C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n magaz in e
The Road to Redemption S PR IN G 2 0 11
With packed houses and record-breaking performances, the excitement is definitely back in Charleston. And with it, the legend of Bobby Cremins continues to grow.
SPRING 2011 Volume XV, Issue 2 Editor
Mark Berry Art Director
Alfred Hall Managing Editor
Alicia Lutz ’98 Associate Editor
Jason Ryan Photography
Leslie McKellar Contributors
Trevor Baratko ’08 Kip Bulwinkle ’04 Bryce Donovan ’98 Ashley Lewis Ford ’07 Kristen Gehrman ’11 Bridget Herman ’08 Mike Ledford Alex Pellegrino Rogers ’03 Jamie Self ’02 Alison Sher ’09 Holly Thorpe Online Design
Karen Burroughs Jones ’74 Executive Vice President for External Relations
Michael Haskins Contact us at
email@example.com or 843.953.6462 On the Web
magazine.cofc.edu Mailing Address
ATTN: College of Charleston Magazine College of Charleston Division of Marketing and Communications Charleston, SC 29424-0001
Alumni AssociAtion GAlA honorinG the clAss of 2011 reGister online or by phone Alumni.cofc.edu | 843.953.5630
the tradition continues...
College of Charleston Magazine is published three times a year by the Division of Marketing and Communications. With each printing, approximately 58,000 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 ]
The lasting Beauty of a Shooting Star
Around the Cistern
by Jason Ryan
Aaron Olitsky ’97 ran through life at full speed, capturing hearts, scoring on the soccer field and cooking up a storm as a professional chef. Ten years after his premature death, Olitsky is remembered by his friends, family, teammates and College mentors as a tour de force whose passion for life remains an inspiration.
Life Academic 8 Making the Grade 14 Teamwork 20
by Mark Berry
Point of View
Coach Bobby Cremins, the 2011 SoCon Coach of the Year, has found redemption at the College of Charleston in rebuilding the men’s basketball program and restoring it to glory.
Class Notes My Space
by Alicia Lutz ’98
Cyndi Lauper didn’t completely miss the mark: Girls do just want to have fun. What she didn’t mention is that they also play to win. And in life, even though they may get knocked down from time to time, they all have to pick themselves back up, dust themselves off and keep on fighting. The difference is, derby girls do it for sport.
on the cover: Bobby Cremins, photo by Terry Manier
| Photo by Kip Bulwinkle ’04 |
AROUND the CISTERN
| President Benson presents the Dickinson family with scholarship opportunities during the taping of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition |
Giving to the Extreme A frenzied crowd wearing bright blue T-shirts and white construction hats leaned forward on barricades chanting, “move that bus.” Camera operators and production assistants raced up and down the lines filming the cheering faces, finally settling on the Dickinson family. The Dickinsons, wiping tears from their eyes, had just been reunited through satellite uplink with the family’s father, a U.S. Marine Corps staff sergeant serving in Afghanistan. Emotions were high for Bill and India Dickinson and their five children, ages 1 to 16. This was the big moment. As the RV bus pulled away to reveal a pristine two-story, plantation-style complex – a complete replacement of their former dilapidated home in Beaufort, S.C. – the Dickinsons again |
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broke down in tears. Anticipation, which had been building for the family ever since they were contacted by the management team at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, gave way to an overwhelming feeling of gratitude, of relief, of hope realized. However, the house was only part of this family’s surprise courtesy of the popular TV show, which garners roughly 10 million viewers. Host Ty Pennington next introduced President P. George Benson, who explained to the still-shaking family that the Dickinson children would receive five full, four-year scholarships to the College. “Extreme Makeover transforms lives, quite clearly, for people all over the country,” President Benson acknowledged, “and we wanted to transform some lives
as well – not just with a home, but with education. We are thrilled to be able to do that.” Judging by the family’s emotional reaction, the opportunity of a College of Charleston degree for the Dickinson children meant just as much as the house. “This takes so much off our shoulders,” a beaming India Dickinson said. “To know now that, as soon as our kids graduate, we know where they’re going to college.” With the new house, the white-picket fence and a chance to study at the College, the Dickinsons are well on their way to realizing the American dream. Note: The episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition featuring the Dickinsons and the College will air on a Sunday night in late March.
AROUND the CISTERN
Lost and Found When Goose Creek planter John Mackenzie donated his substantial library to the College in 1771, there was just one hitch: The College didn’t yet exist. Sure, it had been founded a year earlier, but the College was still without a few critical components, namely students, buildings and books. Mackenzie, however, reasoned he could help resolve at least one of those pesky little details. It was decided that the books Mackenzie donated would be stored at the Charleston Library Society until the College could be built. Seven years later, the great fire of 1778 destroyed most of the Library Society’s books, including, it was thought, the Mackenzie collection. Sadly, no College scholars would ever crack the spines of Sir Walter Raleigh’s The History of the World (in five volumes, 1736), William Sherlock’s A Practical Discourse Concerning Death (1759) or any of the other hundreds of titles concerning art, history, law, philosophy, science and more. The Mackenzie collection –
which South Carolina historian Walter Edgar ranked as one of the largest and most valuable libraries in colonial South Carolina – was, for all intents and purposes, lost. But during an inventory of the Library Society’s holdings in 1980, a librarian found a cache of books with Mackenzie’s name tooled in gold on their covers. She compared the titles to a catalog of Mackenzie’s collection and confirmed that these books had survived the fire more than 200 years earlier. In short order, the Library Society transferred the singed volumes to the College. Finally, at least a portion of Mackenzie’s generous gift had found its intended home. Now those books sit in the College’s Special Collections Department on the third floor of the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library, and they’ll soon have some additional company on the shelves. The College’s Friends of the Library – intent on finding copies of each book originally donated and
conserving the few that have survived – is beginning the restoration of the original Mackenzie collection. Besides honoring the intended receipt of the original gift, the initiative allows scholars to glimpse the years when the College was first forming. “Instead of what people were wearing, it’s what people were thinking. You can trace the ideas back, you can see what was important and looming in their lives,” says Harlan Greene (pictured above), senior manuscript and reference archivist at the Addlestone Library. “You can get a profile of the intellectual life of Charleston at the time.” Perhaps one of the missing titles is on your family bookshelf. To review a list of books being sought by the College, and to learn more about making a contribution to this effort, please visit blogs.cofc.edu/friendsofthelibrary/ or contact Jenny Fowler at 843.953.6620 or firstname.lastname@example.org. S PRI N G 2 0 1 1 |
Bishop Hunt (English) is one of the main reasons I’m a professor today. His passion for and impressive knowledge of the Romantic poets were an inspiring model. – Melissa Johnson ’89
John Creed’s Middle Eastern politics class was
I’ve never worked so hard and enjoyed it as much in my life. It was one of
of my theater .
those classes where your brain “hurt” after you left.
– Kate Tiller ’07
David Mann (political science) was my professor and my adviser. If it had been up to me, I would have filled my junior and senior years with more political science classes, but he pushed me
(history). He taught me a whole new way of looking at history, and that view has
helped to shape how I look at the world today. It’s not
just who, what, when, where, why and how, but so what? What’s the big picture? Not to mention his infamous one-page papers. – Anna Wojtalik Batz ’03
– Donnetta Grays ’99
to take classes in other areas to
enrich my mind, not
just my career. I owe him a huge debt for making my college experience more than just vocational training, but rather training for life.
– Amanda Watson Smith ’90
Harry Freeman ’43. He was my BIOL 101 professor and I loved him from day one. There he was with that
white lab coat and bow tie! I had an adviser assigned
to me, but I got so much more from talks with him about school and life. He was a great professor.
– Evie Liverman-Johns ’85
FACE-OFF We asked the more than 25,000 people who “like” the College on Facebook to tell us which professor or college class changed their life. Here are a few highlights. (We wish we could include them all.) Join the discussion on the College’s Facebook page and share your thoughts and memories for the next face-off question.
Justin Wyatt (chemistry) – I wouldn’t have graduated on time if he didn’t take the time to patiently teach me every day. I lived outside his office for the entire semester. I
still remember graduation when I could see and hear him above my own friends and family. – Sarah Sylvia ’04
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The late Bill Moore (political science) – for helping me shake off my lazy high school habits. He gave me the worst grades of any professor at the College, but I graduated remembering more of his material, and bubba jokes, than anyone else’s.
– Rachael Workman ’07
Not only is Marcia Snyder (economics) a professor, club adviser, administrator and avid CofC baseball fan, she’s a mother to any student that crosses her path. The opportunities that have come my way are a direct result of her hard work and dedication. She simply is my mom away from home.
– Joshua Lieberman ’11
(biology) – not only his wonderful marine “inverts” course, but his insightful advice and obvious compassion for his students. He inspired me to become the marine science professor I am today! – Jennifer Culbertson ’99
The best class I ever took was ’ statistics class. I work at a daily newspaper, and journalists are known for being bad at math. But he taught statistics in a way that was easy to understand and incredibly entertaining. I use that knowledge on a daily basis. – Kate Bowen Martin ’00
AROUND the CISTERN
Western Exposure It may not have been the first to head west in hopes of striking gold, but – as far as we can tell – the College’s Gold Rush Tour was the first traveling admissions team to take college recruitment quite this far. With stops in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Phoenix, Sedona, Las Vegas, Portland, Seattle and even Vancouver, the Gold Rush Tour bus covered 4,700 miles in its four weeks of touring last October. And – although some of the 11 team members did manage to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, march in the Anaheim Halloween Parade and walk down the Vegas Strip – the crew was hard at work the entire time. Striving to find the best of the West, they visited 110 high schools, attended six college fairs and hosted three happy hours for alumni, eight breakfasts for guidance counselors and eight information sessions for prospective students. And, when it was all said and done, they’d met hundreds of students and exposed the College to thousands of people along the way. Of course, that alone is worth a fortune.
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.”
From the President
Literacy Efforts Reach Thousands of Charleston Schoolchildren The College of Charleston is an integral part of the unique blend that makes living and working in Charleston and the Lowcountry so special. We are unquestionably among our city’s most important economic forces, and our campus makes significant contributions to the cultural and social health of our surrounding communities on a daily basis. This duty is reinforced by our Strategic Plan, which emphasizes the College’s commitment to nurturing and supporting the assets of Charleston and the Lowcountry. But many of the College’s efforts to help improve the quality of life for all of our citizens don’t receive the public attention they deserve. One example is a highly successful literacy initiative in local public schools that the College began this academic year and intends to continue as an annual service-learning project for our students. As an academic institution that is one of the largest producers of teachers in South Carolina, the College has an obligation to help combat and bring attention to
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the illiteracy problem that exists in our community and throughout our state. One in seven adults in South Carolina lacks basic literacy skills, meaning these adults can’t read a newspaper or a prescription label, read to their children or help them with their homework. And children whose parents have low literacy skills are far more likely to have poor reading and writing skills themselves and are at tremendous risk of falling behind early in their school years. Last semester, in partnership with the Charleston County School District, the College launched the Literacy Outreach Initiative. More than 300 of our students took part in various educational outreach efforts as part of the initiative. In its inaugural semester, the program reached more than 4,000 elementary, middle and high school students in 27 public schools across Charleston County. The initiative paired College students with teachers throughout the school district to implement an original classroom curriculum based on The New York Times–best-selling book Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. The book, which was the
2010 selection for the College’s common reading program (The College Reads!), details Mortenson’s humanitarian campaign to build schools in impoverished areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It explores four major themes: language, culture, geography and humanitarianism. When the literacy initiative was first being planned in early 2010, it was envisioned as a community service project in which first-year students in our Honors College would read to children in a few downtown Charleston elementary schools. But Trisha Folds-Bennett, initiative director and associate dean of the Honors College, and other organizers recognized that the program had the potential to make a much bigger impact not just across campus, but across the entire school district. The initiative soon took on a life of its own as word spread among the College’s faculty and among teachers throughout Charleston County. Several of our faculty signed on to integrate the initiative into their course curricula. The Charleston County School District, which around the same time the initiative was being planned had elevated literacy to one of its
AROUND the CISTERN
| Greg Mortenson, coauthor of Three Cups of Tea, speaking at the Carolina First Arena |
Several participating students said they were surprised by the extent of the needs and challenges that exist in Charleston County schools, where nearly 15 percent of public high school students read at or below a fourth-grade level. highest priorities, embraced the initiative and encouraged its administrators and teachers to take part. Among the many contributions that were made from all across our campus was the development of the literacy initiative’s curricula by faculty in the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance. Margaret Hagood ’92, associate professor of teacher education, designed an elementary school curriculum around the picture book version of Three Cups of Tea titled Listen to the Wind. Nicola Williams, assistant professor of teacher education, wrote a curriculum for middle and high school students to accompany the young reader version of Three Cups of Tea.
By the time the initiative launched on October 4 for its seven-week run, some 327 students from the College had signed up to participate in some way. The majority of students who participated in the initiative were freshmen representing a variety of academic majors. Many of them were not education majors and never imagined that while in college they would have the opportunity to help teach schoolchildren and encourage their interest in books and reading. Several participating students said they were surprised by the extent of the needs and challenges that exist in Charleston County schools, where nearly 15 percent of public high school students read at or below a fourth-grade level.
Folds-Bennett believes the initiative resonated with our students because it tapped into some of their passions, including reading, community service and working with children. “They want to give of their time, but they don’t want it to be wasted,” she said. “They want to do something real, something with impact.” That impact could be seen on the smiling faces of schoolchildren who, as part of the initiative, received new copies of the picture book or young reader versions of Three Cups of Tea. For many of the children, this marked the first time they were able to write their names in a book and take it home as their own. The purchase of the 4,200 books was made possible through a fundraising drive led by Greg Pressley and an extremely generous challenge gift of $25,000 given by Sean Moore, owner of the Charlestonarea Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchise. One fifth-grade teacher in Charleston whose class participated in the initiative said that every time her students were given free time during the day, they reached into their desks and pulled out their personal copies of the book. The initiative’s culminating event was Greg Mortenson’s visit to our campus on November 11. Although Mortenson’s appearance had been arranged years earlier through The College Reads! program, the timing of his visit presented an ideal opportunity to conclude the first year of the literacy initiative in a spectacular fashion. Among the more than 5,000 people who packed the Carolina First Arena for his talk were nearly 500 schoolchildren and teachers who had participated in the literacy initiative. A smaller group of schoolchildren and teachers also had the opportunity to participate in a private meeting with Mortenson prior to his public talk. I’m thrilled that the literacy initiative is off to such a strong start, and I want to thank all of the faculty, staff, students and volunteers who helped to make it a huge success. As the College continues to emphasize its role as an advocate for vital community assets such as our public K-12 school system, we look forward to the literacy initiative becoming one of our signature service-learning projects in the years ahead. – President P. George Benson
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LIFE ACADEMIC Rock Starr Computer Geek
Getting Reprogrammed Born in Clemson, S.C., Starr grew up in the pre-personal computer era. As a result, he spent much of his youth reading science fiction novels and watching Star Trek. “Back then, I couldn’t wait to get home from school and do homework while I watched Lost in Space,” he says. Against all odds, he still managed to meet a woman who would follow him off to college and eventually settle down and start a family with him. After graduating from the College with a degree in mathematics, Starr began medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina. It didn’t take long for him to discover that tending to sick people wasn’t his thing. “I got into that anatomy lab and realized I wanted to be digital and not touch people,” he says.
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| Photo by Mike Ledford |
Chris Starr ’83 is a self-proclaimed computer geek. Ask him about programming and his eyes light up like a 27-inch LED monitor. He begins to talk like he’s just had five cups of coffee, using all sorts of really strange words like Ubuntu and Linux. He’s so energetic, you can’t help but be like, “Wow,” before adding, “You know I have absolutely no idea what any of that means, right?” For the past 24 years, Starr has taught computer science at the College. Today, he serves as the department’s chair. But unlike the mental image that probably comes to mind when someone says, “computer science professor,” Starr is nicely dressed, well coiffed and tan from his weekends sailing a 32-foot Pearson Sabbatical around the Charleston Harbor. A typical workday for the 50-year-old father of four girls consists of meetings with students and faculty, in-depth work on research papers and, of course, teaching class. Well, at least when he’s not changing the way the world teaches computing.
So he switched from the university’s M.D. program to its Ph.D. program, focusing on mathematics and medicine. “Studying medical problems from a mathematical perspective was the perfect solution,” he says. “That was the rage for me.” Starr began working on a computer program to help doctors diagnose patients based on symptoms. That project would lead to his next big thing: devising a way to eliminate noise (places where the picture isn’t as clear) in images taken of the heart. In 1987, he came up with the idea to take two pictures simultaneously and then overlay the images to create one 3-dimensional image. If that idea sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because it’s the very principle today’s modern MRI machines utilize. Now, if you’d think an idea like that would make you rich beyond your wildest dreams, you’re absolutely correct. “I learned a valuable lesson from the experience though,” he says with a wry smile, before adding, “Get a patent.” It was around this time that Starr and his wife had their first child, and so – in an effort to help pay for all the many things little kids need – he decided to do a little teaching on the side. A few months later, Starr had a couple of classes under his belt, and the College’s then-fledgling computer science department asked him to teach full time. It was love at first C prompt. Changing the Code During Starr’s time with the College, more than 500 students have graduated with computer science degrees. But his legacy has less to do with how many programmers he’s sent into the working world and more to do with the example he sets. For instance, Starr spends much of his free time coming up with ways to better entice kids to learn how to program computers. “It doesn’t do them any good to teach them how to use a bunch of programs like Microsoft Word, because we’re only preparing them for the life of those programs,” he points out. Instead, he believes, teachers need to show kids how these programs run and are put together. But rather than doing this in a nuts-and-bolts way, focusing entirely on the behind-the-scenes stuff, he
says it should be incorporated into things like gaming and robotics classes. Charleston-area private school PorterGaud was so impressed with the way Starr made college computer learning fun that they tapped his brain to come up with a high school–level curriculum that would get kids started even earlier. After that, Google got on board. They loved his methods so much that they tossed some money the College’s way so that they could share those methods with high school teachers across the nation. But he’s not one to rest on his laurels. In fact, one of the cornerstones of how he teaches computer science has to do with his willingness to adapt his style to whatever the in-thing is. Right now it’s mobile phone apps. Tomorrow? Who knows. But you can be sure, whatever it is, it’ll be part of the curriculum. He smiles when he says: “It’s fortunate computer science changes a lot, or I would get really bored.” Logging Out It’s almost 7 p.m. on a Friday evening and Starr looks up from his office computer to explain that he isn’t normally at work this late. In the background, the faint hum of a fish tank fills the room. It’s fitting that the man who doesn’t take himself too seriously has two clownfish swimming around on the shelf behind his desk. They serve as a subtle reminder of the balance Starr strives to maintain in his life: Computers are cool, but family comes first. Underscoring that priority is the fact that Starr tries to avoid e-mail altogether on the weekends, an impressive feat for a regular person, much less a man who makes his living working with computers. But it’s something he’s glad to do because it keeps his focus right where he wants it: at home. In a typical weekend, he’ll eat dinner with the girls, go to one of their musical concerts or just hang out. In fact, he does just about everything with his family. Except sail. That’s the one thing the ladies in his house don’t quite share a passion for. “Yep. It’s just me and the dog out there,” he says, referring to the only other male in the house, a small terrier mix named Elliott. “But that’s OK. It’s kind of nice every once in a while to just hang with the guys.” – Bryce Donovan ’98
Digital Connections These days, either you are a programmer or you’re one of the programmed. Computer science professor Chris Starr ’83 gets that. And so does Google. That’s why Starr has been partnering with the company since 2008, creating programs to boost interest in an ever-important discipline: computer science. The fruit of this relationship has included Google’s donation of 50 computers to software and geology labs at the College. In 2010, Google chose the College to be one of 20 university partners to sponsor and deliver computer science programs for high schoolers. Impressed with the curricular modules developed by College faculty members, Google executives chose the College again for the same program this year. Then there was the catapult contest between Google employees and computer science majors in December, and now Google wants the College to send students to its 2011 “Summer of Code” competition. Starr says that he couldn’t ask for a better corporate partner. He’s tickled that a company like Google “relishes the talent and creative genius of our graduates in computer science, discovery informatics and computing in the arts.” After all, Cougars are programmers, not the programmed. And Google gets that.
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One for art and Art for All Everyone deserves art. Poor people. Rich people. Country people. City people. Art is for everyone, believes Scott Shanklin-Peterson, director of the arts management program. For more than 30 years, Shanklin-Peterson has promoted the power of art and helped cultivate careers in the arts through her service as deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, president of the S.C. Art Alliance, chairman of the Southern Arts Federation and much more. Last fall, in recognition of her work, she received the 2010 National Award for Arts Achievement and Excellence from the International Council of Fine Arts Deans. Itâ€™s a different accolade, but her mission remains the same: Make art accessible to all.
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The Secrets to Intelligence The newspaper ad asked for people with a spirit of adventure. Mary Desjeans wasn’t so sure she had that. But she did know that she could analyze information well. The CIA, the young Notre Dame professor with a Ph.D. in Russian history figured, could use people like that. She applied. She was accepted. She said goodbye to academia and became a part of The Company. That was 30 years ago, but she and the U.S. spy agency are still going strong, with Desjeans – the deputy director for intelligence for strategic programs – serving as one of four senior
Harvard, Princeton, the University of South Carolina and the military academies. The scholars in residence, says Desjeans, do not try to recruit their students into the CIA. Their mission is to demystify the intelligence operations of the United States and explain “the legitimate and legal role of the agency in the context of the U.S. government system.” Desjeans, who is also an amateur Civil War historian, is quick to counter the notion that the CIA is accountable to no one and run amok with rogue agents, as Hollywood movies might have you believe. Rather, she insists, the agency is full of
individuals dedicated to the protection managers who oversee all aspects of the of U.S. citizens, and secrecy is a necessary CIA’s program analysis. ingredient for their operations. For the 2010–11 school year, however, “There is a mystique about the CIA, the CIA has graciously loaned her but you don’t feel it when you’re inside talents to the College, where Desjeans is it,” she says. “You’re not there because teaching courses on national security and it’s cool. You’re there because it matters intelligence as a CIA scholar in residence. and it often dovetails with what you’re The program, in operation since 1985, is interested in.” administered by the Center for the Study During much of the Cold War, Desjeans’ of Intelligence, which seeks to promote account at the CIA was the Soviet General study, debate and understanding of the Staff. While colleagues researched and role of intelligence in American society. wrote reports on the Soviet Union’s CIA scholars in residence have taught industry, Politburo, economy at more than 50 universities, including Duval keeps her “pens of the world”defense collection displayed on her desk,
and more, Desjeans was responsible for keeping decision makers current on the top Soviet military officers. During the breakup of the Soviet Union, Desjeans worked 17-hour days for five months. “It was exhilarating,” says Desjeans, who didn’t have a day off for a month after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when she worked on a team that prepared the president’s daily briefing. She shares these experiences in the hopes that students come to appreciate the threats facing our nation and how the government defends us against them – and just how critical intelligence
gathering (not just by the CIA, but from all 15+ agencies in the U.S. intelligence community) is to national defense. “It’s vital in protecting America and our allies from dangerous countries and organizations,” says Andrew Orr, a senior political science major who took Desjeans’ Intelligence and National Security Policy course last fall. “Although we mainly only hear of the intelligence failures, they have many more successes that you never hear about.” That is, of course, unless you’re one of Desjeans’ students.
providing a colorful “parade of pens. They’re too nice to hide away.” S PRI N G 2 0 1 1 |
Inside the Academic Mind: Jen Wright Jen Wright, who joined the College in 2008, is quickly becoming one of those “must-take” professors in the psychology department. Professor Wright broke away from her teaching and research lab for a few moments to share her thoughts on her love of psychology, a child’s moral development and the key to happiness. What drew you to study psychology? I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that we think about ourselves and the world in normative terms, meaning that we care about and want to understand not just how/what things are, but how/what they should be. I mean, how odd that something as flimsy, as insubstantial, as a moral/social norm can have as powerful an influence on our behavior as the force of gravity! Who’s your favorite psychologist? That’s a tough one. As a developmental psychologist, Jean Piaget certainly comes to mind — especially because of his insatiable curiosity and his capacity for broad theoretical thinking. But recently I’ve been fostering a renewed interest in Erik Erickson and his developmental stages across a lifespan. I’ve come to appreciate his view of life as being made up of a series of transitions, each of which introduces a “crisis” that must be resolved. It strikes me that at the heart of Erickson’s developmental system lies a recipe for the ethical life. You established the Moral Lab on campus, running experiments to test a subject’s morality in a variety of different situations. What do you hope to discover in your research? You mean, other than the magic formula for world peace? Some of your research work and lab experiments incorporate children. How did you get interested in the moral development of children? I remember one day being struck by how weird moral concepts are. I mean, it’s one thing for a child to have to figure out what concepts like dog or chair refer to — to be able to pick out instances of these concepts in the world — but how on earth do they figure out what good and bad refer to? Or what about concepts like brave or kind or greedy? What’s one bit of advice you can give parents to help their children develop to their highest potential within their moral landscape? Years ago a friend of mine gave me this somewhat new-age book about a small migrating band of Aborigines (I don’t remember the name of the book, nor do I have any idea whether this group actually existed), in which every single child that was born into the group was greeted by every other member of the group, welcomed and praised for the miracle of his/her existence, for the blessing his/her birth conferred upon the tribe. I remember thinking how different our culture would be if we engaged in a practice like that, if we were able to love one another that much. So what relevance does that have for
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parents of our day, in our culture? I think the key take-home point is that love is as necessary for a child’s well-being as food and warmth and safety. Without it, children fail to thrive — physically and psychologically. If they have love, then they can withstand a lot of other kinds of deprivation. Without it, it’s very difficult for them to develop in a healthy fashion, whatever else they’re given. What is more, my own research suggests that even very young children are remarkably astute, displaying surprising moral awareness of and sensitivity to what is going on around them. They deserve not only to be loved and treated with respect, but they also deserve to observe others (including their parents) being loved and treated with respect. It isn’t just about how we treat them, but how we treat the other people around us — as well as how we allow them to treat us — that informs and shapes a child’s sense of the moral parameters of the world (the “moral landscape”). You teach a course on happiness. From your psychological perspective, what do you think is the key to happiness? I’m not even sure what happiness is! But I guess I would like to believe that one key to living a happy life is living an ethical life; that our better nature shines forth and thrives upon loving thoughts and deeds, both large and small. Historically, psychologists have focused on the negative side of normativity – duties, obligations, prohibitions. But, there is another side to normativity … a side that calls us to challenge ourselves, to explore and push and grow, to take risks in order to be better people and live fuller lives. I think happiness resides in these little moments of excellence, however fleeting they may be. When you’re feeling down, is there one thing you can do to make yourself feel better? Actually, I usually don’t mind feeling down. Or, at least, I’ve learned to let myself be OK with it whenever I’m down. I just let the clouds pass, as it were. And it isn’t without its rewards — some of my better insights, my most creative moments, come from being down. What do you think is the most interesting mental disorder? I’m particularly fascinated by any disorder that blurs the line between reality and fantasy. I guess this is because the difference is so important, and yet it’s a fine line. Let’s just say that I’m deeply sympathetic to Thomas Szasz’ sentiment: Insanity is a sane response to an insane world. You spent your academic training in wyoming. What’s been your biggest adjustment to Charleston and Southern culture? Having everyone, young and old, refer to me as ma’am. That’s weird! What have you enjoyed most about charleston so far? I love how organic everything feels — overgrown, wedged together, decaying and regrowing. It reminds me of some of my favorite European cities. Everything exists in layers: layers of time overlapping on top of one another in the same location, layers of new materials plastered over the top of older materials, layers of personal and social history.
Δ Michael Auerbach is the new dean of the School of Sciences and Mathematics. Auerbach is no stranger to the campus. From 1996 to 2000, he served as chair of the College’s biology department and left to become the executive director and research professor at the Desert Research Institute in Reno and Las Vegas. • Tracy Clifford ’91 (economics and finance) rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange in January. Clifford is also the CFO of Pernix Therapeutics Holding. • Frances Anderson (School of Education, Health, and Human Performance and School of the Arts) was awarded her fifth Fulbright. Last fall, she went to Pakistan, where she presented art-as-therapy workshops focused on child flood survivors. • Classical guitarist and music professor Marc Regnier’s latest album was nominated for two Grammys this year. Teamed up with fellow faculty members Tacy Edwards (flutist) and Natalia Khoma (cellist) and former student Marco Sartor ’03, Regnier recorded the chamber and solo works of Brazilian composer Radames Gnattali. • This winter, Lee-Chin Siow (music), director of the College’s strings program, toured Asia with an orchestra from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, with stops in Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore. • Bill Barfield (health and human performance) lent his expertise on biomechanics and orthopedic science in Scientific American’s study on why football placekickers now employ a soccer-style approach rather than the straight-on toe kick. • Karen Chandler (arts management) received the S.C. African American Heritage Commission’s 2010 “Preserving Our Places in History” Individual Award.
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MAKING the GRADE Iron Maiden Perched 15 feet up on a 2-ton steel vessel, a figure works with a blue-flamed arc welder. At 32 feet wide and 17 feet tall, the structure is deep enough to contain a small crowd of people and is moveable only by a truck crane. A blond ponytail and ballerina legs tucked into sooty work boots give a hint to the person shrouded by a blackened welding hood – sculptor Lauren Frances Moore. As her on-and-off roommate and longstanding college friend, I’ve become so accustomed to Moore’s work and unofficial title of up-and-coming artist that interviewing her is like probing a sister. However, as always, Moore’s abstract mind surprises and delights me with her ever-evolving, off-the-wall ideas that have pushed her from our first-year residence hall to the forefront of the College’s studio art department. When I met Moore four years ago – the first week of our first year at the College – she was a newly registered Honors College business student, recovering high school ballet dancer and self-proclaimed fashionista. (I believe that we first bonded over the Marc Jacobs fall 2007 collection.) She struck me as creative, quirky, clean-cut and a little too prissy for sawdust, cement and steel. The studio grime didn’t become part of her well-planned wardrobe until second semester, when she sought refuge from all her economics and accounting classes in ARTS 220 Sculpture I. “It’s funny, I had a high school art teacher who told me that I would end up majoring in art, but I started out as a business major because I thought it was practical,” says Moore. “But once I started taking sculpture classes, I found myself devoting all of my energy to creation. When I wasn’t in the studio, I was thinking about my projects.” That’s not to say that Moore gave up her practical nature for her creative one; rather, she decided to double major in business and studio art.
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It surprised her how few other students seemed to invest the amount of time that she did in their art projects – but, having seen the obsessive precision of her work firsthand, I know few others could. From her first sculpture – a steel-wire flower tipped with intricately cut newspaper type – her ideas, technique and aesthetic developed into a clearer artistic concept, with her professors
encouraging her to delve into a wider range of nontraditional materials. At one point, we had a spiral sculpture made of chair legs occupying about a fifth of the tiny room we shared. Another time, I came home to find her watching Desperate Housewives with her hands and forearms plastered into a mold. She started collecting any unusually textured materials that struck her fancy,
Making the Grade
curious and familiar, but at the same time, they are nonrepresentational. You can make whatever you want of them,” she says. “With my work, people have to make a deliberate choice: Do they want to enter and engage with it, or not?” As her work started gaining local attention, it was time for Moore herself to make a deliberate choice – and so she began looking for funding and opportunities outside of Charleston. Then, last summer, she and sculpture professor Jarod Charzewski received one of the College’s summer research grants to develop a concept for mass-producible modular installation tile. The idea combined Charzewski’s minimalist aesthetic with Moore’s transparent, biomorphic forms to create a mold and prototype for bubble-like, plastic ceiling tiles that could be used artfully to enhance an industrial space. “Even great artists tend to be lousy businessmen,” Charzewski notes. “Lauren’s instinct for business enables her to plan out large-scale projects like this one. Working with her gave me a kind of energy that can be hard to come by in the studio. She really knows how to balance spontaneity with strategy and structure with temporality.” With the summer grant project barely finished, Moore packed up her Jeep Cherokee and headed for Franconia, Minn., to spend time at a 20-acre artists’ commune and sculpture park at the suggestion of sculpture professor Herb Parker. Which brings me back to where I started – Moore welding together her twoton steel Vessel, her glorious imposition on the landscape. With unlimited space and Franconia’s big-rig equipment at her disposal, she scavenged Minneapolis’ three steel yards to create the colossal sculpture definitive of her college career. More important, there in rural Minnesota, Moore felt for the first time like she had come into her own – as an artist, a student and a woman. “When I started college, I didn’t think that I could be a real working artist,” she admits. “But during my four years at the College, I sort of became one.” As a graduating senior, Moore doesn’t see boundaries. She’s applied to the most prestigious M.F.A. sculpture programs and is waiting only to hear who will offer
her the biggest studio space. She and Charzewski have received additional funding for their modular installation project and have applied to show it at local galleries. She will spend this summer teaching sculpture classes at Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston and is expanding her portfolio with more installations at the library. As for her goliath sculpture, it still stands in
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seeking out dumpsters full of carpet padding, pink insulation, cardboard and scraps of plywood. There was even a phase when she was saving dead birds in our freezer and Googling “do-it-yourself taxidermy.” I’m not sure that project ever came to fruition. By the end of our junior year, Moore had taken all of the sculpture classes available and relished the opportunity to make her own assignments through independent study and local art expositions. Now she was able to channel the brilliant and bizarre of her previous pieces into a cohesive body of work, creating a signature, if you will. “Now when people ask, I say that I do sculpture,” Moore explains, “specifically, architectonic, site-responsive, materialdriven installations that push the viewer to interact with the created environment.” In layman’s terms, she means that all of her work is large enough to contain several people and is characterized by structural elements found in architecture. She’s generally inspired by her installation space and materials such as steel, insulation, consumer packaging and carpet padding. Then she starts building, and discovers her concept as she goes. “The first thing I do is assess my space. I think a lot about motion and how I can manipulate the movement through it,” she says. “For me, there is a huge element of curiosity: How will viewers respond to what I’ve made?” With her piece Situation Orientation, a biomorphic tunnel of steel and Saran wrap that garnered Best in Show at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art’s Young Contemporaries exhibition last spring, she walked in with a notepad and measuring tape and walked out with a vision. The resulting cavernous, yet transparent form offered an interactive space. Last summer, her installation at the Charleston County Public Library, titled Situation Destination, expounded on a similar form, or “situation.” This time, using pink fiberglass insulation to cover a welded steel armature, she invited the viewers to linger inside her piece rather than just pass through. Lit from behind, the single-entry cave incited the experience of being in the belly of a living organism. “The soft, undulating forms are reminiscent of living organisms that are
Franconia, a solid symbol of how far she has come and perhaps indicative of the places she will go. “Lauren has been a bright spot in the School of the Arts,” says Mark Sloan, curator of the Halsey Institute. “She has taken advantage of every opportunity given to her and created many of her own. Her thirst for knowledge and creative ambition are infectious. She’s a rare student and surely a promising artist.” Yes, she’s all that, but to me, she’s still my frilly, quirky friend. No matter how grand and sophisticated her work is destined to become, I’ll always remember those dead birds in our freezer and that wildly creative freshman girl who thought she would crunch numbers for a living. – Kristen Gehrman ’11 Check out Moore’s artwork at www.laurenfrancesmoore.com.
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More Than a Sea Student She may have lived the Same day twice when she crossed over the International Date Line in Indonesia, but every day is different for Shannon Hoy. One day she may be spending her volunteer hours at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab at Fort Johnson performing humdrum tasks; another she could be cataloging 18 years’ worth of dolphin and whale bones; and other days, she could be assisting in necropsies on stranded marine mammals anywhere on the South Carolina coast. But when Hoy isn’t on land, she spends her time mapping uncharted territory. A marine biology major, she’s been ready to devote her life to the ocean since she first watched Free Willy in the third grade. Now, at age 22, she knows more secrets about the state of our seas than most ever will. Hoy began mapping sea floors on the research vessel Ronald H. Brown. She worked as a volunteer survey technician on the NOAA cruise to Nova Scotian waters, where she spent eight hours a day in the computer lab – watching depth
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contours on the bathymetry monitors rise and fall and making sure that sonar readings were coming in accurately. “Shannon’s the type of dream student anyone would love to have,” says geology professor Leslie Sautter, who taught Hoy how to use the mapping software and actually sailed with her on the Ron Brown. “It’s the best part of teaching. I’ve seen an undergraduate student blossom into a scientist.” Three cruises and 18 months later, Hoy has helped map the deepest location on earth, the Mariana Trench. She’s even sailed beside hundreds of dolphins glowing under bioluminescent waters in an upwelling zone. This summer, she will spend five weeks in the Drake Passage on the coast of Antarctica and four weeks traveling from Indonesia to Hawaii. “I’ve never wanted to work behind a desk,” says Hoy, who grew up landlocked in Dallas. “I’ve always wanted to make a difference and felt I could do that in marine biology.” Back on land, at Fort Johnson, Hoy’s managed to volunteer more hours than
anyone in its history: 350 hours in two years. She took the fall semester off to map on a five-week NOAA cruise aboard the Okeanos, traveling from Indonesia to Guam to Hawaii. But even when class is in session for Hoy, she still works at the NOAA lab and also waits tables part time. It makes sense that Hoy considers her ambition her biggest quirk. “I’m definitely awkward,” Hoy admits. “I get nervous when talking to people in authority. But I’m a go-getter. There’s so much out there to see and do. I don’t want to not see or not do it. I want to better myself and learn more.” And the goal of the projects she works on – the necropsies and the sea-floor mapping – is more than mere data collection. Ultimately, it’s preservation. “When we learn about the oceans, the tectonic plates and the coral reefs, we’re one step closer to saving them,” says Hoy. “It goes hand in hand with the necropsies. By learning how these animals die, we help protect them. There’s nothing else I’d rather do.” – Alison Sher ’09
Making the Grade
The Brightest of the Best Katherine Gumps knows her future is bright. She knows it can take her wherever she wants to go. But she also knows that, as long as she’s at the College, there’s no point in putting things off. The way she sees it, her time to shine is now. “This is my chance, and I take it very seriously,” says the McNair scholar, who also received the 2010 Maggie T. Pennington Scholarship and the 2009–10 William J. Day Scholarship. “When you’re given an opportunity, it’s your responsibility to give it everything you have, to utilize it to its fullest extent.” A junior double-majoring in molecular biology and discovery informatics, Gumps is definitely making the most of her time. With a keen interest in genetics, specifically epigenetics, she has conducted undergraduate research for nearly three years, supported by various
campus grants, which allowed her to present her findings on genetic indicators for Batten’s Disease at the National Society for Neuroscience conference last fall. Most significantly, Gumps earned the prestigious National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship, which will provide her with nearly $15,000 in tuition, a 10-week summer research experience with the NIH researcher of her choosing and a job at the NIH laboratories when she graduates in 2012. “It’s more than I’d ever hoped for,” says Gumps, who had all but given up the dream of going to college by the time she was 18. When Gumps was 4, her mother was killed by a drunk driver, and – because her father wasn’t in the picture – her grandparents took custody of her, raising her to be an active, curious child. But then her grandfather died
when she was 10, and things started to unravel. Uninterested in her classes, Gumps dropped out of school completely by age 16. She worked her way up at a tax firm for a couple of years, and then started impulsively moving around, even living out of her car from time to time. “I was completely unsettled – literally and figuratively. I was lost.” Eventually, however, she found her way to Trident Technical College, and – after just a year – decided to apply to the College. “Statistically, I should’ve ended up in a gutter somewhere, not in college. So, I didn’t have too much hope.” But she was accepted – and to the Honors College at that. “That’s when I knew I could change my life. Here was a great school not just believing in me, but believing I could be one of its best,” says Gumps, although she ended up going for a double major rather than sticking with the Honors curriculum. “If I can go from living out of my car to studying at the College, then I can do anything I want to do.” And there was so much she wanted to do – and so much she wanted to know. “I felt like I had to learn every little detail about each and every thing,” recalls Gumps. “It was like I’d been starving myself for years, and I was finally getting the nutrition I needed.” Even after a steady diet of lectures, lab work and research, however, Gumps still has an insatiable appetite for scientific discovery. This summer she will fulfill her 10-week NIH research at the National Institutes of Mental Health, where she will study experiencedriven gene expression in the context of maladaptive psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia – an area that is of particular interest to Gumps, whose brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. As for her plans after college, they’re up in the air. She knows she’ll be applying to Ph.D. programs, since the NIH will defer her employment for graduate school. If not, she can choose any NIH laboratory to work in. “I definitely feel like I have options – more than ever before,” says Gumps. “Before I came here, I didn’t care where I was going. Now that I know my potential, I can go anywhere – and that’s very, very exciting.”
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Student Government It’s not easy to be in two places at once. And even harder to be in three. Yet day in and day out, Kevin Ryan spreads himself thin across South Carolina, attending the College’s Graduate School, living 70 miles north on Pawleys Island and representing a chunk of the South Carolina coast as a newly elected state legislator in the capital, Columbia. He is, as he says, “insanely busy,” and always on the road. At 22, he’s also the youngest member of the S.C. House of Representatives and one of the few burdened by the demands of the people’s work as well as homework. Fortunately, Ryan’s work and study overlap, as he’s conducting an independent study at the College this spring semester with Professor Kendra Stewart, investigating possible
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restructuring of South Carolina’s government. It’s a timely topic, given the need to save money in the face of budget deficits, as well as one of the top goals for new S.C. governor Nikki Haley, a fellow Republican. As he begins his first term in a poor economy, Ryan will be confronted with budget proposals that cut many government programs and services. Barrages of phone calls and e-mails have already made clear that each issue has its champions, and that his constituents have different opinions as to what are state government’s core responsibilities. For his part, Ryan has decided the protection of South Carolina’s natural landscapes, wildlife habitats and historical sites is of critical importance, and he has already sponsored a bill to increase funding for
the S.C. Conservation Bank. He’s also promised excellent communication with his constituents, and to make decisions that promote “efficient, accountable and transparent government.” At the College, Ryan is modest, says Stewart. After Election Day last semester, it was left to Stewart to inform her master’s in public administration students that their classmate was now an elected official. Despite his commitments to campaigning and holding office, Ryan has been a model student, she says, and is unique in that while most of her students are learning how to execute public policy, Ryan is creating it. “He’s different. I think Kevin’s truly in this fight for good reasons,” says Stewart. “He really cares about bettering the state.”
Making the Grade
Sweeping the Nation It can be easy to get carried away – especially when you’re already flying high. But, even though it soared to No. 23 in the world in its first official semester of existence, the College of Charleston Quidditch team has managed to stay grounded. Sound a little unreal – and not just because of the team’s quick achievement? That’s because Quidditch is the fictional sport from the Harry Potter series. Played by witches and wizards atop flying broomsticks, the popular aerial sport of Harry Potter’s realm had to be brought down a level for the real world – but, ever since it was introduced at Middlebury College in 2005, Ground Quidditch (a.k.a. Muggle Quidditch) has really taken off. Now with more than 400 college teams and 300 high school teams recognized by the Intercollegiate Quidditch Association, a self-described “magical nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the sport of Quidditch and inspiring young people to lead more physically active and socially engaged lives,” Muggle Quidditch is becoming more and more accepted as a real, genuine sport. Quidditch became a reality at the College last August, when juniors Andrew Edahl and Laurin Grabowsky established the club, which was an immediate success: More than 50 students showed
up to try out for the team, which – by November – was heading to New York City to compete in the fourth annual Quidditch World Cup. “We showed up as the ghetto team,” says Grabowsky, recalling that – although the members all pitched in to buy seven IQA-standard brooms – they didn’t have shin pads, elbow pads or the IQA-required capes. “We just had the towels we snagged from our hotel tied around our necks. We were sponsored by Super 8.” Still, they managed to win six out of seven games, earning them the 23rd ranking – and a little respect back on campus. “I think the brooms throw people off at first,” says Edahl, an international business major, who admits it takes most people some getting used to the idea. “Until you relate it to something people understand, like rugby or dodgeball, they think we’re a bunch of kids in capes pretending we can fly and cast spells on people – that we have stars in our eyes.” “It’s just that it comes from Harry Potter that makes it far-fetched for people,” agrees Grabowsky, a psychology major. “If it weren’t from a book of fiction, and if it weren’t called Quidditch, it’d just be seen as a competitive sport.” And, as far as competitive sports go, Quidditch is pretty intense.
“You’re not just frolicking around with brooms – you’re basically running at each other with two-by-fours,” says Grabowsky. “It gets really physical, because you’re just tackling one person after another – and then, once you’ve been tackled, they can pick you up and throw you.” “It’s a chaotic, full-contact sport,” says Anthony Bishara, the psychology professor who serves as the team’s faculty adviser. “There’s a lot going on. It’s enough to entertain pretty much anyone.” “It’s rare you look out in the audience and don’t see a grin,” agrees Edahl. “How can it not be funny to watch people run around with brooms between their legs?” Even more fun than watching it, of course, is playing it. “I think because you know you’re being ridiculous, it’s just so much fun,” says Grabowsky. “And it never gets old because it’s never too serious – there are no scholarships, no varsity teams.” There is, however, a movement under way to petition the NCAA to make Quidditch a full-fledged collegiate sport – something neither Grabowsky nor Edahl endorses. “I don’t want it to lose the silly, carefree side of it,” says Edahl. “I want to keep it fun, keep it real.” In other words, let’s not get too carried away.
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Set Up for Greatness To the Southern Conference, she is the best volleyball player around. To her teammates and coaches, she has always been so much more. Throughout her career, senior setter Cole Dawley not only dominated every time she stepped on the court, she consistently went out of her way to do everything she possibly could to benefit her team. “She wants the best for everyone as well as for the team to be successful,” says head coach Jason Kepner. “It’s a great combination.” Dawley, the 2010 SoCon Player of the Year, was able to make such an impact because of what her coach describes as a
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maturity beyond her age, a natural ability to connect with people, a willingness to put herself out there, an approachable demeanor and ever-present respect from her teammates. “Everyone looks to her,” Kepner notes. “You just hope everything she has done rubs off on the next group.” Dawley, the first Cougar to total at least 3,000 assists, 1,200 digs and 200 blocks, wasn’t always a leader, but grew into the role early in her college career. “I had to mature and realize that every word that came out of my mouth had an impact,” recalls Dawley, who traces her competitive roots back to her childhood when she was always competing against
her older brother. “If someone challenges me, I’m going to fight back.” Both of Dawley’s parents are coaches, and – because her mother would be her coach – Dawley initially hesitated to play high school volleyball. But after just one practice, the Charleston native fell in love with the sport and went on to win five state championships. When it came to game day, Dawley insisted on eating the same pre-game meal at Applebee’s (“chicken, cheese has to be on the side, mashed potatoes and a cup of soup”), braiding her hair, placing her jersey on an exact seat on the bench and putting her socks, knee pads and shoes on in that very specific order. “It’s all about routine, and I’m very superstitious,” Dawley says with a laugh. “It gets me in the mindset of playing.” And, frankly, the physical education major has had a lot on her mind – balancing sports and upper-level courses hasn’t been easy, though her early morning trips to Starbucks have helped. Now that she has wrapped up her college playing career, though, she is focusing on graduate school and work with special needs children. Still, she misses the competition more than she ever imagined, and stays close to the sport by coaching a club team alongside her mother. “The feeling you get on the court is a total rush,” she says. “It’s a feeling that you’re doing something you love to do. I felt lucky every time I was on the court.” But what motivated Dawley to always go above and beyond? “My main goal was to be known as someone who wasn’t just a volleyball player,” she says. “I really wanted to touch people’s lives.” And in that respect, her goal has been met – though the best is yet to come. – Alex Pellegrino Rogers ’03
Whitney Russell (volleyball) was named to COBRA magazine’s All-National Team. + Forward Andy Craven (men’s soccer) was named SoCon Freshman of the Year. + The coed sailing team captured its second-straight SAISA fall coed championship title. + Carly Shevitz earned a spot on the 2011 U.S. Sailing Development Team. + Softball players Katie Pesature and Kristi Woodall were named NFCA All-Academic Scholar Athletes. |
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Pulling a Fast One “In our sport, there is no scholarship, no shoe deal, no sponsorship, no professional league,” explains Travis Landrith ’98, volunteer head coach of the College’s crew teams. “These boys epitomize all that is great about the sport. They’re diligent, motivated, committed, team focused and they’re incredible athletes. “Remember,” Landrith adds, “they don’t have to wake up every morning for our 5:45 a.m. practice. They don’t have to listen to me yell at them. They don’t have to work out two and three times a day. They don’t have to rearrange the other aspects of their lives to make time for rowing, but they do.” And, clearly, they do it well.
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Four guys in a boat. Four guys pulling in unison. Four guys pushing each other to never let up, to mine the deepest wells of their strength, to ignore the mounting pain in their hands, their arms, their backs. And for what? A gold medal, for starters. Last fall, the rowing team of Sam Dickey, Matt Hill, Brandon Zoellner and B.P. Perrin (seen here, left to right) took first in the men’s lightweight 4+ at the Head of the Hooch, the second largest head race in the nation. This was yet another great win for a team that has medaled at the SIRA and DAD Vail regattas. But perhaps most impressive are not the medals, but rather their relentless competition with themselves to go faster, always faster.
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POINT of VIEW
A Sweet Offering It’s not of the magnitude of the feeding of the 5,000 as chronicled in the New Testament, but one student’s service project had a hint of the miraculous this past holiday season. by Samantha Sammis
Prisoners are arguably the most neglected population in the country, and for presumably good reason. In addition to holding a “normal” inmate population, Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville, S.C., also maintains death row inmates for the entire state. Some of the individuals in this institution are incarcerated for crimes that society would deem to be the most unforgivable. For many of us, giving, loving and serving these people may not seem appropriate or even justifiable actions. However, various members in the community of Charleston seem to disagree. What began as a simple service project through
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the Baptist Collegiate Ministry on campus turned into, in my opinion, a literal miracle of faith and immeasurable love. For the last meeting of the fall semester, the Charleston BCM challenged different small groups to organize a service project. About six girls from my group attended the meeting that night, and we agreed that it would be a good idea to bake cookies for a local prison or detention center for the Christmas season. We drove to Walmart, bought maybe 20 packages of cookie dough and baked them that night. We put three to five cookies in a number of Ziploc bags and included Bible verses in each. I agreed to contact prison facilities the next day and figure out the best place to deliver the baked goods. Professor Heath Hoffmann (chair, sociology and anthropology) provided me the contact information of the chaplains and wardens for prison facilities in the area. I called three facilities and left voicemails, explaining what we wanted to do and asking if it was permissible at the institutions. The only person to call me back was the chaplain at Lieber. The chaplain and I talked for a while, and he was very receptive to us bringing cookies to the inmates for the holidays. The idea
POINT of VIEW
No matter the nature of one’s spiritual or religious life, there is something truly humbling , challenging and life changing about caring for and serving those whom no one else is willing to help. of including Bible verses in each of the bags was even better, and he further suggested specific passages that would be most applicable and encouraging for the inmates. I was so grateful that we were allowed to deliver the cookies, and he was so grateful that we were willing. We went back and forth in excitement about the service project, and he asked if I would be able to make the delivery on Wednesday of the following week (I was calling on a Friday). I said, “absolutely!” As an afterthought, I asked him the number of individuals incarcerated at Lieber. After going through a few numbers out loud and including those on death row, the chaplain came up with the total: 1,450. One thousand, four hundred and fifty people. The enormity of that figure did not faze me until my excited little self quickly agreed and hung up the phone – then, I froze in fear. Nobody thought it was possible, including myself. Everyone I talked to about the service project either laughed or expressed disgust, discomfort or hilarity at the fact that someone would agree to something so absurd. But most said they would try to help as much as possible. After the conversation with the prison chaplain, I attended a Christmas party for the BCM, and spread the word about the service project and the need for everyone’s help. The following morning, I sent a Facebook message to the BCM members. The BCM director then told members of River Church in West Ashley about it, and people from that congregation agreed to help as well. I told all of my friends and asked for help from almost every person I encountered that weekend. I had interned at a local nonprofit organization the summer before, and asked some of the employees there to help. I was previously a nursery worker at a church downtown, so I called the nursery supervisor and asked for her help and if she could make our service project known to others in the congregation. I also told a family I baby-sit for and called two local Panera restaurants about maybe picking up their baked goods, because I knew they disposed of their products every night after closing. Tuesday night was incredibly chaotic. All that day I was getting text messages and phone calls from people I hardly knew or didn’t know at all. I had strangers come up to me and say, “My friend told me you wanted to deliver cookies to the prison – here are some that I made.” One girl drove to the grocery store 10 minutes after I talked to her, bought cookies and Ziploc bags, and dropped them off at my house that night. Another girl gave me money to buy cookie dough since she didn’t have time to bake or buy cookies. It was absolutely unbelievable. People were even taking the time to put Bible verses in each of the bags. The girls that I babysit for made Popsicle-stick crosses that said, “Jesus Loves You,” and put them in each of their bags. Others typed out verses and attached ribbon to them. I could not believe the love and the thought that went into this and how God was working in the hearts of these people to give to the inmates.
I absolutely did not think we would have 1,450 Ziploc bags of cookies ready in time. The BCM house was filled with boxes and boxes and random bags of cookies with Post-it notes attached by other people with scribbled messages: “54 bags in here,” “19 bags in here,” “32 bags in here.” There were about a dozen people helping out Tuesday night with bagging and counting and baking. A few guys had been in there the day before organizing and packing cookies as well. One girl held a baking party that night and, at 11:30 p.m., delivered 88 bags of cookies. Another friend, who lived next door, brought by 100 bags of cookies around midnight. On Wednesday morning, one of my friends agreed to help me pack the car and deliver the cookies. He came by around 7:15 a.m. with a giant box of cookies that he had made the previous night. He asked me how many bags we had, and I actually had no idea. The room was just filled with boxes and bags and Post-it notes. He told me to get ready while he counted. When I came back in the room, he just showed me a piece of paper with a number circled on it: 1,470. I was speechless, overwhelmed and close to tears. We had 20 more bags of cookies than we needed. Each bag contained three to five cookies, which means we had collected almost 7,000 cookies in just four days. We packed the cookies into my car and drove the 45 minutes to Lieber. We met the chaplain in the front of the facility and piled the cookies into a giant cart. I gave the chaplain a huge hug and thanked him for what he does at that prison and for letting us give to the inmates. He was grateful, and we exchanged goodbyes before I left. For me, this entire experience was a miracle. I thanked all the people I could, but I know there are others who contributed that I don’t even know. I’m convinced that there is a reason why the only prison facility to call back was the largest in the state. I’m convinced there is a reason why people whom I have never met or previously spoken to jumped at the chance to contribute. I’m convinced that there is a reason why the outcome of 1,470 bags of cookies collected in four days exceeded everyone’s expectations and all rationality. That reason is a type of love that I believe can only be inspired by God. No matter the nature of one’s spiritual or religious life, there is something truly humbling, challenging and life changing about caring for and serving those whom no one else is willing to help. In the Bible, Jesus calls us to love our enemies, forgive those who have sinned against us and love our neighbors as ourselves. This lesson applies even more so to the most neglected and rejected members of society, including the inmates at Lieber. I am thankful that this is an attitude that seems to permeate the Charleston community, and I hope our small example may open the hearts and minds of others to the immeasurable gift of simply reaching out to love and serve those in need. – Samantha Sammis is a religious studies and sociology double major.
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POINT of VIEW [ faculty ] Good Mourning For more than three decades, George Dickinson has been exploring the ways Americans handle death and end-of-life issues. So, we asked the 2009 Death Education Award recipient and acclaimed scholar to talk about one of his latest research interests – the issues surrounding the passing of a pet. by George Dickinson
For many of us, a pet is a significant member of the family. We talk to pets and care for them as if they were our children. We tend to have a very human bond with our companion animals. Pets often live with us as many years as our children live at home before leaving for college or emancipation. Pets can make us feel needed, can relieve loneliness and can serve as friends and companions. Therefore, the death of a pet is a traumatic experience. As occurs with any other member of the family, that death leaves a huge void. Our first childhood death experience typically is around the age of 8. And that first experience is often a pet. Recollections of this event are among our more vivid childhood memories. The death of a pet presents a good opportunity for a parent to explain death to a small child: The animal is immobile, not breathing, not eating or drinking because it is dead. This situation provides a setting for the parent to be a role model by being open with the child about what happened. If the parent cries, this lets the child know that crying is OK. It’s helpful if the parent is involved in a burial, if earth burial is the chosen means of final body disposal. Our children had guinea pigs. A guinea pig’s lifespan is short, thus we had a lot of funerals for guinea pigs at our house. In our routine, I was the official grave digger; the children wrapped the animal in a cloth (shroud), placed it in the hole, covered it with dirt and then put a rock or something else over it to mark the spot in the backyard. As the ceremony progressed and the children related a memory of the pet, each of us felt tears rolling down our cheeks. Such parental participation showed my children that our companion animals had importance. For adults, and especially the elderly, pets can be excellent companions. A dog, for example, typically wags its tail and genuinely seems happy to see its owner enter the house. The pet can help lessen a feeling of isolation and loneliness for a person living alone. The companion animal does not seem to get out of
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sorts about the stresses in life. A pet can be most relaxing for an individual stroking it and thus even contribute to better health for the individual. The loss of a beloved pet, therefore, can certainly be traumatic for the owner, who – no longer being needed by the companion animal – may feel a true sense of emptiness. Unlike the person who loses a friend or relative and receives outpourings of sympathy and support, one who loses a pet is often ridiculed for overreacting or for being foolishly emotional. Such an unsympathetic response is called disenfranchised grief (grief not openly acknowledged, socially sanctioned or publicly shared). Today, however, the death of a pet is being recognized in many circles similarly to that of the death of a human – as evidenced by the recent development of Hallmark sympathy cards for owners of deceased pets. Grieving for a pet and for a human has many similarities: feeling preoccupied, experiencing guilt and mistaking shadows and sounds as being from the dead companion. The death of a pet is experienced uniquely by veterinarians – especially when they are performing euthanasia, granting “merciful relief” from irreversible pain or an incurable malady. Though the states of Oregon and Washington now allow physician-assisted suicide, medical doctors are not allowed to practice euthanasia; and, for them, their role ends when the patient dies, as the follow-up functions are handled by medical staff, then the mortuary. Veterinarians, however, are often asked to dispose of the animal’s body. Additionally, veterinarians have the added pressure of a client asking for advice as to whether or not to “put the pet to sleep” (sleep, an interesting euphemism for death), and if so, when. The owner of the companion animal does not wish to euthanize too quickly, yet does not want to wait beyond the time when death perhaps should have occurred. Thus, veterinarians give advice, themselves not knowing when is “just right” for the death. Such stress is somewhat limited to the veterinary medicine profession. From the veterinarian’s perspective, the most legitimate reasons for euthanizing a companion animal revolve around the animal’s quality of life. The final decision, however, rests with the human guardian. Following a decision to euthanize, the owner often has a feeling of regret for having given permission for euthanasia, no matter the severity of the illness or the animal’s incapacity. Together with Paul and Karin Roof, I recently conducted an end-of-life survey of 463 veterinarians in the Southeast, and found that the average veterinarian practices euthanasia 7.53 times per month. The majority of companion animal owners opt
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POINT of VIEW
to stay with the animal during the procedure, and two-thirds of owners leave the pet with the veterinary clinic for disposal. Those who leave the animal at the clinic more often choose cremation, while those who take the dead animal away typically bury the animal. It also found that veterinarians feel that more education on end-of-life issues is needed in veterinary school, though the more recent graduates feel more favorable toward their end-of-life education than earlier graduates. Currently, the 28 veterinary medicine schools in the United States average 15 hours on end-of-life issues within their curriculum. This is similar to U.S. baccalaureate nursing schools’ 14 hours and U.S. medical schools’ 12 hours on end-of-life issues. Good, open communication by professionals is pivotal in any end-of-life discussion, be it involving a companion animal or a human. Whether the terminally ill family member is a human or a pet, the process of dying and the event of death are among the more stressful experiences humans have. We can be supportive of each other and remember that a death – pet or human – should not be reacted to as disenfranchised grief; rather, it should be socially sanctioned and publicly shared.
Much like those for humans, hospices for pets are evolving in the 21st century. Some of these hospice programs focus on teaching pet owners how to care for their terminally ill pets at home, yet others handle the pet at a free-standing hospice facility. If euthanasia isn’t an option (the owner “simply cannot put Fido down”), hospice care might be the solution for a terminally ill companion animal. Palliative care within a hospice setting, where pain control is paramount, presents a peaceful way for an animal to die. And who wants to see anything/anyone die in pain when analgesics are a reasonable option? Is not quality of life better than quantity of life? Pets – like family members – leave a tremendous void in our lives when they die. Life goes on, however, and we must cope with the loss. We should talk openly about our feelings. Grief shared is grief relieved. We don’t “get over” the loss of a family member, pet or human, but we simply learn to live with the fact that that member will no longer be literally present. Through memories, however, the human or companion animal “lives on.” Gone but not forgotten. – George Dickinson is a professor of sociology.
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POINT of VIEW
[ alumni ]
Building Hope Gandhi quipped that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Like many College alumni doing overseas relief work, Marianne Heis ’06 has discovered the truth behind Gandhi’s statement.
Over the past two years, I’ve seen hundreds of people sleep all night outside a temporary clinic site in Uganda just to make sure they secure a slot with the visiting American medical team the next morning.
Coartem to treat their child’s malaria or medication to halt their frequent seizures or treat their diabetes. Healing that allows people to see and read for the first time in years, after simply being given a pair of reading glasses. Healing that helps a 10-year-old mute girl speak for the first time, forming sounds and words with her tongue and throat that her family never thought possible, or a 5-year-old walk for the first time after being given supportive braces and therapy. Healing that has allowed more than 11,500 Ugandans to receive quality medical care to date. If someone had told me I would travel to Africa seven times to help deliver medical care to thousands of people in desperate need, I would have never believed it. I would’ve scoffed: “But I hate hospitals. I don’t know anything about medicine. Of what good could I be?”
I’ve seen a woman wailing on the ground outside the clinic after losing her child to malaria mere hours beforehand. I’ve seen children with third-degree burns all over their bodies from falling into the kitchen fire pit and others with bones sticking out of their arms because they fell three years ago and there was no one around to fix it. But I’ve also seen healing. Incredible healing. Healing that causes people to jump for joy when they receive a dose of
Little did I know that an opportunity existed to affect the lives of not only hundreds of compassionate local volunteers from Charleston, but also thousands of people in Uganda who prayed to God to send someone to help them. Someone to love them. Someone to care. After graduating from the College with a dual degree in communication and political science, I moved to Washington, D.C., to pursue a brief but exciting career in political fundraising.
by Marianne Heis ’06
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| Photos by Joshua Drake |
POINT of VIEW
The election cycle ended in November 2008 – and my time in D.C. ended shortly thereafter. I quit my job and joined my church on a mission trip to Choma, Zambia. The experience changed me, and when I returned, I had a burning desire to work for the good of the people of Africa and for the nonprofit community. The phone rang on New Year’s Day 2009. My good friend Claire Vernon ’06 left a message and said, “I found your dream job, call me!” Two of her friends in Charleston – Ed O’Bryan and Matt Alexander – were starting a medical nonprofit to focus on sustainable international health care, and they were looking for someone to help with administration and volunteer management for the Palmetto Medical Initiative. Once word began to spread about PMI’s vision and its dedication to creating a sustainable model, doors began to open. Relationships were extended, opportunities offered and the first project site was determined: Masindi, Uganda. Masindi is a small town of roughly 30,000 people – about a fivehour drive northwest of Kampala, the capital city. Unfortunately, Uganda’s government system has supplied only the outer shell of a hospital there. Inside, there’s no staff, no medicine and ultimately no care. If you’re admitted, your family or friends are responsible for providing your food, your clothes and the funds for your medicine or prescriptions. There are no meals, very few sanitary standards and definitely no Medicare system. Many people suffer silently. The local community has come to think of hospitals as a place to die, rather than a place to recover. The need for a quality medical system is undeniable. So when we began sending teams from South Carolina in March 2009 to deliver temporary medical care, the Masindi community responded. Groups of 200–500 Ugandans began to show up at the temporary clinic sites every day for the chance to see a PMI medical volunteer. Many had never seen a doctor before. At one clinic site earlier this year, a translator explained to me that some of the patients had traveled from Sudan to see the medical team. “Oh, you mean they came from the Sudanese refugee camp down the road?” I asked. No, he explained, they came from the country of Sudan – traveling more than 11 hours in hopes that they would see someone with medical knowledge. They had heard announcements about the PMI clinic on the radio and knew it was their only hope for help. Interprofessional PMI teams of both medical and nonmedical volunteers visited Masindi every three months and provided continuous care while a permanent medical center was being built. Teams were and are often comprised of local church volunteers, students and medical personnel from the Medical University of South Carolina – nurses, therapists, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists and more. Since March 2009, more than 300 volunteers have given up a week of their own time and raised funds for the trip cost. Over the past two years, plans were finalized for a permanent, sustainable structure in Masindi. We hired a project director from Charleston, Michael O’Neal, who agreed to move to Masindi for two years with his wife to oversee the development of the clinic. Blueprints were drawn, government permits secured and land cleared. In April 2009, PMI broke ground on the building site and
construction officially began on the first phase of the clinic plans – an outpatient building that would serve approximately 500 people every month. Future plans include the construction of three inpatient wards, a surgical ward/labor and delivery center, administration buildings, staff quarters and a physical therapy building. When completed, the clinic will operate at close to 100 percent sustainability, with income being generated by fees charged to patients on a sliding scale. In December 2010, I was at the opening of the new outpatient building. It was a proud and memorable day for everyone involved. When the December team showed up the next morning to begin working out of the newly constructed building, they were met with hundreds of local people who stood up and began singing praises to God for the team’s arrival. Big bear hugs were exchanged between the local people and the American team, and it was unclear which group felt more blessed by the other’s presence. Nine local Ugandan medical and administrative professionals have been hired and trained to run the outpatient clinic, and it officially opened for business on January 3. Since then, the Masindi Kitara Medical staff report that they have seen a consistent flow of patients, and many people stop by the site every day simply to say “thank you.” During our December trip, one of our volunteers reflected on her experience. She was amazed at how the community was responding. She was grateful for the small role she was able to play and said, “When you dream about changing the world, this is how you dream it.” As I know firsthand, volunteers return with a changed perspective on life and on health care – and many opt to return to Masindi with another team to check up on the progress and continue investing in that area. Two long-term medical volunteers, Mandie Turner and Rachel Fuller ’05, moved to Masindi to help provide insight and training during the beginning clinic stages. As we prepare to enter into phase two of the clinic complex construction, we realize that our hardest work lies ahead of us. Many organizations before us have gone into African communities and built medical clinics. The evidence can be seen all around you when driving through the streets of Uganda. Empty buildings with grass growing up in the middle of them are all that’s left from other Good Samaritan organizations with the best of intentions. The difficult part is ensuring the project’s sustainability and effectiveness. Now the real work begins as we prove our commitment to the area and carry out our vision of quality care, sustainability and partnership with the people of Masindi. The goal is to be able to take this model and replicate it elsewhere – into other needy communities and perhaps other countries. In my experience, the cliché proves true: The need is great, but the workers are few. But PMI is blessed to be able to link two communities together in a way that will hopefully provide quality, sustainable, long-term change. – Marianne Heis ’06 is the administrative director at Palmetto Medical Initiative in Charleston and is a graduate student in the College’s M.P.A. program. To learn more about PMI, visit www.palmettomedical.org.
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Names – you find them everywhere on campus. They’re etched in stone, engraved in bronze and emblazoned on banners. These names become intricately woven into the fabric of the College’s history and culture. Over time, however, the significance of these names fades somewhat, and they become just that – names, words without context. One of these names is Aaron Olitsky ’97, who is forever tied to a scholarship and a memorial men’s soccer tournament hosted at the College each fall. “What’s in a name?” Shakespeare famously mused. The answer – an entire life, full of complexity, romance, dreams, comedy and, at times, tragedy. This is the story behind Aaron’s name.
ou’d probably have to get a magnifying glass out. And a small pick, or some kind of scraping device. A stick would even do if you’re desperate – just something to sort through the soil, rock crumbs and ground glass that seem to collect on every city sidewalk. Like the 49ers of old, you’re sifting through San Francisco dirt, hoping to spy glitter among the grit. Yet the prize this time is not gold, but flecks of glow-in-the-dark paint. It was put down a decade ago, just after Aaron Olitsky ’97 passed away. There’s a good chance it’s all gone, washed away by wind, rain, stamping feet and spinning tires. But then again, there just might be a bit left. Jackie Sumell ’96 put down so darn much of that glow paint, tagging block after block with the number on Aaron’s soccer jersey: 18. She even made a contraption in her shoe that printed an 18 every time she took a step. Sumell ran for six miles after Aaron’s death, stamping his number up and down the hills of San Francisco, painting his presence in as many places as she could, trying to smother Shaky Town with luminescent reminders of a friend. The idea was that Aaron could see his number from up above – as could any jet passengers flying over the bay. Surely, Aaron would have loved to have been in those airborne travelers’ company, seeking out new places and people. If nothing else, Aaron liked to move: across soccer fields and continents, around kitchens, through books and among friends. We all move, of course, but at different speeds, with more or less certainty of our direction and varying degrees of determination in our steps. Aaron, for his part, moved fast, with forceful grace, perseverance and passion. Aaron also never tired, which made him quite extraordinary. At the College, Aaron was many things: tenacious midfielder, combative amateur Shakespeare scholar, budding chef and dashing Don Juan. He walked with a well-earned swagger. Very little, it seemed, was beyond his grasp, so long as he employed his trademark resolve to achieve a goal. At the College, he is officially remembered through the Aaron S. Olitsky English Scholarship and the Aaron S. Olitsky Memorial Fund, which supports the men’s soccer team and sponsors an annual college soccer tournament in Charleston. Elsewhere, he is remembered in the hearts and minds of his friends as a headstrong rebel with fierce convictions and an unforgettable independent streak. Five years before his death, Aaron penned a poem for an English class. It was inspired by a trip he took the previous summer to Australia, where he played semi-professional soccer and tasted the fruits of the world. I hear the plane engines purr daily And the aphrodisiac smell of Jet fuel is sneaking up to me, tickling my nose. Inspiration buzzing like The alarm clock for my first class. Sick of pressing snooze on my dreams. In short, the world promised possibility, just so long as he could stick around.
The Competitive Fire Jet fuel, in fact, had tickled Aaron’s nose very early in life, whether he could recall such a sensation or not. He was born in Medellin,
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Colombia, on May 6, 1974, and immediately put up for adoption. Less than four months later, he was on a plane heading to a new country and new home as the first child of Atlanta’s Harvey and Judy Olitsky. From the beginning, Aaron was a handful. He began walking at 9 months old and it wasn’t much longer before the energetic toddler tumbled out of a first-floor window at home, sending his family and visiting cousins into a mild panic before he was found to be OK. One of Aaron’s first brushes with danger, this would not be the last time he fell from a window. But even as a child, Aaron possessed an ability to make these thrills more endearing than alarming. “Everyone was mesmerized by him,” says Judy Olitsky. “He was just so cute, you could never stay angry at him for long. No way.” In elementary school, Aaron’s rambunctiousness was diagnosed as attention deficit disorder, and his parents allowed for him to be given Ritalin for two months. The stimulant didn’t work, and Judy – feeling guilty about medicating her son – ended the treatment. Years later, her self-reproach lessened when Aaron confessed to secretly spitting out all the medicine she’d given him. One thing he did accept wholeheartedly, however, was his adoptive family; in fact, Judy remembers only one time when Aaron made a point of bringing his adoption up. She had been scrubbing a tub in the bathroom when a young Aaron snuck up from behind and hugged her. “Are you sure I didn’t come out of your tummy?” he asked. “Nooo,” Judy replied, dropping the scrub brush before sitting down with Aaron and rereading to him one of his favorite children’s books about adoption. Aaron never desired to meet his birth parents, and indeed it was his identity as a Jew instead of adopted son that was of more relevance when he got older. Aaron’s Latin looks and dark complexion did not square with Jewish stereotypes, and his friends good naturedly teased him about his faith in the unique way that teenagers – for whom almost no topic is taboo, no difference off limits, whether in celebration or exploitation – do. For Aaron, the attention to his faith was positive. Upon his arrival, his friends would gleefully shout “Daru” at him, purposefully garbling pronunciation of “the Jew.” For his part, Aaron was no better, constantly twisting his sister’s name, Elana, into the very Georgian name of Duane. If ribbing comes naturally to certain young men, so do competitive instincts. As Aaron matured, he continued to play soccer. In pickup games he could be fanciful, imagining himself a Colombian superstar. In tournaments, he was focused during gameplay, and furious when not victorious. Once, he snapped at his mother when she told him that he played well in defeat. “I work hard every day so we can play well,” said Aaron. “I don’t like to lose.” It was with that spirit that Aaron arrived at the College in 1992, and it was among his top priorities to make the men’s soccer team. Though he was a talented player in Georgia, the College had not awarded him a soccer scholarship. He’d have to make the team the hard way, as a walk-on. Javier Vivanco ’96, a former teammate and roommate to Aaron at the College, provides a little perspective on this endeavor, calling Aaron and the few other walk-on soccer players nothing short of amazing. Collegiate athletics, he explains, is a full-time job, and Aaron made the men’s soccer team by pitting himself against some of the best soccer players in the country.
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Another freshman, Bruce Scott ’98, made the team as a walkon with Aaron, and both were redshirted their first year. Such a maneuver – which allowed them to practice with the team but not play in games – is used by college coaches to develop players without sacrificing one of their four years of NCAA eligibility. Scott recalls the intensity of each and every practice, of Aaron and himself having to prove continually that they belonged on the team: “Lots of dogfights,” he says. “Everything was a competition.” Because Aaron was so pesky a defender, he earned the nickname “The Fly.” One of The Fly’s favorite targets was Nick Frisch ’95, one of the better members of the team. Frisch quickly became annoyed with the freshman and his harassing style of play, characterizing him as “a little feisty fellow that was always a thorn in my side.” One day, as they battled again over the ball, Frisch’s elbow went high and caught Aaron in the face, causing his nose to bleed. Aaron trotted off the field, had a trainer plug his gushing nostril and then hurried back into play. He had a message for Frisch: “If you think that’s going to stop me from marking you and getting noticed,” said Aaron, “you’ve got the wrong guy.” After practice, while walking toward a team meal at the cafeteria, Aaron continued to press Frisch, though in a friendlier manner. “I don’t know what your problem is,” Aaron told him. “My favorite band is The Cure, too.” With this, Frisch caved, and the two became friends. So much so, in fact, that Frisch didn’t even take offense at the next thing Aaron said: Not only was he going to earn a spot in the starting lineup, he was also going to take Frisch’s girlfriend.
The Eye of the Beholder The second time Aaron fell from a window was in Chicago. And it was a window not on the first floor, but the second. Aaron had come to the Windy City to visit his high school girlfriend, Kim Dorazewski, who was studying at the Art Institute of Chicago. To sneak him into her dorm room, they hatched a plan to dress him in a wig and women’s coat. It didn’t work. So then Dorazewski went to her room alone, tied together a number of bedsheets, attached one end of the fabric rope to a radiator and tossed the remainder out her window. Aaron grabbed hold and hoisted himself up. As he reached the windowsill, however, his grip slipped. To Dorazewski’s horror, Aaron plummeted to the ground. Just as he’d managed as a toddler, though, he escaped serious injury from the fall. The incident was a typical one in Dorazewski’s four-year relationship with Aaron – a bold, cocky and crazy boyfriend repulsed by conventionalism. Aaron had to find his own music from secret sources, says Dorazewski, and not listen to what was popular. He spurred her to take more chances, including persuading her to spend the night regularly when they were in high school. She’d sneak inside the Olitsky house, then back home again before school started, slyly evading Aaron’s parents and her own. During these nocturnal rendezvous, Aaron would make midnight meals, walk nearby neighborhoods with her in the darkness, take out family cars or watch beloved soccer-highlights videos over and over. Parents’ rules, Aaron the night owl decided, be damned. “He had such a zest for life, he wasn’t going to let anyone or anything stop him,” recalls Dorazewski.
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Sometimes, she says, his arrogance could be hurtful. But then he’d always redeem himself. “It was tough being his girlfriend,” she admits, “but I knew everybody wanted to be his girlfriend … definitely the badboy image.” Eventually, their relationship broke off, and Aaron turned his sights to Jackie Sumell, the girl he had promised to steal from Frisch at the College. To Aaron’s dismay, he bungled the heist. He overplayed his hand at first, singing to her in Craig Cafeteria, handing her poems and paper flowers and proclaiming publicly that Sumell was the girl he’d one day marry. Sumell, who was pursued by a number of soccer players, found the attention from Aaron annoying and his romantic pleas uncomfortably intense. “He was not afraid to make a fool,” says Sumell, who – after ignoring Aaron for two years – found herself with him at a spectacular oceanside house on Sullivan’s Island, where Aaron lived with one of his soccer teammates. Upon arriving home, Sumell’s roommate, who had left a bit earlier, called her to talk about Aaron, and she didn’t mince words: “He’s really beautiful.” Suddenly, Aaron was unveiled. Her roommate, Sumell realized, was right – Aaron was beautiful. The next thing she knew, Sumell was alone with him on the roof. The Atlantic Ocean spread before them. Its waves gently lashed the rocks that lined nearby Breach Inlet. A shooting star streaked overhead. They kissed.
Battle of Wills The people Aaron respected most were those that were toughest on him – the ones who attempted to harness his energy and intellect, and whom Aaron fought fiercely. Into this camp fall just a few brave people: his parents and two opponents he met at the College. One of these was English professor Nan Morrison, who taught Aaron’s Shakespeare course. Morrison recalls that the first time Aaron came to her office, it was to discuss a bad grade he’d received. He was courteous during the visit, says Morrison, but “it was the respect you show a tough competitor.” They argued over Shakespeare. The next week, they argued again. Aaron wanted to read and write better, yet he yielded ground reluctantly to the scholar. Each week, he’d arrive at her office to renew their debates, with Morrison emphasizing the importance of an analytical perspective of the great playwright’s works and Aaron preferring to study the poetry in Shakespeare’s plays. Aaron’s sensitivity impressed Morrison. “He could obviously feel the rhythm and the music and the beauty of the words,” she says. After December’s exams, Morrison thought she’d seen the last of Aaron. But come January, there he was again in her class, enrolled for another Shakespeare course. He continued visiting her office each week, but this semester, recalls Morrison, there were fewer fights and more discussions. A similar détente had occurred between Aaron and his parents. During Aaron’s teenage years, Judy often felt more like a warden than a mom. As Aaron became a young man, she transitioned back to mother. To her amazement, the adult Aaron – apparently unaware of the exasperation he often caused a mom who doubled as a schoolteacher – chastised her for not being more stern with him as a kid.
“Mom, you were not strict enough,” he said. “I got away with too many things.” “Aaron, I had to sleep sometime,” Judy replied. “I couldn’t watch you constantly.” Similarly, Harvey Olitsky enjoyed the end to a war he waged for much of Aaron’s childhood and adolescence. For so long, Aaron was the match to Harvey’s gasoline. Routinely they would lock horns, the smart-aleck kid versus the tough, retired Marine captain. As a Naval aviator during the Vietnam War, Harvey survived a number of crash landings in a helicopter. Such mishaps taught him humility, an attribute that, at first blush, it might seem Aaron was desperately missing. But upon close observation, notes Harvey, one could see Aaron had humility in good supply. Aaron appreciated and admired people who could do things that he could not. It was from these people that Aaron wanted to learn. “That made it all worthwhile,” says Harvey, who retired from a 30-year career as a commercial airline pilot and now operates a lawnmower store. “He may battle with you, but at the end of the day he would fess up and say you were right.” In 1994, while in Australia, Aaron wrote a journal entry about his dad, admitting he was homesick: I just got off the phone with my father. I have always loved my father, but somehow I have not noticed it so much in my 20 years of life. ... My father is not the one who simply created me sexually. My father is the one who can hurt me the most and the one who can love me the most. In the past it seems he has hurt me a lot, but in the big picture he was the one who wanted to give his unlimited love. Only two things would ever stand in the way of my dad’s love for me: my death or his death. Then the love becomes even more powerful. It becomes holy.
gentle, static games of pass were not sufficient preparation for a match. After corralling all the other balls, one of them would streak into the circle of their teammates, snatch the remaining ball and jet off, initiating a game of keep away. The other players had no choice but to chase after the thief and get their hearts racing. They were running after madmen, however, and few could match Aaron’s stamina. “He singlehandedly tried to prove the theory of perpetual motion,” says Scott, the teammate redshirted with Aaron. “He had a motor.” Vivanco remembers returning from summer break one season to begin physical conditioning. On the first day of practice, in the August heat, the players were expected to run two miles in less than 12 minutes. Nearly every player had to train over the summer to beat the clock. Aaron, however, was the exception, working for a Charleston restaurant and enjoying the city’s nightlife. Yet he still finished the time trial in second place. His teammates, no slouches as athletes themselves, were impressed. “He could smoke a pack a day,” says former teammate and roommate Paul Tezza ’05, “and run a marathon.” Despite his physical talents, men’s soccer head coach Ralph Lundy would not let Aaron glide by. Lundy was the other person at the College unafraid to do battle with the young man, and their skirmishes were almost daily affairs. One thing known to get Lundy upset was Aaron’s penchant for performing trick maneuvers – such as back-heel kicks, nutmegs and rainbow passes – some of which were not always executed successfully. When Lundy got mad, Aaron was sent off the field to run the athletics complex as punishment. Lundy made sure to send him on his way immediately, for fear of breaking into a grin and losing his edge before him. Ultimately, despite his antics, Aaron was an incredible asset to the team, and his tireless play an inspiration to his coaches and teammates. Aaron was a rather small player, yet he shied away from no one. As mirthful and carefree as he could be in other pursuits, he was humorless on the field and relentless in his pursuit of winning. “He would never quit, no matter what the odds were. He would not stop fighting,” says Lundy. “When he walked across the lines, it was war.” Aaron was a player during the most successful years of the College’s men’s soccer program, with the Cougars winning their conference each season he played from 1993 to 1996. For the last three of those seasons, Aaron scored the goals that put the College into the postseason, including a stunner in 1994 over Miami of Ohio. The Cougars were being pummeled by the RedHawks, and outshot about 10 to 1. “They were bound to score a goal and put us out of our misery,” remembers Vivanco.
“He would never quit, no matter what the odds were. He would not stop fighting,” says Ralph Lundy, men’s soccer coach. “When he walked across the lines, it was war.”
Revving the Motor of Perpetual Motion Most people find it challenging enough just to walk on Charleston sidewalks, as the city’s notoriously uneven stone and brick pavers threaten ceaselessly to trip inattentive pedestrians. Aaron Olitsky and Javier Vivanco used these sidewalks as playing fields, juggling soccer balls up and down the streets, passing around parked cars, dribbling through the legs of passersby and chipping into stop signs. While parts of the student population trolled campus in search of parties on weekend nights, Aaron and Vivanco dueled under streetlights, constantly challenging each other to navigate the toughest downtown obstacles. In soccer practice and during pregame warm-ups, the games continued. Most players were content to form a circle and pass the ball between themselves before games. For Aaron and Vivanco,
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As the Cougars struggled to keep the score even, Vivanco received a pass and quickly played it far upfield to Aaron, against the grain of play. His best friend and roommate sprinted ahead, catching the Miami defenders off guard, as they had pushed forward in an offsides trap. Aaron, recalls Vivanco, was like a salmon swimming upstream, jumping waterfalls and struggling mightily against the current. With defenders trailing behind him, he collected the ball and focused his eyes on the net. He had just the goalie to beat, and Aaron put it past him, into the back of the net.
A Life Without Fences The plan was simple: Pick Bruce Scott up and drive to Atlanta. Somehow, Aaron and accomplice Paul Tezza started to foul it up. The team was assembling in Atlanta to prepare for a flight to Holland, where they would train, play exhibition matches and watch professional clubs. Aaron and Tezza had offered to give Scott a ride, but first they told him they wanted to play a pickup game in the parking lot of a bank on Queen Street. Scott gave in to their wishes, but kept one eye on the clock. God help us if we’re late, he thought. Aaron may have become accustomed to the wrath of Lundy, but Scott didn’t want to get on Coach’s bad side at the beginning of such a big trip. They played soccer for two hours. When they finished, the car keys were missing. When the keys were found and the trip under way, they noticed they were desperately low on gas. Then they made a few wrongs turns, even though Atlanta was home for both Aaron and Tezza. The comedy of errors was making Scott sweat: How did I get myself involved with these clowns? he remembers thinking to himself. Yet, against all odds, Scott says, “somehow, in the nick of time, everything came together and was fine.” Such close calls were routine for Aaron. He comfortably took risks others could not stomach, even if they were easily avoided. Sometimes this made his friends and family admire him. Sometimes, it infuriated them. “He did things his way,” says Chris Rullet, a friend since childhood and frequent soccer teammate through high school. “It may not have been the easiest way, but he did it his own way.” Also aggravating was Aaron’s flippant attitude toward danger and the way he explained away risky behavior. He often told his high school girlfriend, Dorazewski, that he wanted to die young. He told his college girlfriend, Sumell, that he wanted to die beautiful. He pointed out a crease in the palm of his skin to his father, explaining that he had a “short lifeline.” Harvey got mad as hell about that, dismissed it as nonsense and countered that he couldn’t wait for Aaron to be a dad himself, and that he hoped he’d have three boys, each of them uncontrollable mini-Aarons who’d conspire to drive him crazy. Then Harvey would roar with laughter at the thought of it. None of this, however, could change Aaron’s fatal convictions. In fact, if you take his scribbling seriously, his journal makes for interesting, if not morbid, reading. From an entry in 1994: It takes a strong man to be unafraid of being by himself. I dread getting old and hope I have a peaceful early death because with age
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one becomes dreadfully alone, forgotten by society and away from his peers. The consequence of such thoughts was a desire to absorb everything at once. In his love life, this could cause problems. Aaron strayed from girlfriends and often had to work hard to repair the damage. Sumell says their four years together were stormy, and that they enjoyed a “crazy, crazy love, and not always the healthiest.” Forgiveness could be a long time coming. “Aaron had a lot of love for the world and for people,” says Sumell, who works as a social activist and conceptual artist in New Orleans. “To ask him to put up fences or borders around him would be asking him to stop expressing himself.” One way that Aaron began expressing himself was through food. After graduating from the College, he worked as a cook at Magnolias restaurant on East Bay Street, and also as a DJ in Charleston clubs. Determined to make a living in the culinary world, he moved to Boston in 1998, where he worked at the restaurant Salamander. Hired as the garde manger to prepare cold foods, Aaron soon worked every station in the restaurant, including rotisserie and tandoori stations and a wood-burning grill and oven. In 1999, the restaurant’s chef and owner Stan Frankenthaler asked Aaron to accompany him to New York, where they cooked a sevencourse meal at the prestigious James Beard House. It was a career highlight for Aaron, and helped him decide a few months later to pursue formal training at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Someday, he dreamed, he would own and operate his own gourmet restaurant, or perhaps become a food critic, given his love of writing and poetry. In December 2000, Aaron’s parents and sister joined him in San Francisco to celebrate Harvey’s 60th birthday. Aaron was in his second year at the culinary academy, and was making plans to come home to Atlanta soon to pick up a truck, which he’d drive back across the country to his apartment. As a birthday gift, Aaron contributed to a book of notes for his father and referenced the times they spent at the family cabin – which was on 35 acres of land on so-called Scenic Lake Harv in Ellijay, Ga. Aaron longed for a time that had passed: Sometimes I wish you were still working around the cabin while I fished. Life was simpler than it is now. When I look back, I think that is the way life should be, relaxed in the fresh air, surrounded by nature, shoes and shirt off. We were just taking from God’s gifts and putting back what we took in the form of little brim [sic] and basses. I do not know what I am trying to say, but those kinds of memories pretty much sum it up for me. Life can’t always be that pure, but in the 60 years of your life there have been lots of pure moments. Try to remember them. I hope this is one.
When Everything Stops The policeman strolled into Harvey’s store and said there had been an accident in Arizona, possibly with his brother. “Call this number,” he said. Harvey dialed, then nearly broke. It was not his brother, but Aaron who had been in an accident. His son was dead. In the early morning hours of Feb. 14, 2001, Aaron had lost control of his truck
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on Interstate 40 while approaching Flagstaff, Ariz. The weather had been bad, with ice and snow, and the truck had flipped over. Harvey hung up, left the store and went to find his wife. She was at school, in a conference with a parent and another teacher. He pulled her from the meeting and told her the heart-wrenching news. So began a long, sad struggle for the Olitskys. “Life stops. Things are not going to be happy for you. Your plans are not going to come true,” says Harvey, who had lost a number of young friends in Vietnam decades earlier. One of them, Jim Nagle, was shown dead on the floor of a chopper in a famous war photo on the cover of Life magazine’s April 15, 1965 issue. It was the first time Harvey had seen anybody die, and the image has haunted him since. His son’s death, though, would weigh on him much more heavily. Aaron’s death was overwhelming. “I’m not the same person,” Harvey says. He and his wife joined counseling groups, sharing sad stories in the company of other grieving parents. They all were, Harvey says, “part of that club you never want to belong to.” They would grieve in separate ways. Harvey attended Aaron’s graduation at the culinary academy later that year, but refused to go to the accident site. Conversely, Judy was too emotional to attend the graduation, but wanted to see where Aaron died. Eighteen months after Aaron’s death, she traveled alone to the desert outside Flagstaff and visited the scene of the crash. Farmland and cattle pastures sprawled off on each side of the Interstate. She brought along a Star of David she had made, but the ground was too hard to drive a stake. Instead, she nailed the memorial to a fence. Since her son had died, joy was absent from Judy’s life. When she imagined a healing place, it was somewhere that she could enjoy life again. It was a place difficult to reach, no matter how hard she tried to get there. “When Aaron died, it felt as if all my senses were screaming for him,” she says. “I slept with his sweater, wore his socks, petted his books. I was craving the feeling of Aaron. My eyes burned from longing to find him on every street, in every group, on the TV screen. My lips hungered for the taste of his cheek. My lungs ached from inhaling so deeply to catch his scent. My ears rang from the strain of yearning to hear just one more time, ‘Mom.’” Aaron’s death was no less horrible for his friends, including Chris Rullet, who knew Aaron at almost every stage of his life. “He was like a soulmate to me,” he says, “and it’s been absolutely devastating.” When Rullet boarded a plane from Los Angeles to Atlanta for Aaron’s funeral, he noticed he was aboard flight 1818. His randomly assigned seat was 18A. The coincidences were eerie. Talk to any of Aaron’s friends and you’ll hear similar stories. After Aaron’s death, everyone grasped for No. 18 one last time, trying to establish one more meaningful memory or connection, to put a proper bookend on their relationship, to attach significance to interactions with Aaron they did not know would be their last. Aaron’s predictions of a short life had come true, and in the wake of his death his loved ones were scrambling to find something to hold onto, whether flight numbers, glow-in-the-dark paint or Aaron’s writings. Judy found this one written on a scrap of paper tucked into a cooking textbook:
You make me want to write down my thoughts. My sleep is busy and awake, The days are long and the five minutes with you are rapidly disappearing like a drop of water on a hot skillet. Singing, gleaming, running around as if not even touching the surface. Our flesh touches, waiting patiently for more as we say farewell. The last bit of steam floats to the top of my head and all that is left is this Little brown stain in the pan and this burnt smell that is my life.
Good Night, Sweet Prince At the funeral, people gathered to pay respects to the Olitsky family. Aaron, they recalled, was always willing to get in over his head. He was unafraid to fall from windows and had the guts of a poet, putting words down and drawing beauty out of common experiences. He was a charmer, but he had substance. Among the mourners was a wall of wailing women – assorted girlfriends from different times in Aaron’s life, some of them overlapping. Many of them were hysterical, and some oblivious to what romantic roles the others had played in Aaron’s life. Sumell was one of the women sobbing in that line, and she can’t help but smile now and think that, in a way, it was good that Aaron was not alive just at that time, or else he would have had a lot of explaining to do. Chances are, though, that she would have again extended forgiveness. “You couldn’t stay mad at him,” says Sumell. “It was impossible. That was his superpower.” These days, Aaron’s memory burns bright when some of the top collegiate soccer programs gather in Charleston each fall to compete in the Aaron S. Olitsky Memorial Classic. And when his sister’s 8-year-old son, named Aaron, runs wild across soccer fields in Alabama. And when a student at the College unlocks meaning in the same literature Aaron was introduced to as an underclassman, courtesy of the English scholarship endowed by the Olitskys in their son’s name. When Aaron was around, everyone learned to take a few more chances, to step out of their shells, to be individuals, to breathe deeper and fuller, to gobble up life. Like that drop of water on a hot skillet, Aaron tore quickly through life, “singing, gleaming, running around as if not even touching the surface.” Then he was gone, too early to fulfill all his dreams, but late enough to make a lasting impact on the people he touched, including Sumell and so many other friends. “Aaron Olitsky taught me so many things both through his passion for life and his death. He forced me to learn the hard way, through truth, through love, through passion and through loss. He did this for many and he should not be forgotten,” says Sumell. “He was a complex individual with many loves – and perhaps many lives. And if his parents manage to keep his legacy alive through a scholarship, it is a beautiful thing for the world, or – as Aaron would say – a buetiful thing (he was a terrible speller).”
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REBOUND In basketball, winners rebound. But itâ€™s not for the faint of heart. You have to be a warrior, willing to sacrifice your body and fight for the ball. You have to do whatever it takes to seize the moment and then make the most of your second chance. Itâ€™s a lesson Bobby Cremins, the 2011 SoCon Coach of the Year, preaches to his team on the hard court as well as embraces in his own life.
Bobby Cremins says he’s not a legend. He’s wrong. Quick to deflect praise and adulation, no matter how deserved, he’ll point to the fact that he has yet to win a national championship – never mind that one of his teams at Georgia Tech made it to the Final Four or that he put together one of the nation’s longest streaks for reaching March Madness or that he’s one of only a handful of coaches to register 100 wins at three different schools or that he’s a former Naismith Coach of the Year winner. Rather, he’ll talk about his mentor, Frank McGuire, who coached him at the University of South Carolina and had previously won a national championship at the University of North Carolina. He’ll then mention Indiana’s Bobby Knight and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, undisputable luminaries of the coaching profession. He’ll tell you in all honesty that when he puts his accomplishments next to those coaches, he feels pretty small. “But I don’t mind not being a legend,” Cremins says. “I’m very happy with who I am. I know what a legend is, and I have coached against a few, like Dean Smith, and those are legends.” Granted, by Cremins’ narrow definition, he’s not a legend. However, by most other definitions of the word in everyday sports talk, he is. Cremins is perhaps one of the most recognizable figures – and heads of hair, for that matter – in all of college basketball today. His track record for rebuilding programs – first at Appalachian State, then at Georgia Tech (where his name graces the court) and now here at the College – merits considerable attention and celebration. At each stop in his coaching career, he has been one part architect, another part mason, fashioning basketball programs that are hold-your-breath, then scream-your-lungs-out thrill rides. And now in his fifth season at the College, he’s again working his magic of toppling giants and vying consistently for conference titles. But his win-loss record, while impressive, may just be the least interesting thing about him – as is usually the case when it comes to legends.
Empire State of Mind To understand Bobby Cremins, you have to know the Bronx. His childhood neighborhood was the proverbial melting pot of ethnicities and nationalities. And it was tough – the kind of tough you would find in a Martin Scorsese film. Gangs were prevalent; violence was not uncommon on the streets or echoing down the hallways of an apartment building. You learned pretty quickly to stand up for yourself because the alternative was none too pleasant. “That’s just New York,” Cremins shrugs, with a smile. Yes, the streets of New York could be mean, but they could also provide meaning – and community. Cremins is quick to point out that life was not all that grim. To the contrary, it was a near paradise for a kid who loved sports. Just outside his apartment building was a large schoolyard where he played softball and basketball. And, of course, there was always a pick-up game of stickball or football being played in the streets. Sports provided common ground for the neighborhood kids. They played it together. They watched it together. And they talked about it all the time. While his friends religiously followed Mickey Mantle’s exploits with the hometown Yankees or Willie Mays with |
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the New York Giants, Cremins followed the heroics of Hank Aaron, the great Milwaukee Braves slugger. “I guess I wanted to be different,” he recalls of his selection of a baseball idol. This may have been one of the first indications that Cremins had interests away from home – that there was a world outside of the 42 square miles that constitute the Bronx. And sports would prove his ticket out. Cremins’ parents, who were working-class Irish immigrants, enrolled him at the local Catholic grammar school, St. Athanasius. There, he participated in the first of many memorable basketball tryouts – this one, for the grammar school team. Fortunately, he made the squad. “Basketball probably saved my life,” Cremins muses. “Without it, I would have gone down a much different road.” In each subsequent tryout in his life, it wasn’t just a team he was going for, although he may not have realized it at the time. With each dribble, each pass, each shot, it was really a better life he was pursuing when, as a teenager, he spent Saturday mornings going from gym to gym to showcase his point guard play for the Catholic High School Athletic Association. There, he caught the coach’s eye from All Hallows High School, a prestigious private school that the Cremins family could never have afforded without a basketball scholarship. It was a better life he wanted when, after his celebrated playing days at the University of South Carolina, he sought tryouts with NBA teams and the nascent ABA league in an effort to be a professional player. But perhaps the most telling tryout of Cremins’ life took place on a random New York City playground. It was the early 1970s and Cremins was frustrated. His professional basketball career wasn’t taking off the way he thought it would. Like so many college graduates whose dreams aren’t immediately realized, he had to move back home and find work. His father, who was a doorman at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, pulled some strings and got him a job as a bellhop. The former USC basketball captain traded in his jersey for the Waldorf-Astoria’s signature bright-red uniform and pillbox hat. “When you grow up in New York, in my environment, it’s not about having all these things,” Cremins explains, motioning to his desk and the framed accolades hanging on his office walls in the Carolina First Arena. “It’s about having a job, sitting on the bus or train, going to work, then coming back home. There’s not a lot of ego involved – it’s a matter of survival, a matter of working, of staying out of trouble.” The trouble was, while the pay was decent and the job was good enough, Cremins had a dream. And being a bellhop wasn’t it. Fortunately, after a couple of months, a USC supporter spotted him in the lobby and hooked him up with a real estate job back in Columbia. But that wasn’t the dream either. And his friends knew it. Corky Carnevale, Cremins’ teammate and college roommate, was assisting the men’s basketball program at USC when he received a phone call from a coach in Ecuador who wanted to recruit some All-American–caliber players for his team. While Carnevale was unwilling to give up any of the current USC players, he told him, “I’ve got the guy. He’s six-six. Big. Can shoot. Can dunk the ball. He’s perfect for you.”
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Satisfied, the Ecuadorian coach set a time to pick up his new star player in New York City, where he was also buying shoes for the team. After quitting his job in Columbia, Cremins packed his bags for South America and returned to New York. When the coach pulled up in his taxi to meet Cremins, a look of disappointment cut across his face. Shaking his head, the coach muttered, “No alto, no alto.” Carnevale, of course, had exaggerated Cremins’ height in order to land his good friend this rare professional playing opportunity, but the foreign coach felt betrayed and got back into his cab. But not before Cremins climbed in with him and ordered the driver to take them to the nearest playground. When they arrived at the outdoor court, Cremins hopped out and paid the kids playing basketball $5 to give him the ball. In short order, he displayed his considerable basketball repertoire and impressed the coach with his skills, if not his audacity and confidence. They got back into the cab and left later that day for Guayaquil, where Cremins played professionally for the next eight months.
The Mulligan Cremins was walking along the beach on Hilton Head Island. It was a beautiful June morning in 2006. The sky was a deep blue and the waves crashing couldn’t have been any more relaxing. His dog Murphy trotted up ahead, and his wife, Carolyn, was only an arm’s length away. Everything should have been perfect. This was the Hallmark-card scene that marketers promise for a life well spent – the peaceful and natural coda to a frenzied and stressful life. “I found serenity,” Cremins says in a none too convincing voice. That’s because serenity for Bobby Cremins is not a beach. Yes, when he had finished his 19 years of coaching at Georgia Tech in 2000, he needed a much-deserved break. With student-athletes frequently leaving college early to enter the pros, it was getting harder and harder to keep his teams competitive. Each year the stress of reloading – of reworking his system to accommodate new talent and new personalities – was mounting. The joy of seeing a player develop over four years was becoming a fleeting memory – and worse, his teams were losing. Cremins was burned out. Life on a distant beach sounded pretty good. Retirement started out the way he had imagined it. There was golf, tennis, walks on the beach. Life was pretty satisfying without the day-to-day headaches of running a basketball program. He traveled around the country giving motivational speeches to different business groups, played in a lot of charity golf events and dabbled in TV as an on-air analyst for college basketball. Cremins’ original vision was to retire for a year or two, get his energy up and then dive back into coaching. “But I lost my game plan,” he explains. “There wasn’t the financial pressure to get back into it, and I was enjoying myself. During that time, I discovered that maybe I didn’t love coaching as much as I thought I did.” But by year three, the cracks in this mirage were starting to reveal themselves: Serenity was boring. Carolyn saw it, felt his emptiness and restlessness. She cajoled him, pushed him to think about coaching again. There were jobs in Tulsa and Oregon State, she told him, but Cremins dismissed them. He wasn’t ready yet – there will be opportunities later, he
told himself. Three years became six, and she could see her Bobby turning into an old man right before her eyes – a man whose youthful fire and iconic shock of white hair had inspired not only his players at App State and Georgia Tech, but legions of college basketball fans around the country. “When I was walking on that beach in June,” Cremins admits, “I was accepting my new life. I had some regrets about not coaching again. I missed waking up each morning with a challenge. But I had stayed away too long, and now the coaching opportunities had dried up. By being non-aggressive, I had missed another year and probably missed the chance to ever coach again.” Not quite. Like some guardian angel–matchmaker, Corky Carnevale again came to his friend’s rescue. Carnevale knew that Cremins needed to get back into the game, especially when he heard that the retired coach was starting to play bingo on Wednesday nights. The thought of Cremins excitedly calling out “bingo” in his Bronx accent still makes him laugh today. Carnevale, who lives in Mt. Pleasant, was following closely the turmoil surrounding the College’s basketball program. In late June 2006, the College had announced the hiring of Winthrop University head coach Greg Marshall, a former assistant to longtime Cougars coach John Kresse. However, the day after Marshall was introduced in Alumni Hall as the new head coach, he decided to stay at Winthrop. Interestingly, at the time, many sports journalists drew parallels between Marshall’s flip-flop with Cremins’ own infamous reversal when he returned to Georgia Tech after accepting the head coaching job at USC in 1993. What appeared to be a slammed door on the College was a window of opportunity for Cremins. Carnevale called his friend about the job and roused him out of his slumber. “Once a coach,” Carnevale says about Cremins, “always a coach.” “I had something left,” agrees Cremins, who accepted the job in early July. “I missed every aspect of it. I look at the College of Charleston as my mulligan, and I’m trying to make the best of my mulligan. I feel like I regained my purpose – like I got my real life back.”
On the Recruiting Trail “Dude, is that Bobby Cremins?” a high school teammate asked Andrew Goudelock. Goudelock, the eventual 2006–07 4A player of the year in Georgia, looked across the court and saw the white-haired coach climb the bleachers and choose a spot away from the crowd. He then noticed that everyone was whispering and glancing back over their shoulders in Cremins’ direction. There was definitely a buzz in the gym now. Goudelock, who possesses a quiet, almost intimidating confidence, understood that the game tonight – Stone Mountain versus Tucker High School – was taking on new meaning. And he was ready. Cremins was there specifically to watch Goudelock and his rival Jeremy Simmons play. Goudelock was not being recruited heavily by any major programs, but he had been talking to some of the College’s coaching staff. He knew who Cremins was and some of the players he had coached at Georgia Tech, like NBA
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all-star Stephon Marbury, but his parents were the ones who were really excited. Remember, Goudelock was only 2 years old when Cremins took his Georgia Tech squad to the Final Four. That night, on the outskirts of Atlanta, both players’ skills shone bright, with Goudelock scoring 39 points, although Simmons’ team would go on to claim the state championship that year. Cremins soon signed both players – two of four critical pieces in solidifying his first full recruiting class at the College, which also included current starters Donavan Monroe and Antwaine Wiggins. What those players didn’t know at the time was that Cremins was desperate. Desperate not only to find talent, like any coach, but desperate to plug some very large holes that might sink the program for several years. By the end of August, just two months after he accepted the job at the College, Cremins knew two things: 1) that his first year was going to be OK because he had an incredible scoring star in senior Dontaye Draper, and 2) that his next year was going to be rough – a kind of rough unfamiliar in Charleston for more than several decades. Cremins had inherited a program without a freshman class. At near-lightning speed, he recruited and signed Tony White Jr., who joined the team that fall and would go on to play a significant role in the program over the next four years. But he needed more players – and soon. So he had his coaching staff do a full-court press on recruiting that fall and winter. “I told them to hit the road – go, go, go,” Cremins remembers. “And they went out and found some great talent. I knew if we didn’t have a good recruiting class that year, I wouldn’t be here now.” Fortunately for Cremins, recruiting is perhaps one of his greatest strengths as a college coach, although he was slightly nervous about this new generation of student-athletes. “My
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biggest concern coming back was that the kids had changed,” Cremins says. “The world had changed, so I knew they might be different.” He needn’t worry. During his days at Georgia Tech, he landed some of the biggest names in college basketball, future NBA players such as Mark Price, John Salley, Kenny Anderson, Dennis Scott, Travis Best and Matt Harpring, to name but a few. And you don’t just do that because of your school, no matter how prestigious and high profile the program. It takes considerable charm and charisma to sit in a recruit’s living room or at his kitchen table and connect with his family and sell them all on your program. Pretty quickly, coaches have to develop a relationship of trust with a wide group of people, and Cremins excels not just in the sale (because he doesn’t look at it that way), but in communicating honesty and character. “Coach Cremins is amazing at in-homes,” says Mark Byington, the associate head coach. “However, there have been times when he has been too honest. Sometimes I’m in the back of the room rolling my eyes, because he’s telling a kid that he’s not our top recruit, and I’ve been working on that relationship for two years. “But,” Byington adds, “he looks him in the eye and tells him not what he wants to hear necessarily, but he tells him how we will develop the person, not just the basketball player. And a recruit believes him because he’s speaking honestly … from the heart. And in our business, that’s not always the case. By the time Coach Cremins leaves your home, you’re going to want to play for him.” Ask any of his players, and they will all say they are at the College because of Coach Cremins. Period. Maybe it was because he paid a visit to a recruit’s mother at her work so that she could measure the kind of man he is or perhaps it was because he never has a negative word to say about anyone else – even though other
coaches might disparage him or his program during their own in-home visits. “He truly lives the message that he tells players once they are here,” Byington says. “If we do what we are supposed to do, then it doesn’t matter what anyone else does. Good things will happen.” And they have – particularly this season. With an upset victory over Tennessee and heart-breaking last-minute losses to Maryland and UNC, Cremins’ current squad has brought a renewed excitement to the program. During games, the energy in the Carolina First Arena is palpable, from the longtime season-ticket holders who are again standing and shouting, to the frenzied student section, where an oversized Cremins’ head spins on a stick, large foam bricks are hoisted during the opponent’s free-throw attempts and undergraduates bear chests painted, “C-O-U-G-A-R-S.” More important, these Cougars captured the regular season Southern Conference title, guaranteeing a spot in the NIT Tournament (their first since 2003). And they built considerable momentum going into the SoCon Tournament, but came up just short in the tournament’s championship game. “We did well this season,” Cremins observes in his usual understated manner. “Obviously, it was a great disappointment to lose the Southern Conference Tournament, but we can still do something special here.”
Freedom to Create The team has just finished warming up, and Cremins with them. At 64, he still stretches with the team before practice, jogging up and down the court, doing side-to-sides and high-knee steps. The only indication of his age is a slight hitch in his step this season – a little sciatic pain aggravated from the long bus trips. He then finds a chair along the court and jots down some notes.
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The sounds of basketball echo in the empty gym: sneakers squeaking, balls thudding rhythmically on the hard wood, balls clanging off the iron rim and, the best sound of all, the ball shushing through the net. This is serenity for Bobby Cremins. Cremins stands, stretches his back and walks to center court, calling out, “Everybody, right here.” The team gathers around its coach. “Where are my seniors?” asks Cremins, looking for Goudelock, Monroe and Simmons. “Those guys are going to get luggage tonight. Are we doing practice in the locker room?” Those senior players hurry out from the tunnel and quietly join the team, and Cremins begins their preparation for their next game: “Remember, this is no bigger than any other game. Whoever is next is the biggest game of the year. Let’s take it one game at a time. 1 – 2 – 3, Charleston!” Throughout the practice, Cremins is clapping his hands and telling them, “gotta make good decisions” or “don’t be cheatin’ there” or “be under control” or “come on, baby – get that running game going” or “do that in the game,” after watching one of his freshman players make a goal-jarring dunk. Cremins’ approach to the game today is much like it was when he was a player – up-tempo, loose and exciting. His favorite athlete growing up and the player he styled himself after was Bob Cousy, the Boston Celtics great known for his behind-the-back passes and offensive flair. In Cremins’ program, his players are given a lot of freedom to create their own scoring opportunities. Monroe describes Cremins’ coaching style as “raw,” because “he lets us play, you know, do what we do, and when we don’t, that’s when he gets onto us.” It’s obvious the team loves playing for him. He’s an eye of calm in a storm of chaos that can be basketball, on and off the court. Although Cremins doesn’t shy away from confrontation when the moment or individual warrants it, his critiques are not in-yourface yelling matches and needless browbeating. Instead, Cremins almost always focuses on the positive. He treats his players like students of the game, just as he is, even after nearly six decades of playing and coaching the sport. Lining the top of the team’s locker room are inspirational messages, such as “Choose Confidence,” “Respect Everyone Fear No One,” “Stay in the Now” and “Attitude More Important Than Talent.” Cremins conveys and reinforces these ideas in person each and every day. He sees basketball as very much a mental game, and it’s through nurturing the players’ confidence that he knows they will do great things. As Associate Head Coach Byington puts it, “Cremins believes in them before they believe in themselves. And because of that, they achieve things they never thought they could do.” His student-athletes, both past and present, call him a player’s coach, meaning he cares for them as people and isn’t some distant dictatorial figure in their lives spouting Lombardi platitudes about how winning is the only thing. They go to him for advice on family, school or whatever is affecting them as they adjust to college life. They may even see Cremins, his green tea in hand, waiting for them at their 8 a.m. class, just checking in on them – because academics comes first in his program. It’s no wonder that Cremins receives phone calls not just from his three children, but from many former players on Father’s Day. “When I first came here,” says Goudelock, the 2011 SoCon Player of the Year who now holds the College’s all-time scoring title, “we
butted heads over everything – grades, my decision making. Every night, I would go to his office and we would argue. We were both competitive, both had fire, but we finally found common ground. The stuff was my fault, and I was making stupid decisions. The biggest thing he taught me was that I was just blaming everybody else, and that I needed to look at myself. That’s when it changed for me.” As sophomore Willis Hall explains, “Coach is always telling us to find solutions … look to do something better. And he means that both in basketball and in our lives. “That being said,” Hall adds with a laugh, “I don’t think I will ever be right if we had a disagreement – even if I proved it was his gun and his bullet, I still don’t think I would be right.”
Everyday Champion For better or for worse, athletics play a prominent role in the life of a university. They help raise the profile of a school and may shape the perception held by both fans and those who never even pick up the sports section of the newspaper. When done right, sports can add spirit and pride to the campus and college family, which then spill over into the local community and beyond. That’s why it’s critical to have head coaches who are quality ambassadors of the school, says Athletics Director Joe Hull: “I like to think that the men’s basketball program and Coach Cremins help the College with our national reputation. Frankly, he may be the best guy who has coached in college in the last 30 years. So many people are friends with him … trust him. And that’s a great thing for our school.” “Bobby is one of the most down-to-earth people that I have ever met,” agrees John Kresse, who coached the Cougars to national prominence in the 1980s and 1990s. “It’s never about him, his ego, his great résumé. He’s always about the other person, always willing to help the student-athlete, other coaches, the fans. He’s one of the best champions for the College of Charleston.” And there it is: this idea of champion – a real kind of champion. An everyday champion. Yes, Bobby Cremins is a “flat-out winner that possesses magical communicative skills,” as college basketball analyst Dick Vitale says. Both Maryland’s Gary Williams and Duke’s Coach K cite him as a “great competitor.” And UNC’s Roy Williams, whose defending national championship team suffered an upset at the College last year, notes how graceful he is in victory and that when people say Cremins’ name, “they always smile.” High praise, indeed, from those in the know of college basketball. But Cremins transcends his sport. Just ask the local chapter of the American Cancer Society about his involvement in Coaches vs. Cancer. Or ask the thousands of supporters who feel connected to the program because of his approachability and his genuine willingness to help out in any way possible, whether through a speaking engagement, personal note or just a one-on-one conversation. If time is money, then Cremins’ giving could be measured in the billions. Or, most important, ask the hundreds of players who entered his basketball program immature boys and left determined, responsible men ready to take on the world. Taken together, that’s what makes a coach truly legendary. And those are the legends that we desperately need in sports today. Lucky for us, we have one.
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They’re strong. They’re fierce. They’re sassy and fun. And – all over America – they’re expanding gender roles for sport. These are derby girls, and – when it comes to empowering women – they play to win. by Alicia
Lutz ’98 Photography by Leslie McKellar
Kally McCormick ’02
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ight now, it’s not important that Kissa Death, Pistol Hips and ReVulva are mothers. No one’s thinking about MissTrust’s Kindergarten class while she’s out there flashing her fanny and flaunting her tats. And – just like SheRex breaks loose of her librarian day job to bark out intimidations and knock girls over – Lawnmower the lawyer is free to flounce around in a tutu, and Doozer the doctor can give a girl a bloody nose without apology. This is roller derby – where women get to be what they’re not supposed to be and do what they’re not supposed to do. Just 70 years after women weren’t supposed to be lawyers or doctors – weren’t supposed to make their own living – roller derby has opened up gender roles for even broader exploration. Of course, right now, these women aren’t thinking about gender roles. They’re sizing up the competition, getting their heads in the game, planning their next moves. They’ve got 43 pages (73, counting the appendices) of standardized rules they have to circumnavigate, 20-something penalties to skirt, countless loopholes to slip through – all while keeping
an eye on their own jammer, the other team’s jammer, the other team’s pack … and all while going really, really fast. This is roller derby – where women get to make all the rules, all the plays and all the calls. It’s the only sport started for women by women; the only sport where women’s leagues aren’t seen as second class, where women will always draw a bigger crowd and their strength, agility, endurance won’t draw comparison to male counterparts. Right now, sports reform isn’t what’s important. These women don’t train 8 to 30 hours a week to be activists. Their grueling drills of pushups-, planks- and squats-on-wheels aren’t exercises in feminism. They wouldn’t require strength and endurance conditioning, written and physical assessments or special insurance policies and mouth guards just to be role models.
This is roller derby – where women come to be athletes, to face off for two-minute jams in which each team’s jammer is trying to lap the other team’s pack. Between the strategy, agility and endurance it takes to maneuver around the track, the game requires players to give their mental and physical all. Right now, they’re playing to win. And, right now, they’re on quite a roll. As what’s been referred to as the fastest growing sport in America, contemporary roller derby started in 2000 with the grassroots revival of the roller derby of the 1970s. Within a year, the first women’s flat track roller derby league had been established; by 2005, there were 50 in the world. Today, there are more than 470 leagues across 11 countries – almost all of them scrapped together at the grassroots level by do-it-yourselfers with no previous derby experience. “It’s really through utter determination that there are so many teams out there – it takes a lot of work, not just to get it going and to practice, but marketing, finding sponsorships, working with local charities,” says Stormy Seize, a.k.a. Skylar Renwick Bieraugel ’98, a new stay-at-home mom who held an information session last year “just to see if there was any interest” in starting a team in Crescent City, Calif., population 8,000. When 80 women showed up, Bieraugel knew she was onto something and immediately set about creating the Tsunami Sirens, now in its second season. “I’ve pretty much been eating and sleeping roller derby since then – and, I’ve got to say, I love it!” It’s a familiar story among derby girls: They don’t just play roller derby – they live it, breathe it, love it. Their partners become “derby widows,” left alone while the derby girls give countless hours a week to their sport – not just practicing and playing, but working on the teams’ boards (most teams are nonprofit organizations), volunteering in the community and attending promotional events. “It’s a labor of love – they do this because they want to, because they really, really care about it,” says Kiss M’Grits, a.k.a. Allison Munn ’96, an actor who played for the L.A. Derby Dolls during the writers’ strike of 2008 (which happened to coincide with Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore’s visits to observe the team for Barrymore’s 2009 Whip It, a fictional film about roller derby). “I love that it’s completely run by the players – they’re the ones out there waving handmade signs, handing out the tickets before a bout. It’s all about love of the sport. I just love that community aspect of it.” With its roll-up-your-sleeves attitude and its underground aesthetic, the roller derby community – which includes some male nonskating officials (refs, penalty box timers, scorekeepers, etc.) – is a surprisingly supportive bunch, even between the different leagues. “For the most part, leagues are really friendly toward each other – some host lock-ins for multiple leagues, and, if you’re traveling, you can practice with other leagues,” explains Turner Loose, a.k.a. Jennifer Turner ’06, a statistician who plays for the Columbia QuadSquad, the premier league in South Carolina. The secretary of the league and the co-captain of its B-team, Turner is proof that you can’t peg all derby girls as pierced punks or tattooed tarts. “As preppy as they come,” Turner warns that “stereotyping is definitely a downfall with roller derby. You learn pretty quickly that it takes all types.”
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(left to right) Lauren
Dickson ’02, graduate student Jennifer Bennett, Monica Davis ’08 and Lynn Patterson ’92
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Indeed, roller derby is inclusive by nature – throwing women from all walks of life together and forcing them to have each other’s back and pick each other up when they’re down. “I can’t think of anywhere else you get to become friends with so many different kinds of people, from all different age groups and professions,” says Chic Flair, a.k.a. Celi Merchant, a junior majoring in business administration who has the honor of being the youngest member of Charleston’s local league, the Lowcountry Highrollers. “It’s neat for me, because before this I only knew college students in the area. Now I have this whole different group of women to go out with.” Coached by Jeffrey “Duck” Reynolds ’06, the Lowcountry Highrollers is made up of two home teams and two travels teams with more than 65 players among them – including nine College alumnae and two students. And, as one of the original members of the team (founded in April 2008), Lucille Balls to the Wall, a.k.a. Shannon Magill ’00, has seen derby’s positive influence in players’ lives time and time again: “It gives women an outlet they don’t otherwise get,” says the flight attendant, makeup artist and a member of several of the Highrollers committees. “It shows them that they can be very professional in their professional life, but still have an outrageous, down-and-dirty extracurricular sport on the side. And, no matter where you come from or what you look like, it helps you find your identity, your strength, your power. It gives the girls more choices about who they can be, who they are.” And, for the prim and proper, the shy and reserved, the choice to be bold and brash can certainly be liberating. “It’s like an escape,” says Lyn DStruktable, a.k.a. Lynn Patterson ’92, a program coordinator at the Medical University of South Carolina. Still considered a “skater tot” (i.e., a newbie), Patterson recalls joining the Lowcountry Highrollers last season: “It was kind of a rebirth feeling – like I was 20 years old again. You get a little bit older, and you feel like you have to fit into this world, you have to be responsible and kind of
reserved. You get into this mundane structured environment. But derby lets you break the mold a little. You can try out a different role.” “It gives you a character to play – a different skill set to explore,” agrees Munn. “It’s a chance to be more assertive than you are in your everyday life. It’s a new way of empowering women.” And, if fishnets and booty shorts aren’t your idea of women’s empowerment, take a look at who’s wearing the pants. “This is something that is owned by women – they’re the ones saying they’re sexy, they’re defining that, they’re in charge of that,” says Alison Piepmeier, director of the College’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program, itself the beneficiary of a Lowcountry Highrollers bout this winter. “Roller derby is very characteristic of contemporary [third-wave] feminism, in which women are playing with these cultural stereotypes and having fun with them. Here, women are taking the power away from the men and deciding for themselves what sexy is.” With the power to re-define sexy, roller derby girls can be girly, sultry, aggressive, creative and athletic all within this one, safe environment. And – while each team has its own vibe – how they do it is ultimately up to the girls themselves. “Each girl comes out there doing what they want to do. They can express themselves however they want,” says Vixen Dickson, a.k.a. Lauren Dickson ’02, a first-grade teacher and member of the Lowcountry Highrollers. “It’s all about expressing ourselves. If I want to put on striped knee-highs and put my hair in pigtails, this is my chance to do it. It’s part of the fun.”
Admittedly, it’s also part of the appeal. Left over from the derby of yesteryear, the campy theatrics, burlesque costumes and suggestive names all play into the showmanship of the sport. But, by offsetting the exaggerated femininity with the players’ athleticism, roller derby calls for a whole new idea of what women should be. “I think that’s what roller derby was started to do – to do something funky with sexiness. It’s asking, ‘What happens if we do sexy this way?’” says Piepmeier. “I think the costumes add to the playful activism that characterizes roller derby – it plays with the roller girl’s inclusive character, creating space to bring together sexiness and toughness … and that’s fun and exciting.” Bieraugel agrees: “It’s empowering to see women sexy and aggressive at the same time. There’s a certain dichotomy between the two, and I think it’s an intriguing element.” Besides, for most roller girls, the costumes are more about being intimidating than being enticing. “It’s all about showing off my muscles,” says Vinyl Wrecker, a.k.a. Nora Van Leuvan ’09, who got her start on the Lowcountry Highrollers, but recently moved to Denver solely to play with the best league in the nation, the Rocky Mountain Roller Girls. “When I hit someone, I want her to see every muscle in my body so she knows what’s coming at her.” And this is where gender roles really start to take a bruising. Hardcore athleticism and tough-as-nails ’tudes are one thing, but taking out competitors blow by blow is a real slap in the face to femininity.
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“When you think about it, we all need to know how to throw a hit and be unapologetically strong – but we all need to learn how to fall, too.” , –
Nora Van Leuvan 09
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“It goes against everything we’ve been taught,” says Van Leuvan, whose artist’s sensibility made it hard for her to be aggressive at first. “We go through life thinking we’re supposed to be this cutesy flower in a pot – but once you understand that this is somewhere where you’re supposed to knock girls down, it gets a lot easier.” And – in a world where powerful, aggressive women who do what they must to get ahead are seen as unsexy, unfeminine and somehow even threatening – it’s not every day that you see women outwardly displaying their aggression and strength. “It’s not what people are used to seeing, so it gives them different ideas to explore,” says Munn, who reluctantly gave up derby when, upon getting the role of Lauren on the CW’s One Tree Hill, the wardrobe department complained that she had too many bruises to cover up. When at her final practice with the L.A. Derby Dolls, a teammate’s two front teeth were knocked out, she knew she’d made the right decision. “I miss it every day, but you do get super, super banged up.” But all the broken bones, concussions and torn muscles in the world aren’t enough to keep most hardcore roller girls off the track, and no injury warrants holding a grudge. “It’s the only place I can think of where you can knock a girl to the floor – really light her up – and she’ll turn around and give you a high five for it,” says Bieraugel. “When you hit, you do it for a reason,” explains Magill. “That’s why Rule No. 1 is don’t apologize. Be true to yourself. Do what you have to do, be who you have to be.” It is, in a word, empowering – and not just to knock someone down, but to get knocked down, as well. “When you think about it, we all need to know how to throw a hit and be unapologetically strong – but we all need to learn how to fall, too,” says Van Leuvan. “Everybody gets knocked down, and we all need to know how to get back on our feet and not dwell on it or get angry about it.” It’s largely about confidence – in oneself, in one’s actions and in one’s intentions. And, in a culture that many times fails both to
build women’s confidence and to teach women how to stand up for themselves, that can be a very powerful message. “I think it’s great for young girls to be exposed to roller derby, because when they see a woman get knocked down, get bruised, get back up and keep on going – that’s a big deal,” says Piepmeier. “That can really change what they think they’re capable of, and that’s really cool – and really very radical.” Not all derby girls are comfortable with being role models, but – recognizing that the sport itself takes on a personal responsibility to the next generation – more and more leagues are developing junior roller derby programs for young girls. “My favorite thing is when little girls come and see us, and they’re so amazed by it, they ask for our autographs,” beams Dickson. “I think it’s cool that I’ve helped them want to be this awesome powerful woman when they grow up.” That’s not to say grownups can’t learn a thing or two from the derby girls, too. “Everyone can identify with at least one of us on wheels. There’s something for everyone,” says Van Leuvan. “And, even if you don’t aspire to make changes in your life, maybe you’ll learn a new way of looking at yourself – or at least you’ll see that gender stereotypes are useless these days.” Piepmeier couldn’t agree more: “Culturally what we’re seeing here is a challenge to the inappropriate and harmful stereotypes that have always surrounded the female gender – of the sexy girl, the aggressive woman, the conniving, catty woman. Here we see women recognizing these stereotypes and mashing them together to see what comes out.” And that, says Bieraugel, is “an all-around shout-out to women.” And, if roller derby the sport celebrates everything that women can be, everything they can do, then the roller girl herself embodies it. “Roller derby girls get to be it all – they’re every woman, all wrapped up into one,” says Bieraugel. “They’re the closest things to superheroes that I know of.”
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When Two Give Back He’s from the mountains of North Carolina, she’s from the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. They met in the College’s Craig Cafeteria in the fall of 1999. Less than two years later, they were dating – and, five years after that, Josh Hays ’03 and Sarah Permenter ’03 tied the knot. If they could survive late-night cram sessions for Western Civ together, they knew they could survive anything. Indeed, cramming seems to be something the pair excelled in at the College; they were always trying to squeeze as many activities into 24 hours as possible. For Josh, a biochemistry major, the days were spent in class, the nights in lab and any time in between at the Mt. Pleasant–based financial trading
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firm Automated Trading Desk. For Sarah, an international business major, it was much of the same: balancing academics and her own part-time work. They haven’t slowed down since. After graduating and continuing a career at ATD, Josh became a portfolio manager for Tower Research Capital, a financial services firm that specializes in quantitative trading and investment strategies. Sarah manages YuDu, her own personal-concierge business. Her clients’ needs are diverse. Some days her firm is managing survey results for a Holland-based professor who is monitoring the patterns of African migrants; other days, Yudu employees are searching desperately for a plethora of lime-green Tootsie Pops.
At Yudu, whatever the client wants, they get. Last year, the Hayses pledged a $50,000 gift to the College over five years. Split evenly between the College of Charleston Fund, the Cougar Club, the Honors College Dean’s Fund, the School of Business Dean’s Fund and the School of Sciences and Mathematics Dean’s Fund, the gift is meant to attract talented students to the College and lessen their financial obligations. The Hayses say they have not forgotten the scholarships and preprofessional opportunities they received as undergraduates, which helped enable their success. “We wanted to give back to the College,” says Josh. “It’s what put us in the position to get where we are today.”
An Alluring Collection Nothing beats the thrill of reeling in The Big One. And, even though the hefty Greville Haslam Sporting Book Collection didn’t put up a fight when it was brought into Special Collections at the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library last fall, the College was nonetheless delighted with the catch. Donated by Mary and Howard Phipps Jr., the collection of more than 2,000 angling and sporting books published in the 17th through the 20th centuries is one of the finest in the country. It represents some of the most celebrated writers, explorers, collectors and book artists of their time and features signed and limited editions, volumes with artifacts (e.g., samples of yard and bird feathers) affixed to them and copies with unique illustrations and elegant binding. The Haslam Collection – named for the deceased headmaster, angler, hunter and world traveler who meticulously built and cataloged it over 45 years – offers research opportunities for social and cultural historians, as well as for students of the natural sciences and of book printing, binding and illustration. Recognizing the gift as a significant addition to its already noteworthy natural history collection, the College wasn’t about to let this one get away.
CLASS NOTES 1942 Nancy Parker Barnwell turns
90 this year. Nancy lives in Charleston near her three sons and seven grandchildren.
1958 Yvonne duFort Evans
has formed The Sound of Charleston, a performance series that traces the city’s rich musical heritage, from spirituals to Gershwin.
1968 Remley Campbell is a financial adviser with Raymond James Financial Services at Community FirstBank in Charleston.
1969 Jan Muller Goin works for SAVE Inc., an employee-assistance company owned by Sarah Lynn Gainey ’66.
1972 Jane Riley is the executive
director of Communities in Schools and lives in Charleston. Jane is a member on the College’s Alumni Association board of directors.
1973 Bill Mullen is a training
consultant with Dale Carnegie Training of S.C. and lives in Charleston. Lynn Ray Smalley celebrated her recent birthday with a tandem skydiving jump.
1975 Margaret Freeman Mikell
is a receptionist at Sandpiper Rehabilitation and Nursing in Mt. Pleasant. She and Richard Carswell were married in October.
1976 Russell Sullivan has been the senior pastor of the Pine Street Presbyterian Church in Harrisburg, Pa., since 2005.
1979 Karen Tinsley is a violin teacher in 10 schools in the Charleston area and also runs a music school.
1980 Chuck Baker is an attorney
and partner with Buist Moore Smythe McGee, P.A., and was included in The Best Lawyers in America, 2011 edition. Chuck is a vice president of the College’s Alumni Association. Joan Paley Smith retired from the federal government and received a master’s in science information management from Marymount University. Joan and her husband, William, have three children.
1981 Barbara and Mark Evans live in Charleston.
Fran Mixson Kunda ’82 received the D.C. Hull Physician of the Year Award, recognizing her volunteer work at St. Luke’s Free Medical Clinic in Spartanburg. Fran is a doctor at Boiling Springs Family Medicine.
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Leigh Jones Handal is the director of special
events and institutional advancement for the Charleston School of Law. Behren Kittrell is an owner and the broker in charge of Charleston Flat Fee Real Estate. Angela Easterling Rossetti is in her 19th year as a special education teacher in the East Windsor, Conn. public schools. She lives in Enfield with her husband, Bob, and their two sons, Robert and Patrick.
1982 David Collins is an attorney
with Buist Moore Smythe McGee, P.A., and was included in The Best Lawyers in America, 2011 edition. Tanya Nelson Gurrieri is the catering manager with Caviar and Bananas Catering in Charleston.
1983 Sylvia Matthews is a judge for the 281st Civil Court in Houston, Texas. She was appointed to the vacant seat in 2008 and won a four-year term in 2010.
1985 Victor Ott completed a squadron-
level command tour at NAS North Island in San Diego, and has relocated his family to the Washington, D.C., area. After completing a tour at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau for Political-Military Affairs, he transferred to the Pentagon to become the Regional Affairs Branch head in the Chief of Naval Operations, International Engagement Division. Ted Pappas is a family practitioner with St. Luke’s Family Practice in Mt. Pleasant.
1986 Susi Beatty’s junior novel, Curse
of the Seedling, was named book of the year by Creative Child magazine. This is the second top book honor Susi has been awarded by Creative Child.
1987 Natalie Parker Bluestein
is the president of the S.C. Women Lawyers Association. She is a partner in the Charleston law firm of Bluestein & Douglas. Sabre Horne is the director for intergovernmental, congressional and media affairs at the Office of Justice Programs for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Angie Pitts won the 2010 Charleston Magazine recipe contest in the appetizer division for her Lowcountry boil slider.
1988 Kristina May O’Neill started
her own dental practice in 2000 and lives in Columbia with her husband, Michael, and their two sons, Thomas and Sean. Fred Roitzsch received the 2010 Employee of the Year Award for all divisions of Raffield Tire in Macon, Ga., a Goodyear dealer.
1989 Rhonda Jennings is an attorney
in private practice in Charleston. She adopted a son from Russia, Eli Monroe, born in December 2007. Scott Woods is the president and CEO of South Carolina Federal Credit Union and was elected
This spring, twenty-four paintings by Brian Rutenberg ’87 are featured in the Morris Museum of Art (Augusta, Ga.). These abstracts in oil were inspired by the S.C. Lowcountry and coast. chairman of the board of directors for First Carolina Corporate Credit Union.
1990 Darwyn and Susan Madlinger
Faulds opened a new business called We Care Home Care in Mt. Pleasant.
Susan Pullon O’Neal is a teacher at Strom
Thurmond High School in North Augusta, S.C., and owns a photography business. After 20 years, she recently found her way back on stage this winter with the Edgefield County Theatre Company’s production of Steel Magnolias. Leanne Carter Sheppard is the principal of Charles Pinckney Elementary School in Mt. Pleasant. The school was one of five S.C. schools to win the 2010 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award, given by the U.S. Department of Education. Wilbur Taylor owns Atlantic Roofing and Remodeling in Mt. Pleasant. James Tuten has authored Lowcountry Time and Tide: The Fall of the South Carolina Rice Kingdom. James is an associate professor of history at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.
1991 Leigh Jones Zitzelberger is a
registered nurse in the neuroscience intensive care unit at Charleston General Hospital in West Virginia.
1992 Patricia Baxter Barrett
publishes Moms in the Know, a guide for Charleston mothers. Ernie Blevins premiered his latest documentary, Always Looking North: The Carroll County, Georgia Confederate Monument, last fall at the Dixie Film Festival in Athens, Ga. Thomas Boulware is a senior broker for NAI Avant Commercial Real Estate Services in Charleston. Cheryle Bourgeois lives in Charleston and is the proud grandmother of Miles Ravis, born in August 2009. Annaliza and Tod Johnson live in Summerville with their 4-year-old twins. Leslie Tanzer is a graduate student in the University of Rhode Island’s speech and language pathology program.
1993 Jeffrey and Phillis Kalisky
Mair have opened a quick-service, vegetarian, European-style snack bar on George Street called Patat Spot Friet & Falafel.
[ alumni profile ]
The Perfect Stitch It was a dreary winter night, and Dorothy Montgomery ’84 (M.Ed.) had been alone in her Charleston home for a few hours, when, suddenly, she froze. It’s done. I actually did it, she thought to herself, before the excitement settled in. She stood up, and then started screaming and jumping up and down. If she’d known how to turn cartwheels, she would have done 50 of them. When she eventually calmed down, she picked up her pride and joy – the very thing she’d spent so many months completing – and stared at it in disbelief. “It was at that point,” she says, “that I called myself a quilter.” Now, over a decade later, Montgomery has completed more than 50 quilts – some of which have taken just a week to finish. And while some quilters have turned to machines to ensure quicker and more uniform stitching on their quilts, she couldn’t care less about that. “I’m not concerned with whether or not it looks perfect,” she says. “The perfection is in the character.” And if there’s one thing that anyone has said about her quilts, it’s that they are full of character. Sitting on her couch, her hands folded in her lap and hair pulled back into a tight bun, the retired music teacher describes how she creates her colorful masterpieces. There are fabric and acrylic paints, ink and crayons, embroidery floss, charcoal drawings, dye sticks and appliqués. All of these mediums come together to create the vibrant reds, yellows and oranges that radiate off of the fabric, providing illustrations about music influenced by African Americans. “Instead of making quilts for my bed, I decided to use quilts to illustrate African American music. I just wanted to take it one step further,” she explains. “Before I knew it, I was hooked. There are so many styles of music, I could go on forever.” Her work has been widely recognized and praised, but Montgomery has never been concerned with selling her quilts to turn a profit. No, she cares for each one as if it is her own child, and can count on one hand the number of her quilts that are not in her possession: There’s one that was
donated to the College’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, and another two at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island. Oh, and then there’s another colorful quilt, inspired by a West African song about coming together for a funeral. “Yeah, that one’s at the Smithsonian,” she mentions nonchalantly, adding that another quilt is on display at the U.S. Embassy in Sierra Leone. It’s a statement that would catch anyone off guard, and is certainly grounds for at least a happy dance from the self-taught quilter. But Montgomery is unfailingly modest, and prefers not to attract much attention to herself. That’s not to say she doesn’t care that her work is on display in the
world’s largest museum and research complex or at a U.S. embassy – it’s an accomplishment that she could have only dreamed of when she lugged more than 30 quilting books home from the library a decade ago. But for Montgomery, it’s never been about the accolades and recognition that she’s received over the years. “I do this because I really just want people to learn their history,” she says, her voice taking the familiar teacher’s tone. “This is just to get the interest started. I’m hoping that the young people will go out and do more.” And, take it from someone who got started at home in her bedroom, it feels good to say, “I actually did it.” – Ashley Lewis Ford ’07
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Joining eight other legendary studentathletes, four men’s basketball players had their jerseys honored in the Carolina First Arena this winter: Greg Mack ’82, Rodney Conner ’97, Stacy Harris ’97 and Jermel President ’99. Mitchell Ray has served 18 years with the S.C.
Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. He is the agent-in-charge of the Charleston County Probation and Parole Office. David Ross runs the cell and molecular biology group at Talecris Biotherapeutics in the Research Triangle Park. David and his wife, Julie, announce the birth of their daughter, Elizabeth Grace. The Ross family lives in Cary, N.C. Susan West Story is the deputy director of the narcotics affairs section of the American Embassy in Colombia. She lives in Bogotá with her husband, Jimmy, and son, Mac.
1994 Maria Andrews is a Spanish
instructor at the College. Sara Manucy is a retail manager for Charleston Naturally, an online boutique. Cheryl Rivers will have two books published in 2011: Words from My Heart and For the Ministry of Love. Andrew Saffer is a podiatrist at Carolina Foot Specialists in Mt. Pleasant. Rod Turnage works in regional sales for Grainger. He and his wife, Alice, have two children: Eliza and Whit.
Three Cougar greats were inducted into the College’s Athletic Hall of Fame in February: Marion Busby ’95 (men’s basketball), Claudia Fann ’97 (volleyball) and Natalie Seel ’95 (women’s basketball).
1995 Jeremiah Bacon is the executive
chef and partner at Oak Steakhouse in Charleston. Jeremiah is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. Billy Bohanna was named 2010 National Sales Rep of the Year for the music industry by Music & Sound Retailer magazine. Billy is a sales representative for Musicorp in Charleston. Gerald and Tusha Aiken Glover live in Jacksonville, Fla., with their son, Aaron, and her step-daughters, Kimberly and Rachelle. Gray Hicks is in his second year of residency in pediatric dentistry at Indiana University. Scott Labarowski purchased the Kaelyn Agency in Summerville, S.C., and is affiliated with Allstate Insurance Company.
1996 Jason Howell is an assistant
professor of mathematics and computer science at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y.
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Mary Margaret and Patrick Manning announce the birth of their son, Oliver Aiken, born in January. Patrick is the database administrator for the College’s institutional advancement division. M.J. Norman is the operations manager for 4Spine. M.J. and Pamela DeAndrade were recently married and live in Summerville, S.C. Helen Pratt-Thomas is a senior vice president and senior private banker with Wells Fargo Private Bank. She was voted the No. 1 private banker for Wachovia Bank/Wells Fargo in 2008 and 2009. Carmen Sessions Scott is a member of Motley Rice, a law firm in Mt. Pleasant. Carmen helps lead the firm’s medical malpractice and prescription drug practice. Brett Tillman and Kellie Needham ’01 were married in September. Brett works for the Hendrick Automotive Group, and Kellie is employed with Triplett-King & Associates in Charleston. Stuart Wheeless received a master’s in management and leadership from Webster University and is the school manager of two elementary schools in Fort Bragg, N.C.
1997 Ed Blackburn is the senior vice
president of Elliott Davis Investment Advisors in Anderson, S.C. Laura Moore Lamminen is a licensed psychologist in Michigan. She and her husband, Mikko, have two boys, Erik and Robert. Edie Hopkins Madson is the senior manager of consulting practice in the Charleston office of Elliott Davis LLC. Beth Pierce Meredith works for Lockheed Martin with a focus on project management and business development. Beth is a vice president on the College’s Alumni Association board of directors and lives in Mt. Pleasant. Christina Flash Mitchell completed her M.Ed. at Southern Wesleyan University in May. Christina and Ben English were married in September 2007. Rosanne Mitev and Anthony Dates were married in September. Tradd and Julie Carter Rosebrock announce the birth of their daughter, Julianne, born in May. Sean Van Hannegeyn is a sourcing manager in the College’s procurement office. Holley and Stephen Van Horn announce the birth of their second daughter, Ava Palmer, born in June. Beth Reines Wheeler is the director of business rental sales for Enterprise Holdings in Oregon. Beth is also the president of the board of directors for the Oregon Business Travel Association.
1998 Jennifer Brennan is the
assistant director of the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, where she works on federal and state tax incentive programs. Rob DeVries is a doctoral student in Mississippi State’s wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture program. Eric Hansel lives in Charleston and has a 1-year-old daughter. Bryan Perrucci, a partner at Southeastern Management Group, earned the certified commercial investment member designation from the CCIM Institute. He lives on James Island.
1999 Michael Chaney (M.A.) has
edited a new book called Graphic Subjects: Critical Essays on Autobiography and Graphic Novels. Michael is an associate professor of English at Dartmouth College and is also the author of Fugitive Vision: Slave Image and Black Identity in Antebellum Narrative. Polly Edwards and Josh Padgett are married and live in Summerville, S.C. Damon Hilton is the assistant director of financial services for the College’s institutional advancement division. Damon and his family live in Summerville, S.C. Rich Light (see Alice Bickley Light ’03) Courtney Ross McLeod is a sales counselor with Ryland Homes in Charleston. Jill and Chip Warley announce the birth of their son, Dane Christian, born in August. The Warley family lives in Mt. Pleasant.
2000 Tony and Saffron Owens
Algozzini ’03 announce the birth of their first child, Addison, born in August. Liz Bartoccini (see Kip Bulwinkle ’04) Campbell Brown owns Brown & Wilson Builders and lives on James Island. He is a singer, guitarist and keyboardist in the band Gaslight Street. Stephanie Veth Burgin is the coauthor of Crush and the Blue Box, the first book in a children’s series featuring the Smidgens, fictional characters who teach kids how to take care of the earth. Kelly Linton is the communications manager at the Oakland Museum of California and the principal consultant of K2K Communications. Kelly and Robert Koski were married in April and live in San Mateo, Calif. Matt Schreier is the senior facilities manager for CB Richard Ellis and lives in Charlotte. Michael Shemtov is opening another Mellow Mushroom restaurant in West Ashley. David and Elizabeth Landon Hamilton Trainor ’01 announce the birth of their son, William David, born in June 2009. The Trainor family lives in Lexington, Ky.
2001Lindsey Cisa Barr is the
College’s manager of substance abuse services. She earned her master’s in pyschology from The Citadel and became a Duke Addictions Fellow in 2009. Evan and Amy Tibbals Beale announce the birth of their second child, John Michael, born in September. The Beale family lives in Dallas, Texas. Joe Bishop is a financial consultant for AXA Advisors in Columbia. Clay and Whitley Moretti Boyd announce the birth of their son, Hudson Campbell, born in June. The Boyd family lives in Salisbury, N.C. Kellie Bradshaw (M.A.) is a doctoral student in George Mason University’s history program. Jacy Campbell is the broker-in-charge for Meeting Street Homes and Community. Catherine Clifton received her M.Ed. from The Citadel and is a guidance counselor at Bishop England High School on Daniel Island, S.C. Catherine and Rotie Salley were married in November and live in Mt. Pleasant. Timothy and Kelly Kaskin Cone announce the birth of their daughter, Addison Elizabeth, born in December. The Cone family lives in Summerville, S.C.
[ alumni profile ]
How to Stay on a Bloody Budget was searching for a college. The city’s historic boroughs turned out to be instrumental in his theater development: Not only did he perform with the Footlight Players, but it was also in the Holy City that he worked on Ace Ventura and Die Hard, as well as Scarlett, the TV sequel of Gone With the Wind. “It’s difficult for me to break down the proudest moments of my career,” Wickline muses, “but I remember those first times
on movies sets in Charleston where I got to work on high-profile projects in my backyard. Charleston gave me the best tools – opportunities that led to where I am today. Without those opportunities, hard work and a lot of luck, I would have never had the courage to move to Hollywood to seek out my dreams.” And that is certainly a script we can all appreciate. – Trevor Baratko ’08
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In the early 1990s, Jeff Wickline ’92 was dreaming of a life as a movie star. Like thousands before and after him, he dreamed of going to Hollywood, using his talent and savvy to become a renowned actor. But what’s a Hollywood script without a few unexpected turns – and maybe a surprise ending? In this story, our star did make it to Hollywood, and he did get noticed – behind the scenes. Wickline is now the production accountant for HBO’s smash vampire series True Blood, which will air its fourth season this summer. It’s just like he learned as a college student, when Mary Holloway, one of his instructors in the theatre department, took the English major aside and told him that sometimes a person’s talents manifest in unexpected ways. “Ms. Holloway was pivotal in my career,” says Wickline, “because she pointed out that I could have a life in theater, film and television that wasn’t necessarily in front of a camera.” Point taken, Professor Holloway. Two decades later, Wickline is charged with tracking True Blood’s dollars and ensuring the show comes in on budget – no small task for an award-winning drama that films in Los Angeles and Louisiana. And, with the passionate fans following True Blood, Wickline has become something of a star in some circles. “Whether it’s at the store, the bank or the doctor’s office, I always run into someone who wants to talk about the next season,” says Wickline, who is comfortable in his role behind the lens. He admits that he underestimated the challenge and hardships he would face while trying to make it as an actor in L.A. But why focus on the broken dreams – especially when you have a résumé that boasts production work on past HBO series Deadwood and John from Cincinnati and the films Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, Jawbreaker and, most important, the legendary Borat: Cultural Learning of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Wickline, who grew up in Greenville, S.C., fell in love with Charleston when he
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CLASS NOTES 3
What’s in Your Attic? History can be found in almost every corner of campus. And it appears that some of the College’s history also lingers in your attics, closets and basements. Last fall, Margaret Sadler Eigner ’74 donated a box of College-related documents to the Office of Alumni Relations. Inside the box was a treasure trove of 20th-century, College-related history, from the first yearbook, The Maroon and White (1917), to correspondence between College president George Grice and Harold Mouzon ’13 (M.A. ’15), Eigner’s grandfather who was chairman of the College’s Board of Trustees from 1948 to 1959. The Office of Alumni Relations would love for you to dust off some of your old boxes and see what College history may be inside. And please share what you find by contacting the alumni office at 843.953.5630 or email@example.com. 1. Correspondence between Charleston attorney Clarence Singletary ’40 and President George Grice regarding revision of the College’s charter in light of integration pressure, 1949. Note: Singletary later became the state’s Ninth Circuit judge. 2. The College of Charleston News-Letter, May 1965. This piece, edited by Willard Silcox ’33 and produced by the College’s Alumni Association and Office of Alumni Affairs, served to keep the College community current on campus happenings. On the cover is Bill Gaud ’65, then student body president and now retired biology professor from Northern Arizona University.
3. The address delivered by Thomas Abernethy ’12 honoring President Emeritus Harrison Randolph at the May commencement ceremony, 1945. Abernethy, a renowned Southern historian, praised Randolph’s work in transforming the College during his 45-year tenure and closed with this: “I do wish to say that … he furnished a rare example of the manner in which a wise and devoted teacher – and he was always fundamentally a teacher – can, instead of adopting the easy ways of expediency, lead democracy in paths of enlightenment.” 4. The College of Charleston Magazine, January 1911. The studentproduced publication, edited by Paul Scherer ’11, offers some interesting insight to the campus culture. Its contents include short stories, poetry, essays covering such topics as “Reflections on the Jovial Side of College Life” and “The Aim of a College Education” and an op-ed imploring students to put the same energy and enthusiasm for football and baseball into the Inter-Collegiate Oratorical Contest, in which the College finished last in 1910. 5. Correspondence between President George Grice and South Carolina’s poet laureate Archibald Rutledge, who was slightly miffed at the College for failing to purchase his latest book of poetry, Deep River, 1960. Note: the College’s Addlestone Library does have four copies of Deep River in its collection today. 6. The College of Charleston Looks to the Future, 1961. This publication highlighted the objectives approved by the Board of Trustees for the Decade of Development program. This strategic plan for 1960–70 outlined the College’s desire to address faculty salaries, improve and expand facilities and increase the endowment and student enrollment. 7. Photograph of Elizabeth Mouzon Sadler’s May commencement ceremony, Cistern Yard, 1946. 7
You may have seen David Jenkins ’02 on Super Bowl Sunday in the commercial “Torpedo Cooler” for Pepsi Max. He plays a preppy bully who gets his comeuppance when he is pummeled by soda cans. David also has a few feature films coming out this year: Beautiful Wave and After Dark, and a starring role in Return to the Hiding Place. Jennifer Everett Holden has worked for the
Charleston County Sheriff’s Office for the past five years. Sarah Morgan is the guest services director at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Kellie Needham (see Brett Tillman ’96) Richard Pierce is the manager of Community FirstBank’s West Ashley branch as well as a vice president and manager of the downtown Charleston branch. Reginald Raab published a novel called Surviving Me. Elizabeth Landon Hamilton Trainor (see David Trainor ’00) Noris Vizcaino (M.A.) is the commissioner for conflict of interests and ethics for the House of Commons in Canada.
2002 Christine Meuschke
Bingham is an assistant real estate manager with CB Richard Ellis and lives in Nashville, Tenn. Millie Embree received her D.M.D./Ph.D. from the Medical University of South Carolina’s College of Dental Medicine and is an assistant professor at Columbia University’s College of Dental Medicine in New York City. J.D. Gist works with electronic medical records for University Medical Records in Cleveland, Ohio. Adrienne Sherrill Gramberg announces the birth of her son, Eli, born in December 2009. Rodney and Ashley Wilmeth Hancock announce the birth of their daughter, Lyla, born in June. Aubrey Jackson completed graduate school for physical therapy at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago in 2006. Aron Kuch is the program coordinator for federal grants in the College’s financial aid office. Stuart Miles was named the N.C. Charter School Teacher of the Year. Stuart lives in Asheville. Kate O’Donnell is the event coordinator for Wellington Management Company in Boston. Allison Shokes is the administrative assistant and event coordinator for the Charleston Yacht Club. Michael and Catharine Crowder Teeple announce the birth of their son, Michael James Teeple III. Katrina Wright is a licensed professional counselor intern for the State of South Carolina. She works for Communities in Schools in the Charleston area. Matt and Erika Everett Yeaman announce the birth of their daughter, Olivia Rider, born in July. Erika earned a graduate degree in
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interior architecture from Parsons The New School of Design in New York City and is working on the design of her first restaurant in Dallas, Texas, where the Yeaman family lives.
2003 Regan and Robert Albert
announce the birth of their second daughter, Olivia Anne, born in December. The Albert family lives in Charlotte. Saffron Owens Algozzini (see Tony Algozzini ’00) Stephanie Ballard is the co-founder of the lifestyle and interior design blog CovetLiving. com, which is featured in House Beautiful’s November issue. Stephanie is a Realtor and freelance interior decorator in Chicago. Sandon Barth (M.P.A.) is a territory manager for Cardiac Management Solutions with Zoll in Pittsburgh. Gwen Slade Bouchie is the marketing and program manager for the Association for the Blind in Charleston. Bryan Cordell is the executive director of the Sustainability Institute in Charleston. Wayne Culpepper is a photographer for FishEye Studios in Greenville, S.C. Matt and Leigh Ann Szteiter Garrett announce the birth of their daughter, Mollie Bess, born in July. Brian Hermann is the community planner and designer for Beaufort County (S.C.). Anna Quigley Hitchins is the director at Advertising.com/AOL Advertising. She and her husband, Ryan, live in Athens, Ga. Dylan Howe is a media supervisor with Mindshare in Chicago. Chelsea Langan is the associate registrar for Virginia College in North Charleston. Alice Bickley Light was named the 2009–10 Teacher of the Year at Whitesides Elementary in Mt. Pleasant. Last summer, Alice and her husband, Rich Light ’99, moved to Roanoke, Va., where Alice is a first-grade teacher and Rich works for Commonwealth Door and Hardware. Megan McNamee received her M.B.A. from The Citadel and works for Alcon Laboratories. Megan and Russell Louis Jr. were married in October. Clint and Sarada Wilson Murchison announce the birth of their son, Clint Eric Murchison Jr., born in July. Jessica Newman is pursuing a master’s in occupational therapy. Jessica and Kyle Mutzberg were married in October and live in Haledon, N.J. Jermel President announces the birth of his son, Jermel Lamar President Jr., born in December. Melissa Siegel is a postdoctoral researcher and program manager of the migration studies specialization at Maastricht University in The Netherlands. Melissa also completed her Ph.D. in public policy from Maastricht in 2010. Ryan Treat is a publishing representative with the McGraw-Hill Companies in Charleston. Stephanie Wheeler received her Ph.D. in health policy and management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May. Stephanie is an assistant professor of health policy and management at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill.
2004 Jen Fountain Baltzegar
received her master’s in marine biology from
the College’s Graduate School in May and is a lab manager at Duke University. Caitlin Shockley Bosh is an account executive for C+M Media, a high-fashion public relations firm in New York City. Kip Bulwinkle and Liz Bartoccini ’00 were married in November. Kip owns Karson Photography in North Charleston. Rachel Burke and David Adamus were married in July. Edward Evans has worked for five years in environmental consulting in Charleston. Robert Flynn is an M.B.A. student at North Carolina State University. Ashley Furr and James Niehaus were married in 2007. They both received Ph.D. degrees in 2009. Michael Hart and Amanda Ballard were married in June. Abby Henry is a graduate student in The Citadel’s English program. Steven Infinger is an instructional technologist with the College’s teaching, learning and technology department. Jesse Kramer is the executive chef and owner of the Brooklyn Taco Company in New York City. Troy Lesesne was named one of the top 20 assistant coaches in the country by College Soccer News. A former Cougar standout and AllAmerican selection, Troy is an assistant coach for the men’s soccer program at the College. Marshall Milligan received his J.D. from the Charleston School of Law and is an agent with Carolina One Real Estate in Charleston. Stephanie Moore is the billing specialist for the Rehab Centers of Charleston. Francyne Nathaniel received her master’s degree and is a second-grade teacher in the Charleston County School District. Summer Hardee Pettigrew received National Board Certification as a middle childhood generalist. Summer is a fifth-grade teacher at Haut Gap Advanced Studies Magnet and lives in Charleston. Phillip and Karey Sanders Wilson announce the birth of their son, Sanders Davis, born in September. Karey is an assistant vice president in Southcoast Community Bank’s financial representative support department.
2005 Catherine Anthony-Gonzalez earned a master’s in public relations and corporate communications from Georgetown University. Kelly Blackburn and George Campbell II were married in September 2009. T.J. Clayton earned his master’s in organizational psychology in May from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, where he received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award and assisted in the founding of The Net Church. He is a research associate at the American Institutes for Research. T.J. and his wife, Victoria, live in Washington, D.C. Sarah Comeaux is a teacher at the AngloChinese Junior College in Singapore. Sarah is a fellow in Princeton University’s Princeton-inAsia program. Shannon Cunningham owns Shannon Michele Photography in Charleston. Kiwi Davis was awarded a $150,000 teaching fellowship from the Knowles Science Teach Foundation. Kiwi is a graduate student in the teacher preparation program at the University of Michigan.
[ alumni profile ]
In Good Spirits Karen Foley ’94 is describing a tasting day at the office, and it sounds more like happy hour than a corporate powwow. But don’t get her wrong: She may be comparing 10 different tequilas in one afternoon, but she’s going home sober. “It’s not like we’re drinking all day,” laughs Foley, the founding editor of Imbibe magazine, a bimonthly devoted to liquid culture. “We sample recipes and products and do our tastings very methodically. You end up finding different things, from tequila to tequila, for example, that surprise you – the aroma or something in the flavor or body.” During her time at the College, Foley was hardly a gourmand, but she was always “an avid magazine enthusiast.” Poised for an editorial career, the communication major interned at Charleston Magazine and spent her free time honing photography skills. After graduation, she headed west to Portland, Ore., where she landed a gig with a textbook publisher. The job called for plenty of technical editing, which sharpened her editor’s eye. Three years later, she left the company to travel and pursue a freelance career. It was during this time that she sent a fateful pitch to Fresh Cup, a Portlandbased trade magazine devoted to the
coffee and tea industries, and eventually joined the magazine’s editorial staff. It was here that she fell head over heels for gourmet coffee drinks. “I fell in love with the culture of coffee – the people, places and stories behind the drink,” she adds, “and that was eventually the inspiration for Imbibe.” With seven years of experience writing about beverages at Fresh Cup – where she also gained valuable experience managing budgets, tracking sales and goals, overseeing freelancers and employees, planning marketing strategies and choosing editorial content – she decided to roll up her sleeves and steam ahead with raising capital, writing a business plan and querying potential advertisers. Just three years later, in 2006, the premiere issue of Imbibe hit newsstands. From its first issue, the nationally distributed magazine was well received. “We came in at a cocktail renaissance, just when craft beer and cocktails, specialty wine and coffee were taking off,” Foley explains. Today, the magazine boasts a readership of 74,000, and has wrangled a Folio Award for best full issue of a consumer epicurean magazine, and four of the Western Publication Association’s Maggie Awards – including the honors for 2010 Best Overall Publication/Consumer.
Thanks to draws such as the Imbibe Unfiltered blog and the “Imbibe Sips” video series, the magazine’s website gets more than 100,000 page views a month, and more than 50,000 people follow its Twitter feed. And though the magazine-publishing industry is in the doldrums (in 2009 alone, a string of well-established national magazines, including domino, Metropolitan Home and Gourmet, were shuttered), Imbibe continues to thrive. According to Foley, sales have climbed each year it has been in business, and the magazine is now profitable – something she credits to its specific niche. “We’re a special-interest magazine,” she says. “Our readers are passionate about our content.” Foley also notes that alcohol tends to be a recession-proof industry, which likely helped protect the magazine from the recent economic downturn. “People are spending more time at home, making drinks,” she says. “They’re looking for a resource to help them with that.” And that’s something we can all raise a glass to. – Bridget Herman ’08 Check out Foley’s Imbibe magazine at www.imbibemagazine.com.
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Michael and Lauren Mullett Ebersol live in Issaquah, Wash., with their 1-year-old son, Samuel. Fallon Guyton earned her doctorate in nursing practice in December and plans to work as a pediatric nurse practitioner. Fallon and Casey Campbell were married in May and live in Houston. Drew Holder is a regional manager for McGraw-Hill Higher Education Humanities, Social Sciences and World Languages. Mary Karesh and Jeff Silverberg ’07 were recently married. Michael Lindler is a communications specialist for the National Disaster Medical System in Marietta, S.C. Sarah Neely earned her J.D. from Elon University School of Law and is an attorney in Asheboro, N.C. She and Jeremy Lanier were married in September. Javier Orman is a teacher at Sol-La Music Academy in Santa Monica, Calif., and has been involved with several musical groups in Charleston, including La Belle Musique and the Entropy Ensemble. Javier and his wife, Janai, live in Los Angeles. Chris Permenter and Brooke Falk ’06 were recently married. Chris works at Automated Trading Desk, and Brooke is a Ph.D. student at Rutgers University. Genevieve Peterson returned to her hometown of New Orleans and is a journalist with New Orleans CityBusiness magazine. Christel Lopez Purvis lives in Summerville and has two children. William Richardson (see Jackie Flemons ’06) Jessica Rivers is a Ph.D. student in Indiana University’s communication and culture program. Maudra Rogers is a graduate student at Tulane University and is also a Peace Corps volunteer. Layton Ruffin and Francesca Toney were married in August 2009 and now live in Florence, S.C. Cullen Schmitt is the communications coordinator at the Harvard Business School in Boston. Karin Staton and Clint Hebert were recently married. Elizabeth Stehling earned her M.F.A. in new forms in May from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Her thesis show, entitled “Many Breaths,” was an installation of
photography, video and drawings. Elizabeth is an artist-in-residence at The Rensing Center in Pickens, S.C. Stephanie Stone earned her doctorate in physical therapy and is a therapist at KORT Springhurst Physical Therapy in Louisville, Ky. Valencya Taylor Thompson is a graduate student in Georgia State University’s school psychology program. Ashley Familia Trott is a technical account manager with Benefitfocus on Daniel Island, S.C. Jessica Zacharias is the national sales manager for fine jewelry designer Leslie Greene. Jessica and Ray Fischer IV were married in April and live in New York City.
2006 Mary Railey Binns is a
special events manager for a local nonprofit in Atlanta. Julia Brewer works in market development for Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte. Sharon Nicole Burgess earned her master’s in human resources development from Webster University and is a Ph.D. student in Capella University’s industrial and organizational psychology program. Melissa Clark earned a master’s in human resources development from Webster University. Melissa lives in Roswell, Ga. Courtney Clarkson is a copywriter at Mr Youth, an advertising and marketing agency in New York City. Ashley Clay is a nurse at McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, S.C. Daniel Cobb graduated from MUSC’s College of Medicine in May and is an internal medicine resident at the University of Colorado in Denver. Colleen Keegan Deihl owns SCOOP Studios, a contemporay art gallery on Broad Street. Brooke Falk (see Chris Permenter ’05) Jackie Flemons and William Richardson ’05 were married in September. Jackie is an attorney with a law firm on Pawleys Island, and William is employed by Porter-Gaud, a private school in Charleston. Daniel Giddick and Kinsey Labberton were married in October 2009 and live in Charleston. Justin and Amy Reiszl Hatfield announce the birth of their son, Tristan Zel, born in November. The Hatfield family lives in Seattle.
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Erin Holaday and Alex Ziegler were married
in May. They met in an Honors geology class during their freshman year at the College. Jillian Irizarry is an account executive with Lombardi Business Process Management at IBM. Anne Knudsen is the business development manager for Palace Resorts and lives in Chicago. Emily Long is a student in the Medical University of South Carolina’s nursing program in Charleston. Amy McClary McGucken earned her J.D. from Stetson University College of Law. Thomas McLeod is a graduate student in Tulane University’s preservation studies program. Joe McNeill is a graduate student in Clemson’s architecture program. This spring, Joe is leaving for six months to study architecture in Genoa, Italy. Millard Mule is the communications director for U.S. Representative Jeff Landry of Louisiana. Andrew Muller runs the Neace Lukens Insurance office for South Carolina and specializes in workers compensation insurance. Andrew lives in Mt. Pleasant. Meghan Norman (see Jay Walter ’07) Kate Otter processes new business for Prudential Financial Services. William Richardson is the academic adviser at Provost Academy and co-owner of Play It Again Sports in Mt. Pleasant. William and Lauren Luden were married in October. Megan McDermott Stauffer and her husband, Kenneth Chandler, announce the birth of their son, Cole Hudson. Phil Stevenson is an application analyst in the College’s procurement office. Jennifer Turner is the quantitative evaluation manager for the University of South Carolina’s CDC/ASPH Institute for HIV Prevention Leadership. She is also a member of the Columbia QuadSquad Rollergirls. Jason Wallace is the property manager and broker at Wallace Realty in Salisbury, N.C. Jason and Katherine Wolfe were married in June and live in Charlotte.
2007 James Allen works for
Manhattan-based Smart Enclosure Company, which makes inflatable enclosures for tennis courts.
[ dream job ]
Seaworthy Sound For Laura MacQueen Saunders ’01, most facts surrounding a memory – her age, grade or whether the leaves were green, golden or gone – don’t help her pinpoint that memory in time. Instead, she recalls the memory’s sound, the album she played incessantly at the time, now whirring on in her mind. Then, she looks up the album’s release date. “It’s the soundtrack of my life,” says Saunders, whose day job is to create unforgettable music festivals on cruise ships and sail the high seas with the Atlanta-based Sixthman. Each with a unique theme, Sixthman cruises feature singer-songwriters, Southern and alternative rock acts, Elvis tributes and more. But the true purpose, according to Saunders, is
bringing together musicians and their devoted fans. The psychology major entered music promotion and management after interning with a record label in Asheville, N.C., and managing a major tour. After six weeks of living on a bus with two touring rock bands – Wideawake and the Zac Brown Band – Saunders had found her calling. “They were really a sweet group of guys. I only had to throw one guy’s suitcase off the bus before he started picking up after himself,” she laughs. In her current role as operations director, Saunders is like the sixth man coming off the bench to bolster a basketball team or a band’s elusive yet indispensible tour manager. She excels behind the scenes, giving Sixthman’s
sailing guests a memorable and “seamless” musical experience. With many helping hands, she ensures the show will go on – that artists perform on time, that the bingo event always has enough tables and that any number of other magical moments “go off without a hitch. “The festival flows very much like a land-based festival,” with 20 to 35 artists performing on stages all over the ship, she explains. But on a Sixthman cruise, unlike a land event, rock stars and their fans voluntarily maroon themselves at sea for days of rocking out. In that environment, “everyone is taken so far out of their element,” that there’s more chance for spontaneous interaction between musicians and fans. “One night, Kid Rock decided he wanted to DJ. He gets on the ship’s loudspeaker and tells everyone to wake up and come up to the Lido Deck. People showed up in their pajamas and partied for hours,” she recalls. And the other artists who’ve hosted – including Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Barenaked Ladies – do their part to cook up their own memorable moments, from Guitar Hero tournaments to omelet-andtrivia parties. “You can’t help but feel you’re being let in on some kind of secret,” says Saunders of the impromptu jam sessions that erupt all over the boat for nearby listeners to enjoy. “It takes a very special artist to do an event like ours. They have to be in touch with the people who love their music.” Saunders has had a few “fan” moments of her own while sailing. Recently, she attended a thank-you party thrown by singer Brandi Carlile for the Sixthman staff. When Saunders stepped off the elevator, she couldn’t believe who was holding open the door to Carlile’s suite, ushering her inside: country music legend Lyle Lovett, a personal favorite. “I hemmed and hawed,” she remembers. “If I’d wanted to say more to him, I wouldn’t have gotten it out.” Still more rewarding, however, is seeing other people “so blown away by that moment.” After all, it’s moments like those that make memories unforgettable – just like her favorite songs. – Jamie Self ’02
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Candace Bailey works for the Dunes West Golf Club in Mt. Pleasant. Candace and Jonathan Crompton were married in October. Jenna Balegno is a marketing specialist with Veroxity in Boston. Kristin Bisignano is a human resources recruiter for the Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company’s corporate office in Charleston. Deana Blanton is a registered nurse at Spartanburg Hospital. Emily Cooper (M.S.) is a research assistant in the College’s biology department. Eliot Dudik earned an M.F.A. in photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design and received the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award. Eliot also published his first book of photography, Road Ends in Water, in 2010. Jessica Edwards is a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic. Jacob Fetner and Alexis Pickens were married in September. Ali Fisher has launched Carolina Food Design, an event planning company in Charleston. Lauren Clarke Gilstrap is a Realtor for Coldwell Banker in Columbia. Helen Hamer works for Bishop Gadsden, a retirement community on James Island. Helen and Adam Boatwright were married in November. Landon Heatherington is a financial adviser with Carolina Capital Management in Charleston. James Irving teaches painting classes at Bottles ’n Brushes in Charleston. He has also started a custom metal business. Merritt Lewis is a graduate student in Loyola University Maryland’s speech-language pathology program. Merritt and Peter Schultz were married in August.
Megan Long and Robert Remley ’09
were married in May and live in Glenwood Springs, Colo. Caroline Lubin is the constituent engagement coordinator for the National Council on Aging in Washington, D.C. Katie O’Neil is the event manager with Nth Degree in Boston. Michal Otten earned a master’s in school psychology from George Mason University. Michal is a school psychologist in Casa Grande and lives in Chandler, Ariz. Amar Patel earned a master’s in hospitality management and business, opened a hotel and is managing two hotels in South Carolina. Randy Pease is an account manager with Snooth.com, a comprehensive wine website, and lives in New York City. Daniel Rodriguez is a law student at George Mason University and lives in Arlington, Va. Alyssa Rothstein earned a master’s in nursing from the Medical College of Georgia and is a graduate student in Georgia State University’s pediatric nurse practitioner program. She is an RN at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Kelly Schumann is a French teacher at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church, Va. Kelly’s son, Brennan Anthony, was born in June 2008. Jeff Silverberg (see Mary Karesh ’05) Kristin McCall Smith is the director of sales at Aloft Charleston Airport and Convention Center. Eric Spring has spent the last three years traveling to nearly 60 countries on six continents. Last fall, Eric began a master’s program in French-Spanish translation and intercultural mediation at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
Mary Stribling and Ben Clary ’08 are married and live in Macon, Ga.
Allison Tobin and Michael Callahan were married in December. Jessica Stanis, Katie Kent and Drew Healey were bridesmaids in the wedding.
Danny Vo is a dental student at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Jay Walter and Meghan Norman ’06 were married in September.
James Wilcox is an energy analyst with Lantern Energy in Connecticut.
David Williamson earned his M.B.A. in
finance from Strayer University. David and his wife, Kendall, welcomed three foster children (all under age 3) into their lives six months ago.
2008 Courtney Kestrell Boryk
announces the birth of a son, Caleb James, born in October. Laura Bruns eaned a master’s in communication from Illinois State University in May. Laura is a communication instructor at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. Danielle Smith Burke earned her M.Ed. from Vanderbilt University in May and works for Concordia Lutheran College in Chicago. Derrick Caldwell is an inside technical sales representative for Controls & Instrumentation Co. in Charlotte. Meghan Cashen is an assistant media supervisor for Smart Media Group in Alexandria, Va. Ashley Charlebois is a nurse at the Medical University of South Carolina. Ben Clary (see Mary Stribling ’07) Daniel Cobiella and Marrissa Newman ’09 were recently married. Amanda Crocker is a development associate for the Hollings Cancer Center in Charleston.
[ passages ] Llewellyn LaBruce Perry ’37
Frances Blalock Horres ’48 September 19; Charleston, S.C.
December 27; Maryville, Tenn.
Mary Tiedeman Cole ’39
Doris Hane Fair ’50
Angela Pritcher Duffie ’91
Charlotte Goblet Hindman ’39
Dorothy McAlister Lockwood ’50
Adam Whitley ’93
Sarah Fulton Jenkins ’40
Elizabeth Terry Thompson ’50 December 22; Charleston, S.C.
November 1; Charlotte, N.C.
Beulah Simpson Easterlin Wilks ’40
Luther Erwin Jr. ’51
Matthew Garrett ’01
Haywood Bissell ’42
David Heisser ’64
Brandon Wilson ’06
Bess Smith Burrows ’42
Ernest Zinkowski ’65
Patrick Hurd ’07
Angelo Creticos ’42
William Cox Jr. ’77
Ilija Veljkovic ’07
Felix Nepveux III ’43
Marcia Muckenfuss Parks ’79
Kelly Grant (student)
Abner Levkoff ’44
October 14; Charleston, S.C.
Mary Lankford Free ’83
January 2; Moncks Corner, S.C.
Katie Scott (student)
Jacqueline Smith Lohr Mappus ’47
Hepburn Stroman Jr. ’86
Max Kennedy (former faculty)
December 31; Asheville, N.C.
September 13; Memphis, Tenn. December 26; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. January 4; Raleigh, N.C.
August 17; Savannah, Ga.
January 8; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. December 30; Charleston, S.C. January 24; Chicago, Ill. October 22; Charleston, S.C.
November 14; Charleston, S.C.
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November 21; St. Matthews, S.C. November 14; Charleston, S.C.
September 28, 2009; Walterboro, S.C. October 29; Charleston, S.C. November 7; Charleston, S.C. September 21; Beaufort, S.C. January 16; Ravenel, S.C.
January 3; Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
Susan Phillips Knoll ’89
July 6, 2009; Charleston, S.C. August 3, 2009; Conway, S.C.
Mary Robbins DeLoache ’96
November 3; Charlotte, N.C. July 2; Goose Creek, S.C. January 17; Arnold, Md. August 2009; Zajecar, Serbia and Montenegro December 5; Greenville, S.C. December 30; Aiken, S.C. September 20; Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
Amanda earned a master’s in health administration from MUSC. Robert Florez is a law student at Northern Kentucky University. Adam Foreman left his corporate job to run a mobile farmers market in New York City as part of a green initiative helping low-income New Yorkers get access to fresh organic produce from family farms in Southern Vermont. Madison Hall lives in Denver, Colo. Lexie Leyman is an executive assistant and database manager with the American Red Cross in Charleston. Keith Meany traveled to Sicily to hydrographically map the ocean floor and work with ancient shipwrecks. Allisyn Miller is the administrative coordinator in the College’s graduate program of historic preservation. Chris Pierce is a financial trader with Automated Trading Desk in Mt. Pleasant. Chris and Jennifer Young were married in November. Catherine Rentschler is the business travel sales manager for Hyatt Hotels in Fairfax, Va. Rebecca Silberman is the program coordinator with the College’s Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. Ashli Swanson is a graduate student in Clemson University’s professional communication program. Ashley Thomas and Justin Garber were married in September 2008 and live in Columbia, Md. Jessica Trombetta and Pedro De Olviera e Silva were married in November. Brittany Tuten is the program manager and events coordinator at Junior Achievement of Coastal South Carolina. Jermaine Van Hannegeyn is the music director at Saint John AME Church in Indianapolis. Joe Waring is the guest services manager at the Holiday Inn Charleston Airport and Convention Center. Onica Washington is a doctoral student in Duke University’s biochemistry program. Kelly White earned her M.Ed. and is a business and hospitality/tourism management teacher at West Ashley High School. She is also the school’s women’s golf team coach. Lindsey Williams and Tim Bauler were married in May 2008. Before they moved back to the States, Lindsey was president of Friends of the Black Knights Foundation, a nonprofit that benefits soldiers and families of Task Force 3-66. In recognition of her work with the foundation, Lindsey was awarded the Heart of Victory from Brigadier General Michael Ryan. Katrina Wyllie is a physical scientist with NOAA in Norfolk, Va.
and is also a graduate student in the College’s communication program. Lizzy Cezayirli is the international marketing coordinator for the Southern United States Trade Association in New Orleans. Jack Cleghorn performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Sir Roger Norrington and Mahler’s Second Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas at Carnegie Hall. Jackie Ditmore is an assisant manager for Walgreens in Summerville and is a graduate student in The Citadel’s school psychology program. Jackie and Sam Gaither were married in September 2009. Caroline Edwards is a recipe developer, food blogger and owner of chocolateandcarrots. com, which specializes in healthy dessert alternatives. Caroline lives in Columbia. Gillian Ellis is a wedding photographer with Richard Ellis Photography in Charleston. Ruby Godley is an outreach victim advocate at People Against Rape in North Charleston. Sean Hackett is a graduate student in Virginia Tech’s architecture program. Parker Ihrie is a law student at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. Wes Knight signed a contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS). In 2010, Wes was selected “Fan Favourite” for the club. Josh Langdon is a law student at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Madison Lovett is a graduate student in Eastern Virginia Medical School’s art therapy program. Stephanie Monroe is a program coordinator with the Charleston Academy of Music. Marrissa Newman (see Daniel Cobiella ’08) Alexandra Pyke is a graduate student in Hawaii Pacific University’s secondary education program (with a concentration in mathematics). Alexandra and Matthew Lippert were married in June. Robert Remley (see Megan Long ’07) Erica Scheldt is a graduate student in the University of South Carolina’s social work program. Brendan Shields is an analyst and director of research at Otis & Ahearn Real Estate in Boston. Elizabeth Sommer is a first-grade teacher with Teach for America in Denver, Colo. Anna Thomas is the legal residency coordinator in the College’s Treasurer’s Office. Carla and Heyns van der Bijl were married in July. Lulie Wallace is an artist at Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston.
2009 Jeremy Anderson is currently
Jennie Atkinson is a first-grade teacher at
recording an album and touring with his band Treehouse. Courtney Barnwell lives in Memphis, Tenn. Maxine Bier is a teaching assistant in Nevers, France. Hired by the French government, Maxine assists teachers in four schools in Nevers with the instruction of English to elementary-level students. She will return to Athens, Ga., in the summer to pursue a master’s degree. Boris Braeuning is the logistics coordinator at Hubner. Tori Bundy is the office manager for the College’s Department of Teacher Education
2010 Devin Antonovich is a medical student at Ross University.
Ladson (S.C.) Elementary School.
Elena Boroski is a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in Macedonia.
Paul Branch and Hattie Greene were recently married.
Blake Burnett is a medical student at MUSC. Paul Casaco works for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Morgan Cawley is the regional sales director of Absolute Pay Trust in Charleston.
Kyle Craver is a financial representative with the Bulfinch Group in Boston.
Whitnie Eisele is a loan specialist at A Charleston Event and Bridal Library.
Tim Tang ’09 earned his Asian
Tour Card at the Springfield Royal Country Club in Hua Hin, Thailand. This season, Tim is representing Hong Kong on the Asian Tour.
Kristen Fabien is a student in the University of Virginia’s accounting program.
Aasha Foster is a graduate student in New York University’s counseling for mental health and wellness program. Laura Hoffman is the catering and event sales manager for MyrtleBeachHotels.com. Sarah Infinger is pursuing a pre-med degree at Trident Technical College in Charleston. Lauren Johnson (M.P.A.) is a consultant at Knowledge Capital Group in Charleston. Eric Ketcham and Malia Brock ’12 were married in August. Eric works for the College’s Honors College. Elina Livshits is an account coordinator with News America Marketing, a division of News Corporation in New York City. Somers Maky is a sales coordinator at Aloft Hotel in North Charleston. Kellee McGahey (M.A.) is the senior vice president of marketing for First Federal in Charleston. Judith Meyer has relocated to Chicago. Samantha Mills is the marketing and merchandising coordinator for the Charleston Farmers Market. Samantha is also the gifts manager and development assistant for Charleston Stage Company. Bretticca Moody is a program counselor with the College’s academic experience/TRIO student support services department. Meg Murray is a customer service representative and production assistant for New Dreamz Inc., an e-commerce jewelry business in Mt. Pleasant. Sana Ndon (M.S.) is a data and reporting analyst in the College’s institutional research department. Lane Nelson is the special events coordinator for the City of Hardeeville, S.C. Maddie Preble is a pre-school teacher on Stanford University’s campus and lives in the San Francisco Bay area. Ann-Marie Rabalais is a graduate student in Louisiana Tech University’s psychology program. Christopher Rasmussen is the volunteer program coordinator and director of social media for the Office of Congressman John Spratt. Weslie Thompson is a graduate student at The Citadel. LeDoux Vanveckhoven is a partner at Southbound Entertainment in Nashville, Tenn. Robbin Watson works for Gary Rosen Communications in Stamford, Conn. Kelly Wiles works for The Charleston Museum. Rebecca Woolard is a graduate student in the University of South Carolina’s journalism school. Melody Yuan completed an internship in Shanghai, China.
Check out College of Charleston Magazine’s website at magazine.cofc.edu.
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[ faces and places ] 3
There’s always something going on at the College. Here’s a sample from the las t few months. 1 Alumni Awards Banquet: Dil Patel ’11, Margaret Mohrmann ’69 (Pre - Medic al Soc ie t y ’s Out s t anding Ser vice Aw ar d in Medic ine) and Taylor Mc A neney ’11 2 December Commencement speaker and bes t- selling 3 novelis t Dorothea Benton Fr ank December Commencement: C ar l Simpson receiving an honor ar y degree for his brother, ar tis t Mer win Simpson 4 Shar on Br oc k K ingman ’8 0 (Dis tinguished A lumna Aw ar d) 5 His tor y Phi A lpha T he t a Soc ie t y initiation: his tor y pr ofes sor s B er nie Power s, Ted Rosengar ten and Rich Bodek 6 President Benson, Dean Emeritus Howard Rudd, Jus tin McL ain ’98 (Howard F. Rudd Jr. Business Per son of the Year) and Alan Shao (dean, School of Business) 7 Addles tone Librar y: ar tis t Br yant Holsenbeck creates her Bot tle C ap Mandala as par t of the Halsey Ins titute’s bluesphere: Ear th Ar t E xpo 8 Silcox Gym: Teres a Smith (direc tor, Multic ultur al Student Progr ams and Ser vices) par ticipating in Bongo B all Mania |
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9 John Zeigler Jr. (Alumni Award of Honor), Deborah Williams and John Williams 10 C arol Hannah Whit field ’07 ( Young Alumna of the Year Award), Susan Whit f ield, Bret t Whit f ield and Jac k Huguley ’72 (direc tor, alumni relations) 11 CofC Dog Show: Nancy Wilson (head coach, women’s basketball team) and her dog, Riley 12 Katie Beckham ’05, Luc y Garret t Beckham ’70 (Alumna of the Year Award) and President Benson 13 William Richardson ’05, Jackie Flemons Richardson ’06 and Beth Middleton Burke ’94 (president , Alumni A s sociation) 14 Roger Guenveur Smith, an Obie Award – winning teacher, per former and ar tis t, during his weeklong residenc y for the College’s Film Studies and African American Studies Programs 15 The faces behind the s tudent voices from the College’s Cougar C alling Center 16 Bud Ferillo ’72 (Dis tinguished Alumnus Award) 17 new Sot tile Theatre marquee on King Street 18 On set of Ex treme Makeover: Home Edition: President Benson and show cas t member s Paul DiMeo and Cons tance Ramos
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Fresh Food Company on Liberty Street If you’ve ever been to the College’s dining hall, you’ve probably noticed the great quantity of tables. Over the course of my four years at the College, I think I may have taken a seat at each one of them. Those seats were taken either alone or in the company of others. I’ve much preferred the latter. I’ve met many students and have been even more fortunate to consider some of them as friends. As I think about my time in Charleston, something occurred to me: My College friends can be divided
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into those who eat in the dining hall and those who do not. The ones that do have also tended to be my closest of friends. I imagine that most students’ memories concerning their college years revolve around the classes they’ve had or the parties they’ve attended. But mine, I foresee, will revolve around the meals I’ve shared with people in the Fresh Food Company. I take this moment to thank all of the people who have ever shared a meal with me, whether I invited them or they
invited me to the table. You’ve been my true teachers of the liberal arts and sciences. We’ve debated. We’ve shared opinions and philosophies. The Fresh Food Company may not be the most historic place on such a historic campus, but for me, it’s where most of my College memories have been made. – Matthew Sanders ’11 E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your favorite place on campus and what makes it so special to you.
NEVER A LAST DANCE The Powers Dance Studio has suspended wood floors, full-length mirrors and a high ceiling infused with generous natural light. It is exactly the premier environment Dr. Larry ’38 and Elly Powers ’38 wanted to ensure for generations of students at the College of Charleston. The Powers met and fell in love at the College. Larry was a leading scholar in genetics and a recipient of the distinguished Guggenheim Fellowship. Elly was an extraordinary linguist who mastered five languages. The Powers, who passed away months apart in 2005, led a full life with seven daughters and many grandchildren. When they wanted to give something back to the college that had given them so much, they decided their gift would be a studio in the new Marion and Wayland H. Jr. Cato Center for the Arts. The Powers Dance Studio opened in 2010 in honor of Elly Powers’ sister, Elizabeth “Beth” Wall Fogerty ’39, a librarian with an extraordinary passion for dance. If you would like to provide a legacy for future students at the College of Charleston, the Office of Gift Planning can suggest ideas on how to do that with no obligation at all.
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Within these pages, you're going to find many stories showcasing the College of Charleston's dynamic and intellectually vigorous culture.We...