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Calendar Save the Date

Performing Arts Series Spring 2012 Season January 7 Fiddler on the Roof .........$50, $40 8 Fiddler on the Roof 7 p.m. ................................$50, $40 21 Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band .........$45, $35 28 Simone Dinnerstein, piano.................................$35, $25

February 3 Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theatre ...$40, $30 10 The Color Purple ..............$50, $40 18 Stuffed and Unstrung ...................$80, $45, $35

Pictured, from left: Dr. J. David and Dana Kriet, Dr. Mary Davidson Cohen and Bruce Hartman.

25 The Pine Leaf Boys Polsky Theatre .........................$30

Art auction to raise money for Nerman Museum sets new record

March 3 Danú..........................$80, $45, $35 4 “Tschaikowski” St. Petersburg State Orchestra................$45, $35 11 Jake Shimabukuro...........$35, $25 24 Soweto Gospel Choir ......$45, $35 25 Debby Boone, Swing This 2 p.m. .............$45, $35

biennial art auction to benefit the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art raised more money this year than in any previous year, according to the Johnson County Community College Foundation.



Beyond Bounds – Brilliant! netted a profit of $158,000, compared with $134,807 raised in 2009. The bulk of the revenue, $161,825, came from the sale of 154 pieces of art donated by local, regional and national artists.

21 Suzanne Vega ..................$45, $35

The auction took place on Oct. 22 and drew about 700 people. The co-chairs for the event were Dr. Mary Davidson Cohen and Dr. J. David and Dana Kriet. The first Beyond Bounds benefit was organized in 1992 on behalf of the former JCCC Gallery of Art. To date, the benefit hosted by the JCCC Foundation has raised more than $850,000 to support exhibitions, acquisitions and arts education programs at the Nerman Museum. Story by Diane Carroll

Winter 2011-12


13 An Evening with Groucho Polsky Theatre .........................$30

22 Ricky Nelson Remembered 7 p.m. ........................$80, $40, $30 28 Moscow Festival Ballet ...$42, $32

All performances are at 8 p.m., Yardley Hall, unless otherwise noted.


Bestselling author retains ties with JCCC professor B

est-selling author Candice Millard, who spent her first year in college at JCCC, recently began crisscrossing the country on her latest book tour. Her second book, Destiny of the Republic, follows up the popular and critical success of her debut, River of Doubt. Before she left, however, she invited Steve Gerson, a professor of English at JCCC, and his wife over to her house to catch up. Decades after Millard sat in his Composition I and II classes, Gerson sat as a guest in her home. The two have a friendship that has continued through the years. After 25 years and thousands of students, Gerson doesn’t have much memory of Millard’s performance in class, but he does remember looking for good students to babysit his young children – after those responsible students had finished his class, of course – and Millard fit that requirement. She babysat for Gerson’s two girls for years, and Gerson said he then discovered what a wonderful person Millard is. Millard is quick to return the compliment. Of Gerson, she said, “He is hilarious. He’s so smart, and he is such a good teacher. His teaching style is not only fun and interesting; it’s very thoughtful. I always


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looked forward to class.” Millard chose JCCC because she didn’t know where to go to school or what to study. She knew she liked writing – she had been on the newspaper staff at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School – but she didn’t know if it was her life’s work. Unsure of her next step, she picked JCCC for her freshman year. “I loved it. It was perfect for me. I took some basic classes, but the two classes that stand out for me were Composition I and II.” After completing graduate school and working for a number of different magazines, Millard spent six years at National Geographic. She moved back to the Kansas City area in 2002, when she signed her first book contract and her first baby was on the way. Since then, “it’s been books and babies,” she said. Her children, ages 9, 6 and 4, are one reason she likes living in the area again. “My first priority is my children, and it’s a wonderful place to raise kids.” She took her two youngest children with her when doing research for Destiny of the Republic in Washington, D.C. The book, about the assassination attempt and subsequent death of U.S. President James Garfield, is an historic look at an often-forgotten man who served only six months as commander-in-chief. “He was one of the most extraordinary men ever to be elected president,” Millard said. Millard was so impressed with Garfield’s life and character, she became enmeshed in his world. It seemed so real to her, she said, she avoided writing his death scene. Finally, when the day came when she could put it off no longer, she felt awash in emotions.

Millard was researching Alexander Graham Bell. Bell, best known for inventing the telephone, stopped all his own scientific work to help invent a device that would be capable of finding the bullet still lodged in Garfield.

“It was a difficult story to write. It was heart-breaking, in fact,” she said. “You spend years with these people you write about. On the day of [writing] the death scene, I called my husband in tears. I said, ‘I can’t do this.’ That’s how emotional it gets.”

Elyssa East, a book reviewer for The Kansas City Star, wrote, “Fans of Millard’s first book … will find similarly compelling characters and nail-biting storytelling, and will no doubt walk away even more emotionally affected by Garfield’s tragedy.”

The idea for the book came when

Gerson said he couldn’t wait to get

Millard’s latest book. He described her first book as “lightning in a bottle.” “I’m an English teacher. I’ve spent all my life reading, and her book is simply magical,” he said. “I can take no credit for her writing style – that is her own – but I could happily retire now, having been a part of her creation.” River of Doubt was named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle and The Kansas City Star. The book also won a 2006 William Rockhill Nelson Award. Winter 2011-12


A bookshelf in the Center for American Indian Studies. differentiation of tobacco’s ceremonial and spiritual use versus recreational use. First targeted to adults, 18 and older, the program is now working with Native youth on smoking prevention. JCCC’s Center for American Indian Studies is working on a bridge program that will mentor Native high school students starting their junior year in order to prepare them for JCCC and then toward four-year institutions. KUMC will provide peer tutoring and mentoring for students seeking graduate degrees in the health professions. The center has agreements with several high schools in Kansas and western Missouri to help Native students enter the educational pipeline. In 2010, AIHREA offered seven undergraduate scholarships to institutions across the United States and three graduate scholarships to conduct cancer research at KUMC in partnership with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Two AIHREA staff from KUMC come to JCCC one day a week as part of the program. AIHREA offers summer internships for students like Davis, who attended the Kickapoo pow wow in Horton, Kan., completing health surveys with the Native population. Service-learning students at JCCC have worked with AIHREA to complete a video showing three tribal members discussing cultural use of tobacco and

created a cookbook for diabetics, aimed at the Native population. Smith, who is working on a master’s degree at KU with a focus on cultural preservation, is putting together a youth culture camp, training Native college students in traditional American Indian skills like bow and arrow making, quill work, herbal tradition and flint knapping. The college students would, in turn, teach the skills to younger students. “We want to instill the idea that knowledge is to be passed on,” Daley said. The center is also looking at creating a CD collection of tribal languages, many documented as endangered.

Ed Smith says Native Americans traditionally balance mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health.

Currently JCCC offers Native Americans and American Indian Artistic Tradition. Daley is working with the Native community, as well as JCCC faculty, to develop a couple of new courses and eventually would like to develop an interdisciplinary program in American Indian Studies. “AIHREA is addressing needs that were brought to us by the Native community,” Daley said. “Because the Indian community has shared their traditions with us, we have an obligation to return that gift. AIHREA is based on a reciprocal relationship. To me as an anthropologist in the 21st century, that’s the way it should be.” Dr. Sean Daley talks about how Indian Health Service is underfunded by 50 percent of its need. Winter 2011-12

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live harmoniously on the same surface. By using resin in between layers of paint, he manages to combine these two disparate forms of mark-making that reference NASCAR color schematics, hunting gear, camouflage and graffiti.” Abstraction has a been a mainstay of Smith’s art since his undergraduate days at Emporia State University, where he was named “most outstanding graduating senior in the arts” in 2000, and studied under the staunch abstract painter Richard Slimon. Smith entered ESU on a track and field scholarship with the sole intent to compete as an athlete. His life was running – about 25 miles a day. A diagnosis of diabetes changed that. “All sorts of thing happen to put your life on a certain path,” Smith said. “After running was gone, I became completely consumed with art and very passionate about painting.” Especially abstract painting. “It is the ambiguities that happen in abstract painting I am attracted to. I am interested in things that don’t exist physically in the world and I can bring to life.” Smith has worked at three museums – the Kennedy Museum at Ohio University; Kansas City Jewish Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park; and the Nerman Museum, where he

started in August 2007 prior to the museum’s opening in October 2007, allowing him the opportunity to be with the museum as it has defined itself in the first five years. Smith says the museum work complements his art. “I can’t think of a better type of environment to be around. The collections and shows at the Nerman are cutting-edge, at the forefront of what’s going on in the art world. If I worked in an historical museum, it would be a juxtaposition of what I’m

doing at home. With my position here, I have a lot of the same issues and interests in my work life and art life.” While keeping his day job, Smith is ready to expand his painting exhibitions to other cities. “I want to continue to make work that I feel excited about.” Visit the Nerman Museum on JCCC’s campus, Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Winter 2011-12

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Norwood touted for heights, old and new L

afayette Norwood has mentored many outstanding teams and individual athletes since joining the coaching profession in 1957 when he took over the Wichita Biddy Basketball team. He joined the staff at JCCC in 1982, spending nine years as head basketball coach and 19 as golf coach. He has guided some of the best teams and top athletes in both programs’ history. And now Norwood’s coaching legend comes to light in a book, Acrophobia 1977, written by Mark Nale. In 1969, Norwood took over the boy’s basketball program at Wichita Heights High School and quickly established himself as one of the top prep coaches in Kansas. He guided Heights to a 109-56 record in his eight years, winning three city titles. His 1975-76 squad finished runner-up in the state tournament, but his 1976-77 team is still revered as the greatest high school boys team in Kansas history. Norwood guided a star-laden team that featured five future NCAA Division I athletes and three future professionals to a 23-0 mark, capped by an amazing 40-point win in the state championship game. That title enabled Norwood to share with coaching legend Ralph Miller the distinction of being the only two people in Kansas history to have played on and coached a boys state championship team. The title of Nale’s book refers to a banner that once was attached to a


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Lafayette Norwood wall in Heights’ gymnasium, “CITY LEAGUE SCHOOLS HAVE ACROPHOBIA,” which means fear of heights. His idea for writing the book began in the spring of 2007, shortly after the 1976-77 team had its 30-year reunion. The book provides shared memories from the players and people associated with that team. It also is a tribute to the man who guided this group through that magical season – Lafayette Norwood. “I have a passion to coach youngsters, and this book really brought out what it means to me to influence others in a positive way,” Norwood said. “Someone had to work with me early in my life, and I found it was easier to be myself than to try to copy someone else.” One of the key players from the team was Darnell Valentine, who was an All-American, two-time Academic All-American and the first four-time

All-Big Eight pick at the University of Kansas. Valentine remains close with Norwood today, and expressed his respect and admiration for Norwood in Nale’s book: “Coach Norwood set examples in life that any man would be able to follow. He’s a man that whatever possible traits that you can acquire from him, they will push you to the uttermost of your capabilities in life. He practices what he preaches, so that every man can face the reality of life. And yet, this man is modest, sharing the good that life can bring, and fighting defeat by himself, never looking for an excuse or accusing anyone of fault. This is a man I want to be, and this is the man that I shall become.” Story by Tyler Cundith

Reconnect: The Alumni Magazine of JCCC  

Reconnect: The Alumni Magazine of JCCC

Reconnect: The Alumni Magazine of JCCC  

Reconnect: The Alumni Magazine of JCCC