie has a message about life and learning; so again, it’s very hard to pick just one. You’ve now taught at the College for 20 years. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen on campus in that time? I appreciate that we’ve embraced a focus on science without losing a commitment to a liberal arts education.
Jerold Hale is the new dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Previously, Hale was the dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters at the University of Michigan-Dearborn as well as a communication professor at the University of Georgia and Miami University. • Devon Hanahan ’87 (Hispanic studies) was chosen as the No. 2 university professor for 2013 by RateMyProfessors.com. • William Veal (teacher education) and Steven Nagy ’09 (M.Ed. ’11) won the Association of Educational Publishers’ Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in Educational Publishing for their article “Sweetgrass Science,” which appeared in the March 2012 issue of Science and Children. • President emeritus Alex Sanders’ film Cards Against the Wall, which represents the collaboration of several campus faculty and staff members, was selected for the 2013 Baseball Film Festival at the Baseball Hall of Fame. • Several English faculty had books released this year: Julia Eichelberger’s Tell About Night Flowers: Eudora Welty’s Gardening Letters, 1940–1949; Joseph Kelly’s America’s Longest Siege: Charleston, Slavery, and the Slow March Toward Civil War; Simon Lewis’ Ambiguous Anniversary: The Bicentennial of the International Slave Trade Bans; and Bret Lott’s Letters & Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
MAKING the GRADE Summer’s Pastime what’d you do this summer? Chances are, you didn’t live in a rustic cabin in New Mexico for three months, forgoing electricity and firing black powder rifles while re-enacting the operations of a Civil War encampment on the Western frontier. Senior history major Cory Ciepiela, however, did. Ciepiela worked as a counselor at Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, N.M. It’s the largest adventure camp for the Boy Scouts of America, with 34 staffed camps and 55 trail camps spread out across 137,000 acres in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range of the Rocky Mountains. About 20,000 Boy Scouts visit the ranch each year. Those who visited Ciepiela’s remote camp, which is a mile away from the closest service road and an 800-foot change in elevation, really roughed it. The bathroom was an open-air latrine. The refrigerator was a hole dug in the ground. Home was a poorly insulated cabin of bunk beds that got very cold at night after the fire went out. The cabin was also popular with rodents.
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
Making the Grade
Ciepiela, who has been a historical interpreter since he was 12, impersonated a Civil War soldier and told war stories around the campfire at night. The history and religious studies major also passed time hiking, chopping firewood and teaching thousands of scouts how to blacksmith and shoot historic replica black powder rifles. He maintained hygiene by occasionally taking a dip in a fishpond. For Ciepiela, those three months in the wilderness were incredible. Both he and his scouts learned a lot about the great outdoors and, just as important, a lot about themselves. Going without air conditioning and plumbing was a small price to pay for such valuable life lessons. “You learn leadership, you learn how to deal with hard stuff,” Ciepiela says of his experience at the Philmont Scout Ranch. “It’s this rough and tough place, but it’s also gorgeous.” So, what’d you do this summer?
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
| Greece images courtesy of Colleen Sullivan |
Will Travel for Change Returning to the college in 2011 from a service trip to the Greek island of Zakynthos, Colleen Sullivan decided to reprioritize her life. Time abroad, away from the familiar, had given her the chance to reflect on who she was and who she wanted to be. Jumping back into the rhythm of campus, Sullivan began an internship with the College’s Office of Sustainability and started a position with the College’s Center for Civic Engagement that allowed her to spread her love of service and travel. The Greek isles – enchanting yet a tad overcrowded in places – had opened her eyes to a much broader world. While on Zakynthos, Sullivan and other College students donated their time to the conservation group Earth Sea & Sky, which seeks to protect wildlife like loggerhead turtles, monk seals and Montpellier snakes. Inspired by the small sanctuary Earth Sea & Sky had established for endangered animals, Sullivan decided to refocus her academic studies on sustainable tourism and her personal time on serving others. She changed her major to international studies with a minor in environmental studies and began organizing student service-learning trips, including some Alternative Spring Breaks, through the |
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
Center for Civic Engagement. Among the trips she organized were one to Ireland to work on an organic farm and one to Asheville, N.C., to volunteer at a shelter for homeless war veterans. “It gave everyone a new lens to look at the homeless population through,” says Sullivan. “You felt their stories.” When taking these trips, Sullivan is less impressed by the scenes on the postcards and more by the personal growth that can occur when traveling and the connections that one can make to another community. Furthermore, she’s come to realize that the problems in other places, such as homelessness or the encroachment of natural areas, are often problems back home, too. “Alternative Break gave meaning to my college experience,” says Sullivan. “This has inspired me to pursue a career in higher education so I can empower other students to find what they are passionate about.” This past summer, Sullivan returned to Earth Sea & Sky on Zakynthos to lead a student group with co-leader Jenna Barbaruolo ’13, who had been with Sullivan on the 2011 trip. Barbaruolo credits Sullivan for being an extremely organized and dedicated leader, one who’s intent on making the trip memorable for
all participants. With Sullivan, Barbaruolo says, you strive to be a traveler, not a tourist, and to immerse yourself in the culture of your destination. The result is that, while the trip is temporary, the personal enrichment is permanent. “When you come back to Charleston,” says Barbaruolo, “you bring back all these memories and experiences and you continue growing.” Sullivan feels the same. Traveling through service gives perspective, and each time she’s returned to Charleston, she’s come to embrace the College and her fellow students in new and more meaningful ways. “Before these trips, I wouldn’t say I had a focused passion. I didn’t have the determination to find out what’s next,” says Sullivan. This school year, Sullivan is working within the Center for Civic Engagement to train other trip leaders. It’s a chance to pay it forward and help students make the most of their travels and service experiences. “The most amazing part of what I have done here at the College is seeing other students change once they return from a trip,” says Sullivan. “If I did not sign up to participate on my first trip to Zakynthos, I don’t know where I would be today.”
Making the Grade
Selfie starter Say what you will about the selfie trend: The sometimes-flattering, sometimes-funny self-portraits photographed at arm’s length or in a mirror and then posted onto social media sites allow their subject-photographers to call all the shots. So, when then-freshman Will Jamieson couldn’t get a good shot of himself in a dim room because his phone’s flash was on the back of his camera, he decided to take matters into his own hands. “At that moment, I decided I was going to make an app that emulated a flash with the front camera,” says the computer science major, who went about developing the Front Flash Android app. “The College’s computer science department really gave me the tools I needed to build this app. It was the Data Structures course that helped advance my critical thinking and bug tracking, which was a major task in the development of the app.” Front Flash launched last June and was immediately picked up by app-review blogs that liked the idea – prompting hundreds of thousands of downloads and encouraging Jamieson to create a company, Supreme Apps, so that he can continue releasing the apps he develops. And, of course, continue calling all the shots.
| Photo by Mike Ledford |
A Wise Choice
it didn’t take long for coach monte Lee ’00 to figure out that he wanted Carl Wise to be a Cougar. The College’s staff had watched him play and knew that he could “flat-out” hit. In fact, they graded the Lexington, S.C., standout as the best hitter in the state. But it was a comment from one of Wise’s high school coaches, Mark Bonnette, that stuck with Lee as he weighed giving scholarship offers to a handful of rising high school seniors. “Mark told me, ‘If he goes somewhere else, you’re going to wish he was playing for you,’” Lee recalls. Fortunately, Lee heeded that advice and didn’t have to find out the hard way.
the SPORTSTICKER |
What Lee didn’t know was that Wise, who – in hopes the College would call – had put off other scholarship offers just the day before, would have attended the College regardless because he had fallen in love with the city and the school’s strong biology program. “I thought I could at least try out as a walk-on,” Wise recalls. “And if that didn’t work out, I would focus on the sciences.” Well, baseball worked out. It worked out really well. Wise, who didn’t break into a regular starting role until midMarch, played both first and third, hit for a .321 average and led the Cougars in home runs with 10 (hitting five of them
in the last five games of the season). In slugging percentage, he ranked seventh in the Southern Conference and 39th in the nation. But it was his last game in the SoCon Tournament that really raised eyebrows around the league and nation. Wise went 4-4, with two home runs, a double, a single and four RBIs. “The ball looked like a beach ball,” Wise laughs. “Everything I saw, I was hitting. I have no idea how I locked in that way.” And that’s why he loves baseball: its unpredictability, its glory and defeat wrapped together in one. “Baseball is the hardest sport to play,” Wise believes. “It builds a lot of character because you have to be able to handle failure a lot more than you do success. And just like in life, baseball is really about how you respond to that failure, how you adjust.” In Lee’s eyes, Wise is adjusting just fine: “Carl’s a special player and a great teammate. He plays the game hard, but he doesn’t play mad. He doesn’t get frustrated and has a level of maturity about him. He’s an intelligent, likable kid.” What’s not to like? Here’s a slugger who hits for average, with a good head on his shoulders. That’s exactly what other coaches thought when they evaluated his first collegiate season. Wise garnered NCBWA Freshman All-American honors and a place on Baseball America’s Freshman All-America second team. “Now, comes the fun part as a coach: seeing him develop right in front of your eyes and making that jump from his freshman to sophomore year,” Lee observes. “Carl is definitely coming into his own.” Opposing pitchers, beware.
After a summer playing for Great Britain’s national basketball team, Andrew Lawrence ’13 is playing for KK Zadar in Croatia. + Former pitching standout Heath Hembree made his MLB debut with the San Francisco Giants in September. + Junior distance runner Mackenzie Johnston now holds the school record in the 8K at 24:51.18. + Linda Kalafatis (with more than 800 Division I wins) is the Cougars new head softball coach. |
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
A killer View
| Photo by Mike Ledford |
The expectations are as high as can be. It’s the volleyball team’s first year playing in the Colonial Athletic Association and they’re expected to do nothing less than capture the title. Moreover, senior psychology major Darcy Dorton was named to the 2013 preseason All-CAA volleyball team and was tabbed the 2013 CAA preseason player of the year. Everyone is counting on a banner year from the Cougars. Already the Cougars are satisfying expectations. They’re off to another strong start, which includes a sweep of Indiana (the program’s first victory over a Big Ten opponent), Coastal Carolina and S.C. State during the Hampton Inn CofC Invitational in September. For her part, Dorton, who in 2012 was named an American Volleyball Coaches Association AllAmerican Honorable Mention (another first in the program’s history), earned tournament MVP honors that weekend and was named offensive player of the week by the CAA. In October, Dorton recorded her 1,000th career kill, and the Cougars look to be on a tear as they settle into their new conference.
SUMMER 2010 |
| Hank Hays ’13 (left) and Joseph Berger ’13 |
In Sync Come join the College’s crew team. You’ll need to get up before sunrise each weekday and row until your arms are shaking. Then come back for an exhausting afternoon session of weightlifting and conditioning. When your classmates are going out at night, you’ll be heading to bed. When they blow off steam during winter break and decompress from fall semester finals, you’ll be putting in time on the indoor rowing machine. You’ll be spending your spring break, too, doing double sessions on a river somewhere. And after all this practice, you’ll spend less than an hour on the water in competition. Sound good? Travis Landrith ’98 concedes it sounds like a raw deal. “The average person is going to look at you like you’re crazy,” admits Landrith, who has been the College’s crew coach since 2008. Yet each year, a few brave souls join the crew team and push their bodies to new heights. Inevitably, a few drop away as time goes on. In 2009, Joseph Berger ’13 and Hank Hays ’13 were among 14
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
freshmen to join the crew team. Four years later, they were the only two seniors remaining from that group. They were also teammates who accomplished the unimaginable: winning the College’s first national rowing championship. Their victory at the 2013 American Collegiate Rowing Association championship at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Ga., was no fluke. Berger and Hays earned every bit of their victory in the men’s double. In a sport that is more or less a seven-minute sprint down the water and usually counts on a photo finish to determine the winner, Berger and Hays powered their boat to a clear win in the final race, putting open water between them and the runner-up, the University of Rochester. Physically speaking, the champs are an odd couple. Berger is a trim 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds while Hays is a giant at 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs upwards of 225 pounds. This disparity is not to their advantage, as twoman boats usually perform better when teammates are of equal size and their rowing more easily synced. But Berger and Hays share a passion for rowing and a
determination to finish at the top. Berger, Landrith says, “knew what it meant to be a winner from Day One.” As for Hays, Landrith says he was never satisfied with being anything less than the best. “Hank’s ready to grasp, ready to learn more, always wanting to know how he could get better,” notes Landrith. “He would ask that question every time he came off the water: What else do I need to do?” Beyond four years of weekday practices with Landrith and their teammates, the pair rowed weekends in Mt. Pleasant at the Charleston Rowing Club, training with rowing champ Rob D’Italia. Oftentimes, Berger and Hays rowed single boats against each other, pushing one another to the limit. Despite their love for the sport, it wasn’t always easy to stay committed. During his sophomore year, Berger grew frustrated at his boat’s lack of success. “When you’re waking up at 5:30 to not go fast, to not win, it’s definitely very demoralizing,” he says. “Losing is terrible. It’s so painful.” Berger was holding himself up to a high standard – one set by his father,
Frank, who rowed with great success at Temple University. During practice at the College, the younger Berger would wear the crew shirts his father had collected decades ago from vanquished opponents. These shirts, which sat for years in boxes in the Bergers’ Mt. Pleasant home, gave him motivation for his own victories. As he knows, it’s humiliating to have to give someone who has outperformed you the shirt off your back – a tradition at crew competitions. Both Berger and Hays credit Landrith, who rowed at the College himself, for their accomplishments and for resurrecting the College’s 24-year-old crew program to national prominence. “I think that’s what a good coach is, a good foundation for a crew,” says Berger, who as a sophomore had won a third-place medal in a single boat at the national championships. Landrith returns the compliment, praising Berger and Hays for their commitment to the sport. He fondly recalls traveling to Georgia in May with the two seniors for their final race, their boat strapped to the roof of Landrith’s truck as they cruised the highway. Watching the race from shore, Landrith saw Hays and Berger come into sight with about 1,000 meters left. They were in the lead, and fending off an advance from Rochester. On board the boat, the seniors watched Rochester warily as they powered toward the finish. Hays and Berger made sure not to squander their advantage. “When Rochester started pulling a hard piece, we pulled twice as hard and twice as long,” Hays recalls. “Somehow we harnessed the energy to blow everyone out of the water.” At 500 meters, Landrith knew Berger and Hays had it in the bag. When they came off the boat, he gave them each a big hug. Later, he placed first-place medals on the national champions, and they placed one around his neck, too. Landrith was proud to share that moment with Berger and Hays, describing it as the “purest, most unadulterated joy you could ever feel.” It’s what makes all those sacrifices – the early mornings, the exhausting practices, the forgone fun – feel like a great deal after all.
| Photos by Mike Ledford |
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
| Photos by John Payne |
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
The Win in our sails The College of Charleston’s sailing team captured its fourth coed national championship this May during three days of racing in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Cougars bested 17 other teams, including runner-up Georgetown University, to win the ICSA/Gill Co-Ed National Championship. “To win the coed national championship three times in the last eight years is impressive,” Head Coach Ward Cromwell says. “It was truly a group effort. We sailed really well the last three days. The conditions were windy and choppy, making for really long courses. But they were able to put the boat through the water well and we had no major errors.” Other highlights from the season included senior Juan Maegli, a 2012 London Olympian in the Laser Class, being named the 2013 Everett B. Morris College Sailor of the Year. Several other Cougars earned All-America honors: Ben Spector ’13 (ICSA Honorable Mention Coed), Alicia Blumenthal (ICSA Crew) and Cory DeCollibus ’13 (ICSA Crew).
| sailors Cory DeCollibus ’13 Juan Maegli (college sailor of the year and two-time Olympian) | FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
POINT of VIEW
[ student ]
Great Scott! Many writers, like fads in fashion, enjoy extraordinary popularity and then pass out of vogue. One graduate student is fighting that trend and is trying to lead the revival of one of the most popular authors of the 19th century. by Paul Ar ant My story began in the countryside outside of a small town near Raleigh, N.C., down a long gravel driveway surrounded by deciduous and evergreen trees and abutted by large green pastures. Enclosed fields of rolling grass exemplified the quiet, pastoral nature of my community, whose silence was interrupted only by the occasional vehicle and the sounds of foraging cattle. The winding, unpaved road that led to my driveway was populated by a few other houses that also enjoyed the seclusion from the bustle of city life. Minus the modern technology, it was a scene that would not be out of place in Sir Walter Scott’s first novel, Waverley, which tells the story of a young man who is sent to his uncle’s estate in the Scottish Lowlands. In the isolated environment of my childhood, there were very few children my age with whom I could play, and this resulted in most of my days being filled with wanderings through the large woods behind my house. On these solitary adventures, I suppose, like many young boys in similar situations, I created worlds in my mind, worlds in which I played a pivotal role. I was a soldier, explorer or action hero who found himself on missions of life and death, whether it was to rescue fallen comrades or save the world from impending destruction. While I did not realize it at the time, this fervent imagination was instigated by the contents of the large, imposing wooden bookcases that I found in my father’s study. Like the mysterious library of Osbaldistone Hall in Scott’s Rob Roy, where the future lovers Diana and Frank have their evening lessons, I vaguely understood that the contents of the bookshelves were important and held a special place in our home. Both of my parents heartily encouraged me to read from an early age, which resulted in the blossoming of my love for fiction. I can still recall the excitement with which I read books like C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and Space Trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the classics of science fiction that my father loved. I was also a frequent visitor to the local town library, where I developed a love for comics and young adult fiction, including serials like The Hardy Boys. At some point, the precise moment lost in the haze of childhood memories, I was introduced to 19th-century British literature. By this time, I had developed a love
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
of history, and my curiosity was piqued by stories about people who had lived long ago in a land across the Atlantic. Perhaps it was the tales of a detective named Sherlock Holmes that first created an insatiable appetite to read more about these adventures in Victorian Britain. It was in my teenage years that I was first introduced to Scott and his historical novels. Often referred to as the father of historical fiction, Scott crafted tales of intrigue and adventure, most often taking place in 17th- and 18th-century Scotland. Because he has seemingly been forgotten by both today’s culture and the academy, it is sometimes difficult to fathom that Scott was the most popular writer of his day and influenced writers throughout the Victorian era. In fact, the novels of Scott were often said to be available in every household in America during the antebellum period. However, due to a dislike by influential figures like Mark Twain, Scott fell out of mainstream favor in America during the early 20th century. While it can be asserted that this disfavor was unfair and was largely due to cultural bias, it seems that Scott’s reputation has yet to fully recover. This presents a great opportunity to introduce an entire generation of readers to the high drama, vivid characterizations and intelligent humor found in the meticulously recreated periods of Scott’s novels. What initially captured my imagination was the imperfect protagonist, often a young man characterized as naïve and idealistic, who must come to grips with the tumultuous events taking place around him. One such protagonist is the young hero of Redgauntlet, Darsie Latimer, who ignores the warnings of those close to him as he sets out to discover the truth about his origins in the southern borderlands of Scotland. In today’s era of superheroes, it is refreshing to read about common individuals who discover that they are capable of extraordinary acts. These unlikely heroes find the wherewithal to summon their courage and stand by their convictions in the face of great trials and cataclysms: a true and relatable heroism. The novels of Scott provide us with these characters and more, while having them meet and interact with historical figures who are often considered to be heroes themselves. This literary device, popularized by Scott, is still prevalent in historical novels of today, and it is this realism tinged with the fantastic that I find so attractive. In Redgauntlet, Darsie is kidnapped by the fanatical Jacobite Edward Hugh Redgauntlet, who knows of Darsie’s actual status as the heir to the Redgauntlet name. It is during his confinement that Darsie discovers his true mettle, and his refusal to follow Hugh and the exiled Prince Charles Edward Stuart shows his growth as a character. Rather than take the easy way out and the path of possible fame and fortune, Darsie decides to stick to
| Illustration by Britt Spencer |
POINT of VIEW
his principles and face the consequences. The maturation of the common man in his confrontation with adversity contains the potential to inspire readers even in our oftentimes cynical world. And, as in our world, the protagonists in Scott’s novels often find that their reward is simply the self-assurance that they have done what is right, regardless of the consequences. Scott’s evocation of the beauty of his home country and its heroic past is most commonly associated with the idea of a romantic Scottish nationalism, yet this fails to take into account the complexity of Scott’s portrayal of Scotland and the United Kingdom. Scott looked toward a future of British harmony, while also eulogizing the perceived remnants of Scottish life, most notably that of the feudal society of the Highlands. Oftentimes, as in Redgauntlet, the depiction of the passing of old Scottish culture is a somber affair, as the ghosts of the past are supplanted by the new vibrancy and skeptical optimism of the future. Through his writings, Scott developed an image of a Scottish nation that was imbued by traits of its gallant past, but which sought to embrace a new identity free from previous failures. His protagonists
and central characters often reflect this vision, as they usually have families and histories that straddle the borders of England and Scotland. In fact, some of his novels end with the union of a nominally English hero and Scottish heroine, as happens in Waverley when Edward Waverley marries the Scottish Lowlander Rose Bradwardine. As the product of a mixed marriage, and as a boy who grew up with a love of different cultures, I find this to be an inspiring message and one full of hope and tolerance. In my own journey as a scholar and writer, my greatest desire is that I will be able to convey these same ideals of hope for a brighter future and tolerance for those of differing beliefs and opinions. That same little boy who scampered across shaded hills, leaves crunching beneath his feet, still resides in my heart, and it would be an almost unimaginable blessing if I could help stir the imagination of a new generation, much like the tales of Scottish heroes from a time long ago have inspired me. – Paul Arant is a graduate student in the College’s English program.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
POINT of VIEW [ faculty ] Kindling a New Fire We asked one of our new faculty members in political science to tell us why he left the world of aid work to enter the hallowed halls of academia. His answer – and honesty – will surprise you. by Christopher Day ’95
| Illustration by Baird Hoffmire |
The truth is that I burned out. In May 2004, I was a project coordinator for Médécins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in northern Uganda. In the latter stages of what was then described as the “biggest neglected humanitarian emergency in the world,” the two-decade war between Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army and the Ugandan government had displaced 80 percent of the north’s civilian population. Our team was running a massive health and nutrition program for tens of thousands of these internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Lira District.
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
One particular day I was conducting an assessment in an ad hoc IDP camp a couple of hours north of Lira town. The Lord’s Resistance Army had been attacking villages around the area. Unsurprisingly, the only structures that stood in the dusty trade center – a few dilapitated school buildings – were overflowing with malnourished children and their traumatized parents. As the first and only non-governmental organization (NGO) on the scene, we were overwhelmed both logistically and emotionally. Much of my experiences had been like this one. South Sudan. North Sudan. Ethiopia. Nigeria. Sierra Leone. Côte d’Ivoire. Even Kashmir. I thought I had developed thick skin. But that day, standing amidst a sea of despair, the school’s headmaster, a man my age in a dirty and oversized suit, approached me and asked me for help. He wasn’t talking to me as a black victim to a white aid worker. But as a fellow human being. And there I was, unable to respond – we were, after all, there for malnourished children and not adults. It wasn’t just bearing witness to his personal misery. Or even the wretchedness of the
POINT of VIEW
It was the biting realization that the bigger structural problems underlying this war – poverty, violence, repression – were not going to be solved by a small group of aid workers in a frantic afternoon of baby weighing. If one had listened closely,
one could have actually heard the sound of my spirit being snuffed out like a match. rest of the camp. It was the biting realization that the bigger structural problems underlying this war – poverty, violence, repression – were not going to be solved by a small group of aid workers in a frantic afternoon of baby weighing. If one had listened closely, one could have actually heard the sound of my spirit being snuffed out like a match. I didn’t want to do this stuff anymore. But I had pigeonholed myself into such a narrow skill set – running relief programs in rebel-held areas of sub-Saharan Africa – that this crazy job was the only thing I knew how to do with any level of competency. So here’s the good news: Somehow (after detours through Sri Lanka and Darfur), I managed to fall into an academic career that allows me to study bigger structural problems. Furthermore, I’m rather cosmically (even comically perhaps?) at the College, my alma mater. Here I had a two-year stint as an adjunct instructor in between Doctors Without Borders gigs. Charleston is where I met my wife, and where our son was born. My dad even lives here. It was in no small part due to the encouragement from the College’s terrific political science faculty that I pursued a Ph.D. in political science. And it was in no small part due to the terrific advisers at Northwestern that I made it through six amazing years of graduate school (note: I miss Chicago, but not being a graduate student). Upon reflection, making the transtion from aid work to academia was fairly straightforward for a number of reasons. The first and obvious one is that my field experience drives my research interests: I study armed groups in Africa (huge surprise). Having navigated the politics of civil war in order to deliver relief to populations in crisis provides unique insight and a solid empirical foundation for my scholarship. In other words, I’ve been up close and personal with a range of rebels and soldiers alike, and you cannot learn this from a book. My past life also provided ready-made research networks within the countries I used to work. I take great pleasure in rolling up in Juba, South Sudan, and staying with the Doctors Without Borders team, celebrating holidays with my friend the Ugandan general and his family, or catching up with ex-RUF in Freetown, Sierra Leone (they may be war criminals, but they’re still my friends). Second, working in a team of aid workers is not unlike working in an academic department. Granted, the stresses faced in the field (life and death) differ markedly from those in academia
(publish or perish). But in the aid world, I worked with a variety of missionaries, mercenaries and mostly misfits from around the world. Some people were cool. Others were crazy. So this was a good training ground for navigating the thicket of dysfunctional egos and rampant insecurities that populate much of academia, and most of political science. Fortunately, the poli-sci department at CofC is populated primarily with funny, smart, excellent human beings, with a few notable exceptions (I’m looking at you, Professor Jordan Ragusa). Plus, in the NGO world, hierarchy and administration are both fairly nebulous concepts. So I feel right at home at a college. Finally, both the aid world and academia engage the world in ways that matter. Humanitarian aid seeks to save lives and alleviate suffering for victims of manmade disasters. The Department of Political Science at the College is committed to the rigorous study of politics, power and place, expanding opportunities for learning and service, career preparation and civic participation locally and globally. The second form of engagement may seem trivial when compared to the first. After all, political science by necessity maintains a distinct objectivity and the ability to dispassionately analyze and explain how politics work. But many in the discipline are motivated to solve empirical puzzles in order make the world a better place. And at the College, teaching political science can be a form of advocacy that educates students about populations in crisis that are on the edge of survival in the midst of the world’s forgotten conflicts. On the flip side, the aid world would do well to think things through politically instead of going on a selfabsolving rampage devoid of critical thinking (I’m looking at you, Invisible Children). In sum, doing my impersonation of an aid worker for a decade was suitable preparation for doing an impersonation of a political scientist. None of this is to say that I don’t miss the good old days of humanitarian aid – the work, the lifestyle, the adventure. I remain very proud of my time with Médécins Sans Frontières (Nobel Peace Prize and all) and stay closely engaged with contemporary humanitarian issues. But after burning out years ago, it’s good to be home in Charleston. – Christopher Day ’95 is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
POINT of VIEW
[ alumni ]
A Woman of Letters The mailroom is a place of legend. It’s the starting block for many careers, especially in the fast-paced corporate world. But for one alumna, like many writers before her, she discovered the mailroom as an important first step in the race for literary immortality. by Heather Richie ’02
| Illustration by Nathan Durfee |
On May 31, 2013, I quit my job in the College’s Office of Mail Services. I worked there 85 days. It was my second job at the College of Charleston. My first was in the Writing Lab, where, as an undergraduate, I was a certified advanced level tutor. A decade later, when I joined mail services, I called myself an epistolary narrative specialist. To my knowledge, there is no such thing. The epistolary form is vast, encompassing (for starters, there’s the Epistles) – and, when one
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
looks to a regional or temporal scope (say, Civil War love letters, for example), an epistolary narrative specialist would more likely be called a historian, or, in another instance, a theologian. And, while I do believe that epistolary form does benefit from the psychological assistance of imagining an audience (should one be willing to play games with one’s own mind in such a way), I am hardly a specialist. I wanted to be like William Faulkner, who they say talked to no one when he worked at the post office, forever scribbling away. But everyone at the College is so nice, and, in the end, I wasn’t even like Eudora Welty’s narrator in “Why I Live at the P.O.” I wasn’t mad at anyone. There’s no one reason I don’t work at the post office anymore. I left because I just can’t get up at five in the morning, which is when I’d have to get up to write the contemporary fiction that my supervisor, Al Andreano, reads, before going to get the mail. I like Al. I like the books he reads. So, I left for Al. I left because, however unformed, writing is pretty much what I have.
POINT of VIEW
I left because, a decade ago, then–English professor Carol Anne Davis explained to our poetry class that the university was the last great hideout for the American writer. The economic reality of that guy who could be a doctor and a writer, William Carlos Williams: Those days are gone. I didn’t want to believe her. I spent 10 years joining Teach for America, starting a real estate brokerage, making signs, delivering flowers and, finally, delivering the mail. She was right. It’s not the idea of time, but time itself. So much depends upon it. Without a graduate degree, I didn’t stand a chance.
Health, and Human Performance, I guess, because about biweekly I had to toss letters in their boxes and be reminded of my penchant for unrequited love. And there’s that one out on Sullivan’s Island who sent the CofC Foundation, located in the Sottile House, a donation. I know it was a donation because they have special envelopes for that. His people, it seems, are everywhere. And, apparently, they have money. Not that that’s why I left. By the way, I never read other people’s mail: That’s a federal offense.
I wanted to be like William Faulkner, who they say talked to no one when he worked at the post
office, forever scribbling away. But everyone at the College is so nice, and, in the end, I wasn’t even like Eudora Welty’s narrator in “Why I Live at the P.O.” I wasn’t mad at anyone. I started the M.F.A. program at Sewanee the summer before I joined the ranks at mail services. I thought I’d skip summers, earn my degree slowly, methodically. Concentrate on the real job, getting published. I fell in love with a guy who never, or perhaps only vaguely and momentarily, intended to love me back. That was over a year ago. I’m from Atlanta, but I’m comfortable with Charleston family names: their unexpected pronunciations. Legare. Hasell. Huger. Poulnot. That last one is a joke. It’s pronounced how it looks. Anyway, this guy’s kinfolk work in the School of Education,
But, about two months into my tenure in mail services, an envelope arrived with a message on its back: The letter’s narrator – no, the sender – had been published in the 1980s in a scientific journal available in “any” college library. The man went on to explain his astronomical theory and how frustrated he was by not receiving recognition about this or that. That bothered me. It was addressed to the College’s president. I don’t know about you, but I’m certain this writer was addressing the wrong man. It’s not our president’s job to see to it every obscure academic’s career stays on track. Then there was this guy who wrote to a psychology professor nearly every week. In fact, sometimes he wrote to her twice a week. He addressed a No. 10 envelope in the exact same penmanship, sprawling across the exact same amount of surface of the envelope, every time. His words were fontlike, a sort of hybrid print-cursive, and very little of the envelope was ever left bare. Yet the stamp always had ample breathing room. Maybe he was brilliant. Or maybe he just never quit his day job. The envelope was from the backwoods of Virginia, and it served as a catalyst. I don’t want to write in fontlike penmanship biweekly or in such a frustrated tone. I just want to make a living. In the decade it took my poetry professor’s advice to resonate, I learned the real problem of the writer’s life: I was narrating it in real time, no matter how great a resistance I made to writing it down. I made the decision to go to Sewanee at a time when I knew in my heart that if I merely narrated one more love story, it was because a certain tipping point had been reached – a place in time when the stories in my mind outweighed the stories I had put to the page. I was even losing the art of telling them. Then it happened: I wrote love letters to a skiff on a blog for Wooden Boat magazine. The skiff was a metaphor for that guy related to those people. Then I wrote an email to this guy’s uncle, and, by the second paragraph, I was making literary allusions. I finally considered my audience for long enough to turn it into a rough draft, call it an essay and submit it to a few journals. It, too, got published. I’d found my voice, and it felt the same as striking oil. When that happens, people give up their day jobs and keep digging.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
The College of Charleston consistently ranks in the top 15 in producing Peace Corps volunteers for medium-sized universities. And while the sheer number of CofC volunteers produced over the last five years is impressive (155), as you’ll see in this alumna’s photo-essay, it’s the individual experience, repeated near and far, that truly makes a difference.
he day I received my Peace Corps invitation, I began (helplessly, subconsciously, but inevitably) forming wild expectations about what life would be like in the great beyond. I told others, “No, no, I have no idea, and I like it that way. I will find out when I get off the plane.” In reality, I researched frantically, and even more frantically began building this alternative world in my mind, trying always to imagine the unimaginable life that awaited me there. At the crux of this imaginary world was a narrative of personal struggle and growth, of obstacles surmounted, of ultimate acceptance in a place far beyond and far away. And when I finally did step off that plane, I found that world. Madagascar was exotic, and welcoming, and everything unimaginable that I thought it would be. And in keeping with the narrative, there have been countless times when I have stopped to think: I do belong here. But there was a secondary narrative that equally defined my time in Madagascar. For every moment that I stopped to think I belong, I also recognized that I was something fundamentally foreign in this land. It was not just my white skin, or the fact that I was tall in a country of moderately to very short people. It was something that went much deeper, to my identity, to my world view, to my understanding of myself. In my three years, I made countless friends – working, living, laughing and sharing among the Malagasy people – but as long as I stayed, I would be forever defined by my difference, by what set me apart.
I know, from a distance, life in Madagascar looks beautiful. And it absolutely is. Not just the tropical beaches, the coral reefs, the rain forests, the terraced rice paddies, the mountains and waterfalls. It is often understated, something quiet and simple. The pace of life removed from all the rush of the modern world. The people. Stalks of rice laid out to dry. The sound of rain on the roof at night. The slow rising of a village in the early morning. Mounds of colorful fruit piled up in the market. Canoes scattered across a perfect blue sea. But life in Madagascar can also be mundane, unpleasant, downright horrid. Only on the rarest of occasions is it glamorous. Crushing heat, crushing boredom. Dust. Mud. Screaming children. Bugs in your food. Dirty water. No food. No water. My time in Madagascar was defined as much, if not more, by these long hours and small steady hardships as it was by the beauty of the place and the people. They are two sides of the same coin.
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
I would be remiss, though, if I did not concede that living in Madagascar was tremendously cool. There is no place like it. Chameleons stroll across the road in their strange jerk-step manner. The water always seems to be bioluminescent. Whole villages smell of cloves and vanilla. Lemurs may not actually be as prevalent as squirrels, but after three years they became routine enough to be unexciting. I witnessed bull sacrifices and exorcisms, met witches and conjurers. I drank coconuts fresh fallen from trees and sent kids out to fetch mangos. I did a thousand things I could not have imagined, things that it now seems unimaginable I could have not done. In the same vein, Madagascar is an adventurers’ playground. Strike off in any direction, by boat, on foot, even by plane, and you are bound to stumble across the unexpected. It would be unfair and inaccurate to label the country uncivilized – but it is a land stuck in a different time. Or, if you will, a nontime, where the broken is never fixed, where isolation and disintegration work in collaboration, where the notion of a difficult journey must be redefined. The going was rarely easy, but almost always rewarding. One side of the Peace Corps life that people rarely see, hear or speak of are the downswings. For every rewarding work experience, for every epic adventure and beautiful beach, there was a dark time. Constant illness. Allergic reactions to unknown causes (just see my face!). Loneliness. An overwhelming sense of the futility of what you are attempting. A reckoning with your own naiveté. Isolation. Heat stroke. Near constant mockery and harassment. Mefloquine dreams. Language barriers. Emotional and physical exhaustion. Fear of missing out, wasting away in obscurity and being forgotten. Of course, I ultimately discovered, these battles are with yourself. And standing at the end of a long and rocky road, I can say that overcoming each of these dark times, often many times, empowered me many times over. Come on, if I can bounce back from my face looking like that, I can bounce back from anything.
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
Through it all – the good, the bad and the ugly – the most important lesson I learned was simple: Simplify. In my village, the things that I used every single day hung in a row on my wall: keys, secondhand hat, backpack, bag and rice winnower. (The snake stick was, admittedly, for extracurricular adventures.) Already, I look back on this and it seems impossible. But the purest and calmest happiness that I felt in Madagascar was in those quiet village moments, when nothing much was happening at all. A country is not an empty place. You arrive to find it full of people living their lives, and when you depart those lives go on without you. Though I take many things, the greatest portion of the Madagascar-shaped hole in my heart is filled with the faces of those people with whom I passed my days. I will be forever changed by the things that they taught me, whether they meant to or not. In the end, I don’t need a thousand words to describe all that was Madagascar. I can do it in four: Just embrace it all. Read more about Browne’s adventures in Madagascar and check out all of her beautiful imagery at SightsUnseenPhotography.com. FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
Freedom Fighter The United States is home to the worldâ€™s largest prison population, but for many Americans, these inmates are out of sight, out of mind. Through her bold and provocative artwork, Jackie Sumell â€™96 aims to make U.S. prison policies, including the use of long-term solitary confinement, part of our everyday conversation. by Jason Ryan / photography by Leslie McKellar
he was dressed like a clown. A clown who had raided the closet of an awkward teenage girl from the 1980s. Jackie Sumell ’96 marched through school one Friday afternoon sporting frilly green bloomers and a mock turtleneck featuring a unicorn. On her head rested a tiara and a pair of funky eyeglasses. Even for Sumell, an artist whose “normal” attire often includes suspenders and socks with bright stripes, this outfit was a bit much. She was giddy as she strolled the halls to pick up one of her young neighbors from detention, hoping to embarrass Malik so badly that he’d never again earn after-school punishment. Parents, of course, are the ones normally expected to pick their children up from detention hall. But this is the Seventh Ward, where such an expectation is not always realistic. In the Seventh Ward, like other poor New Orleans neighborhoods, many parents are absent. Some have been waylaid by drug addictions. Many others are locked up, especially fathers: One in 14 black men in New Orleans is in prison, and one in seven is either behind bars or on parole or probation. Beyond that, the state of Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country; a rate that is five times that of Iran’s and 13 times that of China’s, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Lives Edited by Tragedy Sumell first came to New Orleans during one of its darkest hours, when the Big Easy was still reeling in September 2005 from the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. On account of the devastation, police tightly controlled access to the city in the weeks after the storm. Sumell gained entrance only after putting her artistic chops to work and fabricating invitations from the Red Cross. She rode into town with a truckload of bicycles and other supplies to confront dysfunction and disaster. She slept with other volunteers at the overcrowded home of former Black Panther Malik Rahim in Algiers, a New Orleans neighborhood largely spared from flooding. The volunteers, who called themselves Common Ground Collective, soon set up a health clinic, a radio station and a communication center, where storm survivors could fill out forms for government relief and contact loved ones by computer. The experience was overwhelming. On her blog, Sumell likened New Orleans to the landscape of Mars, with everything covered by “greyish-purple silt” from the Mississippi and “the debris of 300,000 people’s lives.” It smelled horrible, thanks to rotting meat, rotting animals and rotting humans. There were few other civilians moving through the streets, but lots of
There is ineffable good in the wake of life edited by tragedy. – jackie Sumell ’96
Sumell wants to change those numbers, in part by preventing local boys’ visits to school detention halls from transitioning into stints in prison. This involves showing children that a larger world exists beyond the Seventh Ward. Thus, Sumell has taken her neighbors’ kids on trips with her to Ireland and Los Angeles, and, each summer for three years, she and her roommate, Emily Posner, have sent a handful of children off to summer camp in Maine. Sumell’s kindness also includes providing positive distractions at home. In the Seventh Ward, where Sumell bought a home in 2008, she maintains what’s more or less an open-door policy. Neighborhood kids come and go as they please, visiting Sumell to play, talk, enjoy healthy snacks (including many fruits and veggies grown in her backyard garden) and stay out of trouble. Sumell considers them her godchildren, like family. Given the bleak realities of Sumell’s neighborhood, it might seem like a tall order to stem the tide of young men and women drifting toward crime and prison. It might seem like an even taller order, too, to revolutionize the criminal justice system in America, which is another of Sumell’s goals. But Sumell has faith in her mission, and faith in the power of art and creativity to affect people. And, occasionally, her unconventional approaches to problems produce quick results, as was the case with the boy in detention. After Sumell appeared in the lacy bloomers and tiara, Malik stayed out of trouble for the rest of the year. Such victories give her hope.
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
soldiers, Humvees and hungry dogs. New Orleans was a ghost town, a wasteland, and yet there were moments of splendor that transcended the destruction. It reminded her of the way she felt when her mother died from lung cancer a few months earlier, when Sumell’s life was filled with “the most impossible moments and the most beautiful moments.” As she wrote on her blog during a break from relief efforts: for me, this is amazing. this is inspiring, this is hope, this is lifechanging, this is what I am coming back to. People have been driving 60 hours straight from canada, san francisco, indiana, new york, you name it, to get here and give whatever time or skills they have. It’s so hard to describe, but I have to say for me on a very personal level, it references much the experience of my mother dying, where everything was so hard, everything seemed impossible and cruel and sad and unfair and gross, but around that flourished the human spirit that wouldn’t allow myself or my family to collapse. I was humbled by it then on this very personal very myopic scale and I am humbled by it now when it is multiplied by the thousands. When life is edited by tragedy, when the bullshit is pushed aside, when we have nothing left to connect with but our humanness people are amazing. There is ineffable good in the wake of life edited by tragedy.
SUMMER 2013 |
In the months to come, the smell went away, the rot was removed. People came back to New Orleans, at least some of them, and Sumell stayed among them, eventually buying her house in the Seventh Ward. By her own admission, Katrina had radicalized Sumell, which is saying something. Sumell has always been unconventional – an easy mark, striped socks and all, for the nickname Wacky Jackie. What makes Jackie wacky? Well, she regularly refers to other people as “human doings” instead of human beings. She was a beauty pageant contestant and also the first female tackle football player on Long Island. (She’d later use her athletic talents to captain the Cougars’ first Division I women’s soccer team and run cross country.) She routinely overpays at toll booths to take care of the strangers queued behind her. She allegedly threw a college boyfriend’s camera off the top of the Cooper River Bridge. What else? She once shaved off half of her brother Matt’s eyebrow. Considering Matt has an autoimmune disease that already causes sudden hair loss on his head and eyebrows, this was like stealing blankets from the homeless. For months Matt
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
colored in his missing eyebrow with a Sharpie. In 2001, while an art student in San Francisco, Sumell collected hundreds of baggies of women’s shaved pubic hair to protest the recent election of President George W. Bush and his policies regarding women’s reproductive rights. The ensuing exhibit of baggies, entitled, “No Bush! – It’s not yours, it’s mine,” was displayed at the National Organization of Women’s march in Washington, D.C., a few months after Bush’s inauguration. Yet perhaps the most unexpected, and sustained, action of Sumell’s often quirky existence has been her friendship and advocacy on behalf of the Angola Three – three prisoners who have each spent decades in solitary confinement in Louisiana State Penitentiary, otherwise known as Angola Prison. The penitentiary, whose nickname comes from the name of a former slave plantation that comprises part of its 18,000 acres along the Mississippi River, is one of the largest maximum-security prisons in the United States, housing more than 5,000 inmates. Among the inmate population for many years were the Angola Three – Robert King, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, a trio with the
Sumell had taped a disposable camera to her forearm, set her watch to ring an alarm every hour, and then took a snapshot each time it beeped, no matter where she was. Such efforts, though initially bewildering to the inmates, led to friendship, especially with Wallace. Little did Sumell know that this friendship would dominate the next 10 years of her life. Big Problems in the Big House When you befriend a prisoner, you inevitably learn about life in prison. Sumell, who had previously given little thought to America’s prison system and the lives of its inmates, discovered many aspects of the modern prison system, including its enormity. Consider: • The United States has the highest prison population in the world, with about 2 million people behind bars. • The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country, with one out every 107 American adults in prison. • Since 1980, America’s prison population has grown by about 800 percent, severely outpacing the general population, which has increased by about a third. This explosion in the American prison population has one basic explanation: Laws and policies enacted in the last few decades ensure people go to prison for longer amounts of time. Specifically, the reasons include • the passage of three strikes laws (also known as habitual offender laws) that require severe punishment for a third felony, even if it is a nonviolent offense; • a ramped-up War on Drugs, including severe mandatory minimum sentences for users of crack cocaine (about half of federal offenders are incarcerated for drug-related crimes); • the passage of truth-in-sentencing laws, which reduce the chance for early release; distinction of being prisoners who have, by all known accounts, spent the longest amount of time in solitary confinement in the United States. Wallace and Woodfox, who were recently transferred to other Louisiana prisons, spent more than 40 years each in solitary confinement in Angola, sequestered from the general population in cells measuring six by nine feet for 23 hours a day, seven days a week. King spent nearly 30 years in solitary confinement in Angola before being released in 2001. Soon after King’s release he spoke in San Francisco, where Sumell was studying nearby as a graduate art student at Stanford University. Listening to King recount his experiences in Angola and solitary confinement, Sumell was shocked and smothered by a sense of injustice. What, she wondered, could be the rationale for indefinite and long-term solitary confinement? What good comes of sticking men in cells by themselves for decades? She asked King what she could do to help. “Write my comrades,” he told her. So she did, only her letters to Wallace and Woodfox also included 24 photos that showed them what she saw in one day.
• the abolition of federal parole, and the abolition or de facto abolition of parole in many states; and • a general increase in the length of sentences and existence of mandatory minimum sentence laws for a variety of offenses. Some people credit these tough-on-crime tactics with reducing crime and as appropriate responses to changes in criminal patterns. Indeed, America’s violent crime rate is less than a third of what it was in 1982, and less than half of what it was in 1997, according to an August article in The Economist. But, as the article also notes, many criminal justice experts feel that America has long gone beyond the point necessary to obtain such decreased crime rates, resulting in overcrowded prison systems and an insufficient standard of justice. These critics also argue there is little chance for prisoners’ rehabilitation given the status quo.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
One of these critics is College of Charleston professor Heath Hoffmann, an expert in criminology who chairs the sociology and anthropology department. Hoffmann laments that, in the last half century, politics have often trumped science and research when it comes to decision-making regarding prisons. Prisons today focus less on inmate rehabilitation than they used to and now function more like warehouses for those convicted of crimes. Nationwide, a prisoner costs an average of $31,286 each year, according to a 2012 study by the Vera Institute of Justice. Despite some depictions of prison life in the media, Hoffmann says, prison remains a “horrible” place filled by people with little hope: “It’s not a system. It’s a responsive, reactive political football that is really expensive.” Hoffmann believes there is a need for prisons, but also believes that prisons should better facilitate healing and better prepare inmates for re-entry to society. Misconceptions and poor public policy regarding prisons exist because people are generally unfamiliar with the realities of the prison system and prisoner life. In an effort to change this, Hoffmann regularly takes some
toughest prisons in the country, undergoing a number of reforms throughout the 20th century following scandals. In the 1950s, for example, work conditions were so bad that 31 inmates sliced their Achilles tendons to protest the brutality. In the late 1960s, Angola earned a reputation as the bloodiest prison in the South due to the number of inmate assaults that occurred. A few years later, when Wallace arrived, Angola was still racially segregated, inmates were entrusted with guns and a notorious sex slavery system was in operation among the inmates. It was within this atmosphere that Wallace and Woodfox helped organize a chapter of the Black Panthers within the prison, demanding changes in the treatment of black prisoners and organizing work stoppages. A year or so later, in 1972, prison guard Brent Miller was stabbed to death in a dorm of the penitentiary. After interrogations of dozens of prisoners, Wallace and Woodfox were charged with murdering Miller. Though the men denied killing the guard, allwhite juries quickly convicted them in separate trials. Both men were given life sentences.
It’s messy when you get in that gray area. Humans like things that are black and white. You’re either good or bad. – HEATH HOFFMANN, SOCIOLOGY PROFESSOR
of his sociology students to Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville, S.C., to meet inmates and see the environment they live in. The students are typically uneasy after the visit, trying to square a sense of sympathy or even affection for the prisoners with knowledge of their crimes. “They feel torn inside,” says Hoffmann. “It’s messy when you get in that gray area. Humans like things that are black or white. You’re either good or bad.” Hoffmann himself often experiences sadness after leaving prison, frustrated that inmates have forfeited freedom and are unable to lead productive, fulfilling lives beyond the prison walls. “What’s depressing about going there,” he says, “is this is the best we’ve come up with to deal with crime.” The status quo depresses Sumell, too. Ask her what’s wrong with America’s prison systems and she’ll bemoan the lack of restorative justice, which is designed, through the guidance of experts, to promote a reconciliation between victims and perpetrators that allows lives to move forward following a crime. She’ll rage against the prison industrial complex, in which business interests – whether companies that build and operate prisons or manufacturers who use prison labor – are aligned with high incarceration rates and a lack of prisoner rights. What grieves Sumell most, however, is what affected her friend Wallace in Angola prison as well as tens of thousands of other prisoners each year: the widespread use of long-term solitary confinement. Isolated Case In 1970, at the age of 27, Wallace began a 25-year sentence for armed robbery and was soon transferred to Louisiana State Penitentiary. Angola has long been known as one of the
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
In the decades to come, the murder cases against Wallace and Woodfox were revealed to have significant flaws. The chief witness against the men, an inmate, was found to have been given favors and was promised a pardon by prison officials for his testimony (and was eventually pardoned). Two other witnesses recanted their testimony. Another eyewitness was legally blind, and yet another was heavily medicated at the time of Miller’s death. These witnesses’ original statements and testimonies, too, were riddled with inconsistencies. The cases have appeared shoddy enough that even Miller’s widow has expressed doubts about the guilt of Wallace and Woodfox. Louisiana, on the other hand, maintains their guilt. The men’s cases and incarcerations continue to undergo legal appeals and review today, more than 40 years after Miller was killed. Woodfox and Wallace’s fellow Angola Three inmate, King, was convicted of a separate murder within the prison, though he also denied culpability. Since their convictions, King, Wallace and Woodfox have spent almost all of their prison time in solitary confinement, otherwise known as Closed Cell Restricted, or CCR, by Louisiana authorities. Solitary confinement policies in prisons across the country and world go by many names, including the SHU (pronounced shoe), an acronym meaning either Special or Security Housing Unit. Inmates tend to refer to solitary confinement as the hole or lockdown. Whatever the name, these terms all refer to a prisoner being kept in a cell by himself for about 23 hours a day. A stint in solitary may last a few days, or, in the case of the Angola Three, decades. Prison officials in Louisiana renewed Wallace and Woodfox’s stay in solitary confinement more than 150 times. Critics of solitary confinement, including Sumell, believe long-term or indefinite solitary confinement amounts to cruel
(LEFT) Letter from Herman Wallace to Jackie Sumell ʼ96, dated July 30, 2004, with a drawing of his cell in solitary confinement
and unusual punishment and violates a prisoner’s constitutional rights. These critics believe solitary confinement, especially for long periods of time, can cause severe psychological damage and worsen an inmate’s behavior and chances of rehabilitation. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture has said that solitary confinement lasting longer than 15 consecutive days is an inhuman form of punishment. Some prison officials, on the other hand, consider solitary confinement an effective way to isolate prisoners who are violent, who incite unrest among the prison population or who have mental health problems. But critics say that even if there are some legitimate uses for solitary confinement, it is drastically overused. A 2005 census by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found more than 80,000 inmates were kept in some type of restrictive housing in federal and state prisons. In California’s Pelican Bay State Prison, approximately 1,500 inmates are in solitary confinement, including 400 who have been in solitary confinement for more than a decade. In July, prisoners at Pelican Bay began a two-month hunger strike to protest the widespread use of solitary confinement. Each Friday last summer Sumell joined them in solidarity, forgoing food. Sumell has protested solitary confinement policies in other ways, too. In 2002, shortly after beginning her pen-pal correspondence with Wallace, Sumell was given an assignment at Stanford that required her to interview a professor of her choice about dream homes and spatial relationships. Given Wallace’s spartan living conditions in a small cell, Sumell struggled to concentrate on such extravagant housing. She modified the assignment and wrote to Wallace with an unexpected question:
“What kind of a house does a man who has lived in a six-foot-bynine-foot cell for over 30 years dream of?” And so began The House That Herman Built, a collaboration in which Sumell unleashed Wallace’s imagination and had him design a home outside of his cell. Herman’s creation is unique, and it bears the marks of a man imprisoned for decades, as his house comes complete with an underground bunker. It also features a greenhouse, gardens, a pool with a black panther on its bottom and a Revolutionary Wall of Fame featuring portraits of freedom fighters, including Harriet Tubman and John Brown. Sumell, after corresponding with Wallace for years about the house plans, created architectural drawings, 3-D renderings and a scale model of the house. The House That Herman Built had its debut in 2006 in Germany, and has since been exhibited more than 20 times in a dozen countries. In 2010 it was featured briefly in In the Land of the Free…, a documentary narrated by Samuel L. Jackson that examines the legal cases of the Angola Three. It wasn’t enough. And so Sumell took the scale models and blueprints and began trying to build Wallace’s house, hoping it would function as a community center. This process, which is still ongoing, is documented in the 2012 film Herman’s House, which aired nationally on PBS last summer. Just prior to that, in May, the Open Society Foundations named Sumell a 2013 Soros Justice Fellow. She and 13 other journalists, lawyers, organizers and scholars will split an award of $1.2 million as they promote various types of justice reform in the United States. With her award, Sumell is planning a new media campaign to connect prison reform activists and end the use of long-term solitary confinement.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
Struggle On Sumell’s idealism masks the tumult of her life and work, which are intertwined. Her assistant, Hillary Donnell, credits her for being “radiantly positive” and able to find good in the most depressing situations. Though Sumell may seem aloof at times, Donnell says her mind is always in high gear, and that by having one foot in and one foot out, Sumell is able to cope with such taxing work. There are a lot of demands on Sumell, notes Donnell, from a lot of people. There are the children in the Seventh Ward, as well as adult neighbors, that count on Sumell. There are prisoners that rely on her, as well as other activists involved with the Angola Three. There’s her own career to tend to, her personal life, the yoga classes to teach on the side and fundraising for the construction of Herman’s House. Such stress is not always easily managed. Early on in Sumell’s relationship with the Angola Three, Sumell was crushed when a legal decision was not made in one of the prisoner’s favor. She was new to this type of activism, unaccustomed to the legal seesawing – or pure disappointment – that is common to criminal |
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
justice cases. Seeing her reaction, another activist bluntly told her that maybe she wasn’t cut out for this type of work. The remark, if searing, was instructional. “If you get really emotional about the wrongs, you shouldn’t be doing this,” says Sumell, “because they happen more than the rights.” In July, Wallace was removed from Angola’s solitary confinement and transferred to a small dormitory with other inmates at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel, La. For the first time in 11 years, Sumell knew Wallace could walk without shackles, freely get a drink of water and open a door himself. Sumell visited him one weekend and they hugged. “I thought, This is unbelievable, this is unbelievable,” remembers Sumell. Unfortunately, these changes occurred after Wallace received a diagnosis of terminal liver cancer. As the summer progressed, his health deteriorated steadily and he lost a significant amount of weight. Wallace’s hope that his murder conviction would be overturned was now not only a fight against the system, but also
a race against time. Yet in a way, his own fate had ceased to matter. For Wallace, and his supporters, the struggle had long ago become larger. “One of the greatest things I learned from Herman is, it’s not about him, it’s not about me,” says Sumell. “We do this work to serve a higher purpose, to shift the wrongs of the system.” A higher purpose, however, doesn’t pay the bills. Sumell sometimes wonders what life might be like if she were a physical therapist with a sizeable 401k. She’d be able to fix her car and could afford some needed dental work. But that would come at the expense of ignoring what she perceives to be injustice. “I never question the integrity of my life,” says Sumell, “and that gives me freedom.” Still, for all the hassles, there are good days, such as August 12, when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government would be revising some of its law enforcement policies. “Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no good law enforcement reason,” Holder said at the annual meeting of the American Bar Association. “Although incarceration has a role to play in our justice system, widespread incarceration at the federal, state and local levels is both ineffective and unsustainable. … It imposes a significant economic
by ambulance, free for the first time in 42 years. Earlier that day, U.S. District Court Judge Brian Jackson overturned Wallace’s murder indictment and granted him a new trial. Wallace’s indictment for murder was unconstitutional, said Judge Jackson, because women had been excluded from the grand jury. Coincidentally, Wallace had already been scheduled to have a legal meeting in prison that day with his lawyers and the other two members of the Angola Three regarding ongoing legal issues related to their long-term solitary confinement. King and Woodfox were expecting to say their goodbyes to Wallace at the meeting. Instead, they told him he was going home to New Orleans. Wallace did not last long outside of prison. He died the morning of October 4, less than three days after his release. In that time he was in the constant company of friends and family. In that time he was also re-indicted by a grand jury for the murder of the prison guard, as Louisiana authorities are adamant that Wallace remained a guilty man. A few days of freedom may not seem like much on the heels of more than 40 years in solitary confinement. Especially when another keeper, cancer, does not heed a judge’s orders. Nonetheless, Sumell considers the end of Wallace’s life nothing short of magical. She could not, she says, have scripted something better.
This is not the promise I made him. The promise was he would not die in prison. – jackie Sumell ’96
burden – totaling $80 billion in 2010 alone – and it comes with human and moral costs that are impossible to calculate.” And, once in a blue moon, perhaps once in a lifetime, there is a great day. A day that provides tonic to the cynicism inevitably accrued with age. A day that makes you forget about the outstanding bills, broken-down car and lost legal battles and just jump up and down with joy. For Sumell, this day was October 1. Two days before, Sumell had visited Wallace in prison and said a final goodbye to her ailing friend. She brought him a cut-out black panther and read to him. Wallace, who was now deathly ill, managed to say a few words and smile as he drifted in and out of consciousness. The visit was gut-wrenching, and Sumell left the prison a wreck, having felt she had failed her friend. “This is not the promise I made him,” Sumell recalls thinking. “The promise was he would not die in prison.” Two days later, Sumell was lying in bed when her phone rang. Sumell saw that the caller was a fellow friend and advocate to Wallace. Her heart sank. No doubt, Sumell thought, this is the call delivering the bad news, that Wallace had finally passed away. Instead, Sumell was told something that made her flee her home, gather a few friends and light celebratory fireworks in New Orleans’ immense City Park: Herman Wallace had been ordered free. Later that evening Sumell and a few dozen other supporters cheered as Wallace arrived at a New Orleans hospital
Sumell is still working to build Herman’s House in New Orleans. She knows that as time goes on, the children of the Seventh Ward are growing older, accelerating to adulthood, a place where lacy green bloomers and tiaras have limited effect. If Sumell can intercept them, she can teach them their lives have value, and that a world of possibility looms just beyond the immediate, blighted streets. The release of Wallace buoyed Sumell’s hopes for criminal justice reform and provided a remarkable punctuation to a relationship between an artist and a man defined chiefly by the container he was kept inside for decades. Sumell knows that other challenges may diminish this hope, and that systemwide change does not come easy or quickly. She also knows that when the going gets tough, she can remember the years of struggle she and Wallace endured together, and the happy outcome they ultimately achieved, no matter how quixotic their fight might have sometimes seemed. Sumell believes there is a lesson in the dramatic turn of events that comprised the end of Wallace’s life, and that the tiniest sliver of hope can never be misplaced. “It’s the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me,” says Sumell. “You can never stop shy of a miracle.” For more information about Sumell, visit HermansHouse.org or follow her on Twitter: @JackieSumell, #stopsolitary
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
by Alicia Lutz â€™98 p o r t r a i t s : H e at h e r
M c G r at h
This is when it matters. This is when it counts. This is when every thing else is irrelevant, every thing but life and death is just white noise. When Alicia Moreau Shambo ’89 heard the bombs exploding at the Boston Marathon l ast spring, she didn’t hesitate. If she were going to save lives, she had to act now. This was her chance – their only chance. This was the golden hour, and she was going to make the most of it.
The stunned crowd and gray-brown smoke linger for a brief moment, shielding onlookers from the horror – concealing the blood-soaked streets, the mangled bodies, the detached limbs. There is a confused silence, a hesitant pause before the dust settles and reality sinks in. Before the screams of terror. The wails of pain. The sobs of mothers looking for their children, of husbands looking for their wives, of people looking for their feet. And then, the mad scramble to get away, to escape whatever this is – whatever is doing this. Chaos spreads, pushing through the crowds, down the street, taking its tears, its tremors, its suffocating fright somewhere else, somewhere that doesn’t have cannonlike explosions blowing out windows and blowing off legs. Somewhere safe. Anywhere but here. Instinct has kicked in. Alicia Moreau Shambo ’89 knows there could be more blasts. She knows she could be killed – taken away from her three children she loves so much. The only thing there is to do is run. And, once the people around her have fled for safety, that’s exactly what she does – straight into the fading haze of the bombs. She has no illusion about what she’ll find there – she knows from the force of the explosions what she’s walking up on. But not going just isn’t an option. Not when there are children, women and men lying in the street, bleeding, screaming, suffering. Not when she knows she can help. Not when she can save lives.
Alicia Shambo has goose bumps on her arms, and her eyes are welling up a bit. Something about that combination of pride and humility, of anticipation and nostalgia: The national anthem gets her every time. And today, as the voices of her fellow volunteers – mostly strangers – fill the Patriots Room at John Hancock Hall with this song of unity, Shambo, who served as a Navy hospital corpsman for 12 years, feels her heart swell. This is what she loves about this country: that thousands of people from all walks of life can come together to celebrate Patriots Day and the great American tradition of the Boston Marathon. That they can sing together. That they can support one another. That they are happy to be there, happy to help. It’s one of her favorite days of the year. “It’s a great day. I love everything about that day,” says Shambo. From the emergency teams there to volunteer, to the athletes there to compete, to the costumed runners – the bride and the groom, the superheroes, the gorilla – there just to have fun: “Why ever they’re here, it’s just really nice to see everybody come together and be part a tradition that’s been going on for so long.” The day began early in her town of Hopkinton, Mass., where the race begins. The Athlete’s Village is set up on the Hopkinton High football field – essentially Shambo’s backyard – and, by 5:30 a.m., she could see the vendors arriving at their tents, smell the dough being fried and hear the helicopters overhead, the PA system welcoming the runners being bused in from Boston. |
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
“It’s just a very electric atmosphere, the morning of,” says Shambo, who – like many of her neighbors living close to the start line – has used the marathon as an opportunity to help out different kinds of people, opening up her home to runners looking for a place to relax the morning of the race and even housing them overnight. “These people inspire me. I mean, my family stands at the end of our road and watches the runners come by, and, you know, you see some of these people, and you think, I don’t know how they can run around the block, never mind how they complete 26 miles. But those are the people you cheer for the most.” This year, though, Shambo and her friends are cheering at the finish line, where they have volunteered to distribute Mylar heat blankets and – at least in Shambo’s case – screen the finishers’ faces for signs of dehydration or instability. So, this morning they were rushing to check into their room at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel and change into comfortable jeans and shoes before their 9 a.m. information meeting at John Hancock Hall. “Ready!” Shambo called out to her friends as she tied her tealand-black Montrail waterproof running shoes and stood to go, pausing in front of the window to take in the view of the historic city. What a great day to be in Boston, she thought. And, with a projected high of 54 degrees, a lot of sunshine and very little breeze, it was certain to be better than last year, when the temperatures reached 88 degrees. “People were dropping left and right. Left and right,” Shambo remembers as she and her friend Cyndy arrive at their station on Boylston Street and set about preparing 2,000 Mylar blankets – unrolling and opening each one before shaking it out and stuffing it into the racks for easy access. “I played medic more than I passed out Mylar blankets last year. I was just trying to catch people before they hit the pavement.” “Yep, this year is going to be a lot easier on everyone,” Cyndy agrees. “It’s a perfect day for a marathon.”
The runners are looking good, looking strong, as they come across the finish line. Shambo stays on her toes, though, screening each finisher’s face for any kind of instability – or familiarity. So far, she hasn’t seen anyone who needed her help – or anyone she knows. “Hey, Mrs. Shambo!” She looks over into the sidelines and spots her daughter Brittany’s friend, J.R. “Shouldn’t you be at home studying for the SAT?” she teases the rising senior, whom Brittany had accompanied to junior prom. “Or are you here to woo someone else?” “I’m going to do both, Mrs. Shambo! You know me!” he laughs, before disappearing into the crowd. She smiles after the boy before turning her attention to the runners approaching the finish line. They are getting to close to four hours – the average time for a full marathon – and the stream of runners has picked up, demanding more of her attention. Which is why she’s surprised when she spots a friend. “Hey! Great time!” she calls out to Ann-Michelle. “Congratulations!” And then, over Ann-Michelle’s shoulder, an explosion. She sees the smoke, feels the ground shake. She knows exactly what’s happening. She’d know the crackling boom of that kind of detonation anywhere, and there’s no mistaking the burnt sulfuric
SUMMER 2013 |
smell spreading across the finish line. There’s no doubt in her mind: Navy medics know when a bomb goes off. “Alicia, what was that?” asks Ann-Michelle, hoping Shambo will tell her it wasn’t what she knows it was. “I’m not sure. Let’s get out of the way. Just keep on walking,” Shambo says calmly, gently pushing her in the direction of safety. “Your family will meet you at the family meeting center. Keep walking. Keep walking.” Ann-Michelle had just seen her parents and three of her children on the sidelines, had just waved and smiled for the camera as she’d finished the Boston Marathon for the seventh time. She knows they were there. Right there, where all that dust |
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
and smoke now hang in a low, angry cloud. But she follows Shambo’s direction, follows the crowd, lets the mess of fast-building panic carry her with it. Mostly because she is too exhausted to do anything else. She’s moving slowly, watching people deteriorate into a frenzy around her. They’re crying, they’re hyperventilating, they’re running over and into each other. “This wasn’t supposed to happen!” “Do you think it’s a terrorist attack?” “Oh, no, not again! Not again!” Ann-Michelle listens to the fear in the voices around her. She listens to the sirens whirling around the city. She doesn’t know what is happening, but she just keeps going, even after she gets to
Shambo ’89, an international business major from the College and a global accounts manager for HelmsBriscoe in Boston, would later receive the Department of the Army’s Commander’s Award for Public Service for her actions during the Boston Marathon bombing. (Photo by AP Photo/Jeremy Pavia) [Opposite page] what became an iconic image: Boston Firefighter James Plourde carrying an injured Victoria Mcgrath. (Photo courtesy of AP Photo/MetroWest Daily News, Ken McGagh, File)
the family meeting center. It’s closed, the volunteers tell her, “Keep moving. Keep moving.” But she can’t keep moving. She’s desperate to know what happened to her family. She gets up on the sidewalk in front of Grill 23, where she’d agreed to meet her husband, and she waits. If my family made it through this, this is where they’d come, she thinks to herself. If they don’t show up, I’ll have nobody left in the world. I’ll be completely alone. I’ll have nothing. She’s scared, she’s cold. She watches as other stranded runners – also without their phones, their wallets, their clothes, anything but their two feet, really – just keep on running. Some run right out of the city. Others, early finishers, stop and offer her
their sweatshirts, their Mylar blankets, their water. They try to help her reach out to her husband, but cell lines are all tied up. All she can do is wait. Meanwhile, back at the finish line, nothing can wait – especially not Shambo. Ten seconds after saying goodbye to Ann-Michelle, a second bomb explodes. Shambo doesn’t hesitate. She spins around to the runners and spectators, immobilized by fear, on the street and sidewalk behind her. “Clear the street!” Shambo demands. “Everybody get out of here. Go as far out of the way as you can. Take your loved ones, don’t worry about turning around. Just go and take cover.”
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
And she takes off toward the explosions, deterred neither by the probability of another explosion nor by the officer who tries to stop her. “I’ve got to go,” she calls out as she runs past him. “I can’t not go!”
The scene is mass chaos. People dart around frantically – uncertain where to go, but certainly too alarmed to stay. The maimed howl. Lost children weep. The police bumble. Everyone is looking for
fragments from the BBs and knives and nails and whatever else had been used to make these bombs. She does what she can do to stabilize him and wheels the young man out on a gurney, through the medical tent and into an ambulance headed to one of Boston’s many hospitals. Next: a woman with a missing leg, a gaping abdominal wound and blood all over her mouth. She is so covered in blood and dust that Shambo isn’t sure what to do first. She can take care of the wound on her leg, pack the wound on her abdomen – but, she can’t even tell what had caused the wound on
I can’t even explain the things I saw. It was horrific. ... I don’t know how many people I assisted, because it was like a conveyor belt of bodies: one after another, one after another.
something they can’t find. Something they may never recover in all the rubble. But even if there were no sound, no movement, at this scene, it would still be pandemonium. This is a war zone. The smell of blood is everywhere. The sign of blood is everywhere. Human scraps litter the sidewalk. Even as the uninjured clear the scene, this is nothing less than a combat site. The first victim Shambo comes across is as white as a ghost. His left leg is nothing but hamburger meat. Bone fragments. His foot just dangles. Shambo gently places her hand on his head to hold it back so she can look into his eyes, make sure he hasn’t gone into shock. All she can feel, all she can see, is debris – metal
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
her face. And is she choking on blood, or is she choking on her teeth? “I can’t even explain the things I saw. It was horrific. It was absolutely horrific,” says Shambo. “I don’t know how many people I assisted, because it was like a conveyor belt of bodies: one after another, one after another.” It becomes like a well-oiled machine: Get the victims from the bomb site to the front of the tent. Get them on a gurney. Get them stabilized. Get an IV started. Try to prevent them from going into shock. Get them out the back end of the tent, into an ambulance and on the way to some hospital. Return to the other end of the tent and assume the next casualty. Repeat.
“Time just kind of stood still. I remember my phone vibrating and me thinking, I know my kids are trying to find me and make sure I’m OK, but I couldn’t even pull my phone out of my pocket,” says Shambo. “You can’t stop caring for even one person to answer the phone.” Very few people look up or away from their patient or the task at hand. Very few words are spoken. The patients are quiet, bewildered, uncommunicative. Most of them are in shock. Nobody is screaming anymore. And, as more and more people – marathon volunteers, medical volunteers, police officers, state troopers, bystanders who want to help – surge the site offering support, the scene takes on a calm, determined atmosphere. “People just jumped into action and did the best they could with whatever they had to work with,” says Shambo. “Even people with no medical training – they worked to make tourniquets and bandages out of their own clothing, responded to the cries of individuals, helped mothers find their children, helped husbands find their wives, carried injured children. It was humanity at its best: people helping people. People just being human.” On a day like this, it feels good to know that was still possible. And it feels good to reciprocate, to show some compassion. Which is why Shambo simply couldn’t say no to her last patient’s simple request. Victoria McGrath, a 20-year-old college student who was watching the marathon alone, had caught some shrapnel in the back of her leg. It had severed major arteries, tendons and muscles – as if somebody took a knife and slit the back of her left calf. She was going into shock. “She’s surrounded by medics, who – at that point – are all men, and they’re cutting off her clothes, and she was a little modest. She looked at me and said, ‘Please don’t leave me,’” Shambo remembers, her voice cracking with emotion. “And I just couldn’t leave her. Even though there were more patients to be dealt with, I knew there was enough medical staff to take care of them, and I just felt like I could not leave that young woman. I just couldn’t. To me, she was just like a little girl. And I couldn’t leave her.” And so, Shambo rides in the ambulance with Victoria, holds her hand and kisses her face. “No, open your eyes. Open your eyes,” she repeats every time Victoria starts to drift off. “Talk to me. Talk to me. Where are you? You’re going to be OK. We’re on our way to the hospital. You’re going to be OK.” And she is. Shambo keeps her going just long enough to get to the hospital, where they hook her up to a second IV, take X-rays and ask Shambo what she knows about her injuries. Twenty minutes later, they wheel Victoria into surgery, leaving Shambo at a complete loss. It is the first time in almost two hours that she doesn’t have a life to save, that she isn’t faced with an immediate need. My God, now what do I do? she thinks. “I’m sorry,” she says to a nurse, “but where am I?” “You’re at Tufts Medical Center.” “OK,” she says. “How do I get out of here?” “Come on, I’ll walk you out,” the nurse replies, putting her arm around Shambo’s shoulders. “I could use the fresh air.” The two walk through the front doors, and the nurse gives Shambo a hug and a kiss. “Thank you for everything you’ve done.”
The world outside seems eerily still. Quiet. And it isn’t just because the airways are clear or because public transportation has been halted or because 15 blocks around the bombing site have been closed. It is more than that: something surreal. The atmosphere feels almost one-dimensional – as if, after the life-and-death urgency and deafening commotion of the day, it has nothing left, it lacks a certain depth. It is all so unfamiliar to Shambo: the quiet stillness, the city streets, the Boston Herald reporters. “What are you doing at the hospital?” “What were you doing at the finish line?” “What kind of injuries did you see there?” They want to know. Shambo answers accordingly and then just stands, still in a little bit of shock, asking her own questions: What just happened? Is this just a bad dream? Now what? I don’t even know where I am. She pulls her phone out of her jeans pocket. Not that it has any answers, but she could at least put her kids at ease – if she could only get a text message through these congested cell lines. “Brittany, I’m OK,” her French-manicured fingers tap out, trembling slightly from the tension of the day. It takes longer than usual, but the message goes through, and Shambo breathes out slowly, sharing the relief that she knows that message will bring her three teenaged kids. She doesn’t even know what direction to start walking, so it’s with another sigh of relief that she gets through to one of the friends she’s rooming with at the Renaissance. Fortunately, Liz knows Boston better than she does, and Shambo begins to feel a little less lost as she follows Liz’s directions down the quiet sidewalks, joining the other dazed-looking pedestrians – runners who’d taken public transportation into the city and had no way to get home, no cell phones to call home, no money to buy a meal. It is like a scene out of an apocalyptic movie: the stragglers who get left behind wandering aimlessly about, hoping for something to change, hoping to find a way out, to find someone they know. “Mrs. Shambo! Mrs. Shambo! Are you OK?” It is J.R. The first familiar face she has seen since the trauma has unfolded. She runs up to him and holds him tightly, sobbing. She feels all of the tension and stress and heartache and devastation of the day just surge. She has seen so much. Too much. Even for her. “There were no words at that point,” says Shambo. “Just, ‘Did this really, really just happen?’” Standing on the street corner in Boston, sobbing into the arms of her daughter’s prom date, she still can’t quite wrap her head around it. But she pulls herself together, wipes the tears from her eyes and kisses J.R. goodbye. The dry eyes don’t last long. Shambo has already ordered a drink at the bar at P.F. Chang’s when Liz walks in. The restaurant was packed full of runners and spectators and volunteers who have nowhere to go, who can’t get around the city, who have stories to share with one another. But – even with all those people between them – they can read the emotion on each other’s faces from across the restaurant. They have been through the same tragedy – Liz, an M.D. who’d spent the afternoon in the medical tents, has witnessed all the same gore, all of the same pain. “We immediately embraced and started crying,” says Shambo, recalling the barrage of questions that they had for each other.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
“Almost like, ‘Did that really just happen? Are you kidding me? Did we just do that? Did we just go through that? Where’s Tracy? Where’s Cyndy? Where’s Anna? Have you been in touch with your family?’” Cyndy and Anna, it turns out, are stuck at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, on lockdown until 7 p.m. “They wouldn’t let anybody in, and they wouldn’t let anybody out,” says Shambo. She and Liz, however, are determined to get back to their hotel room – and, since there are no taxis or other kind of transportation – they flag down an emergency vehicle. “I’m sorry, but you’ve got to take us to our hotel,” Shambo says to the driver. “I’m sorry,” he replies, “but I’m probably really not supposed to do that.” “Well, you know what?” retorts Shambo. “People are not supposed to throw bombs at the marathon, either, so, please, just take us to our hotel!” It works. Back at the hotel, Tracy, who had to walk back to the Renaissance, and Liz go downstairs to meet with some
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
other volunteers, while Shambo orders a cheeseburger and fries and stays in the room. “I wasn’t even up for it. I wanted to stay in the safety of my room,” she remembers. “We didn’t even turn on the television, because at that point, it was too fresh. We couldn’t watch what we had just witnessed up close and firsthand. It was too painful. We had seen too much.” The flashbacks that night are enough: the shudder of the explosion, the dangling limbs, the blood-soaked faces. The suffering. “And then, I remember waking up the next morning, again, still kind of like in shock. Still kind of like trying to catch my breath. Thinking, Did that really, really just happen?” says Shambo. “And that’s when we turned on the television.” And just in case there is any doubt in her mind, there she is on the small screen in her room: Shambo, running toward the bomb with a look of devastation on her face, has become one of the tragedy’s iconic images, broadcast over and over across the world. Yes. That really did happen.
Boston may still have been partially paralyzed, but the cell towers had clearly freed back up, because Alicia Shambo’s phone was ringing nonstop. Everyone Shambo knew had seen the images of her heading into the explosions or helping one of the victims – and everyone who knew her knew that she hadn’t hesitated. “Everybody was saying the same thing: ‘We’re so proud of you. We’re so glad to know you,’” she says. “‘So glad it was you who was there. You’re the perfect person for that situation. If anybody’s going to run into a burning building, it’s you.’” Shambo does have a bit of a reputation. This isn’t, after all, the first time she’s been known to run toward explosions. In fact, it’s not the first time her last words before running in were, “I’ve got to go,” either. Last time she felt so compelled, it was in Hopkinton, en route to drop off her daughter’s friend after a play date. “Don’t you dare get out of the car. Don’t you dare move. I’ve got to go,” she told her 10-year-old daughter and her friend as she hopped out of the car and ran toward the flames reaching out from under a garage door. “What are you doing?” she yelled, when she saw that there was a man in there. “You got to get out of here. The garage, it’s full of gasoline. There are flames. They’re going to blow.” “No! I’ve got to put it out!” he shouted back before Shambo yanked him out herself. “My daughter’s inside!” Shambo ran into the garage, where things were exploding right and left – gas cans, paint cans, pesticides, propane – and tried the door. It was locked. She ran to the front door. It, too, was locked. So she grabbed a brick, put it through the window and reached inside to unlock the door. “You’ve got to get out of the house!” she told the girl when she found her up in her bedroom, listening to music and completely unaware of any danger. Back downstairs, she found the man had returned to his garage to try to save everything in it. By the time the fire department got there – he was covered in burns, his rubber boots melted to his legs. “I did what I could for that man,” Shambo shakes her head. Indeed, Shambo always does what she can. Like the time she gave the Heimlich to a choking baby at a restaurant. Or the time she helped a woman through labor in an elevator. Or when she helped children escape through the windows of their overturned school bus. Or the many times that she has helped injured people on Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch, N.H., where she is a volunteer ambassador. As the first one on the scene when a teenage boy lost control of his skis and went flying into the woods, for example, Shambo checked his breathing, laid him down and saw that he’d hit the tree just above the boot. His leg looked like an S, where it had just wrapped itself around the tree. “What do you do for sports?” she asked him, hoping he didn’t say football. He said, “I’m a golfer.” “Well, you’ll still be able to golf. You’ll be good. We’ll get this leg working,” she said, knowing he’d broken both the fibula and his tibia and that he’d need extensive surgery. She stayed with him until the ambulance took him.
“That was my job, though. Responding to accidents like that is just what I do,” she says. “To me, it doesn’t sound like stepping in, because it’s what I was trained to do.” But it takes less emergency training and more compassion to ride with a scared young woman like Victoria to the hospital in the middle of a national tragedy or to accompany a lost child like fouryear-old Johnny off of a foggy mountain trail. The next time Shambo ran into Johnny, his mother said, “Look, Johnny! That’s your guardian angel.” It’s exactly what Victoria called Shambo when she spent the day with her in the hospital a week or so after the marathon bombing: her guardian angel. “I was so ready to give up, but you were there, and I remember you telling me to hold on,” Victoria told her. “You gave me the will to live.” Shambo has continued to be there for Victoria. And together, they – along with her other three first responders – have been on the Today Show and on the TD Garden Stage at the Boston Strong benefit concert, where Victoria announced that she would make a full recovery and extended her thanks to Shambo and all the heroes who saved lives that day. Shambo knows she saved lives that day – she doesn’t know how many. And she’s proud of her response, her ability to respond. Still, she’s reluctant to think of herself as a hero – chalking her actions up to 25 percent Navy training and 75 percent instinct, doing what she had to do. Besides, she says: “I don’t think any of us really feel that we were the heroes. The heroes were the victims of the bombing – the people that have to get up every day and figure out how to get their coffee. It was just one day for me. For the victims, it’s the rest of their lives.”
Tradition and tragedy: Nothing brings Americans together more. In the face of one, we come together to celebrate the courage, strength and fortitude of the American spirit; in the face of the other, we come together to execute it. When more than a half a million people came to the streets in the great American tradition of the Boston Marathon that crisp, sunny morning, it was in celebration. Some were celebrating their personal triumphs, some the success of others. Some came just for the sake of celebrating. But, ultimately, the marathon is a celebration of the American spirit. That’s what filled the air. Then the smoke. And, as tragedy unfolded, the people stepped up, coming together to show true humanity, true compassion, true bravery: showing what that American spirit is all about. Carrying each other to safety, giving clothes to one another, leading children to parents, flocking to the hospital to give blood, opening up apartments and beds, buying meals for one another. Simply holding and comforting one another. Vowing to come back from this Boston Stronger. That’s just good old American spirit: Our flag is still there. And, as the smoke lifts from the bombsite and reveals the details of that day, it exposes some true bravery among us. Those heroes, who, while everyone else went one way, they went the other; when everyone else took shelter, they took aim. Those who risked their lives to save others. Yes, tragedy brings us together. But it also has a way of showing us who stands apart. And Alicia Shambo, for one, stands apart.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
by Mark Berry photography by Andrew
Cebulka / illustrations by john Phillips
The College is rich in tradition. History is tangible here, permeating the air to give everything on campus a warm, colorful ambiance. But the College’s most noble tradition is friendship. The kind of friendship that lasts a lifetime. And as these men exemplify, fellowship is king at the College .
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
t was really just by chance that these four old college friends bumped into each other 20 years ago at Charleston’s Hibernian Hall on Meeting Street. Father James Parker, Charles Foster ’50, Robert Chitwood and George Nelson ’51 caught up as if no time had passed between them, laughing about the old days, remembering the college dances and socials they had attended back in the ’40s right here in this white-columned Charleston landmark. By the end of their conversation, they marveled at the providence of coming together, especially at a place they all knew so well, a monument of sorts to their own collective youth. They vowed from then on to get together once a month for lunch, with the hope of bringing other college friends into the fold. And they were successful. From 1993 on, that original group of four grew to include a changing cast of College alumni and former students from the late ’40s and early ’50s. Men such as Ed Cochran ’53, Louis Condon ’50, Bill Cronan, Archie Jenkins ’55, Keith Marshall ’49, Irvin Molony, Billy Moore ’50, Ernie Nelson ’49, Arthur Ravenel ’50, Ed Schwacke ’51, Slug Slaughter ’52 and Sonny Westendorf ’51. “Over the years, we picked up some,” Nelson explains. “We would lose somebody; then we would pick up another. Our latest iteration of seven has been pretty consistent for about six or seven years.” At first, the informal meeting of these old Maroons took place at Jimmy Dengates private club on Rutledge Avenue. “We loved it there,” recalls Father Parker. “But they turned it into a sports bar with 8,000 television sets and a lot of younger people that made a lot of noise. We’ve tried different places over the years. About a year ago, we picked Page’s Okra Grill in Mt. Pleasant.” Whatever restaurant they may choose to share a meal in, one thing remains constant: They are there together. And always around that table is a vast wealth of knowledge and experience, more than half of a millennium of it. Their lives span a remarkable time in American history – valleys and peaks that today’s generations could only understand by living it. Of course, these seven men will tell you it was a simpler time then, but don’t believe them. Their world was tremendously complicated. For they are children of the Great Depression. They saw a very different Charleston, decades before it was the No. 1 tourist destination in the world. They knew it as a once-great city scratching, clawing its way back, a jewel dulled by war, earthquakes and economic collapse – but a jewel, nonetheless. They knew a segregated South and, like most, believed it to be just the way things were – until it wasn’t. They remember listening to the radio for the latest news reports coming from Europe, following the war like a daily serial. And they looked out on an Atlantic Ocean that was being terrorized by marauding Nazi U-boats, knowing that the lives of some of their family, friends and neighbors were in great peril. In their time, victory was never a foregone conclusion. And yet, they will all admit that they are the luckiest men – to be born when and where they were. Because they are a ’tweener generation: too young for service at the beginning of World War II and just old enough – and just savvy enough – to select their branch of service during the Korean War’s universal military draft. As James Edwards ’50 likes to remind Foster, both of whom served as teenagers with the U.S. Maritime Service at the tail end of “The War,” as they call World War II, “You don’t realize how close we were to extinction.” But they survived – and thrived. The rise they made in their respective careers mirrors, in many respects, the ascension of the United States as a world leader. They worked hard and took advantage of whatever opportunities came their way, whether it was through their own initiative or just good luck. And to a man, they agree that you need both to be truly successful. Now, when they look back on their formative years in Charleston, talking over lunch specials and glasses of sweet tea and ice water, those black-and-white memories are slightly faded, perhaps a little frayed around the edges by time and nostalgia. They talk fondly of a Charleston filled with sailors and soldiers, forgetting the brawls and vice squads. They recall hours hanging out at the Cistern, watching the pretty girls go by, and seem to exhale a unison sigh. They laugh about their favorite college drinking holes – the Anchor, Papa Kelly’s Spaghetti House, the Rascallop – and about West Street, downtown Charleston’s one-time red-light district located only a few blocks south of campus (and where Biemann Othersen ’50 now lives – to the amusement of everyone around the table). They have all seen much, done much, and they swap stories, jokes and jabs with the natural confidence and easy humor of great adventurers now safe at harbor – and, most important, now home among friends.
GEORGE NELSON ’51
Nelson enjoyed a remarkable career in medicine and academics. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Medical University of South Carolina (then, the Medical College) and later earned his M.D. from the University of West Virginia. Winner of a Foundation Prize Award for his work analyzing amniotic fluid to determine the likelihood of a baby developing respiratory distress syndrome, Nelson taught at several universities and retired a professor emeritus from the Medical College of Georgia. on his first semester: Dean Jennings wanted to talk with me. I went in there, and he said, “Son, I’ve been dean here for 10 years, and I’ve never had anybody get four As and a D. You got an A in every subject that seems hard to me, but you got a D in history.” I told him, “I couldn’t stand that guy, and he couldn’t stand me.” Dr. Jennings said, “Well, I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we just drop that. I don’t like that on your transcript. I’ll schedule you next year with this other guy.” I then made a B the next year. most embarrassing moment: I only did this one time. I went into
Mr. McGlaughon’s Latin class unprepared. I don’t know why I even went to class that day. We only had maybe six people in the class. I knew I was going to be called on. I never went unprepared again. school assembly: On the main floor of Randolph Hall, there’s an auditorium with a little stage [Alumni Hall]. We had, maybe once
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
a month, a student meeting or something. And it opened with a prayer. We sat facing the north, but during the prayer, everyone stood up and turned around and faced south. I had never seen that before. I think it was President Grice that led that prayer. athletics experience: When I went to the College, they had a freshman basketball team called the Baby Maroons. They said, “Come on, man.” So, I played. When varsity came along, I tried out. There were 13 uniforms for the team, and I got No. 13. I really wanted to go on the trips. The team traveled to Florida and the northern part of the state. I enjoyed the team very much. I was five foot, seven inches back then. If I got to play, it was a bonus. My senior year, I played quite a bit. I was the first guard to go in. on his last semester: My senior year, Dean Jennings called me into his office again. “I’ve got another problem with you, George. And I’ve never had this one before, either. You’ve taken enough Latin that you qualify for the A.B. degree, and, as a chemistry major, you obviously qualify for a B.S. degree.” “What’s the difference?” I asked. “The A.B. is written all in Latin and the B.S. is written in English. You have a choice.” So, I got an A.B. degree with a chemistry major. I don’t think anyone had done that before. advice for today’s college student: I think students ought to dress better. I wore a sports coat to school every day. Today’s students dress kind of sloppily. If I see children in the third grade and they’ve got some sort of uniform, I have a feeling that they go to a higher-class school. It’s just an impression I get. I don’t know if that is right or wrong, I just have a feeling.
CHARLES FOSTER ’50
Foster’s life exemplifies the power of a liberal arts and sciences education to give you the flexibility and know-how to pursue various – and vastly different – careers. A veteran of the U.S. Maritime Service (World War II) and the Coast Guard (Korean War), Foster later worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for more than a decade and then founded, in 1969, the Charles Foster Company, which focuses on staffing and recruiting needs for a variety of businesses. on his college days: I studied history and economics. I didn’t
really excel at anything. I was always a shy sort of guy. The limelight didn’t particularly appeal to me. I just wanted to see the world and maybe write about it. the spy experience: I was working in the Census Bureau in
Washington, D.C. In those days, the early ’50s, the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool had several big Quonset huts near it, which housed several government agencies, like the Veterans Administration and the Commerce Department, where I worked. Well, Bill Cronan and I were in line for lunch one day and there was another line that I hadn’t seen there before. And there were these attractive, well-groomed people and good-looking girls there. “Who are these people?” I asked. Bill said, “Those people are CIA.” And I told him, “I want to be in that line.”
I sent them my résumé. In a couple of days, they called me. They didn’t tell me why. It was a short interview. I didn’t get much out of them. I found out it was something to do with communication, and they were interested in my radio school and electrical school experience with the Maritime Service. To make a long story short, I enlisted into the Coast Guard at that time (I was being drafted into the Army), but when I got out, I put my application in with the CIA again. They may have forgotten me, but I didn’t forget them. And the CIA took me. Two weeks before they were shipping me out to northern Japan, which, honestly, I wasn’t really looking forward to – I ain’t one for real cold weather – I was reassigned and they sent me to England. I was an office manager or personnel director for a small group of individuals. I think spy would have been the wrong term. I was just a personnel man. his oxford days: While I was over in England with the CIA, I figured I would use my G.I. Bill out of the Korea thing. I went to Oxford and they bent over backwards to process me through. They told me I would fit in at Nuffield College. Max Beloff, who had written volumes about international affairs, was my tutor for a year and a half. He treated me just great. [Lord Beloff is considered one of Britain’s foremost historians, political scientists and politicians of the 20th century.] returning home to found charles foster company:
Something about a Charlestonian is sort of like an Italian: At some point in your life, you have to come home – and you come home. That’s what I did.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
FATHER JAMES PARKER
Because Father Parker wanted to major in Greek, which the College did not offer as a degree program at the time, he transferred after his sophomore year – on the advice of his CofC Greek professor – to better prepare him for seminary in the Episcopal Church. After three decades of preaching in Georgia, Indiana, Illinois and Tennessee, he led the charge of many Episcopal priests converting to the Catholic Church in the early ’80s. With his conversion, Father Parker became one of the first married priests in America. After that, he worked closely with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) at the Vatican and Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston, helping to process the Episcopal priests joining the Catholic Church, before retiring to Charleston in 1985. his childhood in charleston: I lived on George Street, between King and Meeting streets, in one of the biggest houses there. It was the nicest house on George Street: a three-story, Victorian-style home. The man who bought it from my parents tore it down. That was before the City could stop things like that. Today, that piece of property is a gravel parking lot owned by the College [for years, that property was the location of the Great Wall of China restaurant]. Everything we needed was right there. Automatic Grocery was near there; the barbershop was near there. And the Gloria Theatre [now the College’s Sottile Theatre] was just down the block. I saw
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
Gone With the Wind there in 1939. Down the block was the Garden Theatre [now Urban Outfitters]; it showed Ronald Reagan movies, not the cheap Westerns. thoughts on the college: The College was here from the beginning, when there were only just a few colleges in America. The College offered something that I think was more academically superior than the few other schools around. It remained insignificant beyond Charleston. It didn’t become Harvard or something like that, but I think it’s certainly in that category. The College was very academically precise. Comparing it to others, the College was more intellectual, more academic. It was very concerned about its students and expected a lot from them. You weren’t just there playing a game. on the college’s geographic diversity: There weren’t many out-of-town students, and they lived in the upstairs of the gym [today’s Silcox Center]. There were close to 250 students then, so it didn’t really bother us, as we didn’t have enough sense about it. advice for today’s college student: The education is the major thing they are there for – not the lifestyle they may like in college. And they should dress decently to properly show the respect for the education they are getting. I have to say, driving through the campus these days, I see those students with the clothes they wear. It’s disgraceful. We wore neck ties and a jacket. I look at these girls, wearing pants that look like they were spray painted on. During my college days, I never saw a girl in slacks. They wore skirts and looked decent.
Like many of his generation, Wichmann wanted to see the world – and he did. As a 16-year-old high school student, he enlisted in the Maritime Service toward the end of World War II and traveled to Europe. Later, when he was at the College, he was in the U.S. Navy Reserves and was called up for the Korean War. Because he hadn’t finished his degree yet, the Navy would not send him to Officer Candidate School, so rather than be a swabby, he instead enlisted with the Air Force and was sent to England. After some grand adventures, both on and off the water, he eventually returned to America and has enjoyed a successful 40-year real estate career in Charleston. losing his ship: In the ’50s, I bought a teak-plank, 65-foot yawl named Colleen, built in 1903. I had planned a trip to Spain on her with some friends. It was January, and we ran into a 60-knot sou’easter and lost our rudder. The wind pushed us up into the Irish Sea, which was not a very happy place. A Dutch refrigeration ship eventually took us, and we abandoned ship, leaving all of our clothes, just everything we had, on the boat. It was nasty and dark. I had lashed some lights on her so we could see her. A French fishing trawler came along and put a line on her and towed her back to France. The Dutch captain dropped us off in Belfast. I went to the American embassy there to see if we could get some financial help because I didn’t have any money.
The American ambassador pulled down some big book and said, “Stranded yachtsman? I don’t see any place here for that.” Anyway, he loaned me $500 from his personal pocket. I eventually got to France, where the fishing trawler had towed my boat. The fellow there was claiming the yacht for himself and his crew, and my boat was in a guarded marina. I went to court, but they told me that the French crew had saved the boat and I could pay them $25,000 for salvage. I didn’t have $25,000 and I figured I had better get on my way, which is when I decided to come back to America. his college days: Everybody knew everybody. I was a member
of Phi Delta Kappa, a local fraternity. I studied German because my father was German, who was a lighthouse keeper at Cape Romain. I also wrote a weekly column called the College Quill for the News & Courier [the precursor to today’s Post & Courier]. That column was about what was going on at the College: college parties, somebody seen with so and so. It was not too widely publicized that I was writing it. I may have not used my real name on it. My main ambition was to be a writer because I wanted to write books and novels. I liked Faulkner; he was really a man. advice for today’s college student: Consistency is the key to
success. Stick with something until you get it mastered. Maybe it’s a language problem, a mathematical problem or a historical problem, whatever – keep working until you get it right. I’ve stuck with this real estate business all these years [since 1973], and I think I have come a long way with it.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
Slotchiver, known simply as Slotch to his friends, was one of the first tax lawyers in South Carolina. A veteran of the Korean War, he served stateside as a private in the U.S. Army’s Finance Corps before returning to Charleston to begin his legal career. Still working today in his office on State Street, Slotchiver, the 2014 S.C. tax lawyer of the year, has represented pretty much every significant business, big and small, in Charleston over the course of the last half century. the path to law school: I left the College at the end of my third year. I had one semester left. A good friend of mine, William Duncan – we called him Red – asked me if I would take a ride with him to Columbia. On the way up, he said he was registering for law school. Meanwhile, I was a history major, and I had no idea what I was going to do with that history degree. My father owned a shoe store in Charleston, and I really wasn’t interested in going into the shoe business. When we got to the law school, I asked a few questions of the dean and decided to sign up as well. At that time, law school only required that you have three years of college. It all happened spur of the moment. going into tax law: I graduated law school in an accelerated two-
year program right before my 21st birthday, and I came to a quick realization that no one wanted a lawyer who wasn’t even an adult. |
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
I then went to Duke Law, but they didn’t have tax law, so I left at the end of the semester. I was told the key to tax specialty was accounting, which made a whole lot of sense to me. I then applied to two schools: Harvard and Penn. Harvard asked me to come up for an interview, and I didn’t have money for the fare. The Wharton School accepted me, so that’s where I went. I went up there for an initial interview after I was already accepted, and the dean there looked at my record, and his face lit up. He said, “College of Charleston.” They knew it. on tax law: Tax is mostly a theoretical thing. It may sound black
and white and boring, but if that’s what comes across to people trying to practice tax law, then they’re having no fun. It’s creative. People walk in with a problem and what they want to know is an answer. You could say, “Well, here’s the book, and the book says so and so,” but that’s not the answer. It’s a lazy man’s answer. Tax law is like a crystal. Every time you look into that crystal, just give it the slightest motion, and you’ll see something completely different that you never saw before. And know that your practice changes every 10 years or so. It just moves, and you have to adjust. You go with the flow because it’s really about whatever your clients want and need you to do. advice for today’s college student: Follow your intuition. That’s what has worked for me. I can’t honestly say I had a plan. Things just happen. Get a good education. What I’ve got has been wonderful and has given me a wonderful life. Know that things will evolve and be honest to yourself – you can’t go wrong then.
BIEMANN OTHERSEN ’50
Othersen is a pioneer in South Carolina medicine. A former president of the American Pediatric Surgical Association, he was the first pediatric surgeon in South Carolina and established the pediatric surgery department at the Medical University of South Carolina, where he taught and worked from 1965 to 2001 and where he is still active with its residency graduate program.
on going to the college: Initially, I wanted to be an engineer. I applied to Clemson and had been accepted and had a small scholarship. This was 1946, when all of the veterans were coming back from the war. Every university was giving first choice to veterans. They told me I would have to defer a year, so I decided to go to the College in the meantime. Of course, there were no engineering courses, being a liberal arts school, so I took biology and a lot of pre-med courses. I liked it so much that I stayed. When I think of the College, I picture a very happy place. We got a great education for very little money. I came from a family of six children. We didn’t have much money so I had to make money to go to school. Because I was a resident of Charleston, the City paid our tuition – something like $300 a year. We only had to pay our lab fees, and I had a scholarshp for that. in the classroom: I particularly enjoyed Dr. Towell [Edward
Towell ’34, who’s the namesake for College’s Towell Library].
He was a tough professor. He was a nice guy, but he was very dignified. No one misbehaved in his class. One day, in his comparative anatomy course, we cut the paw off a dissection cat and dipped it in black ink. We took it and made tracks right along the blackboard, up the wall and halfway across the ceiling and stopped. Dr. Towell came in, looked at the tracks, didn’t say a word about it and started lecturing. If only we had used half of the energy that we did on pranks on our academic pursuits. between classes: We loved pick-up basketball games. We would
rush over to the gym and would play – often without changing our clothes. We wore ties most of the time. We would come back to class all sweaty – smearing the ink on our notes. going into pediatric surgery: I always liked dealing with children. If you did everything right, they did well. They just popped back. And they didn’t do a lot of moaning and groaning like adults. At that time, around 1965, people didn’t think you needed special surgeons for children. In fact, no one encouraged me to come back to South Carolina. General surgeons here saw me as a competitor for their practices. They would say, “There aren’t that many children.” I started MUSC’s pediatric surgery department from scratch. For 14 years, I was by myself. That meant, anytime I was in town, I was on call. In fact, when we got beepers for the first time in the ’70s, it was a real emancipation for me. Because for years, even if I wanted to drive around with the family on Sunday afternoons, I had to stop at phone booths along the way and check in.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
JAMES EDWARDS ’50
Edwards is one of the most distinguished and accomplished alumni in the College’s history. Dropping out of the College before he even attended his first class, Edwards left school to seek adventure with the U.S. Maritime Service toward the end of World War II. A few years later, he returned to campus and studied chemistry in preparation for going to dental school and a career in oral surgery. In the turbulent ’60s, Edwards decided to get involved in politics, and his star quickly rose. In 1972, he was elected a state senator, and just two years later, won an unlikely bid for the state’s top office, becoming the first Republican governor in South Carolina since Reconstruction. He was governor for four years (the limit at that time) and later became President Ronald Reagan’s secretary of energy. In 1982, Edwards took the helm of the Medical University of South Carolina, where he was president for 17 years. In 1997, Edwards was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame. dropping out: When you’re 17, you don’t have very good
judgment. I busted out of the College and went to sea. I started off as a messman – the dishwasher on a troop ship. It can’t get much lower than that. I then became an ordinary seaman and worked my way up. One of the things I did, I was on a hospital ship. When I was off watch duty, I would go down into the medical ward and visit the wounded. As merchant seamen, we took the troops to the beach and left them. They did the rest. Seeing the results of war had a profound effect on my life. I was fortunate enough to get on board the USAT George Washington. I expressed interest in learning navigation, rules of the road and seamanship. I got promoted to acting junior third mate, and I was on the bridge, with all the books and instruments, and the senior men taught me. I studied for 18 months and then took a long, arduous exam in New York. I passed it and got my license – an unlimited license, which is the best you could get. I was very proud of it. That was my first real accomplishment. I brought my license home in December 1946 and hung it on the Christmas tree for my mother and father. coming back: When I told my father that I was going to come back to the College and get my degree, he said, “You’re just wasting your time. You shouldn’t do that. You’ve been successful at sea, so you ought to stay at sea.” It made me so mad. I couldn’t believe what my father – a school principal and teacher – was telling me. I came back that first semester [January 1947], and I think I made all As. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. his absence from the college’s yearbooks: I was busy. When ships came into Charleston Harbor, there was a pool of relief officers, and, as a licensed merchant marine officer, I would go down there at night. I would come aboard and take charge and be the officer on the deck. They paid me pretty well for doing it. Without that, I couldn’t have made it through the College. I got along well until they started shutting down all of the electricity on the ship. I went to the Sears Roebuck on the corner of Calhoun
and King and bought a gasoline lantern. I would pump it up and study by the light of that lantern. It was a wonderful job – I could study where no one would disturb me and I got paid for it. I owe a lot to those merchant ships in this harbor. on saving the life of a fellow alumnus: It was around 1945.
It was in the winter time. There was ice floating down the East River [New York]. And I got on a sea taxi, which would take seamen out to the various ships anchored out in the harbor. And this one night, I was on the sea taxi, and these other fellows were going to a different ship. This one man grabbed a gang plank and slipped – it was icy – and fell overboard. I didn’t know who he was. I reached down and grabbed the collar of his pea coat and hollered for some other fellows to help me. Back on the boat of the sea taxi, I look down and here’s Charlie [Charles Foster ’50]. It was funny – it was my old friend, Charlie! [This story has grown in the retelling by Edwards’ lunch crowd, who like to think that Edwards singlehandedly pulled Foster out of the water by just Foster’s hair.] balancing politics with his private oral surgery practice in charleston: Remember, I’m different from a lawyer. I can’t
have a clerk working in the courthouse making me money while I’m gone. I was an oral surgeon – when my fingers quit working, then my income stopped. It was very stressful. I was torn between my allegiance to my patients that I had cut on that morning and the Senate. I worked it out, fortunately, but it took a lot out of me. I was working 24 hours a day. his route to president reagan’s cabinet: The first day in the
S.C. Senate, Tommy Hartnett [another Republican senator who had been elected with him in 1972] and I went up to the Senate door and it was locked. We knocked and the sergeant-at-arms told us, “Sorry, we’re having a special session. This is the Democrat Caucus and they’re dividing the appointments for the various committees.” So, we didn’t get into the room until they were done. They assigned me to the Nuclear Commission because no one wanted to be on it. I became a strong supporter of nuclear energy. And that paved the way for me to become Reagan’s secretary of energy. Reagan asked me to renew the nuclear option and that is what I spent my time in Washington trying to do. [During his tenure, Edwards’ office wrote and got passed the Nuclear Energy Act of 1982 as well as worked to deregulate the oil industry.] his legacy as president of musc: The Medical University was
probably my most delightful years. It is always fun to build, and we had some terrific successes there. I think the university is well on its way to taking its place among the leading academic medical centers in the country. I am proud of what we did, the foundation we laid and the building that we did there. advice for today’s college student: First thing, decide what
you want to do, and that’s a tough decision to make. And I think we need to improve our method of advising young people what fields they are fitted for. I’m sure there are a lot of tests that I don’t know about today that test what they are strong in, but first you got to decide what you want to do with your life. So, get a good foundation in fundamentals, like basic science. Work hard, study and decide what you want to do and stick with it. FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
Philanthropy Buried Treasure Caitlin stone discovered the remnants of a soup bowl that measured 16 inches wide. Sarah Elgradawy pulled a skull out of a tomb built somewhere around 2,000 years ago. The senior anthropology students both excavated gravesites this past summer, though they were half a world apart when completing their digs. Stone was busy investigating human remains around an old Italian monastery, while Elgradawy worked in the thin air of Peru’s Andean highlands to map an ancient settlement. Each of their trips was helped made possible by the Catherine Wood Parker Scholarship, which was created by
Parker’s daughter, Chris Heidenreich, to honor her mother’s interest in education and anthropology. Parker, who attended Vassar College before eventually moving back to South Carolina, was a regular volunteer at the Charleston Museum. She passed away in 1995. For Stone, the scholarship made her third trip to Italy more affordable. Elgradawy used the scholarship to purchase a cold-weather sleeping bag and other gear and clothing necessary for living in the Andes for a month. Elgradawy worked in a field school outside the small town of Hualcayán at a site that was part of the Recuay culture.
| Site photos provided by Caitlin Stone |
| Caitlin Stone |
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
At this small settlement, there was an aboveground tomb, called a chullpa, which Elgradawy helped excavate with a team of other students and archaeologists. Historically, she explains, mummified bodies were kept in the tomb and temporarily removed by villagers to attend festivals and feasts. Few of these mummified skeletons are intact today. Elgradawy’s primary task, though, was to help map the settlement using geographic information systems (GIS). She explored the site with a machine called a total station that could pinpoint exact latitude and longitude, creating maps that showed the location of walls and
– Caitlin Stone terraces in the settlement, which thrived between 900 B.C. and A.D. 600. “I really enjoyed going out into the field with the total station and analyzing the landscape in order to create maps of the site,” says Elgradawy. In Altopascio, Italy, Stone worked at the Badia Pozzeveri, an 11th-century abbey located beside a pilgrimage road that is still in use today. The abbey, which was
| Sarah Elgradawy |
Though exhausted by long days in the field, too, Elgradawy mustered energy to horseback ride in the Andes, hike to a glacial lake and, to end her trip, made an excursion to Machu Picchu. Neither student wanted to miss out on the trips of a lifetime and sights located both above and below ground. “The time I spent working at the Badia Pozzeveri was one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences of my life,” says Stone. “Not only was I immersed in a culture that I always loved, but I was also given the chance to spend time with many talented students, instructors and lecturers who shared a common interest and enthusiasm for anthropology and bioarchaeology.” And those possibilities for travel and adventure would not have been possible without the generosity of Mrs. Heidenreich and the Catherine Wood Parker Scholarship.
| Site photos by Rebecca Bria |
“The time I spent working at the Badia Pozzeveri was one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences of my life.”
abandoned by monks by the 15th century, was used as a cholera hospital in the 19th century. Many of the excavated gravesites surrounding the abbey contain cholera victims, and she and her colleagues discovered lime deposits that contained the impressions of wrinkles from the deceased’s skin or burial shrouds. Stone focused on a gravesite behind the church, near its altar. The soil there was acidic, however, and most skeletons had disintegrated. “We got one, but all we had left was teeth,” says Stone. “But we could see where the body was buried.” Besides excavation of gravesites, Stone gained experience with GIS and worked in labs that cleaned and reconstructed both skeletons and ancient pottery. She made a point to travel through Italy, taking weekend trips to Florence, Lucca, Cinque Terre and Siena. She also packed in a fourday trip to Rome and Pompeii.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
Notes on a Beautiful Life and career, during which the musician performed at Carnegie Recital Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, the Chopin Academy in Warsaw and at concert halls in Berlin and Prague, among other cities. Ashley also performed at Charleston’s Spoleto Festival USA and had been a juror for piano and chamber music at the international Johannes Brahms Competition in Poertschach, Austria. Ashley was born in Kansas City in 1937 and graduated from Northwestern University, where he also earned graduate and doctorate degrees. He earned a piano diploma from the Conservatory of Vienna, where Italian classical pianist Maria Curcio served as inspiration for one of Ashley’s six books on 20th-century piano, Music Beyond Sound: Maria Curcio, a Teacher of Great Pianists. These accomplishments, however, were no more important to the teacher than the success he enabled in his students. Many remember Ashley fondly as both a great professor and a great friend. “There was never an issue that was too petty. He would always be there for you,” says Roberts, who now works as a civil litigator in Charleston. “I leaned on him during my college career and every year after.” And, as junior Corey Campbell wrote in a tribute to the late professor:
| Douglas Ashley with sophomore Sebastian Meyer (right) | In 40 years of teaching at the College, Douglas Ashley left a legacy impossible to forget. The much-loved music professor retired this past spring after offering tutelage and friendship to scores of students, including many who never touched an instrument. As one of the School of the Arts’ most popular teachers and a longtime faculty adviser to the Kappa Alpha fraternity, Ashley forged close relationships with students since his arrival on campus in 1972. |
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
In honor of his retirement, former Kappa Alpha fraternity president Ellis Roberts ’01 spearheaded the establishment of the Douglas Ashley Scholarship. Once the scholarship is fully funded, annual awards will be given to School of the Arts students, with a preference for those in the Greek community. In June, less than a month into his retirement, Ashley passed away in St. Louis. His death capped a remarkable life
He surpassed any expectation placed upon him as an educator. And in the same breath that improved my Mozart, he also managed to comfort, guide and push me forward into a better life. This man sacrificed, worked and toiled for the students of this school. For 40 years, this man has given his life to others, and the lives that were touched by him surely won’t be forgetting him any time soon. To forget him would be to forget a part of ourselves. I won’t be forgetting you. A thousand “thank yous” would never be enough. But here’s my one. Thank you, Douglas Ashley. You will be missed. For more information on the Douglas Ashley Scholarship, contact David Masich, director of gift planning at the College, at 843.953.1835 or email@example.com.
sweet beginnings When you have a thirst for education, there’s nothing like the real thing – just ask the five freshmen in the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholars Program. These first-generation students are getting the long, satisfying taste of higher education that they’ve always wanted, thanks to a grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation, which will provide each of them a $20,000 scholarship ($5,000 a year for four years). While also satisfying the College’s goal to recruit, enroll and retain an academically distinguished, well-prepared and diverse student body, the newly established scholarship supports the Coca-Cola Scholars through career and financial workshops as well as proactive counseling, mentoring, tutoring, advising and career-placement services. It all started this year, with the first-ever Coca-Cola Scholars attending Operation College Success – a three-day summer boot camp connecting them with academic resources and cultural opportunities and preparing them for their academic careers. For these five S.C. freshmen, it was just a taste of the real thing ahead.
| Photo by Tanya Boggs |
(clockwise, from top) Sam McCauley (Greenville), Cheri Hainsworth (Spartanburg), Meagan Dunham (Marion), Erin Spencer (York) and Ariel McShane (Spartanburg)
CLASS NOTES 1947 Lucy and Ed Albenesius announce the birth of their first great-grandchild, Micah Loosa, born in June. Ed and Lucy live in Aiken, S.C.
1951 Martha Reeves Lanier Cotten has written her second book, Penny Postcards, Unique Greetings From Dick Reeves. She has also published six books of poetry.
1963 Herb Goldberg is the author of
Grandpa’s Book: Looking Back and Going Forward, focusing on youths’ need to develop and navigate through their turbulent teen years. Now retired, Herb is a volunteer surgeon in many free clinics and teaches medical residents surgical techniques.
1965 Neil Draisin received the American
Optometric Association’s National Optometrist of the Year Award. Neil has been practicing optometry in Charleston for more than 40 years.
1968 Lucas Carpenter is the author of The Way Things Go: And Other Poems, a collection of poetry about travels to Israel and other places. He is an English professor at Oxford College of Emory University in Oxford, Ga.
1971 Billy Carter was profiled in Roper
St. Francis’ House Calls magazine. A physician, Billy helped found Lowcountry Urology Clinics in 2006, but the focus of the article was his passion for photography. Some 250 of his photographs are displayed around Charleston. Billy and his wife, Dorothy Gervais Carter ’73, live on Johns Island and have two daughters.
1972 Charles and Toula Phillips Williams announce the birth of their first grandchild, Anne Lisette, born in August. Charles and Toula live in Mt. Pleasant.
1973 Dorothy Gervais Carter (see Billy
Carter ’71) David Jaffee finished serving his second term as president of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Congregation in Charleston. David and Nancy Limehouse Morrow cohosted a send-off reception at their home in Myrtle Beach for CofC incoming freshmen in August. Henrietta Golding ’74 and Renee Bodie Goldfinch ’06, both new members of the College’s Board of Trustees, were also cohosts.
1974 Henrietta Golding was elected to the College’s Board of Trustees. She is an attorney with McNair Law Firm in Myrtle Beach and focuses on labor and employment law as well as civil and commercial litigation. Harlan Greene is the head of Special Collections for the College’s Addlestone Library.
1975 Cherry Daniel was re-elected to
the College’s Board of Trustees. Cherry is the executive director of South Carolina Virtual Charter School and lives in Charleston.
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
1976 Glen Brown has retired after 35
years with Santee Cooper. Most recently, he was the director of human resources for the company. Glen is a past president of the College’s Alumni Association and currently serves on the College’s Foundation Board. Larry Simon is a member of the Cougar Club Board. Larry retired from the EPA in 2009. Eddie Thomas was elected to the College’s Board of Trustees. Eddie is a dentist in private practice in Anderson, S.C.
1978 Christine Smith Breves is a vice
president and chief procurement officer for the United States Steel Corporation in Pittsburgh. In this capacity, she joins the company’s executive management team after retiring from Alcoa Inc., where she served as chief procurement officer since 2004. Debra Turner was a 2013 Influential Women in Business winner selected by Charleston Regional Business Journal. Debra is the managing partner of WebsterRogers and serves on the board of directors for The Center for Women in Charleston. Pam Paul Turner (see John Turner ’79)
1979 Mary Clark Coy published To
Hear Them Tell It: Memories of Growing Up in Charleston. Her book is available through Amazon and Charleston Guide Books. John and Pam Paul Turner ’78 cohosted a sendoff reception at their home in Florence, S.C., for incoming College freshmen in August. Their cohosts were Steve ’78 and Suzy Burnett Mikell ’81.
1980 Rus and Sharon Brock Kingman
hosted a send-off reception in July at their home in Greer, S.C., for incoming College freshmen from the Greenville area. Sharon is the chair of the College’s Foundation Board.
1981 Harvin Belser Fair is the law clerk
for the Honorable Ralph King Anderson III, chief administrative law judge with the S.C. Administrative Law Court in Columbia. David Hay was elected to the College’s Board of Trustees. David is the president of Hay Tire Company in Charleston and a past president of the College’s Alumni Association. Fonda Lindfors New is the CEO and principal geologist of Quaternary Resource Investigations in Baton Rouge, La. She was recognized as the Small Business Administration District 8(a) Small Business Person of the Year. QRI, which Fonda established in 1986, is a multifaceted company that specializes in geophysical assessments, drilling, remediation and construction services. Renee Buyck Romberger was elected to the College’s Board of Trustees. Renee is a health care executive with Spartanburg Regional Hospital and lives in Greenville. Beth Cauthen Tate works in the sales and design department at Charleston Commercial Interiors. Beth’s daughter, Grace, is a student at the College.
1983 Victoria Guerry Dotson is a vice
president and senior relationship manager for Synovus Trust Company. She is based in the NBSC branch in downtown Charleston.
1984 Lee Mikell was re-elected to the
College’s Board of Trustees. Lee is an executive with SCE&G and lives in Columbia. Marc New is the president-elect of the Cougar Club Board. Marc is a gastroenterologist in Charleston. Sharon Weeks Sellers is president of SLS Consulting in Summerville, S.C. The company provides HR services and training to both large and small employers. Kurt Taylor was appointed by The Center for Public Safety Excellence as the county manager representing the International City/County Management Association to the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. Kurt is the county administrator for Charleston County.
1985 Margaret Collins Frierson is the
foundation director for the Regional Medical Center Foundation in Orangeburg, S.C. Margaret is the immediate past president of the College’s Alumni Association. Mary Nathanson Kilo is the chief pathologist at Kaiser Permanente in Portland, Ore. Gail Lincoln is the special programs coordinator in the College’s financial aid office. She has been working at the College for 20 years. Kit Flaherty Robichau has been a workforceplanning consultant for 15 years. Recently, she became involved with a start-up venture – a specialty food product line. Kit lives in Marshfield, Mass.
1986 J. Mitchell Crosby is a member
of the board of directors for The Center for Women in Charleston. Mitchell is the owner of JMC Charleston, an event-planning company. Chris Halter published a new book, The PSPP Guide: An Introduction to Statistical Analysis. He is a faculty member at the University of California San Diego’s Department of Education Studies. William Jones and Barry Pate gave a vocal performance during the Remington Concert Series at Franke at Seaside as part of Piccolo Spoleto in May.
1987 Tucker Cecil is an attorney with
Willson Jones Carter & Baxley PA in Mt. Pleasant. She practices in the area of workerscompensation defense. P. John DeStefano is a vice president at Cushman & Wakefield Thalhimer’s Charleston office, and his focus is investment property brokerage.
1988 Phyllis Nickas Gates is a master
teacher in the College’s N.E. Miles Early Childhood Development Center. She has been working at the College for 20 years. Edward Hart is the chair of the College’s music department. Edward is a cofounder and musical director of the Lowcountry Heritage Society, an arts organization dedicated to the
[ alumni profile ]
Coming of Age Tell Mickey Barber ’82 to act her age, and she’ll tell you that’s exactly what she’s doing. Sure, she might be the oldest competitor in the 2013 South Carolina Excalibur Fitness Competition, but that certainly isn’t going to stop the 58-yearold. It didn’t stop her 10 years ago, when – as one of the oldest competitors that year – she placed second for Figure Over 35. It’s certainly not going to stop her now. Besides, she says, “I feel better at 58 than I did at 48! And I’m more fit, too!” That’s partly because Barber practices what she preaches as the CEO/CMO of Cenegenics Carolinas, a Charleston-based age-management medical institute that uses a combination of exercise, nutrition, lifestyle and hormone optimization to help patients look and feel younger and to improve the quality of their lives. But it’s also because Barber has far too much energy to let a number slow her down. From an early age, Barber’s energy translated into an industrious work ethic. She got her first job at age 15 and, by the time she was enrolling at the College at age 23, she’d been working as a respiratory therapist for five years. At the College, the biology major continued working as a respiratory therapist at MUSC, as well as a server at Garibaldi’s and a bartender at The Last Catch. She went on to complete her medical degree at MUSC, her residency in anesthesiology at Tulane and her fellowship in obstetrical anesthesia at Harvard. It was after she’d served as an assistant professor at Tulane and was a practicing anesthesiologist back in Charleston that she started slowing down. “I was struggling with a lot of fatigue, a lot of pain,” Barber says. “The fatigue was so overwhelming that I had to pull over while I was driving in the middle of the day. I couldn’t stay awake.” It was clearly out of character, but – even though she visited countless doctors across the country – no one could offer her any relief. Barber knew she couldn’t just live like this: She had to do something. “I did some research and became interested in the relationship between hormones, stress reduction, fitness, lifestyle and nutrition,” says Barber,
whose quest eventually led her to the Cenegenics Medical Institute in Las Vegas, where she began studying – and applying – age-management medicine. “I found a lot of interventions really helped me, and, when I was well enough to go back to practicing medicine again, that’s what I decided to do.” And so, 12 years ago, she opened the first Cenegenics center outside of Las Vegas and now has a satellite office in Charlotte, too. “It has been really, really fun to be a part of this and to see it take off like it has,” says Barber, who attributes the popularity of the Cenegenics approach to the fact that it just makes sense. “We practice good medicine: There’s nothing weird or alternative in what we do. There’s nothing more basic than fitness, nutrition and lifestyle.” And, when done right, these things give the body an incredible energy boost. “The body is equipped to keep going, you just have to maintain it. It’s like having a beautiful Mercedes and putting
the wrong kind of gas in it,” says Barber. “It’s the same thing with your body. You have to give it the right kind of fuel.” Barber, for one, is fueled not just by her restored energy and health, but by the turn her career took in the process. “It’s so fun. I don’t think of my job as a job. You have to love what you do. And I do,” she says, noting that she is constantly reading medical journals and studies for the next new discovery about how different factors interact to affect the body. “I’m really focused. I’m very fortunate to have a really good work ethic. “I’m also willing to take some risks. A lot of time it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But I always make it work somehow,” Barber continues with a laugh. “I don’t take no for an answer.” Nor does she take age for an excuse. – Alicia Lutz ’98 Editor’s Note: Barber’s daughter, Lindsay Segal, is continuing Barber’s legacy as a freshman at the College this fall.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
production of new works of art, music and literature about or inspired by the Lowcountry. Glenn Horres is a psychiatrist in private practice. Glenn and Mackall Gantt were married in April and live in Mt. Pleasant. Marshall and Mary Youngblood Kent hosted a send-off reception at their home in Atlanta for incoming College freshmen in August. Their daughter, Margaret, is a student at the College. Anthony Meyer Jr. is the executive director of development at Louisiana State University. Tam Bang Vu is an associate professor and chair in the department of economics at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. Tam received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Hawaii, Manoa in 2006.
1989 Catherine Cattles is a vice president at BB&T in Atlanta, Ga. Monica Martin Cromer is the director of development for University of South Carolina’s College of Nursing. Before joining the College of Nursing staff, she was on the leadership team of the USC athletics department and was its director of development. Monica resides in Columbia with her husband, Burke, and two children, JD and Julia. Jennie Stephens is on the board of directors for The Center for Women in Charleston. She is the executive director at the Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation. Kate Tierney is a partner in the food company Alter Eco in Santa Barbara, Calif. The company brings Fair Trade Certified food from around the world into the United States.
1990 Lisa Trott was named the Charleston County School District Teacher of the Year. She is a teacher at Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary School.
1991 David Battey is the IT coordinator
in the College’s Office of Research and Grants Administration. He has worked for the College for 20 years. Thomas Carroll is a senior instructor in the College’s health and human performance department. He has been working at the College for 10 years. Mills Cobb Smith, after being at home with her children, joined Rodan and Fields Dermatologists as an independent business owner and is working out of her home and seeking business partners throughout the U.S. and Canada.
1992 Paige Boehlke is the owner of P.I.E.
Bake Shoppe in Charleston. Her ham blueberry sandwich was named Best Deli Sandwich in America by Restaurant Hospitality Magazine. Tanya Nelson Gurrieri is a managing partner at Salt House Catering in Charleston. Ricci Land Welch was elected to the College’s Board of Trustees. Ricci is an attorney and
The San Francisco Human Rights Commission honored Paul Day ’94 with the 2013 HRC HERO Award for Individual Leadership in Civil Rights and Economic Justice Advocacy. Paul is a manager of events and communications in the Office of Diversity and Outreach at UC – San Francisco.
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
partner with Land, Parker and Welch Law Firm and lives in Manning, S.C.
1993 Christopher Boffoli’s new book,
Big Appetites, which features his unique food images, garnered national attention on NPR and CBS This Morning. Randall Comer is a representative on the Board of Governors of the Ohio State Bar Association. Randall is a member of the Springfield law firm of Martin, Browne, Hull & Harper. He and his wife, Tamara, have three children. JJ Lamberson is the treasurer of the Cougar Club Board. JJ is president of Twin Rivers Capital in Charleston. Chris Skipper is the Alumni Association representative on the Cougar Club Board. Chris is an attorney in Charleston.
1994 Heather Loveland Engleman (see Shawn Engleman ’97) Jeff and Roseann Sayoc Gapusan hosted a sendoff reception at their home in Chatham, N.J., in July for incoming College freshmen. Xan Grayson works in logistics for Kinder Morgan and lives in Charleston. Kimberly Quade Janssen earned her master’s in technical education from Lesley College and a certificate of advanced graduate study in assistive technology from Simmons College in Boston. She and her husband, Ted, live in Plainville, Mass., with their two children. Charlynn Knight, a watercolor artist in Charleston, is the City of North Charleston’s artist-in-residence for 2013–14. Emily McDaniel is an attorney with the Law Offices of Thomas P. Lowndes Jr. and is a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. She and Andrew Barrett were married in April and live in Charleston. Susan Moorhead is president of Bohicket Road LLC, a manufacturer of decorative storage products. Susan and Douglas Zimmerman Jr. were married in July and live in Staunton, Va., with her children, Madeline and Jake. Jenion Tyson became a certified master gardener in 2012 and has written the gardening blog Park Circle Homestead (blog.pchomestead.com) since 2009.
1995 Rhonda Tapley is a special counsel
with Nexsen Pruet’s real estate group practice in Charleston.
1996 Karin Gill Emery received her
master’s in nursing administration and leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing in 2011. She finished her second year in a nursing biobehavorial research Ph.D. program at VCU while working as a nurse clinician for the Ambulatory Care Clinics. She and her husband, Mike, live in Glen Allen, Va., with their two children. Kevin Kurtz (M.A.T.) has released his third illustrated book about nature, A Day in the Deep, a children’s book about deep sea animals. Catherine McCrary Main (M.S.) is the executive director of the Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy. Will Moody finished his 15th year as an elementary school counselor in Richland School District Two as well as his term as president of the Palmetto State School Counselor Association. Will is the co-author of three professional resources for school counselors: Smart Guidance, Smart Guidance 2 and Success in the Game of Life. Robbie and Linda Milnor Nichols announce
the birth of their second daughter, Audrey Elizabeth, born in May. The Nichols family lives in Hanahan, S.C. Linda is a commercial credit analyst with Bank of America. Stuart Wheeless is the manager of three Department of Defense dependent schools in Beaufort, S.C.
1997 Brettannounce and Bess Brockington the birth of their
Bluestein ’02 second child, John “Jack” Harrison, born in June. The Bluestein family lives on Sullivan’s Island. Bess is a school psychologist with Dorchester County Schools, and Brett is a vice president and wealth strategist with U.S. Trust and Bank of America. Shawn Engelman is a battalion chief with the James Island PSD Fire Department. He is also an adjunct instructor with the S.C. Fire Academy. He and his wife, Heather Loveland Engleman ’94, live on James Island with their two children, Andrew and Liam. Heather works for Lowcountry Bistro. Anthony Johnson is a basketball scout for the New Orleans Pelicans. Anthony played 13 seasons in the NBA. Stephen Schabel is the director of education at the Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw, S.C. Joe Warren is the founder and CEO of Warren Capital Group with offices in Charleston and Washington, D.C.
1998 Randy and Sherlonda Peake participated in a medical mission
Adkins ’99 trip to Uganda. Selena Wilson Hardison is the chief program officer for Crisis Ministries in Charleston. Toshawnka Thomas Mahone is the principal of Northwoods Middle School in Moncks Corner, S.C. Deanne Rogers and Timothy Glotch were married in 2002. They have two children, Charlotte and Cameron, and live in Stony Brook, N.Y. Deanne is an assistant professor of geosciences at SUNY Stony Brook. Joanne Baylis Scanlon, a native of Zimbabwe, became a U.S. citizen in July. The ceremony took place at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Joanne earned a Ph.D. in biophysics at the University of Virginia in 2008. She, her husband and children live in Charlottesville, where Joanne is a technical analyst with Skeo Solutions. Louis Tick is a financial adviser for Edward Jones and is an active community member on various boards. He lives in West Ashley with his wife, Kelly Workman Tick ’01, and three children.
1999 Sherlonda Peake Adkins (see Randy
Adkins ’98) Jennifer Dyer Buddin is on the board of directors for The Center for Women in Charleston. Leslie Burns earned her M.F.A. from the University of Georgia and is an adjunct faculty member in photography at Trident Technical College. Leslie and Scott Wallace were married in June and live in North Charleston. Michael O’Callaghan is the vice president of sales for Field Nation’s strategic accounts in Atlanta.
2000 Tony and Saffron Owens Algozzini announce the birth of their second child,
’03 Parker Griffin, born in April. The Algozzini family lives in Jacksonville, Fla. Chris Burgess is the executive director of Enough Pie, a nonprofit giving voice and action to the creative cluster on the upper peninsula of Charleston. Seth ’02 and Anne Richardson Cason announce
playing with fire You couldn’t go into Charleston’s Market in the 1990s without seeing Sebastian “Bash” Gomez ’96 tossing colorful, feathered batons and balls into the sky and catching them with a quick hand and that winsome grin. He was Charleston’s resident juggler – and now he’s traveling all over the world juggling, spinning and breathing fire. “Juggling morphed into fire dancing, and now, juggling, spinning and performing with fire has paved the way to creating propane-fueled art pieces, firewalking sessions and even pyrotechnic and fireworks-based displays,” says Gomez, who performs at arts festivals all over the world, including such faroff lands as Slovenia, the Sultanate of Oman and the Yucatan Peninsula and for such massive audiences as the 60,000 spectators at Burning Man. “My life is a circus, but I never ran away with it. It just came to me one day and stayed,” says Gomez, who also owns the Juggling Gypsy, a hookah bar in Wilmington, N.C. And, so far, Gomez hasn’t missed a trick. He has appeared on NPR’s All Thing Considered, the CW’s America’s Next Top Model and the History Channel’s Quest for Dragons, among others. Gomez is open to anything: “That’s the beauty and trouble with creating your own occupation out of thin air: It’s a continual evolution – I just don’t know where it’s heading.” FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
Rebecca Ansert ’01 created
San Diego’s Green Art Parade, a curated street spectacle of portable sculptures, art bikes, green fashion and performances by Southern California artists with a message about the environment. the birth of their daughter, Cora Anne, born in August. The Cason family lives in Mt. Pleasant. Chris and Courtney Blandford Challoner announce the birth of their son, Carter Thomas, born in July. The Challoner family lives in Norfolk, Va. Kris and Margaret Seeley Furniss were congratulated by Charleston Mayor Joe Riley on the fifth anniversary of their gourmet market and café, Caviar & Bananas. Mayor Riley proclaimed May 22, 2013, Caviar & Bananas Day. Adam and Leslie Whaley Hall announce the birth of their son, Connor, born in December 2012. The Hall family lives in Mt. Pleasant. Clayton McCauley is an operations engineer with Google in Charleston. Michael Shemtov and Melody Weinstein were married in April. Jess Chenault Whitehead is a coastal communities hazards adaptation specialist for the North Carolina Sea Grant. She and her husband live in Raleigh.
2001 Mark Condon is the business development manager at Datamyne in
Charleston. Mark has 18 years of international trade experience. Russell Lake is a major in the U.S. Army and is a battalion surgeon in Afghanistan. Russell and his wife, Christina Hamilton Lake, have three children and live in Richmond Hill, Ga. Sarah Piwinski is the Links to Success manager at Trident United Way in Charleston. Drew and Ryan Holmes Small announce the birth of their son, Brumley, born in August. Ryan is an assistant director in the College’s alumni relations office. Shana Thomas Thornton is the executive producer and host of the national radio talk show Let’s Talk America for BlogTalkRadio. Kelly Workman Tick (see Louis Tick ’98) Sarah Brewer Verstraten is an attorney with Willson Jones Carter & Baxley PA in Charleston. She practices in the area of workers’ compensation defense. Katie Walker is an assistant general counsel at the College. Katie received her J.D. from the University of South Carolina.
2002 Elizabeth Berry is a State Farm
agent in Simpsonville, S.C. Bess Brockington Bluestein (see Brett Bluestein ’97) Seth Cason (see Anne Richardson Cason ’00) Christian Chamblee is the chief operating officer at Ziff Properties in Mt. Pleasant. Frederick Cooper (M.S.) is an associate dean of the math, science and engineering division at Kankakee Community College in Illinois. He earned his doctorate in educational leadership at Clemson University. David Crowley is the secretary of the Cougar Club Board. David is a partner in The Alley, a bowling
alley and restaurant in downtown Charleston. Peter DePasquale is the government relations manager at Praxair Inc. in Danbury and was named a Connecticut 40 Under 40 by Connecticut Magazine. Amy Gordon is the director of development for The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. Ashley Wilmeth Hancock is a Realtor and property manager at Southern Shores Real Estate Group in Charleston. She and her husband, Rodney, have two children: Neil and Lyla. Ashley’s sister, Mary Robin Wilmeth, is a student at the College. Aron Kuch is the data information specialist in the College’s financial aid office. He’s been working at the College for 10 years. Jeanne Kahler Schlichting is a special education teacher and the women’s swim coach at Jimmy C. Draughn High School in Burke County, N.C. Jeanne has a 5-year-old son, William Charles. Mary Sloan is the assistant registrar for continuing student transfer evaluation in the College’s registrar office. She has been working at the College for 10 years. Andy Steinhauser is a Los Angeles–based TV and radio host and the host of The Story with Andy Steinhauser on LA Talk Radio. For nearly 10 years, Andy had a career as a cruise director. Ola Stokes received her master’s in rehabilitation counseling from S.C. State University in 2010. She is a program specialist at HopeHealth in Orangeburg, S.C.
2003 Saffron Owens Algozzini (see Tony Algozzini ’00) Anne McPhee Bender received her J.D. at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law
Alumni Awards Gala November 21, 2013 Charleston Place Hotel What do a wildlife conservationist and a nationally acclaimed novelist have in common? Find out at the 2013 Alumni Awards Gala and celebrate the accomplishments of six extraordinary alumni.
Ring Ceremony December 3, 2013 Sottile Theatre Juniors and seniors receive their class rings in a ceremony hosted by the College of Charleston Alumni Association.
Old Timers Society March 8, 2014 Invited Classes: 1935–1964 The Old Timers Society celebration and induction is an annual reunion for all alumni who graduated at least 50 years ago.
A Charleston Affair May 3-4, 2014 Cistern Yard This year’s A Charleston Affair introduces TWO parties: Saturday, May 3 for alumni and Sunday, May 4 for seniors. Alumni may attend either night. Tickets go on sale in early 2014.
Mark Your Calendars
For more information about these and other alumni events (including specific alumni chapter meetings), go to alumni.cofc.edu.
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
| Photo by Lucilla Bellini |
[ alumni profile ]
The Florentine Effect Alexandra Lawrence ’98 is the very definition of a Renaissance woman. So it’s fitting that the writer, teacher, professional guide, wife and mother calls Florence, Italy, home. It is, after all, la culla del Rinascimento – the cradle of the Renaissance – where the cultural movement was born. Much like the Renaissance, Lawrence’s life has been an efflorescence of interests and careers in politics and law, literature, history and art that whisked her from the Deep South to the vineyards of California, to the brick walkways of the College and, ultimately, to the frescos of Florence, where she’s spent the past 15 years steeped in the city’s dazzling history and seductive charm. “I still say, after everything that I’ve done in my life – all the different and cool things,” she observes, “the best decision I ever made was going to the College.” After a semester studying abroad in Florence, Lawrence graduated from the College with a political science degree and bounced back and forth across the Atlantic, working various jobs at law firms and coordinating programs for other study-abroad students – until, at age 25,
she decided, “I just want to be back in Italy. I’ve got to figure it out.” She paved her path to Florence with a master’s in Italian literature and language from San Francisco State University. While still living in California, she landed a gig translating from afar for The Florentine, Florence’s only all-English newspaper. When her good friend suddenly had to leave her post as managing editor, she called in Lawrence to take her place in the Tuscan capital. Her position at the paper led to a phone call from a local university, asking if she could teach a travel writing class. Before she knew it, Lawrence was teaching seven courses, including journalism, food writing and contemporary Italian culture. “My favorite thing to teach is the Italian culture class,” she says. “Post 1945 to the present, we really look at everything: politics, the family, social institutions, education, cinema, the arts, immigration.” She eventually left her position as managing editor of The Florentine to teach full time, but continues to serve as editor-at-large and pen pieces that explore the culture and history of Florence. In true form, however, Lawrence’s thirst for knowledge and experience, and her
desire to share her passion for Florence – its literature and sculptures, churches and monuments, the great works of Dante and Michelangelo and Galileo and Machiavelli, the idyllic climate, quaint cafés, historic gardens and sweeping views – could not be quenched. So, after an intensive 800-hour course on Florentine art and history, Lawrence became a licensed professional guide, a highly regarded and highly regulated profession in the city-sized shrine to the Renaissance. And, for the past year, she’s been taking small groups and students, including English professor Bret Lott’s group this summer – on in-depth tours to uncover Florence’s hidden gems. “It was sort of a gift to myself to be able to study the history and art of Florence more formally,” she says, “and, in an official capacity, share my knowledge with people who come to the city. Florence is more than the “David” and Uffizi and the Duomo. I love all of those things, but there are hidden corners that I like to help people discover.” And who better to do it than this Renaissance woman herself? – Abi Nicholas Stock ’07 FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and her LL.M. in estate planning at the University of Miami School of Law. She and her husband, David, were married in 2011 and live in Hollywood, Fla., where Anne is an attorney specializing in wills, trusts and estates. Corbett Coats and Nicholas Thomas were married in November in the College’s Barnet Courtyard. Steven and Jessica Polk Delfs announce the birth of their son, Lane Grant, born in June. The Delfs family lives in Naples, Fla. Ryan Earnest and Virginia Williams were married in May. Wilson and Stephanie Collier Greene live in Louisville, Ky., with their daughter, Mazie. Wilson owns the Greene Law Firm, handling personal injury litigation, and Stephanie is a literacy coach for Liberty Elementary School. Rob Jeschke is a senior accountant with Appirio in Indianapolis. Nelson Long is an account manager and project coordinator at Rogers Electric in Alpharetta, Ga. Betty Jane Magidson and Ed Mackay were married in October 2012 and live in Safety Harbor, Fla. Betty Jane is an elementary school teacher at Country Day School, a Montessori school in Largo. David McAhron is an associate in the client setup group with SIB Development & Consulting’s Charleston office. Ashley Vaughn and Joseph Dennig were married in May and live on James Island. May Wahab is a patient health care advocate and the owner and founder of House Calls for Seniors in Charleston.
2004 Jared Bilton and Susan Chaffin ’05
were married in May and live in Mt. Pleasant. Andy ’10 and Katy Pendley Evans announce the birth of their daughter, Molly, born in August 2012. Andy is a systems analyst with Boeing, and Katy is the reservations manager at Wild Dunes Resort. The Evans family lives in Mt. Pleasant. Evan Guthrie, an attorney for the Evan Guthrie Law Firm in Charleston, was named S.C. Bar Young Lawyers Division Star of the Quarter for the second and third quarters of 2012–13 and is vice chair of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Elder Law Committee. Amanda Kirkpatrick is an account supervisor at Carolina PR and the president-elect of the Public Relations Society of America’s Charlotte chapter. Amanda and David DeWeese were married in May. Erin Kreutzer and William Burris were married in April and live in Charleston. Troy Lesesne is the College’s assistant men’s soccer coach. Troy has been named one of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America 30 Under 30 program. The program is a year-long education and mentorship opportunity for a select few up-and-comers who have made soccer coaching their career choice. He has also been spotlighted by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America for his outstanding commitment and contribution to the development of the game and to the College’s men’s soccer program. Kristin Moeller is an account manager providing computer network consulting for ANCGroup Inc. Kristin and Bernardo Perkinson were married in May 2011. Amy Phillips is a graduate student in GardnerWebb University’s school counseling program. Amy and Benjamin Bishop were married in June. Matt and Leah Still Schonfeld announce the birth of their second child, Carter Tate, born in January. Leah is the director of human resources at The Citadel.
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
2005 Brandon Belger is an associate at
Mlynarczyk Law Firm in North Charleston and earned his J.D. from the Charleston School of Law. Susan Chaffin (see Jared Bilton ’04) Helen Corley is the residential supervisor at Trinity Services in Chicago. Trey Eppes and Caitlin Connolly were married in September 2012 and live in New York City. Sarah Gipe returned to Charleston to partner with her father to form the Gipe Partners team in association with Carolina One Real Estate in Mt. Pleasant. Brianne Halpin and William Porter were married in October 2012. Stacy Huggins is the executive director for the Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston and was profiled in Skirt! magazine. Gregory Kramer and Lucie Maguire were married in November 2011 and live in Charleston. Greg and Donna Murray Libert ’08 live in Mt. Pleasant with their two children, Piper and Noah. Greg is a histotechnologist for a dermatopathology lab in Charleston, and Donna works in business development for AdvancePath Academics. Sarah Martenstein is a registered nurse with Bon Secours Health System. Sarah and her husband, Taylor Jefferson, live in Richmond, Va. Jason Rosenberg is the owner of Medical Resources Management in Rochester, N.Y. Kyle Strickland graduated from MUSC’s College of Graduate Studies, earning his M.D./ Ph.D. He was the recipient of MUSC’s 2013 Distinguished Graduate Student Award. He and Carole Lynn Moore were married in May. Grant Tankoos is the owner of Soundview Millworks in Darien, Conn., and was named to Fairfield County Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Mike Tecosky is a vice president of credit for BNC Bank in Charleston. Hillary Winburn is the curator for the Horry County Museum in South Carolina.
2006 Rebecca Britton is a member of the
Cougar Club Board. Rebecca graduated from MUSC’s pharmacy program in 2010 and works in MUSC’s outpatient pharmacy. Renee Bodie Goldfinch was elected to the College’s Board of Trustees. Renee works for the Boyd Goldfinch Law Firm and lives in Murrells Inlet. Katherine Priegel Lansbury is the senior catering manager at The Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C. Elizabeth and Adam Paul announce the birth of their son, Joseph “Coover,” born in September 2012. Adam is the owner of Catch Multimedia and GillznFinz.com, and the Paul family lives on Johns Island. Emily Shalosky Shelley is a physician assistant with Mitchell B. Brown, M.D. PLLC and Beth C. Horowitz, M.D. PLLC in Washington, D.C. Emily is also the president of the College’s D.C. Alumni Chapter. James Ulmer and Erin Walsh ’07 were married in June and live in Charleston.
2007 Jeffrey Anderson and Katherine were married in April and live in
Chapman ’10 Newman, Ga. Kristen Munsey Beckham is the donor relations specialist at American Red Cross in Columbia. Lisa Blasco is the senior center coordinator at Roper St. Francis Healthcare’s Lowcountry Senior Center in Charleston. Lisa and Travis Zobel were married in May. Adam Carey is an associate development manager with Twin Rivers Capital in Charleston. Stephen Christmas (see Ivey Edinger ’09)
Anastasia Emelianoff is the communications, administrative and events coordinator in the College’s academic affairs office. Ana received her master’s in public policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. Gregory Finch earned his J.D. and LL.M. in intellectual property from the University of New Hampshire School of Law in 2011. He is a founding partner and president of FirstPoint, an intellectual property firm. Gregory and Carolyn Shea were married in December 2012 and live in Charleston. John and Ashley Lewis Ford announce the birth of their son, Noah William. John is a web developer, and Ashley works in public relations in Charlotte. Pamela Gregory is the grants and outreach coordinator for U.S. Senator Tim Scott’s office in North Charleston. Jonathan Johnson is an accountant with CentraArchy Restaurant Management Company in Charleston. Rachel King is the club marketing manager for Kiawah Development Partners on Kiawah Island, S.C. Rachel and Boo Moore were married in June. Greg Mason and Johanna Mellis ’08 were married in 2012 and are both working toward their doctorates in European history at the University of Florida. Greg is focusing on German history and Johanna is studying Hungarian history. Philip McCandies lives in Valparaiso, Ind., and is a financial adviser with Water Tower Financial Partners in Chicago. Abi Nicholas is the lead content strategist at Modus Associates in New York City. Abi and Kyle Stock were married in April. Anthony Piccola is the franchised restaurant operator of Chick-fil-A in Nashua, N.H. Johnny Pieper is the owner of Striped Pig Distillery in North Charleston. Michael Reid (M.S.) is a CPA and a financialinstitutions credit-analysis corporate resident at State Street in Boston. Megan Long Remley is a nurse at the Medical Center of Aurora in Denver, Colo. Carly Silverman is the science development manager at Conservation International in Washington, D.C. Thomas Spade (M.S.) is an instructor of accounting in the College’s Department of Accounting and Legal Studies. Sarah Steinberg is a kindergarten teacher at Achievement First Bridgeport (Conn.) Academy Elementary School. Amanda Stevenson and Donald Grover were married in May 2012 and live in Columbia. Amanda works for the Aflac Group. Erin Walsh (see James Ulmer ’06) Ellen Watson is the inventory manager at Croghan’s Jewel Box in Charleston. Maura Whitman is a trauma data coordinator at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Maura lives in East Providence, R.I.
2008 Allison Jessup Anderson is the guest
services manager at Island Realty in Charleston. Trevor Baratko is a government/politics reporter for Times Community Media in Northern Virginia and took first place in the 2013 Virginia Press Association Contest for feature writing. Mary Sue Barron is the social media director and sales associate for Labels Resale Boutique in Atlanta. Michael Behringer is the technical support specialist at MINDBODY Inc. in New York City. Sarah Hart Black is the owner of Fabulous Frocks, a Charleston consignment shop for wedding dresses from high-end designers.
[ alumni profile ]
Imagine a man seated in a train car, briefcase in his lap, earplugs in his ears, a slight smile on his face. The train is headed downtown, and, at least in our minds, he is heading to work, perhaps thinking about the meetings and phone calls that wait for him. In his own mind, however, he is far, far away, in a world of danger and intrigue. There, he narrowly escapes death, seduces foreign agents and breaks into the most secure fortresses to accomplish his mission. All this from his seat on the train. The man is playing Codename Cygnus, an interactive game on his smartphone that plays like a digital version of a choose-your-own-adventure novel. Modeled after radio serials from the 1930s and ’40s, Codename Cygnus allows players to navigate through a spy narrative by speaking commands to their
phone. You must decide to confront or befriend a difficult Russian antagonist, charm or ignore a woman and decide whether or not to detonate a bomb, among other quandaries. Each decision you make causes the story to spin in a different direction. Jonathon Myers ’00 thinks putting players in control of their own fate is a formula for success. As the cofounder and creative director for Boston-based Reactive Studios, Myers developed Codename Cygnus by scripting a narrative with branching storylines and building a professional sound booth to record voice actors. A playwright who earned his M.F.A. from Boston University, Myers has lately worked in the gaming industry, serving as a writer on projects that include Indiana Jones Adventure World on Facebook and Game of Thrones Ascent, based on the
fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin. Writing for video games requires some flexibility, and Myers learned quickly that any script must always yield to the user experience and not the choices and abilities of a game’s designers. You must be clear and concise when writing dialogue and willing to use tropes, such as the femme fatale in spy stories, to establish quick understanding with a player. If you’re too subtle or too slow in establishing your narrative, then disaster can occur: The player will put down the control pad. And instead of just one narrative, Myers often creates many, as in the case of Codename Cygnus, allowing players to steer themselves through their own journey. “It’s tough enough to write one storyline,” says Myers. “Imagine if you have to write three of them. Then imagine if you have to write six, and each of them has to be equally entertaining and take the player through an experience. It’s very difficult.” Another challenge is adapting existing intellectual property, making sure to preserve the original appeal of the media that is inspiring the game, whether this is the bravado and daring of Indiana Jones or the complex realm dreamt up by Martin. “You can’t change that, or people won’t love it anymore,” says Myers. “You have to craft everything around it. You’re adding to the canon without changing the canon.” With Codename Cygnus, Myers envisions a storyline that can keep going and going. His first installment, or “Mission One,” is about the length of a feature movie broken into five 15-minute scenes that players can enjoy at their leisure, whether they are driving, waiting at the doctor’s office or riding a train. So long as players like it, Myers will write additional missions, and also explore using the same choose-as-you-go format for other types of writing, including children’s books. “Pretty much anything a book can do, we want to do interactively,” says Myers. “I think the sky’s the limit.” – Jason Ryan
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
| Photos by Bahamas Visual Services/Dante Carrer |
Queen of Conch
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
As the boat slowly tows her through the clear blue Caribbean waters, Catherine Booker ’08 (M.E.S.) simply clicks a counter for every conch she sees. Things, however, are a little trickier after the fieldwork is done: when she has to figure out how to protect a disappearing species that – steamed, breaded and fried – is the pride of the islands. “In the Bahamas, there’s no such thing as a social gathering without conch on the menu. It’s a delicacy deeply embedded in the people’s cultural identity. The conch shell even appears on the country’s coat of arms,” Booker says. “Unfortunately, overfishing has led to the collapse of many Caribbean fisheries, including those within U.S. territorial waters. We’re concerned that is happening here, too.” Stationed on Great Exuma since 2008, Booker studies reproductive conch populations in order to provide the Bahamian government with the data they need to better manage the conch fishery. Her team has found that in some areas of the Bahamas, conch populations have decreased by up to 90 percent since the 1990s. Even more troubling is that the majority of conchs currently harvested are too young to reproduce. “Queen conchs have this beautiful flared shell lip. You can actually estimate the age and sexual maturity of a conch by measuring the lip’s thickness,” Booker points out. “We’re hoping to develop a tool that fishers can use to determine if their catch is mature enough to keep or if it must be thrown back.” Growing up in Savannah, Booker spent most of her childhood fishing and crabbing in the creeks near her home and exploring Georgia’s barrier islands. Her family took frequent vacations to the Bahamas, where her father taught her and her siblings to scuba dive. “There was always something pulling me back down here. I just needed to be by the ocean,” Booker explains. “I studied marketing as an undergraduate because I thought that would help me get a good job. It took me a few years to figure out that I’m definitely not cut out for an office, but the training in business has turned out to be helpful in my work with a nonprofit organization.”
[ alumni profile ]
“There was always
something pulling me back down here. I just needed to be by the
After a marine conservation summer program at Duke University and a series of research projects in the Exuma Cays, where she met College marine biologist Phil Dustan, Booker moved back to the Lowcountry to pursue her M.E.S. degree. During graduate school, she continued her work in the Bahamas and eventually teamed up with colleagues to create Community Conch, an organization devoted to promoting sustainable harvest of the queen conch through research and community outreach. When she’s not in the water for Community Conch, Booker leads an environmental club at the only high
school on Exuma and volunteers for a community-based harbor conservation organization that she helped establish. Over time, she’s adjusted to the slow, breezy “island time” lifestyle and has found that a quiet, one-highway life suits her just fine. “When I was in grad school, I was always rushing to achieve my goals, but that’s not how things work here,” she notes. “It has forced me to slow down and lead a more balanced life. It’s also nice having an ocean in your backyard.” The Queen conch remains an internationally endangered species because of the continued decline of conch stocks. Exports from the Bahamas
may soon be affected if it is listed as endangered in the U.S. Influenced in part by Community Conch’s research and advocacy, the Bahamas National Trust has launched a national “Conchservation” campaign to raise public awareness about the issue and push for tighter fishing regulations. A key part of the campaign is a citizen science project that Booker developed with her Bahamian partners. “Working and living in the Bahamas, I’ve learned that sometimes just getting the data is not enough. The message has to be communicated effectively to the public, and to decision makers. People have to understand the real issues and the consequences of doing nothing, especially in a small country with limited resources. It’s not just about protecting a species, but preserving a whole way of life.” And, even though that’s not something you can just click off, Booker is standing up to get the conch counted. – Kristen Gehrman ’11 FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
Johnny Wactor ’09 played a bull-
riding professional from Jedburg, S.C., in the reality show–inspired thriller Siberia, which aired on NBC this summer. Johnny lives in Los Angeles. Sarah’s company announced plans to franchise and was named one of the 10 Promising New Franchises of 2013 by Entrepreneur.com. James Brown is a financial adviser with First Command Financial Services in North Charleston. Ben and Shana Santarini Doyle announce the birth of their second child, Edwin, born in April. Shana is the manager of Palmetto Carriage Works in Charleston. Amanda Dunne-Porter is a project manager with CreateSpace in Charleston, a subsidiary of Amazon.com. Lis Ellis and William Petersen were married in December 2012 and live in Atlanta. Billy Forrester graduated from MUSC’s James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine. He is an associate at Williamston (S.C.) Family Dental. Billy and his wife, Melissa, live in Greenville. Kenny Gardner graduated magna cum laude from the Charleston School of Law and is an associate attorney with Nexsen Pruet in Charleston. He and his wife, Honey, live in Hanahan. Angela Hanyak is the membership director at Mixson Bath & Raquet Club in North Charleston. Brittany Hewitt is a legal assistant/administrative assistant with H. Clay Gravely IV in Martinsville, Va. She received a master’s in U.S. history from the University of Texas in 2011. Jermaine Johnson and Evan Patrice McDonald were married in August 2012. Evan is a graduate student at Presbyterian College’s School of Pharmacy. Donna Murray Libert (see Greg Libert ’05) Johanna Mellis (see Greg Mason ’07) Ashton Hooker Pavlischek is a reading and language arts teacher at Mason Preparatory School in Charleston.
Brady Quirk-Garvan is a business development consultant with Money With a Mission. Jordan Ratliff is the sessions assistant and clinical office assistant to the chief of breast surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Matthew Romagnoli is a branch team leader for Regions Bank in Mt. Pleasant. Talia Saghri is the traffic manager at WFXB Fox TV in Murrells Inlet, S.C. Frank Smith is an account executive with PLS Logistics Services in Pittsburgh, Pa. He serves as vice president of the College’s Pittsburgh alumni chapter. Brandon and Meghan Oakley Sutherland ’09 announce the birth of their daughter, Bennett Adleigh, born in May. Brandon is the assistant director of the College’s Office of Annual Giving, and Meghan is a special education teacher at Fort Dorchester High School in Summerville. Meagan Vucovich and Ryan Robichaux were married in May and live in Birmingham, Ala., where Meagan is the director of donor development for EWTN News and The National Catholic Register. Jennifer West and Nate Fusco were married in May 2010 and live in Summerville, S.C. Jennifer was named Teacher of the Year for Dorchester County. Paul Zucchino is an attorney at Brady Law Firm in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
2009 Lindsey Christiano and Tyson
Crumpton were married in June. Toan Dao is the owner of An Executive Travel in Charleston. Andrew Dinkelacker is an associate attorney with Wilson & Heyward in Charleston. Ivey Edinger is the regional coordinator for Innocutis in Charleston. Ivey and Stephen Christmas ’07 were married in 2010. Carrie Fisher and Chip Hinnant were married in May and live in Charlotte. Carrie received her master’s in speech pathology from S.C. State University, and Chip earned his J.D. from Charlotte School of Law and is an attorney at Jetton & Meredith.
Genevieve Hudson, who earned her M.F.A. in fiction writing from Portland State University, received a Fulbright scholarship to study creative writing in the Netherlands. Austin Huff is an account executive with Erwin Penland in Greenville, S.C. Brittany Jones is a senior accountant with Moore Beauston & Woodham in Charleston. Josh Langdon earned his J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in May. Maurice Miller served a tour in Afghanistan and finished his contract with the U.S. Army last summer. Barrett Sammons is a CPA and senior accountant with the accounting and consulting firm Moore Beauston & Woodham in Charleston. Steve Scibal (see Ben Silverstein ’10) Andrew Sharpe is an attorney at the Strauss Law Firm on Hilton Head Island. Meghan Oakley Sutherland (see Brandon Sutherland ’08) Laura Vees is a veterinary technology student at Trident Technical College in Charlelston. Lulie Martin Wallace is a Charleston painter who has garnered national attention with her bright floral motifs being sold in stores like Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. Her designs have also been featured in HGTV Magazine.
2010 Chad Capece is the general manager of Ski Butlers in Jackson, Wyo. Erin Cartwright is a project coordinator for Linda London Limited and a designer in New York City. Katherine Chapman (see Jeffrey Anderson ’07) Andy Evans (see Katy Pendley Evans ’04) Mary Beth Henderson is the marketing coordinator for Verge Solutions in Mt. Pleasant. Amy Laughlin is a budget analyst with the Department of Natural Resources for the State of Colorado. GP McLeer is an administrator in the Office of Cultural Affairs for the City of Mauldin, S.C. Katie McNeill is a graduate student in the University of South Carolina’s human resources program. Katie McSavaney is a sales representative for Pink Magazine on Hilton Head Island.
[ passages ] William Humphreys ’35
Rebecca Crittenden Boyce ’75
Jeffrey Barnwell ’91
O. Johnson Small ’41
Alice Miller ’78
Cathleen Grant Setford ’91
Louise Mosimann Smith ’41
Patricia Marks Skipper ’79
Rhonwyn Valdes Huff ’97
Mary Frances Maguire Storen ’41
Karen Mylin Smith ’79
Dustin Gonterman ’07
Dorothy Saul Eason ’45
Catherine Nash Ballzigler ’82
Franklin Barker West (student)
John McDonald ’45
Jerry Blackwell ’83
Douglas Ashley (former faculty)
Florence Hirsch Cotten ’49
H. David Singleton ’87
Henry Hutson (former staff)
Ruth Reeves Clark ’50
Lorna Tuck Colbert ’89
Frank Kinard (faculty)
Marion Way Jr. ’51
Christopher McManus ’89
Jane Lareau (former staff)
Gerald Feinberg ’68
Stacey Dickert McManus ’89
August 15; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. June 15; Charleston, S.C. August 12; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. July 3; Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
March 19, 2012; Charleston, S.C. June 28; Charleston, S.C. June 28; Charleston, S.C. July 7; Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
May 12; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil June 28; Charleston, S.C.
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
July 25; Huntersville, N.C. June 9; Charleston, S.C.
December 19, 2012; Summerville, S.C. July 6; Charleston, S.C.
August 10; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. July 6; Greenville, S.C. July 19; Charleston, S.C.
June 12; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. July 7; Greenville, S.C. July 7; Greenville, S.C.
July 23; Wadmalaw Island, S.C. July 3; Charleston, S.C.
May 3; Kiawah Island, S.C. June 1; Memphis, Tenn.
September 6; Alexandria, Va. June 5; St. Louis, Mo.
July 14; Charleston, S.C.
June 11; Charleston, S.C.
July 15; Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
Erin Michalewicz is an executive team leader in human resources for Target in Atlanta. Bretticca Moody is a graduate student in Columbia College’s higher education program. Meaghan Morrissey earned her nursing degree from Curry College in May. Siobhan Murphy is a women’s clothing designer and lives in Brooklyn. Siobhan won her bracket during Charleston Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer East competition, and she was also the backstage host for the Daily Front Row’s Web series at New York Fashion Week. Amanda Nadrowski is a graduate student in occupational therapy at Bay Path College in Massachusetts. Lauren Parker earned her nursing degree from the University of South Carolina Upstate in May. Katherine Patala is the manager of the Middleton Place Restaurant in Charleston. Christine Perry is a financial analyst for the College’s IT office. Lauren Peterka is a teacher for the Charleston County School District. Lauren and Stephen Roland were married in June. Jamie Schwartz is an assistant buyer for Shopbop in New York City. She was featured in the September 2013 issue of Teen Vogue. Ben Silverstein is the CEO of Bustripping, a Travelocity-type aggregation website for intercity bus travel. Ben lives in New York City; Steve Scibal ’09, vice president of business development, lives in Philadelphia; and Jeff Mangano, chief financial officer, lives in San Diego. All three were members of the Cougars swim team. Molly Spence is an educational consultant for Blackbaud and lives in Charlotte. Sarah White works at the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Sarah and John Evans were married in June. Kelly Wiles earned her master’s in historic preservation from University of Pennsylvania.
2011 Erin Burke and William Amerson
were married in October 2012. Kristen Capasso and Darren Shrum were married in September 2012 and live in Holly Springs, N.C. Kristen earned her nursing degree from Villanova University in 2012 and is a pediatric nurse at the University of North Carolina. Darren is a senior technical recruiter for Greene Resources. Amy Clemens is a first-grade teacher at Orange Grove Elementary Charter School in Charleston and a graduate student in the College’s science and math for teachers program. Amy and Preston Yates were married in May. Paul Fowler is a research specialist at MUSC. Rebecca Lynn Gay is a dog trainer and the owner of Fetching Manners in Bluffton, S.C. Rette and Erin Cope Gillis were married in May and live in Charleston. Erin works for Arcadia Publishing. Brittney Harrington and Michael Inman were married in March. Shelbie Holbrook and Evan Blackwell ’13 were married in June and live in North Charleston. Shelbie is a kindergarten teacher for Dorchester School District 2, and Evan is a financial planner for Northwestern Mutual. Kathleen Hollowell and Michael Howington were married in May. Kathleen received her master’s in marine biology from Nova Southeastern University, and Mike is an A/V technician in the College’s IT office. Danny Johnson is a member of the Cougar Club Board. Danny is a sales representative and account executive with Chemex Supply. Gabriella Korba is the conference coordinator/ manager for Marriott International’s Gaylord
National Resort and Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Ashley Leitner is a special education teacher for Dorchester School District 2. Ashley and Brett Belt were married in June and live in North Charleston. Aileen Mancini is the office and divisions manager with Cru Catering in Charleston. Katie Strange Melson is a title clerk at Lexus of Charleston. She and her husband, James, live in Charleston. Brittany Miles (M.S.) is a CPA and staff accountant with WebsterRogers in Charleston. Carlee Reynolds Robertson is the events coordinator for the Florida State University Conference Center in Tallahassee. Mary Kathryn Taylor is a server at Spring Creek Ranch in Jackson, Wyo. Jessica Tiller and John Sterling were married in June and live in Orlando. Jessica is a teacher in a fast forward program at Orangewood Christian School. Chelsea Warbington is a teacher at Hanahan (S.C.) High School. Robert Williams works in the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Denver office.
2012 Caroline Battey is a client
services administrator with Benefit Concepts in Charleston. Sabra Berger is a resource-development division director with Trident United Way in Charleston. Cheryl Boyle is a sales associate with Carolina One Real Estate in Mt. Pleasant. Sarah Church works in the sales department at Sylvan Dell Publishing in Mt. Pleasant. Benjamin Crane (M.S. ’13) is an associate in the tax services department of Glaser Duncan CPA in Charleston. William DaPore is an accountant at Crowley Wechsler and Associates in Mt. Pleasant. Joshua Dillon is a laboratory assistant at MUSC. Abby Falconer is the hospitality manager at The Terraces, a family-owned vineyard in St. Helena, Calif. Allison Gerrits is a sales assistant with Patrick Properties Hospitality Group in Charleston. Shaun Kraisman is the cohost of Living Dayton, a daily lifestyle show on WDTN. He has also hosted other events, including the Miss America Organization and the Miss Illinois competition. He lives in Centerville, Ohio. Adam Kronemeyer is the first associate of Destination Hotels & Resorts to go through a beta program called the Bullpen Program. Adam has been working with Destination Resorts Snowmass and was awarded Team Member of the Month in February. Christina Lazarus is the Big South Championship marketing coordinator for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. Jenna Locke is a catering director for Cru Catering in Charleston. Halley Black Manett is the development assistant with Twin Rivers Capital in Charleston. She and her husband live Mt. Pleasant. Will McIntosh is a member of the audit staff at Fulvio & Associates in New York City. Charles Park is a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps and an Iraq War veteran. He is a public safety officer at the College. Jackie Simon is an administrative assistant with Mortgage Network Inc. in Watham, Mass. Byron Stahl is a financial adviser with Atlantic Coast Advisory Group of Charleston. He is also a member of the board of directors for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Susanna Weathers is the data manager and report trainer for the College’s institutional research department.
All-time CofC scoring champion Andrew Goudelock lit up the NBA Summer League playing for the Chicago Bulls and signed a one-year deal with BC UNICS Kazan in the Russian premier league.
2013 Zach Aaron is a gallery assistant at
Photographics Portrait Photography and Art Gallery near Kiawah Island, S.C. Andre Arguimbau is a research associate with RSR Partners, a corporate recruiting firm based in Greenwich, Conn. Evan Blackwell (see Shelbie Holbrook ’11) Thomas Burnette and Amanda Coker were married in July. Amanda is a medical student at MUSC. Chandler Crocker is the project coordinator for the Haiti Children’s Project, based in Greenville, S.C. Chandler is in charge of all events for the organization, planning its trips to Haiti and securing funds through sponsorships and fundraising activities. Ingrid Gambee is a graduate student in the College’s global one-year M.B.A. program. Jeffrey Gardner is a research assistant at MUSC. Lucas Griffin is a research assistant at Cape Eleuthera Institute in Springfield, Mass. He is also a graduate student in the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s marine sciences program. Allison Harbeck is an assistant account executive with Mullen in Winston-Salem, N.C. Blake Hoffmeyer is an infantryman with the U.S. Army. John Duke Hudson, a former Cougar golf standout, was named a 2013 Cleveland Golf/ Srixon All-American Scholar and qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship for the second time in his career. Savannah Johnson is the assistant property manager with Reliable Property Managers, which serves Seabrook and Kiawah islands, S.C. Ambar Mendez is an admissions counselor for the College’s admissions office. Molly Moore is a public relations intern with Sunshine Sachs in New York City. Damian Nelson is a teacher assistant with Blue Engine, a program aimed at increasing college readiness in selected high schools in New York City. Alex Pappas is the project and events coordinator with the Charleston Digital Corridor. Ali Quinn is the special project assistant for the PGA Tour in Jacksonville, Fla. Lisa Roney is the admissions transfer assistant in the College’s admissions office. Hannah Ruth is the social media and marketing intern at The Spa at Charleston Place. Hart Smodic is an intern with Elk Logistics on St. Simons Island, Ga. Erin Stegman is working in Florence, Italy, for Bus2Alps and its travel programs. Matt Sundberg is a leasing representative with WRS Inc.’s commercial development team in Charleston. He focuses on retail shopping centers throughout the Southeast. Lizzie Urban is the concierge at Charleston Place. Elliott Wright is the assistant director of housing assignments in the College’s residence life and housing department.
Check out College of Charleston Magazine’s website at magazine.cofc.edu.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
[ faces and places ]
A lot goes on at the College. Here are a few highlight s: 1 Recipient s of 30 -year s t ate ser vice awards: Rob Dillon (biology), Fran Welch (dean, School of Education, Health, and Human Per formance) and Jim Deavor (chemis tr y) 2 A Charles ton Af fair: Sondra Branch, Karen Jones ’74 and Lenny Branch ’68 3 AC A: Mat thew Mc Clellan ’08, Cornelia Barmore ’08 and Kris ten Greene ’08 4 Recipient s of 40 -year s t ate ser vice awards: Ot to German ’73 (athletic s) and Herber t Frasier (physical plant) 5 AC A: Tanisia Charles ’07, Daniel Ravenel ’72 and Kate Gipson Alford 6 AC A: L ane Hudson ’01, Mar y Grace Davis ’03 an d R y an C o llin s ’ 0 3 7 AC A : Summ er M yer s L an dr i t h ’ 9 9 an d Tr av i s L an dr i t h ’ 9 8 8 A C har l e s t on A f f air in t h e C i s t er n Yar d 9 ACA: Sarah Margaret Goad ’13 and Joshua Beckman ’13 10 Summer s tudy abroad tr ip in B ali: (f ront row) Amanda Howard, S amantha Mc Whir ter, Jacquelyn Joseph, Kr is t a Rit ter hof f, Jake Dus t an, Phil Dus t an (biology), George Hanna, Margaret Woodwell, Z ac har y Sc hwar t z and S ar a Steinmet z; |
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
12 14 13
(back row) Luc y Cofr an, Zachar y Holseberg, Mitchell Mc Culley and Nat alie Dougher t y 11 Summer study abroad trip in Rio de Janeiro: Kimberly Hanger and Leah Armbruster 12 Summer s tudy abroad tr ip in B ali: K r is t a Rit ter hof f 13 Summer s tudy abroad tr ip in X iamen, China: Pelin A k biyik ’13, Nanc y Ha, Mar tin Jones (mathematic s), Tes s Dooley and Oc t avia Sims 14 BE AMS Progr am doing seaf loor mapping of f the coas t of Mas s ac huset t s: Mike Reed ’08, Chris topher Stubbs ’07, Harris Pantlik ’11, Ransom White ’06 and Jim Niergar th 15 AC A: Chris tin Newman ’13, Caroline Newman ’12, President P. George Benson and Fir s t L ady Jane Benson 16 Theatre Depar tment ’s Hamlet: David Lee Nelson ’00 as Hamlet 17 AC A: Tony Meyer ’49 and George Rabb ’51 18 Rosencrant z and Guildenstern Are Dead: David Whit tington, Ally Musmeci, Jamie Mark s, Robbie Thomas ’06, Trevor Catalano (hidden from view), Peter Spearman and Brennen Reeves 19 Hamlet: Kaitlin Lieck , Charlene Boyd ’09, Sadia Mat thews and A shley Gennarelli FA L L 2 0 1 3 |
17 St. Philip Street, the Former International House When i moved into the international House back in 1994, it was only the third international thing I’d seen. The other two were the IHOP and the Bahamas. So, when my mother finally pulled away, I was pretty freaking excited to get into the International House and make some international friends and learn about international things and talk in French to the cute French girls who live next door and whom I hadn’t yet met. I ran as fast as I could up the fire escape to my room on the second floor and met my first international roommate, Gabe, from Walhalla. “Where is this far off place you speak of, Walhalla?” I asked him. |
| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e
“South Carolina. Close to Clemson,” he told me. Then I met Allen from Spartanburg and Forrest from Greenwood, S.C. Then I met the guys on the first floor from Jacksonville and Baltimore. Finally, I met the three guys who put the international in the house. India, Japan, Russia and America made the guys’ International House in 1994. Next door, in the girls’ International House, were girls from far off places like Atlanta, Greenville and Massachusetts – none of whom were impressed with my shoddy French. Still, I got my fair share of culture there. When I won $800 on a scratch-off lottery ticket the third week of the semester, I
bought a five-piece drum kit that I didn’t know how to play (I was a theatre major, not a business student). Our RA Lancy said drum kits weren’t allowed – but we refused to believe him for six days. It turned out he was right. I also learned to entertain – which, we found out, can result in a fire code violation if you entertain too many. Apparently, 75 is too many. And, of course, there was art. Like when we took empty plastic milk jugs from the recycling bin and placed them in the road so that the lights cast marvelous little shadows from each jug. We were amazed with our doings. The Charleston Police Department was not. – Patrick Welty ’99
It’s not junk to you. No, you see Art (that’s right, Art with a capital A). While we all can’t have a golden statue adorning our living rooms or front lawns that expresses our undying love for the Cougars, we can give to the CofC Fund. And that’s a kind of beauty that everyone can appreciate.
Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID College of Charleston Charleston, SC 29424-0001
Within these pages, you're going to find many stories showcasing the College of Charleston's dynamic and intellectually vigorous culture.We...