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The Ventures (and Adventures) of Chris Varelas ’85

How the Great War Changed Oxy

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Tell us a little about yourself. I was born in South Central L.A., and my family moved out to the Inland Empire when I reached middle school so I could get a better education and be a more well-rounded individual. The opportunity to play basketball was definitely a factor in choosing Oxy, but the biggest thing was the fact that I was going to get a great education. How have you enjoyed your athletics experience? I participate in SAAC, Oxy’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee. We meet bi-weekly to discuss things concerning our NCAA athletes, and we try to plan events and do things that make our athletic experience really meaningful at Oxy. That’s also been a great way to just stay connected with all the other sports teams, because the Athletics Department is like a family. We all support each other.

What appealed to you about a UEP major? I really enjoy the policy aspect, and for my senior comps I’m examining how sexual violence prevention education initiatives on campus have contributed to positive culture change in the communities. How has your time at Occidental changed you? My eyes have been opened to a lot of different things. It’s been really great growth for me as an individual, meeting so many people with different ideas and opinions. Since coming to Oxy, I have learned to be mindful of other people’s experiences, not just my own.

JAY MILLER ’17 is an urban and environmental policy major from Fontana. As a junior, he was named First Team All-SCIAC in basketball.

Besides basketball, what other activities are you involved in? I’m part of Project SAFE, which is a prevention education organization dedicated to ending sexual violence on our campus. We go around educating our community members about healthy relationships, bystander intervention, consent, and other topics that are pretty difficult to talk about in certain situations. What we try to do is normalize these conversations.

What are your plans after graduation? Next year I’m going to begin graduate work in marketing and brand management, and I hope to use my policy degree as a bridge to get a government job doing some PR work or something like that.

THREE DWA PROFESSORS SHARE THEIR REFUGEE STORIES /// FIRST LOOK: OXY'S NEW AQUATIC CENTER

Your Annual Fund Gift Helps the Oxy Family

How did it feel when you found out that you were able to attend Oxy with financial support? When Photo by Marc Campos I got that acceptance letter and my financial aid award, that was probably one of the best feelings that I’ve ever had. Without that support, I would not have been able to attend an institution like Oxy. Every year that I’ve been here, I don’t take it for granted. Financial support has given me experiences and opportunities that I will always remember.

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Invest in the kind of education that can only happen at Oxy. Please make your gift to the Oxy Annual Fund by June 30.

Rocket Girls

Launching missiles! Discovering asteroids! Exploring distant planets! Meet the women who blazed their own trail at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Clockwise from left: Diane Evans ’76, Barby Canright ’40, Eleanor Helin ’54, Amelia Chapman ’93, Irina Strickland ’97, and Louise Stoehr ’78 M’80


Volume 39, Number 2 oxy.edu/magazine OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE

Jonathan Veitch President Kerry Thompson Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Vince Cuseo Vice President of Enrollment and Dean of Admission Rhonda L. Brown Vice President for Equity and Inclusion & Chief Diversity Officer Amos Himmelstein Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Charlie Cardillo Vice President for Institutional Advancement Erica O’Neal Howard Acting Dean of Students Marty Sharkey Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications Jim Tranquada Director of Communications editorial staff

Dick Anderson Editor Samantha B. Bonar ’90 Contributing Writer Marc Campos Contributing Photographer Gail (Schulman) Ginell ’79 Class Notes Editor SanSoucie Design Design DLS Group Printing OCCIDENTAL MAGAZINE

Published quarterly by Occidental College Main number: 323-259-2500 To contact Occidental magazine By phone: 323-259-2679 By email: oxymag@oxy.edu By mail: Occidental College Office of Communications F-36 1600 Campus Road Los Angeles CA 90041-3314

David M. Kasunic Associate Professor of Music Music Department Chair

Occidental College Basic Tee (70/30 cotton/poly) Available in gray, orange, or black Sizes S-XXL, $23.95

Occidental College Bookstore oxybookstore.com To order by phone: 323-259-2951 All major credit cards accepted

Letters may be edited for length, content, and style. Occidental College online Homepage: oxy.edu Facebook: facebook.com/occidental Twitter: @occidental Instagram: instagram.com/occidentalcollege Cover illustration: Michael Cho Oxy Wear photo: Marc Campos


SPRING 2017 Oxy coeds enjoy Taylor Pool in this rare color photo from the pages of the 1940 La Encina.

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Features 12 Life During Wartime When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, Occidental was a small college struggling to  survive in its new home. With a new president and a renewed sense of  urgency, how did the Great War change Oxy?

20 Coming to America Decades before they joined the diplomacy and world affairs faculty at Oxy, Sophal Ear, Lan Chu, and Sanjeev Khagram immigrated to the United States as refugees. How have their journeys informed their scholarship?

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Departments 34

Organ Recovery What’s that sweet sound coming  out of Herrick? After 15 years of  relative quiet, the Mildred Miles Crew ’45 Memorial Organ is making music again.

OxyTalk

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Charlie Cardillo’s road to college began behind the wheel of a 1969 Olds 98. Now he’s steering Oxy’s fundraising efforts as a campaign revs up.

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First Word President Veitch on Oxy’s responsibility to its community in the face of possible changes to U.S. immigration policy. Also: the untold story behind a candid cocktail photo and the guy who is missing from this pic.

From the Quad A new aquatic center is set to break ground, and two additional tennis courts will bring athletes home. Also: Rev. Dr. William Barber addresses racism in America; two new college surveys give high marks to Oxy.

Page 64 Taking a flyer on a trip to Cuba with his wife and a cargo full of Tigers, Andrew Louie ’95 reflects on the country’s treasures and the journey’s unexpected pleasures.

36 Tigerwire Class notes for even years.

Sox and Bonds Chris Varelas ’85 has a passion for sports, a knack for structuring  complex technology deals, a loyalty to his Oxy family—and the uncanny  ability of being at the nexus of history.

30 Guardians of the Galaxy Barbara (Wylie) Canright ’40, Eleanor Helin ’54, Diane Evans ’76, and others have contributed to a celestial legacy of Oxy alumnae in the space program.

CREDITS: Taylor Pool, organ, and First Word photos courtesy Occidental College Special Collections | William Barber, Charlie Cardillo photos by Marc Campos | Page 64 photo courtesy Andrew Louie ’95


FIRST WORD » FROM PRESIDENT VEITCH

Faith in Our Mission in Uncertain Times Photo by Marc Campos

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Occidental President Remsen Bird took immediate steps to place the College on a war footing. At the same time, he began a tireless advocacy campaign on behalf of Oxy’s Japanese-American students and alumni in the face of widespread fear and hatred, helping several to transfer to colleges in Ohio, Illinois, and Kentucky. “I am of the opinion that the attack [on Japanese-American citizens] is not fundamentally on the side of patriotism,” he wrote to U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle. “Perhaps it has other emotional content and a very different end than the building of the strength of our democratic faith and practice.” Bird’s principled position echoed in Thorne Hall on March 10 when Oxy and the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities convened a daylong symposium of campus and nonprofit leaders to consider how to respond to major changes in federal immigration policy. In front of more than 250 provosts, deans, and other representatives from 44 Southern California schools, Salam Al-Marayati

President Veitch addresses the Oxy symposium on immigration on March 10.

an essential message that we are doing all we can to provide a measure of support and safety to students, who are the mission of our institutions,” said immigration law expert Lucas Guttentag, who teaches at both Stanford and Yale. At Occidental, we believe that the policy changes now being debated in Congress and in the courts would have a direct impact on who we are and what we do. Oxy’s mission calls on us to prepare our students for leadership in an increasingly complex,

The policy changes now being debated in Congress and in the courts would have a direct impact on who we are and what we do. of the Muslim Public Affairs Council drew explicit and striking parallels between the experience of Japanese-American citizens during World War II and the experience of American Muslims today. Maria Blanco, head of the UC Davis Law School Undocumented Legal Services Center, reminded everyone of the historic role colleges and universities have played in preserving democratic values in times of crisis. While that role can be manifested in a variety of ways, whatever form it takes, “It conveys 2

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interdependent, and pluralistic world. The commitment to the wider world expressed by the creation of Oxy’s first foreign exchange program a century ago is embodied today in such distinctive offerings as the Kahane United Nations program, overseas study, and the kind of international academic exchange that is at the heart of our science programs. Oxy’s cosmopolitan approach also is expressed in the makeup of our student body: They come from 31 different coun-

tries, multiple religions, and from every kind of background. It could not be otherwise on a campus so deeply connected with a global city like Los Angeles, and an institution that historically has sought to give talented students access to a transformative education, regardless of their background. Angelica Salas ’93, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, made that point in very personal terms at the symposium when she thanked Oxy for believing in her as a high school senior: “You don’t know how many people I know who are doing this work because this College invested in us.” Occidental’s mission also calls on the College to foster not only the fulfillment of the individual aspirations of our students but to act on a deeply rooted commitment to the public good. As was the case when confronted with the reality of Oxy students being placed in detention camps during World War II, we have a responsibility today to speak out for the most vulnerable members of our community. We need to do so in a way that is true to our calling, as Remsen Bird did, to build the strength of our democratic faith and practice. How best to act is not always clear—ultimately, the March 10 symposium raised as many questions as it answered. What was clear was the collective desire to put our institutions’ intellectual weight behind a principled response to the challenges we face. In November 2015, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) rejected GOP calls to adopt a policy that the United States accept only Christian refugees fleeing Syria, excluding Muslims. “My faith is that all children are God’s children,” he said. At Occidental, we continue to share that faith—the same faith Remsen Bird held in the College’s mission and its students and alumni 75 years ago.


FIRST WORD

» FROM THE READERS Photo courtesy Occidental College Special Collections

Here’s the original, uncropped image of Mike Malouf ’82, Bill Knutson ’82, and Barack Obama ’83 at a dormitory mixer welcoming first-years —complete with crop marks omitting the future president (and three other identified students) for potential use in La Encina.

Sharp-Dressed Man In the sepia-toned photo accompanying the piece “Obama on Oxy” (Winter), the handsome guy in the three-piece suit is Bill Knutson ’82, then editor of the Occidental newspaper. He is married to our daughter, Carin (Dewhirst) ’82. Bill has the back story on this picture. I enjoy reading all your Occidental magazines—this one is really superb. Congratulations, and thanks for all the hard work. Joan (Smith) Dewhirst ’56 Santa Barbara

The Rest of the Story If I recall correctly from the dim mists of antiquity, the other distinguished gentleman in a polyester three-piece (my roommate Mike Malouf ’82) and I were on our way to a string quartet concert in Beckman Auditorium at Caltech. In the late ’70s, men typically upped their attire a bit for such events. On our way out to Pasadena, we stopped briefly at a dorm mixer welcoming first-years. The location may have been Haines Hall. If you look closely at the blackboard in the background, it has the names of the new students’ high schools of origin. A photographer from the yearbook snapped a picture of Mike and me, and that other fellow wandered into the shot. When the photo was published in the 1980 La Encina (on page 100), the only people you saw were me and Mike. Years later it resurfaced in a box when the offices of the yearbook and The Occidental moved from their venerable digs beneath the tower of the Freeman Union. In those pre-digital days, one would edit photos as needed by drawing a crop line with a nonreprographic blue pencil, frequently cropping the photo itself with an X-Acto knife on the glass top light box where we pasted up the newspaper or yearbook. This photo has crop marks on it excising the future president—a final cut that was never made. The photo has appeared at least once before in Occidental, which led to delightful reconnections with a number of classmates, but it gained a certain amusing notoriety when it was used by Fox News in a rather overheated piece about the shadowy background of our president. The denizens of that media outlet’s website identified me

with certitude as Bill Ayers, founder of the radical Weather Underground, indoctrinating a young Barack Obama in nefarious schemes to undermine the Republic. My only transgressions, however, are against fashion, for which my wide-tied-andlapelled gradient-tinted-aviator-glasses former self has been fully punished by having this image broadcast around the world. Thanks for all the great work you do and a chance to recount a tiny bit of the past. As fun as it was to share a brief moment in time and space with a man who made history, Joan identifies the greatest experience I carry with me from Oxy, in addition to a fine education—the chance to meet and marry her wonderful daughter, with whom I’ve raised two marvelous children and shared countless hours of laughter and love. Bill Knutson ’82 Ventura

servative Republican, Tea Party type. I recently attended a panel discussion for Campaign Semester that was reported in the magazine (“Lessons From Campaign Semester,” Winter). It was embarrassing how far left the College has moved. Out of 14 students participating in the program, 13 were Democrats and the Republican was so far left I do not know how she identified as a Republican. I attended the luncheon afterward and actually had to correct an instructor from Pasadena City College with the fact that the United States is a democratic republic with an electoral college. The bias of the Oxy professor leading the program and discussion was completely embarrassing. Shame on the College for not showing the various sides of the argument. This is leftism, not a liberal program. Kris Urdahl ’75 Carlsbad

Neighborhood Grocery “Gold Standard” (Winter) mentions that Sammy Lee ’43’s parents had a grocery store on York Boulevard. Where, exactly? My brother (Herb ’64), sister (Erika ’66), and I grew up at 5019 Meridian Street, just one block north of York Boulevard. I’m curious to know if our family shopped there. Sammy Lee and Bob Gutowski ’58 were very big stuff in our day. I didn’t know about the strong local connection. Walter Noll ’61 Etna, N.H.

To the Left, to the Left I just wanted to tell you how much I hate the Occidental magazine. I was a conservative Democrat in college and now I am con-

Remembering Jean I want to compliment you on an excellent issue, especially the lovely tribute to Jean Paule (“Oxy’s Institutional Memory,” Winter). I met her when I was a freshman in 1954 and she was Dr. Coons’ secretary. Years later, she assisted me in research for the class history for our 50th reunion. She was a real treasure. Suzo McKellar ’58 Marina Del Rey

Regarding your tribute to Jean Paule: Nicely spoken. She (and you!) are what make Oxy so special. Keep up the good work. Ken Grobecker ’65 Pasadena SPRING 2017

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FROM THE QUAD

Deep Impact After years (and years and years) of promises, a new aquatic center finally breaks ground this summer—and two additional tennis courts will bring athletes home to Occidental as well

When Bill Davis ’80 was a high school senior in Santa Ana, then-Occidental swim coach Bob Hopper promised him that the College would have a new pool by the time he was a senior. “What I didn’t realize was that he left out one word: citizen,” says Davis, a standout swimmer and water polo player who today heads Southern California Public Radio. More than 40 years later, Hopper’s promise is finally going to become a reality. Emboldened by President Jonathan Veitch, who made a new pool—and two additional tennis courts—a priority after renovating Swan Hall and Hameetman Career Center, scores of donors have stepped forward to help fund the $17.5-million project. All necessary landuse approvals from the city of Los Angeles are now in place. And with a general contractor on board, construction is scheduled to begin this summer. You read that correctly: this summer. The impact on the men’s and women’s swimming and diving, water polo, and tennis 4

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teams will be transformational, coaches and students agree, changing how they practice, play, and recruit. The new facilities also represent a homecoming in a very real way: The limitations of current facilities mean the Tigers rarely host conference competitions at Oxy. “This has been a long time coming,” says Jaime Hoffman, associate vice president and director of athletics. “We’ve been talking about bringing our athletes home. Now that’s finally going to happen.” Designed by the Pasadena-based firm of Moule & Polyzoides to harmonize with Oxy’s historic Myron Hunt-designed architecture, the De Mandel Aquatic Center will be built on the west side of campus between Jack Kemp Stadium and Campus Road on what is now a parking lot. Townsend Crosthwaite Pool will replace venerable Taylor Pool, Oxy’s original swimming pool built in 1930 at a cost of $60,000 and today one of the oldest outdoor college pools in the country.

At 75 feet long and 45 feet wide with just six lanes and water that ranges in depth from 4 feet to 10.5 feet, Taylor Pool is too shallow to safely accommodate divers using today’s fiberglass boards (which give divers much more air than the original wooden models). In sharp contrast, Townsend Crosthwaite Pool will have eight competitive lanes and 15 practice lanes for swimmers; a 34-meter, alldeep-water venue for water polo; and a 13.3foot-deep diving well with two 1-meter and two 3-meter diving boards. It also will include an attached recreational pool for general use and a 316-seat grandstand. The two new tennis courts will be built adjacent to the four existing McKinnon Family Tennis Center courts on the north side of Kemp Stadium, with new stadium seating for 200 people. Until Berkus Hall was built on top of the south campus courts in 2006, Oxy had seven tennis courts—one above the minimum required by SCIAC and NCAA Division III to host conference matches. It


FROM THE QUAD

left: Swim meets at Taylor Pool (such as Oxy hosting Redlands in 2012) have been increasingly rare in recent years, but Townsend Crosthwaite Pool will remedy that. below: The De Mandel Aquatic Center will be built on the west side of campus between Jack Kemp Stadium and Campus Road on what is currently a parking lot.

left: Townsend Crosthwaite Pool will have eight competitive lanes; a 34meter, all-deep-water venue for water polo; and a 13.3-foot-deep diving well with two 1-meter and two 3-meter diving boards. An attached recreational pool is intended for general use, and there will be a 316-seat grandstand. below: Two new tennis courts will be built adjacent to the four existing McKinnon Family Tennis Center courts on the north side of Jack Kemp Stadium, with stadium seating for 200 people. ArchItect’s renderings courtesy Moule & Polyzoides | Photo by Kirby Lee

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FROM THE QUAD

was never an ideal arrangement—two sets of courts on opposite sides of campus made match management and spectating challenging—but over the last nine seasons, the tennis teams have had to rent off-campus facilities for home matches. Both the tennis courts and the aquatic center will be lighted with energy-efficient LED fixtures for night use and will be fully accessible. Unifying the entire project will be a landscaping plan by Van Atta Associates of Santa Barbara. In 1995, educator-turned-contractor Ranier De Mandel ’25 pledged a $2-million estate gift toward a new pool, raising hopes that the project—a priority of the College’s capital campaign in the 1990s—would soon be realized. “I have never forgotten that I got a great college education from Oxy,” said De Mandel, who played baseball for the Tigers and coached multiple sports, including swimming, for nearly 40 years until his retirement from Glendale High School in 1964. At the time of De Mandel’s passing in 2005, construction costs had risen dramatically. Seven years later, Jennifer Townsend Crosthwaite ’84, a math major and two-time All-American volleyball player, was asked to join the Board of Trustees. “My first thought was, ‘How can I add value, what does Oxy need?’” she says. “At the time, both of my children were applying to college. I was blown

away by the facilities we saw at other SCIAC schools. I felt that it wasn’t just about curb appeal—this was having a real effect on our ability to recruit new students.” Together, Jennifer and husband Barry Crosthwaite ’80, a chemistry major and fouryear All-Conference water polo player, organized a group of Barry’s friends and former teammates (including Bill Davis, John Cala ’83, Tim Lee ’79, and former assistant coach and All-Conference water polo player Brian Murphy ’74) to support the pool project. “We said we’ve been waiting too long—this has got to happen,” Jennifer recalls. Then-Board Chair John Farmer was instrumental in making the aquatic center a priority, she adds. “The way Jenny and Barry came forward showed remarkable generosity and leadership,” says Davis, one of a number of current and former trustees who supported the project financially. “I was the first child to go to college in a family of blue-collar immigrants,” says Barry, who with Jennifer has pledged $1.5 million toward the pool. “My Oxy education taught me how to learn and reinvent myself when necessary—both keys to my success in different professions.” (He’s an equity portfolio manager in Capital Group’s San Francisco office, where he has worked since 1998.) “Oxy aquatics taught me about leadership, teamwork, discipline, and sacrifice, and introduced me to my best friends. Oxy also

introduced me to the love of my life and wife of 25 years. So I wanted to give back in a meaningful way.” At the same time, trustee emeritus Ian McKinnon ’89 and his wife, Sonnet, pledged $1.5 million toward expanding the tennis center that bears their name. (McKinnon, a Phi Beta Kappa like Barry Crosthwaite, was captain of the Oxy men’s tennis team his senior year.) In announcing the Crosthwaite and McKinnon gifts in November 2014— which were soon followed by a major commitment by trustee and tennis player Steve Robinson ’77—President Veitch declared, “Both will have a transformative impact on their respective sports.” For Oxy programs that currently have to schedule practices in shifts, a bigger, deeper pool will change everything, from practice to roster sizes to the way water polo and swimming and diving coaches recruit. For water polo head coach Jack Stabenfeldt ’14—an All-SCIAC selection and twotime All-American as a Tiger—it means a new style of play. Because Taylor Pool is so narrow and short, it’s impossible to practice the kind of game Oxy must play in larger pools on other campuses. The result: Oxy slows the pace, relies on a zone defense, and falls short on the water polo equivalent of the fast break, a crucial part of the game. “We lack the ability to plan for and execute certain tactics. When Photos courtesy Occidental College Special Collections

Built for $60,000, Taylor Pool is named for Mary Barbara Taylor ’29 and parents Nettie Barbara and J. Hartley Taylor. (Above, architect Myron Hunt and President Remsen Bird talk with Mary Barbara and Mrs. Murray Harris, daughter of founding trustee Edward S. Field, at the November 1930 dedication.) 6

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Photo by Marc Campos

Barry Crosthwaite ’80 and Jennifer Townsend Crosthwaite ’84, center, are flanked by director of athletics Jaime Hoffman and President Jonathan Veitch, as well as players and supporters of the College’s athletics program, at a ceremonial groundbreaking April 22.

we get into bigger water, we’re not used to have to physically take up that space or having to swim as far,” Stabenfeldt says. For swimming and diving, the new pool will mean no longer having to schedule practice in shifts, with as many as six or seven athletes swimming in each lane, says firstyear head coach Steve Webb. It will free up sufficient lanes so that the Tigers can rebuild their distance program, which requires open lanes to make it possible for swimmers to log thousands of yards daily. And it will mean the ability to resurrect the diving program, which hasn’t been able to safely use shallow Taylor Pool for years. “We should have one of the best diving programs in the country,” says Webb, who comes to Oxy from Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Townsend Crosthwaite Pool will also mean improved times for swimmers. “Because it’s small and shallow, Taylor Pool is really slow,” Webb says. “The new pool will be deeper and the lanes wider than those in Taylor, so there will be less turbulence and faster times.” Also slowing Tiger swimmers are Taylor’s aging, hard-to-grip plaster walls,

which make turning harder, and slippery starting blocks that have to be topped with towels for sufficient traction. A new pool comparable to those at other SCIAC schools will improve Oxy’s ability to recruit. And with the return of home games and meets, and the crowds that come with them, “It will make us more competitive in every way,” Stabenfeldt says. Oxy tennis will enjoy similar benefits from two additional courts, including an end to split practices, improved recruitment, and the ability to play home conference matches on campus. “It will make a huge difference,” says Ghia Godfree, head coach for men’s and women’s tennis. “When you play off-campus, you don’t get a lot of fans. Now when we play at home we will really have something to defend.” For his part, Davis would be delighted if the new pool and tennis courts improve Oxy’s competitiveness. But that’s not the most important factor behind his participation in the project. “I see the pool as a place where lifelong friendships begin and are forged,” he says. “Not just for competitive

teams, but for people who are lap swimmers or are just hanging out by the pool—a place where people convene and relationships emerge. It will improve quality of life for a large number of Oxy students and I’m really happy to be part of that.” As for Taylor Pool, current plans call for it to be filled in after Townsend Crosthwaite Pool is completed. The Hunt-designed E.S. Field Building whose arcades surround the pool will be preserved, and the complex will become a multipurpose outdoor space. Even with funding and approvals in hand and construction scheduled, there likely will be some initial skepticism among alumni to overcome. “I was playing in a pickup water polo game recently with a goalie who graduated from Oxy in 2013,” Davis says. “I told him that construction would begin soon, and he said, ‘Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it.’ For some alumni, we’ll have to have it filled with water and races underway before they believe it. But Barry and Jenny made this happen. I can’t wait to swim in their pool.” He’s not the only one. —jim tranquada SPRING 2017

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FROM THE QUAD

Photos (pages 8-10) by Marc Campos | Nolin photo by Joseph Bergman

“Be prepared to run a marathon,” Barber advised an SRO audience in Thorne Hall. “The race is not given to the swiftest or the strongest, but to those that endure to the end.”

‘A Grownup Conversation’ Fifty years after Martin Luther King spoke at Oxy, activist Rev. Dr. William Barber preaches a message of resistance and resolution in the face of racism Placing the 2016 election in the broader context of American history, North Carolina NAACP leader and activist Rev. Dr. William Barber urged an overflow Occidental College crowd to be clear-sighted, resilient, and resolute as they look to the future. Speaking to a packed Thorne Hall on February 1—50 years after the Rev. Martin Luther King spoke from the same podium— Barber said his message was not about a single election or a particular candidate, but rather the need to address some hard truths. “What’s going on here? We have to recognize the centrality of systemic racism, America’s original sin, that still affects our social DNA,” said Barber, president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, president of the North Carolina NAACP, member of the NAACP national board, and convener of a statewide coalition of more than 200 progressive groups. “Progressives keep trying to find a way around race, but we can’t go around it—we have to go in it. Let’s deal 8

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with it … Let’s have a grownup conversation about racism in this country.” Prior to his speech, Barber was presented with an honorary degree by Occidental President Jonathan Veitch and Trustee Carl Ballton ’69. “Today, we are proud to honor you for your labors on behalf of all Americans; your ability to build bridges in a society increasingly riven by deep divides; and the inspiring message of faith and justice that you proclaim,” Ballton said. Barber was introduced by Peter Dreier, E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics, and Joscelyn Guzman ’18, a religious studies major from Modesto who worked for N.C. gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper last fall as one of 14 students enrolled in Oxy’s Campaign Semester program. Last November’s election was the result of a number of factors, including an embrace of fear, rather than facts, and a startling refusal to engage in the political process, Barber said, noting that 95 million people did

not vote in an election that was decided by roughly 77,000 votes. Equally important is the historic pattern of efforts to suppress the Black and Latino vote—efforts that continue today in North Carolina, the nation’s ninth most populous state, where voting restrictions imposed by the Republican-dominated state Legislature remain in place despite a recent ruling by a federal appeals court that the restrictions targeted Democratic African-American voters “with almost surgical precision,” he said. Barber, a 53-year-old Protestant minister and pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., also offered an uncompromising critique of the modern evangelical movement, which he said has adopted the false view that poverty is the result of God’s judgment. “These people have rejected the core moral values of a faith tradition that historically has helped America address slavery and economic injustice,” he said. “I can’t find anything in the scriptures that you can use religion to push down the poor.” While acknowledging a long history of racism and economic disparity in the United States, Barber noted a proud and effective tradition of resistance and redemption as well. “There are habits of prophetic resistance, that down through the years have gotten up from rejection and produced redemption,” he said. “We are the inheritors of a proud legacy that has rejected injustice, the heirs of those who found ways to be resilient.”


FROM THE QUAD

Positive Outcomes

numerology

Two high-profile college surveys suggest that the Oxy experience is both enriching and rewarding

When it comes to the quality of education and the economic mobility it delivers to its students, Occidental is one of the country’s top liberal arts colleges. And new rankings from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reinforce those measures. In the inaugural Wall Street Journal/ Times Higher Education college rankings, Oxy emerged as No. 27 among liberal arts colleges. Unlike many other college rankings, the WSJ/THE list focuses not on test scores and acceptance rates but such factors as resources devoted to academic programs,

Prospective first-year Joey Rasmusson of Seattle gets the thumbs-up from Oswald during a record turnout for Experience Oxy on April 14.

effective student engagement, graduation rates, and alumni salaries. “We focus on what students get out of a school, not how hard it is to get in,” the Journal explained. In a separate ranking of income mobility among college graduates, the Times ranked Occidental No. 7 among elite public and private schools—a measure of both access and outcomes that suggests that low-income Oxy students made significant progress up the economic ladder after graduating. Occidental’s 19 percent mobility index ranking was the highest of any liberal arts college in the Times’ elite school category.

College rankings traditionally have emphasized inputs such as test scores and how many applicants are denied admission rather than students’ actual undergraduate and postgraduate experience, notes Vince Cuseo, Occidental’s vice president of enrollment. “It’s refreshing to see the emergence of rankings that attempt to measure outputs— students’ level of engagement and what they are able to accomplish with their degrees after they graduate,” Cuseo says. “We believe that is more helpful to prospective students and parents and more reflective of our mission and what Oxy students and alumni actually experience.” The Journal ratings of 500 four-year colleges are based on federal educational statistics, THE’s student surveys, and other sources. The Times’ mobility rankings were based on data drawn from 30 million redacted tax returns that covered college students born between 1980 and 1991 analyzed by Stanford economist Raj Chetty and his colleagues. To identify which colleges are the best “engines of upward mobility,” they ranked schools on their ability to move large numbers of students from the poorest 20 percent of the income distribution to the top 20 percent. Seventy percent of Oxy students receive some form of financial aid. One in five students are Pell Grant recipients, one of the highest percentages among top-ranked liberal arts colleges. Some 15 percent of the Class of 2020 is the first in their families to attend college. The new rankings come during an uptick in interest in Occidental. The College has received a record 6,760 applications this year for admission to the Class of 2021—a 5.6 percent increase over the previous year.

3:21.24 Delaney Nolin’s record-setting time in the U.S. Paralympic T38 800-meter, set at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on April 8. It was the first 800m run by the senior biology major from Cumberland, Maine, whose cerebral palsy significantly impacts her gait. “I can’t wait to run it again,” says Nolin, who qualified for the U.S. Paralympic Trials last spring in the 400m.

$150,000

American Heart Association grant awarded to assistant professor of biology Cheryl Okumura to study new strategies to combat persistent Streptococcus infections. Such infections can lead to scarlet fever and heart damage. In addition to salary support for Okumura and postdoc Mary Clark, the grant will provide funding for two students participating in Oxy’s summer undergraduate research program.

$787,000 Amount of a five-year grant awarded to assistant professor of biology John McCormack, director of the Moore Lab of Zoology, from the National Science Foundation to fund a project that will look at how humancaused habitat change has affected birds across North America. The project will leverage Oxy’s renowned Mexican bird collection, including 49,000 specimens collected across Mexico from 1933 to 1955. SPRING 2017

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FROM THE QUAD

Symposium participants inside Thorne Hall on March 10, above; panelists Betty Hung and Angelica Salas ’93, right.

Forward Thinking How should colleges and universities respond to sweeping changes in immigration policy? A daylong symposium hosted by Oxy sparks a dialogue More than 250 administrators, faculty, and students from dozens of Southern California colleges and universities gathered at Occidental March 10 to consider how best to respond to sweeping changes in federal immigration policy. “This is the beginning of a conversation,” Occidental President Jonathan Veitch said at the opening of the daylong symposium, “Moving Forward,” co-hosted by the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. “In the end, our goal is to be more effective in providing support for the most vulnerable members of our community [and] learn how we might build a coalition that can speak with one voice in challenging the ugly climate and related policies that are being propagated in our country.” Joining administrators from USC, UCLA, the Cal State system, and a host of private colleges and universities were representatives from a number of nonprofit groups. Lucas Guttentag, a law professor at Stanford and Yale and former director of the ACLU Immigrant Rights Project, delivered the keynote address. 10

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Many colleges and universities are still debating the merits of declaring themselves to be a “sanctuary campus”—a term that is widely used, loosely defined, and means different things to different people, Guttentag said. “Whatever form sanctuary takes, it conveys an essential message: We are doing all we can to provide a measure of support and safety to students who are the mission of our institutions, as well as for workers and families who are a part of the extended college family. That message of support has never been more important than today.” Panels of experts, moderated by Occidental trustee Hector De La Torre ’89, Rosie Arroyo of the California Community Foundation, and Pomona College President David Oxtoby, discussed the current state of the law, pending legislation, and how best to support affected students and other campus community members. Immigrant advocates reported a spike in inquiries seeking legal advice. “We are being asked questions that break your heart, [like] ‘My brother is disabled. If my parents are deported, how can I get a guardianship so

he can continue to get the medical care he needs?’” said Maria Blanco, executive director of the UC Davis Law School Undocumented Legal Services Center. “Our work has tripled.” While uncertainty is widespread, Tom Saenz of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund shared three basic messages that are essential for everyone to communicate: Know your legal rights; don’t waive your legal rights; and when you do waive your legal rights, know that you are not alone. Support for undocumented students is essential, added Angelica Salas ’93, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. “You don’t know how many people I know who are doing this work because this college invested in us,” she said of Oxy. “It’s about supporting those students who are facing this difficult moment and making sure they succeed.” Although much of the debate has focused on immigrants from Mexico and Central America, there are an estimated 400,000 undocumented Asian-Pacific Islanders in California alone, according to Betty Hung, policy director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-L.A. Almost half of undocumented UCLA students, she said, are Asian-Pacific Islanders. Even as campuses rally in support of their students, it’s vital that they promote dialogue, said Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. “As much as we are very passionate about the issues here, the reality is that a majority of people who watch cable TV are watching Fox News,” Al-Marayati said. “If we can engage with people who have opposite points of view in civil dialogue, to understand where people are coming from and to offer alternatives to some of their presumptions, I think that would go a long way. We can’t afford to be even more widely divided than we are now.”


FROM THE QUAD

» MIXED MEDIA The Woman Who Turned Into a Jaguar, and Other Narratives of Native Women in Archives of Colonial Mexico, by Lisa Sousa (Stanford University Press; $63). In an ambitious and wide-ranging social and cultural history of gender relations among indigenous peoples of New Spain, from the Spanish conquest through the first half of the 18th century, Sousa focuses on four native groups in highland Mexico and traces cross-cultural similarities and differences in the roles and status attributed to women in pre-Hispanic and colonial Mesoamerica. Drawing on a rich collection of archival, textual, and pictorial sources, she traces the shifts in women’s economic, political, and social standing to evaluate the influence of Spanish ideologies on native attitudes and practices around sex and gender in the first several generations after contact. Though catastrophic depopulation, economic pressures, and the imposition of Christianity slowly eroded indigenous women’s status following the Spanish conquest, Sousa argues that gender relations remained more complementary than patriarchal, with women maintaining a unique position across the first two centuries of colonial rule. Sousa is professor of history at Occidental. Yoga Bodies: Real People, Real Stories, & the Power of Transformation, by Lauren Lipton ’87 and Jaimie Baird (Chronicle Books; $24.95). Artfully capturing yoga’s vibrant spirit, Yoga Bodies presents full-color yogapose portraits of more than 80 practitioners of all ages, shapes, backgrounds, and skill levels—each sharing their story of how yoga has changed their lives for the better. The stories both entertain and enlighten, while the portraits celebrate the glorious diversity of the human form. Lipton is a freelance journalist and author of the novels It’s About Your Husband (2006) and Mating Rituals of the North American WASP (2009). She lives in New York City.

Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories About the World Are So Often Wrong, by Andrew Shtulman (Basic Books; $30). Why do we catch colds? What causes seasons to change? In a pinch, we almost always get these questions wrong. Worse, we regularly misconstrue fundamental qualities of the world around us. In Scienceblind, Shtulman shows that the root of our misconceptions lies in the theories about the world we develop as children. They’re not only wrong, they close our minds to ideas inconsistent with them, making us unable to learn science later in life. So how do we get the world right? We must dismantle our intuitive theories and rebuild our knowledge from its scientific foundations. The reward won’t just be a truer picture of the world, but clearer solutions to many controversies—around vaccines, climate change, or evolution—that plague politics today. Shtulman is associate professor of psychology and cognitive science at Occidental. Impact of Tectonic Activity on Ancient Civilizations: Recurrent Shakeups, Tenacity, Resilience, and Change, by Eric R. Force ’65 (Lexington Books; paperback, $42.99). In contrast to the prevailing idea among anthropologists that tectonic pressures result in long-term disasters, Force’s research suggests that ancient civilizations in tectonically active settings withstood the devastation of earthquakes, volcanoes, or other natural disasters to flourish in the long term, in turn influencing societal development. He backs up his thesis with data from several independent sources, including vignettes demonstrating the impact of tectonism in accelerating the development of specific ancient cultures. A geology major at Oxy, Force is an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona and a practicing geologist with field research spanning 15 countries. America and the World in the Age of Obama, by Derek Shearer ($19; available at the Oxy bookstore or oxybookstore.com). In this collection of columns and articles writ-

ten between 2007 and 2014—most of which were first published on the Huffington Post website—Shearer examines the policies of the Obama administration, frequently including course projects undertaken by students in his DWA classes at Oxy. (Two additional articles examine sports, diplomacy, and globalization, reflecting Shearer’s lifelong passion for athletics.) He dedicates the book to his grandchildren, Viggo and Jasmine, “in hopes that they might have an interest some day in reading what their grandfather had to say about the age of Obama.” Shearer is the Stuart Chevalier Professor of Diplomacy and World Affairs and director of the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs at Oxy. Below the Belt, by Deni Starr ’80 (Silver Leaf Books; $19.95). Something is wrong with the boxing gym that Maybelle Preacher’s grandson has joined—but retired professional boxer Sean O’Connor can’t figure out exactly what it is. Soon enough, boxers from the gym end up murdered, and Sean and private investigator Cindy Matasar find themselves the targets of a well-organized criminal enterprise with political clout. What follows is a race against time to uncover the killer before he strikes any closer to home. Below the Belt is the debut novel in the Boxer Series Mysteries by retired trial attorney Deni Starr, an avid mystery reader since age 10. (Her second book, Sucker Punched, will be published this spring.) Both novels reflect interest in the fighting arts, including Muay Thai, Kempo karate, and boxing. Starr lives in Portland, Ore. For your eyes, Oxy: It’s a little known fact that author Ian Fleming purloined the name for his best-known creation from a Philadelphia native and real-life bird specialist. A new exhibit in the Academic Commons, “James Bond: Ornithologist & Spy,” explores the story of this literary identity theft through the lens of Occidental’s Ned Guymon Mystery and Detective Fiction Collection, Moore Laboratory of Zoology Bird Collection, and Cosman Shell Collection. SPRING 2017

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LIFE DURING WARTIME BY

PAUL

ROBERT

WALKER

’75

When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, Occidental was a small college struggling to survive in its new home. With a new president and a renewed sense of urgency, how did the Great War change Oxy? 12

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he 1916-17 academic year at Occidental began with a bombshell. A decade into his presidency, John Willis Baer—the charismatic leader who had guided the College from a cramped urban campus in Highland Park to a sprawling, bucolic landscape in Eagle Rock—announced his resignation, effective November 1. Baer cited exhaustion as the reason for his decision, but he was doubtless frustrated by the failure of the Million Dollar Campaign, an ill-conceived “modern” fundraising drive that attempted to raise $1 million over a 12-day period (the equivalent of $23.4 million today) in February 1916 by soliciting support from the Los Angeles community beyond traditional College donors. It ended with less than half of its goal—$401,282, of which $7,620 went to the professional fundraiser hired for the effort.

T


right: Members of the 1916 football team, winners of the California state championship over UC Berkeley. below: Following the Tigers’ 14-13 win, Oxy students performed a celebratory serpentine on Oct. 18, 1916. bottom left: “Oxy speed demons” raced their cars up the dusty road between Johnson and Fowler halls to what was at the time called College Hill.

Oxy cadets in the Students’ Army Training Corps in formation on Patterson Field. The SATC program began on campus Oct. 1, 1918. Enlistment was voluntary, and trainees were considered privates on active duty assigned to the College.

above: Freshman Howard Schwartz 1920 takes the corner in the “Oxy Road Race of 1917.” below: President John Willis Baer talks to Oxy’s male students outside Johnson Hall. He left the College in November 1916, six months prior to America’s entry into World War I.

Methods aside, it was a tough time for fundraising. Resources were in short supply following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, even though the United States had stayed out of the fray to that point. Following Baer’s departure, Dean of Faculty Thomas G. Burt assumed temporary leadership of the College, and the year progressed with apparent normalcy despite the fighting in faraway Europe. Football was king on campus, and the Tigers went undefeated among their Southern California rivals (tied only by Whittier), traveling north to defeat UC Berkeley 14-13 and claim the California football championship. Debate competitions were front-page news in The Occidental, and there were clubs for Shakespeare, German, Prohibition, economics, and automobiles— whose members raced each other up the dusty road to College Hill. Men and women paired up for school dances through a priority list called “the slate,” but no Photos courtesy Occidental College Special Collections

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With Dean Thomas Burt, far left, and Maj. E.D. Neff of the California National Guard looking on, President Silas Evans reviews military cadets in the College-sponsored training program led by retired Army Maj. E.L. Swift, center, in fall 1917. Neff would take over the program in February 1918.

gentleman would sign up for a girl who was already “going steady.” Normalcy ended when the United States entered the war on Friday, April 6, 1917, while Oxy students were on spring break. In morning chapel four days later, Dean Burt “calmed the entire Occidental assembly,” according to a student reporter, by reading the 90th Psalm: “Establish Thou the work of our hands upon us.” He went on to tell the students that if any of them felt called to enlist they should “go by all means, taking no regard to grades or graduation, as the College stood behind them and would welcome them back as would any mother.” Despite this offer, the dean pleaded with the students to stay in school in accordance with the U.S. government plan to train officers on each college campus in preparation for entering Army camps that summer and commanding new recruits. “There is a terrible need of officers in the country today,” The Occidental reported. “The State of California alone needs 10,000 officers, and there is no better place to get leaders of men than from college circles.” In a chapel meeting the following afternoon, the Oxy men voted unanimously, if symbolically, for compulsory military training. The faculty made it official, and by Friday, the students were drilling on newly completed Patterson Field under the temporary leadership of football coach William L. “Fox” Stanton. By the next week, 28 Oxy 14

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men had signed up for the Reserve Officer Corps and passed their physicals, and were waiting word on whether they would be accepted and sent north for real Army training at the Presidio in San Francisco. The female students quickly embraced the war effort as well, with some 67 enrolling in Red Cross training classes within the first week. The series of 15 four-hour classes under a trained nurse would be held on campus and led to a government examination for official certification as a nurse’s aide. On Friday, May 4, the Oxy battalion went on a six-mile hike up Verdugo Road and into Glendale. According to a student reporter among them, the trainees did mock battle with an “enemy” shooting blanks with Stanton’s pistol, and wrangled with cows, wheat fields, and farmers before returning to cheering women and children in Eagle Rock. “Altogether it was a great experience for the men, even if they are not planning to enter any of the training camps,” the reporter concluded. “It taught obedience to a group of independent college men so that they went up a hard place with all the spirit of regardless daredevils when commanded to do so.” The quick burst of military drill ended abruptly in mid-May, when Coach Stanton was called to the Presidio to train real soldiers. Although drill was suspended, the faculty voted to eliminate final exams as a wartime measure. As Dean Burt explained, many men were expected to miss exams by going to military camps or working on

ranches—replacing field hands lost to the war—so the women deserved the same opportunity. With no exams to cram for, it was hoped that students would focus on a strong finish to their coursework. As the year drew to a close, the Board of Trustees unanimously selected Silas Evans as Occidental’s seventh president. Evans, 41, had served as president of his alma mater, Ripon College in Wisconsin, for the previous six years. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and a professor of philosophy, he brought quiet dignity and high standards to his new position. He would need every ounce of personal character to guide the College through the war. Oxy students had their first chance to see and hear their new “prexy” at a chapel assembly on Sept. 19, 1917—the opening of the College’s 30th year. Evans was an impressively modern thinker and speaker, and his words ring true a century later: “College is not merely a brain factory; it is not a magic wand to call out fame or social standing; it is not a turning of the trick for wealth or professional success,” he said. “College is designed to give opportunity and leisure to make such manhood and womanhood as is equipped for the world’s work and world’s worth. “In a more abstract way we may define the college purpose as the possession of a new freedom and chance at a liberal education. We mean this: In college the powers of the student are liberated, set free, developed. You tap new depths; you find new resources. A primary concern is clear thinking. You can never get your bearings in the modern complex world with murky brains.” In light of rising prices and economic hardships, The Occidental’s new editor-inchief, Raymond Buell 1918, urged student organizations to cut back on extravagant


spending: “Too many college fellows feign the millionaire when their folks don’t even own the house they live in. Others with good sense will not engage in these social activities; and consequently, the social life of this institution would become divided into groups based on ostensible means. This college has always insisted upon democracy ... surely our proud boast will be gainsaid if this situation comes into existence.” Military training resumed under Maj. E.L. Swift, a retired Army officer who had served in the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, the Philippines, Cuba, and the Chinese Boxer Rebellion. Swift was an unpaid volunteer, and the training, though more serious than the previous year, remained a College initiative, not a government program. It was compulsory for underclassmen and voluntary for upperclassmen, about half of whom chose to participate with an eye toward a commission in the regular Army. Pioneering Los Angeles oilman Edward L. Doheny lent the trainees a supply of rifles, but the students bought their own uniforms, which were similar to regular Army uniforms and could be “worn at any time.” Khaki became a proud form of dress on campus. Even as the campus shifted into war mode, more frivolous College concerns persisted. The front-page article announcing the beginning of military training ran beside a story that upperclass women had formed a “Women’s Tribunal” to assure that underclass women, especially freshmen, would follow College traditions such as allowing upperclass women to pass through doorways before them, refraining from “excessive queening,” spending a “certain amount of time in the manufacture of pom poms,” and wearing buttons with their class numeral. The war still seemed far away to some of the students, but that would change. On Oct. 4, 1917, Evans delivered an eloquent chapel speech titled “Prostitution of Peace Ideals,” in which he explained why he supported the war. His thesis was that the war was a necessary evil in the pursuit of peace and that pacifists who continued to cry “peace, peace, when there is no peace” had prostituted the ideal and were aiding the German cause. “If we are in this war, we must send our men to France, we must buy Liberty bonds, we must tax ourselves, we must do our utmost toward the prosecution of this war. Not ‘America First,’ but ‘The

Cause First,’” he said. “I am a pacifist, a fighting pacifist, if you please.” More than 50 years later, 1919 graduate Florence Brady recalled a split between “pacifists and militarists” on campus, not unlike the doves and hawks during the Vietnam War. The president’s “stirring address,” as she described it, was perhaps not only an explanation of his personal convictions but also an effort to help reconcile these campus factions. Brady, who served as College registrar from 1930 to 1966, also recalled “a strong feminist movement” on campus as young women began to question their traditional roles. As Lynn Dumenil, Robert Glass Cleland Professor of American History Emerita, points out in her new book, The Second Line of Defense: American Women and World War I, women insisted their war work earned them

voluntarily, and by the end of November 1917 the College had 107 students and alumni in active military service. In a morning chapel ceremony the students were presented with a large “service flag” with a blue star for each man. Associated Students president Ralph Kellogg, Class of 1918, received the flag from Dean Burt and spoke of what it meant: “Every star on this banner represents an individual. Many of these men we have known personally. Some of them have been very dear to our hearts. Now they have answered the call of their country, some of them perhaps never to return. Others of us may soon be on the firing line. Occidental stands ready to sacrifice to the utmost, and this flag, with its ever increasing number of stars, is the proof.” In a sad irony, Kellogg would be among the Oxy men who died in

A “fighting pacifist,” President Silas Evans considered the war a necessary evil and suggested that pacifists were aiding the German cause by prostituting the idea of peace. the right to equal citizenship, “a claim that became an important part of the final drive for women’s suffrage and the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.” Evans’ exhortation to buy Liberty bonds was embraced by the students, who participated in all four national Liberty loan drives held during the war, not only buying bonds themselves but also selling them in the community. According to the Dec. 3, 1918, issue of The Occidental, the College went “over the top” for each drive and raised a record $8,000 in the final drive. On a smaller level, students purchased Thrift Stamps on campus for 25 cents each; 12 stamps on a card plus another small payment would buy a War Savings Certificate Stamp worth $5 on maturity. The College’s greatest contribution, however, was its men. Any man 21 or older was subject to being drafted, but many enlisted

the war, and a gold star would be placed on the service flag in his honor. There were battles on the home front as well. On Dec. 11, 1917, The Occidental published an editorial titled “Damn the Torpedoes” criticizing the Los Angeles School District for suspending the teaching of German and German literature. “It is impossible to gain even a meager understanding of the causes of this war and the influences at work among the German people without reading this literature,” Buell wrote. “Our educational institutions ought to develop an intelligent patriotism ... not an implicit one, based on childish ignorance and enmity.” The story was picked up by the Los Angeles Times, with apologetic statements by Evans and Burt, and an abject refusal to apologize by Buell. That fall, the young editor had apologized for criticizing Occidental fraternities, SPRING 2017

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far left: Oxy men on K.P. duty. left: Graduating members of the Class of 1917. Final exams for all classes were canceled following the U.S. entry into the war. below left: “Chow time” in the temporary mess hall along the perimeter of Patterson Field. below right: “A happily domesticated couple” photographed by philosophy major and SATC sergeant C. Bernard Cooper 1920.

but now he stood firmly on principle: “I wrote every word of the editorial and I believed every word of it. I merely gave expression to the opinion of many people as patriotic as the Board of Education, who will not allow their love of country to become hysterical.” Buell continued as editor until March 1918, when he left the College for Ordnance Training School in Berkeley. He reached France two months before the war ended and stayed overseas to help write a history of the Allied Expeditionary Forces. Just after the armistice, he wrote to Evans inquiring whether an instructor position might be open for the second semester, “as a private’s income isn’t overly lucrative.” Buell returned to Oxy as an assistant professor of history and economics in 1920-21 before completing his Ph.D. in history at Princeton. He went on to become a renowned author and lecturer on international affairs and president of the Foreign Policy Association. Not surprisingly, he was an ardent foe of isolationism. In his inflammatory editorial, Buell wrote hopefully, “We are quite certain that the authorities of this college will never allow their patriotic ardor to submerge them into such 16

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whirlpools of irrelevancy.” That is exactly what they did, though it was likely a mix of patriotism and the bottom line. At a Board of Trustees meeting on Feb. 12, 1918, Board Secretary William Stewart Young reported that he had told German Professor Frank E. Moll that his services would no longer be needed after the current academic year. At the same meeting, Silas Evans reported that the once-thriving German department had seen a sharp drop in enrollment “due undoubtedly to the state of mind.” To his credit, Evans thought it was worth continuing to offer classes, and it’s unclear what happened the following year. German disappeared completely in 1919-20, part of a national trend that saw German instruction dropped or legally banned in high schools and colleges. The department was resurrected gradually beginning in fall 1920, with courses taught by instructors and French professors. (Oxy was not the only Southern California school that grew allergic to German connections: Pomona’s mascot shifted from the Hun to the Sagehen over the course of the war.) Major Swift was called to active service in Washington on the first of the year, but

training continued, led by student officers under the supervision of chemistry professor Elbert E. Chandler, who chaired the Faculty Committee on Military Affairs. A new training officer took charge in February: Maj. E.D. Neff of the California State Guard, who was “considered one of the best marksmen in the entire country.” The arrival of a sharpshooter proved fortuitous, because a long-awaited indoor rifle range opened that month, housed in the “old training quarters” near Patterson Field. A pet project of Chandler’s, the range could accommodate seven shooters and was 25 yards long with a regulation steel-plate bulkhead. Although heavy Ross rifles were available, the men had to buy ammunition at the bookstore, where it was sold at close to cost. Women were allowed to use the range and could obtain lighter .22 caliber rifles at the bookstore. Major Neff also trained the men on an outdoor range, where they fired at silhouettes instead of targets. As men continued to leave for the war, Occidental and other Southern California colleges developed a unified policy to help students maintain their academic standing and graduate if possible. As long as a student stayed in residence at the College until entering the service, he would receive credit for work up to that point as completed. In addition, seniors could receive up to eight semester hours for work done for the government. This policy allowed men like Buell to leave in mid-semester and graduate with their class. In practice, the College was flexible with each student, and a surprising number of student-soldiers graduated with their class or the following class. In May, Evans announced a new opportunity for the women. Through a partnership


with Pasadena Hospital, a woman could leave Oxy after her junior year and undergo two years of hospital training, at the end of which she would receive both a nurse’s certification and an A.B. from Occidental. According to The Occidental, this innovative program was aimed at developing “the nurse of the future ... the sort of woman who is one of the leaders of the community, demanding better conditions and ably equipped to oversee the work of reconstruction.” In the meantime, 1914 graduate Edith Bryan, head of the local Red Cross and an experienced wartime nurse, returned to campus to recruit nurses of the present, who could quickly take responsibility in military wards and free the men for service at the front. Red Cross service drew many Oxy men and women, and those who served in military camps were considered among the soldiers in the College “Service Honor Roll” published at the end of the year. There were 193 names on the list by then, including Bryan, and the number would continue to grow. When the students returned in fall 1918, the campus had been transformed into a military camp. After a year and a half of ad hoc training, Occidental—together with more than 500 other colleges and universities—was home to the newly launched Students’ Army Training Corps (SATC). The program began officially on Oct. 1, 1918. Enlistment was voluntary, and trainees were considered privates on active duty assigned to the College. By the terms of the agreement, the College provided academic instruction, housing, meals, and a drilling facility—all subject to military approval as to quality and suitability. The War Department provided military instruction, uniforms, and equipment (no more need to buy ammunition at the bookstore), as well as cots, blankets, and bedsacks. It would pay the College $1 per day for each student plus a daily equivalent of the $100 annual tuition, allowing the trainees to attend tuition-free. Capt. Walter F. Frantz led the program, assisted by five other officers. A new barracks was under construction on the site that is now Samuelson Pavilion, but when the program began, the men slept four to a room in Swan Hall—the College’s only dormitory—or in tents behind the dorm. They ate in a temporary mess hall, while a more permanent one was constructed on the site that is now the north end of the Johnson Student Center and Freeman College Union. Regular Army uniforms became standard daily clothing. Men would not be drafted as long as they were in the SATC. However, to avoid the appearance of special privileges for college men, a trainee who reached the “day of reckoning”—on which he would have normally been drafted— would report to the commanding officer and college president, who would recommend the best type of service for that student. (The draft registration age was lowered from 21 to 18 just three weeks before

Warde of the Ring Of more than 300 Oxy students and alumni who served in WWI, the most colorful may have been 1917 graduate Lt. Warde Fowler, who started the Occidental Auto Club and went on to become automobile editor of the Los Angeles Times before enlisting in the Air Corps. He was deployed to France with the 94th Aero Squadron and assigned to the First Pursuit Squadron led by famed ace Eddie Rickenbacker, a former racecar driver whom Fowler knew from the “automobile game,” according to the Times. The previous squadron leader, Capt. James Norman Hall—who was Fowler’s cousin—had been shot down in a single-handed Photo courtesy Bill Eldred ’50 (Fowler’s nephew)

dogfight with three German planes and was held as a German prisoner at the time Fowler joined the squad. Fowler had at least two brushes with death of his own, the first when his French Spad XIII biplane was shot down over the Argonne Forest Sept. 26, 1918, and he escaped without a scratch. The second came October 11, when his motor died on the way back to the base after his squadron—out on a balloon-hunting expedition—was attacked by German planes. He managed to crash on a rock and again emerged unscathed. This time, Fowler tore off the linen

“hat in the ring” squadron insignia and plane number from the fuselage and made it back to the base on an abandoned motorcycle. “Thought sure I was a goner,” he wrote to his father. “But you know me Dad, and this going down in flames doesn’t appeal to me at all.” He sent his father the linen insignia, which was later given to the College and is now on display in Samuelson Alumni Center. Fowler sent numerous letters home, including a long missive published in The Occidental on Jan. 7, 1919, excerpted here: “There’s some wild fighting about here and we certainly get enough excitement. The other day 12 of ’em came down on four of us and believe me, we did ramble. I was going straight down with full engine at the rate of two or three hundred miles per hour and I was the last in the parade at that. I sat there going down with my neck twisted to the rear watching the Huns. When I pulled up I was in a little valley between two mountains and couldn’t see a darn thing. I hopped a few trees and limped home, my motor popping to beat the band. “In this fight my roommate disappeared and I have been all cut up about it. He started down ahead of me so I don’t see anything much could have happened to him as I was between him and the Huns. Am afraid he got confused in his direction and landed somewhere in Germany. Sure hope that happened and that he didn’t pick up a stray bullet.” After the armistice, Fowler stayed in Europe for a time to help with the relief effort led by Herbert Hoover. When he returned, he worked as a sports editor at the Times before managing Fowler Brothers Bookstore— founded in 1888 by John W. Fowler and Robert A. Fowler, his father and uncle, respectively—in downtown Los Angeles. Still adventurous, he worked as a Geiger counter operator during nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll in 1946. Fowler died Aug. 8, 1967, at the age of 72.

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right: Sergeants in the Students’ Army Training Corps unit. Considered acting noncommissioned officers, SATC corporals and sergeants wore the chevrons of those ranks in the regular Army. below: While barracks were being built in fall 1918, men were assigned four to a room in Swan Hall, the only dormitory. Those less fortunate were quartered in tents behind the dorm.

the program began, so the day of reckoning might come earlier than anticipated.) Although the goal was to send as many men as possible to officers’ training camp, they might also be assigned to stay in school to pursue studies in medicine, chemistry, engineering, or other critical fields, or assigned to military work as enlisted men. The SATC program produced the largest freshman class and largest overall enrollment in College history to that time—179 first-year men, compared with just 54 the previous year and 67 in each of the two pre-war years. The influx of men for the war effort boosted total College enrollment to a record 462. On Oct. 14, 1918, two weeks after the ambitious wartime program was launched, the Health Board of the City of Los Angeles ordered all schools closed due to the deadly Spanish flu (the first civilian cases had surfaced in Los Angeles three weeks earlier). Regular classes were suspended, and most of the women went home, but the SATC continued operations, posting guards to protect campus. There were 135 cases of the flu on campus but not a single casualty. The Occidental reported that the Los Angeles County Health Department considered the campus 18

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“the healthiest spot in Southern California,” and was investigating the methods used in order to help stop the epidemic in the city. Certainly, the isolated location and military discipline worked to the College’s advantage. The war ended on Nov. 11, 1918, while the College was still closed for the flu. Like many Americans, the SATC men were caught by surprise and uncertain as to the future of military operations. A few days later, they received their first payday at the rate of $1 per day from the date of enlistment to November 1; according to The Occidental, 176 men received individual payouts ranging from $4 to $26, much of which went to paying off credit at the Post Exchange located in the brand new barracks—which also included a barbershop, telephone booth, drinking fountains, and laundry agency. Ironically, the barracks and mess hall were officially opened just after the armistice. The health order was lifted November 22; five days later, President Evans received a telegram from Washington, D.C., at the end of morning chapel and announced that the SATC would be demobilized by mid-December. As the Army prepared to leave, the College scrambled to make up for time lost to war and influenza. The quarter system, adopted that August as a wartime measure, was replaced by the original semester system, so that current classes could run into February augmented with Saturday sessions. The number of credits required for graduation was permanently reduced from 126 semester units to 120 units. Many of the young men who had enrolled because their tuition would be paid by the government wanted to

stay, and the YMCA came forward with a jobs program to help them pay their own way. Much of this information was in a report by Evans to the Board on December 6. “We must face the immediate problem of housing and feeding,” he said. “We hope to get government permission to use the mess hall this semester, and possibly for the balance of the year. Failing in this, we would have claims in justice on the government for the expense and demoralization which has been caused by disturbing our housing and feeding plans in previous establishment and in attempts at re-establishment.” The mess hall not only stayed open, but opened to women, as reported by a female journalist under the pseudonym A. Messhaller: “That mess hall hands out the best meals that have ever seen the Occidental campus. What’s more you can have all you want for the small sum of 30 cents.” When the SATC left, the mess hall become the first College commons, with a dining hall under student management and meals sold at even lower prices: 70 meal tickets for $16, or 21 tickets for $4.80. The Post Exchange held a going-out-ofbusiness sale, and SATC men voted to give the proceeds to the football program, which had been decimated by influenza and the comings and goings of star players. Before leaving campus, the military sponsored a goodbye party that began with a display of drilling by the trainees on Patterson Field, followed by a roast beef dinner in the “spacious mess hall” for the whole College community. There was singing and dancing, including a game effort on the dance floor by


Gold Stars for Seven Sons On the south end of Johnson Hall, to the left of the doors leading into what is now Choi Auditorium (once the College chapel), is a simple bronze plaque, erected by the Class of 1919, “to honor the memory of Occidental’s sons who gave their lives in the Great War.” The plaque lists the names of seven alumni, accompanied by a passage from John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this.” About 100 yards to the west, the cool green sanctuary of Sycamore Glen, enjoyed by Oxy students for almost a century now, was planted in honor of the same brave soldiers. Drawing on information published in The Occidental, La Encina, and other sources, here’s a brief sketch of Oxy’s “Gold Star Men” who died in service. 1

Pvt. William O. McConnell ’14, an instructor of modern languages at Princeton, was wounded while serving with Company I of the 26th Infantry Regiment near Soissons, France, on July 18, 1918. Despite his injury, McConnell continued to act as a runner for his company under fire and was killed two days later. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously. The William Orr McConnell Memorial Scholarship at Princeton continues to be awarded to this day.

—as a member of the Marines fighting in the battle of St. Mihiel. He is buried at St. Mihiel American Cemetery in Thiaucourt, France. 3 Cpl. Carl F. “Brandy” Brandstetner ’17 of Covington, Ky., excelled at varsity football as well as track and basketball as a Tiger. After graduation, Brandstetner remained at Oxy as athletic manager before enlisting in the Ordnance Department. He was awaiting his commission at Camp Logan in Houston when he became ill, and died of pneumonia Jan. 8, 1919, after the war had ended. 4 Cpl. Wilfred Carroll Byram ’17 of Santa Ana enlisted in an Engineer unit and was struck by a low bridge while on a train in France on July 25, 1918, fracturing his skull in two places. He was taken unconscious to a French base hospital, where he died. “Men don’t join the Army to become rich or famous,” he wrote home to his parents, “but to do their part and serve their country. If everybody would give up all personal ambition and work for the good of the cause, it would be the ideal condition.”

top row, from left: McConnell, Simonds, and Brandstetner. bottom row: Byram, Kellogg, and Koethen.

and was training to be an officer at Camp Hancock, Ga., when he was stricken with influenza. He died Nov. 2, 1918, before reaching Europe. 6

Pvt. Theodore C. Koethen ’19 of Los Angeles enlisted in the 116th Engineers and was deployed to France, where he died of peritonitis July 15, 1918—the first Oxy casualty of the Great War. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Lt. Albert C. Simonds ’15 died Sept. 15, 1918, “leading his men over the top”—a brave and dangerous tactic in trench warfare

5 Cpl. Ralph E. Kellogg ’18 enrolled at Oxy after graduating from Pasadena High School. The Dalton, Pa., native was student body president, a member of two debate teams, and a distance runner for the Tigers. Kellogg enlisted in the Ordnance Department

Seaman Raymond W. Barton ’21 of Altadena attended Oxy only briefly before enrolling in the Naval Reserve. He died of lobar pneumonia at a naval base in Virginia on Oct. 4, 1918.

Evans that was pronounced “a disappointment” by a female reporter, who gave higher marks to a “talented” vocal rendition by Capt. Franz. The SATC was officially dissolved on Dec. 17, 1918. Despite his concerns about food and lodging, Evans was graceful in his final message: “Personally, the SATC has given me a renewed confidence in the College as occupying a leading place in the nation. The SATC stirred us up and did us good. Consequences of great educational value will come sooner and better because of it.” Some educational consequences lasted longer than others. An ROTC program was established during the second semester, with a full range of military science and tactics

courses offered in 1919-20, but it was gone by fall 1920. On the other hand, a two-hour physical culture class provided to women in lieu of ROTC formally established physical education for women at the College. Topical courses such as Literature of the Great War came and went, but a greater focus on international affairs took root. Mathematics and science gained new importance, and the combined A.B. and nursing certification remained available until 1956-57. Enrollment dipped slightly in 1919-20, but the following year saw more than 500 students at the College for the first time, and enrollment trended upward for more than half a century. Perhaps the most important impact of the war, however, was the way it changed the

lives and perspectives of those who fought and those who stayed at home. Letters from “over there” appeared regularly in The Occidental, a steady stream of former soldiers returned to campus with stories to tell, and sad news trickled in of students who would never return and whose stories would have to be told by others. In the spring of 1919, the yearbook provided a proud accounting: “More than 300 alumni and undergraduates were in active service in the Army and Navy, while 200 more men were enrolled in the Students’ Army Training Corps at college—a splendid total of 500 given by one American college for the cause of world freedom.” Walker wrote “The Trials and Triumphs of Léon Dostert” in the Fall 2015 magazine.

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Coming to

AMERICA Decades before they joined the diplomacy and world affairs faculty at Oxy, Sophal Ear, Lan Chu, and Sanjeev Khagram immigrated to the United States as refugees. How have their journeys informed their scholarship? By SAMANTHA B. BONAR ’90 20 OCCIDENTAL MAGAZINE

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Photos by KEVIN BURKE


“America is a land of refugees,” says Ear, a leading authority on Cambodia and Southeast Asia. “Except for American Indians, everyone here came from elsewhere. Let’s not forget this.”

ssociate professor of diplomacy and world affairs sophal ear was born in cambodia in 1974, right before the Khmer rouge took over the country in april 1975. the group killed a quarter of the population—1.7 million people. on the third day of travel trying to escape cambodia, ear’s father died of dysentery. a brother adopted by his aunt is still missing to this day. ear and his dwa colleagues lan chu and sanjeev Khagram shared their experiences immigrating to america in a talk titled “intimate Journeys, refugee stories” in Johnson hall on february 14, part of a United nations week built around the theme “through refugee eyes.” “the overriding principle of citizenship is equality in political participation,” says ear, who joined the oxy faculty in 2014. “refugees become americans, and they have every right to be here, period.” when the Khmer rouge announced in late 1975 that Vietnamese citizens would be returned to Vietnam, ear’s mother, cam youk lim —who spoke a bit of Vietnamese—declared herself and her five children Vietnamese. she was later tested by the Khmer rouge and the Vietnamese for her language ability. her Vietnamese was very bad, “but a kind Vietnamese lady tutored her for three days like a drill sergeant, and mom passed,” ear says. that was in early 1976, when Vietnam was communist “and only marginally better than cambodia. we needed a way out from Vietnam as well,” ear says. to that end, when the family set foot in Vietnam, ear’s mother “immediately declared us cambodians. cambodians could in theory leave Vietnam.” with help from a cousin and a stranger’s kindness, the ear family arrived in france—the only western country to maintain diplomatic relations with Vietnam—in 1978. his mother had a sister in san francisco, but one of ear’s sisters was very sick, so they didn’t make it to america for seven more years. “we refugees joke about this, but we always have our bags packed, just in case,” he says. when the ear family finally made it to america, it was as tourists, not refugees. they settled in oakland, where ear’s mom worked in sweatshops and the family lived on food stamps. “we got our green cards eventually,” says ear, who remembers “watching ‘chips’ reruns, Judge wapner, and ‘hart to hart’” until his mother insisted her children be enrolled in school. By January 1986, he was at willard Junior high school in Berkeley. he eventually received his ph.d. from Uc Berkeley. after spending his childhood virtually on the run, ear considers himself “among the most fortunate people i know—namely those who not only survived, but thrived.” Because of that he sees his life “as one of public service. to those to whom much is given, much is expected,” he says. “i speak truth to power on cambodian politics SPRING 2017  OCCIDENTAL MAGAZINE

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and economy and beyond. i serve on a halfdozen boards, including the nathan cummings foundation, refugees international, the southeast asia resource action center, partners for development, and more. i see my role as doing as much as i can to help the next generation, and that means teaching and researching.” when ear enters the classroom, “i don’t leave my identity at the door,” he says. “i’m who i am because of where i’ve been and where i come from. i teach political economy, development, and security for that reason. these are all essential intersections of my life’s work. i talk about the ideas that have shaped our world. obviously, for me personally, some of these ideas have exacted a terrible price. But it’s important to understand why. anger doesn’t solve anything. as a Buddhist, it also lets me practice the first law of karma: ‘cause others to have good results so you can too.’”

Chu, who grew up in a neighborhood in Queens populated by immigrants and refugees, is married to a half-Greek son of immigrants. The couple’s four children speak Greek, Vietnamese, and English.

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Associate professor of diplomacy and world affairs Lan Chu was just an infant when her family fled Vietnam on april 29, 1975, the day before the U.s. embassy in saigon fell. the family (including six children ranging in age from 8 months to 10 years) had a harrowing escape via a barge that met up with a larger vessel out at sea. chu’s father was the last passenger allowed to board. a U.s. frigate picked up the barge passengers and delivered them to a refugee camp in the philippines. from there, the family traveled to Guam, where they received medical care. chu’s parents were told lan “would not survive” and to “be prepared for an imminent death,” in her father’s words. the doctors were wrong, and after seven weeks in Guam, the family boarded a military plane and landed in camp pendleton in san diego. chu’s father had a contact in new york, a Vietnamese catholic priest who he had done business with in Vietnam (chu’s

family, devout catholics, sold religious statues). he connected the family with Germancatholic immigrants who sponsored them in new york. the chus arrived at JfK airport on aug. 12, 1975. they moved to Queens, and chu’s father began working for a frame company. “we had nothing when we got here,” she says. her mother told people they were chinese because she was afraid of backlash over the Vietnam war. the neighborhood chu grew up in was a mecca for other immigrants and refugees. “my neighborhood sat between a largely black/latino community on one side, and italian/irish catholics on the other,” she says. “diversity was the norm.” however, the location “only added to the ambiguity of being part of the 1.5 generation”—a term that refers to Vietnamese who were raised outside of Vietnam during and after the Vietnam war. “we are neither here nor there,” she explains. “i am Vietnamese, yet american. i’m american, but not Vietnamese. that’s why i often just say i’m a new yorker, because that best defines who i am. i was raised in a community of refugees and immigrants. rarely did i have a friend that spoke only one language at home.” chu’s parents’ refugee experience started her on a lifelong quest to answer questions about religion and politics. “Vietnam has a very high level of nationalism, so it was interesting to me that my dad chose catholicism,” chu says. “for something that’s so intangible, he put a lot of faith in that. he always believed ‘God will take care of me.’ Getting to each stop, from the philippines to Guam to california to new york, he had that faith. that’s what set me on the path to graduate studies.” her dissertation at George washington University, in fact, was about how the catholic church resisted communism, and the catholic church’s possibilities and limits as a social and political institution. today, chu’s research and teaching interests focus on the political role of religious institutions, the political liberalization processes of former and existing communist countries, faith diplomacy, and inter-religious dialogue. currently, she is working on a book manuscript that examines the Vatican’s influence on foreign policy. “you could categorize me as american because i grew up here,” says chu, who joined the oxy faculty in 2005. “But the refugee experience is passed down from your


parents. even if that’s not what you visually see, everyone carries this experience with them, which reflects something inherently non-american as well.” each time she has traveled “home” to Vietnam, she says, “i felt american because no one accepted that i was Vietnamese. But then oddly when i come back here, i tend to feel more Vietnamese. sometimes i think in Vietnamese. that’s when i’m reminded i have another identity … it just naturally occurs.” Sanjeev Khagram, the John parke young chair in Global political economy, is recognized worldwide as an expert on globalization, transnationalism, sustainable development, and human security. But it was a long road from there to here. in 1972, Khagram and his family were expelled from their native Uganda along with 60,000 other residents of asian descent (his family was originally from india—his great-grandparents emigrated to africa to escape British colonialism). the order by then-president idi amin stemmed from claims that Ugandan asians —including Khagram’s grocer parents— were responsible for the east african nation’s economic struggles. even though the family started from poor beginnings, they had slowly built a fortune and “we were the 10th wealthiest family in the country when we were expelled,” Khagram says. amin “froze all bank accounts and gave us 48 hours to leave the country.” the family first traveled to Kenya, then were relocated to a refugee camp in italy before finally emigrating to the United states. “we had $50 and a couple of suitcases. in the camp, we were stateless, had no citizenship,” Khagram says. the family was offered asylum by the United states, United Kingdom, and canada. they decided to come to america, “sponsored by a wonderful family from the Unitarian church.” Khagram was 5 years old when the family landed in new Jersey. “when we first came to the U.s., when people asked me where i was from, i’d say i was from africa,” he recalls. “one thing my experience reminds me is how incredibly complex identity is.” in new Jersey, Khagram’s mother, who had never worked outside the home, became a nurse’s aide, and they started over again. “we lost everything,” says Khagram, who joined the oxy faculty in 2012 after teaching stints at harvard and the University of wash-

Khagram’s experience as a refugee reminds him “how incredibly complex identity is, [and] when we start to box each other in, how profoundly distorting that is.”

ington. “we weren’t in an indian community; we were always the different ethnic group. we lived in a poor working class neighborhood. … there’s no way our lives could be what they were without the courage my family showed.” the experience afforded Khagram, whose stanford education culminated in a doctorate in political economy, with a unique perspective: “it showed me how forces and conflict interact to shape people’s lives, societies, economies, and environments, but also how much individuals and the work they do can have a huge impact in the world.” another insight he gleaned was that entrepreneurs such as his parents can be a force for good. he tries to impart that “creative entrepreneurial approach to changing the world” to his students, both through the courses he teaches and as co-faculty adviser to oxypreneurship, which provides students with the resources to pursue their startup ideas. “i’d like to dramatically increase entrepreneurship among oxy students—not in the narrow commercial sense, but to encourage students to be entrepreneurial leaders in all aspects of their life and career, whatever field they go into,” Khagram says. ambition and drive were direct outcomes of his refugee experience, he adds.

“you recognize that you, as a young person, have a chance for a life where you may be able to go to school, have a profession, that your parents won’t. it’s their sacrifice for your success.” that leads to a sense of duty that refugees feel toward their parents, he says, as well as a desire “to do whatever we can to give back” because of the “unbelievable number of ordinary acts of kindness that made it possible to be here.” Khagram was hailed as a young Global leader of the world economic forum and wrote the Un secretary General’s report on the impacts of the Global economic crisis in 2009. a former dean of the desmond tutu peace centre and senior adviser on policy and strategy at the world commission on dams, he also served as architect/producer of the Global initiative for fiscal transparency. Khagram has worked with global networks, multi-stakeholder initiatives, international agencies, governments, corporations, civil society and professional organizations, and universities all over the world. despite his many professional successes, he says, he’s never lost that sense of being on the move. “when people ask me, ‘are you american?’—it’s remarkable, despite how far you go, when people get to really know me, and ask where i’m from—i say i’m a refugee.” SPRING 2017  OCCIDENTAL MAGAZINE 23


Organ Recovery What’s that sweet sound coming out of Herrick? After 15 years of relative quiet, the Mildred Miles Crew ’45 Memorial Organ is making music again By PETER GILSTRAP

Photos by MARC CAMPOS

s pipe organs go, the instrument that resides in occidental’s Herrick Memorial Chapel and interfaith Center is somewhat discrete. The console sits off to the side, as it has since it arrived from Buffalo, n.Y., in 1966, bathed in delicate light from the afternoon sun that filters through the ornate stained glass window to the west. and, unlike so many organs that display a vast array of pipes like a monumental holy boast, the Herrick organ’s pipes—all 3,275 of them, ranging from 16 feet high to the size of a pencil—are hidden in cavities on either side of the chapel behind an unadorned white cloth facade. Behind that cloth is a sight rarely seen. step through a narrow side door, and you enter the cramped guts of the magnificent beast. Towering wooden pipes, powerful blowers, thin ladders, and scaffolding reaching three levels high, each lit only by a bare incandescent bulb. it’s a strange and slightly anachronistic world back there. But make no mistake, at 51, the Mildred Miles Crew ’45 Memorial organ is still a living, breathing thing. “oh, it tells you it’s alive, don’t worry!” says Manuel rosales, president and tonal director of rosales organ Builders. rosales has maintained the instrument, built by the schlicker organ Co., off and on since 1973. “When you’ve done a repair or some other work and you fill the organ with air,” he says, “it comes alive and tells you right away if you’ve done a good job.” Though the organ was rarely used for some 15 years prior to its 50th birthday last october, rosales, in conjunction with Kevin Cartwright of Cartwright pipe organ Co., undertook a major restoration on the neobaroque-style instrument that was designed


for the chapel by Clarence Mader, occidental’s professor of organ and College organist from 1955 to 1968. The anniversary was marked by a classical performance from master concert organist nathan Laube, putting the renewed machine through its glorious paces, and once again on the cultural map of occidental. Donated to the College by husband Herbert a. Crew Jr. and other members of the family of Mildred Miles Crew (who died in 1964), the organ was inaugurated with an april 24, 1966, recital given by former occidental music professor David Craighead, an eminent organist. Half a century ago, “the organ introduced this sound in a wonderful building in a beautiful setting that basically didn’t exist in the L.a. area,” says rosales, who, working with architect Frank gehry, created and curates the 6,134-pipe organ in Walt Disney Concert Hall. in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, oxy was the go-to school for pipe organ studies on the West Coast, and was home to a whopping five magnificent instruments. “i think there was a lot of interest among students who grew up going to church,” says edmond Johnson, occidental’s director of academic advising. “at the time, if you wanted to be a musician, being able to play the organ probably was your safest bet for a guaranteed paycheck because there were a ton of churches, and they all wanted organists.” a dedicated music historian, Johnson spearheaded the restoration project, sparking renewed interest in the Herrick organ. not all such aging instruments are so lucky. “Today many churches have moved to different kinds of worship styles where they have praise bands, so organ is not the only option,” he explains. “They’re maintenance heavy, and a lot of people associate them as old-fashioned, kind of a more traditional thing. For some people that’s a liability.” as interest waned at oxy, the pipe organ program dried up. By the 1980s, the College’s five-organ arsenal was reduced to two. “if you go through a period where you don’t have any students, it becomes really hard to justify maintaining a program and the instruments,” Johnson says. Besides the Herrick schlicker, the only other organ still on campus is the once mighty instrument in Thorne Hall, now unplayable. it began its life as a machine of worship at Temple Methodist Church in san Francisco in 1930, and arrived at oxy in 1938 when the church went bankrupt. UsC emeritus professor of organ Ladd Thomas ’59, who still teaches, played the Thorne organ regularly when it was a significant part of campus life. “it was a fine instrument in its day,” says Thomas, who was awarded an honorary doctorate of music from oxy in 1987. For a performer, he adds, one of the biggest challenges was that the Thorne organ console was located in the front righthand corner of the room, while the pipes were all in the back. This distance created a delay between pressing down a key and the sound reaching the

above: To celebrate the Herrick organ’s 50th anniversary, Timothy Howard (director of music and organist at Pasadena Presbyterian Church) performed Oct. 22, 2016, as part of the L.A. Bach Festival. opposite: Mildred Miles Crew ’45, inset, occasionally served as organist for Student Church services.

player’s ears as it traveled from the rear of the hall. “We used to joke that if nobody’s applauding while you’re bowing, it’s because they’re still listening!” Thomas says. nine years ago the aging organ was sold to a Florida church, yet it remains at oxy —silent, gutted, and gathering dust in the darkness of Thorne Hall, still waiting to be picked up. if that ever happens. The chapel organ’s future is far rosier than its Thorne Hall counterpart. “We’re trying to bring back the Herrick organ to a place of prominence,” says David Kasunic, associate professor of music and department chair. That, of course, takes money. in fall 2014, Kasunic discovered the Crew Memorial organ Fund, an endowment created in 1972 exclusively for maintaining the chapel organ. “The organ hasn’t been attended to for a while, so we had a great surplus,” Kasunic says. “and ed is such a terrific steward of this. We’re designating him the organ and historical keyboards consultant for the music department so that he can continue on in this capacity.” Kasunic says there are plans to involve the occidental glee Club and stage more concerts, including the Los angeles Bach Festival—which the College hosted last october—and an annual show in conjunction with the american guild of organists. The renewed focus on the Herrick organ “is bringing a lot of alumni out of the woodwork with smiles on their faces,” Kasunic says. “They’re really happy to see us bringing the organ into the 21st century, and preserving its history by trying to find connections to music alumni of the past.” of the multitude of sounds the instrument is capable of making, a sigh of relief is not among them. But the rich, breathtaking voice of the newly reborn Herrick organ will speak volumes for years to come. Gilstrap profiled John Branca ’72 (“Good Vibrations”) in the Winter issue. SPRING 2017  OCCIDENTAL MAGAZINE 25


s by | Photo ERSON D N A K By DIC

Varelas swings into action at Riverwood Capital’s offices in Menlo Park. On the wall is a Red Sox jersey made from baseball cards of famous Red Sox—a gift from a friend inspired by a similar piece commissioned for a client by well known sports agent Scott Boras.

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JIM BLO

CK


Chris Varelas '85 has a passion for sports, a knack for structuring complex technology deals, a loyalty to his Oxy family—and the uncanny ability of being at the nexus of history Chris Varelas ’85 has witnessed some amazing moments firsthand. When a ground ball off the bat of the New York Mets’ Mookie Wilson rolled through the legs of the Boston Red Sox’ Bill Buckner in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Varelas was there. When quarterback Vince Young led Texas to a comeback victory over USC at the 2006 Rose Bowl—the highest-rated BCS game in TV history—Varelas was in the stands with a Longhorns contingent, playfully taunting Trojans superfan Snoop Dogg. When Vladimir Putin pocketed a Super Bowl ring belonging to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft during an excursion of business leaders to Russia, Varelas worked to smooth over the matter. And when five of the 10 biggest revenue deals in the history of Wall Street went down, Varelas was in on the action: As Citigroup’s global head of technology, media and telecom investment banking, Varelas and his group of 250 bankers ranked first in 2005 in mergers and acquisition deals and fourth when ranked by deal value, according to Thomson Financial. “Chris is an amazing storyteller— he’s very bright—and he knows how to put business deals together,” says Tom Geiger ’85, a friend since their Oxy days and a business partner since they bought and rehabbed a number of apartment buildings in the mid- to late-1990s. “When you put that combination together, that’s why he’s been so successful.” At the outset, Varelas says, he envisioned his career in four steps: “I’ll work on Wall Street for 10 to 15 years, in corporate America for 10 to 15 years, in politics for 10 to 15 years, and then I’ll go to academia.”

Varelas wound up staying on Wall Street for nearly 20 years before leaving to found Riverwood Capital, a privateequity firm focused on high-growth technology and technology-related companies, in 2008. He’s also scratching his teaching itch through his work with the Aspen Institute, founding the Aspen Finance Fellows program to produce effective, enlightened leaders in the financial services industry. In addition, he’s writing his first book, a layman’s guide to the changes in the financial services industry over the last three decades. All that leaves, really, is for Varelas to run for elected office—and experience suggests that he would be successful at any undertaking. “Chris makes friends anywhere he goes,” says Gary Skraba ’87, who has known Varelas since he was a first-year and Varelas was an RA in Stearns. “He has a great ability to read people, start a dialogue, and make them laugh in any situation.” The middle child of Greek immigrants, Varelas grew up in Springfield, Mass., and moved with his family to Anaheim Hills when he was 15. While he intended to go back East to either Williams or Wesleyan, he visited Oxy on a whim, “and I really felt a connection to the school. At the last minute my gut said to go to Occidental. It did not hurt that it was closer to home.” (Younger sister Lea would also enroll at Oxy, graduating in 1988 and later working for Salomon Brothers.) Although Varelas graduated with a degree in economics, he started college as a chemistry major. “I was going to be premed,” he says. “Two things changed my mind.” First was a philosophy lecture by Professor Marcia Ho-

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Varelas hosted an Oxy reunion in the Riverwood Capital skybox for a recent Golden State Warriors game. “If you had told me 10 years ago that going to Oakland to watch an NBA game not involving the Boston Celtics would be my favorite sporting experience, I would have said ‘Zero chance,’” Varelas says, “but it’s electric.” Photo courtesy Tom Geiger ’85

miak, who compared Aristotle to the sixth game of the 1975 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds (a 12inning, do-or-die 7-6 victory for the Sox). “As a big Red Sox fan, I was taken by the use of a famous baseball game to drive home a philosophical concept,” he says. Second was the realization that he enjoyed chemistry more in theory than in the lab. But Varelas started taking economics classes as well—and he found an adviser in a young faculty member named Jim Whitney, who came to Occidental in 1982. “I was one of Professor Whitney’s first advisees,” he says. Ultimately, Varelas opted for a degree in economics over philosophy “because the graduation requirements seemed more manageable in the face of looking for a job.” As a participant in Collegium (which was part of the Oxy curriculum from 1974 to 1989), “I loved the fact that we studied great concepts through themes. You would pick a subject like tradition and change and then analyze it through the various disciplines of history, literature, even science,” he says. “Wharton got me my job on Wall Street, but it was the critical thinking that I developed at Occidental that made me a success.” Varelas’ first job out of college was with Bank of America, whose training program was widely regarded as one of the best in the country. After five months on the job, he was assigned to work in the heart of L.A.’s Jewelry District, loaning money to gold dealers and wholesalers, “which in and of itself was an amazing training ground,” he says. In the lending industry there’s a gauge called the five Cs of credit: capacity, capital, collateral, conditions, and character. “They always tell you how important character is, but in the jewelry industry it’s all that matters.” “The jewelry industry is really an industry of integrity. It’s the most asymmetric transaction you’ll ever do, in the sense that 28 OCCIDENTAL MAGAZINE

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you’re actually going to that person who’s selling you the diamond for information that you’re then going to base your decision on.” After three years with B of A, he enrolled at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned an MBA in 1990. When he went to Wall Street after graduation, taking a job with Salomon Brothers on the trading floor, “I assumed I probably wasn’t going to survive,” he says. “Friends of mine were like, ‘I don’t really see you there. It doesn’t really seem to fit your personality.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I know. That’s exactly why I want to go.’ I always would pick experience over probability of survival.” Nearly 20 years later, Varelas was still there. “I got lucky,” he admits. “I ended up working on some very high-profile transactions at a very young age, and that helps cement your reputation. Then success in one deal begets the next, and so on and so on.” Varelas’ thriving career took a left turn on Dec. 7, 1994, when California’s Orange County filed for bankruptcy to the tune of $2 billion—the product of excessive borrowing and risky investments that went south in the face of rising interest rates. The aftershocks were felt throughout the bond market and all the way to Wall Street. Varelas headed up the Salomon Brothers team brought in to fix the investment pool and reinvest the money appropriately—which they quickly did. “But then what happened was you had this hole in the budget,” he says. “All of a sudden, 40 percent of the revenue disappeared and you have all this debt coming due. Our job at Salomon was done, what we were hired for, but I thought this was a great life experience.” This raised a larger question in his mind: Why not stick around and try to solve the revenue dilemma? So he did. As a 32-year-old Salomon vice president, Varelas—who had worked at both Anaheim Stadium (selling peanuts) and Disneyland (as a cafe greeter) growing up—felt a tug of

responsibility toward his adopted home. “I was told by many it would be career suicide,” he recalls, “and I thought maybe at the time it would be, because I was spending a year and a half working on one project that’s not really directly related to what I do. It turned out to be an advantage for the firm and a huge home run for the county, but going into it, I didn’t know that.” For the next year and a half, “I felt like I had a hand in running the county,” Varelas recalls. “We had to learn about the budgets, revenue, operations, and so then we moved into analyzing all aspects of the county— how we could generate more revenue, how we could repay the debt.” He and his team had to come up with a plan that fit the priorities of the citizens of Orange County: “Don’t raise taxes, make operations more efficient, use the existing tax base to solve it.” Streamlining the budgets of most departments with the notable exceptions of schools, police, and fire and bringing those funds together, the Salomon team found the money to dig Orange County out of a very giant hole. “Everyone got paid off 100 cents on the dollar with interest,” Varelas says. One additional dividend of his 18-month stint in Orange County was meeting his wife, Jessica, through a friend while living in Newport Beach. The couple was married at her parents’ home near Paso Robles in 1998, with the ceremony held in her parents’ orchard. As his work progressed, Varelas’ responsibilities at Salomon (which was acquired in 1997 by Travelers Group, which in turn merged with Citigroup in 1998) grew to include becoming head of Citi’s national investment bank, a member of Citi’s global operating committee, and culture czar (which entailed assessing and transforming the culture for all of Citi). “I always joked that I didn’t change jobs, but the world changed around me,” he says. “I never left one job to go to another, but the Salomon Brothers I joined and the Citigroup I left were diametrically opposed firms culturally. One of the reasons I was given all these jobs was that my group was always rated as one with a good working environment in an industry that was not generally regarded as a friendly place to work; people would always say, ‘I want to work in that group.’ So they kept giving me more and more management responsibilities.”


“After 19 years, I had gotten everything I could out of Wall Street,” he says. “I liked the job. It was comfortable. It paid extremely well, but I thought ‘OK, I got to move on.’ So I set out to start a private-equity firm, which then turned out to be the worst time, literally, in the history of the world to do so, because private equity didn’t exist during the Great Depression,” he adds with a laugh. Since its founding in Menlo Park in 2008, Riverwood Capital has grown from six partners and a few associates to about 25 investment professionals with offices in New York City and São Paulo, Brazil, as well. “We do a lot globally,” Varelas says, “so we spend a lot of time in Asia, Israel, and the technology centers of the world.” A typical investment ranges from $25 million to $125 million per company, and Riverwood has had a stake in one of the top IPOs each of the last three years: GoPro in 2014, Globant in 2015, and Nutanix in 2016. “We’ve had some big successes,” Varelas says. “At the end of the day we’re looking to fund 20 or so investments in high-growth technology companies selling into a good market with a defensible strategy. “A large part of my job is to network in search of great investment opportunities,” he adds. Varelas spends much of his time meeting with entrepreneurs, lawyers, bankers, and advisers in the technology sector, as well as the investors who have committed more than $2 billion to Riverwood since the company’s founding. “One of the most rewarding things about this work is meeting interesting people with cool ideas that we need to figure out how to bring to fruition.” Varelas joined the Occidental Board of Trustees in 2005 at the invitation of thenPresident Ted Mitchell and Board Chair Cathie Selleck ’55. “I’ve always had an interest in education, so when I first joined, I did not really want to focus too much on the investment world because it’s what I did every day. I was looking for the more diverse experience.” Over time, friend and fellow trustee Ian McKinnon ’89 encouraged him to join the investment committee. “I saw what a great job he was doing and what value he was providing,” Varelas says, so he did. “Ian deserves a lot of credit for transitioning how the endowment was managed, choosing great fund managers or involving Oxy alumni with key investment skills, and

setting the College in the right direction,” Varelas adds. “Before his leadership, the endowment took a lot of interesting turns and had some difficult periods.” After McKinnon left the Board in 2012, Varelas was named chair of the investment committee. Since then he has worked closely with fellow trustees and committee members Dave Berkus ’62 and Pete Adamson ’84. “It’s really important that we do well on the investment committee not solely for the returns—because the dollars are important— but also to show that there’s a good steward for the investment of the endowment so that people feel comfortable giving money.” According to preliminary numbers for the last quarter of 2016, Occidental’s 9.7 percent return on its endowment ranks in the top 2 percent of endowments tracked by Cambridge Associates of San Francisco. That’s “pretty amazing,” Varelas says, “but you can only do so much to grow the endowment” without additional resources. A capital campaign geared toward growing the endowment is “critical” for the College, he says, “because we’re not going to earn our way to an appropriate endowment level” compared to Oxy’s liberal arts peers. “We view the committee’s roles and objectives as preservation of the capital needed to run the College, demonstration of prudent stewardship to the Oxy community, and the realization of appropriate risk-adjusted returns. Only by doing all three can we best position the College to raise the funds needed to support Oxy’s long-term goals.” One reason Varelas supports Occidental, he adds, is that “As the world becomes more complicated, interconnected, and convoluted, we need many more thinkers to grapple with the challenges that we face. It’s great that all of these kids are learning to code, but if everyone’s a coder and nobody’s a thinker, what’s guiding these fascinating technological and sociological developments? I’m a big believer in the liberal arts, for sure.” Varelas’ ongoing work with the Aspen Institute began in 2012. The “tried and true Aspen process,” as he calls it, takes 22 people a year at a critical juncture in their career and puts them through a program “that we hope will make them more effective, enlightened leaders. I think the biggest thing lacking today is leadership,” he adds, “so I really enjoy that process.”

Years before that, Varelas began writing a book that looks at 10 major evolutions over the last 30 years “that have made the financial service industry very complicated, almost scary, to the average Main Streeter,” he says. The hook is that it’s told through his stories: “No one wants to read a textbook, right?” To that end, Varelas picks a story around each moment that he knows well “as an inflection point,” he says. “First of all, we want you to enjoy the read, but then we hope the other benefit is that you say, ‘Now I understand the world of finance better.’ “Ever since Occidental, I’ve been writing almost as a hobby,” Varelas adds. “Then a friend of mine who’s a New York Times writer and a successful author read it for me and

The Varelas family at home: Clockwise from upper left, Athanacia, Jessica, Chris, and Juno.

said, ‘It’s really good.’ He gave me the path to make it a book.” Now, armed with an agent, a publisher (HarperCollins), an editor, and a collaborator (“at the end of the day, I’m not a professional writer”), he has a September deadline to turn in a full draft, with publication slated for fall 2018. Where does he find the time? “I need very little sleep,” says Varelas, who typically writes before dawn. “For years, I’ve averaged three to five hours a night of sleep. That extra three or four hours a day adds up.” SPRING 2017  OCCIDENTAL MAGAZINE 29


By Lori L. Ferguson

More than 75 years ago, Barbara (Wylie) Canright ’40 helped lift the Jet Propulsion Laboratory off the ground. Half a century later, Eleanor Helin ’54 discovered a staggering number of asteroids. And today, Diane Evans ’76 charts a course for new discoveries— all part of a celestial legacy of Oxy alumnae in the space program


Photo courtesy Patricia Canright Smith

leanor Helin ’54 blazed a trail throughout her career, much like the asteroids she discovered and researched over the course of more than 40 years at Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. A planetary scientist and astronomer, Helin was a pioneer in the search and survey of near-Earth asteroids—planetary bodies that occasionally pass near Earth and can pose a dangerous impact hazard. “We feel that about 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs and other biota were extinguished—snuffed out by an asteroid roughly six miles or 10 kilometers [wide],” she told a KCAL reporter in 1998. “And we want to avoid having this happen to human beings.” Before she trained her eye on the sky, Helin used her geology training to study minerals, rocks, and landforms on Earth. That changed in 1960, when she helped establish the Lunar Research Lab at Caltech “to help NASA know more about how and where to land on the surface of the moon,” according to Dan Malerbo of the Buhl Planetarium and Observatory in Pittsburgh. Her interest in meteorites and the impact origin of lunar craters led her to create the Palomar Planet-Crossing Asteroid Survey at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory, a program that has subsequently been responsible for the discovery of thousands of asteroids of all types, including approximately 30 percent of the near-Earth asteroids discovered worldwide. Starting in 1972, with an 18-inch Schmidt telescope, Helin discovered or codiscovered a handful of comets and a staggering 872 asteroids. Four years after moving to JPL in 1980, Helin initiated the International Near-Earth Asteroid Survey—a global effort to coordinate near-Earth sightings. On Aug. 9, 1989, Helin and her associates at the Palomar Observatory made one of their biggest discoveries, capturing the first two-dimensional image of an asteroid—two bodies, actually, “dancing cheek to cheek across the solar system,” as Los Angeles Times science writer Lee Dye put it—when it came within 2.5 million miles of Earth, or 11 times the distance to the moon. Advancements in technology only intensified Helin’s research efforts. In 1995, she became the principal investigator for the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) pro-

gram, a collaborative effort of NASA, JPL, and the Air Force that (using a deep-space surveillance telescope located on Haleakala, Maui, Hawai‘i, linked to a JPL computer) led to the detection of more than 26,000 objects, including 30 near-Earth asteroids, in just its first three years of existence. Helin, who was inducted into the Women in Technology Hall of Fame in 1998, retired from JPL in 2002 and died seven years later. She received numerous other honors in her lifetime, including a NASA Special Achievement Award in 1986, an honorary doctorate from Oxy in 1992 (having left the College just shy of completing her degree), and the JPL Award for Excellence and NASA’s Group Achievement Award for her efforts with the NEAT program in 1997. “Glo” even has a celestial body named for her: Asteroid 3267 Glo, discovered Jan. 3, 1981, by astronomer Edward Bowell at Lowell Observatory near Flagstaff, Ariz. When science writer Nathalia Holt was pregnant with her first child in 2010, “my husband and I were just having a terrible time coming up with a name,” she told NPR last year. After thinking up Eleanor Frances, they Googled the name—and the first match that popped up was Eleanor Francis Helin, along with “this beautiful picture of her at NASA in the 1960s accepting an award,” Holt recalled. “I was stunned by this picture because I hadn’t realized that women even worked at NASA at this time, much less as scientists.” Her subsequent research revealed a group of women, referred to as “human computers,” who played a key role in the U.S. space program—including another Oxy alumna, Barbara (Wylie) Canright ’40, who in 1939 helped launch what eventually became JPL. Subsequently, Holt wrote the 2016 bestseller Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, From Missiles to the Moon to Mars. Holt devoted the first chapter to Canright, whose contributions laid the foundation for subsequent generations of alumnae working on JPL’s space explorations and earth science missions. Barby Canright’s story is a fascinating mix of propriety and originality. The Ohio native eloped when she was 18 and moved to Southern California, where her husband,

Helin photo (page 30) by Seth Joel/Science Source | Helin photo (above) courtesy the Eleanor Helin estate

above: Barby Canright ’40 with husband Dick and son Bruce in 1943. left: Eleanor Helin ’54 holds the discovery image for Asteroid RaShalom, which she discovered Sept. 10, 1978. opposite: Helin looks to the stars in a 1998 photo.

Richard, enrolled in graduate school at Caltech. She took a job as a typist at the university and continued working on her bachelor’s degree at Occidental as time permitted. Although gifted with numbers, a career as a scientist was not a viable option for a woman in the late 1930s, so Canright took mathematics courses for her own enjoyment. “She had an endless curiosity about life and loved learning new things,” recalls daughter Patricia Canright Smith, a visual and literary artist in Seattle who created a book about Canright following her mother’s death. Then, in 1940, Canright was presented with an unusual opportunity that would place her in the path of history. After arriving in Pasadena, she and Richard became fast friends with a trio of young men—Frank Malina, Jack Parsons, and Ed Forman—known around Caltech as the Suicide Squad. The three were interested in rockets and spent hours trying to build a working device in this nascent science. In 1939, the National Academy of Sciences recognized their efforts, awarding the men—who were working under the formal name of the GALCIT (Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology) Rocket Research Project—$1,000 to pursue their research. The following year, the grant was increased to $10,000, and Richard and Barby were invited to join the project as mathematicians. It was a fateful decision. Over the next three years, the group worked feverishly to SPRING 2017  OCCIDENTAL MAGAZINE

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“With all of the different technologies here, one can have several careers and never leave JPL,” says Diane Evans ’76, director of the Earth Science and Technology Directorate. Evans, Strickland, and Chapman photos by Max S. Gerber

realize their dream—a rocket plane powered by a jet engine strong enough to keep the aircraft aloft. The science community was skeptical, so much so that when the group of inventors decided to form an institute, they avoided the word rocket altogether, instead naming their organization the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. As the men conducted their experiments, Canright dutifully crunched the numbers, calculating the thrust produced by each rocket engine and connecting the data to flight results in hopes of discovering what was required to make the JPL test plane fly. Finally, on Aug. 12, 1941, the team achieved success, utilizing rockets to lift their plane off the ground in half the distance normally required. In the coming months, Canright would continue to run the numbers, eventually determining how many rockets were needed to lift a bomber into the sky before turning her attention to calculating the potential of rocket propellant, work that would ultimately be used to perfect rockets owned by the U.S. Navy. Canright’s participation in the group drew to an end as 1943 dawned. She was pregnant, and because maternity leave was not yet available, her only option was to resign from JPL. She left the workforce entirely, turning her attention instead to life as a wife and mother. 32 OCCIDENTAL MAGAZINE

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“With all of the different technologies here, one can have several careers and never leave JPL,” Evans says. Prior to her current appointment, she worked successively as supervisor of the Radar Sciences Group, as a project scientist on JPL’s spaceborne-imaging radar projects, as deputy manager of the Science and Information Systems Office, and as chief scientist of earth science programs. When then-JPL director Charles Elachi started the Earth Science and Technology Directorate in 2001, naming Evans as its director, “That was a huge step for me,” Evans said during a roundtable discussion on women leaders in space exploration at JPL in March 2012. “By having really great people in the directorate, we have been able to accomplish a lot and start a lot of new missions [such as Aquarius, a joint venture with Argentina and Brazil to map the salinity at the ocean surface] and get the science data down.” During that same roundtable discussion, Evans waxed enthusiastic about the future of space exploration, and of the opportunities for women in particular. “When I look at this group and I think about what you’re going to be able to accomplish in the next few years, it’s going to be really exciting,” she said. “We’re going to get samples back from Mars, we’re going to be getting data streaming from some of the moons of the outer planets—whether it’s Enceladus or Titan or Europa—and I think one of the coolest things is we’re going to be looking at atmospheres of Earth-like planets around other stars. The Kepler mission [launched in 2009] has opened up this whole new world to us of how many planets might be out there that are just like our planet.”

Diane Evans ’76 began her relationship with JPL as a senior at Oxy, working as an academic part-time or “APT.” The position offered her an introduction to the lab’s remotesensing technology—something Evans says she wouldn’t have gotten access to otherwise. After receiving a geology degree, Evans went on to graduate school at the University of Washington, earning a Ph.D. in geological sciences and then returning to JPL for “a job offer she couldn’t refuse.” She has continued her work in remote sensing technology at the lab for the last 20 years, studying Earth via airborne A casual conversation with and spaceborne radar aboard a fellow congregant at the aircraft and spacecraft. Unitarian Fellowship of the “When you look out while Foothills in 1975 landed unflying in an airplane, you can dergraduate Louise Stoehr ’78 see things where your eye is M’80 a summer job at JPL— sensitive,” Evans explains. and once hired, she says, “I “In remote-sensing technolsimply stayed.” ogy, we build sensors that are Stoehr at one of JPL’s annual In her early days at the Galileo pre-launch picnics. sensitive to things that the lab, Stoehr worked in image eye can’t see, such as a rise in sea level that’s processing, taking image data provided by visible from a satellite.” The radar can also be JPL spacecraft and running it through the sensitive to texture and faults and, when appropriate programs for processing accordcombined with low-resolution satellite im- ing to the scientists’ needs. The summer of agery, enables scientists to create more pre- ’76 was especially intense, she recalls, as scicise geological maps from space. entists were preparing for the first landing of


the Viking orbiter. “Our team was responsible for processing all of the pictures from the orbiter, which arrived on large nine-track tapes, so that the scientists could decide where to land the craft.” After the Viking project, Stoehr worked briefly on the Voyager mission, then moved on to JPL’s propulsion subsection and the Galileo project, a probe to be sent to Jupiter. The young German major’s charge: translating all of the mission’s technical and legal documents into English. “The German aerospace manufacturer Messerschmitt-BölkowBlohm provided the propulsion subsystem for Galileo and they sent all of the correspondence related to the project—formal test results, failure reports, faxes, etc.—in German, which obviously wasn’t of any help to our English-speaking scientists.” After more than a decade at JPL, including five years as technical translator on the Galileo project, she left to pursue her Ph.D. in German studies at the University of Texas at Austin. A key element in that decision, she recalls, was “the day the assistant director of JPL took a day of vacation and requested that I be the person to teach him the system I had been working on. It was then that I realized I should be working with people, specifically with learners. The time had come for me to reconnect with my own passion.” Software engineer Irina Strickland ’97 spends her days at JPL coaxing information from a series of zeros and ones, a task that delights her. She joined the lab in August 2015 after 13 years of working there as a contractor for Raytheon. A mathematics major at Occidental, Strickland is now a group supervisor for instrument software and science data systems at JPL, responsible for managing the multiinstrument retrieval of the lab’s massive ground data system. She works directly with JPL scientists, programming their algorithms in order to process the data retrieved from the instruments. “Data comes down from various spacecraft pieces and we convert it into humanly readable information,” explains Strickland, who also has a master’s in engineering management from Walden University. “For example, a series of zeros and ones come down to us and after they’re processed we have information on volume mixing ratios for ozone, CO2, etc., which scientists then use for

far left: “I love programming,” says software engineer Irina Strickland ’97. “It’s great fun, and you get your own little victories every day.” left: Through the NASA Museum Alliance, Amelia Chapman ’93 provides resources to educators who want to use space exploration and scientific discovery to excite and inspire future generations of scientists.

climate studies and the like. I love programming. It’s great fun, and you get your own little victories every day.” For more than two decades—including four years at the San Diego Air and Space Museum and nearly eight years at the USC Pacific Asia Museum—Amelia Chapman ’93 has led informal education initiatives in museums. When given the opportunity to join the NASA Museum Alliance group in spring 2015, Chapman, who majored in studio arts at Oxy, didn’t hesitate. “Working in education for a typical museum, you can have an impact on a few hundred people,” she says. “Through JPL, you can reach thousands.” Informal education encompasses all of the places where people are learning outside of school, Chapman explains, and the Museum Alliance is the “front door” to NASA for individuals and organizations seeking to inspire new generations through exposure to space exploration and scientific discovery. Among the Alliance’s main tools is a public events calendar listing everything from the dates of Cassini mission events to virtual visits with science, technology, engineering, and math experts from the Goddard Space Flight Center. Chapman and her co-workers also maintain a website comprised of teaching resources, and presenting professional development opportunities to connect educators with experts throughout NASA. Chapman conducts a bit of informal education for Occidental students as well, raising awareness of her department through JPL’s on-campus career day. “I was the first non-science or engineering alumna to participate in the lab’s annual career information seminar for Occidental students,” she notes proudly. “It’s important for people to realize that there are numerous career opportunities

here in addition to the more traditional science and engineering roles.” Just as it did for Evans and Stroehr decades ago, Oxy continues to provide a launching pad for undergraduates looking to get a taste of the JPL experience. Emma Crow-Willard ’11, for instance, transferred from Bates College to Occidental after a single year so that she could work at JPL while studying geology and theater: “I was interested in looking for aliens,” she admits with a chuckle. She spent three years at JPL using images gathered from the Cassini mission probe to create a geological map of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. “Our focus was planetary bodies with the potential for life—we were looking for liquid water,” says Crow-Willard, who is now pursuing a master’s in environmental management at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. This semester, Stephanie Angulo ’19, an undeclared major from Sonoma, and Ellen Shin ’17, a mathematics major from Burbank, are interning at JPL for up to 15 hours a week as part of the Student Independent Research Program, founded in 2003 to encourage JPL scientists to mentor local college students and help them prepare for careers in science and engineering. Angulo is analyzing current alarm-system designs for the Deep Space Network operating facilities and developing potential new prototypes for future designs. “Aside from the project, the atmosphere of JPL was not what I expected it to be at all,” she blogged on the Oxy admission website. “The DSN design team is super collaborative and punny,” she added, “and emoji usage between JPLers is surprisingly high.” Ferguson wrote “The Showgirl Must Go On” in the Summer 2016 magazine. SPRING 2017  OCCIDENTAL MAGAZINE 33


OXYTALK Photo by Marc Campos

Cardillo (photographed in Booth Hall 204) met his future wife, Jen, as Harvard undergrads at an a cappella group audition. They have two children: Lila, 16, and Miles, 13.

New Kid On the Block Charlie Cardillo’s road to college began behind the wheel of a 1969 Olds 98. Now he’s steering Oxy’s fundraising efforts as a campaign revs up

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Charlie Cardillo knows firsthand the lifechanging impact of financial aid. A first-generation college student, he grew up in Hyde Park, Mass. His father was a custodian in the Boston Public Schools; his mom, a hairstylist. Although his parents divorced when he was 7 and his sister, Patty, was almost 9, “They both felt strongly about our education,” Cardillo says. Both Charlie and Patty did well enough to enroll at Boston Latin School, a magnet exam school founded in 1635 and a “feeder school” to neighboring Harvard University (founded one year later). “It was great for me to get a chance to get to know kids from all over the city,” Cardillo says, “but it was still a bit of a journey.” That


OXYTALK

journey was aided a bit when he got his first car, a 1969 Oldsmobile 98 that he bought for $1,000 from the owner of the service station where he worked as an attendant on the weekends. Long before he owned the car, Cardillo imagined himself driving it, with its dark brown hard top, power windows and seats, and a 455 engine that was “way too powerful for a 17-year-old to be driving,” he recalls with a chuckle. With the blessing of his father, Cardillo took $1,000 out of his bank account, paid for the car in $100 bills, and left the garage with a bill of sale written on the back of an envelope. “And that was it,” he says. “I had the car, and I was feeling great.” When he got home, however, Cardillo’s mother “sort of feigned excitement for me. The one major mistake I made in all of this was that I didn’t tell her that I was buying a car.” After emptying out his savings, he had $100 left in the bank. And his mom, both disappointed in her son and concerned for his future, worried about how he could afford to go to college. “Being the completely unaware teen that I was—full of unfounded confidence—I just said to her, ‘Don’t worry about it. I’ll figure it out.’” Encouraged by a couple of his teachers, Cardillo applied to Harvard (his admission essay was about his grandfather’s vegetable garden), interviewed with an officer visiting Boston Latin, and waited. “One day I walked home in the snow and opened up the storm door,” he says. “In between the storm door and the front door was a big, fat envelope from Harvard. I ripped it open and it had an acceptance letter, with a nice, frameable certificate, as well as the financial aid letter.” Cardillo unlocked the front door to the house, ran back to the kitchen, and held the letter in front of his mother without saying anything. “She stared at me and said, ‘So, what does this mean?’ I said, ‘It means that I got into Harvard and we can afford it.’ I expected her to have a very emotional reaction, but instead she just had this kind of ‘Whew!’ thing. And then she said, ‘I’ve just been sitting here all day trying to figure out how to tell you that you didn’t get into Yale.’” That’s a very long way of introducing Cardillo, who joined the College last July as vice president for institutional advancement. But it also says a lot about the importance he places on scholarship support for an education, which is expected to be the cornerstone of the forthcoming capital campaign at Oxy.

“The real strength of an institution is to keep coming back to those elements that we hold as common. It’s exciting to be part of the great things happening at Oxy.” “A campaign will allow us to align Oxy’s financial, capital, and academic planning,” he says. “The discipline of a campaign can help impose a focus on those three endeavors, to determine a set of aspirational goals that will require financial support to realize them. It also sharpens our focus on our priorities. And it gives us the opportunity and the excuse to develop our shared story: Who are we as a community? What do we believe and what’s possible if we come together at this moment? What’s at stake if we don’t?” Cardillo arrived at Oxy after 15 years at Harvard, most recently as senior director of annual and reunion giving at Harvard Business School. Prior to that, as assistant dean for development in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, he was instrumental in launching the portion of the University’s current campaign devoted to the priorities of Harvard College. “As a classics major at Harvard, Charlie developed an intellectual foundation that reinforces his abiding belief in the value and versatility of a liberal arts education,” says President Jonathan Veitch. “His experience has made him a believer in the transformative influence that volunteer leadership can have on sustaining an institution’s mission.” Building on his experiences as deputy executive director of the Harvard Alumni Association, Cardillo made volunteer support essential to his work as executive director of the Harvard College Fund. At the time he went to Harvard on a full scholarship, graduating in 1991, “I wasn’t very good at saying thank you,” Cardillo admits. “I never found out who funded the financial aid that I benefited from. Somehow I just imagined that 400 years ago, someone had put this money somewhere.”

It wasn’t until he worked his first phonathon for Harvard as a volunteer “that I kinda got it,” Cardillo says. “I walked in and I saw all these alums dialing for dollars. What motivated so many of them was financial aid,” he says. “A group of people were fighting the good fight, and reminding people that this was important.” Cardillo subsequently began volunteering for his class, “and it all led into this career path eventually.” Aside from the fact that he knew that Ben Affleck ’95 had attended Oxy—his wife’s Harvard ’92 classmate, Matt Damon, left the university to work with Affleck on the script for Good Will Hunting in L.A.—Cardillo’s sense of Occidental was that it was it was “a school for people interested in the arts.” As he got to know Oxy during last year’s job search, he says, “The fact that it was a liberal arts college embedded in this major urban center made it that much more attractive to me. I like being in an urban environment and having access to all that a city can offer.” Part of the campaign message that Oxy is developing, Cardillo says, “is that the College is poised to be ‘one of the great success stories in liberal arts education,’ as Jonathan articulates in his speeches so well when he talks about the relationship between American liberal arts and democracy.” Cardillo has gotten to know the culture of the College over the last 10 months. “Oxy has so many reasons to be really confident in what it has accomplished,” he says. “I know that it might go a little bit against the College’s culture of humility, but this place has more than earned the right to toot its own horn. I’m excited to be here in this moment to help tell the Occidental story.” When Cardillo and his family relocated to Los Angeles last summer, it was actually his second time moving to the City of Angels. Shortly after graduating from Harvard, “I moved out with a friend I graduated with to see if I could pursue a singing career,” he recalls. (A number of groups out of Boston had made it big in the ’80s, including New Edition and New Kids on the Block.) Cardillo went so far as to cut a demo tape, but lasted about six weeks in L.A. before moving back to Boston to pursue other interests. “I had no idea what I was doing, why I was doing it, or how I was going to do it,” he confesses. “I guess it’s not so secret now.” This time around, he’s got the right stuff. —dick anderson spring 2017  OCCIDENTAL MAGAZINE 35


PAGE 64 right: The Louies got to know Oxy alumni from five generations, including John Gaylord ’57. below: A detail of a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the streets of Trinidad in central Cuba.

Maribel Rios Louie ’97 and husband Andrew ’95 on the grounds of the Hotel Nacional de Cuba. The Cuban flag flies at half-staff following the death of Fidel Castro.

Photos courtesy Andrew Louie ’95

In Castro’s Shadow Taking a flyer on a trip to Cuba with his wife and a cargo full of Tigers, Andrew Louie ’95 reflects the country’s treasures and unexpected pleasures Last November 25, I was working my shift as an emergency medicine physician in Torrance when I mentioned to a co-worker that I was getting on a plane in six hours to vacation in Cuba. “You know he died, right?” my colleague said—“he” being Fidel Castro, the Cuban dictator who wielded power from 1959 until his retirement in 2008. Now, with Castro dead and news coverage everywhere, I knew I was in for quite an adventure. My wife, Maribel Rios Louie ’97, and I had always wanted to visit Cuba, but the logistics of doing so seemed a bit overwhelming. When President Barack Obama ’83 lifted some of the more strict travel requirements, we knew we had to see it before the deluge of American tourists. As serendipity would have it, we received a Tiger Travel flyer in the mail advertising an alumni trip to Cuba. We had never traveled with a group before, but this looked great—and we knew we would be in the company of educated and fun Oxy alumni. The 44-minute flight from Miami to Havana on November 26 was uneventful, and the bus from the airport shuttled us all into the heart of old Havana. Along the way, we passed Revolutionary Square, where throngs 64 OCCIDENTAL MAGAZINE

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of Cubans had lined up to pay respects to their beloved leader. There was no celebrating, as there was in Miami’s Little Havana. (Following Castro’s death, the government declared a nine-day period of mourning in which alcohol sales were suspended and music was discouraged.) Thousands waved Cuban flags in the streets and stood in line for five hours just to pass by a picture of Castro, who had already been cremated. After dinner and a good night’s rest, we explored Old Havana. As we had lunch on the waterfront, an architect spoke about how Cuba’s history had shaped urban planning. He gave us all pause to ponder the crossroads that the island nation was facing with the possible influx of foreign investments. Will the charm of old Havana, where three buildings collapse every day from decay, turn into a overcrowded city like Shanghai? Afterward, our group cruised through the streets in exhaust-spewing, classic American convertibles. We stopped at a park and took a group picture with our fellow Occidental tourists—five generations of alumni from 1950 to the 1990s. Dinner that night was held in a restaurant or “paladar,” in which Cuban residents con-

vert their homes into private restaurants— one example of how the Cuban people are branching out and becoming entrepreneurs. (One night, we ate dinner at a state-run restaurant that was much more formal than the private residences.) In the days that followed, we experienced the country’s history and culture. We toured a Holocaust memorial and the Bay of Pigs museum. We watched a Cuban dance troupe practice and explored Ernest Hemingway’s house, where a watchtower offered a spectacular view, and a boat on the grounds conjured memories of The Old Man and the Sea. We visited a cigar factory, of course, as well as the National Museum of Fine Arts. We listened to a lecture on the transculturalization of Cuban music at the University of Havana, and spoke with a current student about the free education system. On our last day, we listened to the Orquesta de Cámara de Cienfuegos, whose repertoire ranged from American classics like “Over the Rainbow” to a Cuban Cha-cha-chá that had everyone up and dancing. After that, it was back to Miami. As I reflect on the trip, I realized that the best part was interacting with the people— both the Cubans and the tour group participants. We spoke with locals who were trained as electrical engineers, but were driving taxis or buses because they made so much more money. We spoke with Oxy graduates and reminisced about what dorms everyone lived in. Our group was diverse not only in age but also by profession—from a New York City lawyer to a Utah tour group operator, to a economist from Wisconsin, to a retired airline pilot from Corvallis, Ore. After every meal, the seniormost Oxy graduate would always remark to me, “Just like Clancy’s!” Perhaps you’ve heard the expression “Experience is to the soul what education is to the mind.” With this alumni trip to Cuba, I accomplished both and feel so much more fulfilled than I was before. I was proud to be part of the Oxy community.


OXYFARE 

Appreciation Volume 39, Number 2 oxy.edu/magazine OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE

Jonathan Veitch President Kerry Thompson Interim Vice President for Academic Aairs and Dean of the College Vince Cuseo Vice President of Enrollment and Dean of Admission Rhonda L. Brown Vice President for Equity and Inclusion & Chief Diversity OďŹƒcer Amos Himmelstein Vice President & Chief Operating OďŹƒcer Charlie Cardillo Vice President for Institutional Advancement Erica O’Neal Howard Acting Dean of Students Marty Sharkey Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications Jim Tranquada Director of Communications editorial staff

Dick Anderson Editor Samantha B. Bonar ’90 Contributing Writer Marc Campos Contributing Photographer Gail (Schulman) Ginell ’79 Class Notes Editor SanSoucie Design Design DLS Group Printing OCCIDENTAL MAGAZINE

Published quarterly by Occidental College Main number: 323-259-2500 To contact Occidental magazine By phone: 323-259-2679 By email: oxymag@oxy.edu By mail: Occidental College OďŹƒce of Communications F-36 1600 Campus Road Los Angeles CA 90041-3314

David M. Kasunic Associate Professor of Music Music Department Chair

Occidental College Basic Tee (70/30 cotton/poly) Available in gray, orange, or black Sizes S-XXL, $23.95

Occidental College Bookstore oxybookstore.com To order by phone: 323-259-2951 All major credit cards accepted

Letters may be edited for length, content, and style. Occidental College online Homepage: oxy.edu Facebook: facebook.com/occidental Twitter: @occidental Instagram: instagram.com/occidentalcollege Cover illustration: Michael Cho Oxy Wear photo: Marc Campos

Addie McMenamin ’40: Alumni’s First Lady In the unwritten dictionary of Occidental College, next to the entry for Oxy Statistic would be a picture of 1940 graduates Addie (Grant) McMenamin and John McMenamin. The couple met as students from Santa Barbara and Hollywood high schools, respectively, on June 29, 1935, at a weeklong campus gathering sponsored by the Board of Christian Education of the Presbyterian Church. “John was elected assistant songleader by his fellow delegates,â€? Addie recalled in 2006, “and he never in his life had led a song.â€? Sitting up on the stage of Alumni Chapel (now Choi Auditorium), Addie quickly taught him the basic time signatures: 2/4, 3/4, 4/4. Thus began their acquaintance that would lead to a ďŹ rst date as ďŹ rst-years—an Orr Hall dance in fall 1936—and then nothing until their senior year. Following an Occidental Players production in April 26, 1940, the couple hung out together. That night, John recalled in 2006, “Addie’s laughter and her sparkling eyes were just overwhelming.â€? His discipline may have been biology, but he knew chemistry when he felt it. John and Addie McMenamin were married in 1942—a nearly 72-year union that ended only with John’s passing in February 2014. In between, they gave much of their lives to Oxy—John, over a 36-year tenure as professor of biology, and Addie, with nearly 20 years of service to the Alumni OďŹƒce. Addie died April 8, 2017, at her home in Oceanside. In addition to her work in the alumni oďŹƒce, Addie was fondly referred to as “the ďŹ rst lady of biology,â€? in the words of professor emeritus Pat Wells and his wife, Pearl. “We fondly remember the warm welcome that John and Addie gave us when we joined the Occidental faculty in 1957, and that they were a driving force in the modernization of Oxy biology from a four-person, 19thcentury relic to the world-class department of today.â€? A native of Santa Barbara, Addie earned a degree in English at Oxy, graduating as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Mortar Board. She worked in a variety of positions, including elementary school teacher and secretary to the director of University Extension at UCLA, before she came to work at Oxy. Prior to her retirement in 1978, she took on every task imaginable, from running the

Photo by Kevin Burke

Top: Addie and John McMenamin in a 2006 photo at their home in Oceanside. Above: Addie in an undated photo, soon after her appointment as acting alumni secretary by President Arthur G. Coons 1920 in 1959. She retired as director of alumni relations in December 1978.

Alumni Fund to helping computerize alumni records. At various times Addie also served on the Alumni Board of Governors, as president of Alpha Sorority Alumnae, and as a counselor to Phi Beta Kappa of Southern California. After John retired in 1982, the McMenamins built a single-story cedar home in Longbranch, Wash. They moved to Oceanside in 2001 to be nearer to sons David ’69 and Stuart ’71. In recognizing John and Addie with the Alumni Seal Award in 1991—the ďŹ rst couple to be so honored—Addie was singled out for leaving her own imprint on Oxy. “How she managed children, a gang of [John’s] college students, and still participated in alumni activities is anyone’s guess,â€? the citation noted. “But then Addie has always had a way of making everything look easy.â€? In recognition of their unblemished record of support for Occidental dating to 1940, the College established the McMenamin Society in 2007 to recognize donors with ďŹ ve or more years of continuous giving. In addition to her sons, Addie is survived by two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. The family has asked that any memorial gifts be designated for the McMenamin Scholarship at Occidental.

O CC I D E N TA L CO L L EG E

Classes of 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012: Register online by visiting alumni.oxy.edu/reunion by the May 26 deadline.


Office of Communications F-36 1600 Campus Road Los Angeles CA 90041-3314

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The Ventures (and Adventures) of Chris Varelas ’85

How the Great War Changed Oxy

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Tell us a little about yourself. I was born in South Central L.A., and my family moved out to the Inland Empire when I reached middle school so I could get a better education and be a more well-rounded individual. The opportunity to play basketball was definitely a factor in choosing Oxy, but the biggest thing was the fact that I was going to get a great education. How have you enjoyed your athletics experience? I participate in SAAC, Oxy’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee. We meet bi-weekly to discuss things concerning our NCAA athletes, and we try to plan events and do things that make our athletic experience really meaningful at Oxy. That’s also been a great way to just stay connected with all the other sports teams, because the Athletics Department is like a family. We all support each other.

What appealed to you about a UEP major? I really enjoy the policy aspect, and for my senior comps I’m examining how sexual violence prevention education initiatives on campus have contributed to positive culture change in the communities. How has your time at Occidental changed you? My eyes have been opened to a lot of different things. It’s been really great growth for me as an individual, meeting so many people with different ideas and opinions. Since coming to Oxy, I have learned to be mindful of other people’s experiences, not just my own.

JAY MILLER ’17 is an urban and environmental policy major from Fontana. As a junior, he was named First Team All-SCIAC in basketball.

Besides basketball, what other activities are you involved in? I’m part of Project SAFE, which is a prevention education organization dedicated to ending sexual violence on our campus. We go around educating our community members about healthy relationships, bystander intervention, consent, and other topics that are pretty difficult to talk about in certain situations. What we try to do is normalize these conversations.

What are your plans after graduation? Next year I’m going to begin graduate work in marketing and brand management, and I hope to use my policy degree as a bridge to get a government job doing some PR work or something like that.

THREE DWA PROFESSORS SHARE THEIR REFUGEE STORIES /// FIRST LOOK: OXY'S NEW AQUATIC CENTER

Your Annual Fund Gift Helps the Oxy Family

How did it feel when you found out that you were able to attend Oxy with financial support? When Photo by Marc Campos I got that acceptance letter and my financial aid award, that was probably one of the best feelings that I’ve ever had. Without that support, I would not have been able to attend an institution like Oxy. Every year that I’ve been here, I don’t take it for granted. Financial support has given me experiences and opportunities that I will always remember.

oxy.edu/giving

oxy.edu/magazine

Invest in the kind of education that can only happen at Oxy. Please make your gift to the Oxy Annual Fund by June 30.

Rocket Girls

Launching missiles! Discovering asteroids! Exploring distant planets! Meet the women who blazed their own trail at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Clockwise from left: Diane Evans ’76, Barby Canright ’40, Eleanor Helin ’54, Amelia Chapman ’93, Irina Strickland ’97, and Louise Stoehr ’78 M’80

Occidental Magazine - Spring 2017  
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