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Notable and Quotable


“Class of 2009 I want to leave you with this: After the interactions that we have had with people from different backgrounds in the past four years, to the sociology classes that taught us about racial and gender inequalities, to the lessons that were taught in our C.I.E classes, will you help break the barriers of strife, will you help tear down the immoral walls of inequality and will you help destroy the depraved barricades of oppression? As our nation’s future, let us be the voices of change; let us be the symbols of unity, let us be the signs of equality, let us be the examples of justice, and let us be the hope for peace in our world.”

—Alex Peay, Student Speaker at Commencement













Growing Greener: Ursinus Invests in a Sustainable Planet XX



Class notes


Erin Gorman







On the Cover



We feature detail from “10K Rainbow” by Ursinus student Deanna Hayes 2010 of York, Pa. Her colored pencil drawing won a Myrin Library Purchase Prize in the 2009 Annual Student Exhibition.

CORRECTION: For our Winter 2009 issue, we neglected to include a credit for the cover painting called “Storming Ocean.” The credit should have been: © Pobytov.



Editor Wendy Greenberg

I started out at Ursinus as a biology major. After having Dr. Snyder spark my interest in first year, general physics, I promptly added physics to my major. He so inspired me in his teaching that I became passionate about the physical sciences as a student and subsequently, professionally.  He was my advisor and mentor.

Assistant Editor Kathryn Campbell Class Notes Editor and Writer Ellen Labreque 1995 Photography William T. Cain, Steve Falk, Linda Johnson, Betsy Manning, Jim Roese, Hillary Schwab, George Widman, Patrick Crawford, Kim Naylor

For those who were fortunate enough to have had him and know him, he will be dearly missed. Dr. Snyder could be seen walking Pfahler’s hallways with a spring in his step, often times quietly whistling a tune. Upon any encounter, he’d greet you with his broad, radiant smile. The twinkle in his eye showed his love for his students’ sense of inquisitiveness and curiosity. He even brought his passion for cycling into the classroom making his lectures ever so fascinating. It was truly a memorable experience to see him ride his unicycle up on top of the lab bench while he demonstrated the principles of force.

Design Spindle Studios, Columbus, Ohio The mission of Ursinus College is to enable students to become independent, responsible, and thoughtful individuals through a program of liberal education. That education prepares them to live creatively and usefully, and to provide leadership for their society in an interdependent world.

Clearly brilliant, he was equally humble. While at Ursinus as a student himself, he worked on the world’s first computer, the ENIAC, with Dr. John Mauchly, in the bowels of Pfahler Hall. Mauchly then took the ENIAC with him to the University of Pennsylvania which also lays claim to its’ fame. 

Chair, Board of Trustees Spencer Foreman M.D. 1957 President John Strassburger Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean Judith Levy

Having a fresh Ph.D. in hand, Dr. Snyder was selected among a group of highly intelligent, competent, and trusted individuals by the U.S. Government to combine their brainpower working on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, N.M., to help put the end to World War II.

Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing Richard DiFeliciantonio Vice President for Finance and Administration Winfield Guilmette Ursinus College Alumni Council President Gillian Murray 1989 Associate Director of Alumni Relations Brie Conley



Cert no. SW-COC-002169

SOY INK Trademark of the American Soybean Association

Ursinus Magazine is printed on recycled paper.

Dr. Snyder showed commitment to his students. With his calm, soft-spoken manner and clear explanations, he shed light on the process of problem solving. He was always “there” for his students. He was fully available in the moment and each afternoon as he set aside time for students’ problem sessions. He was incredibly patient. He was dedicated to his students’ success, and their own process of discovery.

May Dr. Snyder’s light continue to shine on us all. He clearly was special among the key faculty of Ursinus who “changed lives,” most certainly mine. Through the dedication of the faculty and your administration, I am assured that his impact continues. The Ursinus “difference of changing lives” lives on! I send my heartfelt sympathies to you, Dr. Snyder’s family, friends, fellow faculty, and students, Cynthia A. Fisher 1983 Founder, Former CEO, ViaCord and ViaCell Editor’s Note: Ms. Fisher is a member of the college Board of Trustees

Editor’s Note: The Winter 2009 issue elicited this note, referring to the news that the Berman Museum of Art will be graced with the new Henry and June Pfeiffer Wing, and that sculptor George Anthonisen (see page 7) has bequeathed his works to the Berman Museum. The writer served on a committee in the late 1990s that commissioned the creation and installation of an Anthonisen bas relief in Wismer Hall.

To the Editor: The Anthonisens’ wonderful gift moved me to write. What a breathtaking gift to Ursinus from the Anthonisens! Not only are his art works sensitively and beautifully done, but are named with provocative titles. When the Classes of 1942-49 were searching for a 50th year project/gift reflecting the war years (World War II), Lisa Hanover (Director of the Berman Museum of Art) suggested we talk with the Anthonisens. The result? Promise/Anthem – continued on page 6



Ursinus Magazine Volume CVIII, No. 1, Summer 2009. Third class postage paid at Conshohocken, Pa. 19399. Ursinus Magazine is published seasonally three times a year. Copyright 2009 by Ursinus College. Editorial correspondence and submissions: Ursinus Magazine, P.O. Box 1000, Collegeville, PA 19426--1000. (610) 409-3300, ext. 2329; e-mail:


I am deeply saddened by the news of the great loss of one of Ursinus’ distinguished professors and alumni, Dr. Evan Snyder. Today (Sat., May 23) was his memorial service held at his home church across from the entrance to Ursinus. Dr. Snyder chaired the physics department during my time at Ursinus and for many years before and beyond my time there. He introduced so many students to appreciating and mastering the wonders of physics. Importantly, he taught us much, much more through his exemplary life.

I have always held Dr. Snyder in a special place in my heart as he has been a beacon of light in my life. In addition to teaching general physics, analytical mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism or astronomy, Dr. Snyder taught step by step approaches to problems. Through his example, he taught me to be patient and calm. He taught me tenacity and perseverance. He taught me how to be a better person and by doing so, it had an effect on the greater community in which I live. Most of all, his character of pure goodness, kindness, and compassion has served as a guide. I have looked to his example and approach to problem solving throughout my adult life, in my work, marriage, and as a mother – as daily, and at significant times of change, there are minor or substantial problems to solve. 


Dear President Strassburger,


The Gateway Upcoming ExhibitIONS

UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS The Philip And Muriel Berman Museum Of Art

Philadelphia/Tri State Artists Equity 60th Anniversary Juried Exhibition Through Sept. 4, Main Gallery

Eighty works by member artists representing two and three-dimensional genres comprise this installation, drawn from over 400 entries. In conjunction with the exhibition Lisa Tremper Hanover, director of the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College, was honored with the Artists Equity Award from the Philadelphia/TriState Artists Equity Lisa Tremper Hanover, museum director board, recognizing Hanover’s “outstanding support of contemporary regional artists and arts organizations” and her “understanding of and cooperation with causes that benefit artists.” Widely known as a curator, panelist, juror and academic, Hanover has been with the Ursinus campus museum from its inception. It opened in 1989 and is about to undergo an expansion to house its diverse permanent collection of more than 4,000 notable works of art. Hanover is a magna cum laude graduate of University of Richmond, one of the first art history majors to be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and received her master’s degree in art history from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Prior to coming to Ursinus, Hanover worked with the Armand Hammer art collection. She is also immediate past president of the national group, Association of College and University Galleries and Museums.




Folk Art From the Dr. David Bronstein Collection Through August 29, Upper Gallery

This installation focuses on examples from Dr. David Bronstein’s important collection of American folk art. Theorems and paintings by David Ellinger, chalkware, tinware, stoneware, redware, wood carvings and painted chests are highlighted and reflect the careful eye of the collector and the quality of execution by the known and unknown artisans. Philadelphia Water Color Society 109th Juried Exhibition October 3 – December 18, 2009 Main Gallery

Opening Reception: Sunday October 18, 2009 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

The exciting expansion of the Berman Museum got underway just a few days after commencement, with plans to be finished by Commencement 2010. The area is dug out, but screened with tarp. A web cam can be accessed from the Ursinus web page. The new Henry and June Pfeiffer Wing will be named for longtime Trustee and art museum supporter Henry ‘Hank’ Pfeiffer and his late wife, June. The Philadelphia firm Towers & Miller has designed a stunning new open storage addition for the study and exhibition of the Museum’s permanent collection. The Museum opened in 1989 in the historic 1921 building that was formerly Alumni Memorial Library. The addition will also provide a works on paper study area for flat storage, lecture space and new galleries including a rooftop gallery for outdoor sculpture.

The Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus, known for its diverse collection and innovative educational programming, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; and noon to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Museum is closed Mondays and college holidays. The Museum is accessible to the physically disabled and admission is free. The museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums. Exhibitions and programs are funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. For group tour information, call 610-409-3500.

The Gateway BY THE NUMBERs



games were won by softball pitcher Lauren Davis of Mullica Hill, N.J., who was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) first-team All-East region.


student was awarded the St. Andrews Scholarship, Devon Smith, of Phoenixville, who will study linguistics in Scotland. She is one of five in the Philadelphia region.


Ursinus athletes were named to the Philadelphia Inquirer/Philly-SIDA Winter All-Academic All-Area team: Lloyd Tannenbaum of Dresher, Pa., for men’s swimming; Erin Slaunwhite of Halifax, Nova Scotia, for women’s at-large gymnastics; and Chris Springer of New Egypt, N.J. for men’s at-large wrestling.

the life-sized bronze sculpture wall depicting those sad-proud-happy days and welcoming all into Wismer Hall. I can’t wait for the opening of the renovated art wing. Beverly Cloud Richards 1945

Dear Dr. Strassburger,


student, Lindsay Budnick of Philadelphia, has been awarded the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, one of 100 students in the United States.


Ursinus pitchers were named Pitcher of the Year in the Centennial Conference: junior Lauren Davis of Mullica Hill, N.J., for the second year; and Zeb Engle of Spring City, Pa. Engle was also named Second Team All American and Mid-Atlantic Pitcher of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association.


student, Daniel Horowitz of Broomall, is the Kemper Award winner, through the James S. Kemper Foundation of Chicago, to gain career exploration and practical experience in his field of choice.


wrestler, James Bloom III was named as an Academic All-American by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

From the 1948 Yearbook, (L-R), Coach Charles Steinmetz, Hatch, Graff, Fred Troxell 1949 and manager Robert Buzzard 1949. Henry Pfeiffer 1948 was also on the team.

39 1

students were inducted to Phi Beta Kappa, the national honor society.

Sixty-one months?

student is a Watson Fellow, one of 40 in the United States. Kelsey Threatte of Lovettesville, Va., will spend a year abroad learning how poetry empowers Arab women.

student, Amanda Leatherman, was named to the All-USA Today Team (see pg. 22). 1 participated in the Celebration of Student Achievement Day (COSA), 237 students showcasing their research and work.

28 1

students had two or three presentations in COSA.


Ursinus students were awarded stipends to participate in the Summer Fellows program, doing one-on-one research with faculty mentors.


gymnasts were honored: Kira Oldham-Curtis of Eugene, Ore., won the National Championship title on the floor exercise and earned several All-American honors. Amy Edson of East Hampton, N.J., earned All-American in Academics.

swimmer, Jessica Saloky of Feasterville, Pa., has won the Centennial Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee sportsmanship award.

Sixty-one. Sixty-one people? No. Sixty-one dollars? No. Sixty-one days? No.

No. Sixty-one years? Yes. Sixty-one years ago Lou Graff 1948 and I, 1950, started the Ursinus Golf Team. In the spring of 1948 we recruited other players, scheduled matches and found a home golf course (Jeffersonville). In 1950 we finally got a coach – the math professor! In 1948, Lou and I went to the NCAA Championship in Ann Arbor – Michigan’s home course. Lou qualified and lost in the first round. I contracted a strep throat and failed to qualify. It was a great experience and good for our resumes. Sixty-one years later the golf team continues. It must have been a good idea. Lou is a doctor, and I was a successful business executive. I think it’s time this secret be brought to light. Respectfully yours, Lewis E. Hatch Jr.




members of the Ursinus College baseball team were named to the CoSIDA/ ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District II team: first baseman David Randolph of Sewell, N.J., to the first team, and outfielder Brett Umstead of Green Lane, Pa., to the second-team.



The Gateway 2009 COMMENCEMENT


Dr. Spencer Foreman, Chair of the Board of Trustees, presided over the ceremony, under a tent on the front lawn of the campus, where clouds could not dampen spirits. President John Strassburger bestowed honorary degrees on five accomplished guests, including two alumni. Receiving an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree were sculptor and artist George Anthonisen; dance pioneer and educator Ruth E. Grauert, Ursinus Class of 1939;  and dance educator and company founder Bebe Miller.




Urged to “cultivate their gardens” by sowing a rich life, the Ursinus College graduates of 2009 were awarded degrees at the 136th Ursinus College Commencement May 16, which featured an inspiring address by a noted neonatologist who spoke of her Haitian family’s emphasis on education.

1989 Graduates Gillian Murray and Keith Aleardi

The Right Rev. Bishop Robert Wilkes llhoff, a member of the Ursinus Class of 1964, received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. The Baccalaureate speaker, he was, in 1995, elected 13th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. Dr. Phyllis Dennery delivered the commencement address to graduates, and received an honorary Doctor of Science degree. She is the Chief, Division of Neonatology and Newborn Services at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; holds the Werner and Gertrude Henle Endowed Chair in Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, and is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Invoking the Ursinus mission statement, she urged graduates to “live creatively and usefully while honoring your past,” to “live your life with passion,” and to “cultivate your garden.” “Parents have the responsibility to nurture their children with the rich soil of an outstanding education where seeds of all varieties are sown,” she said. “Studying music, literature, the sciences, languages and philosophy, molds well-rounded individuals who can blossom and add to the world with their creativity, instead of drones who can only speak about their jobs and nothing else. A fulfilling life outside of work is superbly important. Despite a career of accomplishments, we need to be

an integral part of our world, in all of its dimensions. We need to cultivate hobbies, honor our relationships and be a part of our community, so that when we reflect back on our lives, we see a colorful garden rather than a barren field. “You have been given an extraordinary opportunity at Ursinus College,” she said. “You are now armed with a strong liberal arts foundation where your committed teachers have inspired you to dig deeper and to be engaged in so many ways. You have your education, you have your tale, and you have your passion. Your garden is growing lush and verdant.”

Dr. Phyllis Dennery, Commencement speaker & the Right Rev. Bishop Robert Wilkes Ilhoff 1964, Baccalaureate speaker

Following the granting of degrees, three professors won awards for their teaching, mentoring and scholarship. The Laughlin Professional Achievement Award, endowed by Henry P. Laughlin M.D., 1938, for a faculty member who has made significant contributions to scholarship, was awarded to Associate Professor of Psychology Gabrielle Principe. The H. Lloyd Jones Jr. Award, established in honor of H. Lloyd Jones, professor of English from 1947 to 1988, was awarded to Matthew Mizenko, Associate Professor of Modern Languages, for distinguished advising and mentoring. The Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching was given to Professor of Biology Ellen Dawley, who holds the Brownback-Wagner Chair in Health Sciences. In what may become a new tradition, the band, led by Assistant Professor of Music Holly Gaines, played the Campus Song, while Caroline Andrews 2011, of Dover, Del., led the graduates and their guests singing a chorus.

Professor Ron Hess with Janet Brown 1979 & Keith Kemper 1979




The Class of 2009 now joins more than 15,000 Ursinus graduates as members of the Alumni Association, and to mark that step, they followed into the commencement ceremony a procession of red, “old gold” and black flags emblazoned with the years 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994 and 1999 and 2004.

The Gateway FACULTY Expertise




FILM STUDIES The Film Studies minor was approved in 2008, and the department has three, tenuretrack faculty, and others who teach special courses. Carol Dole, professor of English, who holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University, heads the program. Faculty include Desirée Garcia, who holds a Ph.D. from Boston University and a B.A. from Wellesley, and held a post-doctoral fellowship in Film Studies. Frances Gateward, who holds a Ph. D. from University of Maryland College Park, and her B.A. from Temple University, comes to Ursinus from the University of Illinois. Ursinus film professors share their academic insights and a few tips on summer viewing suggestions. Carol Dole:




UM: Why was the Film Studies minor developed? What do you hope to bring to students pursuing a liberal arts education at Ursinus? Given how much time our students spend watching visual images, it seems crucial to educate them to understand how such images create meaning, how they elicit certain responses in the viewer. Film Studies is not about making films – though Greg Scranton in Media and Communications Studies does offer a filmmaking course that we hope our Film Studies minors will take – but rather about analyzing films. We teach students to pay attention to the effect of a swell of sentimental back-

Desirée Garcia in “Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench.”

ground music, or to the different effects of photographing an actor’s face from a lower angle or a tilted angle, so that they understand how films work. As do other disciplines in liberal arts, we aim to teach students about how to decipher texts, how to actively “read” and interpret and respond to those texts rather than just passively receive them. Although Ursinus has had an introductory film studies class available for quite a few years, the new minor and the addition of two full-time faculty specialists will make it possible for a much larger number of students to study film. For those students who wish to move beyond the basics, it will now be possible for them to investigate many of the factors that shape film,

including historical development, industrial processes, exhibition practices, and modes of representation in different times and cultures. UM: Your own work as a Jane Austen scholar must give you an informed perspective watching the many film adaptations of her novels, especially recognizing which trends in popular culture and production practices are reflected. Which adaptations do you recommend and why? Working on Jane Austen adaptations gives me a wonderful opportunity to bring together my interests in film and in nineteenth-century British novels, my original disciplinary specialty. It also gives me chances to re-watch lots of movies I

Desirée Garcia: (Note: Professor Garcia starred in the film Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench while she was a doctoral student.) Not available on DVD, it was a hit at the Tribeca Film Festival. UM: Tell us a little about the experience of starring in a film.

UM: Your dissertation was on the treatment of race in the Hollywood musical. Do you think the musical films in the last 20 years still ignore or reflect the dynamics of race and ethnicity in society? There is a tendency among film producers and critics to assert that race no longer matters. The idea of living in a “post-racial” society which circulated during Obama’s candidacy is an expression of that idea. Seemingly, now that we have an African American president, the issue of race is irrelevant. We see this notion circulating in film such as when critic Amy Taubin reviewed Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench for Film Comment. She argued that the film was post-racial because the film does not explicitly deal with race even though it has an interracial, romantic relationship at its core.

Frances Gateward: UM: One of your scholarly interests is international cinema. What countries are in the forefront now? How can we keep abreast of what is out there, beyond Academy Awards nominations? Many countries are currently producing some exciting cinema, in fact, several have been experiencing a ‘renaissance’ within their national film traditions. The most interesting to me are those that are technically proficient and manage to entertain general audiences, while at the same time reveal insights about the human condition. Several countries come to mind, some historically significant to international cinema, like Japan, Hong Kong and Brazil, and others that have gone from being important regional cinemas, in the last fifteen years or so have emerged as major world players Korea, Iran, Mexico, and India. Rather than using academic journals to find film titles, readers might want to seek out sources such as the major newspacontinued on page 30


For me, the film was a wonderful experiment in melding theory and practice. I spend my days researching, writing, and thinking about the musical. It was a rewarding experience to translate those thoughts into music and physical motion.

I strongly disagree with such an interpretation. Race continues to be a thorny, painful issue and it informs the cultural climate in which film is produced and consumed. While most Hollywood films do not take race as their subject, they do, however, rely on timeworn racial stereotypes for comedic effect whether it is Jack Black speaking broken Spanish in Nacho Libre (2006) or any person of color in Jim Carrey’s recent film, Yes Man (2008). The very existence of a parallel African American cinema (of which the Tyler Perry vehicles are a part and which continue the tradition of producing independent black film that began in the 1910s) proves that Hollywood continues to underserve certain racialized groups.


As an adaptation scholar, I am less inclined to look for films to reproduce the novels – they’re not likely to improve on Austen, after all – but rather prefer to see intriguing differences of viewpoint or approach. For instance, Patricia Rozema’s 1999 art-house version of Mansfield Park was scorned by many Austen fans because it replaced the novel’s quiet, modest heroine Fanny with a much more energetic aspiring writer and because it took a post-colonial view of the family’s enjoyment of proceeds from a West Indian plantation. A far less radical adaptation is Ang Lee’s enjoyable Sense and Sensibility (1995), which adheres to Austen’s plot but updates character attitudes to be amenable to current viewers. Perhaps my favorite adaptation is Clueless, the teen comedy that relocates Austen’s Emma to a Beverly Hills high school. Yes, it’s fun to see how cleverly director/screenwriter Amy Heckerling reinvented Austen’s characters and situations – but I like Clueless even more in its ability to capture Austen’s wicked, witty satire instead of just her happily-ever-after plots.

I was approached by the film’s director, Damien Chazelle, when I was in the last stages of writing my dissertation at Boston University and he was a senior in Harvard University’s film program. He explained that the film was to be a musical, of the “old style” variety, but it was going to be shot as a documentary and on black and white film. I was writing my dissertation on the history of the musical so I was very interested in the project and wanted to help out in any way that I could. My fears that the film would distract me from my work were allayed when Damien told me that I wouldn’t have to memorize any lines. Every scene was improvised with the exception of the highly choreographed musical numbers.


enjoy! The students in my Austen class this semester tell me that their favorite adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is not the recent film starring Keira Knightley, but rather the 1995 BBC mini-series. Many viewers continue to love that adaptation, which not only made Colin Firth notorious in England as the “wet T-shirt Darcy,” but also was lengthy enough to include all the details of the novel.




FEATURES Growing Greener: Ursinus Invests in a Sustainable PlanetBy Kathryn Campbell

Biology Professor Cory Straub in the greenhouse. Straub researches predatory insects and their role in agricultural ecosystems.

GROWING GREENER Ursinus Invests in a Sustainable Planet By Kathryn Campbell

“What pleases me most is that sustainable development is on almost everybody’s agenda now… After all, sustainability means running the global environment–Earth Inc.–like a corporation: with depreciation, amortization and maintenance accounts. In other words, keeping the asset whole, rather than undermining your natural capital.” Maurice Strong, former senior adviser to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and to the president of the World Bank; First Executive


“It looks good,” said Joseph, associate professor and Chair of Environmental Studies. “Some of these smaller plants have even begun to grow on their own,” she said of the project built by UC student Meggie Porrini and Gary White, the college facilities architectural trades supervisor.

As well as heading several campus sustainability projects, Joseph conducts international research in paleoceanography. Her work in deciphering global climate change issues over the last 70 million years by studying deep-sea sediment has taken her around the world including stays in New Zealand, Panama, Australia and Chile. “We have far to go,” she says of campus sustainability programs. “But there’s enthusiastic support and we’re headed in the right direction.”


Making her way up a labyrinth of back stairwells, Dr. Leah Joseph pushed open the rooftop fire door and squinted in the bright mid-morning sun. Tarred and offering a panoramic campus view, the Pfahler Hall roof was otherwise unexceptional except for a curious series of sturdy, raised boxes filled with dirt and scruffy vegetation. There along one wall stood a prototype green roof. Inside the boxes grew the innocuous sedum plants that, with the layers of soil beneath them, could serve as insulation and help to lower energy costs for the building. As she carefully adjusted plastic bottles and unthreaded watering tubes below the wooden beds, Joseph predicted success.


Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

FEATURES Growing Greener: Ursinus Invests in a Sustainable PlanetBy Kathryn Campbell

Associate Professor Richard Wallace




nine majors when I arrived in 2002. I think we have around 35 now, not including those who just graduated.” Surrounded by piles of books and students’ papers in his office, Wallace is affable and gracious. “I don’t have a magic wand; I just have a good design for a diverse and challenging undergraduate program.”

Assistant Professor Cory Straub with Student Sarah Muscella

With a rolling organic orchard and rich wetland, a recycling program, green-roof model and a campus bike share program, momentum for environmental sustainability at Ursinus is growing. President John Strassburger has signed an extensive Climate Commitment document. The Environmental Studies program is thriving. Why does it matter? No longer just the stomping ground of radical environmental movements, the

sustainability conversation has gone global. It’s gaining local attention, too. Results of pending legislation could impact everything from technology, energy and transportation to housing, healthcare and food. “The qualitative answer is that we’ve grown by leaps and bounds,” says Richard Wallace, associate professor and founding chair of Environmental Studies. “We had

When Wallace arrived all ENV majors came from other departments, rather than seeking ENV as a primary major. “Barely anyone came to ENV Red & Gold events,” he says. “Now when we hold the spring Admissions open house for ENV, we might have 40 to 50 interested prospective students and parents show up. Our major is now populated by students who came to Ursinus to pursue ENV. We’ve got a recognizably strong program, and that translates directly into the numbers. It doesn’t hurt that our graduates are going to competitive grad schools and getting good jobs, either.” Wallace agrees there is now a heightened awareness about and concern for sustainability among students at a younger and younger age. “But, the critical piece to the success of our program is…the success of our program. Ursinus now has a reputation as having a strong environmental studies program

that provides its students with really substantive experiences in and outside of the classroom, and institutionally we are building an increasingly strong record on sustainability. When that happens, word gets out,” he says.

An Integrated Approach

For Semmens, a typical workday involves meetings and conference calls on various marine campaigns. From drafting letters to Congress or the National Marine Fisheries Service to researching and writing policy papers, Semmens is in the throes of many

Students examine a crayfish from local waterways.

projects at once. Her work includes keeping up to date on legislation, regulations, agency news, and new scientific studies regarding marine issues. “Dr. Wallace had a major impact on me as a student and his influence and teaching still impact me today,” says Semmens. “I changed my major to Environmental Studies after my first class with him and later went on to do research with him on the Marine Mammal Commission. My senior honors thesis stemmed from this research, and this


“The greatest challenge in working toward environmental sustainability and health is expanding people’s myopic perspectives of the challenges we face,” says Kathryn Semmens, an associate with Federal Fisheries Policy, The Pew Charitable Trusts. Semmens graduated with an Environmental Studies degree from Ursinus. “We need to foster interdisciplinary approaches, broader ecosystem perspectives, and consider all elements and consequences in today’s environmental issues. If we do not have a comprehensive enough view of the situation, including all motivations, values, and trends, we risk failing to address the true underlying problem and getting nowhere fast.”


Studying the erosion patterns and overall health of the Darby Creek Watershed is the work of Kate Goddard, associate professor and chair of the biology department. Dressed in bulky waders and carrying nets, students trek through creeks and streams across Delaware County, Pennsylvania with Goddard as they investigate the effects of erosion, runoff from streets and lawns and other nonpoint source pollution. Analyzing the fish and macroinvertebrates such as the caddisfly larvae and riffle beetles are one important step in assessing the effects of pollution on freshwater streams including the Ithan Creek restoration, a major tributary of the Darby, currently underway.

Casting a wide net: Students work with Professor Kate Goddard collecting samples and looking for signs of pollution in Delaware County streams.


In true egalitarian resolve departments creatively share resources, and ideas, while graduates continue to make their mark in conservation and environmental sustainability. Cory Straub, assistant professor of biology, is researching how predatory insects – the celebrated ladybug among them – can be used to control pest insects that destroy farmers’ crops. Could an organic alternative to pesticides work? Over the next few months, Straub and his Summer Fellow students will sweep, trap and study bugs on two local farms to find out. In the Math Department, Mohammed Yahdi, associate professor of mathematics launched a Math and Climate Change awareness event seizing on a chance to encourage students to recognize Math’s role in issues including global climate monitoring and whether severe weather events are on the rise.

FEATURES Growing Greener: Ursinus Invests in a Sustainable PlanetBy Kathryn Campbell

Boschi became a Summer Fellow. “During that summer I studied the physical properties of deep sea sediment from the Nazca Ridge off of the western coast of South America in order to gain an understanding of changes in oceanic and continental climatic conditions.  Leah had collected these ocean core samples when she sailed with the Ocean Drilling Program. I presented my research at the Summer Fellow’s final research presentation.”  As a Summer Fellow, Boschi traveled to Florida State University to collect rock samples from an Antarctic core collected by the Antarctic Drilling Program (ANDRILL) for a second, separate research project she would work on with Joseph.  “Along with another student, we spent about five days in Florida collecting samples from cores stored at the Antarctic Research Facility at the university,” says Boschi. She traveled to New York with Joseph to Hobart and William Smith colleges to experience the coring process first hand. “Leah needed to collect core samples from Seneca Lake for a course on Global Climate Change. She wanted us to see how the coring process worked,” says Boschi. 

A live millipede is part of a hands-on lesson in Professor Richard Wallace’s biodiversity course.

Semmens got full funding for a Masters in Marine Policy degree at the University of Delaware and graduated last year. “If it had not been for Dr. Wallace, and the opportunity to conduct research in the field, I would have never had the opportunity to follow the path I did,” she says. “I credit getting hired for my current position largely to my specialized marine training and graduate thesis research in fisheries.”


Antarctic Cores Offer Climate Clues Vanessa Boschi first met Professor Leah Joseph when she enrolled in her introduction to environmental studies course. “Leah was an astounding teacher with a great passion for science and learning that was contagious,” says Boschi, who will start graduate school at Villanova University in September. 



marine influence steered me to a marine policy graduate degree.”

Questions about assignments soon turned into hour long discussions about everything from climate change to politics.

After completing her ocean sediment research, Boschi started a new project studying the magnetic properties of rock samples taken from a core collected beneath a region of the Ross Ice Shelf known as McMurdo Ice Shelf in Antarctica. She also helped Joseph instruct an after school program designed by one of the educators who participated in ANDRILL for elementary students interested in Antarctica and Climate Change.  At Villanova, Boschi will study under Dr. Amanda Grannas and participate in an analytical study of ice core samples from Greenland and Antarctica. “I cannot begin to describe how my experiences at Ursinus have impacted my career, academic, and personal life,” says Boschi. “The experience I gained from physically performing the research I could have never gained from simply reading a text book. Traveling to

the farmers receive a guaranteed minimum Fair Trade price for their cocoa beans and a premium that they invest in community development projects. It’s part of an effort to empower farmers in the global market, says Gorman. The company first started in England in 1997 and Gorman heads the U.S. office in Washington, D.C.

Sweet Success: Many Reap Fair Trade Rewards Sustainable farming practices and a commitment to fair trade are the cornerstones of the company where UC graduate Erin Gorman works today.

At Divine Chocolate Inc., the goal is broader than to produce a rich, delectable product and grow a loyal customer base. The company wants to help the people who grow and harvest the cocoa beans. Divine is a Fair Trade chocolate company co-owned by the Kuapa Kokoo farmers cooperative in Ghana. Ownership gives Kuapa Kokoo members a say in the company and a share in the profits.  In addition,

through their own branded company. Cocoa farmers are incredibly knowledgeable about their product. The power of the brand is it’s both a way to increase benefits to farmers and to give farmers a vehicle for telling their own story. It’s a way of changing people’s perception about chocolate and where it comes from,” says Gorman. In addition to growing, making and selling a great product, Divine wants to lessen the pov-


different schools, states, and even countries was nothing less than phenomenal.”


A member of Kuapa Kokoo Cooperative

Erin Gorman 1997


“I work for the farmers of a 45,000 member farmer cooperative that includes 1,200 village societies,” says Gorman, an English major who grew up in Ridley Township, Delaware County. “The mission of Divine is to improve the livelihoods of West African cocoa farmers

FEATURES Growing Greener: Ursinus Invests in a Sustainable PlanetBy Kathryn Campbell

erty that is endemic in many of Africa’s cocoa-producing regions by enabling the farmers of Kuapa Kokoo to access more dignified and just trading relationships.




Gorman almost sidestepped college. As a high school senior, she was encouraged by a teacher to hear John Updike speak at Ursinus. “I basically had no intention of going to college and no one in my immediate family had gone to college. I had an English professor in high school – he took me to the John Updike speech at Ursinus where he was there doing a lecture in Bomberger. I just fell in love with the whole idea that there was a place where people talked about books and literature,” says Gorman. “I grew up in a working class neighborhood. I knew that institutions like that existed, but I didn’t think they were for people like me. Updike painted a portrait of people that I recognized,” she says. “I interviewed with Dr. (Jon) Volkmer. He was one of my closest mentors at Ursinus. Both he and Patricia Schroder (professors of English) had an impact on me.”

life. “Divine has actually empowered me in the sense that I’ve been able to travel to European countries and talk to prominent personalities,” says Kumeah. “I’m also respected by my community members. And I’m now a role model to the women’s group.

It has also helped me to educate my children. My leadership inclinations were brought by my involvement with Kuapa.” Her vision is that Kuapa Kokoo will become more widely recognized as

Gorman went on to earn her master’s degree in political philosophy at American University knowing she wanted to address the issues of poverty and sustainability through her work. “Divine provides a powerful and structural way for farmers and consumers to make an impact on poverty. As consumers we often don’t see ourselves as having an impact. But people can make change. It doesn’t have to be in a grand gesture or going out to protest. You can affect change when you go to the supermarket by choosing Fair Trade products.” Comfort Kumeah, a member of Kuapa Kokoo and therefore a co-owner of Divine Chocolate Inc., says the company has changed her

Lori Kuttler pins insects for research in Cory Straub’s entomology class.

Ruby says she has “tried to save the world” in a variety of ways. Ruby first pursued this mission as the Conservation Program Manager at the Upper Raritan Watershed Association in N.J. where she was responsible for water conservation and land preservation programs as well as policy-related work. Today she is the project coordinator at Rutgers University’s New Jersey Sustainable State Institute and recently launched Sustainable Jersey. Multi-Disciplinary Solutions Whether in the world marketplace or the confines of campus, the emphasis on going green is critical, says author and Drexel University Professor Robert

Professor Brulle says Ursinus is well represented in neighboring Drexel University’s M.S. in Environmental Science program in Philadelphia. Regardless of their major, says Bruelle, students will have the opportunity to contribute to the effort of ‘going greener.’ “Think of an accounting major,” Bruelle says. “What does that have to do with going green? Starting very soon, there will be a financial cost attached to carbon emissions. So the development of a financial accounting system to track and manage a firm’s carbon emissions will be an important task for the accounting discipline. Information technology majors can design energy management systems to maximize the efficiency of energy use. So going green is not a specialty for only “environmental” students, but rather something that we need to integrate throughout the academic curriculum,” says Bruelle. Working to meet the rising demands of both current and prospective stu-

dents at Ursinus for environmental education is critical, says sophomore Kyle Shelton. Under Rich Wallace and Leah Joseph’s guidance, Shelton oversees the more than two-acre organic garden, assists with a Department of Environmental Protection research project, and runs the student sustainability task force, SustainUC.  “SustainUC is responsible for starting many environmental initiatives on-campus including the formation of our recycling program which has expanded to include paper, furniture, and a new 1-7 plastic recycling center in Wismer Lower, started by sophomore Molly Devinney,” say Shelton. “I’ve been able to expand the organic garden to include a new orchard consisting of 30 fruit trees, as well as approximately an acre of fruits, vegetables and berries. The hands-on experiences I’ve gotten at Ursinus have been instrumental to me in my growth as a student and leader,” he says.  Shelton is in his second year directing the organic garden. It’s a huge and physically-taxing endeavor.  “He’s a force of nature,” says Wallace proudly.


After graduating from UC with a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies, Patricia Ruby earned a Master of Environmental Management degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. “Wildlife conservation is very important to me,” says Ruby, who originally wanted to study veterinary science. “I’ve realized that there are many ways to serve wildlife interests and decided to work to preserve their habitat and ecosystem functions through land and water quality preservation, policy reform, and education.”


Protecting Ecosystems Near and Far

Brulle. Recently quoted in the New York Times about the media’s role in shaping environmental policy, Bruelle says the environmental threats are generally underreported. “We are in probably worse shape than the media generally represents regarding global warming and a whole host of environmental issues,” says Bruelle. “I see the effort to create an ecologically sustainable society as the critical challenge facing global society today. For today’s students, these efforts will be a major factor throughout their lives, and the lives of their children and grandchildren. So I consider a basic level of environmental literacy a crucial component of every student’s education. It is important that going green not be seen as something distinct from the rest of their education.”


a cocoa producer. “So we can get more [Fair Trade] social premium to improve the lives of our farmers in every community of ours. For Divine, I wish it will reach every corner of the world. I hope it will be sold in every market worldwide.” For now the chocolate is available through fair trade web sites and specialty stores nationwide such as Whole Foods.

FEATURES Welcome, Ursinus’ Newest Alumni


Christa Johnson




Christa Johnson: Flight to the Finish Within minutes of sitting down to talk about the role of running in her life, Christa Johnson is interrupted by her cell phone. “Oh, that’s my coach calling,” says the petite but powerful steeplechase runner. “I better take this.” Track Coach Chris Bayless was updating Johnson, his top-ranking runner, on her latest national standings. Johnson is first in Steeplechase in Division III.

“I was the athlete in the house growing up,” says Johnson, who started running as a third grader at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Berlin, N. J. She hasn’t stopped since. By the fifth grade she was doing 5K road races. Though she played every sport offered in school - soccer, basketball, softball – none measured up with running’s hypnotic allure. Soon other sports fell to wayside and running became a way of life.

running shoes and replaces them every two months. “You don’t need anything except you and shoes. And with distance running, a lot of it is mental.”

“It’s one thing that’s always there,” says Johnson, who owns 17 pairs of

“Christa is not only a disciplined, focused runner – she’s also a disciplined,

Johnson is a champion in the classroom as well. This spring, the senior philosophy major was offered a prestigious Council of Independent Colleges American Graduate Fellowship for doctoral studies.

Sports sometimes make competing demands on a student’s time, says Sorensen. But there’s an overall benefit: “Certain character traits pay dividends in both areas. That’s true of Christa.” Her passion for running does not exact undo sacrifice, says Johnson, 21. “It would be more of a sacrifice if I could

“When I started lifting, I started to get toned. That’s when my running really changed,” she says. “This year I really took off. It’s been incredible. If someone had told me last year that I would do the five- minute mile, I wouldn’t have believed them. Coach is one of the main reasons why I’ve flourished. He knows what he’s talking about.”

In the coming years, Johnson sees running as a major part of her life. Her goal is to make it to the Olympic Trials. “That’s going to take a lot of hard work. Beyond the next three years, I know running will always be a constant in my life, whether it’s training hard, a stress reliever, a time to relax, or anything else. It will always be there.” – By Kathryn Campbell

In the freezing drizzle of early spring Johnson and Coach Chris Bayless strategize on Patterson Field a few days before a meet. “Christa’s succeeded and she’s winning because she listened and she was willing to change,” says Bayless, about his first recruit to the College. Though unremarkable as a runner when she first arrived at UC in 2005, Bayless says he witnessed a transformation both mental and physical in the young athlete. Today she is starting to map a course for the Olympic Trials. Her success, he says, came through plain, hard work. “Christa’s a special kid,” says Bayless, bracing himself against the spring chill. “She’s really blossomed. Basically, she cut out everything - all the bad habits. She started going to bed at ten o’clock and eating the right things.” As coach

John Noonan: Full Court Press to Europe During John’s four years as a guard on the men’s basketball team, the Bears won two Centennial Conference titles, played in the 2008 Final Four, and he was named first-team All Conference his junior and senior year. Yet while triumphing on the court, John and his teammates were constantly reminded to keep their success in perspective. “We talk often here in our basketball family about learning to be truly ‘men for others,’” explained Head Coach Kevin Small. “We’ve woven this message into the fabric of who we are. John took these words to heart. He did an awful lot for other people during his time here.”


“I loved it. I walked onto campus and I knew this is where I wanted to go.” The philosophy department has become a vibrant training ground for Johnson, who hopes to teach. “I want to be Kelly Sorensen when I grow up,” says Johnson, who wears wire-rimmed glasses and her light brown hair pulled back in a ponytail. “Seeing him teach makes you understand what philosophy is – to show the consequences of making a good argument.”

and runner pace the track, Bayless gives pointers on improving her time and her focus. “We understand each other,” says Bayless, who has agreed to continue training and managing Johnson after graduation. “We both know what the other one is thinking.”


Johnson visited four colleges as a high school student. She applied only to Ursinus.

not do it for some reason,” she says. When she was not running, Johnson worked 15 hours a week at the fitness center in Floy Lewis Bakes Field House where she also lifts weights. The weight training helped her turn a corner on the track.


focused thinker,” says Philosophy Professor Kelly Sorensen. “Her honors thesis research this year concerned the nature of obligations parents have to prevent disabilities in their future children. The tricky part of this issue – one plenty of thinkers have struggled with – is that in order to prevent some disabilities, you have to have a different child. Suppose you don’t prevent the disability; have you morally wronged the disabled child, given that to avoid that disability means bringing a different person into existence?”

FEATURES Welcome, Ursinus’ Newest Alumni

a highlights tape to send to various clubs, and introduced John to his own agent. “I’d be highly surprised if John isn’t playing pro basketball next year,” Dennis said. “He’s such a receptive kid, and he’s got such a great base to work from. He’s only going to get better as the years go on.”

John Noonan




Acknowledging this spirit of being a “man for others,” John was named one of 10 finalists for The 2009 Jostens Trophy, a national award created by the Rotary Club of Salem, Va. The award, which honors the most outstanding Division III basketball player of the year, takes into account basketball ability, academic prowess and community service: John averaged 20.7 points as a senior, had a 3.4 GPA as an Economics and Business major, and spent a lot of time working with charitable organizations. He refereed basketball games for the Special Olympics, helped organize Coaches Versus Cancer fundraising efforts, and volunteered his time at Mercy Hospice in Philadelphia, a house for troubled women, many who are single moms and recovering drug addicts. “Working at these places reminded me how fortunate we are to have all that we have,” John said. “It taught me to enjoy every moment and not worry about small stuff such as if my shot was falling.” John’s community outreach wasn’t limited to the United States. In the summer of 2008, the team took a trip to Brazil to play in exhibition games against Brazilian professional and youth development teams. While there, they did

a clinic at a school in a poor section of São Bento Do Sapucai, a city about 100 miles northeast of São Paolo. “The clinic was the best part of the trip,” John said. “We worked with the kids for like two hours. They loved it and got a huge kick out of us being there. Our team still talks about the joy we brought those kids.” While in Brazil, John got a taste of what he hopes will be his future — playing against professionals. Ursinus played a game against a Sao Paolo club who’s star was Leandro Barbosa, a player for the Phoenix Suns who was practicing during the NBA off season in his home country. John scored 40 points that game. “After the match up, [Barbosa] told me I had a ‘very good game and I had a very good three-point shot.’ He also asked me if I was looking to get drafted in the NBA,” John said with a laugh. “It was a pretty unreal experience.” Although the NBA is most likely not in John’s future, playing abroad is. He hopes to be picked up by a professional European team (Most leagues begin in mid-August). Former Ursinus star Dennis Stanton, 2004, who played in Denmark, Poland, Italy, Austria, and Spain over the past four years, helped John put together

Wherever John’s career takes him, he says he’ll always carry with him the lessons he learned at school — especially the one on appreciating the good times. “Playing basketball at Ursinus was the best sports experience I’ve ever had,” John said, “especially playing in the Final Four. “And to go over to Europe and get paid to play? That would simply be unbelievable.” – By Ellen Labrecque 1995

Alex Peay: Politics in his Future? Alex Peay, who was an intern on Capitol Hill, enjoyed his time there so much, he could be back as a Congressman some day. The new Ursinus graduate, who is the recipient of the Alumni Senior Award, graduated with a degree in politics, a cadre of friends and an appreciation for the government and its history. Peay, of Westernport, Md., called his internship “one of the most “phenomenal experiences of my life,” especially his office location down the hall from Sen. John Kerry and right below the office of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, now Secretary of State. “The networking opportunities were rewarding,” he said, including softball games with other Senators and their staffs. In a game between the staffs of Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., and Sen. Arlen Specter, then-R- Pa.(now D), Peay had the honor of playing designated hitter. But, he said, the game was memorable because “Sen. Specter came up to me

While he claims to have been a focused student throughout high school, his leadership skills blossomed at Ursinus. Peay is the founder and president of Rising Sons, an organization for men of all races to work to reach common an individual life goals. He reached out to males in inner city schools about the importance of college.

Alex Peay at Alumni Academy Awards ceremony

“Alex is one of the finest young men that I have known,” said one of his campus mentors, Paulette Patton, director of Multicultural Service and Tutorial Programs. “His effervescent smile along with his genuine concern for those around him has been a tremendous asset to the Ursinus community. From the first day that he stepped foot on this campus until his graduation day, he has remained constant, always willing to help others.”

Bringing the Class of 2009 to tears and cheers, it seemed well within the realm of possibility that Peay would someday return to Capitol Hill, in some capacity. – By Wendy Greenberg

With all the responsibilities and networking that came with his internship, there were moments of quiet reflection, such as one that came regularly while leading a tour. Entering the old Supreme Court chambers, he stood where the Dred Scott and Amistad cases were heard. “Every time I went into that room, I felt like my ancestors were with me in spirit, so whenever I set foot in that room, I made sure to take a moment of silence out of respect for the suffering, pain and sacrifice that they gave in order for me to have that opportunity to be in that room,” he said. Informed by that experience, as student commencement speaker, he spoke of the indignities he faced as an African American. (See Notable and Quotable, inside cover). He urged the Class of 2009 to adopt a more inclusive worldview: “Class of 2009 I want to leave you with this, after the interactions that we have had with people from different backgrounds in the past four years, to

Amanda Leatherman: Creating a Technological Tool Like many great projects, it started with an idea — Amanda Leatherman’s fervid, perhaps a little crazy, idea to be exact. Amanda, a neuroscience and communications double major, passionately believed adults and children should be more aware of the dangers of online sexual predators. “When Amanda was a junior, she came to me in my introductory course called Media and Society,” explained Professor of Media and Communications Studies Lynne Edwards. “She told me she wanted to create a profile of herself as a 13-year-old girl and put it on the Internet and see how many perverts came to talk to her,” Dr. Edwards exclaimed. “Then, she was going to write a paper about it.” Edwards was wary. “ I’m like, ‘Oh My God, you can’t do that!’” Amanda though, was the president of her Class. She was a captain on the track team. She had made the Dean’s List every semester since her freshman year. She doesn’t give up on things easily. And, she really wanted to do this type of research.


He plans on working for a while, and later attending law school, or obtaining a master’s degree in public affairs, but looks toward a career with government and non-profits making use of his interest in civic leadership.

the sociology classes that taught us about racial and gender inequalities, to the lessons that were taught in our C.I.E classes, will you help break the barriers of strife, will you help tear down the immoral walls of inequality and will you help destroy the depraved barricades of oppression? As our nation’s future, let us be the voices of change; let us be the symbols of unity, let us be the signs of equality, let us be the examples of justice, and let us be the hope for peace in our world.”


As an intern in the office of Sen. Casey, Peay was exposed to the work of the U.S. Senate, as he assisted with constituent calls and correspondence, and helped an aide who was drafting the “Starting Early and Starting Right Act,” a bill aimed toward increased funding for child development centers in Pennsylvania. Peay, who was the “Leon H. Sullivan Intern,” represented Sen. Casey when evaluating Project H.O.M.E. in Philadelphia, and did research on social organizations that serve youth communities in impoverished neighborhoods. He also gave tours of the Capitol building.

He was a resident advisor, vice president of the pre-law society and participated in a host of college activities such as the Campus Planning and Priority Committee, the Senior committee, intramural basketball, football and volleyball, Sankofa Umoja Nia, Judicial Board, Admissions Office Tour Guide, intramural sports referee and the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. He received the Teresa L. Urban Award for Leadership this year, with Amanda Leatherman.


after I went to bat, just to have a chance to get to know me.

FEATURES Welcome, Ursinus’ Newest Alumni

Dr. Edwards remained firm Amanda could not create a fake profile. But, she did suggest they do research when she had more time to guide her through this disturbing terrain together. Amanda enthusiastically agreed to work with Dr. Edwards as a 2008 Summer Fellow. The research began with the assumption that online predators use a common language when they make contact with children in places like chat rooms. “There are only so many ways to say things like ‘can I meet you?’” explained Amanda. To identify the “typical” dialogue between a child and an online predator, Amanda read transcripts posted on a site called Perverted Justice, a non-profit foundation committed to trying to stop Internet predators and pedophiles from abusing children. But, reading through the transcripts — more than 600 pages worth — was time consuming and disturbing to say the least. So, Amanda and Dr. Edwards recruited April Kontostathis in the Computer Science department to help. Dr. Kontostathis created a computer program that essentially did the dirty work. After telling the computer the phrases to look for, it coded the transcripts on its own.

“It is like a Google search with a pattern matching program,” explained Kontostathis. “We set up categories and defined a color for each category for the computer to highlight. A phrase like ‘Can I meet you?’ is sub coded as personal information and might be green. In our chat coder program, the more innocent phrases are blue and green and the more threatening are red and orange.”

“The project has taken on its own life form,” joked Dr. Edwards. “It is now a monster.”

The program also helped Amanda discover phrases she had missed identifying early on. If there were huge gaps in the colors on the transcripts, Amanda knew she overlooked some common phrases.

“My ultimate goal is for this program to eventually be downloadable to personal computers,” said Amanda. “This could help parents track sexual predator language when their child is in chat rooms, or during instant messaging. I want to help parents protect their children.”

“The results showed us that many common phrases were present in almost 98 percent of the transcripts,” said Amanda. “The computer really did its job.” The research though, was far from over at the end of the summer. The project, now titled “Luring Language and Virtual Victims: Coding Cyber-Predators’ Online Communicative Behavior,” has a copyright pending, been presented at various conferences across the country, has spawned a seminar class on this subject, and become the primary research focus for Edwards, as well as Kontostathis.

In fact, Amanda, Edwards, and Kontostathis, all anticipate it will continue for years, with the hopes it will eventually help potential victims from becoming real victims on a much larger scale.

Having graduated this past spring with a 3.85 GPA, she was named to the USA Today’s 2009 All-USA College Academic Second Team. She received The Robert Trucksess Prize and Teresa L. Urban Leadership Award and Alumni Senior Award (with Alexander Peay) and is off to Maryland Law School in the fall. But, she still plans to work closely with Edwards and Kontostathis this summer. They need to work kinks out of the computer program, obtain more grant money, publish Amanda’s work in a journal and even expand the program to include cyber-bullying language. Whatever happens, Amanda plans to make this research a big part of her life for a long, long time.




“I want to make a difference in the things I do and in other people’s lives,” she said. “I think this is why I got so excited about this project. The Internet is ever changing. Telling users what is going on and educating them on what is out there is imperative. People need to know just how potentially dangerous the online world can be.” – By Ellen Labrecque 1995

Amanda Leatherman, featured in USA Today

Class notes SPOTLIGHT CLASS OF 1959 & 1960

from the Office of Career Services

1959 & 1960


Carol LeCato (1959) and sister Jeanne (LeCato) Myers grew up playing sports together in South Jersey. This past spring, they were also both inducted into Sports Halls of Fame within the same month. Older sister Carol was inducted into the Lancaster (Pa.) County Tennis Hall of Fame while Jeanne was inducted into Haddonfield (N.J.) High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Carol was already a member of the Haddonfield Hall. In fact, they are the first sister pair to be members. Carol played basketball, badminton, tennis and field hockey while at Ursinus. But it was post-college she became more involved with tennis. She gave up the sport for 13 years to focus on her family, but in 1972 began playing tournaments in the Lancaster area and soon earned the Number 1 ranking in the over 40 age group. Jeanne, who also played field hockey, tennis, and badminton at Ursinus, became more of a golfer post Ursinus days. Residing in Farmington Hills, Michigan, she has been a NCAA and USGA golf rules official. In 2006, she was selected as Captain of the 2006 USA Women’s World Amateur Team. Today, she works for the Greater Area Michigan Golf Association. She was even inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 2006. “Sports are in our blood,” said Carol, who had both her knees replaced this past spring but plans to be back playing tennis by summer. “We’ll continue to play for as long as we can. Hopefully, that’s a long time from now!”

– By Ellen Labrecque 1995

• Be an Alumni Career AmbassadorWhen you update your contact information, consider checking the box which asks you to serve as an Alumni Career Ambassador. • Join LinkedIn. Recently, we learned of a UC alum who started an Ursinus alumni group on LinkedIn, the leading online professional network tool. • Hire Ursinus! If your organization is hiring, consider your fellow alumni and new grads who are in the job market. And also let us know if you are interested in participating in career panels, seminars and special employment events. Email to send a posting or call 610-409-3599 to speak with a Career Advisor, and see how else you can help and be helped.


Jeanne (LeCato) Myers (1960)


Carol LeCato (1959)

In these unprecedented turbulent economic times, Ursinus values our tight-knit and caring community more than ever. Ursinus connections are critical as we experience one of the most difficult job markets in history. As an Ursinus graduate, you can provide leads, advice and encouragement.


Carol LeCato & Jeanne (LeCato) Myers

class notes SPOTLIGHT CLASS OF 1982 By David Driver



Kimberly (Caffey) Smith won her 250th game this past season as head varsity girls basketball coach at Springfield (Delaware County) High School in Springfield, Pa. Her team finished the year at 23–4 and lost in the Sweet Sixteen of the state tournament. Kim just completed her 15th season at Springfield with an overall record of 250–142.


Daniel M. Green of Ambler, Pa., was selected to receive a 2009 Technical Achievement in Organic Chemistry Award from the Organic Division of the American Chemical Society. The Award will be presented at the national meeting this August in Washington D.C. Ronald B. Matthew was named to the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia Board of Directors. Ronald is the Greater Philadelphia Market President for TD Bank (formerly Commerce Bank). He has worked for the bank for the past 19 years and held many positions, including several in the bank’s lending departments.

1990 P. Douglas Darlington was promoted to chief operating officer of the Phoenixville (Pa.) Federal Bank & Trust. He has worked for Phoenixville Federal for 20 years, starting as a teller in 1989.

Some 20 years later the two were reunited as DeFruscio became an assistant under head coach O’Brien with the Indiana Pacers of the NBA prior to the 2007-08 season. The NBA, with some of the best athletes in the world, is a big jump from Division II college hoops. “The travel is unbelievable. It really is,” said DeFruscio, who completed his second season with the Pacers during the 2008-09 season. “I think we traveled 45,000 miles this year.” DeFruscio said college coaches can have a major impact on their players since they spend so much time with them. But he dismissed the idea that high-priced NBA players do not listen to their coaches. “That is totally false. These players listen,” he said. “If you are helping them get better, they get bigger numbers (such as points per game) and they make more money.” His duties with the Pacers are varied, including completing player personnel reports on the opposing team. “I watch a lot of video,” he said. “I observe the tendencies of opposing players for the coaching staff, and suggest how we guard certain players.” DeFruscio keeps in touch with current Ursinus head coach Kevin Small, who led the Bears to the Final Four in 2008. When DeFruscio was the head coach at Wheeling Jesuit, where he won 311 games in 18 seasons, his team would practice at Ursinus when they were in the area to play at West Chester University. A Drexel Hill, Pa., native, DeFruscio has a degree in economics from Ursinus. He played four years of basketball and was a member of the Final Four team in 1981 and the Elite Eight team in 1982. He was an assistant coach at his alma mater before heading to West Virginia. “I was very fortunate at the time I went to Ursinus. One of the reasons I went there was a guy from my high school, Kevin McCormick, Class of 1981, was already there as a freshman,” said DeFruscio, a fellow member of the Hall of Fame for Athletes at Ursinus. DeFruscio and his wife Cathy, have four children and live in Indiana. Editor’s note: David Driver is a free-lance writer based in Maryland. He can be reached through his website at



DeFruscio became an assistant under O’Brien, and was named the head coach in 1987 when O’Brien became an assistant coach with the New York Knicks in the National Basketball Association.


Jonathan R. Verlin was awarded a Keystones Technology Integrator award by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The award is for exemplary integration of technology in the practice of training.

A few years after he graduated from Ursinus in 1982, Jay DeFruscio began writing to college basketball coaches as he sought an assistant position. He heard back from Jim O’Brien, then the head coach at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia.



By David Driver

Jessica Lamina doesn’t believe in letting the ball, or life for that matter, come to her. She wants to go after it. As the starting goalie on the field hockey team for four seasons, she was named second-team All-America in 2005 and first team All-America in 2006. She was a crucial reason why Ursinus won the 2006 Division III national championship. “Jess was one of the most intense players we’ve had,” says Gabe Moliken, Ursinus assistant and goalies’ coach. She was a very aggressive goalie. She wanted the ball — she wanted to be the one to make the save and clear the ball out of the circle.” Jessica is now taking charge once again: She was named head field hockey coach at Sweet Briar College, an all women’s institution in Sweet Briar, Va. Like Ursinus, they play on the Division III level. They also compete in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. “I can’t wait for this opportunity to be head coach,” Jessica said. “My whole coaching philosophy is based on what I learned at Ursinus. I want to be a teacher and help everybody learn, but I also want to win that game.” Jessica spent a year as assistant coach at Gettysburg before landing the Sweet Briar job in March. The school feels lucky to have found her. “She clearly understands Sweet Briar and what it’s going to take to move the team to the next level,” said Sweet Briar Athletic Director Kelly Morrison. “Jess is a great addition to the department.”

Neal Cooper Neal Cooper has wanted to attend medical school for a long time. And, he still plans to do so. First, he is busy preparing for his career in medicine by helping Iraqi children. Neal joined the National Guard as a junior at Ursinus. Two days after graduation, he reported to Houston for training as an Army medic. Since then, his “army life” has only moved at a more rapid pace. On September 19th, 2008 his unit, the PA 56th Stryker Brigade, was mobilized. They spent time in Mississippi, then Louisiana, then onto Fort Dix where they left for Kuwait. Since then, Neal has served in Iraq as a specialist assigned to Alpha Troop 2-104th Cavalry, and will be there until the end of August. Neal’s work has focused on helping the local populace. He’s treated children’s wounds — from minor ones to more serious ones, like injuries on a 14-year-old who was attacked by a wild dog. “We’re winning the hearts and minds in the best possible way by helping wounded Iraqi’s heal,” Neal explained, “I just wish I could do more to make them self sustaining.” Neal is getting his medical school applications together while in Iraq and hopes to put the finishing touches on them when he is back home in September. Until then, he feels as if he couldn’t be getting better training for his future. “Some don’t have any medical care out here,” he said. “So we are serving a critical role. I just wish I could do more.”

UM: You are working on a study of the history of African American cinema. What do you recommend for viewing as examples of landmark films?   That’s a tough question to answer, given the long history of African American cinema.  In fact, next year will be the centennial if you begin with the history with William Foster, who founded the first African American film studio in Chicago. Over the past one hundred years African American filmmakers have worked in every mode - commercial narratives, documentary, animation, experimental, and art films -- and in every genre, including Westerns, science fiction, melodrama, horror, war films, etc., so recommending a few is difficult for me! I could easily choose dozens,  but here are two relatively recent films available on DVD that have both entertainment and aesthetic value that perhaps some of your readers might have missed.  First,  I Like it Like That directed by Darnell Martin. Fans of the HBO series OZ will recognize her name, as she was the key director on that series. It was her first feature film as well as the first film directed by an African American woman that received studio funding. Another great film is the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Eve’s Bayou by actress-turned-director Kasi Lemmons, an atmospheric family melodrama with supernatural elements. I also have to recommend the Oscar-nominated documentary by Spike Lee, 4 Little Girls, about the Birmingham church bombing of 1963. A heart-wrenching and haunting film, the film focuses on the families of the four girls who were victimized by racial terrorism. 


Jessica Lamina

pers for reviews of current releases playing in their area or the internet to follow the major festivals (Berlin, Venice, Pusan, and Toronto). There are numerous web sites devoted to particular national cinemas. Film fans should also be aware of the web site Internet Movie Database (, a treasure-trove of information.



The Gateway FACULTY Expertise CONTINUED


class notes SPOTLIGHT CLASS OF 2008

class notes SPOTLIGHT ANN PATERSON CLASSS OF 1994 By Kathryn Campbell

ANN PATERSON 1994 From Bees to the Captivating Behaviors of the Brown Anole Lizard By Kathryn Campbell

An angry cloud of stinging bees changed the course of Ann Paterson’s career. After spending much of her time at Ursinus researching honeybees, she was convinced of a career absorbed in the study of their behavior. But fate, and a small gap in her protective gear, intervened.




“I was working on a project in a flight room,” says Paterson, who had accepted a prestigious Ann Patterson Maytag Fellowship and was working as a graduate student at the University of Miami. “I spent most of my days inside a large mesh cage with a hive of bees conducting an experiment that looked at their foraging decisions. But bees do better outdoors, so it was necessary to take out one hive and bring in a fresh one from time to time,” recalls Paterson, now the Nell I. Mondy Chair of the Department of Natural Sciences at Williams Baptist College in Arkansas. One night, as she was returning a hive to the bee yard, a single bee found its way through a small opening in the suit.

It started to dawn on me just how dangerous the whole episode had been somewhere on the way to the hospital as the epinephrine injection had kicked in and I was trying to talk through an oxygen mask.” She has since had extensive desensitization treatment. “However, my husband doesn’t like when I suggest that we get our own hive so I can finish that old experiment one of these days.” The incident, fearsome as it was, returned Paterson to her first scientific love: herpetology. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in biology at the University of Miami and today her research as Chair of the Natural Sciences Department focuses on a small lizard called the brown anole lizard (Anolis sagrei). During hours in the field, or in recreated habitats in her lab, Paterson studies the territorial behaviors of the reptile sometimes called the Bahama Anole. They are fast runners and jumpers, can defend territories, and have extensive social interactions. The nodding and headbob displays of the brown anole are among a wealth of its interesting behaviors. It can change its color to different shades of brown, and although an excellent climber, the brown anole is just as comfortable near the ground on everything from rocks to bicycle tires. One of its displays is the extension of a colorful throat fan called a dewlap. Such displays make it relatively easy to categorize the intensity of aggressive interactions, says Paterson, who recently was named a member of the board of directors for the Society for the Study of Reptiles and Amphibians.

She was rarely stung by the European honeybees, which are typically non-aggressive. “However, bees release an alarm pheromone when they sting that causes the other bees to become more aggressive,” she says. “The one bee must have been injured or felt trapped and decided to sting me, which made the others become more excited.” 

“They communicate through easily-observable visual displays that can be measured,” says Paterson. “There’s a great richness to their interactions only realized by spending time with them in their own environment. Maybe a simple way of looking at it is that it is like watching a soap opera.  There is always a great deal of intrigue going on.”

Paterson pressed on, carrying the hive. But more bees surged through the hole, stinging as they came. Even as the attack took place, Paterson managed to return the hive to the yard. “I started walking away and taking off the bee suit as I walked to try to release all of the angry bees. I had lost count of how many times I had been stung after thirty or so,” says Paterson. 

Biology Professor James Sidie recalls Paterson as “one of my best student researchers because she always emphasized the “independent” in independent research.” Before the Internet was a household term, Sidie says, Ann came to lab and explained that she was communicating with fellow investigators in Australia by computer. “At that time browsers were quite unsophisticated and it took some substantial individual ingenuity for her to teach herself how to best exploit these enormous capabilities. Probably best of all was her ability to bring a smile every day, whether or not projects were proceeding as we had hoped,” Sidie says.

Worried, Paterson took some Benadryl, “just in case” and walked to her car. During the short drive home, her vision grew darker. “By the time I turned into the parking lot, I couldn’t see the sides of the road. I collapsed as I tried to get out of the car.

The liberal arts education she received at Ursinus continues to pay dividends, she says.

ability to discuss those topics knowledgeably helped me to earn an invitation to give my first invited seminar.”

“I’m very supportive of a well-rounded liberal arts education partly because I enjoyed it so much; especially studying French and politics, which clearly were not completely within my major.” She soon discovered the usefulness of being able to converse well on a variety of topics. During a professional meeting early in her career, she recognized she didn’t know anyone. “I introduced myself to someone who had done some very nice experiments that were closely related to my dissertation research. He was very interested in talking about topics other than just science, including politics, philosophy, history, and music.  My

Fascinated by animal behavior since childhood, Paterson can’t remember a time when she didn’t enjoy watching them. “Most people would probably get bored after sitting in the hot sun fighting off mosquitoes for three hours while watching a lizard, but I find it wonderfully rewarding.  The more you know about them, the more you can understand what they are doing and why. Each is an individual. The more you learn and watch, the more there is to see.  Not only are the lizards interesting, but the process of science is interesting.  It’s a chance to constantly figure things out, to think logically and to try to solve problems.” 

“The more you learn and watch, the more there is to see.  Not only are the lizards interesting, but the process of science is interesting.  It’s a chance to constantly figure




things out, to think logically, and to try and solve problems.” – Ann Paterson 1994

class notes deaths in memoriam

IN MEMORIAM Hilda Haynes Robbins

Evan Snyder

Mrs. Robbins, the widow of former Life Trustee Jack Robbins, died April 27, 2009. She was a World Federation representative to the United Nations from 1983 to 1987 and the federation’s chairwoman for Mental Health Association Day in Washington in 1983; in Brighton, England, in 1985; Cairo in 1987; and Mexico City in 1991. A board member of the National Mental Health Association from 1970 to 1981, she was its president in 1979. Her husband of 59 years, a lawyer who helped prosecute Nazi physicians at the Nuremberg trials, died in 2004.

Margaret Staiger

Survivors include her husband and a son, Roger Jr.

Dr. Snyder retired in 1991 as a professor and former department chairman, from Ursinus College, where he taught physics for 45 years. He served as acting dean of the College for the 1978-79 academic year, following Dean Richard Bozorth and before Dean William Akin. He also was an instructor for National Science Foundation summer programs for high school teachers at New Mexico State University. Dr. Snyder was a member of Trinity Reformed Church, United Church of Christ, where he sang in the choir. He also was a member of Keystone Grange #2, Trappe; the Trappe Historical Society; the Pennsylvania German Society; Pennsylvania Folk Life Society; the Goschenhoppen Historians; Rails To Trails; and the Pennsylvania Canal Association. He also made and demonstrated reproductions of antique toys at the annual Kutztown, Pa. German Festival. He is survived by his daughter Susan and son John. He was preceded in death by his son, Karl A. Snyder, and his wife.


The Myrin Bibliographic System is named for her many years of service as a faculty member in the Myrin Library. Library Director Charles Jamison recalled that during a May 1988 Alumni Weekend reception, he announced that the library’s online catalog would be known as MBS, the Myrin Bibliographic System in honor of reference librarian Margaret Brown Staiger, whose initials matched. “It provided us the opportunity to honor her many years of dedicated service to the College and to the library,” he said. “The Myrin online catalog was known as the ‘MBS’ to countless Ursinus students and faculty over the years who had never even had the pleasure of meeting Peggy and getting to know her and her never ending enthusiasm for educating students about their library research.”

Dr. Snyder graduated from Lehighton High School. He earned a B.S. degree from Ursinus College in 1944, and he earned a master’s degree and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Snyder served as a Technician 4th Grade, with the 9812th Technical Service Unit, US Army, in Los Alamos, N.M., during World War II.


A graduate of North Coventry High School and a 1943 graduate of Ursinus College with a major in English, Peggy joined the college staff in 1947, and the library staff in 1949. She was a member of Tau Sigma Gamma, and worked on the Ruby, Lantern, Weekly and Grizzly staffs. Later she was involved in alumni events, and served on the Alumni Executive Council. She was active in local historical societies, and was named to the board of the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society.

Professor of Physics Emeritus Evan S. Snyder, Ph.D., 85, husband of the late Virginia E. (Boyer) Snyder, Linfield – Trappe Rd., Trappe, died May 17, 2009.


Margaret “Peggy” Brown Staiger 1943, reference and acquisitions librarian emerita, died April 25, 2009. She was the wife of Roger P. Staiger, Professor of Chemistry Emeritus. She was buried in the Bath Village cemetery on the island of Nevis, West Indies, where they made their home.

class notes ALUMNI ACADEMY


Award Recipients (L-R) Judge Kent Albright 1964, Dr. Sheldon Wagman 1959, Alex Peay 2009, Dr. Christina Wee 1989, Amanda Leatherman 2009 & Dr. John Sears 1999




An in-depth look at the Common Intellectual Experience course required of all freshman… a panel of alumni experts on the economy… the Third Annual Alumni Art Exhibit. …a walking tour of the Ursinus Organic Garden… a ‘Collegeville Then and Now’ trolley excursion… a discussion of mental health today… the inside story on the Dover School Board’s Intelligent Design case from plaintiffs, Fred 1970 and Barrie 1972 Callahan… the Red, Old Gold and Black luncheon… the sumptuous Lobster Bake… all this and much more were enjoyed by more than 600 alumni who returned to campus for Alumni Academy 2009. A highlight was the annual Alumni Awards (pictured above). Awards for Professional Achievement were given to the Hon. Kent H. Albright 1964, and to Christina C. Wee M.D., M.P.H. 1989. Serving the courts and his community, Judge Albright was in private law practice until his appointment as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in 1995. He was a member of the Doris Jonas Freed American Inn of Courts and past president of the Harleysville Jaycees and Harleysville Lions Club. He has provided pro bono legal services for many locally based organizations and has spent many hours coaching soccer and umpiring Little League games in Harleysville. He continues to provide hands-on internship supervision for Ursinus prelaw students.

Dr. Wee is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a practicing general internist and a clinical and health services researcher with a focused interest in obesity and health disparities research.  In addition to being Co-director of Research for the division, Dr. Wee is also Director of the Health Services and Behavioral Research Program in Obesity, and co-site director for the Harvard General Medicine Faculty Development Fellowship Program. She is the principal investigator of two National Institutes for Health-funded projects: “Race and Health Outcomes Associated with Obesity,” – a study examining the role of race and obesity on outcomes such as mortality, cardiovascular risk, health disparities, and health care cost; and “Understanding the Value of Bariatric Surgery,” – a multi-center observational study to examine the long-term outcomes of weight loss surgery. The Henry P. & M. Page Laughlin Award for Educators was awarded to Sheldon P. Wagman D.O., F.A.C.N. 1959. Dr. Wagman is the director and clinical professor of psychiatry at Midwestern University in Glendale, Ariz., and the staff psychiatrist at Psychological Counseling Services (PCS) in Scottsdale, Ariz. This past year, the Consumers’ Research Council of America included Dr. Wagman in the Guide to America’s Top Psychiatrists for 2008. He is certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology/ Psychiatry and is a Fellow of the American Osteopathic

College of Neurology and Psychiatry. At Midwestern University, he oversees the four-year comprehensive educational program covering all of the psychiatric topics and treatment to the medical students and physician assistant students.

Jan Smith 1974 on Economy panel

Dean Mioli 1983 on Economy panel

Patrick Costello, Patrick O’Connor and David Durst, all 1989

55th Reunion trio: Jack Popowich 1954, Rita & Jay Kern 1954

Class of 1999 and friends

Alumni Awards Reception: Kent Albright & Alex Peay

2004 and friends

Tom Reilly 2004, Ryan Becker 2001, Erika Johnston Becker 1999

1999 at Ale University



John Sears is Senior Clinical Scientist (Medical Science Liaison) at Centocor, Inc., in Chicago, covering several states, and received the President’s Award for Excellence in Medical Affairs, as well as awards in leadership and strategic thinking and mentoring. John earned his Ph.D. from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where his dissertation involved independent research to identify the mechanism through which Epstein-Barr virus remains latent in human B cells in association with B-cell malignancies. He was awarded cover/feature article in the Journal of Virology and acquired funding for a federal NIH Carcinogenesis Graduate Training Grant. He is also a senior writer for www.NFLdraftbible. com and www.collegefootballinsiders. com, for which he interviews upcoming NFL draft prospects, and is a Big-Ten conference correspondent.


John Sears 1999 was the recipient of The Rising Star Award.



Ursinus College Magazine - Spring 2009  

Ursinus College Magazine - Spring 2009

Ursinus College Magazine - Spring 2009  

Ursinus College Magazine - Spring 2009