GRADUATION 2014 VOL. 1, ISS. 5
FORUM -magazineU of R
What happened to Robert, the friendly mail man? • PG 24
the issue MEET BARRY GREENE
The first African American student to live on campus
International students share their stories • PG 10
• PG 14
MARCH 2014 with outgoing Provost Steve Allred • PG 26 19
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
DEAR READERS: This will be my last letter to you all, but this will not be the last Forum Magazine—not even close. As of today, we’ve raised all the money we need to print five issues next year, and I can’t wait to see them delivered right to my door with our brand new subscription service. Where can you subscribe to Forum Magazine, you ask? On our brand new website of course! Check it out at www.forumagazine.com. Who will be making these new issues, you wonder? Our brand new staff of course, led by our new Editor in Chief and designer extraordinaire—Rebecca Wilson. Fresh off a summer where she will take her talents on tour to sunny San Diego (famous mostly for Ron Burgundy) to work for San Diego Magazine, Rebecca will return filled with ideas for the future of this project. So much so, that our first year will look like child’s play compared to what she has in store for you. Let’s not stop there. Another of our top leaders, Photography Director Bridget Whan Tong will be headed to the prestigious Sorenson Institute for Leadership. Meanwhile, we will all be extremely jealous of Molly Rossi as she shadows the US Ambassador to Italy while studying in Rome, and Monika Payerhin as she interns with a veterinarian in the beautiful Cook Islands. Last but not least, Distribution Manager Eamon O’Keefe will be traveling cross-country with friends— something I did during my own freshman year summer. When they come back, they return with an incredible diversity of experience. It is this diversity that sets the Forum apart. We can only produce interesting, diverse stories for you, if we live interesting, diverse lives ourselves. Here’s my point: In my mind, there is no question- the future of this magazine is in great hands. So much so that I have a few challenges to set for the incoming staff: 1. In our first year, we won a Society of Professional Journalists regional 2nd place award for “Best Magazine.” We lost to VCU. Next year, #BeatVCU. 2. Dig deeply, and with courage. There are amazing things going on at this university, but we are far from perfect. It is your duty to shine a light on the places we could improve as a community. 3. Expand the brand. Think about and create ways the Forum can give more to
the UR community, and in doing so become closer yourselves. While it appears that part of the letter is really geared towards the new Forum team, it is up to you the readers to hold them accountable. Send in your comments, ideas, and tips to keep them working hard! This letter and this issue are definitively about the future, but as I don the cap and gown, I can’t help by think a bit about the past too, and what it is exactly that I’ve learned here. If there is one lesson I’ve learned that covers both personal and professional life it is this: everybody has reasons for the things they do. Inevitably, people will do things that make you upset. Instead of getting upset right back, or resenting them, or any of the natural reactions we have, stop and take the time to figure out what those reasons are. You needn’t like them, or agree with them, but even just imagining them, or even straight out asking, can save you a great deal of heartache and trouble. Here’s what I mean: Behind the boastful roommate is deep self-doubt that settled in years before you two meet. Behind the one-night lover that never called is the self-assurance that, no matter how much they liked you, if they never call they can’t ever get hurt. Someone left that there years before that night, too. These may seem like clichés, but after four years here, I’ve found them to be fully true. Trying to understand why someone did something that hurt you is not a matter of doubting who you are, but a matter of trying to understand them. In doing so, we come closer to understanding ourselves, communicating at a truly human level, and forgiving others. Finally, I have one short message to my fellow seniors: Stick together, keep the love you’ve built here close to your heart. Then, go out and build something together. Create a home for yourself in this world that makes your life, your friends lives, and the world better. Build a product or a project, and pour yourself into it. People will see your dedication and your passion, and they will
be attracted to it. And never, ever run from the inevitable failure and imperfection. If we choose to run when things aren’t perfect, like I almost did when I nearly transferred during sophomore year, we’ll always run, looking for something better. I firmly believe that our perfect job, perfect person, or perfect world isn’t found, it is created So that’s what I want. I want to look back in ten years, twenty years, forty years on our lives and say: “Look. Look what we created together, you and I.” That will be a beautiful moment. Now go, Class of 2014. You’ve left your mark here, on me, on each other, and on the campus we shared. Now it’s time to leave our mark on the world. Enjoy,
John McAuliff Editor In Chief, Forum Magazine
Your campus. Your culture. Your Forum.
This issue sponsored by the Student Activities Office.
STANDOUT SPIDERS ABROAD
Keep track of ceremonies and receptions.
10 INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES Hear how four international students spent their times at the University of Richmond.
WHO CARRIES THE MACE? Learn the significance of the university mace and whose name first adorned the silver ornament.
READY FOR BEACH WEEK?
Whether its your first time or your last, be prepared with these tips.
MEET BARRY GREENE The first African-American student to live on campus shares his story.
THE INTERVIEW WITH STEVE ALLRED
SEPARATE DORMS: SEPARATE LIVES?
How do segregated freshman dorms affect new students and their social communities? ROBERT, THE FRIENDLY MAIL MAN Haven’t seen Robert on campus lately? Read why.
The Provost discusses his time at the University of Richmond and his hopes for the future.
? THE RACE QUESTION
An op-ed from Molly Rossi explores how race is being discussed on campus.
Contributors Tracy Akers ‘17 Leadership Studies & English (Research - Senior Awards)
Sally Hu ‘16
Accounting & Computer Science (Beach Week)
Brittany Clemens ‘15
Alyssa Gunville ‘15
Business Management & Marketing (Standout Spiders)
Journalism & Biology (Photography The Interview, Standout Spiders)
McKenna Jensen ‘17
Andrew Jones ‘14
Nabila Khouri ‘14
American Studies (Barry Greene)
Journalism (Robert Ferguson Profile)
Our mission at the Forum is to create an impactful, revealing and balanced magazine designed and reported with students in mind. In awarding time and space to the most impressive people and projects, we hope to make something that strengthens the community by inspiring pride in every student, faculty, and staff member at the University of Richmond. Through sections focused heavily on career advice, national issues, superlatives, and style, Forum will be a place for conversation—both serious and light hearted—that leaves students with a deeper understanding of both the college world and beyond.
OUTGOING STAFF Editor In Chief/Publisher John McAuliff Director of Photography Bridget Whan Tong
‘17 Journalism & Studio Art (International Students)
Meghan Roberts ‘17
English (Separate Dorms: Separate Lives?)
Correction: According to Career Services, Spider Internship Funds may not be used for community projects, as stated on page 19 of the previous issue.
‘14 Leadership Studies (Editing)
‘16 Interdisciplinary (The Race Question, Design)
Madeline Smith ‘16
Environmental Studies & French (Photography Beach Week)
Eamon O’Keefe ‘17
Undecided (The Interview)
Taylan Salvati ‘16
English (Photography Barry Greene)
Bridget Whan Tong ‘15 PPEL, Political Science (Photo Editing)
Journalism (Story of the Mace)
Director of Design Rebecca Wilson Assistant Director of Design Molly Rossi
‘17 Undecided (Photography Standout Spiders)
Rebecca Wilson ‘15 English & Journalism (Design)
Staff Reporters Chris Acquafredda, Stanley Ammondson, Christian Franco, Joe Han, Clay Helms, Sally Hu, Andrew Jones, Eamon O’Keefe, Nabila Khouri, Ben Panko Staff Photographers Mia Hagerty, Erica Lomax, Alex Long, Ellen Oh, Monika Payerhin, Taylan Salvati, Katie Serafen, Madeline Smith Staff Copy Editors Meghan Roberts, Liana Saleh, Kendall Sawyer
Submit story ideas, letters to the editor, and story submissions to email@example.com
Spider Experiences Abroad From South America to Asia, every year hundreds of Spiders are traveling to other countries for summers, semesters or years abroad. Many of them take advantage of their time abroad to challenge themselves academically, culturally and personally. These four excpetional students give us a better look into their adventures.
PERRY LOWDER ‘16
Australia, University of Melbourne
“So I was on a trip to the south island of New Zealand with a solid friend group. One of the stops that we made happened to be the birthplace of bungee jumping. I had known this being deathly afraid of heights, I had absolutely zero intention of participating. I didn’t put my name down on the list so I was just planning on watching my friends jump all day. They started jumping and I began to think…there’s probably only one shot to do this. If there’s a time and place to have insane experience, it’s here and now. I wound up signing up and jumping which turned out to be an absolutely incredible experience. You know that saying your mom likes to say “if your friends jump off a bridge, will you follow them?” Well, in this case I did. Just make sure you’re tied to the bridge first.”
MARK SARAIVA ‘17
Spain, Universidad de Deusto
“I had the opportunity of a lifetime to witness the European championship game (the Eurocup) in Spain when Spain was playing host to Italy. I was in the central plaza in Sevilla watching the game unfold on a big screen TV, since it was being played in Ukraine. You can’t even imagine how crazy the environment was. Spanish pride was overflowing as the rowdy fans cheered like there was no tomorrow. There was chants, flag waving, too many vuvuzelas, the works. Every time a goal was scored, the place erupted. There were lots of goals scored for soccer standards, with the final being Spain 4-0. Afterwards, in celebration, I did some crazy stuff. We followed all of the crazed Spaniards to the center of Seville, where it felt like the entire city was converging. In the city center was a large, gorgeous fountain. Naturally, I swam in it with hundreds of fellow celebrators. That day was truly unforgettable.”
KELLYN CAMPBELL ‘16
Austria, Vienna University of Economics
“Austria is one of those countries where the native language is German, but almost everyone can speak English. Although all my classes were taught in English, in order to use your computer, you had to use the host university’s software…which was only in German. So it was about halfway through the semester when classes were in full steam when I wound up getting a computer virus. It immediately froze my computer and the message on the screen was in German. Translating on my phone, I figured out that the message said something like I had committed an Austrian internet crime and that my penalty was to pay 50 euros or spend 3 years in jail. Naturally, I panicked and took it to the university’s tech center. The language barrier rendered this visit, along with another tech-shop visit, useless. So, I ended up creating my own recoverydisk…in German. Somehow, I completely recovered everything and I’ll always remember that day as the day that I almost went to Austrian jail.
PATRICK MURPHY ‘14
“Even though technically I didn’t “study” abroad, I chose to do my required community service for the Bonner Scholarship program in South Africa. I spent four weeks outside of Port Elizabeth in 2011 working for a lion preservation. One of my favorite parts about the program was that you could interact with the younger lion cubs. This was awesome, I was playing with 8 month old cubs, all of which were about the size of a great dane. One day, I was doing the routine of feeding the cubs and one of them just came up and bit me in the side. Thankfully, I was wearing three layers of clothing so it wasn’t serious enough for sutures. The bite itself didn’t hurt but the aftermath was hell. We only had 100% hydrogen peroxide on hand so I definitely wasn’t a happy camper. We’re pretty sure that the cub was practicing her hunting skills.” - STANLEY AMMONDSON GRADUATION 2014
Friday 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Office of International Education Open House @ Carole Weinstein International Center, Suite 103. 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Senior Celebration @ UR Forum.
Saturday 11:30 a.m. ROTC Officer Commissioning Ceremony/Reception @ Cannon Memorial Chapel. 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Graduating Seniors Open House @ Carole Weinstein International Center, International Commons. 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. Richmond College and Westhampton College Candlelight Reception @ Heilman Dining Center. 10 p.m. Candlelight Ceremony around Westhampton Lake @ The lawn in front of Boatwright Memorial Library.
Sunday 10 a.m. Baccalaureate Service @ Robins Center. 12:00 p.m. Graduates Walk. Undergraduates assemble with classmates on the Westhampton Green to celebrate their graduation by walking together to the Commencement Ceremony @ Robins Center. 12:30–1 p.m. Graduates Check In. All graduates for Commencement on Sunday are required to check in @ Weinstein Recreation and Wellness Center. 1 p.m. Assemble for Commencement. Degree candidates only, promptly in cap and gown. Please see Regalia for more information @ The Robins Center. *For a complete list of events and times, please visit www.commencement.richmond.edu 6
Congratulations from Common Ground to our graduating students.
Thanks for your amazing contributions to our office programs. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
Nirshiee Arumugam Brian Guay Erik Lampmann Samiur Mashud Victoria Navarro Fionna Poon
CULTURAL ADVISORS Liliana Bermejo Marcos Cejudo Gina Cruz Zachary Kerr Lina Malave Victoria Navarro
Q-SUMMIT INTERNS Hayley Angel Gina Cruz Erik Lampmann Yaz NuĹˆez
2925 Emerywood Parkway, Richmond, VA 23294
We will miss you! Glyn, Lisa, Ted and Suzanne
The Meaning The story behind the university’s highest honor remains a mystery to many. The first ever Mace Awardee, Thaddeus Crump ‘48, illuminates the history behind the award.
If you’re at Commencement this year, you may wonder what in the world is that hefty piece of metal and wood carried at the front of the procession. Flipping through your program, you’ll find a page describing the University Mace – the symbol of the university President’s authority used at commencements and inaugurations.
was donated to the University of Richmond in 1947 by Douglas Southall Freeman – a newspaper editor, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and 1904 graduate of Richmond College who later served for 16 years as rector of the Board of Trustees. Engraved on the cup of the Mace was Freeman’s wish for its use in the future, that
At first glance, it is an impressive object: a long, polished wood staff with a gleaming silver top. Designed by Frederic Boatwright, former president of the University of Richmond, it features an eagle with wings spread perched above UR’s official seal and a rounded cup. The Mace
“there will be recorded upon this mace in each successive year for a full century beginning with the session of 1947-48, the name of the outstanding of the University of Richmond.” The first name added to that mace in 1948 was that of Thaddeus T. Crump.
of the Mace
Crump, now 89, was a remarkable student in a remarkable time in America and at the University of Richmond. A native of Richmond, he entered his freshman year in 1941, when UR’s student population numbered about 600 total, most of them commuters who had grown up Richmond, and tuition cost $150 per semester, or about $2,300 today. World events soon reached the quiet college campus at the edge of town, however. Having just turned 17 in September, Crump was too young to enlist in military right away after Japan attacked the navy base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Dec. 7. He signed up that next fall to be a pilot in the Army Air Corps, and flew B-17 bombers for three years in Europe. One of the happier moments of the war for him was the news of Japan’s surrender after the dropping of the atomic bombs – he had been slated for training to fly missions in the Pacific Theater. “It was a totally different place,” Crump said of UR after returning from the war. The influx of so many students who had seen war made for a much more serious environment, though Crump could still tell you many stories of shenanigans the boys at Richmond pulled off, including a “water carnival” that led to the near-flooding of Thomas Hall. Crump, who majored in economics and minored in
political science and English, kept himself occupied with holding several jobs in town, along with being managing editor of The Collegian, a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and president of the Richmond College Student Government Association. He also met and married his wife of 57 years while a senior. “I was busy – I didn’t make Dean’s List all the time,” Crump joked. But Crump’s achievements at UR earned him the Richmond College Alumni Medal, an award established in 1936 that annually honored the most outstanding senior, and his place on the newly designed University Mace. The Alumni Medal is no longer given, and now the University Mace Award recognizes the most academically outstanding graduating University of Richmond student with a place on the Mace and the honor of carrying it at Commencement. Though “Thad” Crump never got to carry the mace, and in fact didn’t even know his name was on it until years later, he has since presented it to two Mace Award winners, whom he described as far more qualified than he was 60 years ago. Forty-four more names will adorn the mace after this year – 44 more students with outstanding grades and bright futures. It may just be three feet of wood and silver, but it holds the record of our past.
International Spiders Where do they go from here? The Spider community embraces diversity and differences. International students are not only 10% of URâ€™s student body, but also a big contributing part of campus life. What are their experiences like? Where are they from and where are they going after UR? In this issue, Forum Magazine interviewed four outstanding international students to share their abroad experiences, professional visions, and unique Spider stories. STORY BY JIAQI LUO
Polish senior pursues a life without borders
KAROLINA KARCZEWSKA Karolina Karczewska, a Westhampton senior from Poland, had always felt compelled to study abroad. Having taken the IB curriculum at United World College in Norway, she eventually settled down at the University of Richmond based on the recommendation of her high school counselor. Aside from the robust business program and solid reputation of a marketing concentration, she was particularly attracted by the numerous choices the college offers for students to study abroad. Karolina truly enjoyed both the academic and social aspects of her time here. What has made her UR experience most rewarding is the close-knit relationship she has built with professors. “The contact I have with my professors, who guide me on my personal growth and career path, is very important to me,” she said.
The highlight in her UR experience was a semester abroad in Barcelona in her junior year. After the four-month immersion in Barcelona, Karolina felt as though she were at home. “I studied in Barcelona, took an internship in Barcelona, and I ultimately want to live in Barcelona,” she said. Before taking a full semester abroad, she had already completed a summer abroad program in Seville, Spain, and a research project in Costa Rica, thanks to her SSIR program “Utopian Community.” At the end of her sophomore year, she traveled to Costa Rica with her SSIR group to investigate local green communities as a part of her capstone project. Her plan after graduation is to gain as much work experience as she can in the next two years. Later in life, Karolina hopes to take a further step in her career by attending a prestigious MBA program.
Nigerian junior combines passions for biochemistry and Japanese
RÓTÌMÍ OMORODION Born in Nigeria and having studied at an international high school in Hong Kong for two years, Rótìmí Omorodion desired an unconventional education path that would allow him to explore different cultures and academic interests. A Biochemistry major and Studio Art minor, Rotimi never finds his life at UR boring. After studying Japanese for almost three years, he studied abroad in Japan for a semester. That eye-opening immersion in Japanese culture, according to Rotimi, has been his most memorable story from UR. “I met new people every day, learnt more about Japanese culture, took adventures with new people, and, of course, improved my Japanese to another level,” he said. Compared to his interna-
tional peers, Rotimi feels truly blessed to know that UR’s Office of International Education (OIE) is always willing to help. From a conversation with his old high school friend at Duke University, Rotimi found that his friend had never received any tax information nor filled out federal forms. At UR, the OIE always kept him informed with important paper works and deadlines. “These are small things, but they reveal how the OIE cares about our future,” Rotimi said. Rotimi’s short-term goal is to get involved in one organization next semester before he graduates. “I am lucky to make lots of good friends and good grades in UR, but there is always room for improvement,” he said.
Vietnamese sophomore aspires to serve his country through economics
NGUYEN SON TUNG Having already fell in love with UR during his college research, Nguyen Son Tung was more than thrilled to receive the Oldham Scholar award in his senior year of high school. “On the College Prowler website, UR ranks A in Academic and A+ on Girls,” he said. “When I visited here for the Scholar Weekend, I found it matched the expectation.” This was the deciding moment that led Tung to enroll in UR. For his first semester, Tung registered for the four courses he had audited during Scholar Weekend. “The courses I was sitting in the first day were simply amazing,” said Tung. The Scholar Weekend visit made him feel welcome by the warm community and, more importantly, made him feel connected to the students. Describing the students to be idealistic, hard-working, and caring, Tung
said he saw himself as one of UR’s many intelligent students. The only thing Tung wants to change about UR is the library setting. “In my high school in Singapore, I always spent an afternoon just wandering the library and reading a random book from the shelf.” This plan does not apply well in Boatwright Library. Tung suggestsed the library provide bigger space and more variety of books for self-driven students. As an Economics major, Tung is still in the process of figuring out his professional passion. While working for an international non-governmental organization (NGO) is an excellent choice, Tung said, “Ultimately I want to go back to Vietnam. I have confidence and the need to reform my country through small steps.”
Tibetan junior seized study abroad opportunities to study business skills
TAYANG TENZIN Tayang knew that UR would be the right choice for him before applying. “My high school counselor visited UR in 2010, and he loved it. UR resembled my high school in many aspects: small size, tranquil surroundings, and cozy dynamics,” he said. Despite knowing his interests in accounting and finance, Tayang craved a holistic education that will not limit him to a specific area. The SSIR program “Social Entrepreneurship” became Tayang’s signature experience in his undergraduate years. Along with the bond he built with the professor and program students, the trip to the Dominican Republic elevated his business vision to another level. “We organized several fundraising events and sent the profit directly to our organization in the Dominican Republic,” he said. Tayang and his SSIR group taught promotion strategies and fundraising skills to the local community members in the Do-
minican Republic for their long-term prosperity. Despite being impressed by the diverse student body and the students’motivation, Tayang sees something that has not yet been done at UR. He proposes an idea to host workshops connecting international students to American students. “Lots of international students come to the United States straight from their hometowns and have a hard time adjusting to the culture shock,” he said. He knows the struggle well and wants to improve this situation. Having these culture-oriented workshops would not only make international students be more aware of local customs, but also bring benefits for American students by exposing them to more differences. After he graduates with a degree in accounting, Tayang aims to work in the financial or accounting sector of the job market.
Are you ready for Beach Week? With the end of the semester approaching us rapidly, students have quickly adapted to a lifestyle revolving around stress, coffee, and sleep deprivation. The weeks have been (and still are) littered with exams, papers, and projects, and there never seems to be enough time to do much of anything. Life is getting to be too hard, and the torture seems like it will never end. But the one thing that’s keeping us alive is the anticipation of summer – particularly that of Beach Week. For those who have gone to Beach Week, it may have been the greatest or worst week of your lives (an “okay” Beach Week is rare – it’s usually terrific or awful). For those who haven’t gone, you’ve probably heard some stories that have made you regret missing out – or question why anyone would want to go at all. Either way, Beach Week is quite the experience: for those who are expecting to go for the first time, here’s a little insight to what goes on, besides the obvious, and what you should do to prepare. What is Beach Week? Basically, UR students get houses along the shoreline of North Myrtle Beach or rooms in the Prince Hotel, and stay from Saturday to the following Thursday. During the day, everyone’s hanging out on the beach and, during the night, everyone’s running from house to house or to the bars. Just imagine a ton of UR students on the beach, celebrating the end of finals and beginning of summer together, and doing absolutely whatever they want.
Beach Week Tips Now, what should you do to prepare for it? • Move out of your dorm or apartment before you head out. Get a storage unit with some other people or temporarily mooch off of someone else’s storage unit during the week. But don’t think it’s okay to leave your stuff in the dorm; the housing office will not be happy. • Bring appropriate clothing: swimsuits for the beach, summer clothing for the heat, sweaters and pants (because it’s early May and it’ll still be cold sometimes), and classy clothing if you’re planning on going to the bars. Also, bring towels. You’d be surprised to know how many people don’t bring towels. • Spend the rest of your dining dollars getting stuff from ETC. They don’t roll over, so invest in munchies. They’re crucial. And you’ll save a couple of bucks. Note: Most students think drinking large quantities of liquids is a sufficient substitute for food – it’s not. Eat well. • Work out sleeping arrangements: If you know you’ll be sleeping on the ground, bring bedding. Or don’t, because it’s Beach Week so who really cares? • Don’t bring anything too valuable because you might ruin or lose it. No one cares if your shoes are beautiful and cost $300. It’s Beach Week. These tips should help you out, but no one can ever truly be prepared for Beach Week. If staying somewhat healthy is your objective, not just staying alive, here are a few things you can do: • Refrain from drinking coffee or soft drinks. If you’re trying to lose some weight to look good on the beach, cut coffee out of your diet, not food. I know this sounds ridiculous, but it’ll actually help more than just not eating. Stop drinking extra calories that you really don’t need. • Drink water. Drinking is not synonymous with hydrating. Don’t listen to your friends if they call you out on being lame because you’ll be the one laughing when they’re in pain. • Eat. Eating smaller meals more frequently is more effective than eating fewer meals (or no meals). If you keep your metabolism running throughout the day, you’ll burn more calories without feeling like you’re starving. Otherwise, good luck with Beach Week! And may the odds be ever in your favor. - SALLY HU
Breaking Down Barriers: Barry Greene’s Story The first African-American student to live on campus exclusively shares his story with Forum Magazine. STORY BY ANDREW JONES While the Class of 2014 prepares to walk across the stage at graduation and assume their roles as alumni, it is important to recognize the Spiders who came before us. Barry Greene, ’72, was one of the first black students to attend the University of Richmond and the first to live on campus all four years. Born in June 1950, Greene grew up in the Fulton area of Richmond, VA and later moved to Eastern Henrico County with his family. “I’ve always lived in the eastern part of Richmond,” said Greene. “I never really gave any thought to living anywhere else.” When he turned 16, Greene enrolled in The Peddie School in New Jersey through “A Better Chance,” a bold education experiment developed in the 1960’s to help integrate boarding schools throughout the United States. Students were Greene’s senior portrait from the 1972 yearbook.
placed in intensive summer programs and, if they were successful, gained acceptance into some of the nation’s most elite boarding schools. Greene spent 12 weeks studying English and math at Duke University prior to going off to boarding school. The Peddie School required its students to write to different colleges and pay visits to various campuses, which is how Greene discovered Richmond College. He never thought to ask about the racial make up of the school. “I just wanted to leave boarding school and get the best education I could get,” Greene said. Four African American students were enrolled at Richmond College and Westhampton College in 1968 (two men and two women), with Barry Greene being the first to enroll. Greene was the only student who lived on campus all four years. Upon hearing that the college initially did not want Greene to live on campus, his guidance counselor at The Peddie School said, “Northern Baptists aren’t like Southern Baptists.” Additionally, many of the professors at UR had received their degrees from UR and were not used to seeing black students in the classroom. “Was I not that naïve to think that everybody was going to like me?” Greene asked. “If I had gone to an all-black school, was everybody going to like me there? No. So why should I have thought that it would happen here?” To ease the circumstances surrounding his arrival on campus, Richmond College took a num-
ber of steps to ensure that Barry Greene would be as comfortable as possible. His freshman year roommate was a junior majoring in religious studies because the school felt that the Religious Studies Department was one of the most toler-
“We all have to make choices in life. I like to think that my choice to come, and stay, at the University of Richmond made it easier for the University to bring other minorities into the fold.” ant and liberal groups on campus. Additionally, Greene would have weekly meetings with Austin E. Grigg, the Dean of Richmond College, to discuss how well he was adjusting and whether or not any issues had surfaced. “My best friend always joked that any time you saw ‘The Big Dean’ coming across campus, you knew he was coming to visit me because he didn’t really visit anybody else,” said Greene. “The school did its part in making me as welcome and comfortable as possible knowing that there would be people on campus who would not want me here.” Greene said that he was never called anything other than his given name. Every once in a while a student would stand up and move to another table away from Greene in the dining hall, but that did not happen often. At the time, the University of Richmond’s Jewish Fraternity, which later merged with Zeta Beta Tau, was the first group to reach out to Greene and invite him to join.
Above: During his time at the University of Richmond, Barry Greene (second from the right) was a member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. He was also vice president for intramurals, according to the 1972 yearbook. Right: The members of the Kappa Alpha fraternity were pictured holding a Confederate flag in the same yearbook, showing one part of the United States environment in 1972.
“Some students thought I was crazy to try and go to school here, but you know, that’s just the way life is.” Following the death of his father during his junior year, there was an outpouring of support from the Richmond community, including a personal assurance from George M. Modlin,
Greene was not the first in his family to go to college. Most of his relatives had studied science and worked in the medical field, factors that influenced his decision to study biology at Richmond. However, he quickly realized that he had very different post-graduation plans. After graduating in 1972, Greene briefly considered a career as a teacher and was also accepted at the pharmacy school at the Medical College of Virginia. However, Greene decided to work in broadcasting as an operations manager at WTVR Richmond for eight years. Meanwhile, Greene took graduate business courses at Virginia Commonwealth University in the evenings. One of his friends knew the senior vice president of a nearby bank, and this led to his introduction to banking in 1980. Greene switched to a smaller bank and then began working for Prudential and Bank of Ameri-
“Some students thought I was crazy
to try and go to school here, but you know, that’s just the way life is.” Richmond College President, that the school would do everything in its power to make sure that Greene and his family were cared for if they needed anything. “It made me feel very good that the University thought that much of me,” he said.
ca, where he has worked for the past 26 years. He is currently a Vice President and a Banking Center Manager at Bank of America. In his spare time, Greene grooms and shows off his Scottish Terriers, and he may be bringing in some English Cocker Spaniels soon. When he retires, he says he may want to go into teaching at the middle and high school level. “It’s my way of giving back to the community,” Greene said. “They say that these kids need good male role models, and I think I can be a really good role model.” When asked if he had any advice for the graduating class of 2014, Greene had some words of guidance. “We all have to make choices in life,” he said. “I like to think that my choice to come, and stay, at the University of Richmond made it easier for the University to bring other minorities into the fold. If I had left for any reason, the school may have felt that it had failed to try and accommodate the first black student to live on campus. So I say make choices for the right reasons, not just for personal reasons.”
The Race Question
After interviews, research and a lot of thinking, there is one thing I know for sure about the topic of race: it can be really awkward to talk about. This may be the main reason we seem to avoid the topic at all costs. But that is not the only reason I hesitated about this op-ed assignment. First and foremost, I am white ... like really white. My upbringing has been about as WASP-y as it gets. I have absolutely no claim to the minority experience – I simply haven’t lived it. So what grounds could I possibly have to discuss the issue of race relations on campus? And why should anyone listen? Secondly, there is a fine line between being honest and being offensive, especially with the most sensitive (and taboo) of American topics. Was I willing to write something that surely won’t please everyone, no matter how hard I try? Lastly, like I said before, race is hard to talk about. It is even harder to ask questions about. I was worried that no one would want to talk. I was wrong about that. People do want to talk about race. It is not a matter of wanting to talk; it is a matter of where to talk. Outside of the classroom, there just are not very many spaces to do so without feeling threatened or inappropriate. Even though it is uncomfortable, I have found that people are willing to talk as long as you approach them respectfully. This semester, Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA), one of two historically black sororities on campus, provided a safe place for race discussion when they hosted the Race Forum, a panel discussion open to all students and faculty. The first question that came up was perhaps the most important one- why won’t people openly discuss race? Senior Andrew Tallman, who identifies as biracial, said, “When we bring up anything that deals
with race, I can tell my friends want to make sure I’m not offended. That’s the tension. People don’t want to offend you, so it inhibits people from talking about it, which perpetuates the cycle.” Montel White, a football player, confirmed Tallman’s comments. “When the issue comes up, there is a notion of fear from white people about being attacked by a white person. Bringing it up puts them at risk of being deemed racist.” White also explained that it is more comfortable to talk about racial issues with people of the same race. “Black people talk about it more with other black friends,” he said, “We talk about it with people we’re comfortable with.” The fear of offending others is a healthy one. We should always be conscious of what we say and how it might affect others. But when this fear keeps us from talking, it also stunts our growth as a community. If we are not talking about race, we are not acknowledging the problems that still exist, making it impossible to work through them. Like Tallman says, this level of fear “perpetuates the problem.” Perhaps this explains why schools like ours have such an interesting dilemma. The truth is, we have the numbers. Under Ayers’s presidency in particular, we have seen a breakthrough in statistics for non-white students. In the past five years alone, the enrollment for domestic students of color and international students have both doubled. With this in mind, I get a little annoyed when people sum up what they see as a general lack of diversity to Richmond being a “white” school. That is just not true. The problem is not that we do not have racial diversity – it is much more complex than that. We have the numbers, but on an individual level how much interracial social interaction is there? Here, the issue becomes much more difficult. How do you break down barriers that are not as concrete as a statistic? Dhall is almost like a microcosm of the greater sense of separation some Richmond students may feel. At the AKA Race Forum, an Australian exchange student asked, “What does the panel think about seating in dhall? Do you ever feel like there
are racial tensions within this separation?” Omar Howard, a football player, feels as though the separation is social rather than racial. “For me, it’s not a race separation. I sit with my team and within that team we are actually pretty diverse. We sit together because we relate to each other and talk about the same things- practice, coaches, and games.” Dominique Durante, a member of AKA, agreed that the visual separation wasn’t necessarily a picture of racial boundaries. People who share social outlets prefer to spend meals together. This campus is home to two black sororities and one fraternity, which are as tight-knit as any other Greek social group, and members of these communities are going to tend to sit together. The same goes for any other group- whether you’re on Ultimate Frisbee, Basketball, or a member of a sorority or an SSIR, we almost always sit with people we know. If this is a problem, the only way to solve it is by branching out. How? When it comes to crossing social lines, freshman Zach Perry asked, “Should the group accommodate the individual, or should the individual accommodate the group?” In other words, what social responsibility do we have to be inclusive of others, beyond the comfort of those we typically spend our time with? If we want to build a more inclusive community, we have to answer these questions for ourselves first. Seating wasn’t the only issue pertaining to Dhall that seemed to draw a lot of comments. What about the Black History Month dinner? One student pointed out how uncomfortable it made her to see décor that included a wheelbarrow and cotton. Then there was the choice of food- is fried chicken an appropriate homage to a minority culture? When this issue came up at the Race Forum, the room pretty much agreed that the celebration was a more than a little bit awkward. However, when Dr. Tina Cade, Director of Multicultural Affairs, pointed out that it was the Dhall staff, a predominantly African American group, who had designed the decorations and menu, and that they had asked students to join their committee but not a single student had volunteered, perspectives in
the room started to shift. “They weren’t trying to insult people,” said Dr. Cade, “they did the best they could.” She also pointed out that there are always complaints about the annual celebration, no matter what they change or what they try. Andrew Tallman said, “I thought it was an improvement. My mom is black, and these are the foods I grew up with. But people can connotate it with stereotypes, so I think we should educate people about it rather than play on existing knowledge.” It’s hard not to offend people, and I don’t think Dhall staff deserves all the blame, especially if they attempted to reach out to students for opinions. It seems almost any homage could be read as offensive without the right educational tools presented alongside it. Perhaps students could play a bigger role in presenting and explaining the culturally relevant aspects of the celebration, making the experience richer for everyone involved. Outside of Dhall, where do racial tensions exist on campus? The classroom can be an open forum for many students, but for others, it seems it can also be a space of closed dialogue. A black student and a Hispanic student both vented their frustrations with professors and peers turning to them during class whenever their races were mentioned. They felt there was a heavy expectation that they should be able to speak for their race. Should any one person be asked to testify to the feelings of an entire subgroup of people? Of course not. These microaggressions, what Omar Howard referred to as, “Not major acts, but little comments,” seem to constitute the predominate form of the racism minority students have experienced. Another controversial campus issue was housing. While the official housing survey does not flat out ask about race, many students have noticed a high correlation between race and which freshman get paired together. Some raised the concern that questions on the housing survey seemed polarizing. Dominique said, “To be honest, I felt like the question about music taste was loaded. I was worried about how my answers might be interpreted- should I say I like Lil Wayne, or Taylor Swift? I decided to go with the middle ground and put down Rihanna.” Dominique makes an intelligent point with this witty anecdote. The official mission statement of the housing office states that it is “committed to the University of Richmond’s core value of fostering a diverse and inclusive community, strengthened by the range of…background of its members, whether of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability status, age, religious, economic, or geographic origin.” But does race also play a role in who we live with? No official statistics on the matter exist, but the topic drew many remarks from those who were skeptical as to how “colorblind” the process really is. Perry was frustrated with the way that he saw the open environment facilitated by Orientation
Week begin to stratify soon afterwards. “As soon as we find our group of friends, we latch on. People aren’t so much ignorant as afraid. A lot of open interaction is lost after orientation because we start to clump.” How do we make the first step out of our comfort zones? How do we make the numbers count by cultivating genuine relationships, without forcing people to interact outside of their social circle? The hardest thing to do, and the most important, is to ask questions. If you don’t understand the minority experience, if you don’t know how it feels, if you’re tired of being stratified- reach out. Dominique said, “Wanting to know shows that you care, and that makes me want to help and want to talk.” It becomes much easier to educate one another once we build the foundation of respect, or a solid friendship. As Destiny, the leader of the event, said “it starts with building bridges.” Exposure helps too. The truth is, I was ignorant to the fact that some of my best friends had felt discriminated against by peers on campus. I just didn’t know. And that made me feel horrible. To those who had these kinds of experiences, Dr. Cade said, “Don’t suffer quietly. There are people you can share it with, even if its not your professor, if you speak up you can make it better…if folks don’t know who has the issue then it can’t change!” When I was in Spain last summer, a street vendor made a racially-charged comment to one of my friends while we were shopping. She played it off, but I knew she was hurt. My mind ran through the things I usually say when a friend is suffering: “I am so sorry. I know what it feels like to be treated that way. I know you feel horrible.” And this is where I came up short. Because I couldn’t look at her and say “I know what it feels like.” I don’t. People don’t comment on the color of my skin. They make assumptions because of it, we all do, but they don’t say them to me directly. And that’s extremely unfair. What bothered me almost as much as the comment was the fact that I didn’t know how to react to it- I didn’t have the right words, because I hadn’t been through it. I didn’t know what to say, and I wasn’t sure of the best way to support her. When I asked Destiny what I should have said, the answer was simple: “Tell her that the way she felt was justified. Use is as an opportunity to educate, or start the conversation.” I will never know what it feels like to live in America as a minority. But that doesn’t give me, or anyone else, a free pass to be insensitive. Ignorance isn’t an excuse. We have come a long way, but in order to keep moving, we have to find empathy. Empathy doesn’t mean pretending to know what it feels like, or pretending that we can understand. It means recognizing the difference, recognizing the pain, and expanding our understanding by helping someone else through it. It’s much easier to be safe than it is to be vul-
nerable. It’s easy not to take risks, to bypass the hard conversations, and stay among people who seem like us. I assumed I couldn’t understand the minority experience because I hadn’t lived it. While I can never fully understand it, assuming the challenge is too difficult is exactly the the kind of thinking that got us into this mess, and perpetuates the separation people still feel. While we’ve all had different experiences, we aren’t so different. Montel likened the process of bridge building to the comradery he felt as a member of a team. “The beauty of football” he said, “is that a common goal gets people to work together.” It’s easy to forget that we have a common goal. We all want acceptance. We all want to feel at home here. At the same time, we’ve all known shame. We’ve all been an outsider. And in the end, we all want to belong. While they may come from different sources and experiences, we’re all familiar with these feelings, and within this vulnerability, we share a common ground. Racism is everywhere. It’s national, it’s global, and it’s reaches far past our capabilities to eradicate a stigma so culturally entrenched. But what can we do about it here, in our own community, on our own campus? We can ask genuine questions, learn, reserve judgment, and grow from our history rather than be stuck in it and overwhelmed by it. Dominique believes crossing racial and social boundaries is easier than people think. “Just smile, say hi.” She says, “You don’t have to ask someone for their life story- just acknowledge people. It makes a huge difference.” Someone, somewhere is going to be offended by some aspect of this article. It’s just the nature of the issue. But the only thing riskier than talking about race is not talking about it. The enemy to progress is apathy. The worst thing we can do is be silent when we have the chance to stand up. We cannot right the wrongs of the past, but we can right the wrongs that arise in our daily lives. We have power over the present. And it starts here, in a classroom, in Dhall, as you walk past someone on the way to class. So if this article sparks any conversation, even if it’s just discussing all the things I got wrong, then it has served its purpose. Indifference is the enemy, and, even if we start small, empathy may be the cure. The issue of race isn’t unique to our campus, but there is no reason why the solution can’t start here.
Race is not simply a matter of black and white- there are countless other minority experiences outside of this dichotomy that deserve to be recognized. For the purposes of this article, the issues of black and white race relations are highlighted as a case study from which we can extrapolate. GRADUATION 2014
Separate Dorms: Separate Lives? Tracing the Effects of Segregated Freshman Living STORY BY MEGHAN ROBERTS
aving attended an all-girls’ high school, in which my interactions with the male gender were limited to extracurricular activities and events, I felt nervous about the possibility of living in a college dorm with boys down the hall from me. Visions of myself hurrying down the hall, my hair dripping wet and my face devoid of makeup, flashed through my mind, and I feared the horrible, life-altering chain of events that would follow the catastrophe of a boy seeing me in nothing but a towel. Although I was initially relieved to be placed in Lora Robins Court, one of two all-female residence halls for first-year students, I have since wondered how my freshman year experience could have been different if I lived in a co-ed dorm. Would I have more male friends? Would I learn to accept the fact that boys could possibly see me in my towel on my way to the bathroom? Would I be less embarrassed about wearing my penguin pajama pants in the common room? I began to wonder what my fellow students thought about their freshman year housing situations, and whether they felt that single-sex residence halls help or harm gender relations here on campus. I contacted a representative from the Office of Student Development and Undergraduate Student Housing in order to understand UR’s ideology behind only offering single-gender on-campus housing arrangements for first-year students. Dr. Juliette Landphair, Dean of Westhampton College, promotes single-sex housing on campus as a way for women to build strong friendships among one another in a comfortable setting. “Having single-sex housing for first years builds a sense of community among our students and between the students and the colleges,” she explains. “For women, the lifelong friendships they develop at Richmond often begin in the residence halls; these friendships are part of the Westhampton story and are a key aspect of what makes Richmond special.” Many of the Westhampton College women I interviewed confirmed that living in a single-sex dorm their freshman year allowed them to become closer with their hallmates in a friendly, nonjudgmental environment. “My freshman year in Moore Hall felt like a giant sleepover with all of my best friends every night,” says Brittany Clemens ’15. “We were comfortable leaving our doors open and going into each others’ rooms in our pajamas. I think that if we lived with guys, we wouldn’t have been
able to establish such close relationships or felt as comfortable living on our own.” Lydia Barnes ’16 agrees, “My best friends today are still the girls I met on my freshman hall.” She also notes, however, that dorm location plays a crucial role in the interactions between men and women freshman year. While Moore Hall is a matter of feet away from the all male first-year dorms, the residents of Lora Robins are separated from their fellow freshmen by hundreds of acres and the Westhampton Lake. “The negative to same sex dorms and living on the opposite side of campus is that I’m not as close with boys. I felt like the distance kept me from making a strong friend group of guy friends to match my strong group of girl friends,” Lydia says. Laura Levy ’15, a transfer student from the University of California at Santa Cruz, lived in a coed dorm her freshman year, which she found instrumental in making both male and female friends. She even admits her disappointment with the lack of availability for coed living arrangements on campus freshman year. “At first I was nervous about sharing bathrooms with guys, but after the first day it was no big deal. I actually liked having guys as neighbors,” she remarks. “Living together helped create a more gender respectful environment for everyone.” Here we must question whether educational institutions like Richmond would benefit from integrating first-year dorms to encourage, as Laura suggests, unity and respect among men and women. However, the existence of the Coordinate College System at UR emphasizes individual
gender development, an ideal that is achieved by providing students with platforms to voice their opinions about issues affecting their genders to an understanding and receptive audience. Dr. Steven Bisese, Vice President of Student Development, reaffirms that single-sex housing is beneficial in maintaining a sense of solidarity among Richmond men and Westhampton women. “During the first year, the residence life staffs of each college can focus on new student adjustment issues from the gender perspective. Each gender adjusts differently and the professional and student staff of each college is trained in those differences. Our first to second year retention is outstanding. I have to believe part of this is due to the first year residential experience,” he said. Haisten Bonner ’14 enjoyed his experience living in an all-male dorm freshman year, noting that separate residence halls allow men and women to adjust to college life without the anxiety or awkwardness co-ed arrangements sometimes entail. “I think it is a good way for guys to get used to college without having the temptation of females around. It’s a distraction, especially right when you get to college,” he comments. Sam Gilmore ’17 agrees, “I have formed what may prove to be lasting friendships with the guys on my floor, a few of which may become brotherhoods. My experience has been that, when girls aren’t around, guys let down certain barriers which in turn allow them to be more honest and grow closer.” “I believe the system here at Richmond, based in the coordinate system, allows for students to have a place where they can find and cultivate
The negative to same sex dorms and living on the opposite side of campus is that I’m not as close with boys. I felt like the distance kept me from making a strong friend group of guy friends to match my strong group of girl friends.
- LYDIA BARNES, JUNIOR GRADUATION 2014
Westhampton Lake originally separated all men’s and women’s dormitories to their respective side of the lake. Now, Lora Robins Court (far left), one of the two first-year female dorms, still sits on the Westhampton College side of campus far from most other dorms, including Marsh Hall (far right), a first-year male dorm that sits on the Richmond College side of campus.
same-gender friendships, and in the case of Richmond College, we can provide opportunities to discuss what ‘masculinity’ means both individually and collectively,” adds Dr. Joe Boehman, Dean of Richmond College. While he agrees with his colleagues that gender-specific housing promotes friendships and the discussion of important gender issues, he also broaches the predicament the University faces in accommodating “students who do not identify as cisgender into the housing arrangements.” But he also contends, “I can tell you from experience at other places that it is a challenge regardless of single-gender or coed arrangements. The dean’s office is working with
Common Ground and other offices to try and figure out the best way to approach concerns from students on that particular issue.” One first-year male on campus, who preferred to remain anonymous, admitted that he experienced some anxiety about registering for student housing due to his sexual orientation: “As a first-year LGBTQ, going into random housing was a little bit stressful because of the uncertainty of getting a roommate that is intolerant of my lifestyle. I haven’t heard many problems with it, but there was always that thought in the back of my mind.” He entertained the possibility of Student
My experience has been that, when girls aren’t around, guys let down certain barriers which in turn allow them to be more honest and grow - SAM GILMORE, FIRST-YEAR closer. 22
Housing including a question about students’ sexual orientation and/or comfort with having a non-cisgender roommate on the housing survey first-year students must fill out for roommate assignments. “The challenge [with that option] may be that a lot of people may not wish to room with someone who is LGBTQ, and if they do, they may feel like [choosing that option] will automatically give them an LGBTQ roommate which could discourage [students from] picking the option altogether,” he says. While the challenge of reconciling gender identity with traditional college housing remains pertinent for institutions everywhere, the University of Richmond maintains its ideology behind offering single-sex housing options for first-years living on campus. Single-sex housing coincides with the ideals of UR’s Coordinate College System and allows students to engage in a campus-wide discussion of gender identity and gender issues. Although single-gender residence halls potentially prevent first-years from meeting and befriending students of the opposite sex, the University offers a plethora of coed housing options for upperclassmen. So hopefully, next year, I’ll muster up the courage to bear my makeup-less face and penguin pajamas in my coed residence hall. Still, that sounds like a daunting task. Maybe junior year?
Congratulations U of R Forum Magazine...
3 1 0 2 , E N I Z A BEST MAG Named 2nd place finalist with “Mark of Excellence” by the Society of Professional Journalists for the “Best Magazine, 2013” award. This award is presented to the best magazines in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Washington DC. Won in our first year of operation by the 20132014 staff.
The following awards were presented to the men and women of Westhampton and Richmond Colleges.
Westhampton College Recipients
Richmond College Recipients
Westhampton College Diamond Award: Meredith A. Combs
Colonel Thomas Branch McAdams Prize: Lucas Virnig
Jane Stockman Award: Rachel A. Brown and Colleen Q. E. Connolly
Honor Council Mateer Award for Excellence: Kevin Thomas
Leslie Sessoms Booker Award: Amalia K. Kobelja
Student Conduct Council Award: Red Finney
Clara M. Keith Award: Mary C. Mudd
Most Significant Contributor Award: John McAuliff
Unsung Hero Award: Sara M. Krauss
Richmond College Medal: Will Buckley, Rooney Colombus, Patrick Love, Perry Lowder and JR Riddick
The Happiest Guy On Campus STORY BY NABILA KHOURI
For 36 years, hardly a day went by without Robert blessing it for us. Now, he’s struggling to keep his daughter in school after losing his job in the mailroom—one of three he has to support his family.
Robert Ferguson waddles through the isles of Martin’s supermarket with intention and a smile. His green employee polo shirt is a blur as he walks briskly fixing the isles and helping shoppers with their bags. If the doors at Martin’s weren’t automatic, he’d probably be holding them open for customers too. You may not recognize his name, you may not even know who he is but if you’ve been to Martin’s after 6pm, attended sporting events on campus or been to the campus post office, you probably know Robert as that guy who always says hello to you with a grin from ear to ear. His warm and welcoming personality has earned him the title, “the happiest man on campus.” But Robert no longer works on campus. A few weeks ago, Robert was let go from his job at the campus post office, after 36 years of work for the post office at the university. The news of his release shocked him more than anything else. “My first reaction was just total shock,” he said. “After 36 years of work you’re bound to make mistakes.” The mistake Robert made was accidentally locking the keys of the mail van in the car while it was still running. The car was parked and nobody was hurt or injured. Upon realizing his mistake, Robert called his supervisor to unlock the van. The problem was cleared up within a few minutes. Robert was hesitant to talk about why he was
let go. It took about an hour of casual conversation to get him to even mention his work at the post office. He was adamant about being as respectful as possible to his previous employers and his former co-workers. “I don’t want to bash anyone or cause trouble, but what they did just ain’t right,” he said. Robert’s supervisor, Jodi Will, was contacted but never responded to requests for a comment on what happened. Robert is still employed by the university as a parking assistant for sporting events and games, but is no longer a post office worker. Seven years ago the post office was outsourced to multinational imaging and electronics company, Ricoh Company LTD. The technology, printing and office equipment provider, not only handles campus mail, but also supplies and fixes any office equipment on campus. “To say that Robert misses his job is an understatement,” Marylou Ferguson said. Robert had already been at the post office for 8 years when he met his wife Marylou. The pair have been married for 28 years and she was in dismay upon hearing Robert was let go. “It’s just very sad that after 36 years of faithful and dedicated service that Robert be let go for something so petty,” she said. “He won’t say a bad thing about anybody, even if they hurt him,” she said. “The truth is Robert hasn’t been respected while under his supervisor.” When asked to elaborate, both Robert and his wife refused to say anything negative about Ms. Will. Robert simply said he felt hurt and disappointed.
Within weeks of hearing about his departure, Robert said he received a number of calls and messages from people he knew at the university, saying how sorry he was to have left. When con-
tacted, people had nothing but positive things to say about Robert. “Robert is such a great guy,” Jeanne Hollister, the administrative coordinator at the Speech Center, said.
Behind the deep-set creases surrounding Robert’s blue eyes, there is nothing but light when talking about his time at the university. Robert grew up in the Richmond area, and the University of Richmond has always been a part of his life. He grew up watching the Spiders play his favorite sports and continues that tradition with his own daughter today. Although he didn’t attend university, after all his work at UR Robert sees it as his alma mater. Marylou graduated from the university in 1990 and the entire family loves watching the home football and basketball games that take place every year. Sports and family make Robert happy, but even more so, his faith. When asked what his secret was to his seemingly everlasting happiness, Robert said God and his wife. Robert is a devout Baptist. He has always viewed his faith as the source of his positivity and his family as the source of love and inspiration. “Whatever challenge you face or whatever trouble you’re in, if you turn to God he’ll help you find your way,” he said. “Even though He’s shut a door, I know God is going to open a window.” The financial worry from losing his job is effecting Robert and his family. Though Robert has other jobs and Marylou is also employed, their biggest concern is their daughter Erica, who is a full time student at Roanoke College. “The loss of his job is of course effecting us financially but it’s also hard seeing Robert lose something he really cared about,” Marylou said. Robert has interviewed at several places, hoping another employment opportunity will arise. In the meantime he hopes another position at UR will open up soon. “The university is a part of me, it’s a part of my family,” he said. “I was sure it would the last place I’d work.”
: d e r l l A e Stev P r o f i l e L ega c y
You came here in 2008 after spending 22 years at UNC Chapel Hill. What drew you to Richmond?
Ed Ayers. I knew Ed when he was at UVA serving as the Dean of Arts and Sciences. He came down once when we were doing our SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) reaccreditation. I was in the provost office at Chapel Hill, and I had the unwieldy title of Executive Associate Provost. I had been in the provost office since 2001 and was on the faculty for a long time before that. We met a second time when we were wrestling with enrollment growth at Chapel Hill. There was a lot of pressure on the school to increase the size of the undergraduate student body, mostly from North Carolinians. Ed came down and talked about UVA and how they had managed to control growth while still being responsive to state needs. I thought, this is a really impressive guy. He knows a lot about higher education in America, and he’s got a really interesting perspective. I actually ended up just talking to Ed about the job and it sounded kind of interesting, so I thought well I’ll put my hat in the ring. I came up here and had a great interview and he offered me the job. Suddenly I had a decision to make.
Where do you see the University headed in the future?
One way to answer that is to compare where we are now versus where we were before Ed Ayers came. There are some indicators of change. The student body is stronger by any measure. You can look at SAT scores or GPA, whatever your metric is, the student body is much more diverse. When I came here, it was about 10% students of color; now it’s close to a quarter, and we’ve sustained
University Provost Dr. Steve Allred will be stepping down at the end of this academic year after a successful six years at the University of Richmond. Forum Magazine Distribution Manager Eamon O’Keefe sat down with Provost Allred to discuss his time here and his vision for the future.
that. I think the school is much more of an integrated academic enterprise. We have an odd configuration of schools here, we’ve got the business school, arts and sciences, the first school of leadership studies in America, SPCS (School of Professional and Continuing Studies), and a law school. If you look at the top 50 liberal arts schools in America, there are only two schools on that list that have a law school, us and Washington and Lee. I think something that we’ve been able to do is to get those schools to work together for the benefit of the students. Is the place different than what it was six or seven years ago? Yes, I think it’s stronger. So, when you look at the future, what I would hope is that the next senior leadership team would build on what we’ve developed. Having said all that, schools can change. But if I were someone coming to an institution like this, I would look around say, they’ve got something really good going here.
This is the first year that everyone here at the university has gone through an FYS. How do you view the importance of the first year seminar in the context of a fulfilling academic experience at the undergraduate level?
I think the first year is critical in a lot of ways. There are some shared goals for the first year experience that involve developing writing skills, public speaking skills, research skills, analytical thinking, and the ability to synthesize a lot of complex readings from different places. What I think is good about the FYS is that we have faculty from all five schools teaching to their passion. I think the FYS program has been successful in broadening who is involved in teaching freshmen.
Sharing the opportunity to shape first year students across all the schools is an important thing to do. From the student perspective, you can sample something the first semester of your freshmen year.
Do you teach an FYS?
I teach an FYS every year in the spring, it’s called “Working.” It’s about the American workplace in the second half of the twentieth century. We look at the workplace in terms of legal, economic, and social issues. Mostly, we write papers.
What role did you play in the development of “The Richmond Promise,” and what were your goals throughout the process?
We’re coming to the end of the five years, I think we’ve succeeded in most of the areas. It’s been an exhilarating experience. My goal was to help shape the curriculum. To help shape this notion of an integrated academic enterprise. We said we wanted to create a freshmen experience that was appropriate to a school like ours. We didn’t know what it was going to look like. One of the big discussion was do we keep CORE? Do we modify CORE? Do we do CORE plus one? Do we do something completely different? We ended up in a good place. One of the deans of the schools is proposing something right now that would be another exemplifying aspect of this. This would be another cross school minor that would involve two different schools combining two different areas that I think students would be interested in. So it’s not like we’re done with this. We basically lay the groundwork to continue innovation
because this is the way the world works. So why wouldn’t you replicate that in school? Why wouldn’t you expose students early on to how disciplines work together? The other principles, I think, have done really well. If you look at the other goals of access and affordability, we’ve clearly done that. I think the notion of being engaged with the community in the city of Richmond is something we’ve done remarkably well. I think overall we’ve made a lot of progress.
Do you see an area of the Richmond promise that you think we need to do more with? You can’t let your foot off the gas. If you recruit great faculty, you’ve got to continue to recruit great faculty. If you recruit great students, you can never give up on that. If you increase the diversity of the freshmen class you can’t say “well we’ve done that, we won’t worry about that anymore.” It’s cyclical; if you improve the quality of the law school you can’t just say okay we’ve done that long enough we’re going to stop now. There were some things that we thought about that we ended up not doing. There was a point where I was proposing that we have a faculty development center. We would bring in someone full time who would help with teaching techniques and research. We actually went down that road for a while, and we went a different way on that. Someone else might think we need one; well that’s the next Provost’s call. We looked at our general education curriculum and whether or not we should change the fields of study. We ended up not changing field of study, but tweaked the definitions. Someone else might think we should have done more on that. But the faculty control the curriculum,
I’ve made decisions that have made people both happy and
unhappy. I hope that people, whether they agree or disagree with the decisions, believe that they were decisions based on principle and that they were made with integrity.” - Steve Allred
and so there are some things that we agreed we would look at in “The Richmond Promise,” and we did. It didn’t necessarily mean we changed them though. I can’t point to any glaring failure there. I can’t say there was this one big idea we had and we weren’t able to pull it off. I think we were able to get a lot done. But I also think that you can’t be complacent. Universities are changing so quickly and if you’re not looking five years out, you’re going to wake up one day and suddenly find yourself left behind. That’s the challenge.
In terms of incorporating different schools at a liberal arts university, do you feel we face a greater challenge because we have such prominent business and law schools? I think so. I think that if we’re not careful, there can be tension between and among the students and faculty in those respective schools. What’s the purpose of this school? Who are we? I think who we are is a liberal arts university that has a great business school and a strong law school that draws from the strengths of all of those to create well rounded students. It’s a more complex organization than Davidson College. But it’s not as complex as Harvard.
What are your plans for the future?
I will be staying at the University of Richmond. I have had a faculty appointment in the Law School since I came here in 2008, and after I take my sabbatical this coming year, I will be teaching my FYS and law students. It’ll be my first sabbatical in twenty eight years.
What do you believe is your greatest achievement here at the University of Richmond? What are you most proud of?
The most important thing I do is tenure and promotion cases. The board of trustees, in the time that I have been here has approved 71 tenure recommendations. That’s a lot. Basically we’re talking about a faculty here of about 400. We’ve had almost 100 hires since I’ve been here, and of those, more than half have been women. And 38% have been faculty of color. I think we’ve made substantial progress on that. I’m really proud of all that work. Here’s what I hope I’ve achieved. I’ve made decisions that have made people both happy and unhappy. I hope that people, whether they agree or disagree with the decisions, believe that they were decisions based on principle and that they were made with integrity. That’s actually all I really care about. GRADUATION 2014
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