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URSINUS Spring 2011


The Making of a Rhodes Scholar Home Turf The New Work of Public Education

“The new field is in excellent condition. Last Saturday a large number of students, under the direction of Manager Tobias, leveled the uneven places, removed stones and busied themselves in improving the grounds. When finished, the field will be as good as most of those we find in our athletic relations with other colleges.� Printed in The Ursinus Weekly, Friday, Sept. 28, 1906

Team Coach: D. Reiner Faringer 1906 Manager: J. Ellis Tobias 1908 Captain: James A. Ellis 1907 In 1906, the team average weight: 166 lbs. The team average height: 5 ft. 8.6 in. tall. The average height for a UC Football player on the 2011 team was 6 ft. 1 in., and the average weight was 214 lbs.

In This Issue Features

The Road to The Rhodes


Read about Aakash Shah’s journey toward achieving one of the world’s most prestigious academic awards. Brilliant, yes, but Shah even makes time to perform stand-up comedy.

A Field for All Seasons


Will a new turf field make athletes stronger? Learn why major improvements to Patterson Field will help Ursinus teams boost their competitive edge.

Love Is In The Air


The New Work of Public Education


Ursinus sweethearts Jim and Ellie (Bankert) Sheen 1955 have spent a lifetime flying together. Discover how Jim’s passion for flight eventually led him to build his own planes.

Alumni new to the classroom, and those with decades in the field, offer insight into the changing landscape of education.

Campus News

6 The Class of 2011, now the newest alumni, enjoyed a day of celebration and ceremony for the 138th Commencement of Ursinus College.

Class Notes

31 After 34 seasons, Coach Debbie Ryan 1975 retires after a stellar career at University of Virginia.


33 John Scorsone 1996 wants more Americans to go solar.

On The Cover

Photo courtesy of the Ursinus College Archives

Rhodes Scholar Aakash Shah 2010 in the Harvard Medical School where he completed his first year this May. Photo: Stu Rosner

Dear Friends, At this time last year I was preparing to take on the presidency of Ursinus College. Today I am preparing to draw to a close the most memorable and exciting phase of my life, and I thank all of you, alumni, parents and students. As I noted in my address at Commencement just a few weeks ago, this year has been a real delight and an incredible odyssey for me. Coincidentally, this past year may be among the most significant years in the history of Ursinus College, with the announcement of a new president, the opening of a significant building addition and a groundbreaking for an athletic facility. As I assumed the office last July 1, our late President Emeritus John S. Strassburger had just retired, having seen his vision for Ursinus come to fruition. Our Board Challenge is set up to honor his good work and his memory. Thank you to the generous donors who so far have made pledges and contributed to the growth of the Annual Fund. We were excited by the announcement in November that Bobby Fong, current president of Butler University in Indiana, is to be our next president. He has spent time this year on campus and I have gotten to know him. I know that when he takes office July 1, you will be in excellent hands. I was proud to be at the helm this year when Ursinus saw its first Rhodes Scholar, Aakash Shah. You can delve more into what makes him tick in the pages of this issue. We also have seen two Fulbright Scholars, a Goldwater Scholar, a Council for Independent Colleges Graduate Research Fellow, a United Negro College Fund-Merck Undergraduate Research Fellow, and a St. Andrews Scholar – a banner year for prestigious national awards. I was proud to take part in the celebration of the Henry W. 1948 and June Pfeiffer Wing of our Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art. From a terrific baseball memorabilia exhibition courtesy of Trustee Alan Novack, to the installation of important sculpture by George Anthonisen, to the photography of Robert Frank and our own Professor Donald Camp, it was a great year for the Museum, and we are grateful to our donors. Another milestone was the groundbreaking for the Patterson field expansion and renovation project, a turf field and rehabilitation of the track. The necessity of this project is outlined in this magazine issue. I do want to offer a thank you to the Chair of our Board of Trustees, Spencer Foreman M.D. 1957. His vision and commitment to a forwardlooking college that is equally committed to the arts and the sciences has been an inspiration to all of us.

Ursinus Magazine Volume CX, No. 3 Spring 2011

Third class postage paid at Landsdale, Pa. Ursinus Magazine is published seasonally three times a year. Copyright 2011 by Ursinus College. Editorial correspondence and submissions: Ursinus Magazine, P.O. Box 1000, Collegeville, PA 19426-1000. (610) 409-3300 or e-mail: Director of Communications Wendy Greenberg Editor Kathryn Campbell Class Notes Editor Ellen Cosgrove Labrecque 1995 Publications Coordinator Blanche Allen 1990 Contributing to this Issue Jeffrey Morgan, Joan Fairman Kanes, Jim Roese, David Hysek 2011, Elisa DiPrinzio 2011, Kaitlyn Ott 2013 Steve Falk, Dan Oleski, Stu Rosner, Brian Garfinkle, Jim Wagner Design JDM Creative Advertising, LLC Chair, Board of Trustees Spencer Foreman M.D. 1957 President John E.F. (Jef) Corson Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean Judith Levy Senior Vice President for Advancement Jill A. Leauber Marsteller 1978 Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing Richard DiFeliciantonio

But, as I enjoyed – and was at times awed – by our Celebration of Student Achievement (COSA) on April 13, I couldn’t help but think that getting to know the students was probably the best part of this year. As I said at Commencement, I am proud to have come to know so many students personally and I am thrilled to have been part of your recent lives.

Vice President for Finance and Administration Winfield Guilmette

I won’t be far away, as I sit with the Trustees. And I will be thinking of how I can continue to help, and how much you have all helped me during this incredible journey.

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.

Thank you all,

John E.F. Corson President, Ursinus College PAGE 2 URSINUS MAGAZINE

Vice President for Student Affairs Deborah Nolan

Gateway The


Dr. Fong Receives National Student Life Award

(L to R) Erin Dickerson, Admission Counselor and Coordinator of Minority Recruitment, Dr. Lynne Y. Edwards, Professor of Media and Communication Studies, Dr. Crigler and Paulette Patton, Director of Multicultural Services.

Summer Bridge Program Renamed for Dr. Robert Crigler 1956

Ursinus College is honoring its first African American graduate, Dr. Robert Crigler, by naming The W. R. Crigler Institute, which was previously called the Summer Bridge Program. “Bob” Crigler graduated in 1956 as a psychology major. Much of his career was spent as the executive director of the Chaparral Treatment Center in Colton, Calif., a multi-disciplinary residential care therapy and education center for severely emotionally disturbed children. He received his master’s degree in public administration from Pepperdine University in Los Angeles and his Ph.D. in government from Claremont Graduate School. His work helping troubled families and children led Ursinus to award him the Alumni Association Professional Achievement Award in 1998. He is now retired and lives in California with his wife, Sheila. “Whenever he is called to serve Ursinus, he asks, ‘When and how long do you want me?’” says Paulette Patton, Director of Multicultural Services, who has worked with Crigler over the years on behalf of Ursinus students. “In this same spirit of academic excellence, leadership and social consciousness, how appropriate it is to honor Dr. Crigler in this manner.” The W. R. Crigler Institute is a three week summer, residential program which provides a unique opportunity for invited students to participate in the rigors of academic excellence, combined with leadership and social consciousness development. In addition to course work, students are given the opportunity to participate in a community service project, connect with Ursinus alumni and attend leadership workshops. Dr. Crigler was honored at a campus reception Feb. 4.

Incoming Ursinus President Bobby Fong’s efforts to advance the quality of student life at Butler University and throughout higher education was recognized with a national award from NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. The organization presented Fong its 2011 President’s Award on March 15 in Philadelphia. NASPA is a leading professional association for student affairs administrators, faculty, and graduate and undergraduate students, with more than 11,000 members at 1,400 campuses, and representing 29 countries. Dr. Fong’s nomination for the award noted his efforts to involve Butler students and staff in university-wide decision making, particularly in the planning of new residence and academic facilities and the campus’ Health and RecDr. Bobby Fong reation Complex. Dr. Fong won the NASPA Region IV-East President’s Award in 2009 for providing opportunities for students to be actively engaged on campus.

In Tune with Poet Robert Pinsky

The revolutionary idea that poetry can dance off the tongue of anyone in the free world demonstrates what poet Robert Pinsky sees as the democratic and universal face of poetry in America. Pinsky, the former U.S. Poet Laureate, visited Ursinus this February to speak about his craft. Launching into one of his poems from memory, he then explained why sound is such an important part of his poetry. As a child, he grew up in Long Branch, N.J., wanting to be a jazz musician and so devoted much more of his time to music than to schoolwork. To this day, he still plays the saxophone with other jazz musicians. The ear for rhythm and pitch that he gained as an aspiring musician became an essential part of Pinsky’s poetry. He became committed to the inflections of everyday speech, what he calls “the tune of sentences.” He writes, he says, with the hope that he might impart upon the reader the same pleasure that he gets from speaking aloud well-crafted lines. In 1997, on the tail end of his extended three-year stint as national poet laureate, Pinsky SPRING 2011 PAGE 3

Photo: Emma Dodge Hanson

The Tamagawa University Taiko Drum and Dance Group performed taiko drumming and Japanese folk dance in both traditional and modern styles. The standing-room-only show took place April 4 in The Kaleidoscope Lenfest Theater just weeks after the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. parlayed his belief in the importance of saying poetry aloud into a national poetic movement. He founded the Favorite Poem Project, calling on Americans to volunteer to read their favorite poems. The result was 25,000 letters from volunteers commenting on their most loved lines of poetry, and 50 video documentaries profiling Americans reading their favorite poems. Perhaps Pinsky’s commitment to the complexity of textures, sounds, and identities in America is why he praised Ursinus’ CIE program, which combines a curriculum that Robert Pinsky transcends centuries and national borders with the multiplicity of perspectives amongst the Ursinus student body. He said of the program that Ursinus has “a really great thing going on.” His attention to the crafting of language turns poetry into an impassioned performance art, instead of words to be simply read. Pinsky’s booming voice filled the Kaleidoscope Lenfest Theater during his reading, slaying the reverential silence of Ursinus faculty, students, and staff. It was clear that Pinksy is not out to be revered, as there was something excitingly playful and slightly sardonic about his performance. He left the Ursinus audience that night with what all good poets should leave behind: a sense of wonder and a new appreciation for the beauty of language. - David Hysek, English 2011 PAGE 4 URSINUS MAGAZINE

Mobilizing for Human Rights

John Prendergast, a human rights activist and best-selling author who has worked for peace in Africa for over 25 years, spoke on campus March 22. He is co-founder of the Enough Project, an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity affiliated with the Center for American Progress. His lecture in the Kaleidoscope Lenfest Theater centered on Sudan. “Many students found his discussion on Sudan particularly relevant to the recent military interventions in Libya,” says Serena Mithbaokar 2010, Program Assistant for Communications and Marketing at Lutheran World Relief. Mithbaokar made a special trip to campus when she heard Ambassador in Residence and Professor of International Relations Joseph Melrose and UC STAND would host John Prendergast and actor George Clooney

Prendergast. “It’s incredible how successfully Prendergast has mobilized an anti-genocide movement and fascinating to know how he used media and TV shows like Law and Order to have Darfur enter people’s consciousness.” Prendergast has worked for the State Department, the National Intelligence Council, UNICEF, Human Rights Watch, and the International Crisis Group. His previous two books were co-authored with Don Cheadle: Not on Our Watch, a New York Times bestseller and NAACP non-fiction book of the year, and The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa’s Worst Human Rights Crimes. He has appeared on 60 Minutes, and helped create African characters and stories for two episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, one focusing on the recruitment of child soldiers and the other on rape as a war strategy. He has also traveled to Africa with NBC’s Dateline, ABC’s Nightline, The PBS NewsHour and CNN’s Inside Africa.

Ursinus In the News

A Rock Legend’s View on Art and American Culture

Rock and roll icon Patti Smith spoke on campus April 5 as part of Ursinus is Talking About, a program that invites the Ursinus community to take a broader look at a work of art, including books, film, photography and other formats. This spring UiTA focused on the photography of Robert Frank, which was exhibited in the Berman Museum of Art, and the events and cultural icons of the time which inspired him. A National Book Award winner, Smith is a friend of photographer Robert Frank. In 1970 she wrote in her notebook: “I keep trying to figure out what it means to be American. When I look in myself I see Abyssinia, nineteenth-century France, but I can’t recognize what makes me American. I think about Robert Frank’s photographs – broke down jukeboxes in Gallup, New Mexico, Continued on page 6

Ursinus was featured twice in The New York Times recently. On Feb. 15, The Choice, the popular New York Times online blog took a close look at the Ursinus College Office of Admission strategy to pursue more qualified and interested students, rather than encourage record numbers of applicants through easy applications. The story also ran in the Feb. 16 print edition on the National page. Reader comments overwhelmingly commended Ursinus for changing its strategy. The article noted that “In the process, Ursinus has become that rare college that has made it harder to apply – thus ensuring that students who submit applications are more likely to consider attending if accepted.” On March 21, Ursinus was the subject of a front page story. Reporter Michael Winerip explored how J.D. Salinger’s 1938 fall semester room inspired a scholarship that has brought talented, creative writers to Ursinus. These students have the option to live in Curtis 300 for their freshman year, the room where Salinger just may have written some of his columns for the Ursinus Weekly. We look forward to the creative writing of the scholarship winners Maeve Sutherland, Callie Ingram, Anton Teubner and Logan Metcalf-Kelly. The Laptop Program has put Ursinus College on the nation’s Ten Most Wired Colleges list, according to U.S. News, which places Ursinus sixth. The most important benefits of providing laptops for the entire college community are that the powers of direct inquiry, exploration and dialogue are available at any time and in any place, leading to better student and faculty interaction. Ursinus also was featured in the media for its exhibition of Robert Frank photography, including The Philadelphia Inquirer and other regional media.

Our New School Color...Green!

Ursinus College is among the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada, according to The Princeton Review, which selected Ursinus for inclusion in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition. The guide was released in conjunction with Earth Day, April 22. Created by The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) (, the guidebook profiles institutions of higher education that demonstrate a notable commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. The Princeton Review chose the schools for this guide based on a survey of administrators at hundreds of colleges that the Company polled in 2010 about their school’s sustainability initiatives. The free guide can be downloaded at... OR SPRING 2011 PAGE 5

Continued from page 5 Photo: Robert Mapplethorpe

swaying hips and spurs, ponytails and syphilitic cowpokes, hash slingers, the glowing black tarp of U.S. 285 and the Hoboken stars and stripes.” Smith won the 2010 National Book Award for Non-Fiction for her book Just Kids. Born in Chicago and raised in South Jersey, Smith’s 1975 debut album, Horses, has been ranked one of the great albums. In 2007, she was inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. Smith and her band have released eight studio albums on Arista Records from 1975-2002. “From the moment that Ms. Smith warmly greeted me as I offered to shake her hand, I knew that her story of conquering New York City quietly via her artwork and poetry spoke truly of her humble and eccentric nature,” says Francesca Macera 2014. “She never once let her reputation hinder her ability to connect enthusiastically to the students during her talk.” Diane Skorina, Reference and Instruction Librarian at Myrin Library, joined the small dinner party with Smith. “It was a great experience for me, and I was so happy to be a part of it with

Musician and author Patti Smith

the students and faculty who were there,” says Skorina. “Her performance was just brilliant, too. The UiTA program is a truly great way to bring the campus community together.”

“Now the glees of Old Ursinus peel across the downy green…”

New Class Joins the Ranks of Ursinus Alumni Ursinus College graduated 397 students earning Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, at the 138th Commencement May 14 on the campus front lawn. The graduates included 19 non-traditional students earning Bachelor’s of Business Administration. During the Baccalaureate service held May 13 in Bomberger Auditorium the speaker, the Rev. Dr. Shawn Zambrows, director and pastor of the Baptist Foundation at Purdue University, received an honorary Doctor of Divinity during the Commencement ceremony. Choral composer, musician and conductor Alice Parker, whose anthems were performed during the Baccalaureate service, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Commencement speaker The Hon. Kimberly Guadagno, Ursinus Class of 1980, Lt. Gov. of The State of New Jersey, received an


honorary Doctor of Laws and warmly addressed the graduates. She told them their Ursinus education prepares them for anything. “You’ve got to be able to write your life’s plan in pencil,” she advised, telling the Class of 2011 that her own parents would not have imagined she would be the first female Sheriff of Monmouth County, N.J., or the first Lt. Gov. of the state of New Jersey. “You’ve got to have a plan A and a plan B,” she said. Lt. Gov. Guadagno said parents had made a wise choice by sending their children to Ursinus. “I’m here to assure you that but for my Ursinus College education, I would not be standing before you as the Lt. Gov. in a state that I love, doing the things that I love. So rest easy, parents, because Ursinus College has served me and continues to serve me well.”

Ursinus faculty wish students good luck

Her undergraduate education gave her the confidence to take risks, said Lt. Gov. Guadagno said. When she ran for Sheriff of Monmouth County, N.J., she recalled, she was told not to wear pink, because “sheriffs don’t wear pink. That was the first time in my life someone told me I couldn’t be whatever I wanted to be.” During commencement she donned a pink mortarboard to make the point that, “It doesn’t matter what your gender is, what your color is, what your socio-economic background is, because you have been raised for the last four years, to wear the color pink if you want to wear the color pink.” Ursinus President John E. F. Corson conferred the degrees and noted that the evening division graduating class is the last for Ursinus. “Thank you for accepting me so graciously,” he said, before receiving a rousing standing ovation.

Top left: A fond farewell. Middle left: Dean Judith Levy, Baccalaureate speaker and honorary degree recipient Rev. Dr. Shawn Zambrows, and the Rev. Charles Rice, College Chaplain. Middle right: Guadagno’s pink mortarboard. Bottom left: Ron Hess Professor of Chemistry, Lead Faculty Marshal. Bottom right: J. Robert Lovett 1953 Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, N.J. Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, and Ursinus President John E.F. Corson.


Ursinus Unites for Aid to Japan The news of the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami was met with grief on the Ursinus campus and an urgent desire to help. Ursinus students, faculty and staff worked to raise awareness and funding for our sister school, Tohoku Gakuin University, located in Sendai, Japan, near the epicenter of the earthquake. Although Tohoku Gakuin University (TGU) is too far inland to have been directly affected by the tsunami, its community suffered great losses. Ursinus and TGU have had a long and productive partnership involving student exchanges, summer programs at both institutions, and faculty exchanges. “Many of us in the Ursinus community, including current and retired faculty, college staff, and current students and alumni, were shocked and saddened by the news and images of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan, the worst in Japan’s history,” says Professor and History Department Chair Ross Doughty, who was Director of the Ursinus-TGU Summer American Studies Program at Ursinus from 1980 to 1990 and again in 1993. “Those of us who have a long relationship with Tohoku Gakuin University knew that, if the situation were reversed, and it had been our region that was suffering such a catastrophe, our friends in Sendai would immediately help us in any way they could. That spurred many faculty, staff, and students to organize the Ursinus Fund for TGU Relief and contribute their own money and time to the relief effort,” says Doughty, who also led the Ursinus Summer Study in Japan program at TGU in 1985 and was an Ursinus Exchange Professor at TGU in 1987. “As a result of Tohoku Night and subsequent fund-raising activities, the Fund for TGU had reached a total of $5,000 as of the first of May,” says Associate Professor of Japanese and East Asian Studies Matthew Mizenko. “That night, faculty and students talked about their personal experiences associated with TGU.” A UCARE event will be held in May for the TGU Fund. Seika Ueda 2011 is from Tokyo. “I have my family and all my

friends in Japan so my greatest concern was their safety,” Ueda says. “I learned they were safe, but I was still shocked at the horrible news about the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear power plant accident. So much of the country was damaged and so many precious lives were lost, I couldn’t help thinking about the role of myself as Japanese.” Ueda, president of the Japanese Club at Ursinus, brainstormed with Dr. Mizenko on fund-raising ideas including the plan to sell T-shirts when the students of Tamagawa University came to the campus from Tokyo for the drum and dance performance. All the funds were sent to the Japanese Red Cross and Tohoku Gakuin University. “I hope our help supports people in Japan and the country restores as soon as possible,” says Ueda, who is a Media and Communication Studies major. As of April 25, The New York Times reported the official death toll in Japan had been raised to 14,133, and more than 13,346 people were listed as missing. The final toll is expected to reach nearly 20,000. More than 130,000 people remained housed in temporary shelters.

“As a result of Tohoku Night and subsequent fund-raising activities, the Fund for TGU had reached a total of $5,000 as of the first of May,” says Associate Professor of Japanese and East Asian Studies Matthew Mizenko. PAGE 8 URSINUS MAGAZINE

The Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art Upcoming Exhibitions The upcoming exhibition titled “Liminality and the Ephemera: To Enter and Exit, Mark Unmark” includes the work of Menaka Gopalan, Ursinus College Alumna (Class of 2007). Gopalan, who is guest curator of the exhibition, writes, “We exist in the threshold. We are constant passengers of the in-between. We practice in the rituals of deconstructing and reconstructing, veiling and revealing. There is the tangible and the intangible, the permeable and the impermeable, which cease to be one or the other in the space of transition.” This exhibition features works by eight recent graduates of the Master of Fine Arts program at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and offers an explorative vision into the process of making art and its ephemeral nature. Artists participating are Matej Branc, Mary Coyle, James Fisher, Jessica Gamble, Menaka Gopalan, Elizabeth Hamilton, Olive Thomas, and Ted Walsh. They work in the disciplines of drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, collage, photography and digital video, while engaging in the discourse of liminality in medium, ritual, space, time, identity, gender, body, and consciousness. The exhibition will be held from June 1 to August 14, 2011. An opening reception for the artists and a gallery talk will take place on June 17th from 7-9 p.m.

PASTORS & PATRIOTS: THE MUHLENBERG FAMILY OF PENNSYLVANIA August 20 through December 18, Upper Gallery. Opening Reception: September 25, 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 6 will mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America and progenitor of a one of the most influential Pennsylvania German families in history. To celebrate this occasion, a series of special events are planned by Muhlenberg-related organizations including Augustus Lutheran Church, Franklin & Marshall

Ted Walsh, “Sandman’s Logic”, 2010, oil on panel, 34" x 43.5", courtesy of the artist

College, the Historical Society of Trappe, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Muhlenberg College, The Speaker’s House, and Ursinus College. Muhlenberg’s longtime home of Trappe, Montgomery County, will be the focus of many activities, which has inspired the formation of the Historic Muhlenberg Partnership – an alliance of Augustus Lutheran Church, the Historical Society of Trappe (Henry Muhlenberg House), and The Speaker’s House (Frederick Muhlenberg House) – to offer coordinated tours and programming. For more information or to arrange a tour, contact or 610-454-9550. One of many undertakings associated with the anniversary is the landmark exhibition Pastors & Patriots: The Muhlenberg Family of Pennsylvania, which will be hosted by the Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College and organized by Lisa Minardi 2004, Muhlenberg historian and assistant curator at Winterthur Museum. The first major exhibition to focus on the Muhlenbergs, Pastor & Patriarch will bring the Muhlenbergs to life using historical portraits, furniture, needlework, firearms, photographs, and many other objects associated with the family – most of them never before exhibited or published. The exhibit is supported in part by The Shelley Pennsylvania German Heritage Fund. A special edition of Der Reggeboge, fully illustrated with images of the objects, will accompany the exhibition. SPRING 2011 PAGE 9

The Road to The

Rhodes By David Reich



akash Shah 2010, Ursinus College’s first Rhodes Scholar, says he came to Ursinus determined to do science and not much else. Two things changed his mind, he says. The first was an encounter in a slum in India and the second was a course he took during his freshman year. Both raised questions about social arrangements in our country and elsewhere. Now a first-year medical student at Harvard University, where the walls of his neat, sparsely furnished dorm room display framed photos of Ursinus classmates and a rectangular cloth Ursinus banner, Shah will go to Oxford in October to study for a master’s degree in comparative social policy.

to varying doses of copper. The project won a prize at the regional science fair, and ultimately several thousand dollars and an all-expense-paid trip for Shah to Portland, Ore., where Intel Corporation held its international science fair.

Born in New York City to immigrants from India’s Gujarat state, Shah grew up in nearby Cliffside Park, N.J. His father, who arrived in the United States with a master’s degree in accounting, first worked as a store clerk in an Indian-owned convenience store housed in a New York subway station, then put in several years as a department store cashier while he pursued an accounting career. His mother, with a degree in psychology, has worked as a store clerk and school lunch aide. Until age 12, Aakash was an only child, and his parents centered their routine on taking him to the library, play dates, and games.

When it came time for college, Shah chose Ursinus largely because the school – unlike some other colleges he’d visited – had no problem with freshmen doing lab research. From freshman year until graduation he worked in the lab of Rebecca Lyczak, an associate professor of biology.

“We always sacrificed our programs to focus on his programs” his father, Kaushik, says. His parents’ devotion and hard work set an example, according to Shah, a Phi Beta Kappa member who finished college with three majors (Inequality Studies, Neuroscience, and Biology) and two minors (Sociology and Chemistry). “He is more disciplined, more mature than others his age,” says Kaushik. “My wife and I believe in discipline, and watching us, he grabbed it very fast.” An ardent Yankees fan, he showed that discipline early by winning his grammar school’s “turn off the TV” competition, which took place during baseball playoffs. When he did watch TV, the young Aakash, encouraged by his parents, favored educational programming, including the kids’ show called Bill Nye, the Science Guy. “Whether it was Bill Nye or my science textbook,” Shah recalls, “to be able to say, ‘This is how the earth looked millions of years ago, and this is how it looks now, and we kind of understand how it got this way’ – all I know is that from a very young age, I was captivated by it.” He did his first science research as a freshman at a Bergen County-run magnet high school. “I carried out several experiments on sweet potatoes in search of a compound that could inhibit weed growth,” he recalls. “While doing so, I fell in love with the research process. I no longer felt like an eight-yearold watching Bill Nye on TV, but more like a real scientist.” He found a compound that did inhibit weed growth, but only in large doses. Intriguingly, in smaller doses, it actually promoted growth. The phenomenon, called hormesis, is fairly common in nature, he discovered through reading. Sophomore year, he continued research on hormesis, this time using microscopic organisms called rotifers, which he subjected

When they returned, Shah was called out of class to take a call from Edward Calabrese, an expert on hormesis at the University of Massachusetts, who had found a reference to Shah’s work on the internet. Calabrese invited him to speak at an academic conference, and the 16-year-old’s findings ended up as an article in Nonlinearity in Biology, Toxicology, and Medicine, a journal edited by Calabrese.

The course that ignited Shah’s social conscience was the Common Intellectual Experience, taught by Rev. Charles Rice, the college chaplain. Students read from wide-ranging works including the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita to the works of Martin Luther King and Frederick Douglass. It wasn’t as if Shah had never thought about social problems; he’d just chosen to focus on laboratory science, which brought the satisfactions of tangible progress. “I was incredibly impressed with him, from our first meeting,” Dr. Lyczak says. “His questions were so detailed and well thought out. It’s quite rare for a first-year student to have that level of comprehension.” Dr. Lyczak, who has supervised more than 40 undergraduates in the lab, says Shah was “one of the few who read all of the relevant literature right away, and he also stood out in that he self-designed his final honors project.” That project, on the effects of a genetic irregularity on the nervous system of nematodes, resulted in another article for Shah, coauthored with Lyczak and Professor Rebecca Kohn. The course that ignited Shah’s social conscience was the Common Intellectual Experience, taught by Rev. Charles Rice, the college chaplain. Students read from wide-ranging works including the SPRING 2011 PAGE 11

Bible and the Bhagavad Gita to the works of Martin Luther King and Frederick Douglass. It wasn’t as if Shah had never thought about social problems; he’d just chosen to focus on laboratory science, which brought the satisfactions of tangible progress. In CIE, he says, he learned about “individuals [who] had dedicated their lives to solving social problems and, against all odds, have managed to make a difference. Although their stories underscored the tribulations of creating social change, they also compelled me to try.”

neighborhood. One day, he was helping triage patients when a woman grabbed his arm and called his attention to her eightyear-old daughter. “She was little more than a bag of bones that quietly rattled when she took a breath,” says Shah. Diagnosed with tuberculosis, she died the next day at the clinic. When Shah wondered aloud whether her TB was an antibiotic-resistant strain, the clinic doctor told him that the girl had died “of being poor, of living in a slum. TB was just the last thing we called it.”

Shah says his parents have had a tremendous impact on his desire to make a difference. Growing up, he watched the sacrifices they made as they worked and saved for the future. “To this day, they remain my principal motivation,” says Shah. “In 1978, my mom got off the plane at JFK with limited English skills, a little less than twenty U.S. dollars, and the address of a family friend she had never met before scribbled on the back of her ticket. My dad joined her in New York in 1984. Together, they worked odd jobs, moved from apartment to apartment, carefully saving and sacrificing to help our family weather the immigration experience. I was keenly aware that they were made with me in mind and wanted to ensure that their sacrifices were not in vain.”

Stark as it was, the lesson didn’t hit Shah with full force until he was back in New York, taking a stroll down 96th Street. The street evokes a social dividing line, he says. On one side of the street live people whose life expectancies are among the worlds highest. On the other side of the street is East Harlem, where men’s life expectancy is less than that of men in Bangladesh. “It magnified my sense of injustice,” he says. “To see human potential go unrealized deeply hurts.”

During one winter break in college, Shah combined a visit to family in Gujarat with volunteer work in a clinic in an impoverished

University of Oxford Oxford, England


Back at school, with encouragement from Rev. Rice, he created the Inequality Studies major out of courses in sociology, political science, anthropology, and philosophy. His sociology honors thesis examined the relation between race, class, and environmental degradation in Gary, Ind., and Chester, Pa., tracing the history of these towns from the early 1900s.

On top of his academic work, the three majors and two minors, Shah managed to represent the college as a pole vaulter on the varsity track team, though he dropped the sport in his junior year. “Time did become an issue,” he admits. “I had to prepare for MCATs and get my applications ready for medical school.” Now in medical school, Shah continues to achieve. He finds the first year curriculum “invigorating and refreshing,” and not at all a grind, and on the side he’s working on three research projects being led by Harvard faculty, all on topics that combine health and social science. He relaxes by playing intramural volleyball and making sure to head home for at least a few days every month to see his parents and ten-year-old brother, Kevan. “I started cutting hair seven years ago and since then, I’m the only barber my little brother has known,” says Shah. He also performs standup comedy at open mike nights (including a routine about Indian fathers and television’s medical expert Dr. Sanjay Gupta), and dances with an Indian dance group at the med school. Dancing, he says, “gives me an excuse to cut away from thinking about medicine.” His love for new experiences explains why he jumped at the opportunity to do scientific research at the age of 13 or 14 before knowing what it entailed, and why his projects have spanned the basic and social sciences as well as policy.

For now his future career goals center around what Shah’s father describes as his son’s desire to “change certain things in the world.” Right now, he’s thinking of a professional life like that of many of his medical school professors, with a day or two per week of seeing patients and the rest of the week spent on teaching and research. He wants to take all three research projects with him to Oxford, and he says that the master’s in comparative social policy degree program will accommodate, or overlap with, this work. The Harvard projects include a study of how near-universal health coverage in Massachusetts has affected emergency room use and a study that will try to put a dollar value on the work parents perform in helping to care for their hospitalized children. The third study covers how international trade agreements have affected the cost and availability of medicines in the developing world. Oxford may help him focus on a career goal, Dr. Lyczak says. Meanwhile, she says, “I have no doubt that he’s going to do something important in the world.” David Reich lives in Quincy, Massachusetts. He is the author of a novel, "The Antiracism Trainings." Editor’s Note: Aakash Shah will receive the Alumni Association’s Rising Star Award at Alumni Academy June 3.

Each year, 32 U.S. citizens are among more than 80 Rhodes Scholars worldwide who take up degree courses at Oxford University. The Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest international fellowships, were initiated after the death of Cecil Rhodes in 1902, and bring outstanding students from many countries around the world to the University of Oxford. The first American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904. Source: The Rhodes Trust




for All Seasons

By Kathryn Campbell

few rainy days can mean a world of aggravation for Director of Athletics Laura Moliken. A sloppy, waterlogged grass field means a string of delayed practices or cancelled games, leaving Moliken and her staff juggling schedules for at least five different teams. It’s a headache, says Moliken.

Right now, says Moliken, the fields have no recovery time. Scheduling practice times has become a trial as the NCAA now allows fall and spring teams to compete during a non-traditional season, Moliken says. The current grass facilities simply can’t sustain the constant use.

But it won’t be for long.

“These improvements will mean less jockeying of schedules. The level of participation is so high between teams and clubs,” says Moliken. “Having a space that we can use – and one that’s not torn up due to weather – will be key. It gives us a little breathing room.”

In April, the College began construction on a project that will bring improvements to Patterson Field, including artificial turf. The results will update a facility that has been part of the Ursinus landscape since the 1930s. “These kids deserve a place to play that is similar to what their opponents have,” says Moliken. “If we don’t do it, we’re shortchanging their experience here.” Crouched on the floor of her tidy office, she closely examines a large, cardboard display of what will be the future version of Patterson Field. New lights will be installed and the existing track will be resurfaced, but the most pivotal of those changes include installation of a synthetic turf, replacing the grass. Turf will simplify a host of maintenance problems and will bolster the department’s recruiting efforts: with the exception of Ursinus and the women’s college Bryn Mawr, every institution in the Centennial Conference competes on artificial turf. “Over the past decade, we have seen a steady increase in the number of schools that have opted to replace their over-used grass sports field with a safe synthetic turf sports surface,” says Rick Doyle, President of the Synthetic Turf Council, a trade association based in Atlanta, Georgia. “For practice or on game day, for football, soccer, lacrosse, or the band, after a rain storm or in the cold, synthetic turf fields are always ready for play. More student athletes are able to hone their skills on the same safe, resilient surfaces that the pros play on.” PAGE 14 URSINUS MAGAZINE

During fall football season, Shane Eachus 2012 devotes at least 20 hours a week to practice and workouts. He sympathizes with the frustration of the teams and athletic staff. He’s just one of 650 students here who participate in one of Ursinus’ 24 intercollegiate teams. The football practice field is in a low lying area and saturates easily from rain, he says. “Our practices suffered,” says Eachus, who plays free safety on the Bears Football team. “There were bright and sunny days that we had to find somewhere else to practice because our practice surface was in such bad shape from previous days’ rain,” he says. “Often the team was forced to either tear up Patterson field, putting it in worse condition for home games, or go use the field hockey turf or the field house, two surfaces that are not conducive to football practices.” By the end of training camp the practice field was uneven and would lose most of its grass, says Eachus, a double major in Media Communication Studies and Psychology. He has high hopes for the changes a new turf field will bring. “This should really pay off for the team’s ability to have more productive practices and to keep players healthy. I’m really excited about the project, and the football program, as a whole, is really excited, too.” Plans for updating the stadium also include moving most of the field events, like discus and javelin, to the lower field. The

“The new field will give the lacrosse team pride in their home field knowing that it’s their space during the season,” says Michael Bloom 2012, Bears Lacrosse Team, who plays midfield. “It will show other teams that Ursinus is committed to their athletics and wants the best playing conditions. The field is an extension of not only the lacrosse team but the school as well.” Far left back row: Garrett Shanker, Shane Eachus, Jovani Waters, Monica Oliveto, (Center)Elizabeth Chatburn, (Front from left) Courtney Jones, Michael Bloom.


that will enhance the experience for student athletes and continue the great legacy of athletics at Ursinus.” Soccer player Courtney Jones 2012, a center defender, believes the improvements will be a game changer for Ursinus athletics. “It will give us a competitive edge that we didn’t have before. It also makes the game faster, and more exciting,” says Jones, a Business and Economics major. In addition to reducing maintenance costs for watering and mowing, industry research shows turf is safer to play on than grass. Use of synthetic turf and artificial grass conserves more than three billion gallons of water annually in North America – the equivalent of more than 500 Olympicsized swimming pools.

Turf field groundbreaking shovel

project will provide for a new fence around the perimeter of Patterson field. “Ursinus has always maintained a strong tradition of athletics as well as academics,” says Will Abele 1961, a member of the Ursinus Board of Trustees who has contributed to the improvement project. “I am proud to support this effort

“This should really pay off for the team’s ability to have more productive practices and to keep players healthy. I’m really excited about the project, and the football program, as a whole, is really excited, too.” - Shane Eachus 2012 PAGE 16 URSINUS MAGAZINE

“It can reduce the tough collisions and impacts with the ground overall reducing injuries as a whole,” says defensive back Jovanni Waters 2014. “From an athlete’s point of view, a turf field is important because the frustration of having games postponed or cancelled due to weather will be relieved. Now each player can perform close to his or her max ability in any weather. Turf fields definitely help with traction and quick movements such as cuts, jukes and spins.” During soccer season, Garrett Shanker 2013 practices two hours each day. “For the soccer program, having a turf field is very important,” says Shanker, a Biology major who plays defense for the team. “The grass field we played on had a few maintenance problems including a fungus that grew over the summer. With all the rain we got and the field being very low in comparison to ground level, our field got torn up very easily and by the end of the season, there was more mud than grass. With the installation of the turf field, a lot of these problems will not be noticeable as we do not have to worry about fungus problems or muddy conditions.” When construction is complete in mid August, the teams and fans will enjoy the transformation and a tradition will be upheld at Ursinus. Over the last decade, the College has focused on creating premier indoor practice and competition facilities. The latest of these renovations will reflect the worth that Ursinus places on athletic and academic participation. “It will provide our student-athletes with an even greater opportunity for achievement,” says Moliken.

Use of synthetic turf and artificial grass conserves more than three billion gallons of water annually in North America – the equivalent of more than 500 Olympic-sized swimming pools. About three to four thousand cubic yards of topsoil will be removed from Patterson Field, says Ursinus Facilities Director Andrew Feick. Some soil will be used to beautify the earthen berm behind New Hall and improve the lawn between BPS & Richter/North (“Paisley Beach”). The remaining topsoil will be used to construct a grass athletic field at Hunsberger Woods that will be ready for play in spring 2012. In addition, a grove of seven sycamore trees will be planted on the grassy slope to the east of the grandstand, Feick says. Ursinus will also be planting 20 trees for Collegeville Borough for a Perkiomen Trail parking lot they are constructing adjacent to 2nd Avenue.

To view the construction at Patterson Field SPRING 2011 PAGE 17

Love Is

InTheAir By Kathryn Campbell



n 1972, Jim Sheen was flying his Beechcraft Bonanza from Texas to the airport near his Gettysburg, Pa., home. The weather was clear and his confidence was high. In the seat beside him was his wife, Ellie (Bankert) Sheen 1955. The two had been sweethearts since their college days at Ursinus. Ellie, who also had her pilot’s license, had been on hundreds of trips. She knew her way around an airplane. But she wasn’t as experienced as Jim. Suddenly Jim had a terrible feeling something was wrong.

“I was much more fatigued than I should have been,” says Jim, a retired dentist. “I wasn’t feeling right. The plane had a retractable landing gear, and Ellie had never handled that before.” Thousands of feet above the earth and a long way from home, they both knew Jim was not at his peak to land the plane. “Well, there must have been someone watching out for us because out of nowhere right below us appeared this three-hundred-foot landing strip,” says Jim, 78. “I talked Ellie through the landing, telling her what SPRING 2011 PAGE 19

speeds to use, and she had the smoothest landing we have ever had.” Jim was overcome with exhaustion and had to be pulled from the airplane. They flagged down a state trooper. As it turns out, he had been hyperventilating while at the controls. But their passion for flying, a hallmark of their marriage, was too strong to be grounded by one such event. “In all my 3,500 flying hours of experience, this was the only episode like this we have ever had. “We are really a team and she has been a major influence in my life,” says Jim, “ever since our first date on February 8, 1952. Ursinus provided the two of us with a wonderful romance.” When he received his private pilot’s license, Ellie was his first passenger. Ellie still remembers that plane ride they took in May of their freshman year. “Our 58 years of flying together have been one adventure after another,” says Ellie. “Fortunately I loved it.” They married and had two sons. In 1968, Ellie earned her pilot’s license and learned on rented planes. Jim taught both their sons, Geoff and Jim, to fly. Then the “hobby” truly became a family affair. And as time went on, they were able to buy an airplane instead of borrowing one. “We have had so many wonderful experiences because of it,” says Ellie. “Now, the next adventure, probably the biggest, will be flying together in his Piet.” The “Piet,” is a Pietenpol Aircamper which was designed in 1930 by Bernard Pietenpol. Another flight-related hobby for Jim is building planes in addition to flying them. In his organized work space, weather maps and plane designs are laid out on wooden tables. Tools line the walls and the wooden skeleton of the Piet holds center stage. The Piet aircraft is built from plans, not a kit. “As I enjoy woodworking this has been a logical choice for me as it is basically a wooden frame construction which will be fabric covered,” says Jim, who took his first solo flight in 1952 on a propeller plane out of the Atlantic City Airport. “I was brought up flying,” he says. Raised in Wyndmoor, Pa., he was 12 years old when his father first took him flying. “It was a Piper J3 Cub and my dad took me out to the airport. I was all eyes. It was very exciting. When the airplane took off, it didn’t seem like it was climbing. It seemed like the ground was going away from me.” His father learned to fly after World War II and his first airplane was an amphibian, meaning it could land on air or water. “We would land in the Chesapeake Bay and go fishing. I remember one Sunday afternoon and I was in the front seat. We had a smoothas-glass landing and I saw the spray on the window.” Eventually, his father asked if he wanted to take flying lessons. Jim happily agreed and began in Atlantic City where there was a flying school. PAGE 20 URSINUS MAGAZINE

Above: Jim Sheen 1955 in the backyard of his Gettysburg home. Right: Ellie and Jim Sheen in front of their Beechcraft Bonanza.

When Jim and Ellie’s sons were growing up, they were part of the Air Explorer Scouts and Jim was one of the flight instructor advisors. “We were also a member of the Flying Dentists and would fly to Guatemala, Belize and Mexico,” says Jim. They flew to Central America loaded with dental equipment for mission trips. As a couple, they made flights over Alaska where they camped in a tent. The weather is always the first thing Jim thinks of each day. All their trips depend on weather conditions and one rule he goes by is, in the summertime, stay clear of thunderstorms. Jim fulfilled a lifelong dream a few years ago when he flew to Europe nonstop with a German pilot friend. It took nine hours 53 minutes in the friend's single engine Beechcraft Bonanza. “It was the trip of a lifetime for me,” says Jim. Today both the Sheens are in agreement that whether they’re in the air, or firmly on the ground, Ursinus was the start of a beautiful friendship. “We’re still having an Ursinus romance,” says Jim.

more airplane photos



NewofWork Public Education By Kathryn Campbell

With the threat of cuts to public education budgets looming, teachers, administrators and families are worried. School systems are straining under a growing list of challenges from overcrowding and truancy, to the pressures of standardized testing and accountability. Leaders in the field must redefine priorities. Amid an often polarizing climate of debate over education reform, boosting the achievement of today’s public school students remains an important challenge. We talk with first-year teachers and seasoned educators about the changing landscape of education. PAGE 22 URSINUS MAGAZINE

On the fifth floor of the brand-new Citadel High School in Reading, Pa., the battle of Capulets and the Montagues is raging. It is early spring and students in this morning English class take turns reading aloud from one of the most performed works of William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet. It is, in many ways, a typical freshman class. Some students slouch, eyes closed and heads on the desk. Others earnestly participate, or lean, chin-in-hands behind their book. Beneath it all hums the constant din of teenage chatter. At the front of the room is first-year teacher Alexandra “Ali” Wagner 2010. She is the studious and high-achieving daughter of two physicians who have maintained their private family practice in downtown Reading. Despite the economic challenges of the once-thriving

industrial city, and the rise in violence in the lives of its residents, Wagner is determined to make a difference here, too. “This is where I grew up and it’s part of the reason I want to be here,” says Wagner, who usually stays at work until 5 and continues grading and preparing class work into the night at home. “I think these kids have a lot of potential. I care about every last one of them.” Many of the students here face the daunting trials of poverty. There are language barriers, less than stable home lives and the double specter of drugs and gang violence. Wagner knows her students want to succeed. She tries along with her fellow team teachers, through curriculum and conversation, to inspire them. SPRING 2011 PAGE 23

every school year in the United States improve and still keep (almost) everyone satisfied? Part of what will need to change in order for public education to improve is for schools to define their mission, says Dr. Darlene Davis 1979, Superintendent of Cheltenham School District in suburban Philadelphia. “I believe the greatest challenge is trying to be all things, to all people, at all times,” says Davis, who heads one of Pennsylvania’s most competitive school districts. “In order for public schools to be successful, the mission of the public school system needs to be clear at the federal level and the state level. We also need to continue implementing research-based practices in our schools, as schools are held accountable for outcomes.”

Dr. Darlene Davis reads to Cheltenham elementary school students

At the Citadel, an imposing and brightly lit institution built on the former grounds of a hospital, administrators keep the rules strict to create an environment free of distractions. The sevenstory building serves more than 3,000 students. The staff has tried to proceed with small goals, one of them being to practice for the PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment). “We have 95 percent of the students taking the test; we are making leaps and bounds,” says Wagner. Still, the obstacles Wagner’s students face often sabotage their ability to focus. “I try to encourage anything positive I see,” she says. “I make my lesson plans from scratch and I try to remember everything that [Professor] John Spencer taught me.” The Citadel’s highly structured climate leaves little free time between classes. Security guards are posted on each floor and a tip sheet of protocol for situations of violence rests on the corner of Wagner’s desk. “It’s frustrating at times,” says Wagner. “It’s stressful, but I am still happy to come here every day.” Passionate about her work and her students’ potential, Wagner agrees the public education system is in need of mending. “I do think the public education system is in crisis,” says Wagner. “How do I have ninth graders at a third-grade reading level? How do I have kids ill-prepared by ninth grade?” Can an antiquated system that serves close to 50 million children PAGE 24 URSINUS MAGAZINE

The most frustrating part of Davis’ job these days is not having enough money to provide all the learning opportunities she would like to make available for all of the district's students. Pennsylvania announced potential budget cuts for public education and she is in the midst of determining how it will affect her schools. “We’re looking to make cuts and reductions that have a minimal impact on students,” says Davis, who spent 12 years as an administrator in the Colonial School District in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. She left Colonial to become Director of Pupil Services in the Norristown Area School District before arriving in Cheltenham to serve as the Assistant Superintendent. After three years, she was appointed Superintendent. “Unfortunately, the fiscal climate looks to remain for years to come, and at some point the cuts will have a direct impact on students. Some districts are already looking at cutting non mandated programs such as music, art and full day kindergarten. I am happy to say we are not looking at eliminating any of our current programs.” If Davis had a magic wand to reshape one aspect of the total learning experience, she would focus on highly individualized lessons for students. “Just as special education students have an Individual Educational Plan, each student needs a plan that is designed to meet their individual needs,” says Davis. “The research completed by practitioners like author Carol Ann Tomlinson on differentiated instruction has helped the profession in understanding the importance of designing instruction to meet needs…one child at a time.” Continued on page 26

“When President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation into law in 2002, one thing was strikingly clear: politicians loved it almost as universally as educators hated it. The legislation was central to the Bush administration’s domestic policy agenda, yet Democrats embraced it as well. Congress passed NCLB by margins that seem inconceivable today (384-45 in the House of Representatives; 91-8 in the Senate). Politicians praised NCLB because it promised to measure student achievement in math and reading, through regular standardized tests, and to use that data to hold schools “accountable” for reducing academic achievement gaps between students of different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. These gaps in educational achievement have long troubled Americans, especially those who hoped that public schools and education could serve as a great equalizer in American society. Educators tended to take an opposite view of these developments, believing that they cheapened the educational process, forcing teachers to “teach to the test,” and that NCLB blamed schools for

social problems beyond their control: such as poverty, urban decay, racial inequalities, and disparities in health care. Little has changed in eight years. Barack Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has offered a re-packaged “Blueprint” for the law’s reauthorization, which was released in March 2010. But while Duncan sketched a host of changes to the controversial law, the Blueprint preserved the basic approach of using standardized test scores to hold schools “accountable” for student achievement – especially the roughly five thousand lowest-performing schools in the nation. As was the case in 2002, politicians across the ideological spectrum – from Newt Gingrich to Al Sharpton – support the current educational reforms, while those who actually work in schools remain suspicious, feeling scapegoated by those politicians.” - Excerpt from John Spencer’s article “Updating ‘No Child Left Behind’: Change, or More of the Same?”

Ali Wagner reads Romeo and Juliet with her ninth-grade English class at Citadel High School


America is in the midst of a tremendously intense moment in education, says Professor John Spencer (read more about the Public Education debate, p. 29). “Schools and teachers are under attack from politicians and self-proclaimed reformers, and I think it’s an oversimplified attack,” says Spencer. “I want change, too, but I do agree with critics who say that teachers are being scapegoated, and that’s bad for education and for teaching as a profession.” David Campbell 1967 is Superintendent of Cherry Hill Public Schools in New Jersey. The priorities for public education remain balancing quality and cost consciousness, reducing unfunded mandates, and staying organizationally focused, he says. “In some ways the landscape has not changed very much in the past five years, while on the other hand changes to public education have been nothing less than dramatic,” says Campbell, who has spent 44 years in the profession, 25 of those as a superintendent. “Faced with the impact of draconian budgetary reductions, I present the somewhat rhetorical question of what can be expected when fewer people have less time to make more decisions, coupled with a greatly reduced financial capacity, and at the same time stakeholder expectations are increasing?” For many school districts, another growing challenge is for educational leaders to effectively manage collaborative, consensus making processes in increasingly pluralistic communities, says Campbell. “With increasing frequency, transparent and participatory decision making processes result in the numerical majority of stakeholders not getting their preference. Perhaps this has something to do with the established and growing pattern of the longevity of superintendents of schools being shorter than the length of their contracts.” Amy Kiyota 2009 is Development and Operations Associate at the Asian Arts Initiative. AAI provides after school programming for Philadelphia youth and also works to support community arts. AAI is part of The Philadelphia Education Fund, a non-profit organization committed to improving the overall quality of public education and preparing students for higher education. The Philadelphia Education Fund works with a variety of partnerships that consist of the school districts, businesses, universities, and

other non-profits to improve the overall performances of the middle and high schools, increase the percentage of students receiving a college degree, and advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels. As a relative newcomer to the field of education, Kiyota sees gridlock as one of the hurdles for the public school system to overcome. “The public school system is in a crisis today because it’s operating with an antiquated system that is not preparing students with 21st century skills that will allow them to flourish in an increasingly competitive global market,” says Kiyota, who graduated summa cum laude and completed a one year Philly Fellowship.“The current system does not acknowledge that students today learn differently than in previous generations. It operates under the assumption that the way the system exists and has existed is the best way for knowledge to be transmitted to students. We ask our children to be innovative, creative, and top performers, yet we don’t give them the resources and experiences they need to do so.” Like Ali Wagner, Dennis Stanton 2004 is at the start of his teaching career. At Souderton Area High School, Stanton says he faces the never-ending challenge of differentiating one’s instruction to reach and inspire all of the students in the class. “In today’s classroom, there are so many different types of students that bring many difHigh School English teacher Dennis Stanton ferent learning styles based on intellect, interest, background, and overall environment It is very difficult, yet certainly possible, to cater to all students in the classroom,” says Stanton, who teaches English. After graduating from Ursinus, Stanton spent four years playing professional basketball overseas in Denmark, Poland, Italy, Austria and Spain before returning to school to earn

Nationally, public school systems employed about 3.3 million teachers this fall, resulting in a pupil/teacher ratio of 15.3, which is lower than in 1999, when the ratio was 16.1, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). In fall 2010, nearly 49.4 million students attended public elementary and secondary schools. Of these, 34.7 million were in prekindergarten through 8th grade and 14.7 million in grades 9 through 12. PAGE 26 URSINUS MAGAZINE

his teacher’s certificate through the Ursinus education program. “I served as a 10th Grade English student-teacher at Perkiomen Valley High School, which led to a long term substitute position last spring,” he says. At Souderton, a suburban high school located 15 miles from Ursinus, Stanton is also coach of the Varsity Boys Basketball team. “I’ve learned that teacher-student relationships are at the core of most student performance at the high school level,” says Stanton. “A teacher could craft an amazing lesson with many different elements of effective instruction; however, if the students do not respect the instructor or have any connection with the teacher, it will be very difficult to convey the material. Forging solid relationships with my students has allowed me to demand a higher level of work ethic and performance through engaging them in meaningful lessons.” Despite frustrations, a rewarding element of teaching is witnessing students’ intellectual growth. “In just one semester, I have been able to observe students mature as people and as learners,” he says. “As an English teacher, one of my primary focuses is writing. It’s a great feeling to see the students improve on their formal writing skills through intermittent writing assessments. It is equally rewarding to see their own satisfaction in their improvement.” The field of public education is a highly regulated profession, says Cherry Hill Superintendent Campbell. And as such, public

education has a number of divergent mandates that are continuously imposed from a wide variety of governing bodies. “This serves to fragment resources as well as results,” he says. “You can imagine the impact of a steady stream of disjointed mandates that are spawned by elected officials from all levels to include federal, state, county and local edicts that serve to significantly challenge the limited capacity that school districts enjoy. Student needs clearly outstrip capacity as many attempt to tinker toward utopia.” In original research conducted for Education Week, findings show that education factored into federal economic recovery aid for states and districts in a major way, accounting for a large share of all stimulus dollars and an even larger share of jobs saved or created, says Christopher Swanson, Ph.D., Vice President of Research and Development for Editorial Projects in Education. “This seems to have helped stave off the kinds of cataclysmic layoffs and program reductions that many had feared," says Swanson." However, concerns have mounted that there are worse times to come for the nation's schools, as the last of the stimulus aid is spent but state and local revenues have yet to recover from the recession.” As complex and thorny as the issues surrounding public education are, most of those we spoke to remained optimistic about the future of a system built to serve the needs of millions of American children. For Ali Wagner, a note from a student now tucked in her top desk drawer, serves as inspiration. The letter thanks Wagner and explains, in part, the role of school in her teenage life; “My education is my life…I come here to learn.”

Teach for America: Two Ursinus Graduates Selected for Prestigious Program Ursinus students Robyn Clarke and Alexandra Wilson were accepted into the influential Teach for America program. They have been chosen to help break the cycle of educational inequity by teaching in one of 39 rural and urban districts across the nation. Clarke and Wilson will commit to the two-year program in which the goal is to close the achievement gap in schools for those students who are living in low-income communities. Wilson, a Politics major and Education and Film Studies minor, will be teaching in Jacksonville, Fla. “I wanted to teach in Florida because the educational injustice in Florida often gets overlooked, and I feel it needs to be confronted,” she says. “I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone.” She will be the primary teacher for her elementary education class and will be attending a summer program at Chicago Institute where she will be given more specific training for her position. “I applied for Teach for America because I truly believe that education inequality is one of the biggest injustices in our society. No other program offers as comprehensive a plan or as many opportunities to do so, and I knew joining TFA was my opportunity to give back to society. I have been so fortunate

to grow up where education was a right, not a privilege, and I want to make sure that every child is given the same chance at success.” Clarke, a double major in History and Dance with teacher certification, will teach in New York. “Teaching in an urban district has always been a goal of mine because I started my education in an urban district,” she says. “I wanted to return to where my love for learning was sparked. I was inspired by the TFA mission to lower the achievement gap and was drawn to their approach.” Education Professor Stephanie Mackler is proud of Clarke and Wilson. “We’re especially thrilled to see Teach for America admit two of our education students, Robyn and Alex, because it speaks to the value of the liberal arts approach to education our department provides. Robyn and Alex know more than just the methods of teaching; they understand the broader sociopolitical context of education, and I’m sure this understanding made them strong candidates for TFA and will enable them to make a significant impact on education policy and practice in the future.” - By Kaitlyn Ott 2013 SPRING 2011 PAGE 27

Professor Spencer in front of the former Board of Education headquarters in Philadelphia. Built in the 1920s, the building is now used as condominiums.


Professor John P. Spencer Putting the National Debate on Public Education in Focus

Do you think the public school system is in crisis?

Yes and no. On the one hand, “crisis” is an overused word in American education, because we’ve been talking about the system being in crisis ever since it began in the nineteenth century. We tend to look to schools to solve every problem under the sun, including poverty, but at the same time we’re always unhappy with the results and declaring schools to be the big problem. That’s a pattern in American history, and there was never a golden age when it was otherwise. Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t have serious problems. We do, but we need to be specific. Polls show that most Americans believe their own local schools are fine, but the larger system of public education is in crisis. That’s because when we talk about “crisis,” we’re really talking about urban education, where we do in fact have big problems. (Likewise in rural schools, but they don’t get much attention). Urban school problems, and especially the “achievement gap” between students of different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, are what drive our sense of crisis and our current national policies, from “No Child Left Behind” through Obama.

What are the greatest challenges facing public schools today? What will schools need to change in order for the public education system to improve?

There are many possible answers, but that being said, one of the most glaring problems is inequality – and, in my view, the simplistic way we talk about inequality. Public education is supposedly the key to equal opportunity in America, but the reality is that educational achievement correlates powerfully with race and social class. Our current national debate is focused on fixing this (i.e., leaving “no child” behind), which is great, but our solutions are a recipe for disillusionment. Many are blaming the achievement gap on teacher unions (as in the movie “Waiting for Superman”), which is certainly an important topic, but they ignore other important issues. In particular, we also need to address the social and economic disparities outside of schools that shape what is accomplished inside of them. The more we blame “bad teachers” for a many-sided problem, the harder it will be to recruit and retain the good ones who are key to success. Another big problem is our whole idea of what education is. Rhetoric aside, our current system is geared toward economic purposes – the transmitting of information and skills (and impressive

diplomas) that eventually will lead to careers. This should certainly play a part, but there’s a rich legacy of other purposes for education in this country, including what we do at Ursinus in trying to foster critical thinking and democratic citizenship and a lifelong love of learning. Our K-12 curricula and assessments should reflect these priorities, too. You shouldn’t have to wait for college to get excited about asking questions and studying and becoming a thoughtful citizen and human being – not least because many Americans still can’t afford a college education!

Conversely, what is working in public education?

As an historian, I can’t help but mention the basic fact that the public schools now serve about 50 million children every day. The scale of the whole enterprise is enormous and unprecedented. For all their faults, the public schools cannot and do not turn anyone away, and that in itself is an achievement. Related to this, another positive aspect is the system’s attention to special needs. There are still many problems related to special education, but in recent decades we’ve made big strides toward accommodating all students. Finally, in spite of all the recent criticism of teachers and unions, I think it’s fair to say that much of what “works” in public schools goes back to the dedication and skill of the vast majority of teachers (and strong support and leadership from good principals). We’ve all had those teachers who changed our lives, or our kids’ lives. Yes, some are better than others, but all told, teachers are still the heart and soul of public education, and the improvement of the system will depend on them.

What is Ursinus doing that is unique in terms of preparing young teachers for the classroom?

I think a lot of the answer revolves around our liberal arts orientation. One of the key characteristics of great teachers is their intellectual and personal engagement, and we foster that in various ways at Ursinus. Of course, the Common Intellectual Experience comes to mind, but beyond that, in their majors our students do rigorous work and confront big questions in their discipline. In the Education Department, we push them to be serious thinkers about teaching and learning and the relationship between schools and society. We emphasize that great teaching isn’t just a technical task or a collection of methods, but an expression of who they are and what they know and believe about their subject and about learning. That’s not always the norm in teacher education. John Spencer, Assistant Professor in the Education Department, is a historian who taught high school in California and New York. His upcoming book “In the Crossfire: Marcus Foster and Urban Education in America” (Penn Press) will be published in spring 2012. SPRING 2011 PAGE 29

Class Notes 1948

Louis G. Graff M.D. and Elizabeth (AuWerter) Graff 1950 have moved to Connecticut to be with family. Lois L. (Cain) Logan is living in retirement in Winston-Salem, N.C. near her son. She still keeps up with Ursinus as well as with the Phillies.


Elizabeth (AuWerter) Graff and Louis G. Graff, M.D. 1949 have moved to Connecticut to be with family. The Rev. Albert Teske recently celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary with his wife, Mabel. He also volunteers as a chaplain at the Phoebe Home in Allentown, Pa.


Emile O. Schmidt reports his grandson, Joshua Aungst, will graduate from Ursinus in 2011.


Floyd Fellows reports that a local producer is making his book, An Angel of Courage, that he wrote about his daughter, into a movie. “We’re hoping it will be successful,” he says.


Harvey I. Salwen is still enjoying the outdoors with a camera. Check out his work at Theodore G. Sholl reports his grandson, Ian Sholl, was star quarterback at the Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., this fall. He and his wife, Marion, work as volunteers on the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum in San Diego. He is still playing golf and hopes to shoot his age in 15 or 20 years.


The Rev. Jerry C. Crossley became the full-time Chaplain of a United Methodist retirement community, The Shores at Wesley Manor in Ocean City, N.J. He is also publishing a book, The Seen and the Unseen: Our Problems, God’s Presence. Harry and Irene (Rawcliffe) Nelson are retired and living in Lake Wales, Fla.



Michael Drewniak lives in Conyngham, Pa., but spends some winter months in Naples, Fla. His greatest joys are his grandchildren, Sadie (5) and Aubrey (1). Cherrie L. Soper, Ph.D. is a part-time language tutor in Spanish, German, and French at Indiana State University. She loves to travel, mainly in the winter and summer months.


Sydney J. Small is the music director and backup organist for the First Presbyterian Church in Beaufort, S.C. He also serves as secretary of the Low Country Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Louise Sperber was married in 2007 and lives happily in Harleysville, Pa. The couple takes several cruises a year “to keep themselves out of trouble.”

William Bromley has joined Accume Partners, a national professional services firm providing internal auditing and advisory services, as Regional Managing Director of the Mid-Atlantic region. As the firm’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Managing Director, Bill will be responsible for the overall operations and growth of the region and for ensuring the quality delivery of services to clients. Bill has over 35 years of experience in the banking and financial services industries, with more than 25 of those years serving as CEO or COO of banks in the Mid-Atlantic area. Gail L. Heinemeyer is teaching classes in basket making. Terry and Kathleen Martin became grandparents to Brayden Michael. They expect him to be in the Ursinus Class of 2031.


Elsa (Bingemann) and Robert “Bob” Zelley will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in September.

Bettie (Martinez) Wright reports, “Our daughter, Lisa, is a nurse at Brandywine Hospital. In May, it will be seven years since our son, Doug, died. We will hold a third fundraiser in his memory on July 9, 2011, which will benefit Lifepoint, Gift of Life and a scholarship.”



S. William Tyson recently retired and is enjoying time with his new grandson.


Rita K. (Houk) Sneddon writes “I am still at Walt Disney World working as a coordinator at Epcot Innoventions and Future World West. Come on down and visit.”


Linda (Murray) Register reports, “Husband James and I are enjoying our ‘dream’ of having a 47- foot yacht and cruising the Intercoastal Waterway in between jobs.”


David M. Bowen was recently named to Information Week magazine’s “Government CIO 50”, which identifies the leading IT decision-makers in federal, state and local government. Bowen is the Chief Information Officer of the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington, D.C. and oversees that agency’s $3 billion annual information technology budget.

Kimberly (Clark) Wolf reports, “Tom and I enjoy being empty nesters and traveling. Carly, our youngest daughter, is attending DePaul University and studying entrepreneurship and Jamie graduated from Boston University and is living in Boston and working in public relations.”


George Bause M.D., MPH, a professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, was one of nine physicians elected to the American Osler Society in 2010. From 1999-2009, Dr. Bause served as Associate Curator to the United Church of Christ archives. For the past 24 years, Honorary Curator Bause has canvassed six continents in search of rare tomes and antiques for the world’s largest library and museum devoted to anesthesia.


Stephanie (Dent) Al Otaiba Ph.D, an Associate Professor of Special Education at the Florida Center for Reading Research, recently received the Early Career Research Award from the Council for Exceptional Children Division of Research, and the Continued on page 32

Inspiring, On and Off the Court Debbie Ryan 1975

After 34 seasons, Debbie Ryan retired as head coach of the University of Virginia women’s basketball team this March. She arrived at UVA after graduating from Ursinus, and was assistant coach for two years before becoming head coach in 1977. The Cavalier program was then only in its fifth year of existence. Ryan finished her career with a 736-323 record, made 24 NCAA appearances, and advanced to the Final Four three times. Only eight other active Division I women’s basketball coaches have reached the 700-win milestone. “I am leaving our program in excellent condition as we have great players here and on the way,” Ryan says. “More than anything I love my players, both past and present, and that is what I will miss most about leaving.” Many of Ryan’s former players and assistant coaches have influenced the women’s basketball community. Dawn Staley, a threetime Olympic gold medalist, was a star at Virginia from 198892 and is now head coach at the University of South Carolina. Val Ackerman, who helped launch the WNBA and became its first president, was a fouryear starter for Ryan from 1977–1981. Geno Auriemma, the women’s basketball coach at the University of Connecticut who has won seven national championships in the last 16 seasons, was Ryan’s assistant from 1981–1985.

plans to remain in Charlottesville and contribute her efforts to The Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center. The Center opened its doors on April 4, 2011 and Ryan had helped raise money for the $74 million building. She worked alongside the late Emily Couric, a Virginia state senator from 1996–2001, and the sister of news anchor Katie Couric. Couric and Ryan were diagnosed with cancer at the same time, but Couric succumbed to the disease just a year later. “I don’t really reflect a lot,” Ryan says. “But when you run into a life-altering situation like cancer, you have a tendency to go through how much you’re blessed and how much you’ve been given throughout the years. I’ve just been very proud to have been a small part of the great history of the University of Virginia. It’s just one of my finest moments, every minute that I’ve been here. I’m extremely proud to have been a part of it.”

- Ellen Cosgrove Labrecque 1995 Information for this story was provided by the University of Virginia. Coach Debbie Ryan

“Debbie has been one of the most influential people in my life,” Auriemma says. “Without the opportunity that she gave me, my life would be totally different than it is today.” Ryan was honored as the Naismith Coach of the Year in 1991. She was also inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. But, despite all these accomplishments, she believes her greatest one came when she beat pancreatic cancer in 2000. A pancreatic cancer diagnosis is an incredible uphill battle; fewer than five percent of patients are still alive five years after diagnosis. But, after surgery and six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, Ryan was given a clean bill of health. Photo: Virginia Athletics Media Relations

“It turned out to be a very positive thing in my life, because I’ve become a much better person,” says Ryan about the cancer. “I learned to reach out to other people in this same position, and to families who have loved ones in this position.” In fact, Ryan hopes to continue to help people with cancer in the next stage of her career. She SPRING 2011 PAGE 31

Pioneer for Equal Rights

more important than the few relationships that had to go away.”

Cynthia Martin 1978

In 1995, Cynthia Martin was named Chief of Staff to the CEO of Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, N.Y. Having worked at Kodak since 1982, she had been climbing the corporate ladder for over 13 years. Her new position within this Fortune 500 Company gave her many managerial responsibilities, including working Cynthia Martin 1978 with a small, but active group of lesbian and gay employees on visibility and safety issues, as well as trying to get health benefits for their partners. Although nobody at Kodak knew at the time, the issue was personal to Martin. She had been out to her family for years, but had never told her boss and coworkers she was a lesbian. “If I stayed in the closet, I would have to say to [that group] it was safe to be out, but not model this myself?” she says. “It didn’t make sense.” Martin had thought about coming out for years, but fear had stopped her. “I was afraid of violence, afraid of threats, afraid of what people would do to me inside and outside the company,” she explains. “I didn’t know the consequences of coming out in a manufacturing city like Rochester.” But, once she was promoted, Martin felt she owed it to her fellow employees, especially the LBGT (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender) ones, and her bosses to reveal her true self. Instead of validating her fears, Martin’s revelation went remarkably well. Her boss as well as most of her coworkers supported her. The backlash that came was minimal. “I was really blown away by the support,” says Martin. “The amount of fear that had built up in me was not well placed. There were people with negative reactions. But the relationships that deepened were so much Developing Scholar Award, and Graduate Faculty Mentor Award, from Florida State University. She has over 30 years of professional experience and specializes in early literacy intervention. Michael Fetterolf M.D. was recently hired by ThedaCare Physicians as a family practitioner in New London, Wisc. Dr. Fetterolf received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He completed his residency in family medicine at Franklin Regional Medical Center PAGE 32 URSINUS MAGAZINE

With their new Martin leading the way, the company moved quickly on getting benefits for partners. Today, Eastman Kodak is a leader in the world of business in progressing safety and rights of LBGT employees. “When I think about all the stuff I’ve done in my life,” she says, “this was by far my most important. I had the courage to come out at one of the most critical times in my career.” Martin advanced at Kodak, becoming the President of Global Customer Service and Support. In this position, she became one of the Top 5 most senior LBGT executives at any Fortune 500 Company. But, more importantly she met her life partner, Selisse Berry, at this time. Berry is Founder and Executive Director of Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, a nonprofit organization in San Francisco, that works for equality at workplaces for all sexual orientations and gender identities. Martin met Berry when she became involved with the national council of Out and Equal. In 2002, Martin moved out to California to be with her. “Cynthia was truly a pioneer in terms of being an out executive at such a high level,” Berry says. “She has made a huge impact in our community by supporting and working endlessly for workplace equality issues.” When Martin moved to the West Coast, she became Chief Marketing Officer of Blue Shield of California, where she worked until 2007. Today, she runs her own company, Cynthia Martin Consulting, which works with non-profits and smaller companies to help them formulate a long-term business strategy. She continues to work diligently for the LBGT population. One non profit especially close to her heart is Openhouse, an organization in San Francisco that provides housing, services, and community programs to support the health and well being of older LBGT adults. Martin is President of the Board of Directors. “Many LBGT seniors go back in the closet when they become dependent on others for care. This can cause greater mental and even physical issues,” Martin says. “We are trying to prevent this by providing housing as well as going into existing nursing facilities and training staff how to create a safe environment for their clients. It’s really important, wonderful work.”

in Franklin, Pa., and a fellowship in obstetrics at Family Medicine Spokane in Spokane, Wash.


Joe Lazar reports his son, Michael, is a freshman at the University of Georgia. His daughter, Clare, is a high school sophomore and starting varsity as a middle hitter on the volleyball team.


Jane A. (Macartney) Dubowchik was recently

- Ellen Cosgrove Labrecque 1995 named Assistant Vice President of Operations and customer support for Harleysville Insurance. She has been with the company since 1979.


Thomas Blomstrom started the Blomstrom Consulting Network in 2010, which specializes in consulting management, marketing, public relations, and business development.

Margaret “Peggy” Hermann recently participated in a Breast Cancer Three Day Walk. She walked 60 miles in three days. “It was an amazing experience,” she says.


Beth Ann (Carkner) Bilger has recently been promoted to Project Manager/Senior Designer for M/E Engineering, P.C. in New York. Beth has worked at M/E for the past eight years. Heather (Groom) Healy D.O., reports she is an emergency room physician at St. Ann’s Hospital in Ohio. She and her husband, David Healy D.O., a pulmonary critical care doctor, just had their fifth child this past October. They now have three girls and two boys.


James Kais was recently promoted to Vice President and Director of Institutional Sales and Special Markets at Transamerica Retirement Services. Kais will lead new sales, client development and strategy efforts for Transamerica’s Multiple Employer Plan and Taft-Hartley Plan business, as well as national and regional sales initiatives with institutional partners. Harley Rubin reports that after six months of freelancing and being “Mr. Mom”, he is back to full-time work at Ambit Energy in Dallas, Texas, as a senior copywriter with the marketing communications team.


Elizabeth (Johnson) Gomez and Roberto “Antonio” Gomez 2003 got a visit from nephew Gerald Glover 2012 during his Study Abroad semester in Prague last fall. Antonio is in the Air Force deployed to Germany.


Robert Clements, a senior associate at Creative Financial Group in Newtown Square, Pa., was named to the Board of Directors at Turning Points for Children. A Philadelphia nonprofit, the organization provides services for families with children struggling against difficult economic and environmental challenges.

Bright Ideas for Energy John Scorsone 1996

The irony of John Scorsone’s career is that for most of it, he worked in sales for chemical and oil companies, including one that processed hydrocarbon. “If all schools taught chemistry the way the oil industry did,” Scorsone says, “everybody would be a chemist. They make it so interesting.” Despite Scorsone’s scholarly fascination with how energy is processed, he also knew his job created a huge carbon footprint. He didn’t like selling chemicals that could be harmful to the environment and might be linked to global warming. “At the end of the day I never felt good,” Scorsone says. “I knew this type of job wasn’t for me.” So while he was still working for the oil company, Scorsone began to take courses and became certified in solar design. He flew to California (a leader in the solar power industry) several times to speak with companies and research the field. That led to the business he has today, SolareAmerica, a company he started in 2008. SolareAmerica provides renewable energy, mostly through solar panels, to both commercial and residential properties. “I was always fascinated with renewable energy,” says Scorsone, president of the company. “You save money, you save the environment, and you are helping reduce oil dependency.” Scorsone has an uphill battle in providing solar power in the U.S. Only 24 states (including Pennsylvania) and Washington D.C. have Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) in place. RPS is a government regulation that requires the increased production of energy from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal sources. Regulations vary from state to state, and there is no federal policy in place. In fact, renewable energy will only account for four percent of national use by 2030. Although the numbers are grim, Scorsone is among friends within the Ursinus community who believe in the future of solar energy. In

SolareAmerica partners Bryan Shallow, John Scorsone and John Dolceamore

fact, some of Scorsone’s staff, as well as some clients are graduates. John Dwyer 1997 is director of sales, and Jennifer Johnson Smith 1996, is director of communications. One of his recent clients was Faith Zerbe 1996, who hired SolareAmerica to put panels on her Drexel Hill house. “We wanted to decrease our energy use as much as possible,” Zerbe says. “We need to wean ourselves off fossil fuel and know by getting solar panels we were doing our part as homeowners.” Scorsone is frustrated by the slow market response to the renewable energy movement in the U.S. In Pennsylvania, the state has only pledged to make eight percent of their energy use renewable by 2020. Scorsone has tried lobbying to get the standard raised to 15 percent, but hasn’t been successful. (Nearby states such as New Jersey, Delaware, and New York have all pledged at least 22 percent.) Despite this challenge, Scorsone is resolute. “Revenues went from zero in 2009 to 2.3 million in 2010,” he says about his company. “I’ve always been curious about better ways to do things. And, solar power, clearly, is a better way.” - Ellen Cosgrove Labrecque 1995



Ryan A. Costello was appointed by the Chester County Court of Common Pleas to serve as a Commissioner on Feb. 10, 2011. He took the oath of office on Feb. 17, 2011. Commissioner Costello previously was the elected Chester County Recorder of Deeds. He served three years before becoming a County Commissioner. Ryan was a local government official in East Vincent Township

where he was on the Board of Supervisors from 2002 until 2007 and served as Chairman of the Board from 2004 until 2007.


Roberto “Antonio” Gomez and Elizabeth (Johnson) Gomez 1997 got a visit from nephew Gerald Glover 2012 during his Study Abroad semester in Prague last fall. Antonio is in the Air Force deployed to Germany.

Film and Dance Career Motivates Students George Young 1979

When it comes to career choices, pursue “something that you love.” It may be the key to a rewarding future, says George Young 1979. Although Young graduated with a B.A. in English, he chose to follow his dream of becoming a dancer, and later explored other fields not directly related to his major, such as film production. His adventures over the past three decades are a testimony to the many possibilities available to graduates of a liberal arts college. For the past 22 years, Young has lived and worked in San Francisco as the freelance Executive Producer of his own company, Grizzly Films, Inc., a tribute to his Ursinus roots. This fall, when Young returned to campus, he was thrilled to lead a ballet class and to meet with students about careers in film production. Having experience in both performance and behindthe-scenes jobs such as video editing and camera operation, Young encouraged students to pursue their talents without being discouraged by the competitive nature of these fields. Using his own job history as an example, he expressed the importance of striving for one’s goals, even when life is unpredictable. “If you can handle the uncertainty of dance, you can handle anything,” he playfully told dance students. George Young 1979


Brett Newswanger recently was on a team that won a National Biotechnology Case Competition. The contest was to develop a corporate strategy for Targacept, a mid-size pharmaceutical company developing a new class of drugs for the treatment of multiple diseases and disorders of the nervous system. Newswanger is currently a second year MBA student at the University of Texas.

After graduating, Young began to investigate the dance and acting scenes in several metropolitan areas. “I just sort of packed my bags and went to New York City on a whim,” he admits. When Young first moved to New York, he knew almost nothing about professional dance or acting. Although he studied ballet in high school, no training could prepare him for the city’s fast-paced dance world. Despite waiting hours for auditions and balancing a tight budget, Young was convinced that he would have his breakthrough. His patience paid off when he started studying ballet with former Balanchine Principal Dancer Richard Thomas Sr., and appeared in several music videos. He eventually worked with renowned music and dance icons Lionel Hampton and Bob Fosse. During the five years that Young balanced the roles of dancer and actor, he became increasingly curious about what went on behind the camera. In the summer of 1984, Young shared his production interests with Dr. Joyce Henry, then professor of English and Communications Studies and Theatre at Ursinus, who recommended that he intern with a local company. Young launched an internship that fall with Susie Miller at KWY-TV in Philadelphia, becoming familiar with the station’s staff and the film techniques that they used. “The moment I got on the other side of the camera,” he recalls, “it was like, snap!” His career may have strayed from his original plans, but George Young has no regrets. In addition to establishing his own film company, Young has produced multiple local and national commercials, created broadcast material for CBS and worked on feature films such as The Nightmare Before Christmas. He likes the variety and freedom in his current job because “it’s always something different,” he says. Young values the background in English that sets him apart in the production world. An avid reader, he explains that Ursinus’ English program helped him to develop “good communication skills and the desire to constantly acquire knowledge.” With his determination, it is no wonder that Young has carved out a niche in the competitive industries of dance and filmmaking.


- Elisa DiPrinzio 2011


Laura Bickert recently moved to a new position in higher education and is now working at Widener University as the Cooperative Education Advisor. Mona Singh was a winning contestant on Wheel of Fortune this April. “It is the only show my family watches together and enjoys,” says Singh, who majored in psychology and minored in sociology. She taped the episode last July in Las Vegas and was sworn to secrecy during the process. In addition to the episode, Singh did a 30-second commercial which aired in the Philadelphia area reminding viewers to watch. “Overall, it’s an amazing show, with an incredibly friendly and down to earth staff,” says Singh. “And Pat and Vanna are as charming in real life as they are on TV.” Singh works and lives in Philadelphia.


Lynnsey (Zweier) Renn received a Ph.D. from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in May 2011. Esther S. Kim is a senior designer at Publicis Modem, a digital agency, in New York City. She also has her own blog about lingerie.


Elizabeth “Liz” Goudie received her DVM from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in August of 2010. She has been working as an emergency room doctor in upstate New York. Molly Guntli is the Coordinator of Fitness and Recreational Programming at Philadelphia University. The position encompasses the day-to-day operations of the fitness center as well as planning and implementing various fitness programs. Katelyn “Kate” McMahon is head girls’ basketball coach at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md. Her father, Pete McMahon, is her assistant coach.


Ethan T. Benedict is working toward a bachelor’s of science degree at York College. His focus is on mechanical engineering.


Sarah Brant is currently pursuing her master’s degree in business administration at Frostburg State University in Maryland. She is a graduate assistant field hockey coach for the Bobcats. Christopher “Bud” Daniel is a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps stationed at the Basic School in Quantico, Va. When he completes school he will go to flight school in Pensacola, Fla. Dante DiMidio ran the Disney Marathon this past January as a member of Team in Training and raised $3,300 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma

Society. He placed in the Top 50 of 14,000 runners and qualified to run in the Boston Marathon.

Mr. and Mrs. Brian Daniel (Christin Piraino), a daughter, Delaney Catherine, on Nov. 1, 2010.

Andrea G. Magnolo was part of a team of 11 AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) members who this past winter did a four-week project in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, La., working with the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. The ReStore is a discounted building materials store that only carries donated or salvaged items.

Mr. and Mrs. Alan Karafin (Stacey Michener), a son, Ryan Chase, on June 10, 2010.


Mr. and Mrs. Keith M. Mandia (Amanda B. Finch), a daughter, Abigayle, in February 2010.


Mr. and Mrs. Keith M. Mandia (Amanda B. Finch), a daughter, Abigayle, in February 2010.


Mr. and Mrs. Paul Jorgensen (Alexandra Ugarte), a daughter, Bailey Elizabeth, on Jan. 5, 2011. Mr. and Mrs. Travis Lafayette (Samantha Caggiano, O.D. ), a son, Benjamin Forest, on July 31, 2010. Mr. and Mrs. John Maslowski (Suzanne Anderson), a son, Charles Michael, on Sept. 4, 2010. Mr. and Mrs. James McKusky (Amy Shelley), a son, Joseph S., on Sept. 16, 2010.


Mr. and Mrs. John Maslowski (Suzanne Anderson), a son, Charles Michael, on Sept. 4, 2010.

Captain James Azzinnari and Laura Libert, a son, Samuel Libert, on June 23, 2010.


Mr. and Mrs. Richard A Bechtel II (Gina Kosmalski), a son, Henry, on Nov. 3, 2010. Mr. and Mrs. Alan Karafin (Stacey Michener), a son, Ryan Chase, on June 10, 2010.


Mr. and Mrs. Brian J. Callaghan (Leigh Maggi) a daughter, Lili Marie, on Jan. 5, 2010. Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Glowacki (Emily Fishwick), a son, Nicholas Matthew, on Oct. 20, 2009.


Mr. and Mrs. Shad Gellman (Lauren Morton), a daughter, Ava Rochelle, on Dec. 7, 2010.


Lucille Steinman Barnes and David Weaver were married on Dec. 30, 2010.


Captain James Azzinnari and Laura Libert, were married on July 26, 2008. James Tiggett and Janean Gamble were married on Jan. 15, 2011.






Laura Bickert and Alessandro Ciarlello were married on March 5, 2011.

Dr. and Rev. Christian Rice and (Janel Reppert), a daughter, Sophie Ruth, on March 14, 2011. Mr. and Mrs. Sherwyn James (Tarika Tiggett-James M.D.), a daughter, Trinity Michaela, on Nov. 15, 2010. Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Ciruelos ( Kathryn “Katie” Breidenbach), a son, Patrick Andrew, on July 3, 2010. Dr. and Rev. Christian Rice and (Janel Reppert), a daughter, Sophie Ruth, on March 14, 2011.


Mr. and Mrs. Richard A Bechtel II (Gina Kosmalski), a son, Henry, on Nov. 3, 2010.

Janean Gamble and James Tiggett were married on Jan. 15, 2011. Ryan Lenhart and Kari Baker were married on Aug. 21, 2010.


Ryan Lenhart and Kari Baker were married on Aug. 21, 2010.


Zachary Reimold and Emily Wisbar were married on May 29, 2010. Ryan N. Smith and Sara Williams were married on Dec, 17, 2010.



Sara Williams and Ryan N. Smith were married on Dec, 17, 2010.


George B. Miller died on February 13, 2007.

Joan (Martin) Constable died on March 23, 2011.


Roy J. Weidman died on July 27, 2007.

M. Curtis Parker died on February 28, 2011.



David Shaw Laning, Jr. died on December 19, 2010.

Elizabeth E. (Simpson) Shults died on March 21, 2011.

Harold E. Sullivan died on December 8, 2010.

Elaine “Laine” (Lloyd) Waldo died on March 5, 2011.



Ruth (Godshalk) Sergeson died on March 12, 2011.

Mark E. Moser died on April 3, 2011.




Ruth (Riegel) Rieser died on November 27, 2010.


Freda (Schindler) Phillips died on December 30, 2010.


Rear Admiral Frank B. Stone, USN died on January 27, 2011.


Rev. Albert C. Robinson died on January 27, 2011.


Dorothy J. (Peoples) Shaw died on February 17, 2011.


Roberta E. Corson died on September 27, 2010. Edna (Hesketh) Clare died on January 7, 2011.


Robert M. Lewis died on November 23, 2004. Marvin Miller died on March 2, 2011. Donald S. Bartman died on March 31, 2011.

Mary Ella (Tracy) Matchner died on January 25, 2011.


1978 Eve.

Jean (Frederick) Wherley died on February 26, 2011.

Donald A. Chiappone died on November 22, 2010.


1982 Eve.

Warren “Wes” Walton, Jr. died on January 5, 2011.

Michael L. Novak died on Jauary 11, 2011.

Rev. Nelson J. Wenner died on January 26, 2011.


Harry Grim Light, M.D., FACS died on February 13, 2011.

2000 Eve.

Donald R. Parker, DDS died on February 28, 2011.



Averill V. (Fox) Gay died on January 24, 2011.

Arthur “Art” H. Lockhart, Jr. died on November 30, 2010.

Joyce LaForge Tuers died on January 27, 2011.

William E. Lukens II died on December 24, 2010.



Margaret (Keagle) Thomas died on February 8, 2011.

Mary Lou (Williams) Yaeger died on December 6, 2010.

Daniel J. McGowen died on March 19, 2011.

Ruth E. (Reeser) Taylor died on January 5, 2011.

1946 V-12


James M. Singley died on November 6, 2010.

Donna (Hadnagy) Krajnak died on January 22, 2011.

Barton E. Schlegel died on December 29, 2008.

Pamela Ann Manlio died on March 23, 2011. Mimi Stilley died on January 16, 2011.

Christopher A. Todd Jacobs died on March 3, 2011.

Life Trustee

Life Trustee David J. Knauer II 1950, age 83, died May 14 as this issue went to press. A full obituary will be published in the Fall issue.

Honorary Degree

The Rev. Dr. Peter J. Gomes 2004 died February 28, 2011. Rev. Gomes was The Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church of Harvard University, and a leading expert in early American religion.

Retired Employee

Rodney H. Babe died on February 14, 2011.

Margaret (Kramer) Sterner died on March 8, 2011.

Amer Paul Poling died on August 1, 2010.



Former Evening Division Faculty

Horace S. “Woodie” Woodland, D.D.S. died on February 20, 2011.


Gene D. Trettin, M.D. died on December 2, 2010.

Rev. Lawrence C. Foard, Jr. died on January 7, 2011.

Edward J. Clinton died on April 2, 2011.

Herbert C. Perlman, M.D. died on December 11, 2010.

Hire Ursinus Interns

Ursinus students are looking for work experience related to their majors or career interests. Hiring interns is a way for employers to recruit and retain top talent for full-time positions after graduation. Talk to your employer about hiring UC interns. They can provide a year-round source of highly motivated, well-prepared short-term employees; a cost-effective way to recruit and evaluate potential long-term employees; increased name recognition of your employer on the Ursinus campus; labor and skills available to complete special projects and a fresh approach to problems.

To post your internships at, call 610-409-3599 or email



Christin Piraino 2001 and Brian Daniel were married on October 31, 2009

Natalie MacConnell 2002 and Nathaniel Lunger were married on August 27, 2010

Laura Bickert 2005 and Alessandro Ciarlello were married on March 5, 2011

Sara Williams 2009 and Ryan Smith 2008 were married on December 17, 2010

We welcome news of Ursinus weddings! Please continue to send information and photos to Ursinus Magazine, Bomberger Hall, P.O. Box 1000, Collegeville, PA 19426. Digital photos can be e-mailed to Ursinus Magazine reserves the right to reject publication of photos which are not of publishable quality. We regret that we are not able to return print photographs. The wedding date must be given and the group photograph should include only Ursinus alumni. Please sign onto the Ursinus Online Community: for full captions including names of the Ursinus alumni pictured in the photo. A second option for brides and grooms is to send a close-up for the magazine, and a group shot for the Online Community. Questions can be addressed to the Office of Alumni Relations, 610.409.3585, or by e-mailing

Stop by Facebook or Twitter and come see what Ursinus students and alumni are up to. Sign up today and follow us all year! SPRING 2011 PAGE 37

The smiles at Commencement ceremonies say everything. To date, more than 700 donors have shown an outpouring of support for student achievement by making their Board Challenge Pledge to the Ursinus College Annual Fund. It is an unprecedented number. Thank you to those who have committed and invested in the future of Ursinus. This is, indeed, a special year. With a three-year pledge of a new or increased unrestricted gift, you will be honoring the legacy of John Strassburger, welcoming Dr. Bobby Fong, and ensuring the tradition of educational excellence for aspiring students. Making a pledge is an easy and effective way to show your commitment to Ursinus. It is not too late to be a part of this moment in time. The Ursinus College Board Challenge ends June 30th. Please join the Board of Trustees and the entire Ursinus Family NOW‌. be a part of an exciting time in the College’s history. Together, we can ensure the next generation of smiles in a way we never have before.

Office of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving 1-877-GIVE2UC


President’s Circle Event

President’s Circle Reception took place on Friday, April 15, 2011. More than 100 alumni, friends of the College, faculty, staff and current students celebrated in the Kaleidoscope. It was the first President’s Circle Event for Dr. Fong and all in attendance were pleased to meet him and his wife, Suzanne. A truly fun event, the evening brought together philanthropic friends of Ursinus in a spirit of great pride and enthusiasm for the coming years.

Top Left: Joy Tomlinson, Dr. Bobby Fong, and John Tomlinson 1958; the couple in the background is Ronald and Georgette (Griffith) Druckenmiller 1971 Top Right, Upper: Jennifer Hicks 2005, Laura (Bickert) Ciarello 2005, Tom Group 2006, and Mary Ann (Murrow) Group 2005 Top Right, Below: The Rev. Howard Kriebel, Sarah Anne Rosner 2011, Brittany Gogliuzza 2011, and Alexandra Peters 2011 Middle: Romayne Kovach-Berk, President-elect Bobby Fong, and Floyd Berk 1957 Bottom Left: Bobby Fong, Stephanie Sager, Adam Sager 1990, and Heather (Potts) Brown 2002 Bottom Right: Associate Professor of Biology Anthony Lobo and Teri Lobo SPRING 2011 PAGE 39

AView From The Tower Now the glees of old Ursinus peal across the downy green, and the walls of dear old Freeland the reverberations fling. Then across the Perkiomen the chimings wing their flight ‘till beyond the far flung hilltops they kiss Heaven’s dome of light. Then as if they rued their boldness, come the trembling echoes back, and thus end the winged praises of the Red, Old Gold and Black. The Reverend Carl Petrie, Class of 1900, penned the words to the Campus Song. He highlighted the significance of the Tower of Bomberger Hall as a symbol of the strength of Ursinus and the loyalty of its alumni. It was thus appropriate that when President Richter determined to create a recognition group for Ursinus that the chosen name was Tower Society. In Bomberger Hall, in addition to the portrait of our founder Dr. Bomberger, there is a portrait of Robert Patterson, the first philanthropic donor to Ursinus. Shortly thereafter a gift was received from the Eger family which is recognized by the traditional entrance to the College, The Eger Gateway. In the decades that have followed a significant number of Ursinus’ alumni and friends have made gifts to the endowment of the College through bequests and lifetime planned gifts. The living members of the Tower Society now total 419 loyalists. It is the purpose of this occasional newsletter to salute those philanthropists and to inform them and others who are inclined to join their ranks of the impact of their giving on our alma mater. For Joan and Don Parlee, Ursinus is a member of the family. Don, Class of 1955, and Joan, Class of 1957, met at Ursinus. The Parlees support their Ursinus family in multiple capacities. Joan has volunteered as a class chair and reunion chair and Don serves as an invaluable member of the Board of Trustees. They have created Charitable Trusts for the benefit of the Parlee Fund for the Performing Arts. The generosity of the Parlees extends across the curriculum at Ursinus and significantly increases the College’s ability to fulfill its mission of fostering student achievement. The endowment of Ursinus College now stands at $110,000,000 representing lifetime and bequest gifts to the College over the


years since Patterson’s first gift. It is abundantly clear that the progress of the College over its 142 years is due in great part to this generosity. In 2001, the College began a focused concentration on assisting donors in making bequest gifts and lifetime annuity agreements that qualify as charitable gifts under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. The response from the alumni and friends of the College to this effort has been both inspiring and propitious. The College’s website and giftplanning@ provides significant information on lifetime planned giving and bequests. This information is updated on a regular basis to cover changes in the practice and the law. We encourage each of you to visit the site for detailed information on the variety of gifting possibilities. The Ursinus Advancement Group has developed a series of printed brochures which are available to each of you at any time. The piece entitled “a simple gift that benefits you, too” is distributed to the 45th and 50th year Reunion Classes. The piece entitled “Charted Giving Plans” is a comprehensive look at seven distinct ways of giving and is furnished to each donor visited by a member of the Advancement Group and is available at any time by giving us a phone call or contacting us by e-mail. As a staff we are dedicated to visiting with you to thank you for your generosity, to answer questions that you may have and to engage you in the continuing progress of Ursinus. We at Ursinus are dedicated to keeping you advised on philanthropic developments. We have communicated with you from time to time in regard to Charitable IRA Rollovers. The law which had expired on December 31, 2009, has been extended through 2011. This means that donors who are 70 and a half or older can once again make gifts to Ursinus without

including the IRA withdrawals in their taxable income. The qualified charitable distributions may reach $100,000. Qualified distributions are excluded from gross income for federal income tax purposes; however, because the amounts are excluded you will not be eligible to claim an income tax deduction for the contribution. Other conditions apply, which we would be pleased to discuss with you. Contact: Ursinus College Advancement Office PO Box 1000 • Collegeville, PA 19426 P: 877.448.3282 F: 610.409.3724 Charitable IRA gifts are most appropriate for donors who are required to take minimum distributions, but do not need additional income; and/or have a taxable estate and wish to avoid the potential double taxation of income and estate tax owed on retirement assets distributed to family members at death and/or intend to leave the balance of their IRA to Ursinus at death. If you have any questions about these matters or we may be of any assistance to you or your professional advisers, please contact us. - The Ursinus College Advancement Staff

Ursinus does not provide legal or tax advice. We recommend that you seek your own legal and tax advice in connection with gift and planning matters. To ensure compliance with certain IRS requirements, we disclose to you that this newsletter is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of tax-related penalties.

The generosity of the Parlees extends across the curriculum at Ursinus and significantly increases the College’s ability to fulfill its mission of fostering student achievement. WINTER 2011 PAGE 41


PO Box 1000 Collegeville, PA 19426-1000 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

Save the Date! Homecoming Weekend

September 24, 2011




Ursinus Magazine - Spring 2011  

ursinus magazine - Spring 2011 single page copy