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Issue #11 / Fall 2014

The Magazine of Roger Williams University

Hello Cindy • To Bristol, With Love • Elder Justice, Beyond Brooke

SHEAR On the horizon for small-craft pilots? Safer landings, courtesy of RWU engineering graduates.


IN THIS ISSUE For the Love of “Gagi” RWU Professor Philip Marshall shared a love of preservation with his grandmother, the famous philanthropist Brooke Astor. But when he suspected that she was caught in the greedy clutches of her son, Anthony (Philip Marshall’s father), and his attorneys, being a conservator took on a whole new meaning. Today, the “poster grandchild of elder abuse” is dedicated to campaigning for elder justice and sharing his Gagi’s story to help others in need. Read “Beyond Brooke” on Page 38.


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RWU Issue #11 / Fall 2014

The Magazine of Roger Williams University

Features 22 Hello Cindy – By Bekah Wright

Meet Cindy Elfenbein ’78 – the woman behind marketing iconic characters from Batman to Looney Tunes and the beloved, red-bowtied, bewhiskered and ubiquitous Hello Kitty. As she helps Sanrio celebrate 40 years of the company’s celebrated brand, Elfenbein shares her secrets to retail success and how she got there.

28 To Bristol, With Love – By Melissa A. Patricio

Legend has it that 18th century sailors would spend their days at sea creating stunning works of shell art for their sweethearts back home. Not quite. With insights from artist Gregg Roberts, a closer look at the sailor’s valentine in Global Heritage Hall uncovers the truth behind the Barbadian tradition, and why RWU’s is particularly unique.

30 Cover Story Shear Genius – By Jill Rodrigues ’05

Without warning about what is truly a rogue meteorological event, small-aircraft pilots often encounter wind shear while performing the most vulnerable of maneuvers – landing. To take on this cause of costly accidents and occasional fatal crash landings, RWU engineering graduates devised an award-winning technological solution for detecting this under-the-radar aviation hazard.

38 Beyond Brooke – By Melissa A. Patricio

It was the stuff soap operas are made of, but all too true. In 2006, RWU Professor Philip Marshall broke rank to fight for justice on his famous grandmother Brooke Astor’s behalf. Eight years later, he recalls the case that rocked New York society and launched a campaign to protect embattled elders everywhere.

Departments 2

Open Source


Off the Script


On the Waterfront


Mission Critical

Your letters to the editor Featuring President Donald J. Farish Snapshots from across the RWU campus Our core values in action


A Braver Voice


Sports Center


Voices in Common


13 Things...

On Kindness and the Human Spirit Athletics news and notes News from our alumni and friends ...You Might Not Know about Campus, Before it was Campus


Open Source


The Magazine of Roger Williams University

Your letters to the editor

© 2014 Roger Williams University Published by the Division of Marketing and Communications Issue #11 / Fall 2014

Sea Veggies in a New Light Just want to say thanks again for the magazine story [“Turning the Tide,” Issue #10]. I’ve been showing it off to all of my coworkers! Everyone loves the “serious-face photo” with Ben and me on the opening pages. The article was fantastic, and I can’t believe you quoted me so many times. I appreciate how this article reaches far beyond the RWU community and changes people’s perceptions of our sea vegetables. Thanks again for everything. – Courtney Anderson ’14 Intern, National Park Service, Shenandoah National Park Better Hawks and Gardens My son, Steven Carnevale, graduated from RWU in 2013, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy receiving each issue of RWU Magazine! It is such a classy publication, and the stories are both interesting and inspiring. The only other magazine that I receive which I enjoy as much is Better Homes and Gardens! Please extend my thanks to your staff for their excellent work. Proud to be the mother of a Hawk! – Babara Carnevale P’13 Norton, Mass.

President Donald J. Farish, Ph.D., J.D. Vice President of Marketing and Communications Judi Connery Director of Public Affairs / Editor-in-Chief Brian E. Clark Associate Director of News and Publications / Editor Melissa A. Patricio Contributing Editors Sabrina Polin ’17, Jill Rodrigues ’05, Allie Wojtanowski ’15 Contributing Writers Adam Braver, Lori Cochrane, Jack Dunleavy ’15, Ryan Edmonds, Jill Harrington, Bekah Wright Director of Design and Production Ray Talamo Assistant Art Director Jaci A. DaCosta Senior Graphic Designer Daniel Ruth ’08

Design into Words I just returned from vacation last night and found RWU Magazine waiting for me. This is a fantastic article [“Invisible City,” Issue #10] and showcases nicely the students’ projects. The choice of projects and images is thoughtful. The writing does what eludes many architecture students (and architects!), which is to make the sometimes opaque or arcane design process accessible, clear and engaging. Reading this reminded me how exciting the studio was. One minor update: I am no longer an associate at KITE Architects. I left last fall to accept the visiting position at RWU. I’m happy that I was associated with KITE for so long but am now running my own office. – Jonathan F. Bell, Architect Visiting Assistant Professor of Architecture

Production Coordination Kim Sousa Contributing Illustrators Lauren Nassef, Tom Parsons Contributing Photographers Julie Brigidi, John Corbett, Kim Fuller, Andrea Hansen, Betty Jenewin/Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Seth Joel, James Jones, Marianne Lee, Alec Marshall, Mario Morgado, Patrick O’Connor, David Silverman, Peter Silvia Please direct questions, comments, letters and other editorial inquiries to: email: magazine@rwu.edu phone: (401) 254-5552 fax: (401) 254-3185 RWU Magazine Roger Williams University One Old Ferry Road Bristol, RI 02809


from the entire issue of RWU Magazine. Additional content is just a click away at http://pdq.rwu.edu/mag11

WRITE TO RWU We welcome short letters on topics pertinent to the magazine and the University and will publish as many as space allows.


magazine@rwu.edu write: RWU Magazine Roger Williams University One Old Ferry Road Bristol, RI 02809

Please include your full name, address and RWU affiliation. Letters may be edited for clarity and/or length.

Send subscription requests and changes of address to: email: jwhetstone@rwu.edu phone: (401) 254-3004 fax: (401) 254-3599 Joyce Whetstone Director of Advancement Services Roger Williams University One Old Ferry Road Bristol, RI 02809 While every effort has been made to ensure that information is accurate and up to date, we’re writing about a dynamic educational environment, and it is not possible to guarantee that all items will be accurate at all times. Roger Williams University and RWU are registered with the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

Off the Script

Featuring University President Donald J. Farish Bridgit O’Hara came first in Fall 2012. Her sister, Michele, started a year later. And with Carolyn and Rachel having arrived on campus this semester, Mitch O’Hara and his wife, Lori, of New Milford, Conn., now have four of their daughters enrolled at Roger Williams University at once. Mitch sat down with Don Farish to share some feedback from the rather unique perspective of an RWU parent, four times over.

Donald Farish: Welcome, Mitch. We wanted to do something different by inviting a parent into our “Off the Script” conversation for this issue, although with four children here simultaneously, you are hardly typical of the 8,000 or so parents you’re representing! Can you start by sharing how your family started what has become an ever-growing relationship with RWU? Mitch O’Hara: After one visit, Bridgit just locked in on Roger Williams – small campus, on the water, great arts program and a warm reception from everyone we met. And we quickly picked up on the fact that you don’t have a class that’s more than about 30 people – ever! I want my kids at a school where you get the education you’re paying for, and I just didn’t see that happening in a classroom with hundreds of students and no connection to the professor. Farish: That’s certainly a recurring theme for parents. We offer a personalized experience where students are known by real people as real people, which is just impossible at large universities. I think back to my undergrad days at a public university. The fellow teaching my zoology course was a guy I had seen on television on a nature program broadcast across Canada. I thought, “how cool is this!” Then I opened the door to the lecture hall and saw 300 people in the room. I ended up in the nosebleeds thinking, “this isn’t what I signed up for.” It was daunting, frankly. At a place like Roger Williams – sure, it may be more expensive than a state school, but what you’re buying is personal attention. We’re doing our level best to keep price down, but we’re also making sure to give students the best education that we can.

Rachel ’18, Bridgit ’16, Michele ’17 and Carolyn O’Hara ’18

O’Hara: The second big factor for us was the safety and security of the campus. I’m an active, involved parent and the idea of an intimate campus made me feel like I could stay involved and continue to have an impact on what’s going on in my girls’ lives, even while they are at college. You just don’t see people not smiling at Roger Williams. People look you in the eye, say hello and go the extra mile – whether it’s Brenda in the Bursar’s Office, Cathy in Financial Aid, Bobby and Melissa in Dining, Pam in Public Safety or Tony and David in Housing, people have made us feel like family from day one. Farish: It’s affirming to know that. We’re long removed from the in loco parentis days of dorm mothers and lock-and-key housing, but whether we wish to or not, we still operate as surrogate parents to some degree. O’Hara: My twins decided that they were not going to let their older sisters determine where they would go to school, so they tormented me and dragged me all over the Northeast! After a full circle, they stayed with their sisters at RWU for a weekend. That was the clincher. Farish: I’m glad to hear that your family has become very much a part of ours. And I know you’re working with our Parents Council now to get other families involved, too. O’Hara: I’m excited to be a voice in the parent community, especially on why it’s important to donate, even when you’re paying a tuition bill. It’s the parents and alumni who came before us that paved the way to where the school is today. The tuition freeze and guarantee, for example – somebody else

helped do that for us. I’ll be paying tuition for the next four years, but I still need to contribute for the benefit of the next family who comes through. My capacity may be limited, but it’s critical to be a contributor. Farish: That’s a great point. We rely on people being able to pay it forward. Funds raised through philanthropy are dollars that we don’t have to find someplace else – and that someplace else is typically parents and students through tuition. Financial support is how the handful of institutions in America who are truly need blind can tell accepted students, “it doesn’t matter how much money you have – we’ll make it possible for you to get an education without taking on horrendous debt”. We’re a long way from that at Roger Williams, but aspirationally, we’d love to get there. O’Hara: Well this is a tricky year for me, financially, as the first year with four girls here. But I can tell you directly that the locked-in tuition helps significantly in allowing us to plan. I know right where I stand and I can forecast our payments more easily than the typical unknown of what tuition might be next year. Even with the sibling discount, it’s still a big nut to crack – but at least I know exactly what I’m looking at. Much appreciation for making that happen. Farish: Thanks for being a part of this conversation, Mitch. I’m glad that Bridgit, Michele, Carolyn and Rachel are a part of the RWU family. I know you have a seventh-grade daughter, too. If she’s interested in the years ahead, we’d love to see her here, too.

Want more stories? Go to pdq.rwu.edu.


On the Waterfront

6 Suspenseful Questions on…

An engineering marvel looming over south campus, the Mount Hope Bridge connects the 6,130 feet between Aquidneck Island and the Bristol peninsula – New England’s longest span when it opened in October 1929. With 285-foot towers evocative of gothic cathedrals, the cable suspension bridge is the work of the little-known but brilliant engineer David Steinman. RWU’s Robert Dermody – a Steinman scholar, engineer and associate professor of architecture – shares a bit more on the $2.5 million bridge (in 1929 dollars) that survived the Great Hurricane of 1938, and the man who built it. How did the Mount Hope Bridge launch a number of firsts for the bridge-building world? Steinman’s engineering design was structurally efficient and economical. He achieved this by using very deep stiffening trusses under the roadway; designing unique cable bents – supports over which the cables bend down to large counterweights; and carefully proportioning the center span length at 1,200 feet versus the back-spans and approaches to the bridge.

What about the aesthetic choices Steinman made? Steinman was the first to paint bridges a color as an aesthetic choice – green for the Mount Hope to blend with the rural area. And the way he thought about lighting – the streetlamps with blue glass panes facing the water and white light casting on the interior side.


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Can you share some examples of the massive undertaking involved? The 150x10-foot-deep steel girders for the approaches were brought by train to Bristol’s center, placed on wheels and towed by horses down Hope Street to the site. We know Bristol loves a parade! The two 12-inch-diameter main suspension cables were “spun” together from many small wires upon a wheel that traveled from one end of the bridge to the other continuously. Also, large steam-powered cranes were needed to lift bridge components high up in the air.

What did the public think about the bridge? People would drive to it to drive over it – there was a toll, and they’d pay it! Right through Thanksgiving weekend there was a traffic jam of people who wanted to see the bridge.


After the Mount Hope, how did mitigating wind force become Steinman’s expertise? He was already considering wind loads in the Mount Hope’s construction – and the fact that it withstood the ’38 Hurricane is a testament to his design – but it later became a dedicated field of study. On two of his 1930s bridges, he invented wind-resistance systems: placing diagonal cables across the roadway to stiffen the bridge; adding triangular airfoils that allow air to flow over and under the bridge like an airplane wing; and designing deep stiffening trusses of slender crisscrossed steel lines that wind can blow through.

There’s a Roger connection? The northern bridge tower is named the Roger Williams tower, and the southern tower is named after John Clarke, a colonial minister from Aquidneck Island who worked with Williams to secure Rhode Island’s first state charter.

Head to Head!


A campus icon by any measure, the Roger Williams statue has inspired tongue-in-cheek musings on a number of fronts – among others, (1) an anonymous Twitter handle @RogerStatue; and (2) the “My Life as a Statue” column in the Hawks’ Herald student newspaper. From their respective corners, the Roger personas duke it out on three popular topics. Who’s the real Roger voice? You be the judge...

Coastal Weather Woes “It is utterly baffling as to why no one uses umbrellas. Would you rather be dry? Or soak through 3 sweatshirts? #rwu”

“You may love how often your classes are being cancelled due to the never-ending snow, but it gets quite boring standing alone on the quad. Even though snowflakes are constantly forming around me and the snow blowers are quickly covering my cold body with fresh snow, I’m trying to stay warm.”


My Tummy is Growling… “Beginning of the school year: when Bayside residents make nice dinners... And then only make pasta and microwave things till May #rwu”

“The scent of burgers cooking at Stonewall wafts toward my bronze nostrils, while screams and shouts can be heard coming from the direction of Cedar residence hall. I wish that I could join in on the fun, but my footwear is welded quite firmly to my position in the quad.”


#WaterfrontProblems “Heard a GREAT rumor that the #rwu #bayside renovations got delayed due to attacking seagulls?? Classic #RIproblems”

@RogerStatue Via Twitter

“These creatures bring song to my campus and are beautiful when in flight. However, the seagull poop stains on my overcoat are not very easy to remove, and I have to wait for a heavy rainfall before I am clean again.”

Remember Peter McGuinness ’91 from Gotham? These days he’s chief marketing officer for Chobani – yes, that Chobani – a company that grew faster than Facebook or Google. “We’re in the middle of the yogurt wars,” McGuiness says. “There are 350 new products on the shelf, they’re getting close and all guns are pointed at us.” Our spoons are at the ready!




My Life as a Statue

Via Hawks’ Herald

On the Waterfront

Most Likely to... Exceed The Yearbook. Renowned for its ability to incite fits of nostalgia and resounding “awwwwws” among readers, it’s one college book you probably won’t sell back to the bookstore. As the official record of senior year – from the nights you wish you could better remember to others you’d like to forget – yearbooks are considered a form of journalism, according to the Associated Collegiate Press. And RWU’s Crossings has ranked among the award-winning annals of the student experience in its category (under 300 pages) in recent years. Here are some unofficial superlatives:

Most Likely to...

Most Likely to...

Ask any editor and they’ll tell you – Yearbook is a fulltime job (with a front row seat to all things college, of course). As editor-in-chief from sophomore to senior year, Randi Ochab ’14 spent an average of 15 hours per week managing a staff of writers and designers, communicating with the publishing company and coordinating everything from senior portraits to sales and promotion.

The yearbook should be reflective of the University’s personality and who we are as a campus community, Ochab says. Crossings dedicates a large portion of the book to community involvement – a Roger Williams trademark that she says rivals Greek life at larger schools. One look and you’ll want to skip Commencement to join another club or organization on campus.

Keep You Up All Night

Inspire Org Envy

Most Likely to...

Make a Coffee Table Comeback in 20 Years

“I always say, you might not want it now but you’re going to want it 20 years from now,” Ochab says. “It’s not a scrapbook. We’ve worked hard to make it more of a coffee table book and to include content and photos of other things that people are interested in and involved in.”

Most Likely to... Make You Hungry

Most Likely to... Embarrass You with Baby Photos and Messages from Mom and Dad

In recent years, the Crossings staff has started reaching out to parents to contribute memories and messages for their graduates. It helps offset the cost of publication and provides some fun fodder for friends to exploit for years to come.

Another campus signature? The food! And with features like “Bites of Downtown Bristol” to a pictorial of the annual campus Steak and Lobster Dinner, you’re bound to come back for seconds.

Passing it On: Farish’s Four Rules for a Happy Life Well-traveled and well-studied, University President Don Farish probably knows a thing or two when it comes to embracing what life has to offer. From participating in the Civil Rights movement during his grad student days in North Carolina to leaving a longterm post for a second presidency during what could have been his retirement years, Farish has strived for an enriching life. Encouraging the Class of 2014 to make the most of it in a poignant and personal Commencement speech, here are – in his own words – “Farish’s Four Rules for a Happy Life.”


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First, be a lifelong learner. A love of learning led Farish to degrees in entomology (the study of insects!) and later, law. His versatility and inquisitive spirit eventually led him to RWU. “Now I get to speak at commencement – how cool is that!” he exclaimed with delight. On a more serious note, he continued: “If you are going to participate in your life, make it a habit to learn something new every day. That might range from reading the newspaper to reading works of nonfiction, the formal coursework to broaden horizons and your versatility.”

For 6 years, students have flocked like fans at a soldout concert to RWU’s standing-room-only biannual Poetry Slam to see their fellow classmates share original works with gripping delivery, often peppered with profanity and palpable emotion. Last semester’s victor – senior, singer and Slam champ Grace Ahl – drops some knowledge about dropping jaws before dropping the mic. Drive Your Friends Crazy To master tone and elocution, Ahl recommends practicing in front of friends like a broken record. Accidently intimidate them? “You can always use a mirror,” she says.

Sweat the Deadline Ahl’s winning poem was written just two days before the spring Slam. “I just wasn’t happy with the two or three other poems that I had been working with all semester, and I had an idea that I just had to put on paper.”

Accept Constructive Criticism While no one loves being told they need improvement, Ahl advocates everyone attend the pre-Slam poetry workshops. “Sharing your work with a community of other people with similar goals in mind is a great way to hone your skills and clarify your work,” she says.

Underestimate the Audience “The reaction is always unexpected,” Ahl says of the support each poet receives from the massive crowd. “The connection between the audience and the performer is much stronger in this category of performance – you are commanding people you don’t even know to listen to you!”

Just Let it Out Ahl urges every new poet: “Always write what’s in your heart, and not always what people want to hear. It’s good to say something that maybe not everyone agrees with.”



Next, find someone to love. Though addressing the pain it can bring – noting the loss of his first wife to illness – he, like many others, has risked and reaped great loss for great love. Farish reminded students to find someone they can share their life with. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be this afternoon’s priority, though,” he joked. “But we humans are a social species, and our lives are infinitely more enriched when we share it with someone that we love – my life is far richer now than it would have been if I had chosen to live life alone.”



Then find something you love to do. And while it may not have seemed so during final exams, earning a college degree can open the door to a life of enjoyment, Farish said. “You all have that opportunity now. Find something you love to do. Don’t spend your lives doing something you hate.”



Finally (and most importantly), don’t settle. “If you don’t like the view from the particular mountain you’ve climbed, climb back down and climb another mountain,” Farish said. “It’s the easiest thing in the world to make excuses for putting up with something intolerable – I have a spouse, I have children, I have a mortgage… Balderdash! If you don’t like the circumstances, change them.”

Want more stories? Go to pdq.rwu.edu.


On the Waterfront



The Medieval Music Man From his youth to his vocation, two notes rang resoundingly for William Ayton – to compose and to play music. His instrument of choice? The medieval viola da gamba. A cofounder of the RWU music program, Ayton has been a fixture on campus since 1976 and remembers when music faculty shared space inside the former library (now the business school). ADVENTURES IN TAIWAN: Born to missionary parents in China in 1948, his family returned to the U.S. too early for him to remember much. But when they accepted another mission, he spent his adolescent years finding mischief in Taiwan – bicycling the countryside, examining bones inside a pagoda deep in the woods and training his pet homing pigeon. CLASSICAL TASTES: A teenaged Ayton was introduced to classical music living in a stateside home for children of missionary parents stationed overseas. There, he fell in love with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 while cleaning out horse stalls and experienced his “first musical high” from Wagner’s instrumental overtures. A SOMBER SOUND: His penchant for pensive tunes drew him to the five-stringed viola da gamba, a cello lookalike from the lineage of the lute and Spanish guitar. “The sound is mellow and meanders out in all directions, whereas the cello booms out sound from its center,” Ayton explains. RENAISSANCE MAN: Something about Baroque and Renaissance music resonates deep within him as a musician. He loves the fact that the notes on the sheet are up for improvisation, since he ranks himself an “amateur musician” at best. “I seem to feel as if there’s a part of me that belongs in that time. Almost as if I’m at home there.” GRAND GALA GOODBYE: To usher Ayton into retirement at the close of the Spring 2014 semester, the music department organized an ambitious concert featuring friends and students performing his original compositions inside the Global Heritage Hall Atrium. “For that Sunday afternoon in April, it felt like one big family.” With retirement under way, he’s now able to re-order his passions to put music composition first. “My project room in the back of my head is so full that the door’s going to break down soon,” Ayton says, grinning. So much for retirement.


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Who Rocks the World? Girls! If the music seems a little louder in Bahrain, you can blame RWU for some small part in that. Last summer at the first ever girls’ rock ‘n’ roll camp in Bahrain, 45 students got an education in female empowerment via a crash course in rock music. Cloaked in the guise of lessons on guitar, bass and drum, songwriting and performance, the weeklong camp taught them so much more about what heights can be reached with girl power. Their best example resided in the person of Wadeeah AlMeshkhas – a 23-year-old Bahraini amateur musician who brought the camp to her country by partnering with a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit that provided counselors and instruments. Key to her success? Skills and inspiration acquired after a few weeks in the U.S. – and on the Roger Williams campus – through the U.S. State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative, which supports the work of young leaders “striving to bring positive change to the Middle East and North Africa.” The girls, ages 12 to 17, studied music by female rockers like Pink and Tegan & Sara and composed original songs. By the end of the week, they performed their own rock music together, even blending genres by rapping the bridge of a song, AlMeshkhas said. Many in the Muslim nation still consider careers in entertainment controversial, AlMeshkas explains, but the parents who saw their daughters pour their hearts into the final show could not have been prouder. “I want to see more females become empowered, whether it’s through music or sport,” she says. “Because the camp is for young girls and teenagers, they have time to think about what they want to do with their lives. I thought camp would help open their eyes – you can be feminist and strong; you can do anything you want; you can choose any field you want to work in.”

Cartoon Satire Senior visual arts major Joseph Hurley embraces a rudimentary style to evoke “a wild feeling” of vitality in his animations. As writer, creator and voice actor, he imbues characters with cartoony expressions and exaggerated movements, and places them in unusual predicaments with FIND MORE a simple artistic intention: “I hope to ONLINE AT make people laugh while maintaining a sort of mystery of what will happen next.” Try not to crack a smile as a vicious daisy discovers its fleeting terra firma dominance ends when picked for a romantic tribute, as pictured in Aggressive Flower. Find lots more at youtube.com/user/supasphoje/. Want more stories? Go to pdq.rwu.edu.


On the Waterfront

Art Axes Crime Who at RWU: Associate Professor Matthew Gregg and Associate Professor Rupayan Gupta (economics)

RWU Rundown: Fun with Research

The Big Question: Does youth participation in educational after-school activities reduce juvenile crime in Rhode Island? What are the characteristics of successful arts-based afterschool programs for youth?

It would take an entire magazine to run down the entire list of RWU research projects that take place in classrooms, labs and the external community – this list highlights a handful of the more intriguing findings from faculty and student researchers.

In a Nutshell: Not only did statistical models indicate that participation in such activities lowers crime, but also that the impact was larger in lower-income cities. Interviews with Everett Dance Company, AS220 Youth, RiverzEdge and New Urban Arts demonstrated that programs that focus on factors ranging from family engagement and skill-based training to college preparation and civic engagement were key in effectively reducing juvenile crime, as well as lessening the cycle of poverty, trauma and general disenfranchisement in these communities. Full report at http://pdq.rwu.edu/mag11.

Ink Redefined

En Dogue

Up in (Sweet) Smoke

Who at RWU: Sarah Hartwell ’14 (global communication)

Who at RWU: Tracey Michelle Smith ’15 and Anne Foreman ’14 (psychology)

Who at RWU: Brianna Ericson ’14 and Joseph Tashjian ’15 (mathematics and biology)

The Big Question: Do tattoos communicate dissent or construct normative forms of identity for the Millennial generation?

The Big Question: Do dogs in the workplace reduce stress and improve productivity among workers?

The Big Question: What factors influence the use of e-cigarettes among college students?

In a Nutshell: A job satisfaction questionnaire determined that workers with pets had a higher rate of job satisfaction than non-pet owners. After analyzing companies with policies in favor of dogs in the workplace (Google, for example) and weighing the pros and cons (for example: elevated oxytocin levels in women is a pro of having a dog around; allergies for many folks are a con), Smith and Foreman concluded that the presence of pets at work could minimize stress and improve productivity. That gives whole new meaning to “working like a dog!”

In a Nutshell: Survey says: 20 percent of RWU student respondents have tried e-cigarettes, and there is a perception that they are less harmful or addictive than tobacco cigarettes. The student researchers point to effective marketing of flavored products, like cola and bubble gum, and note that women were more likely than men to start using e-cigarettes.

In a Nutshell: While tattoos have traditionally symbolized rebellion, the acceptance of tattoos is undergoing an evolution in modern American society. Hartwell posits that as Millennials are more open to change and self-expression and tattoos are increasingly prevalent in various media, tattoos are shifting into a symbol of fashion, transformation, approval and community.

On the Cover of Parade: Alright, Alright, Alright As a science exhibit builder, alumnus Don Ricklin probably never thought he’d share a magazine cover with the likes of Matthew McConaughey. Imagine his surprise, then, when Ricklin found his face right next to the Oscar-winner’s on Parade magazine’s “What People Earn” issue. With degrees in industrial engineering (’72) and theatre (’76), Ricklin spends his days bringing the EcoTarium in Worcester, Mass., to life. Last April, he ranked among the regular folks in the magazine’s annual salary survey of everyone from blue-collar workers to A-list celebrities. At $33,000 (he sold himself short to Parade, submitting $29,000 as his salary) he loves the challenge of a job that’s rarely the same, from building the museum’s centerpiece exhibit on freshwater habitats to climbing into the Tree Canopy Walkway to maintain the zipline. “I know a lot of people wouldn’t want to disclose the money they make,” Ricklin says. “But I made no qualms about it. I basically did this for the fun factor – not expecting at all that I would end up on the cover next to the likes of an Oscar-winner and the notorious Miley Cyrus.” 10

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Inside the Artist’s Studio: Painting Governor Chafee for Posterity

When R.I. Governor Lincoln Chafee viewed narrative painter Julie Gearan’s fantasy fables at an art show, he knew who would paint his official state portrait for perpetuity. Gearan, an adjunct professor of visual arts at RWU, is studying Chafee’s facial contours and disposition during three sittings at her Providence studio to create the 60x38-inch painting. Before her masterpiece is unveiled at the January inauguration of the next governor, Gearan opens a window to her method and the tools she is using in rendering Chafee for posterity. 1. Chinese horsehair, sable bristle, flat and roundtipped filberts are just a few of the different brushes in Gearan’s toolbox. 2. Her palette is cluttered with different brands of oil paints (often the affordable Winsor & Newton), which she mixes directly onto a glass-topped table. For Chafee, she will splurge $45 on each 4-oz. tube of Cremnitz White by Old Holland.



3. The palette knife applies broad swaths of color to create a sculptural quality. Holding it like you’re painting a house, she says, “allows your arm and wrist to become part of your movements, creating fewer small, finite movements.” 4. A pre-primed linen canvas rests on a studio easel so that Gearan can paint standing up, “to view the work as a whole, and not get stuck in the particulars.” 5. The metal decanter is filled with mineral spirits that wet her brushes – a filter at the top pulls discarded color to the bottom while the mineral spirits allow Gearan to “paint wet” and achieve a multi-layered, satin high-gloss finish. 6. Rags create richness when wiped on the canvas to add a highlighting effect. 7. Imbued with orange and amber, the “underpainting” allows her to bring out the warmth of flesh tones via colors that lend “an internal life to things.”

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6 2 Want more stories? Go to pdq.rwu.edu.


On the Waterfront


Think you know mathematicians? Spend a day with Robert Jacobson, who pitches the wallflower stereotype right out the window. “We don’t just cloister ourselves in our offices every day ‘doing the math,’” he says. “Communication is a huge part of what we do.” As living proof, the assistant professor of mathematics pioneered the first social math community on Google+. Snicker, you might – but the site has some 800,000 views to date. From high schoolers to Ph.D.s, all are welcome to share his interest in the concepts, history and (yes) fun of math, Jacobson says. “It’s an open space for everyone to talk about math.” BACK IN YOUR COLLEGE DAYS, WHY CHOOSE TO MAJOR IN MATH?

My undergrad career began in computer programming, but I became increasingly frustrated with my peers when they would often complain about the math. That was the good stuff to me – the stuff I really loved. So, I decided to double major. HOW DO YOU ANSWER THE INEVITABLE “WHEN WILL I EVER USE THIS” QUESTION?

Math people can be our own worst enemy, because we often try to justify our existence by the value of math to society. Saying, “It’s good for my iPhone; it’s good for fuelefficient cars,” is such a good answer. But there are all kinds of things that math is good for, even those without direct application. Math is an important part of being educated because it permeates everything we touch. SO SHOULD EVERYONE STUDY MATH?

Not necessarily. For example, I don’t know how my car works – I’m not a mechanic, but I do think that it is very important to have an appreciation and to value it. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE THE GOOGLE+ MATH COMMUNITY?

Math is a part of our culture, and a part of our culture that needs expression and discussion in a community. It’s a very social enterprise. HOW DO YOU MAKE MATH LESS INTIMIDATING?

Almost everyone recognizes math as challenging, but the Google+ community shows that we can talk about it, and even better, we can laugh about it – we have a jokes section! HOW DO YOU VIEW MATH IN RELATION TO SPIRITUALITY, BELIEF AND NON-BELIEF?

Theologically minded people often talk about ‘unboundedness’ and infinity, or on the flip-side nothingness and zero, and it’s interesting how they are the same and yet different from how those words are used in science. Also, the sense of awe and the sense of wonder and curiosity that some mathematicians have shares a lot with religious experiences and spirituality. AS A COFOUNDER OF HAWK ALLIES, WHAT INSPIRES YOUR ADVOCACY FOR LGBTQ RIGHTS?

Well, it’s really unsophisticated – just a grade-school sense of morality that we should treat each other nicely. I just think there are people who are marginalized and struggle against discrimination, and I really want to do everything to stop that from happening.

FULL NAME Robert Jacobson EDUCATION Ph.D., Texas A&M University B.S., Math and Computer Science, Southern Adventist University 12

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FUN FACT Has a blog called After Math – check it out at http://robertjacobson. herokuapp.com/ FIND MORE ONLINE AT

Crunch those Numbers In the big-data era, ever wonder what your Campus ID card might say about you? As coordinator of the University’s state-of-the-art Fitness Center, Mark Andreozzi has an interesting viewpoint on gym usage patterns. He shared a few stats on how frequently the RWU community feels the burn in a given year.

Ever Wondered How To…

Build an Award-Winning

Parade Float?


out with a live tree

96,000 Annual ID card swipes for Fitness Center entries

and a 20-foot replica of a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, the University’s

Fourth of July parade float was hard to miss this year during Bristol’s annual extravaganza, capturing Most Original honors and more than a few stares from the rain-soaked crowd. RWU’s entry always a crowd pleaser, floats complete with murals of Bristol landmarks and tributes to Rhode Island’s legacy have marched the Roger Williams masterpieces to Best in Parade honors three years running. Director of Student Programs & Leadership Carol Sacchetti and Richi Afifi ’14 shared some tips on creating a float as popular as fireworks and hotdogs.

4,000 Hearty souls who break a sweat in fitness classes

Don’t Wait Until July 3rd Students begin brainstorming new takes on the Bristol parade’s traditional theme, “Great American Experience,” in early March. A clear vision early on allows much more flexibility in the creative process and the opportunity to try different ideas.

It’s All in the Details To make the Coast Guard helicopter appear ready for takeoff, the Facilities staff (who collaborate with Orientation staffers on construction) built a frame of plywood and cardboard, filled that with spray foam, plastered the hulk into a helicopter body – repairing dry cracks with automotive putty – gave it a paint job and affixed authentic decals. The rotor blades? Plywood cut 10 feet long.

10% Spike in usage, with New Year’s resolutions in high gear

Know When to Wing It Faced with an unsightly trailer hitch marring the front, they decided to paint a lovely wildflower mural to mask the crucial connector. According to Sacchetti, “A lot of the time it’s about seeing and deciding what works best for us.”

3:30 – 7:30 p.m. Peak gym hours

Don’t Dampen Your Enthusiasm When it rained it poured on this year’s parade, but the 40 students marching with the float rolled with the punches, cheering and dancing their way down Hope and High streets to drum up merriment from the hardy, but soggy crowd.

Get Your Hands Dirty “Everything on the float is hand-painted, hand-crafted and hand-cut,” says Afifi, student co-chair of the float committee. “All that creativity and time really shows off, especially to the judges.”

11:30 a.m. Andreozzi’s prime workout time. No wait for equipment, but enough people for conversation. 13

Mission Critical

Love of Learning  •  Careers and Future Study  •  Student and Faculty Research  •  Service and Sustainability  •  Global Perspectives  •  Civil Discourse

One Day at a Time By Melissa A. Patricio

From the edge of Independence Park in downtown Bristol, it was hard to miss the sea of students strolling back from the shoreline at a snail’s pace, in search of shade. Tourists, townies and even a few reporters stopped to marvel at the Bay cleanup brigade returning to basecamp after nearly two hours spent collecting cigarette butts and plastic bottles from the shells and stones that line Bristol Harbor. Some wore wellies, others designer wedge sneakers – but they all wore the yellow t-shirt. On the 10th anniversary of Community Connections, the iconic yellow t-shirt remains the most recognizable symbol of the University’s annual day of service – an event that pairs all first-year students, just two days after their arrival to campus, with community partners across Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. But the lasting legacy of Community Connections is far greater than the sum of all its shirts. Nearly 6,300 hours of service was provided to 56 local nonprofits on August 25, with new students, faculty and staff working on projects that included cleaning local parks, running


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bingo at senior centers and dancing with developmentally disabled adults. “To me, it’s a visible reminder to the community of our commitment to being a good neighbor and good partner,” says KC Ferrara, director of the Feinstein Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement at Roger Williams. “We put 1,200 to 1,400 people on the streets that one day, and it demonstrates to students how important service is to us, and what our place in the community is.” Ferrara is quick to point out that Community Connections is not about free labor, and that through intentional site placement – matching student academic interests with the organizations they serve – the students can see how their work makes a difference. “As part of the evolution of the program, we’ve become more intentional, and the students as a result have become more invested,” she says. “When they come back to campus tired, hungry and dirty, we’re happy!” And partners like Save The Bay – Rhode Island’s ubiquitous coastal stewardship organization, which has been a Community

Connections partner since year one – have become reliant on the day of service deployment. According to operations assistant Stan Dimock, Save The Bay counts on the students for their end-of-summer harbor cleanup. Fifty students were on hand this year to clean and survey the Bristol Harbor shoreline, part of Save The Bay’s first international cleanup in partnership with the Ocean Conservancy and R.I. Coastal Cleanup. “I always try to stress that volunteering is a great opportunity to think outside of your comfort zone and find out if you enjoy doing something without consequence,” Dimock says. He should know – it was his years of volunteering with Save The Bay that led him from a career as an insurance adjustor to a role as an environmental educator and conservator. Ferrara echoes Dimock’s sentiment and notes that Community Connections serves as a gateway to sustained service learning commitments throughout college and into the professions. “What we’re really doing is seeding that value of service in our students,” she says. “They’re coming to us hungry for this. It’s

Bay Cleanup Breakdown Community Connections may have celebrated a milestone this year, but so did 10-year partner Save The Bay. This year’s shoreline cleanup was the organization’s first as part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup – the world’s largest volunteer effort for clean oceans and waterways. As part of the initiative, the trash collected along the Bristol Harbor shoreline on Community Connections day was counted and documented to be compared to other cities, regions, states and countries. Here’s a sampling of what the students found:


cigarette butts


plastic beverage bottles


plastic grocery bags

Visit pdq.rwu.edu/mag11 for a complete By the Numbers breakdown

part of their value structure. Without these opportunities it would be like coming here and not finding a gym.” Senior psychology major and president of Peer Pals – a campus organization that works with longtime Community Connections partner L.I.F.E., Inc., to provide programming for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities – Carolyn Tracey has participated in Community Connections for the past three years, leading service projects at nonprofits like the YMCA and The Steel Yard in Providence. Starting the year off FIND MORE with an organized service project is ONLINE AT not just a great bonding experience for new students, she says, but sets the tone for what they can expect of their new community. “The fact that Community Connections happens right away really emphasizes how important service is at RWU. It can be eye-opening to see all of the ways people can get involved and gives students a taste for how fulfilling service can be, so that they’ll seek out those opportunities throughout the year and beyond.” RWU

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For Teens and Tweens, On Guard Online

Click on a friend in a photo on social media sites like Facebook these days, and a dropdown bar may appear with an eerily accurate suggestion of your friend’s name. It’s called facial recognition software, and whether you find it convenient to tag friends or just plain creepy, it’s one of many web safety topics covered in a new online privacy education program taught by RWU Law students to local teens and tweens. The first program of its kind in Rhode Island, a small group of law students working via the Pro Bono Collaborative led interactive lessons with middle school and high school youths from both the Community Preparatory School in

Providence and the East Bay Met School in Newport. With a five-week curriculum, developed at Fordham Law, covering topics from privacy basics to managing a digital reputation, RWU Law was one of a dozen schools to pioneer the program last spring. “Middle school students are at a critical stage in their adolescence, where identity development and a clear sense of individualism and self begin to form,” explains Yajaida De Jesús, a seventh grade teacher at Community Prep. “Adding the social pressures and complications of social media on top of that can be a lot for young students to understand and manage.”

But it wasn’t just the teens and tweens who received an online-privacy education – law students occasionally found their own horizons expanded by savvy questions from the grade-schoolers. “When I was going over the curriculum before lessons, there was a lot that was new to me,” says John Karwashan, a third-year law student who taught in the program. “Many times during the classes, too, students would raise points that we had never even considered.” De Jesús said the two groups developed a connection over the five weeks with engaging, enlightening weekly sessions. “Our students look up to the law students as mentors, and I think they make a real connection while teaching them about important issues that can impact their adult lives,” she says. “We are thrilled to partner with RWU Law to bring a program of this kind to our students.” Chris Gross, an educator at the East Bay Met, says the program proved highly effective in teaching his young students to use caution when sharing personal information – so much so that the initiative returned to his school this fall. “It helped these teens get a better idea of how important it is to represent themselves in a positive light online because the internet – and what they put on it – is permanent,” Gross says. The need to teach teens online safety smarts is growing, according to research recently reported by the Pew Research Center: 93 percent of teens ages 12 to 17 go online; 53 percent of teens post their email address online; 20 percent post their cell phone number; and 33 percent are connected online to people they have never met. That, coupled with the program’s inaugural success, motivated the program’s expansion this fall as part of the Pro Bono Collaborative’s Street Law program. Ten students are now teaching in a half dozen schools in Rhode Island. — Jack Dunleavy ’15

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Mission Critical

Troubleshooting Technology for Senior Citizens

Let’s face(book) it. Social media and senior citizens don’t exactly go hand-in-hand. And with items like “All These Grandmas Are Accidentally Tagging Themselves Grandmaster Flash on Facebook” filling our newsfeeds – and television commercials of grandma “putting photos on the line” – she’s quickly become the cultural punch line for a generation of digital natives. “A lot of seniors are intimidated by all this new technology, but they have children who buy them smartphones, laptops, iPads,” says Louise House, former director of the Barrington Senior Center. “Part of it is that they want their parents to learn to Skype, to share pictures with them and to email with their grandkids.” So House turned to a group of surrogate grandchildren, so to speak – college students who could teach the seniors the basics of their devices and how to communicate with their grandkids online. Via a Community Partnerships Center project this spring, a group of SOAR leadership students hosted a series of technology classes at the Senior Center that provided group and one-on-one training on topics from Navigating the Internet to Computer and Internet Security. 18

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Each class had an associated syllabus and PowerPoint presentation with step-by-step screenshots for the attendees – mostly septuagenarians, with a few young’uns in their late 60s – to follow along. The sessions ended with a comprehensive Q&A. One or two students would teach at the front of the room, while up to five additional team members would roam to troubleshoot individual questions. “There were a lot of questions,” says Matt Regan, a senior security assurance studies major who led the computer and internet security session. “When you don’t grow up with this stuff, it’s just not as easy to adopt. Making the syllabus for the classes proved how challenging it can be – we had to make the lessons as simple as possible, breaking down a task into 20 steps that would typically take one of us just five.” For instance, Regan says, many of the students know firsthand the importance of secure passwords and the peril of email phishing scams. But grandma might not. “We taught the importance of secure passwords, the difference between secure sites and non-secure sites – it’s critical to make sure you know where you’re providing

your email address or personal information,” Regan says. “We wanted them to have better knowledge of what’s OK to click on and what they should avoid.” Attendance was above average compared to other Senior Center activities, House said, and more impactful than previous attempts to provide technology support to the seniors. “In the past, people would come in and learn on a PC, but go home to a Mac and have no idea what to do with it,” she says. “The beauty of having the students there was that people were shown what to do on their own equipment. The people who came really loved it – they loved interacting with the students and they could get their questions answered. And the younger people were brilliant! They really did engage our community members and would stay as long as they could, well beyond the scheduled session time, until they had to get to class.” SOAR is a leadership development program that features three tiers of training – Emerge, Develop and Lead – to help students hone their abilities and refine their leadership style. At the Lead level, students are asked to apply what they have learned, typically on campus. This was the first CPC project that brought the SOAR students’ skills into the greater community. In addition to the technology classes, SOAR students developed a marketing plan and brand identity for the Senior Center to apply to outreach efforts. “It’s one of the best experiences I’ve had at Roger Williams,” Regan says, noting the number of opportunities opened to him through the SOAR program. “My confidence and self-esteem have improved, and I’ve become a more engaged person both on campus and in the community.” And their work is going the distance. After presenting their project at the University’s Community Engagement Showcase in May, the lesson plans were picked up and are now in use at the Pawtucket Senior Center. No word yet on whether Grandmaster Flash will be a guest lecturer. — Melissa A. Patricio

Market Theory Imagine: A market where local farmers peddle produce alongside makers of artisan cheeses. Where a French pastry chef demonstrates how to whip up the perfect macaron. Where folks stroll over from nearby neighborhoods to take in local bands, sample regional victuals and amble home with fresh-off-the-boat seafood. Perhaps something you’d find in a Parisian street scene – but in Providence, Rhode Island? Well, if the Providence Food Market Steering Committee has anything to say about it (and they do), an outdoor market would be a delectable addition to the Renaissance City’s milieu. A multifaceted effort drawing on resources from the Providence Redevelopment Agency, the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission, Farm Fresh RI, Johnson & Wales University and others, the committee – with just the seed of an idea – needed help vetting what structures and systems would be needed to create a market and events space, where in the city something like this would best fit, and how much it might cost to build. Roger Williams University students and faculty to the rescue, via the Community Partnerships Center. Their goal? To help get the project off the ground by creating a unified vision and determining the project’s viability. With Anthony Piermarini – a principal at Studio Luz Architecture – leading an urban design studio, a dozen graduate architecture students spent the spring researching food markets, analyzing properties owned by the PRA and I-195 Commission, and conceptualizing solutions that integrate a functional and adaptable yet playful, open design. At monthly meetings with the steering committee, students explored several design directions and helped the committee eliminate options to focus on what they want to create. For second-year graduate student Matt Eckel, the experience offered lessons in responding to client needs that later aided him in a summer internship with Taylor Architects in White Plains, N.Y. Re-creating his design five times based on the steering

Rendering by: Joanna Grocott

committee’s evolving idea was the most beneficial part of the partnership, he says. “This project was different in that we couldn’t do only what we wanted to do,” Eckel says. “We had to abide by what the committee wanted, and they didn’t know what they wanted until we showed it to them. We had to abide by pricing limitations, certain material selection, building codes, and it had to be temporary. It really gave us insight about a real-life project.” According to Piermarini, the students’ imaginative design elements – Joanna Grocott’s elevated walkway, which doubles as auditorium seating and provides river views; Kate Ford’s rooftop grapevine trellis whose arbor shades outdoor areas; and Eckel’s open wood-frame structure evocative of barns – inspired the committee members. Their quality of work was first-rate and

responsive to the committee’s requests, adds Donald Gralnek, executive director of the Providence Redevelopment Agency. “The students helped us formulate some ideas and crystallize our thinking,” Gralnek says. FIND MORE “Everyone came away from ONLINE AT this feeling that their partnership was invaluable and quite productive. I would not hesitate to seek a partnership with the CPC again.” Now supplied with a clearer vision to guide the next steps, the committee will be able to deliver concrete ideas to a professional architecture firm. From there, it’s up to city officials whether to proceed with a project. For now, we can all dream of macarons and free live music. — Jill Rodrigues ’05 Want more stories? Go to pdq.rwu.edu.


Adam Braver is an associate professor of creative writing and writer-inresidence at Roger Williams University. He is the author of five novels, including November 22, 1963, about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and Misfit, a fictional account of the days leading up to Marilyn Monroe’s death. His work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies and has been translated worldwide.

community through their struggles. The overwhelming belief and ideal of protecting and promoting freedom of expression among our own Roger Williams community – something we in the United States enjoy constitutionally and that many other countries have at least agreed to via the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights – struck a chord with students from different backgrounds and academic interests. It quickly became apparent that this project would no longer be specific to the writing students, but for any interested individual with the willingness and commitment to bear the burden of a stranger’s fight for freedom and humane treatment. As an outgrowth of these early successes, we have recently formalized a partnership with Scholars at Risk. And just as the demographics of the classroom have become academically diverse, so has the nature of the project – evolving from a single creative writing class in the Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences to a partnership between the University Library and the Spiegel Center for Global and International Programs.

It was the last time she spoke to her father. The last time she was in China. And the last time she saw her younger brothers and stepmother. She would start a new life, in a new country, with nearly no understanding of English. During the course of their casework, our students reached out to Jewher and arranged to speak with her by phone. That conversation spurred a student delegation that made plans to meet her in Washington, where we would take her to meet with more than a dozen officials we knew from past cases, so that she (rather than we) could tell the story of her and her father. But here is where I am going with this: Aside from the professionalism, poise and preparedness of the two students who came with me to meet Jewher in D.C., I was most moved by their compassion and their kindness. I don’t often get to see that side of students. It is something I have reason to suspect is part of them (why wouldn’t it be?), but based on the social roles we enact with one another, I generally don’t witness it. Yet as these two young women sat with Jewher, they were the living definition of empathy and sympathy. Immediately, they felt her anxiety. They felt her feelings of loss and confusion and anger and sadness and bravery. They became her friend, finding all the common interests that transcended culture and the larger, direr situation. If I could communicate one image, it would be this: all of us sitting on a couch in the hotel lobby, staying up much later than we had any right to, while the three of them laughed and told stories and hugged at the end of the night. As I write this, I am still remarkably moved by how the kindness of the human spirit can reveal itself when you least expect it. Several weeks later, at Jewher’s request, the students accompanied her as she testified about her father before a Congressional committee. And a month after that, one of the students and I visited New York as her guests when she accepted the Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award on Tohti’s behalf at the annual PEN Gala. So, again I ask: Why do we do it? Because it’s the right thing to do. RWU

These two young women...became her friend, finding all the common interests that transcended culture and the larger, direr situation.

Consider our most recent case, on behalf of the Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti. When the students took up Tohti’s case, he had recently been arrested in Beijing, where he taught economics at Minzu University of China. His alleged crime? Inciting separatism in the country’s Xinjiang region – an area with a history of ongoing conflict between the ethnic minority Uighurs and the Han Chinese. Professor Tohti had been detained without access to lawyers and had not been seen or heard from since his imprisonment. His family was placed under house arrest. This September, he was tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison. All of his assets were seized and no provision made for his wife and two young sons. Within 24 hours of his sentencing, the White House, Secretary of State John Kerry and the European Union officially condemned the judgment of the individual largely considered a voice of reason between the polarizing factions. Two years prior to his arrest, Tohti – by all accounts an internationally regarded professor – was en route to Indiana University for a one-year teaching appointment. As he prepared to board the plane to Bloomington with his daughter, Jewher, Tohti was seized and detained. Amid the chaos, he instructed the then 19-year-old Jewher to get on the airplane and to never come back.

For more on the Ilham Tohti case and upcoming cases, follow the RWU students’ Facebook page, RWU SAR: Scholars in Prison.

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RWU {Fall 2014}

Hello Cindy

By Bekah Wright

Photos by James Jones, Photography RI

From Batman and Scooby-Doo to Spiderman and Looney Tunes, Cindy Elfenbein ’78 shares her secrets for success as she helps Sanrio celebrate 40 years of Hello Kitty

“I LEARNED INSPIRATION,” says Cindy Goldstein Elfenbein ’78, when asked about the source of hers. Perhaps not the answer you’d expect from a merchandise executive whose career has placed her among some of the world’s most recognizable icons designed to inspire imagination in others. Then again, Elfenbein’s personal journey has been anything but ordinary – with no warning signs for “curves ahead,” she says. Despite her title as executive director of retail business development for Sanrio, the global lifestyle brand best known for Hello Kitty, Elfenbein is quick to point out that business wasn’t exactly where she’d set her sights when she enrolled at Roger

Williams College in 1974 – coincidentally, the same year that Hello Kitty made her first appearance in the U.S. Still, even with some twists and turns, Elfenbein has found herself right where she’s supposed to be.

The intersection between imagination and reality hit home for Elfenbein’s family early on. It was then that her father, 46-yearold Jack Goldstein, unexpectedly passed away, leaving Elfenbein’s mother, Beatrice, alone to raise three children. Returning to a teaching career, Beatrice moved the family, including 3-year-old Cindy, into a twobedroom apartment. “Even though our lifestyle changed, we were a very close family growing up,” Elfenbein says. “Beyond ensuring there was a lot of love, my mom made certain we were independent, responsible, had good morals and our own paths.” Life lessons began early as a result. “I started working when I was 12,” she recalls. “Even then, I understood a job’s value and that I had to work really hard.” That drive led Elfenbein – armed with a grant and work-study funding – to leave behind her native West Orange, N.J., for Rhode Island and Roger Williams, where she enrolled in the theatre program. A natural social networker, Elfenbein immediately engaged in residence life in 2 North – her first home away from home. Her main hangout, though, was the student bookstore, where she worked. “Everybody knew me, from the students to the professors,” Elfenbein says. “I was the girl who wore the large glasses down to my nose.”

Cindy ‘s photo by


Seth Joel/Seth

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y Joel Photograph

Friendships and a first love were discovered between the bindings in the bookstore. So, too, was an extended family, through co-workers Edward Ragosta, his son, Ed, and Dottie Carroll. A lifelong friendship was written between Elfenbein and Carroll. “She was instrumental in my life,” Elfenbein notes. “Not only was she like a second mom, but she gave me a different perspective and direction.” With summer break and sophomore year looming, a bit of drama ensued: Elfenbein began to question her choice of major. “In order to stay in theatre, there was a freshman requirement to audition for three plays,” she recalls. “It was the last semester and I hadn’t tried out for a single play. Part of me was wondering – was theatre really my passion?” Still, Elfenbein auditioned for a play – and won the lead role. She promptly turned it down and switched to a business major.

The lesson Elfenbein learned that first year set the tone for decades of choices to come: “Be careful with what you go after; be selective. If you’re good at something and driven to do it, take chances and persevere even when things aren’t great.” Determined to develop a career in buying and retail, she pursued her degree in marketing while waitressing at Tweet Balzano’s in Bristol. A senior-year chance encounter with a diner who happened to be a dress manufacturer led Elfenbein to an assistant buyer gig with a certified buying service in New York – and two additional jobs. “As a buyer, I was making $12,000 a year,” she says. “Even with living at my mom’s and commuting in from New Jersey,

I still had to do retail at Saks Fifth Avenue and waitress at Twin Brooks Country Club to make ends meet.” It’s an all-too-familiar narrative that mirrors the challenges many Millennials face nearly 35 years later: two years past graduation, Elfenbein was still living at home and struggling financially. Despite her best efforts, it wasn’t enough. Elfenbein had to default on her $10,000 student loan – a hefty sum at the time. Reassessing her options, she began applying for buyer training programs in Los Angeles with J.W. Robinson’s, Broadway and Bullock’s department stores, and was accepted into all three. She chose the Robinson’s program and headed for California with four suitcases and pure determination. Period. The job paid $18,000 (about $65,000 today, adjusting for inflation), but still she found herself supplementing with waitressing work to keep the lights on. As for her shared apartment, it had no furniture. “Little by little, I got a mattress, then a dresser…” she recalls. But there was still a bit of time for fun, including a fateful blind date. Her aunt set her up with a fellow New Jersey native, Larry Elfenbein. Love struck hard and fast, and the duo married within a year. Then in her mid-20s, Elfenbein worked at a hosiery company and focused on raising her three children. Juggling work and parenting brought its own challenges, she says. “We were dividing and conquering. We didn’t hit every soccer match or swim meet, but we attended a lot.” There were other sacrifices, too: “I didn’t form friendships, join the PTA or any clubs.” But Elfenbein believes that the model of a working family instilled in her children a set of values that made them who they are today. “A lot of people put careers first and parenting later,” she says. “Making Want more stories? Go to pdq.rwu.edu.


a different choice has made me a late bloomer in my field.” The “family-first” philosophy that Elfenbein fostered since her days as a Goldstein brought new opportunities when her brother, Lewis, helped the hosiery maven get a leg up in a growing industry. “He was working as co-president of marketing at the WB Television Network when a job in consumer products became available,” she recalls. “Even though I knew nothing about licensing, he thought my retail background would be an asset, so he put my name in the hat.” Goldstein’s intuition was on target. “That job was my big break,” Elfenbein says. “It ended up encompassing so many of the different things I’d touched – retail, marketing, sales. It was also very relationship-driven and social, which I thrived on. And, ultimately, it was the melding of two dreams – a career crossover between business and entertainment.”

Remember that Powerpuff Girls t-shirt your daughter just had to have in 1998? You can thank Elfenbein for that. For seven years, she served as a senior account executive at Warner Bros. Consumer Products, taking everything from Looney Tunes and ScoobyDoo to Batman and, yes, the Powerpuff Girls, to stores like Walmart, Toys“R”Us and Macy’s. 26

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“In licensing, you’re getting vendors and manufacturers interested in a product,” she says. “They pay a royalty in order to put it on garments to sell to the public. It’s a great business to be in, especially when you have great brands – or in my case, great entertainment brands.” Indeed, in many ways Elfenbein was among the pioneers in this new vein of marketing. “At the time, there weren’t many jobs like mine, especially one with so many different, integrated components – I touch movies, entertainers, entertainment, digital, promotions, marketing and licensing, which is so phenomenal in itself.” What does this self-proclaimed “ideal job” bring out in Elfenbein? She acknowledges her various work experiences helped to prepare her, noting that a background in planning can really put you ahead of the pack. Skills she considers imperative range from great personalities and the ability to build relationships, to salesmanship, understanding of retail and the ability to anticipate/understand buyers’ and managers’ expectations. “You become a relationship person, which is key in this business. You have to be creative in so many different ways,” Elfenbein says. “But you also have to understand analytics. “These variables give a bigger picture of your business – what’s selling, what’s working and what’s not, down to the SKU level, margin, price-point and productivity.” Having risen to the rank of expert in her field, Elfenbein’s services became much sought after, resulting in subsequent positions with DIC Entertainment and MGA Entertainment. Then, she took another turn in the road – except this time, it was Elfenbein throwing the curveball rather than reacting to it. In 2006, she stepped down as a vice president working with a toy brand

at MGA for a position lower on the food chain at Sony Pictures Entertainment. “It wasn’t about the title,” she says. “It was about what was going to make me energized and excited about the job, and what I could do to bring it to an even bigger and better level than what I’d done before.”

Not to say there wasn’t some rocky terrain along the way. There were two layoffs – inevitabilities in the entertainment world, she says – but Elfenbein advises that it’s how you react to the downs that help you get back up again. And again, it was her family that rallied around her to buoy Elfenbein’s ambitions. Her key supporter during these times was her husband, Larry. “He’d say, ‘You’re smart, aggressive, people love you, especially because you bring out their good sides,’” she recalls. When it was time for interviews, he’d stage run-throughs with her. “It’s all about how you interview,” she says. “Lay out that foundation of who you really are. For me, that word is ‘true,’ which fits my personality. I’m very open and transparent. A potential employer is going to see what I’ve accomplished and know what I can bring to the table next.” And with more than 15 years as a brand ambassador for some of the most iconic characters in entertainment under her belt, Sanrio – creators of the ubiquitous Hello Kitty – wanted Elfenbein at their table as they prepared for a global campaign to market Kitty’s 40th anniversary. Four years later, with her seemingly endless energy and indisputable joie de vivre, Cindy and Kitty are the perfect pair. “The brand is pretty unique unto itself,” says Elfenbein, who cites Hello Kitty’s

innate ability to bring happiness to others as key to her lasting impression. “At age three, Hello Kitty might be interpreted as a friend, bringing happiness and making you smile. Once you’re off to college, her design may make an appearance on items like refrigerators as a way of expressing one’s personality. Later in life, she shows up amongst collectors who forge friendships with others that share a love of the brand.” Created in Japan in 1974 and exported to the United States in 1976, Hello Kitty is celebrating her 40th anniversary this year – and still experiencing firsts, from the Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty product retrospective and mixed-media art exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum from October through April to Hello Kitty Con 2014 – an inaugural convention designed to bring fans together from around the world to The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles this fall. Not in L.A.? Not to worry. Hello Kitty is going on the road, sharing squeezes during Sanrio’s Share a Hug with Hello Kitty! campaign. These hugs will be tallied and added to the Global Hug Report. Not to be left out – signature anniversary products from brands including Sephora, Minnetonka, Major League Baseball, the NFL, McDonald’s, Vans and Swarovski. Working on the anniversary has provided Elfenbein the opportunity to reflect on her own journey – all of the peaks and valleys, and a few forks in the road. She feels at peace

and encourages the upcoming generation of go-getters to take it all with a grain of salt, seek challenges and trust your instincts. “I didn’t have steps or rules for my career and went at my own pace,” she says. “And though a lot of people taught me things along the way, I also used my own smarts. I’ve always felt challenged in my career. Just when I think I’ve gone as far as I can, I know I can do more and find things I haven’t done that call for a leap of faith – all things I love. “There will be good days and bad days – just know how good you really are and show people.” At Sanrio, Elfenbein has had the opportunity to do just that. After all, she says, it’s hard not to find inspiration and do good when you’re literally surrounded by the world’s ambassador of happy every time you step foot in your office. And even though it’s a tremendous amount of hard work to manage different retailer relationships and ensure the best quality product through licensees, Elfenbein can’t deny how phenomenal her current career destination is, and the joy of working with a global phenomenon. “I get to do this every day, and speak from the heart of Hello Kitty as a brand,” Elfenbein says. “She brings happiness everywhere.” RWU

A curious bit of Barbadian culture, in homage to Bristol, hangs bathed in mystery in Global Heritage Hall. RWU Magazine cracked the case of the Sailor’s Valentine. But not literally. That would’ve been an expensive mistake. By Me lissa A. P atricio


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r Photos by Pete



A myth as big as Moby Dick asserts that sailors aboard 19th century whaling and trade ships would while away idle hours handcrafting elaborate valentines for their sweethearts back home, painstakingly placing each shell just so to create hearts and flowers along with messages of Forget Me Not and Think of Me. Lovely, no? It’s time to deep-six that fish story. Sure it may have been more romantic for shore-bound brides to fancy their husbands and admirers spending all that time at sea collecting shells and affixing them to an octagonal board, sealing their true love forever in rich mahogany encasements. But like so many men returning from a trip with the guys, those sailors purchased the trinkets – made by island women and small children – in an exotic back-alley gift shop, just before they boarded the boat home. “In the early 1800s, Barbados was a deep-water port for whaling industry ships, and the crews needed stores,” explains shell artist Gregg Roberts, whose Cape Cod studio is dedicated to the history and creation of sailor’s valentines. “The Belgrave brothers owned a barroom, an ice house and a place for curiosities where local women made shell artwork for sailors passing through. Some of them were on the ships for five years!” Much like the New England whaling industry, the Belgraves’ businesses – including the New Curiosity Shop on McGregor Street in Bridgetown – collapsed by 1880, and sailor’s valentines became a fad of the past. But a shell art renaissance in recent decades has made way for a resurgence of valentines old and new, exhibited and sold in museums, antique shops and of course, island gift shops on Nantucket. There is even an annual competition on Sanibel Island in Florida where Roberts, who began making the valentines during a medical hiatus from his career as a pharmacist, has won numerous awards – including first prize in his first year. “And then,” he says, “I just went back to the barn and kept on working.” In a nod to Bristol’s rich maritime history, a sailor’s valentine adorns the south wall of the Bristol Heritage Classroom in Global Heritage Hall – a signature piece of artwork unique to the Roger Williams campus that Roberts officially presented to the University last spring. The Bristol Piece, as he calls it, took its place in time for the building’s grand opening in 2008, but has hung in as much mystery as the origin of the art form ever since. A visit from the artist shed light on the Barbadian tradition and what, exactly, makes RWU’s valentine funny, sweet and a favorite work of art. RWU

Ode to Bristol At home in the Bristol Heritage Classroom, it’s only natural that the room’s signature piece of art reflects the town’s renown for boatbuilding and maritime innovation. Working from a stack of books about the patriotic borough by the bay, Roberts selected eight photographs depicting Bristol’s history in scenes from King Philip’s Seat to the iconic waterfront and a map in the very center.

Knot for Nothing, But… More than a tip of the hat to maritime culture, the knotwork in the Bristol valentine serves as Roberts’ signature. A single ribbon of braiding spans six feet when laid flat, each piece hand-woven by Roberts himself.

Wood-n’t You Know A traditional sailor’s valentine is encased in mahogany, but a vendor error left Roberts with a fated ream of redwood to craft the frame. “It turned out that the wood for the frame was originally from the Narragansett Brewing Company – right in RWU’s backyard!” Roberts says, noting that each corner of the octagonal case contains a spline to resist separation and splitting from humidity.

Susie Sells Seashells by the Seashore – Also, on Amazon

Roberts culled an incredible 10,000 shells to curate the thousand or so needed to complete the design. The interior shells within the compass rose – another traditional element of the sailor’s valentine – are native to New England, many of which Roberts collected or even ate from. The colored shells that comprise the flower details were purchased on the web. “When I first started, you had to know someone going to Thailand or Sanibel and have them bring back shells for you. Now you can buy them online.”

Coffee, Pillows And Patience “It took about 400 hours and tons of coffee,” Roberts says with a chuckle. “I put the piece on a table in my house, but I couldn’t reach the center of it. I laid on my stomach on a pillow for 15 hours a day!”

Sticky Business Not all of Roberts’ supplies venture across shifting seas. In fact, some are available at your friendly neighborhood craft store. He uses Elmer’s Glue for the flatwork – “anything not a flower,” he says – and the bouquet work, which lends a sense of movement to the design, is only slightly more complex. “I actually just use a mini glue gun; I had a metal worker create a tip for me so that you won’t see a lot of glue in the final design.”

Size Matters “I’ve seen every size valentine, including the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum exhibit, and I have never seen one as big,” Roberts says of the 80-pound, 48-inch masterpiece. “I would think it’s the biggest in the world.” So large, in fact, that the tempered glass pane had to be doubled in thickness to a quarter-inch.


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{Fall RWU{Fall 2014} RWU 2014}














Landings are arguably the most dangerous maneuver for any aircraft – making an award-winning, student-designed device to detect wind shear at small airports a breath of fresh air for pilots and aviation officials alike

STRAIGHT INTO AN INVISIBLE BLAST One sunny day in September, several thousand feet above the thickly settled neighborhoods of East Haven, Conn., Devin Tichy angles the nose of his single-engine, low-wing Piper Warrior II southeasterly, lining up his approach to Runway 14 at Tweed New Haven Regional Airport. Sealed inside the cramped cockpit, shoulder to shoulder with an aircraft mechanic in the co-pilot’s seat, they study the dozens of gauges and indicators ringing the control yokes during the routine instrument check, as Tichy banks the plane over the homes encircling the flat expanse of black-tar airstrips and fields that reveals the small airport. A clear sky and gentle breeze belie a nearby storm that forces him to land on

the secondary runway – a shorter strip that will take all of his precision to nail the steep descent over a tree-topped hill dotted with single-family homes and a schoolhouse. As Tichy crests the hill, adjusting slightly for a crosswind, he points the nose down and dives toward the narrow ramp bisecting the 200-acre airfield. Suddenly, 400 feet above the airport parking lot, the plane yaws to the right, toward the trees, and a wing wrenches down – as if someone had slapped a hand down on the plane without warning. Lurching forward toward the oppressively close windshield, Tichy has a birds-eye view as his craft plummets 50 feet while the stall horn emits an ominous alarm.

Time suddenly feels gummy as old molasses, like the freeze-frame eternity of an inescapable car crash, as Tichy steals a glance at his passenger – the mechanic’s face full of fear, one palm pressed against the ceiling while the other pushes against the instrument panel. Heart racing but otherwise cool and collected, Tichy reacts swiftly, thrusting the throttle and correcting course as he swoops down the hill. Then, as quickly as it came, the wind gust – the hidden cause of the Warrior’s momentary distress – disappears. Tichy floats smoothly onto the runway and advises the air traffic control tower about his encounter with the invisible blast.

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“Any detection system for wind shear would be an incredible asset to general aviation airports and regional airports like Tweed New Haven,” Tichy says.

Safely back on the ground, Tichy vividly recounts one of his many encounters with an under-the-radar aviation hazard that challenges small-aircraft and jumbo-jetliner pilots alike: wind shear. Firsthand experience SAFETY – AT WHAT COST? has acquainted Tichy with the feeling of a Many pilots lament the fact that despite this radical shift in wind velocity or direction, dangerous, sometimes fatal hazard, a technology which can confuse pilots as the craft is thrust for detecting clear-air wind shear, particularly for down or pushed upward with intermittent lulls airports like Tweed, has been scantily in between – making wind shear a deceptive, investigated. And with multimillion-dollar price dangerous force with which to reckon. tags, the sophisticated radar and weatherTypically, low-level wind shear strikes an detection systems employed at major commercial aircraft unexpectedly at altitudes below 2,000 airports simply aren’t affordable – leaving pilots feet, often amid any pilot’s most vulnerable to rely on basic weather information and maneuver – landing. In descending to an word-of-mouth reports from frequent fliers airstrip, Tichy explains that a pilot has only rocked by recent wind shear. seconds to react to wind fluctuations as the Until now. distance between Enter Roger Williams plane and Earth “ANY DETECTION University Class of 2014 dissipates, SYSTEM FOR WIND graduates Samantha increasing the Gildersleeve, Stephanie Norris, SHEAR WOULD BE AN chance of a crash Benny Tortorici and Andrew landing. And smaller, INCREDIBLE ASSET TO Wilson – a top gun group of lightweight aircraft – engineers whose senior capstone GENERAL AVIATION such as his Piper project earned top honors in the Warrior II – are far AIRPORTS AND REGIONAL Federal Aviation Association’s more susceptible to AIRPORTS LIKE TWEED 2014 Design Competition for wind shear’s Universities. tempestuous effects. NEW HAVEN.” Tasked with an open-ended “If you have a —DEVIN TICHY, PILOT challenge to identify a serious warning to expect aviation issue and design a solution to the wind shear, then you can be ready on the problem, the team combined expertise in throttle,” says Tichy, an aviation ground electrical and mechanical engineering to instructor. “Prior warning can mean the develop an original, economical device called difference between a smooth, uneventful the Protection Against Wind Shear system landing and slamming down on the runway – (PAWS) – a groundbreaking, simple design or even far worse.” (see sidebar) with a thrifty $10,000 price tag Still, despite technological advances in that small airports can sustain. recent decades, detecting wind shear – “We found that there was a gap in particularly “clear-air wind shear,” a rogue technology to detect wind shear at general meteorological event that Tichy encounters aviation airports,” says Gildersleeve, now a about three times a year – is a persistent doctoral student in Rensselaer Polytechnic problem for pilots. Particularly those who fly Institute’s aerospace engineering program who out of general aviation airports like Tweed spent this summer conducting aerodynamics New Haven, where no technology is available research for the Boeing Company in Seattle. to warn pilots if wind shear is on the horizon.


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An Inside Look at an Award-Winning Invention


SO, HOW DOES PAWS WORK? Anemometers placed at different heights, both vertically and horizontally, capture wind speed and direction. Each data point relays into a main signal reader (a microcontroller) that transmits the information on wind speed and direction into a Microsoft Excel formula that calculates velocity over distance to determine slope – the figure that informs how much wind speed changes along the span of the system. A radical difference between two measurement points indicates the possibility of wind shear, if the slope reaches a predetermined threshold. Translation: “The system maps the data to see which anemometers are moving, and at what speed, what orientation and what height that’s happening,” team leader Samantha Gildersleeve explains. “For example, if it reads that at one height the wind speed is 10 knots, but five feet below there’s a horizontal wind at 25 knots – if the slope is steep between these points, then the difference in speed at different heights probably indicates wind shear.” HERE’S A BREAKDOWN:

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1. At 50 feet tall, PAWS meets FAA regulations on instrument height requirements. For practical purposes, the beta model was a 1/5 scale model and stood 10 feet tall. 2. Red light (color and brightness to FAA stipulations) activates to visually warn pilots of wind shear; the light remains active for 10 minutes.


3. The tangerine orange paint job is not an aesthetic choice – it’s an FAA safety regulation. 4. Anemometers – the spinning spoons – capture a complete picture of wind speed, direction and orientation, as well as differences in measurements along the span.


5. Two small wind turbines power the system – a “green” feature that keeps PAWS off the grid. 6. The trunk – a galvanized steel pipe – is designed to withstand drag forces and weathering. 7. Wiring feeds into a data acquisition system, which calculates the threat of wind shear and transmits an alert. 8. Located alongside a runway, one or more PAWS systems would inform air traffic control and pilots of wind conditions near the ground.

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WEATHERING WIND SHEAR From 1982 to 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board reported hundreds of aircraft accidents citing wind shear as a cause or factor.


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operate safely. You need to know the direction and speed, and how much the wind is gusting.” With gusts 10 knots higher than usual on the wind-whipped staging ground on beta test day, Gildersleeve, the team leader, positioned her teammates around the scale model for the working debut of their invention. SpoonTHE WIND DETECTIVES shaped anemometers – basic instruments for measuring wind speed and direction – whirled A blustery breeze blew across Tweed Airport in furiously on branch-like appendages affixed to April, a blanket of white noise over the droning the PAWS model. The students took turns whirr of propeller planes, the scream of corporate slowing an anemometer cluster or stopping jet engines and the intermittent buzzing one altogether with their hands while departure of a 37-passenger U.S. Airways Express permitting those at other positions to spin jet – the only commercial airliner operating at unimpeded – manually recreating conditions the airfield. for wind shear with Managing 20 to 100 stronger gusts at one “WATER TO A BOAT IS LIKE arrivals and departures a height or direction day, the small group of WIND TO A PLANE – over another. airport operations crew Huddled in YOU NEED TO KNOW typically remain enclosed windbreakers jeans within the nearby air WHAT THE WIND IS DOING around a laptopandconnected traffic control tower, TO OPERATE SAFELY. YOU to PAWS, they monitored monitoring weather results that would define and pilot reports and NEED TO KNOW THE an entire academic year making an occasional DIRECTION AND SPEED, dedicated to research, drive across the runways surveying airport AND HOW MUCH THE to scan for debris. executives and pilots about But on this occasion, WIND IS GUSTING.” the issue, and testing Kurt Rodman, an airport individual parts of their —KURT RODMAN, TWEED AIRPORT operations supervisor, prototypes. Each element found himself on the field of the device proved to work without flaw, alongside the main runway to observe the from uninterrupted wind measurements to a student engineering team conduct the first field wind shear slope calculation appearing at test of their invention. Brought on board for his regular intervals – and yes, the red flash of expertise in FAA regulations, Rodman worked the system’s light activating. with Norris – now an engineer for the General There was a collective sigh of success, Dynamics Electric Boat division – to connect recalls Wilson – “the numbers guy,” who is the team with pilots for anecdotal research and currently pursuing a master’s in engineering to give the team an inside look at airport at Cornell University – made even sweeter operations before the big reveal. The team’s when the team verified their data against technical advisor, Rodman waxes wind-speed measurements recorded by philosophically on aviation safety: Tweed Airport’s lone anemometer system. “Water to a boat is like wind to a plane – “Our invention is essential to general aviation airports in the fact that they don’t have anything like this. You can claim that the cost of one of these $10,000 systems is nothing compared to the cost of a life.”

you need to know what the wind is doing to



“This product has a high level of commercialization because of the simplicity of The sheer genius of the PAWS device is its the design, low cost and demonstrated simplicity. Basic design using economical effectiveness – and it’s needed in filling a materials – it’s nothing more than a steel pipe, present technological gap,” Riley says. “It’s inexpensive industry-standard anemometers, completely original. There’s nothing out there an elemental electrical system and two small that functions like theirs does.” wind turbines that generate power for the And there are signs of hope on the horizon. device (a “green” feature that keeps PAWS off As a result of their first-place victory in the FAA the grid) – caps expenses and makes it Design Competition, the team presented the affordable for small airfields. device in July both at FAA Headquarters and a “Our idea was to give you only what you national airport consultants’ conference, need for what you pay for it,” says Tortorici, capturing the attention of potential investors. now a mechanical engineering graduate Gildersleeve says they garnered a large amount student at Stony Brook University who devised of interest in commercializing their product. the wiring and “If there’s enthusiasm and microcontroller hope to take this product to the “THIS PRODUCT HAS system. “We didn’t next level, then we’d like to do anything crazy or A HIGH LEVEL OF pursue whatever potential it may fancy, but designed have,” she says. COMMERCIALIZATION exactly what you Rodman, for one, isn’t BECAUSE OF THE need for the problem surprised by the attention the you face.” SIMPLICITY OF THE team earned for PAWS. With Months later, only a windsock (the most DESIGN, LOW COST with the prototype low-tech weather-measurement disassembled and AND DEMONSTRATED device available) flapping in the accumulating dust wind at 20 feet high, and basic EFFECTIVENESS.” inside HawkWorks weather information reported (the School of —LINDA A. RILEY, RWU PROFESSOR via the Automated Surface Engineering, Observing System – a weatherComputing and Construction Management’s observation network that offers no information secret R&D lab), the future of PAWS is cloudy – below 3,000 feet – Tweed and other general unless further funding is secured, the aviation airports need more tools to shed light invention won’t hit the open market. Yet the on weather conditions near the ground, he says. possibility that someone in the aviation “As an airport manager some day, would I industry might invest in the idea remains very want to have something like PAWS at my real, given the product’s genuine commercial airport?” Rodman asks. “Yes. I would fully potential. That’s according to Linda A. Riley, a advocate for it. The originality and practicality professor of engineering at Roger Williams of the device must have been what put them who served as project advisor throughout the over the top. There’s a need for this, truly.” RWU yearlong enterprise.


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INVENTOR GADGET While grieving the loss of his best friend’s 5-year-old brother, who had drowned in a swimming pool, the last puzzle piece of an invention idea he had toiled over tirelessly finally clicked for Fahad Al-Ammari ’14: He realized that the swimming safety apparatus he envisioned wasn’t suitable for a vast ocean shoreline – but it would perfectly fit the confines of a pool. Reconfiguring his concept, Al-Ammari – a Saudi Arabia native majoring in engineering at Roger Williams via his country’s King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Program – designed a device that raises a rubber platform from the pool’s floor to lift a distressed person out of the water, manually or automatically via sensors that detect a thrashing human. His aptly named “Swimming Pool Safety Device” became the first of four inventions he’s submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – all of which are under review. Tragedy served as the catalyst of his first idea, and Al-Ammari’s inventions have one thing in common – safety. His “Roof Saver” lets homeowners operate a track-driven rooftop plow, of sorts, to remove snow from the security of the ground. A new spin on a cell phone charger perfectly times a battery charge and discharges from the outlet to prevent overcharging and overheating, which could lead to a fire. And there’s Al-Ammari’s favorite – an emergency landing system that catches a commercial airliner in the event of landing-gear malfunction, much like the tailhook system employed on military aircraft carriers. “I have a passion for trying to help people,” says Al-Ammari, who sketches visions for his gadgets in a notebook, whether he’s sipping a latte at a local coffee shop or sitting on the University’s library steps. “The way I think is: ‘How am I going to improve this problem or fix this problem so no one gets hurt?’” His talent for tinkering began as a child when he’d disassemble remote control cars with a screwdriver and piece them back together. It’s a fix-it passion still alive, evidenced recently by a soldering iron burn on an index finger from repairing stereo speakers. “I have something inside me that knows I can be an engineer – that I can create something from nothing,” he says. Once he completes his degree this fall, Al-Ammari hopes to bring his passion and knowledge home to the Middle East where he wants to improve systems for procuring oil that enhance – you guessed it – human and environmental safety. – JR


PHOTO ANDREA HANSEN Want more stories? GoBY: to pdq.rwu.edu . 37

By Melissa A. Patricio Photos by: Patrick O’Connor

In the most prominent elder abuse case to date, RWU Professor Philip Marshall broke rank to fight for justice on his famous grandmother’s behalf and launched a war against his own father and Mrs. Astor’s attorneys. Today, the campaign to protect embattled elders marches on with Marshall at the head of the charge.


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On a blustery Thanksgiving Day in 2006, Philip Marshall watched in wonder as his wife and children strummed guitar and sang harmonies. Nearby, Marshall’s grandmother – the famous philanthropist, Brooke Astor – sat firm, if slightly frail, in her 104 years. The depths of dementia had a grip, but a twinkle remained in her eye. Three generations together. If Marshall had ever wanted anything, it was this – even if it was fleeting. Because the next day he would spend a few hours and a half-pack of Kleenex at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office accusing his own father, former CIA intelligence officer and U.S. ambassador Anthony Marshall, of abusing Mrs. Astor and exploiting her for financial gain. Because by August 2007, his grandmother would die, peacefully but still in the headlines, at her Holly Hill estate. Because by the following Thanksgiving, his father would be charged with a variety of crimes in an 16-count indictment. And because by 2009, private family drama would play out publicly, in a sensational criminal trial that ended with Anthony Marshall’s conviction and prison sentence. But for Philip Marshall, the end of this harrowing emotional odyssey was really just the start of another. Sitting askew in his chair, slouched back slightly with one leg dropped over the armrest, in his office at RWU’s School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation, Marshall chokes back tears as he recalls the last Thanksgiving he would spend with his grandmother. At 61 years old, he is youthful and buoyant in a pair of linen pants and TOMS shoes more typically seen on students across campus. Frequently effusive in conversation, he remains quiet for a minute or two, his glassy eyes gazing while images of his beloved “Gagi” in a state of fear and frailty flash in his mind. When he speaks again, there is a tremor in his voice – but confidence in his statement. “We really knew how bad it had been,” Marshall says of the evidence that came to light in his 2006 guardianship petition that named Annette de la Renta (wife of fashion designer Oscar) and JP Morgan Chase & Co. overseers of Mrs. Astor’s personal care and estate.

Still, the judge declared that any allegations of elder abuse were not substantiated. “We were not going to let it go with the statement that it wasn’t elder abuse. We knew the news was national, and if that statement stood, it was going to be open season on elders.”

Mrs. Astor’s Regrets Roberta Brooke Russell – known better as Mrs. Brooke Astor, second wife of businessman and philanthropist Vincent Astor, or “the one who gave the money away” – was hardly a shrinking violet. A Marine Corps daughter, she wrote in Vanity Fair about her first love, a man named Gordon who had been dismissed from his first year at university. She was just 14. She survived three marriages – including her first, to Anthony Marshall’s father, John Dryden Kuser, who by many accounts suffered aggressive bouts of alcoholism, was abusive toward Brooke and broke her jaw when she was six months pregnant. She spent her evenings toasting with Manhattan’s elite and days meeting with Harlem’s impoverished. Invariably the grand dame of New York society, manners mattered to Mrs. Astor (and yes, you were to address her as such) and civility utmost. Gossip, she wrote, was irritating and boring – your private problems had no place in public. Imagine how distressed Mrs. Astor would be had she known the details of her dirty laundry – including the fact that she was forced to sleep in ripped nightgowns on a couch stained with dog urine – became national news. “She had an image, just as everyone has an image of themselves,” Philip Marshall says. “And probably never would have wanted this to come up.” Still, he stands by his decision to pursue the guardianship case even though he knew it would end any relationship he had with his father. Perhaps because he never could have envisioned how far the civil case – and the criminal charges to follow – would go.

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Trading Apron Strings for Purse Strings The case against Anthony Marshall may have entered the courts in 2006, but concerns about Mrs. Astor’s care emerged long before then. “Theirs was a codependent relationship,” Philip Marshall notes of his father and grandmother. “But there was a clear transition from being tied to her apron strings to now being tied to her purse strings.” As she waned in her 90s, Mrs. Astor’s lead role in her only child’s life was replaced by the dominance of Anthony’s third wife, Charlene. There was no love lost between the women, Philip Marshall says, but still Mrs. Astor would comfort herself by saying, “Oh, she makes him happy.” At the time, Anthony Marshall had been managing Mrs. Astor’s estate – valued at about $100 million at the time of her death in 2009 – and received compensation to the tune of about $2.3 million annually. The elder Marshall acquired power of attorney rights for Mrs. Astor in 1978 and was well-provided for in her original will – with more than $60 million in assets from her then-$139 million estate – signed following Vincent Astor’s death in 1959. So when Charlene began making comments that her husband “deserves better,” Philip’s ears piqued in disbelief. Other signs surfaced. In 2002, Mrs. Astor’s favorite painting – Childe Hassam’s Flags, Fifth Avenue, which had been bequeathed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art – was sold for $10 million. Anthony Marshall kept $2 million as a “commission,” Philip says. Having been led to believe that she was running out of money, Mrs. Astor asked: “Now can I buy dresses?” Then there was the transfer of property in 2003 – Mrs. Astor’s home in Maine, suddenly surrendered to Charlene.

Longtime, loyal staff members found themselves inexplicably terminated, including Mrs. Astor’s secretary, who Philip says was fired for trying to help her boss – his grandmother – because it was no longer convenient for Anthony. And he tried to keep her from Holly Hill, the country estate where she wished to spend her last years in peace and quiet, shuttering the house and firing the staff in early 2005. Marshall began sneaking visits to his grandmother, notifying her staff ahead of time lest his father insist on chaperoning him. Numerous caregivers, including Mrs. Astor’s trusted butler, Christopher Ely, expressed concern about her well-being. Fortunately for Marshall (in this instance) he had grown up in Vermont following his parents’ divorce, far from the sphere of influence and exclusivity attached to his lineage. And so he was, as he puts it, “comfortable on both sides of the swinging pantry door.” It earned

“It was clear that my only option was to file a petition for guardianship,” Marshall says. “We knew that while my father held power of attorney for my grandmother, my father’s wife held power over him.” And so, on July 1, 2006, with affidavits from friends, staff and caregivers, Marshall launched the case that would put elder abuse on the national radar and start the march toward justice – not just for Brooke, but for countless others yet to come.

Blood Money There’s more than a hint of irony that, as president of the Vincent Astor Foundation for more than half a century, Mrs. Astor pioneered the practice of engaged philanthropy to enhance quality of life for those of lesser means, only to suffer what her grandson deems physical and psychological terrorism at the hands of her son and advisors for pieces of her estate. But you don’t have to have Astor money to be financially exploited. “Cases involving a family member and a person who is really old and has diminished capacity are very typical,” says Lori Stiegel, a senior attorney for the American Bar Association who leads the Commission on Law and Aging. “While not every case involves a butler and Henry Kissinger, the broader issues are far reaching.” While national data around elder abuse, neglect and exploitation is spotty at best, a study published by the National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that mistreatment of elderly persons is perpetrated by family members in an astounding 90 percent of instances. In many of those cases, vulnerability is magnified through the lens of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related

“I was beginning to see that my father was using HIS POWER of attorney not for her best interest, but for HIS OWN.”


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— Philip Marshall him allies from the caregivers to the de la Rentas and the Rockefellers. “I was beginning to see that my father was using his power of attorney not for her best interest, but for his own,” Marshall says. “The power of attorney became both a weapon and a shield.” As Marshall, Annette de la Renta and David Rockefeller mounted their evidence against Anthony, Philip considered last-ditch attempts to reason with his father, but feared recourse against his grandmother.

dementia, and exploited via power of attorney agreements – much like in the Astor case. Stiegel, who began her career as a legal services lawyer in clinics for persons 60 or older, has witnessed the devastation these agreements can cause when in the wrong hands. “I made lots of power of attorneys back then, and I shudder now,” she says. “I would talk to clients and counsel them that their agent could do something bad, but they would all say, ‘Oh, my son would never do that to me.’ People don’t want to deal with the reality – understandably, it’s a horrible thing to have to deal with. But it’s a problem people should think about, because at some point we all need someone to make decisions for us.” Stiegel notes the need for stronger laws on the issue. Historically, she says, authorities have deemed power-ofattorney abuse a civil problem that should be relegated to a civil lawyer. But it is a crime, and lack of oversight often gives agents a “license to steal,” so to speak. Such was the case with Anthony Marshall, who as Brooke Astor’s power of attorney conspired with attorney Francis X. Morrissey to forge her signature and make changes to her will three times to pad their own pockets. The codicils (amendments to the will) redistributed about $100 million of Mrs. Astor’s bequests to her son between 2003 and 2004 – three years after Anthony had written a letter to his mother’s neurologist that she was “delusional” and told his sons that their grandmother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He would later realize that, having professed her diminished cognitive capacity, Mrs. Astor would no longer be able to sign what he needed. Conveniently, Philip Marshall notes, “she would have ‘lucid moments’ whenever she was dragged in to sign something. It was a legal construct and they were manipulating the system.”

A Silver Tsunami If the justice system is ill-equipped to handle the volume of elder abuse cases now, it had better be ready for the flood of senior citizens deemed the “Silver Tsunami” at a recent Conference of Chief Justices annual meeting where Marshall presented his grandmother’s story. According to the American Psychological Association, an estimated 4 million elder Americans sustain some type of physical, psychological, emotional or financial abuse or neglect annually. And for every reported case, as many as 23 cases go unreported. As the number of adults over age 60 grows to more than a

“That’s part of why the Astor case was so important. It put a REAL FACE on a real case.” — Lori Stiegel,

ABA Commission on Law and Aging

quarter of the national population over the next 30 years, the correlative number of elder abuse cases is just as likely to increase – unless something can be done to prevent them. Progress is being made in the campaign for elder justice, says Robert Blancato, the Elder Justice Coalition’s national coordinator who spent his early career as a Congressional staffer working on elder issues and was appointed by President Clinton to run the White House Conference on Aging. While the passage of the Elder Justice Act under the Affordable Care Act in 2010 – which authorized $777 million in funds that have yet to be appropriated – was a major milestone (seven years in the making), there is much to be done, he says.

“I say this in a very broad sense: No one has done enough,” Blancato says. “I think our coalition is the first organized entity established to be advocates for elder justice. We work with a lot of different groups, but are we as powerful as we should or could be? No. But we’re grateful for what we are. It’s time to build new champions in Congress, and sadly enough, one of our goals is reauthorizing the Elder Justice Act because it was only written as a four-year law that expires at the end of this year.” It’s taken a long time for elder abuse to find its spotlight, Blancato says, but the Astor case and prosecuting attorney Liz Loewy have been critical in raising awareness. “We’re creating a lot of buzz around the issue to force political action,” he says. “But this is an issue accentuated with lousy data. We never invested in entities that have the ability to compile data on abuse; we could make a case for support, but we have no data to back it up.” Stiegel, however, sees the data hang-up as distracting to the narrative around elder justice. “The elder abuse field could do a better job of not getting shut down by the questions about data and lack of data, and instead say, ‘Here are real cases,’” she says. “That’s part of why the Astor case was so important. It put a real face on a real case.” She points out that the courts are beginning to recognize the problem more acutely and have begun considering special accommodations for elder victims the way they do with victims of child abuse and domestic violence. “Still, things are extremely sporadic, and even between jurisdictions in the same state there can be different responses,” Stiegel says. “It’s interesting, because I’ve had court personnel say to me, ‘If we’re tracking age in these cases, aren’t we committing age discrimination?’ No! But this is a big challenge in the courts. If they’re not tracking age data for persons appearing before them, then they don’t have any data. And if they’re not seeing data, then it’s not an issue.”

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An Invisible Problem But with more than 10 percent of the senior population directly impacted by elder abuse, it is an issue. And as much as it’s a legal and political problem, it’s also a cultural one deeply embedded in our national psychology – because not only are we not seeing data, but we also aren’t seeing the people. Frank Eyetsemitan is an associate dean of arts and sciences at Roger Williams and a psychology professor with particular interest in aging and adult development. “It all has to do with roles,” Eyetsemitan says. “The only way to be visible in your society is if you have roles. As we age, we begin to lose those roles; if new ones are not picked up, we become invisible.” It may have taken her longer than the average elder, but even the social butterfly

with roles for the elderly, they then become a group of people that you want to protect – just like any other group of minority people. They may be growing in number, but minority status is not defined by number, but by the power that you have. And what power do elderly people have? So we have to protect them, otherwise there will be discrimination against them.” It’s a very Western way of thinking, Eyetsemitan says. Many non-Western cultures revere the elderly and look to them as pillars of wisdom. As advisors, they feel needed. But for the most part, in the Western world (particularly the U.S.) society stereotypes the elderly as being on the cognitive decline and renders them irrelevant. If you asked Mrs. Astor, it comes down to a lack of respect between generations. “I find myself being

ELDER ABUSE: Any knowing, intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that CAUSES HARM or a serious risk of harm to a VULNERABLE ADULT. Forms of elder abuse may include physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, emotional abuse, abandonment or self-neglect. — American Council on Aging of New York society herself faded from the public eye as she approached her 100th birthday. Known for being young at heart, Mrs. Astor retained her honey-colored hair and looked more youthful than some women a generation younger. But even Brooke Astor was not immune to age or Alzheimer’s. No longer able to fulfill the demands of her role as “First Lady of New York,” she became increasingly isolated, Marshall says, and only went out once a month to visit her doctor. And, he points out, by keeping Mrs. Astor isolated, his father could continue to control the situation, the money and her mental state. “We live in a culture where people deny that they’re getting old,” Eyetsemitan says. “Even if we come up


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introduced to young people, young enough to be my grandchildren, as ‘Brooke,’” she wrote in Vanity Fair. “There is no difference between being 18 or 80! I have grown accustomed to this, but there is no civility to it. We might as well all be called ‘Fido.’” She may have been needling the decline of polite society, but veiled in Mrs. Astor’s critique is a bit of truth – at least according to elder justice advocates, who contend that elder abuse is an intergenerational problem. In other words, when it concerns social justice, there should be no difference in 18 or 80. “Anything that concerns older people should be our responsibility,” Blancato says. “I think the way to move the

process forward is to move toward focusing on the poor and vulnerable of all ages. If you use a term like elderly or seniors, the perception isn’t that they all need help – it’s that they’re doing well, maybe doing too well, at the expense of other generations. But there are poor and vulnerable people in the aging community as well. “I think if a young person has an inclination to want to be helpful for those less fortunate, they should put an intergenerational lens on it, and they’ll discover it’s across the board. They’ll discover there’s more need for help in elder areas. When you talk about abuse, economic security, hunger – those issues affect people of all ages.”

The Wounded Healer For decades, Philip Marshall and his grandmother shared a passion for preservation. She a cultural conservationist, he with a focus on architecture – but art, and the art of preserving the past, connected them. Never did he think he would be embroiled in a battle to preserve his grandmother’s quality of life. And through the years that followed his initial guardianship petition, “conservator” took on a whole new meaning. Today – five years after his father and Morrissey were convicted and sentenced in the criminal case that succeeded the guardianship suit – in addition to full-time faculty duties at RWU, Marshall makes his way across the country sharing his story and presenting at conferences as efforts for elder justice soldier on. He has been featured in AARP magazine and is a sought-after resource for attorneys, judges and social workers. He even takes phone calls from others, like him, in need of counsel when suspecting an aging family member has become a victim of abuse. “I’ve become the poster grandchild for elder justice,” he proclaims. “People would

call me thinking I wouldn’t pick up, but a lot of them were desperate for help and just needing to talk about it. I don’t mind listening and helping folks, pointing them in various directions. It’s mostly emails these days, but I help them because they need it – and it really works!” But it’s not enough to do damage control, he says. Prevention has to be a priority, from the family living room to the courtroom. For many families, shared planning before a parent or family member experiences cognitive decline or loss of independence can safeguard the aging individual both financially and emotionally. RWU Law Professor Bruce Kogan, a noted expert in mediation with a specialty in trusts and estates, recommends working with a mediator to create a care plan and determine responsibilities. “Nobody wants to have these conversations,” Kogan says, “but having a third party to facilitate these difficult conversations can help. It doesn’t necessarily mean that past grievances are forgotten, but it does mean that you can put them aside so that decisions can be made.” And, notes Nan Starr – a conflictresolution specialist who had a front row seat to the Astor saga as her husband (Philip) struggled to save his grandmother – elder mediation can provide a key opportunity to bring the aging individual’s voice into the conversation. It’s particularly challenging in these cases, she says, because unlike an attorney, the mediator does not represent any individual person’s interests and

must remain impartial to everyone in the room while facilitating opportunities for the elder’s ideas and concerns to be included in the process. It doesn’t work in all cases, Starr says, and some – like the Astor case – are past the point of no return. But it can help the aging party segue with a little grace, says Marshall, who recently endured what he calls a “multi-month revision process” of his mother’s aging plan, from her will to her proxy agreements. And, as Kogan notes, it’s far more cost effective than contested litigation. “By the time people call me, they’re anguished and the warning signs have all been passed,” Marshall says. “I think it’s good if people can reference a third party

or external resources. It provides a framework without making it personal.” The elder justice landscape has changed a lot, Marshall notes, including baseline research on prevalence and investigations into issues affecting elders from neurological health to legal needs. He insists that more needs to happen. Mrs. Astor was just the beginning. For Marshall, her legacy of helping the less fortunate now extends to the afterlife. As for his own unwitting journey, joining the campaign for elder justice has been more of a healing process than salting an open wound. He still laments the psychological and emotional torture he says his grandmother endured, and he has no relationship with his father, but ask him and Marshall will tell you, unequivocally, that he would do it all again. “The whole thing remains traumatic,” he says. “But everyone is accountable for their own actions, or inactions. There were people who could have walked at any moment who were fighting for her, getting fired for her. It would FIND MORE ONLINE AT not have been easier to do nothing. “My grandmother’s case has given a face to elder justice, and elders – at times invisible – are being given a voice. My engagement in this campaign is a purification process. It’s the wounded healer. I hope it helps others. I know it helps me.” RWU

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Sports Center

Mission Critical

Hawks on Ice After a dozen years on the bench, men’s hockey skates into a sixth season as a club to beat By Jack Dunleavy ’15

Hockey players are used to taking some tough hits – and the RWU Hawks ice hockey team has taken its fair share over the years, both on and off the ice. Yet after 12 seasons on the bench, the Hawks were ready for a comeback, and they’ve been skating toward success since. Although no longer at varsity level (budget cuts iced the program in 1997, just a dozen years after being admitted to the Commonwealth Coast Conference), the team took to the rink once again – this time as a club – in 2009. But don’t let their club status fool you. As members of the American Collegiate Hockey Association – the national organization for collegiate club hockey, which plays by NCAA rules with NCAA referees officiating – the Hawks have faced stiff competition


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from larger Division I schools like the universities of Connecticut and Vermont. The key to their success? A “hard work with a smile” game plan, according to Coach Edward Silva. “We have fun when we’re on the ice,” Silva says. “But when it comes to game time, we make sure we do what we need to do.” That includes a monumental victory at the Northeast Collegiate Hockey Association’s 2012 Colonial Division Championship, a feat Silva remains proud of: “After just our third year in existence, that championship victory bumped us up to the American Division, where we still compete now.” The team also points to the fan support (an estimated 100 to 200 RWU students cheering in the stands at every game) for buoying their home ice

advantage – despite the fact that “home ice” is a 14mile, 21-minute drive over state lines. “We may not own the rink,” says Robert Potter, dean of the School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management who serves as advisor for the team and was integral in the men’s hockey renaissance at Roger Williams. “But they sure treat us like a home team.” Looking ahead, Silva says the boys in blue and gold have their eye on an ultimate prize: varsity team status. It may take time as they continue to cement their reputation, but Silva believes the NCAA will see Hawks on ice in the future. After all, according to the Great One, great hockey players don’t play where the puck already is, but where the puck will be. RWU

Hawks in Numbers:


The Tickah

For the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, “making waves” is a good thing – especially in recent years, when the team has climbed the ranks to become a top regional competitor. Here are just a few ways the teams are making a splash:




Place finishes for both men’s and women’s swimming and diving at the 2014 NEISDA Championships

School records held by sophomore Andrea Almandoz




Commonwealth Coast Conference Championships since 2005

RWU All-New England swimmers and divers in 2013-14

School records broken in 2013-14


Margin of victory by women’s swimming and diving at the CCC Championships in October 2013

Roger Williams University wins the first-ever CCC Men’s All-Sports Trophy and takes third in the CCC Women’s All-Sports Trophy … Sailing qualifies for the 2014 Team Racing National Championships for the fourth straight year and finishes in seventh place (its fourth straight top-seven finish) … RWU sets a school record with 10 All-Americans in their respective sports in 2013-14, including the first-ever in women’s cross country (Hannah Zydanowicz ’15), women’s basketball (Kaitlyn Bovee ’14) and baseball (Tyler Pogmore ’14, George Lund ’17) ... Volleyball standout Krystie Luczynski ’14 becomes the first player in program history to be named an AVCA All-American and Academic All-American in the same season … RWU student-athletes finish the 2013-14 academic year with a cumulative GPA of 3.16, the second-highest for an academic term in Hawks history … 103 student-athletes earn recognition as CCC All-Academic Team honorees, the most in a single year in school history … RWU student-athletes record 5,473 total hours of community service in 2013-14, the fourth-highest number of service hours since 2005 … Four teams are recognized as AllAcademic teams in their respective sports, including men’s and women’s tennis, women’s lacrosse and women’s swimming and diving.

In Your Face! In a tough match against Western New England University, attack/midfielder Deven Machette ’15 – flanked by defender Mackenzie Logan ’15 – counters an offensive break against the Hawks. Machette, the second leading goal scorer on the team last spring, and Logan were among five members of the women’s lacrosse team to earn spots on the AllCCC team in 2014, which also included top goal-scorer Kristen Pingree ’15, Kelsey Rahilly ’15 and Caitlin Murphy ’16.

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Garrett Paolella and Steve Malafronte Finance ’08

Voices in Common

Alumni Profile

Riding the Wave with Recon Capital By Melissa A. Patricio Innovative and traditional. That’s how Garrett Paolella ’08 and Steve Malafronte ’08 describe their investment philosophy and wealth management strategy. It may seem oxymoronic, but if you ask alumni from the Center for Advanced Financial Education (CAFE) program in RWU’s Mario J. Gabelli School of Business, it’s simply the most sensible way to approach the market. “We focus a lot on the major fundamentals – equities, fixed income and stock options – but put them into wrappers where there is more liquidity and increased transparency based on the client’s risk profile,” Paolella says. “For instance, 401(k)s are usually put into mutual funds with high fees or fees to buy out. We are looking at better ways to lower cost. Sure, you get compensated higher for selling a mutual fund – you get kickbacks on top of the client fees – but after seeing the marketplace change during the financial crash in 2008, there needed to be different products offered to clients. That’s what we’re providing.” In many ways, timing has played a key role for Paolella and Malafronte. As members of RWU’s Student Investment Management 50

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Fund in 2007 – a pair of nationally recognized real-dollar, real-time investment funds that select finance students steward each semester – the two had front row seats as markets peaked. That training proved critical as they entered the industry days after graduation in 2008 when the bottom fell out. “I don’t think anyone could have been prepared for that coming out of college,” Malafronte says. “I started at Morgan Stanley on May 19, and that whole year when the markets were all over the place we’d have clients calling up in panic, concerned with where their money was and where it was going. People pulled out of the market at the absolute lows – it was the perfect example of panic setting in and not riding the wave.” At Recon Capital, a boutique investment advisor and wealth management firm that Paolella co-founded in 2012, it’s all about that wave – a long-term game plan focused on generational wealth preservation over time. “We look to go for singles and doubles – not home runs,” says Paolella, Recon’s managing partner and CEO. “Our focus is on preservation of capital so that in down markets we seek to outperform.

Alumni Events Calendar In public funds, we look at expenses and costs – lower costs and lower fees so that our clients can get into something to build over generations. It’s not about getting a 20 to 30 percent return each year, but about overall gross returns.” A two-pronged approach has helped the firm gain ground quickly; in just three years, Recon Capital has amassed $200 million in managed assets and 25 clients on the portfolio management side. “Essentially, what we wanted to do was build investment strategies for clients that offer better income solutions,” Paolella says. “First, by building individual portfolios for high-net individuals, and second, by developing investment strategies based around publicly traded wrappers, or ETFs.” Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) are groupings of stocks, bonds and commodities wrapped into an investment fund that can be traded in the stock exchange. It’s an innovative way of looking at traditional products, according to executive director Malafronte, who notes that buyers (who don’t have to be clients) can purchase as small as a single share of Recon’s ETFs, which trade roughly around $25 a share on the public market – unlike mutual funds, which generally carry a minimum initial investment of $1,000 or $5,000. The firm launched their first ETF – the Recon Capital NASDAQ 100 Covered Call ETF (Nasdaq: QYLD) – in December 2013, and two additional funds this fall in London and Frankfurt, where they rang the opening bells. “They have created a market niche right now,” says Professor of Finance and CAFE Director Michael Melton, who advised Paolella and Malafronte as student fund managers and now serves on Recon Capital’s board of directors. “They’ve created a product that is certainly needed today and is going to be successful in the short run and long run under all market conditions. The other thing that impresses me is they are a

small boutique firm, which allows them to provide personal service that you don’t find at these larger firms.” In fact, white-glove service is a hallmark of the firm. Recon is intentionally keeping their client list short – not because of exclusivity, but because they believe that direct service is what investors deserve. New clients can expect a minimum of three to six meetings before they are welcomed into the Recon family. “Everyone is different, and their wealth is important to them – it’s their whole life,” Paolella says. “It’s about making sure we have the right type of clients who mesh with us, who want to grow with us. It’s important not to take on every single client, and that it will be a great mutual relationship.” It’s a lesson that was ingrained in their undergrad days, Melton says. “From day one I tell students, if you’re going to work in this area, you have a fiduciary responsibility to the client. Not every client will fit the profile of your company. Find those clients who you want to work hard for and who will respect you enough to remain with you.” For their part, Paolella and Malafronte have remained with Roger Williams, not only continuing their work with “Doc” Melton as industry professionals, but also hosting interns from the Mario J. Gabelli School of Business and helping to establish the CAFE Advisory Board as an advisory and networking resource for students preparing for the profession. “We’ve opened up our Rolodex for current students and recent alumni – anybody looking for general advice as far as the industry goes,” Malafronte says. “And given that we are still younger, some students look at our advice a little differently. They can relate to us. We’re of the same generation, have seen the growth at Roger Williams and have seen what the markets can do. We show that it can be done.” RWU

Reconnect with RWU at these upcoming events for alumni and families.

November 18 Networking in NYC Tavern 29 New York, N.Y.

December 4 R.I. Chapter Annual Holiday Party The Biltmore Providence, R.I.

June 12-14, 2015 Fifth Annual Alumni Weekend Bristol Campus For additional details and event listings:

http://alumni.rwu.edu/alumni/events (800) 458-7144 x3005 • (401) 254-3005

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Voices in Common

Class Notes 1970s Jeffrey Caruso ’73 Theatre Rochester, N.Y. As manager of operations at A Meal and More – a Rochesterbased soup kitchen with a mission to provide hunger relief – Chef Jeff Caruso provides nutritious meals to 200 plus people each week, and he recently began sharing his finest recipes (scaled for home use) in his blog. A Meal and More welcomes all who are in need of service, without regard to race, sex, age, color, religion, national origin, handicap or income. In addition to providing hot meals in a safe, inviting and clean environment, the organization also offers clothing, personal care supplies and moral support and encouragement to their patrons.

1990s Rachel Elman O’Shea ’94 Psychology Luang Prabang, Laos This past August, Rachel and her family moved from Singapore to Luang Prabang, Laos, to begin operating a guest house while searching for the perfect piece of property on which to build a five-star hotel.

2000s Daniel T. LaBonte ’03 Marine Biology Middletown, Conn.

Dan and Gretchen (Streiff) LaBonte were married on Oct. 12, 2013, in Mentor, Ohio. Dan and Gretchen met in 2008 while both were employed at RWU. Dan held the position of coordinator of residence education (CORE) and Gretchen was the assistant director for Student Programs & Leadership. Today, Dan and Gretchen work at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., as area coordinator (in the Office 52

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of Residential Life) and assistant director for student activities and leadership development and new student orientation, respectively. In attendance at the wedding were current and former RWU employees: Danny DiCamillo, Kim Beardsley and Michelle Hansen. Also in attendance were a number of RWU alumni.

Meghan Grady ’08M Public Administration Providence, R.I.

Pam Nigro ’04 Criminal Justice Natick, Mass. Pam will soon celebrate her seventh year working as senior executive assistant at John Hancock in Boston. In 2008, she received her paralegal certification from Northeastern University. Pam and her fiancé became engaged while on vacation in Florida in November 2013 and plan a June 2015 wedding in Hingham, Mass.

Tenley (St. Pierre) Columbare ’04 Psychology Haverhill, Mass. Tenley and Daniel Columbare were married May 10, 2014, in Chichester, N.H. There was plenty of Hawk pride at the ceremony, as fellow alumna Katherine Henry ’04 was Tenley’s maid of honor and alumna Natasha Sotomayor ’04 was a bridesmaid. Alumna Erin (Huges) D’Elia ’04 was also in attendence.

Robert Carlson ’08

Meghan Grady ’08M and Eric P.W. Hall, Esq. ’11L were married on June 21, 2014. The reception was held in Jamestown, R.I., with a number of RWU and RWU Law alumni and students in attendance. Pictured, front row (L-R): John Meara ’11L, Kelly Rafferty ’11L, Suzy Alba Stanley ’15M, Meghan Grady’08M, Eric P.W. Hall ’11, Cristen Smith ’12L, Ashley Gingerella O’Shea ’07, Kim Ahern ’09L and Michael O’Shea ’05. Back row (L-R): Tim Varro ’11L and Ryan Smith ’11L.

Stephanie is engaged to be married to Robert Brodeur. The bride-to-be currently works as a marketing administrator for OMNI in East Taunton, Mass.

2010s Hanna Freedman ’10 Communication

Construction Management

Mike Murphy ’10 Biology New Brunswick, N.J.

Legal Studies, Juris Doctor Rumford, R.I.

Hannah and Mike met at Roger Williams during their time together on Team CARE and began dating shortly after graduation. After more than two years of a long-distance relationship between Worcester, Mass., and Chappaqua, N.Y., they moved to New Brunswick, N.J. In March 2014, on a family ski trip, Mike asked Hannah to marry him. They plan to wed before family and friends in Bristol, R.I., on August 23, 2015. Hannah is currently employed as a marketing coordinator for Skanska USA Building Inc. and she is busy finishing her M.B.A. at Southern New Hampshire University. Mike is a technical trainer at Sparta Systems and recently completed his M.B.A. program at Saint Mary’s University.

Stacie Katz ’08 Psychology Woodcliff Lake, N.J. Stacie became engaged to Jonathan Newman on April 5, 2014. Stacie, now a preschool teacher in New Jersey, and Jonathan, an assistant manager at Rite Aid, plan to wed in Fall 2015.

On Aug. 12, Marcy Klay ’93 and Peter Klay ’92 graciously opened their home in Ashland, Mass., to welcome incoming freshmen and their families to the RWU community. This was one of several Summer Send-Offs that RWU alumni hosted in communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey. Left to right: Members of the Class of 2018 Jordan Brown, Corey Bedrosian, Stephanie Hills, Kristin Kinchla and Matthew Holman with hosts Marcy Klay ’93 and Peter Klay ’92.

Stefanie LaSalle ’08 Communication Waltham, Mass.

Kathryn (Blythe) Carlson ’08, ’11L

Robert and Kathryn were married on Aug. 24, 2013, at St. Mary’s Church in Bristol, with a reception following the ceremony at the Newport Naval Station. Kathryn currently works for the Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services and Robert is a project engineer for Dimeo Construction Company in Providence.

Summer Send-Offs, Courtesy of RWU Alumni

Lenny Carlucci ’13 Psychology/Philosophy Fairfield, Conn. For the last year Lenny has been working with RISD graduates Lukas Scheurer and Toshi Sakaguchi to establish PLUST, a design firm based in Providence, R.I. The firm has recently created a Kickstarter campaign to support their product called the “Linkmount,” a smartphone enhancement system.

Thomas Sojka ’13 History/Political Science Pawtucket, R.I. Tom recently completed his M.Litt. degree in modern history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where he studied transnational approaches, print culture in Britain and the First World War. He will be beginning his Ph.D. in history at the University of Cambridge in October. His dissertation will

explore the changing nature of etiquette literature in Britain from the late 19th century to the early 20th century.

In Memoriam Joseph Iacovacci ’50 October 9, 2013

Ron Tippe ’72 July 31, 2014 One of RWU’s longtime alumni leaders, Ron Tippe served as an adjunct faculty member in the theatre department at RWU and was the president of the Alumni Executive Council at its inception in 2007. A highly successful producer and actor, Ron will be remembered for his work on movies such as Space Jam (1996), Everyone’s Hero (2006) and Runaway Brain (1995), as well as for his devotion to his family and tremendous capacity for guidance and mentorship.

What’s New With You? Let us – and your fellow alumni – know what you’re up to! Please send your name, class year, major, address and any professional degrees or certifications you hold along with your class note to alumni@rwu.edu. If you send a photo, please make sure it is at least 300 dpi at a print size of 4” x 6” or larger. You can also call us with your update at (401) 254-3005 or (800) 458-7144, x3005.

Alumni Profile

Ashley Erling

Communication ’06

The Road to The Rhode Show Runs Through RWU As the executive producer of The R hode Show, a live daily morning lifestyle show covering all things Rhode Island on WPRI television, Ashley Erling ’06 knows a thing or two about multitasking. Erling describes her job as “essentially overseeing everything that goes on the show from start to finish,” which includes prepping for the day’s show and managing it as it goes live, booking guests and planning future shows, and managing a staff of seven. “It’s fair to say that on certain days, this job is like being ringmaster of a circus – it’s ‘put on your top hat and let’s do this!’” Erling says. “There are so many balls in the air at one time, but that’s why I love it. I never know what I’ll be dealing with when the day starts.” And the workday starts early – up at 4 a.m., at the set by 6 a.m. “I tell people I basically have the bedtime of kindergartener,” she quips. Though she’s a veteran of rising before the sun, some guests are not. “I can’t even tell you the number of times guests call, frantic, because they’ve overslept or are stuck in traffic,” Erling says. “It’s a very interesting thing to fill in these empty spots on the fly!” Erling took an interesting road herself to her job on The Rhode Show: While at RWU she auditioned at WPRI for the role of the on-air talent who draws the lottery numbers. She got the job, thought the station seemed like an interesting place to work and did her senior internship there. She was hired by WPRI as an associate producer upon graduation, writing for the news, and has been at the station since. “I worked every shift there was initially – overnight, weekends, you name it.”

When she heard that WPRI was starting a morning lifestyle show in 2009, “I knew I wanted to do this show – it was so up my alley,” Erling says. “Fortunately they thought so, too, and I got the job” as a producer. A year and a half ago, she was named executive producer. The Bristol, Conn., native says she has learned an incredible amount about her new home state since working on The Rhode Show. “Rhode Island is a different world. I’ve fallen in love with it – for a small state, there are so many great things to do.” She certainly gets to see a lot of Lil’ Rhody as part of her job; on the day RWU spoke with

her, she’d been to nearly every corner of the state – by 1 p.m. The week before, the show had broadcast from a different Rhode Island beach each day. Erling also volunteers as time permits, including on committees for charity events, and last year as a mentor for Providence’s Year Up program, which helps students learn practical job skills to land internships and jobs – “a fabulous experience,” she says. And her mentee just might have picked up a thing or two about multitasking.

— Jill Harrington

Foundation Gift Puts Wheels in Motion Thanks to a gift from the Ernest E. Stempel Foundation, the University purchased two 12-passenger vans last spring to transport students and faculty working with the Community Partnerships Center to local communities, providing access to projects that benefit partner organizations and equip students with real-world understanding that deepens their academic experiences.

“The new vans have made all of the difference in the world,” CPC Director Arnold Robinson says, noting that

the students and their advisors are getting off campus and into the community at double the rate of past years. Previously, the CPC shared vehicles with numerous athletic and student activities, making it difficult to rely on transportation being consistently available.

Foundation Director Diana Bergquist P’17 notes, “We are pleased to know that the Stempel Foundation’s

support has had this impact not only for the CPC, but also for the communities served by RWU students and faculty. It is like we are the petrol in the tank!” Please email information for Class Notes to: alumni@rwu.edu.


Voices in Common

Alumni Profile

Jamie Hainsworth Criminal Justice ’93

Marshaling the Federal Force in Rhode Island

One could say that Jamie Hainsworth ’93, Rhode Island’s presidentially appointed U.S. Marshal, has been preparing for this role most of his life. Hainsworth, a criminal justice major at Roger Williams, began working in law enforcement in high school. He spent 30 years with the Gloucester (R.I.) Police Department – the last 12 of those as police chief. He sees his current role as a natural extension of the work he’s done.

“I use a lot of what I learned in Gloucester – both administrative and policing skills,” he says. His lead role with the Rhode Island district of the U.S. Marshals Service entails overseeing fugitive apprehension, providing protection in federal courts, witness protection, managing asset forfeiture and enforcement of sex offender registration. “We paint with a broad brush,” Hainsworth says. “Every day we touch on a

Shawn Platt ’86

RWU’s Academic Technology Coordinator When Shawn Platt arrived as a freshman some 31 years ago, little did he know that he was beginning a lifelong relationship with RWU. After earning degrees in electrical engineering technology and computer engineering, Shawn accepted a position with his alma mater. “I give back because I’m an alumnus who’s proud of how far the University has come – and am excited about where it’s going – and I’m an employee who’s grateful for the opportunities that led me to where I am in my career. I think everyone deserves the opportunity for an exceptional college education, and I know that my gifts to the RWU Annual Fund can help make that happen.” Your support makes a difference, too. Make a secure gift online at http://giving.rwu.edu/give or mail your gift (payable to RWU) to: Office of Annual Giving, Roger Williams University One Old Ferry Road, Bristol, R.I. 02809

few of those areas, some more than others.” While the job may feel like a continuation, the process of being nominated took some doing – and about a year of his life. Hainsworth explains that prior to being appointed in July 2012, he submitted a letter of interest to U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, who then vetted him and recommended him to President Obama for nomination. “It’s an honor to be in this role. I can’t even find words to say how much I enjoy this work,” says Hainsworth, who is one of only 94 U.S. Marshals in the nation. “I’m learning something new every day, meeting someone new – it’s the complete opposite of boring.” Hainsworth credits staying active in the community with organizations like the Special Olympics for his longevity in law enforcement, a field that has its share of burnout. “Volunteering kept me grounded and in touch with the community,” Hainsworth says. “It gave me a good sense of what people expect of each other, and of police officers.” Hainsworth looks forward to continuing to grow in his job as a federal marshal. “I never know what’s coming through the door, and that’s my favorite part of the job,” he says. — Jill Harrington

Celebrating Alumni and Achievement:

Alumni Weekend 2014

In its fourth year running, RWU’s Alumni Weekend brought more than 300 alumni, faculty and guests back to Bristol to celebrate with former classmates and reconnect with the University. Dedicated alumni, such as Judith Cobden ’99, traveled to campus from as far as London. Of the alumni participants, Americo Mellozi ’52 represented the earliest class in attendance with distinguished pride, while 54 alumni represented classes spanning the last decade. Following an Alumni Weekend marked by a torrential downpour last year, Mother Nature blessed the start of the weekend with nothing but clear skies and sunshine for signature events. Friday kicked off with the Eighth Annual Ray Cordeiro Alumni Golf Classic at Montaup Country Club, followed by the long-anticipated clambake dinner on campus. Alumni Michael La Scala ’83 and Rick Daubenspeck ’85 organized and emceed a surprise roast to honor former coach Ray Cordeiro for his more than 30 years of service to RWU athletics. Later in the evening, some alumni explored downtown Bristol, while others participated in a Casino Night at the North Campus Residence Hall. On Saturday, the Roger Williams Alumni Association honored three extraordinary alumni who’ve demonstrated the importance of service to the greater community, and who reflect the University’s core values. Contessa Brown ’06, ’13M was awarded the Young Alumni Achievement Award; Ashley Gingerella O’Shea ’07 earned the Alumni Service Award; and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin ’88, ’98L was presented with the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award. The Class Leadership Award for reunion participation and engagement was presented to the Class of 1994. Accepting the award on behalf of the class were Gordon “Chip” Craig and Jennifer (Houle) Potocki. Summaries of this year’s winners and their accomplishments are highlighted online at http://alumni.rwu.edu/go/2014awards.

The events throughout the weekend can only be characterized as personal and reflective of the richness of alumni interests and academic majors. Alumni enjoyed attending the popular Alumni Weekend Celebration Dinner and the Women’s Leadership Network event, where renowned architect Beverly Willis shared her industry experience and insight. Additional weekend highlights were the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Marine Biology boat tour and reception, the Zymology 101 Beer & Wine Tasting sponsored by the Rhode Island Alumni Chapter, and recognition of long-time employee Gordon Wood, who this year celebrates 25 years at RWU overseeing the student stage crew and concierge program. Music, laughter and tears filled the Barn when alumni, faculty and friends reunited for a special musical tribute, “Meet Me at the Piano,” honoring retired faculty member Dianne Crowell ’82. Megan Alves ’91 directed 13 alumni in an emotional hour-long performance of Crowell’s favorite musical pieces. Crowell left a historical footprint at Roger Williams as founder of the Musical Theatre Workshop, creating a lasting impact on everyone who stood at her piano. Another memorable performance left all in anticipation for next year’s Alumni Weekend. The Roger Williams Alumni Association received overwhelmingly positive feedback from alumni, who commented on the quality and diversity of the weekend’s programming. Looking ahead, the RWAA will continue to reevaluate the weekend, keeping alumni priorities in mind to ensure increased participation in the years to come. To download your favorite memories from the weekend, or to see some of the amazing programming that you may have missed, please visit the Alumni Flickr collection at www.rwu.edu/go/alumniphotos. – Ryan Edmonds

Alumni Weekend

Please email information for Class Notes to: alumni@rwu.edu.


13 Things

You Might Not Know about Campus, Before it was Campus

Despite the flurry of energy that is the RWU campus today, Bristol’s southernmost point hasn’t always teemed with undergrads. Before the idyllic spot became campus in 1969, it hosted notable and quirky landowners and was home to some unexpected purposes – from breeding prize-winning dairy cows to housing a site for the Army’s surface-to-air missile defense system during the Cold War. With help from Kevin Jordan (professor emeritus and member of the Bristol Historical & Preservation Society board) and the University’s library archives, take a step back in time to the land before RWU…


An early adopter of propertyflipping, Nathaniel Byfield – a Boston merchant and one of Bristol’s original settlers – bought out his colonist compatriots, who had received equal shares of the southern peninsula when the town incorporated in 1680. Within seven years, he’d sold the untouched land off into the first agricultural endeavor.


Ever hear of a horse-drawn ferry? Well, early settlers needed some way to get across the water to Aquidneck Island. A private ferry service built a landing at the southeastern foot of (now aptly named) Old Ferry Road. Tethered to a wooden turnstile, a team of horses cranked the large wheel by a rope system that drew the ferry back and forth across to Portsmouth.


Everyone from merchants to state legislators sojourned to what is now the campus shoreline to take the ferry. This was the main transportation until the Mount Hope Bridge rendered it obsolete in 1929. Later ferries were sailboats and steampowered.


RWU {Fall 2014}


Quaint and unassuming, the Bridge House across the road from campus now harbors folks from the University’s Finance Office. But the century-old residence once served as the dwelling for the Mount Hope Bridge manager (and probably his family) back when the span was tolled.


Ice cream anyone? Many of Bristol’s elders remember heading to Ferrycliffe Farm for fresh, creamy treats made straight from the udder. From 1877 and well into the 20th century, the land supported Jersey dairy cows, bred not for a certain aesthetic but for the best butter yield.


Ferrycliffe Farm was created by Herbert Marshall Howe, an entrepreneurial railroad owner from Philadelphia who knew a good deal when he saw one. He bought over 100 acres and all the farming tools and equipment on it for $20,000 from Holder B. Bowen, a real estate investor from Newport who needed to pay off debts. Howe turned the estate into a “gentleman’s farm” operated year-round by a farm manager while he abided there only during summers.


With his deep yellow color and tenacious stature, Gilderoy – a bull capable of siring cows that produced 15 pounds of milk a week – was Howe’s prized possession. The top winner from the Rhode Island State Exhibition to the New England Fair, Gilderoy was advertised at these fairs to “service a limited number of approved cows at $100 each.”


An amateur painter and photographer, Howe created promotional photograph cards about each cattle, detailing daily milking records and butter yields produced by the cow or its progeny. His aim? To buy and sell prized bovines and market breeding services to dairy farmers.


Howe had an infamous neighbor – Civil War General Ambrose Burnside, known for his distinctive, bushy muttonchops that coined the word “sideburns,” a play on his name. Retired from his occasionally disastrous battlefield decisions, the three-time governor and two-time U.S. senator lived in a grand shinglestyle home where north campus has since sprung up.


About 25 years ago, Professor Kevin Jordan and a team of historic preservation students excavated the fieldstone foundation of Burnside’s three-story home, unearthing pieces of silver, china, children’s shoes and more.


Heard that missiles once lurked under north campus? It’s true. At the height of the Cold War, the U.S. Army built underground Nike Ajax (later Hercules) missile silos and launch pads, and stationed soldiers tasked with defending the Rhode Island coast from a Soviet air strike. With the missiles now long gone, the University’s parking garage sits atop the empty silos.


When the land was turned over to RWU, what was once Army barracks became Nike Hall, a dormitory for many years. The North Campus Residence Hall now graces that spot.


Coming to campus? Note the beehive stone posts at the entrance to North Campus Road – those used to greet visitors to Ferrycliffe at another location on the property. And visit the Feinstein Center / Career Center “house,” a former residence for Ferrycliffe Farm workers.

You already know the value of a degree from Roger Williams University. But did you know that you don’t have to stop with just one? RWU offers nearly two dozen graduate programs and post-baccalaureate certificates as well as customized trainings and corporate partnerships. With options ranging from architecture and forensic psychology to nurse paralegal and digital forensics, Roger Williams has programs for your interests and your industry.

It’s time to take another look at RWU. http://admission.rwu.edu

Want more stories? Go to pdq.rwu.edu.


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They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but sometimes an incredible image can leave you speechless. The RWU Photo Club has been letting their talent do the talking, with weekly contest winners’ work featured in the Hawks’ Herald, on campus-wide Visix screens and online. The contest is based around themes, from “inspiration” to “stranger” to “light.” Here are a handful of featured winners. For more, visit www.flickr.com/groups/rwuphotoclub.

Photo: Taylor Betz ’15

Photo: Scott McDavid ’16

Photo: Taylor Betz ’15

Photo: Alissa McGeehan ’17

Photo: Sharilynn Brown ’17

As part of our ongoing commitment to sustainability, Roger Williams University prints RWU Magazine entirely on paper certified to FSC® standards. By using FSC-certified paper, we’re sure that the raw materials used to produce this magazine come from forests that are managed according to FSC’s strict social and environmental standards.

Profile for Daniel Ruth

RWU Magazine, Issue 11  

RWU Magazine, Issue 11  

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