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The College’s Belgian draft horses wait out the weather.
















Sunderland resident assistant and Yearbook Crew member Mayuri Patel ‘12 enjoy a snowball fight.































On the Cover: Environmental studies major Dylan Flynn ’09, EcoDorm resident director, works on a balcony railing project in the cordwood-constructed Blacksmith Shop. Owl & Spade (ISSN Spring/fall puclication: 202-707-4111) is published twice a year (spring, fall) by the staff of Warren Wilson College. Address changes and distribution issues should be sent to or Rodney Lytle, CPO 6376, PO Box 9000, Asheville, NC 28815. Printed on Environment by Neenah Paper (made with 100% post-consumer waste and processed totally chlorine free). Printed with vegetable oil-base inks. Compared to virgin paper, using this paper saved 81 trees, 29,261 gallons of water, 56 min BTUs of energy (224 days of power for an average American household), 7, 049 pounds of emissions, 3,758 of solid waste recycled instead of landfilled! These figures calculated using Environment Savings Calculator at Corrections In the Summer 2009 issue, the name of our Organic Mechanic, Charley Wilson ’04, was incorrectly referred to as Charlie Wright. An incorrect photograph accompanied the obituary note of David Kwok Wai Ning ’54. The reported death of Benjamin Martin ’01 was flat-out false. Apologies for all these errors.





Editor John Bowers Designer Martha Smith Contributing Writer Ben Anderson Interim Alumni Relations Director Rodney Lytle ’73 Contributors Savannah Anderson ’11 Samantha Contis Morgan Davis ’02 Melissa Ray Davis ’02 Ally Donlan Sarah El-Attar Joe Elliot ’81 David Graham ’13 Lizzie Greene ’10 Don Harris Miranda Hipple Jack Igelman Laura Lengnick Mallory McDuff Billy Peard ’07 Steve Runholt Diana Sanderson Kendra Sherrod Leslie Rhyne Springs ’08 Kevin Walden Alissa Whelan Pat Willever Copy Editor Jennie Vaughn ALUMNI BOARD 2009-10 President Susannah Chewning ’87 President Elect Melissa Thomas Davis ’71 Past President Faris A. Ashkar ’72


s I write to you, it’s February and the latest foot-deep snowfall is melting, making its way to the Swannanoa River. But as you read this, let’s hope that milder weather will have returned. Aida Torres White ’41, originally from Cuba, beautifully described spring in the mountains: The leaves made a variety of brilliant green tones. But there was more—I lifted my eyes to the blue sky. Instead of tropical horizon, I saw the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains around me.... It was quiet except for birdsongs and a soft breeze against the leaves. Mrs. White’s words paint a thousand pictures of a young woman arriving in the mountains from Cuba. You can read more from her memoirs in this issue. Like last fall, the main activity at the College this spring focuses on creating our 2010-2015 strategic plan. As this issue of Owl & Spade went to press, the College’s Board of Trustees had received the most recent draft of the plan for discussion at the February Board meeting. Every person and group involved in the planning effort has worked incredibly hard to produce a draft that is both ambitious and realistic. Our shared sense of purpose has been evident during the strategic planning process. In fall 2009, the process began in earnest with a campus-wide meeting that demonstrated the finest tenets of our community: participation, respect, and passion. Hundreds of faculty, staff, and students gathered in the Chapel to collaborate in defining the direction of the College for the next five years. We’ve now formed eight campus planning teams composed of students, faculty, and staff. Each team is addressing one of the eight strategic priorities. Working in concert with the administration and trustees, these teams will create action plans that will map the way to our continued success. When the strategic plan is formalized and approved by the Board of Trustees, it will be made available to you. There is no doubt: it will take the help of everyone associated with the College to meet our ambitious goals for the next five years. Many thanks for all you do for Warren Wilson College. My best to you in the year ahead.

Secretary Megan Swett ’00 Class of 2010 Harry L. Atkins ’56 Vijaykumar Barnabas ’82 Peggy Burke ’56 Jim Hilliard ’66 Adeeb Sayyar ’73 John Snider ’91 Class of 2011 James Bailes ’78 Ben Kimmel ’91 Dancia Langley ’95 David J. Sullivan ’73 Class of 2012 Tim B. Deuitch ’83 Linda H. Orndorf ’87 DruAnna Williams Overbay ’61 Samuel E. Ray ’56 Richard Neil Thomas ’84 Dennis Thompson ’77 Christine Toriello Walshe ’01 Graduating Class Rep. Ryan Morra ’08


Sandy Pfeiffer

From an appreciative editor As you might have read in the summer Owl & Spade, I had a traumatic cycling accident May 28, 2009, on nearby Bee Tree Road. I am a fortunate, thankful man to have had our College community, like great big family, providing me with the support, inspiration and strength needed to recover from the injuries. After being down for weeks, I’m getting back to normal; or as my father says with a grin, “He’s about as normal as he ever was.” My thanks to Tracy Bleeker and the many others who pulled together to produce the summer issue. Hope you enjoy the spring issue. John Bowers—JB Editor, Owl & Spade WWC Communications Director OWL & SPADE

T R I A D N E WS College receives impressive recognition in guidebooks The accolades continue to roll in for Warren Wilson and its one-of-a-kind educational experience. In the latest round of college guidebooks and rankings, the College drew praise from venerable guides such as the Fiske Guide to Colleges, which named Warren Wilson as one of its 24 “Best Buys of 2010” among private colleges and universities nationwide. But this past cycle also featured some new distinctions that illustrate just how much the College’s reputation has grown in recent years. Kaplan Newsweek, in its Fall 2009 guide, featured Warren Wilson as one of “25 Colleges That Might Be Right for You.” The guide identified the College as a good choice for “Environmentalists Who Need to Get Their Hands Dirty,” noting that “the Warren Wilson Triad of work, academics, and service produces first-class scholars.”

Other guides weighed in with high marks for the College. The 2010 U.S. News Best Colleges selected Warren Wilson as one of its “A-Plus Schools for B Students.” And Mother Jones magazine, in its inaugural MoJo Mini College Guide, named the College as one of “10 cool schools that will blow your mind, not your budget.” Warren Wilson also is one of Sierra magazine’s “Coolest Schools” for the third straight year. The College is among only 20 schools nationwide recognized by the magazine for having an unusually strong commitment to sustainability. Sierra’s “planet-preserving colleges and universities” were ranked based on their efforts in eight categories, ranging from energy to waste management.

WHAT DOES $1,000 MEAN TO YOU? We’ve been thinking about that question a lot lately here at Warren Wilson. And we think that $1,000 is a powerful number. It’s an amount that makes a difference given individually but also an amount that, when given collectively, can make an exponential impact on the College. In fall 2009, we initiated the Warren Wilson College Circle to recognize people who believe in the mission and values of the College and support the school by giving at a leadership level. The Circle helps ensure that the College continues to provide a singular experience through academics, work and service that inspires and guides students long after their years on campus. The Triad asks students to engage with their mind, hands and heart. Consider doing the same and join the Warren Wilson College Circle. To learn more, visit or email SPRING 2010


T R I ADNE WS Work Program expands with three new work crews By Savannah Anderson ’11

This year the Work Program Office has set three new work crews into action—Hair Studio, Fiber Arts and Wood Joinery. The Hair Studio Crew is unique in the way it serves both students and employees in need of haircuts. Last semester Christina DeCusati ’11 took initiative in creating the work crew. Reflecting on the beginning of the now-popular Hair Studio Crew, she says, “I remember going to the first meeting…many students wanted a haircutting crew but no one was willing to step up and be the crew leader. I volunteered because it was something I knew our campus needed.” The Hair Studio Crew is doing its part to be environmentally friendly. “We compost the hair we cut, and if it’s long enough we donate it to Locks of Love. We’re also working on donating hair clippings to St. Vincent De Paul Society, which will use the hair to make mats for use in cleaning up oil spills,” DeCusati says. The Fiber Arts Crew was spurred by an idea from Allison Hoyman-Browe ’10. Last year, Hoyman-Browe and a friend, Kathryn Evans ’10, held a weekly event in Dorland called Craft Night. “It was basically a simple group of students who gathered once a week to help each other knit, sew, bead or paint,” says Hoyman-Browe. She noticed how popular the meetings were, and after speaking with Melanie Wilder, who had access to a loom, the Fiber Arts Crew was organized. Wilder is now the crew supervisor.

The idea for the Wood Joinery Crew was sparked when Daniel Faulker-Bond ’10 and Bob Koplos ’10 went to a woodworking workshop taught by a WWC parent. They carved a conference table and chairs for President Pfeiffer, and after seeing how pleased he was with the work, the students decided a woodworking crew was what the College needed. “It’s a good way to utilize skills and help the community,” Faulkner-Bond said. “Yet the biggest issue now is the resources.” The crew uses all locally harvested wood from the Forestry Crew, but the funding for their projects is limited. The crew relies on donations from alumni and friends. “The goal of the crew is to offer education,” says Faulkner-Bond. “We are more about that than anything else, and we’d like to be able to make more products available for students.” The crew has recently placed items in the campus bookstore and was surprised at how quickly everything sold.

Hair Studio Crew

For more information on these crews, contact Dean of Work Ian Robertson, or 828.771.3018.

Wood Joinery Crew

Fiber arts has a long history at the College. In the 1940s, the school flourished with profits from weaving. At that time, the focus for weaving was to make place settings, linens and curtains. These items were sold for a profit. “The goal of the crew is to educate the campus on the benefits of learning this skill,” says Hoyman-Browe. The main project the crew is working on now is to weave a wall hanging for Bryson Gym and a new rug for the Orr Cottage. Fiber Arts Crew



T R I A D N E WS Impact of Elmslie gift is immeasurable

“I help Warren Wilson because it offers an education in liberal arts, and that’s an invaluable basis for whatever a person does in life. Warren Wilson values work ethic, diversity in student body and experience abroad. I loved my year volunteering in France and would like to help others have similar experiences.” –Marian Elmslie


The College received one of the largest individual gifts in its history through an unrestricted $500,000 bequest from the late Marian Elmslie of Black Mountain. Elmslie relocated from the Midwest to Asheville in 1960 with her husband, Cliff. After Cliff Elmslie died in 1985, she moved to Highland Farms (L-R) Carla Sutherland, former vice president of advancement, Marian Elmslie, and Chase Jeffords, former development director. Retirement Community in endowment and scholarship programs. Black Mountain. Through volunteer work, She was a longtime proponent of women’s she met several women associated with education, serving as an active member of Warren Wilson and became impressed with the American Association of University the College’s liberal arts education and Women (now known as AAUW) for half a governance system. century. Elmslie herself held bachelor’s and master’s degrees in French. “The husbands of many of my friends— Thekla Jensen, Lucile Bannerman and “Marian was just a wonderful woman,” said JoAnne Keener—were connected with Carla Sutherland, vice president for college the school,” Elmslie once shared. “I was relations (now the office of advancement) impressed by their discussions of the strong from 1991 until her retirement in 2007. democratic leadership of Warren Wilson, “She loved meeting with our Frenchespecially by the community forums, where speaking students—that was the biggest everyone has a role in the decision-making treat for her.” process. Over the years, I watched Warren Wilson develop into such an excellent Previously, when asked why she supported College.” Warren Wilson, Elmslie replied, “I help Warren Wilson because it offers an Elmslie’s last trip to Warren Wilson was education in liberal arts, and that’s an in September 2006 when she attended a invaluable basis for whatever a person does luncheon at the president’s home. Both in life. Warren Wilson values work ethic, Sandy and Evelyn Pfeiffer recall her kind diversity in student body and experience comments about the College at that abroad. I loved my year volunteering in event—and the nice thank-you note that France and would like to help others have followed. President Pfeiffer notes that similar experiences.” “Mrs. Elmslie was a loyal friend of Warren Wilson. For years to come, we will benefit Elmslie’s gracious bequest to the College from the extraordinary generosity she has will certainly help make those experiences shown to our College.” possible for Warren Wilson students. Before she passed, Elmslie funded a charitable gift annuity at Warren Wilson, supporting the College’s general 5

T R I ADNE WS Alumni Association presents 2009 Alumni Awards “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” During the 2009 Alumni Awards ceremony, Harry Atkins ’56 invoked the 1903 words of Theodore Roosevelt to honor the most recent Alumni Award recipients. “Each did that,” Atkins confirms. Tony Earley ’83 received a Distinguished Alumni Award. After graduating from Warren Wilson, he earned a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Alabama. He is the Samuel Milton Fleming Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. Earley is the author of four books, including the novels Jim the Boy and The Blue Star. Both books were featured on the cover of The New York Times Book Review. He won a National Magazine Award in 1994 for his story “The Prophet from Jupiter” and has twice been included in the annual Best American Short Stories anthology. Earley has been named one of the twenty best young fiction writers by the New Yorker and one of the Best of Young American Novelists by Granta. He will deliver the 2010 Commencement address at the College. Daniel Shungu ’65 received a Distinguished Alumni Award. Shungu was a fellow in clinical and public health microbiology and infectious diseases at Temple University School of Medicine. He has been recognized for his work combating river blindness in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Shungu, Congolese by birth, has been an associate professor at New York Medical College. He has authored over 30 scientific papers and two book chapters. He is the founder and director of United Front Against River Blindness. He has been involved in providing technical, managerial, and financial support in the fight against tropical diseases. Robert K. Tcholakian ’56 received a Distinguished Alumni Award. Tcholakian has had a distinguished career in the field of physiology and steroid biochemistry. He was a tenured professor in the department 6

of integrative biology and pharmacology at the University of Texas. He has published 49 articles in professional journals, 30 abstracts, and five chapters in scholarly books. In addition, Dr. Tcholakian created a device to eliminate infections in implanted catheters and other medical devices. A native of Jerusalem, he began his studies at Warren Wilson in the fall of 1954. Michelle Cooper Stapleton ’92 received the Distinguished L-R: Interim Alumni Relations Coordinator Rodney Lytle ’73 with the Community Service Award. 2009 alumni award recipients Tony Earley ’83, Dr. Daniel Shungu ’65, Michelle Cooper Stapleton ’92, Fran Whitfield ’55 and Dr. Robert K. Stapleton came to Warren Wilson Tcholakian ’56. because she was interested “in being a person, not a number.” She is a child protective investigator for the Department of Children and Families in Florida. She has held many positions Earley ’83 to deliver 2010 including supervisor of healthy families, Commencement Address case management supervisor, and adult Fiction and nonfiction writer Tony protective services manager. Stapleton Earley ’83 will deliver the main address continued her focus on helping others at the 2010 Warren Wilson College through volunteer work. She has been Commencement May 15. His writing has an active member of her church with youth ministries and volunteers at her appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, The New daughter’s school. She says that her greatest Yorker, The Oxford American, The New York accomplishment is having a wonderful Times Book Review, Best American Short daughter. Michelle has spent her life Stories, New Stories from the South and helping other people improve their lives. many other magazines and anthologies. Since 1997 Earley has taught at Vanderbilt Fran Whitfield ’55 received the Distinguished Service Award. Whitfield University, where he is the Samuel Milton was president of her senior class and the Fleming Chair in English. He teaches organizer of the 1950s Golden Anniversary beginning, intermediate and advanced Banquets and socials during Homecoming. fiction workshops at Vanderbilt, along with After graduation from WWC, she earned a seminar on Hemingway and American degrees in nursing from the Memorial fiction. He is the first graduate of Warren Mission Hospital School of Nursing and North Carolina Central University. Wilson to deliver the main address at After her formal education, Whitfield Commencement since Dr. Jaroslava worked at Memorial Mission Hospital, Moserova of the Czech Republic did so Veterans Administration Hospital and in 2005. other institutions. She has received much recognition in her profession, including the Great 100 award from the North Carolina Nurses Association. She has been a member of the WWC Alumni Board, helped raise money for the WWC Fund and worked with Billy Edd Wheeler to solicit funds for the Doc Jensen display case.


T R I A D N E WS Warren Wilson accepted into NAIA Members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Council of Presidents approved the membership application from the College. By adding Warren Wilson and three other institutions, the total NAIA membership rises to 290.

“The NAIA welcomes Warren Wilson and looks forward to working with campus leaders to advance character-driven intercollegiate athletics.”

“The NAIA welcomes Warren Wilson and looks forward to working with campus leaders to advance character-driven intercollegiate athletics,” said John Leavens, NAIA vice president for membership services. “I am confident that Warren Wilson shares in the long-held mission of the NAIA to promote the education and development of well-rounded students and productive citizens through intercollegiate athletics.”

eligible for post-season competition in 2010-2011. The Fighting Owls compete in NAIA cross country and swimming this season but hold dual membership with the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) for basketball and soccer. Mountain biking continues its affiliation with United State Collegiate Cycling. “We are extremely excited about our acceptance into the NAIA,” said WWC Athletic Director Stacey Enos. “The NAIA has a long and rich history of proven success for small colleges. Their emphasis on developing the character of each student athlete fits our mission and gives us the opportunity to highlight our talented student athletes.”

The WWC athletic department is an independent NAIA member and becomes

—John Leavens NAIA vice president for membership services

Cycling Owls place third in Division II championships The College’s mountain bike team earned the bronze medal in Division II of the Collegiate National Mountain Bike Championship, in Truckee, California, October 16-18, 2009. The mountain bike team has finished in the top three among Division II teams in the past seven national championships. The team had a great showing over the three-day competition north of Lake Tahoe on the ski slopes of Northstar Resort. Linden Blaisus ’11 highlighted the Owls’ efforts, finishing fifth in the men’s omnium after a fourth place finish in the short track and a 13th place finish in the cross country. Other highlights included Ileana Anderson’s ’10 third place finish in the four cross, Becca Parish’s ’11 fourth place finish in the downhill, and Nina Otter’s ’10 sixth place finish in cross-country. To read more about WWC athletics, visit warrenwilsonowls. com.



T R I ADNE WS Radical Presbyterians: Faith, higher education and social justice By Billy Peard ’07

I met John Fife last January on one of those pleasant winter mornings that every Arizonan wishes would stretch into June. Towering six inches over me and dressed like a cattle rancher, Fife is a commanding presence in more ways than one. I was quickly won over by his contagious enthusiasm and openness, which I imagined had served him well during his long career as pastor of Tucson’s Southside Presbyterian Church.

of my thoughts in those days. As a restless high school student I was more possessed of a strong desire to be anywhere far from Arizona, and so I packed my bags for Warren Wilson in 2003 and kept my eyes focused eastward. But when I arrived on campus, it wasn’t long before I heard other students talking about Tucson.

Knowing of my interest in immigration issues, Fife offered to show me around the dusty border hamlet of Sasabe, Arizona, where the U.S. government had just infused several million dollars in the form of a 15-foot wall dividing the small town along its international border. The arid land surrounding Sasabe is the most recent stage for the immigration drama. Each day and night, hundreds of migrants, mostly Mexicans, scale the freshly painted wall and set off on a treacherous journey through miles of unforgiving desert.

between Warren Wilson and the

Trekking through the lonely migrant trails running north from Sasabe, I took in Fife’s story and discovered, to my surprise, that his impressive resume includes a criminal record. The concept of a preacher with a checkered past was not new to me. I had met ministers in inner city America who discovered their higher calling from within prison walls, and who battled with drugs and gangs before turning to the Bible and sharing their wayward past in the form of moralistic sermons. But Fife didn’t fit that profile. He isn’t someone prone to moralistic musings and apocalyptic orations. And most curiously, his life as a criminal paralleled his career in the church. The two were intertwined, mutually supportive, and they met up with the borderlands in a way that I could not have fully understood had I not first traveled east. Growing up in Tucson during the 1990s, I had a dull awareness of the daily cat-andmouse chase between crossers and border patrol, but it was a topic that possessed few 8

These valuable exchanges Tucson community are the result of the College’s enduring connections with its Presbyterian past and its continuing networks within the faith community.

At Warren Wilson, I learned that Tucson has been listed on the informal, word-ofmouth directory of destinations for the young activist. In much the same way that Mississippi and Alabama were the organizational focal points for the great civil rights battles of two generations ago, Tucson is moving its way into the national spotlight as the epicenter of the immigration debate. John Fife, Warren Wilson, and the faith community are all at the center of the story of how my hometown has become a hub for radical activism. In the early 1980s, Fife and other members of the Tucson faith community began to hear that political refugees from El Salvador were dying in the Arizona desert. Fife’s Southside Presbyterian Church sprung into action by offering a safe place for refugees to stay temporarily, and after a short time the Sanctuary Movement was born. Following the example set in Tucson, hundreds of churches and synagogues throughout the United States eventually declared sanctuary by offering a safe place to Central American refugees who had crossed into the country without the

blessing of the government. With Tucson’s small Presbyterian Church as its nerve center, an intricate and well-disciplined underground railroad was established to shuttle refugees as far north as Canada. For over a decade, and through dozens of indictments, arrests, and trials, the sanctuary churches successfully carried countless Central Americans to safety. Today, Southside focuses its efforts on assisting predominantly Mexican migrants who cross illegally seeking better economic fortunes. And, in case you’re wondering if history repeats itself, the movement has conflicted with the law once again. Most recently, Walt Staton—a seminary student from Tucson —was given prison time for littering when he left dozens of full water bottles along migrant trails on federal land. It’s a story I might never have heard if not for my experience at Warren Wilson and its strong roots in the Presbyterian tradition. For many years, a number of Warren Wilson students have traveled to Tucson through the educational nonprofit BorderLinks, a Presbyterian-initiated nonprofit organization designed to teach both secular and religious people about border issues. These valuable exchanges between Warren Wilson and the Tucson community are the result of the College’s enduring connections with its Presbyterian past and its continuing networks within the faith community. It’s a facet of the College that I never fully appreciated as a student. Like many students and graduates, I thought of the Presbyterian connection to the College as tangential at best. I think now of John Fife and the myriad ways that Warren Wilson service plays out through the faith community. History/political science major Billy Peard ’07 lives in Tuscon, AZ, and begins Vermont Law School in the fall .


T R I A D N E WS Religious response to global warming What does environmental education have to do with religion? Students in Mallory McDuff’s environmental education classes are learning how to target faith communities to address pressing environmental issues such as climate change. In Environmental Education Methods and Materials, students designed climate justice tours in collaboration with North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light (IPL), a statewide nonprofit that provides a religious response to global warming. In partnership with IPL director Jill Rios, students developed a guide to educate interfaith congregations about connections between climate change, energy consumption and faith.

Rachel Rasmussen ‘10 developed a curriculum that integrates spirituality with the environment. In her internship with Interfaith Power & Light, Rachel (left) traveled with NC IPL director Jill Rios (right) to mountaintop removal sites in eastern Kentucky.

The students divided into three design teams to develop the climate justice tours for Asheville, Charlotte and Wilmington. Each tour is designed to lead participants to locations that focus on issues such as coal extraction, transportation, energy production, alternative energy, the social impacts of energy consumption and positive actions of faith communities. In Asheville, for example, the stops include the Progress Energy plant and Lake Julian, as well as a low-income home weatherized by faith communities. After working on a design team in the spring, environmental education student Johanna Anderson expanded this partnership through a curriculum she developed in the fall Program Planning class. She designed a training manual to build the capacity of regional members of North Carolina IPL in implementing the climate justice tours, in addition to other environmental programs. In this same class, Rachel Rasmussen, another environmental education major, developed a program focused on faith, reflection and environmental action that will be adapted by IPL. McDuff explores this growing religious environmental movement in her forthcoming book, Natural Saints: How People of Faith are Working to Change God’s Earth, published by Oxford University Press. For many students, these partnerships have revealed a new audience for environmental action through people of faith.

Warren Wilson black locust tree has new life in environmental education program

This black locust tree that stood between the Log Cabin and the Orr Cottage was removed in October and trucked to Charlotte for a rainforest exhibition at Discovery Place science museum.




EcoTeam: Forging Collaborative Connections By Kendra Sherrod

Lauren opens the metal door, weaves between clusters of desks and stands in front of a long gleaming whiteboard. John follows, carrying a blue plastic tub. Kids who were hunched over their desks suddenly bloom. Some rise up on a knee. Some jump up to stand before they realize they shouldn’t. They chime, “Yea!” They scoot and slide their chairs until all 17 faces are fixed on John and Lauren. Lauren asks them what they remember from last week in Lesson Six. Hands shoot up. A boy wearing a green rugby shirt bounces in his seat until John looks at him. “Flowers!” the boy shouts. “Right,” says John. “And pollinators,” the boy follows. John and Lauren handle the waving hands and bouncing-in-your-seat enthusiasm like pros. They nod to encourage. They lull with a simple index finger to the lips, waiting until the kids are poised before they continue. Next, the kids throw names of pollinators into the air: birds, bats, butterflies. Lauren praises the class and announces that they are ready for Lesson Seven. This is Mrs. Margaret Payne’s third-grade classroom at Claxton Elementary School in north Asheville. Next door, another pair of Warren Wilson students shush and coax kids into Lesson Seven. John McDermott ’11 and Lauren Bangasser ’10 are members of the EcoTeam Crew, an Environmental Leadership Center work crew. EcoTeam students visit elementary schools to teach about our local ecosystem; the children’s connection to it fosters a deeper appreciation for the wonder of the natural world. EcoTeam gives Warren Wilson students, who have spent several semesters learning, a chance to teach.

Lauren Bangasser ‘10 and third grader work on environmental stewardship lesson.

Seizing the chance

By the third grade, most kids have heard the term “global warming.” They may also know that clean air and water are important for survival. But for a nine-year-old, these issues can seem as distant as a star unless someone helps him bring it closer to home. EcoTeam’s job is to help students explore their own relationships to nature. Through the eight-lesson curriculum, third graders learn about their local ecosystems. They learn how sand and gravel filter water. They learn how a river basin functions and why that’s important. They connect what they know about the French Broad River with the more abstract ideas about clean water. An intimacy is created between the child and his backyard ecosystem. That intimacy is then extrapolated past the city limits and the state line, to the air we all breathe and the water we all drink, from the trickling of snow melt in our mountains out to the sea. What happens today in Mrs. Payne’s classroom, and in the classroom next door,


occurs throughout Buncombe County. This year alone, 1,500 third graders will sit transfixed by EcoTeam’s environmental curriculum and delivery. Back in Mrs. Payne’s classroom, Lauren and John begin Lesson Seven, focused on environmental stewardship. They distribute cards profiling local environmental heroes. One student reads about a woman who rehabilitates wild animals. “She keeps them until they’re better and then releases them back into the wild.” Lauren asks the class, who in their circle of friends and family does something to protect nature. Hands shoot up. “My mom rides a bike,” a boy says. A girl explains that her family recycles. Kids forget again to raise their hands and begin blurting out examples. Lauren frowns. She brings her finger to her lips, holding it there until the class quiets. This is what Lauren has learned: How to be a teacher.


EcoTeam’s job is to help students explore their own relationships to nature. A chance to learn

Lauren is a senior member of the EcoTeam Crew with three semesters behind her and one more to go before she graduates this spring. She said the work program at Warren Wilson was a big factor in her attending the College. “I wanted to learn skills I wouldn’t get to learn at another liberal arts college.” These skills, she knows, will prepare her for a difficult job market. “Of course I have a little anxiety about entering the job market,” she says. “But I’m not too concerned. The combination of EcoTeam and my environmental education coursework has given me a solid preparation for this field. More environmental education programs are starting up every year, so I think there will be plenty of opportunities for me.” Early in the EcoTeam program, Lauren also learned aptitudes that stymie most new teachers: classroom management skills. She observed other student teachers in action. Then she began to teach. By the end of the program, and upon graduation, she and the rest of the crew will have over a hundred hours of teaching experience. The EcoTeam Crew gains more than classroom experience from the program. They use their experience in the classroom

to help the program and the curriculum evolve. After mandatory reflection, the Crew discusses what works and what doesn’t. They have the power to make the lessons more relevant, more instructive and overall, more effective. The students run the program.

EcoTeam is an example of how the Triad also helps students hone their interests as they near graduation. John always wanted to focus on environmental education, but Lauren discovered her interest in education through the program.

EcoTeam began in 1996 as an environmental awareness camp. It was an idea conceived by Erik Sornberger for his Program Planning and Design class at Warren Wilson. Two years later the camp evolved into a classroom curriculum and was renamed EcoTeam. Since then it has instructed over 10,000 third graders and provided classroom experience to over 45 Warren Wilson students.

Everyone wins

The Triad in action

EcoTeam is an example of the WWC Triad at work. Students take what they learn from their courses and put it into practice at local elementary schools through the work program. The effort is received by thirdgrade classes as valuable community service. WWC students bring the lessons they learn from their experience in the classroom back into their academic coursework. According to ELC Education Director Stan Cross, the process leads to profound learning, as students intellectually and emotionally integrate theory, practice, and their own personal values. “Each feeds off and into the other,” Cross says. He adds that students from a variety of majors—not only environmental education, but also art, psychology, biology, creative writing and outdoor leadership—make their way to EcoTeam to gain experience working with children in an educational context.

Mrs. Payne loves having John and Lauren visit the class. “It gives the kids another point of view,” she says. “We incorporate what is taught by EcoTeam into our science units and experiments.” The reach goes beyond Payne’s classroom. Thanks to a government grant, Claxton now has funds to design and plant a garden. “I hope EcoTeam students go on to teach,” Payne says. “We need good teachers more than ever.” Claxton Principal Ayesha McArthur says she likes how the program helps Claxton shift to a new style of teaching. “As our school moves towards the goal of inquiry-based learning in all science classrooms, EcoTeam serves as a model for how to implement a standards-based, hands-on curriculum. We are very grateful for EcoTeam’s work with our third graders this year.” Lauren and John discuss with the class what they can do to protect nature. Hands shoot up. Kids bounce in their seats. From the back of the class a girl says, “We should buy things with less wrapping, because wrapping is trees!” Another suggests playing fewer video games and instead to play games that don’t require electricity, like hide and seek in the woods. Another kid mentions biodiesel, and I realize how much more they know than I did at their age, and how much more they will need to know. Kendra Sherrod is a mother and writer living in Asheville.

For John McDermott ‘11, EcoTeam is environmental education in action.



T R I ADNE WS Appalachian studies in a global context By Leslie Rhyne Springs ’08

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Warren Wilson College is proud to call southern Appalachia its home. Back in the 1970s, it was one of the first colleges to recognize that the area deserved its own field of study. Because of this rich legacy, many grew concerned when the College’s Appalachian Studies program all but disappeared during the last few years. But with a new faculty member at the helm of the Appalachian studies program, the College offers students an opportunity to study the Southern mountains from a multitude of different perspectives. Faculty member Jeff Keith came to the College in 2009 with many years of academic, service and cultural experiences under his belt. Trained as a cultural historian, Keith’s two primary fields of study are Appalachian history and the history of U.S. foreign-relations. He brings passion for both global and local issues to the College. True to the Triad, Keith is an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps alumnus, an active scholar who’s finishing his dissertation at the University of Kentucky and a hard worker. Upon his arrival on campus in fall 2009, Keith quickly recognized that “an incredible Appalachian studies program already existed.” Keith is quick to honor the legacy of his predecessors, such as David Holt and Joan Moser, who laid the foundation for the College’s Appalachian studies program, as well as the continuing dedication of current faculty members, such as Phil Jamison and David Abernathy, who have worked with him to revive and enhance the program. Keith believes the program is vital, not just for the College but for the entire area. “I think our history as an Appalachian institution of higher learning comes with a responsibility to educate students from elsewhere about the Appalachian Mountains.” This dedication has led Keith to create a program based upon service and interdisciplinary study that encourages students to take a closer look at the local bioregion within a global context.


Studying Appalachia from a global perspective might seem strange to some, but Keith says, “It is my job to help students discover how regional and global history are intrinsically linked to one another and to encourage students to grasp the familiar elements of people’s lives in foreign lands.” In addition, Keith focuses on universal themes such as sense of place, exploring the many aspects of a geographic location that make an area more than just a location to live. Keith aims to help students “identify connections between various regions across the world in order to understand issues that transcend place, as well as those that are indelibly linked to a sense of place.” Keith considers it wise for Warren Wilson to offer an Appalachian studies concentration within its global studies program. “No region should be studied in isolation,” he says. Telling a story about his recent travels through Vietnam while leading a group of University of Kentucky students on a study abroad program, Keith says he found himself often thinking about Appalachia while driving through Vietnam, especially during a visit to Uông Bí, a coal town. Noting that “rural Vietnamese and Appalachians exist within tense social environments pulled taut between traditional and modern ways of living,” Keith witnessed his students “learning about their home Kentucky and the larger world simultaneously.” Keith was pleased to discover that many Warren Wilson faculty members were already teaching excellent courses about the music, literature, ecology and agriculture of the Southern mountains. And since his arrival, Keith has collaboratively built an interdisciplinary concentration and minor in Appalachian studies by reaching out to faculty members. Drawing faculty from different departments has allowed for a wealth of new course offerings. Keith also has made sure the Appalachian studies program emphasizes service, allowing students to engage with people living in the region.

Studying Appalachia from a global perspective might seem strange to some, but Keith says, “It is my job to help students discover how regional and global history are intrinsically linked to one another and to encourage students to grasp the familiar elements of people’s lives in foreign lands.”

By providing students an array of opportunities to experience Appalachia, Keith encourages students to see both the uniqueness of the region as well as to understand the larger global issues facing it. “The connections between a given region and the world at large provide insights about the overarching human systems that shape daily life everywhere: society, culture, politics and economics,” Keith says. By providing students significant opportunities for fieldbased learning and community research, Keith has given the College a new way to connect to its homeplace. Leslie Rhyne Springs ’08 majored in global studies with a double concentration in Appalachian studies and women’s studies.


T R I A D N E WS Faculty teach sustainable decision making in Iowa Susan Kask, economics/business professor, and Laura Lengnick, environmental studies/ sustainable agriculture professor, traveled to Iowa in December to lead a workshop on their recently released Sustainable Decision Tool for Farmers Guide. The workshop

Lengnick and Kask guided farmers as they selected and prioritized a set of indicators specific to their farms, personalized performance charts for each indicator that they selected and created a sustainability profile for their farms. Farmers in the workshop will use the sustainability profile as a management tool to monitor farm performance and evaluate the impact of management options on farm profitability, family well-being and environmental quality. The farmers participating in the workshop will be surveyed before, immediately after and then six months following the workshop to provide Kask and Lengnick with data concerning the ease of the guide’s use and its effectiveness both as a monitoring tool and as a means of improving confidence in farm management decisions.

The Practical Farmers of Iowa is a non-profit, educational organization that began in 1985 and now has over 700 members in Iowa and neighboring states. Its mission is to research, develop and promote profitable, ecologically sound and communityenhancing approaches to agriculture.

was one in a series of educational programs included in the Next Generation, a project funded by the Practical Farmers of Iowa to help beginning farmers thrive and farm families transition their operations to the next generation. The two-day workshop focused on teaching farmers how to use the guide to create a farm sustainability profile. The profile is useful to management decisions and to using two choice models to support the selection of “best fit” enterprise and farmland protection options for their farms.

The Practical Farmers of Iowa is a nonprofit, educational organization that began in 1985 and now has over 700 members in Iowa and neighboring states. Its mission is to research, develop and promote profitable, ecologically sound and communityenhancing approaches to agriculture. The organization supports programs to assist farmers with both production and marketing needs, to raise public awareness of where food comes from and how it is grown, and to educate youth about agriculture and the environment.

Blossman helps expand clean propane mower program Asheville’s Blossman Gas and the College are expanding an innovative program to use clean, economical propane-powered mowing equipment. These commercial mowers produce 80% less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional gasoline mowers. The mowers are fueled on campus at the propane fueling station, which is already used to fuel several mowers and a range of propane vehicles. Blossman worked with the College to offset the cost of the mowers by arranging a leasing agreement. “We have a history of working with Warren Wilson to help them implement clean fueling solutions on their beautiful campus,” says David Finder, energy programs manager at Blossman.



FACULT Y&STAFF NE WS “Development of a Parcel-Based Density Analysis Tool to Evaluate Growth Patterns in Western North Carolina,” an article by global studies professor David Abernathy and colleagues, was published in the Journal of Conservation Planning. Physical plant director Paul Braese taught a class, “Sustainability and Your Campus,” at the 2009 College Business Management Institute hosted by the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers. He also presented “Campus Heritage of Service and Sustainability: Warren Wilson College” at the 2009 Southern Regional Conference for the Society for College and University Planning.

John Crutchfield wins Outstanding Solo Show at FringeNYC 2009 If Robert were A dog, he’d purr “That’s just one small, delightful example of the extraordinary poetry that floods The Songs of Robert, a gorgeous solo show written and performed by [WWC writing professor] John Crutchfield,” says reviewer Martin Denton on The verse play ran for five performances at the Milagro Theatre on Suffolk Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, garnered positive reviews and won the FringeNYC Festival’s Overall Excellence Award for Outstanding Solo Show. For the New York production, Crutchfield worked closely with director Steve Samuels, artistic director of the Magnetic Theatre in Asheville, and producer Chall Gray. The script appears in Plays and Playwrights 2010.


Environmental Leadership Center education coordinator Stan Cross presented “Effective Student Engagement Leads to a Sustainability-Centered Campus Culture,” a workshop at the 2009 Greening of the Campus Conference hosted by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Music professor Milton Crotts has conducted the Asheville Chamber Players and the Symphony for United Nations. In addition, he led the College Chorale and Folk Choir in performances at the St. Matthias Church Concert Series, Asheville School Vespers, Lake Eden Arts Festival and the annual Harvest Service at the Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church and College Chapel. A review of Ian A. Burney’s book Poison, Detection, and the Victorian Imagination by Echo Crew supervisor Mark Essig appeared in Bulletin of the History of Medicine. History/political science professor Dongping Han’s scholarly activities include the article “Farmers, Mao and Discontent in China” in Monthly Review; the chapter “It Is Social Justice, Not Economic Growth, That Matters: A Reflection on July 5 Racial Riots in Xinjiang, China” in Celebrating Life in Struggle: A Tribute to Hari Sharma; and the introduction for the Chinese translation of Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Tim Weiner.

In addition to her role as church relations director at the College, Julie Lehman also coordinates Presbyterians for Earth Care, a nonprofit organization that trains and equips Presbyterians, their congregations and governing bodies to promote environmental responsibility and awareness. Paul Magnarella, director of peace and justice studies, authored “Structuralism and Human Materialism: An Article in Honour of Professor David Maybury-Lewis,” in Oriental Anthropologist and “Central Asia Becomes a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone” in Peace Chronicle. He presented a report on his research, “Traditional African Reconciliation Practices and their Possible Transplants in the US South,” at the Southern Anthropological Society annual meeting. Magnarella also participated in the swimming competitions at the U.S. Senior Olympics, placing third in the 100-yard individual medley, fourth in the 50-yard backstroke and fifth in the 50-yard butterfly events. In September he competed in the North Carolina Senior Olympics, placing first in three events. Outdoor leadership/environmental studies professor Mallory McDuff participated in an interfaith pilgrimage to bear witness to mountaintop removal in eastern Kentucky. McDuff featured the pilgrimage as a chapter in her book, Natural Saints: How People of Faith are Working to Save God’s Earth, forthcoming from Oxford University Press. Library director Chris Nugent’s article “History Textbooks and Historical Consciousness: An Exploration Focusing on the Contested Historiography of the German Peasants’ War of 1525,” was published in Tuckasegee Valley Historical Review. Her review of the book Between the Middle Ages and Modernity: Individual and Community in the Early Modern World appeared in Itinerario.


FAC U LT Y& S TA F F N E WS History/political science professor Philip Otterness delivered the opening keynote address at an academic conference in Mainz, Germany, marking the 300th anniversary of large-scale German migration to America. The title of his talk was “The Palatines of New York: First Arrivals as Exemplars and Exceptions.” Writing professor Catherine Reid has an essay, “ When an Ox Blinks,” forthcoming in Redivider: A Journal of New Literature and Art. She was the journal’s featured writer in December 2009. Another essay, “ When a Fox Skull No Longer Points Home,” appeared in Hunger Mountain, the journal of Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sociology professor Laura Vance made the following conference presentations: “The Evolution of Sexual Norms in Mormonism and Seventh-day Adventism” at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Women’s Studies Association; “From Polygamy to Proposition 8: Evolving Sexual Norms in Mormonism and Adventism” at Queer Art/Queer Actions (Politics of Possibility); and “‘Not a Hand Should be Bound, Not a Soul Discouraged’: Ellen White’s Writings on Women,” at The Ellen White Project conference. Alissa Whelan, MFA Program office manager, was awarded a grant by the Asheville Area Arts Council to fund a photography show. The show will be comprised of portraits from the Lake Eden Arts Festival. One of her images appears on the back cover of this Owl & Spade.

David Moore and colleagues receive DAR medal Warren Wilson archaeology professor David Moore and fellow archaeologists Robin Beck and Christopher Rodning have been selected to receive the Daughters of the American Revolution History Award Medal for their ongoing research at the Berry archaeological site near Morganton, North Carolina. The award goes to an “individual or group whose study… has significantly advanced the understanding of America’s past.” The 12-acre Berry site along Upper Creek is the location of an ancestral Catawba Indian town named Joara, at which the Spanish captain Juan Pardo built Fort San Juan in 1567. The garrison was the earliest European settlement in the interior of what is now the United States, predating the “Lost Colony” by 20 years. With the aid of the nonprofit Exploring Joara Foundation, Moore and colleagues are researching the long-forgotten episode of Fort San Juan’s founding and subsequent fiery destruction in the spring of 1568. Professors Beck, of the University of Oklahoma, and Rodning, of Tulane University, are working with Moore to help write this early story of European exploration and settlement in eastern North America. Warren Wilson and Western Piedmont Community College also lead a field school at the site each summer. On the Web: and

Dave Ellum works to raise the profile of the College forest Forestry/environmental studies professor Dave Ellum’s article “Floristic Diversity in Managed Forests: Demography and Physiology of Understory Plants Following Disturbance in Southern New England Forests” appeared in Journal of Sustainable Forestry. Another of his articles, “Proactive Coevolution: Staying Ahead of Invasive Species in the Face of Climate Change and Uncertainty,” appeared in Forest Wisdom. As the College’s forest director, Ellum has been working to raise the profile of the College forest as a regional demonstration site for sustainable forestry practices. As part of this effort, he and the Forestry Crew have hosted the Land Trust Alliance, the Forest Guild, and Paul Smith’s College for meetings and tours of the College forest.



Aida Torres White ’41 Remembers Asheville Farm School Several months ago, not long after I joined the Warren Wilson Office of Advancement, I was talking to a friend of mine from high school and college days. During the conversation, I told him of my job change. My friend told me that his mother had attended Warren Wilson for a while, but it was sort of by mistake. That piqued my interest. A few weeks later, I visited Mrs. Aida Torres White in her Brevard home and found that she had attended the College’s foundation institution, Asheville Farm School, in 1940 and was probably one of the first girls to attend. Her coming to the Farm School actually was a mistake. She was coming from Cuba to attend Montreat College; through a series of events beyond her control, she ended up here in Swannanoa. Her recollections of being a 16-year-old girl who spoke no English suddenly living among a group of boys from Appalachia are both comical and inspiring. She is writing a memoir of her life and allowed us to publish excerpts. Thank you to Mrs. White for sharing her memories. – Don Harris, Director of Development


ean Jensen and his wife were waiting to take me to their school. They were very nice. I found out that Dean Jensen was fluent in Spanish. It was wonderful. I had worried about my arrival without an interpreter. It was mid-May 1940. When we arrived at the school, it was already dark. I could hardly see any of the surroundings and had no idea where they were taking me. When we stopped, Dean Jensen explained that I was going to stay at the College president’s house for a couple of days. The house was big and beautiful, surrounded by many trees. I had the impression that it was the only house in the area. Of course, it was too dark to see anything. Dean Jensen told me that in the morning someone would take me to the school. Unfortunately, I could not go to sleep. I was remembering that my trunk did not come with me in the train. That night I slept in the clothes I wore on my trip hoping my trunk would arrive soon. The next morning I felt as if I were having a nightmare. Then I recognized the house and remembered why I was there. Waiting for someone made me very anxious. It was a beautiful morning, so I went outside. What I saw was spectacular! The woods and forest surrounding the house were quite different from the Mother Nature of my country. The leaves made a variety of brilliant green tones. But there was more—I lifted my eyes to the blue sky. Instead of tropical horizon, I saw the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains around me. I was in awe. It was quiet except for birdsongs and a soft breeze against the leaves. I still remember looking at the scenery, like a gift of reverence and comfort. I was no longer anxious. ——— 16


Those young men at the school were very special. Even though there was a language barrier, they treated me well. For the first days, I was never alone. I believe they were concerned that I might get lost on campus. I was the first female student in the school. The difficult adjustment was on both the students’ side and mine. But I never had any problems with the students. They were courteous, helpful and as time went by, I felt protected by all of them. Many of them had a small Spanish-English dictionary. I believe this was Dean Jensen’s idea, and he was probably the distributor. I also had one, and it was fun to try to carry on conversations with the boys. I made many friends. My relationships with students, professors, the administration, including Dr. Bannerman, were good. Dr. Jensen became my mentor, protector, counselor and interpreter, in short, my earthly life savior. ——— Not long after I arrived, I realized I was witnessing a change of seasons. I never saw this in my home country, Cuba, where the change of seasons is never as intense and noticeable as in cooler regions. Summer was gone, leaving the forest full of greenery as the impressive autumn arrived converting the mountains and forest into paintings of multiple colors all done by invisible hands of angels guided by our omnipotent God. SPRING 2010

Then winter arrived, and I saw snow for the first time in my life. I thought I was dreaming. It was so beautiful, just like in the American movies. I remember seeing pictures of movie stars lying in the snow, and I wanted to have my picture made the same way so I could send it back to Cuba. I asked a couple of students if they would help me with the picture. In short, my plan to have my picture taken in the snow was a fiasco. The moral of the story is this: someone should have told me the movie stars were lying in artificial snow instead of the real thing. I was in real snow and almost froze! A week or so before our Christmas vacation, classrooms were decorated for the season —my first Christmas in the country. I went to class and sat in my usual place in the first row. When the students entered the room, they stopped one at a time, hurriedly bent over, lightly kissed me and ran to their seats. There was a line of boys from my chair to the door, and I didn’t understand what was going on. When the teacher arrived, students went to their seats. I later learned that someone had hung mistletoe from the ceiling right above my seat. They knew I was unfamiliar with being under mistletoe at Christmas. The teacher took me out of the room and explained the fun people have with mistletoe. He said the boys did not mean to hurt me. I went back to the class

and told them, “I forgive you, but I want you to know I have some Cuban tricks I might use on you….” No one should be insulted for a few pecks on the cheek for fun, but after this experience I could not say, “I am 16 and have not been kissed.” My time at the Asheville Farm School for Boys was nearing an end. The Department of Missions of the Southern Presbyterian Convention had finally arranged for me to transfer to nearby Montreat College as originally planned when I left Cuba. I transferred in September 1941. I have great memories of the Farm School—I felt safe, loved, and I was learning the English language! ——— If you would like to share memories of Asheville Farm School or Warren Wilson College, email


A CONUNDRUM: IT’S GOOD TO BE HOME Story by Pat Willever Images by Ross Crawford

Youthfulness—it’s the first thing people noticed about Ross Crawford when he arrived from Northern Ireland in 2004 to spend his junior year at Warren Wilson. With his slight build, short stature and freckled cheeks, he looked much too young to be in America taking college classes. Ross agrees. “When I flew to Asheville on my last leg from Ireland, my seatmate was a woman who led hiking tours in the Blue Ridge Mountains,” he recalls. “She’d heard of Warren Wilson College, but she was somewhere between disbelief and worry when I told her that I was going to be a student there. Eri Wantanabi ’07 picked me up, but she, too, thought I was someone younger. After looking in my direction for about twenty minutes she came up to me and asked timidly if I was Ross.” Soon it was evident that Ross, an early participant in an international student exchange program between Warren Wilson and the University of Ulster at Coleraine, was older and much more mature than he appeared. “I’d applied through the Business Education Initiative to study in America,” Ross explains. “After a handful of meetings and a couple of grueling interviews, I filled out a rather detailed questionnaire, saying that I’d prefer to be placed in a college where everything was in the one campus, preferably in the country but not more than a stone’s throw from a town. I was also trying to stay clear of anywhere with a big focus on dress sense or image. I also mentioned my interest in the environment and sustainability, and I think that sealed the deal. Shortly after reaching the Warren Wilson campus, I felt I’d arrived in the right place. It didn’t take me long to gather that the people were friendly, genuine and unpretentious. The landscape was beautiful; I immediately felt at home.” Ross had already established a car detailing business in Ireland, successful enough to cover most of his college expenses. At Warren Wilson, as a member of the 18

Ross at Cliff Tops, Mt. LeConte

Purchasing Crew, he continued to explore and define his interest in business. The timing of his arrival was propitious. Deborah Anstrom, purchasing director, and June Seifert, purchasing volunteer, had begun working at the College just a few weeks earlier. Ross became part of the team that completely reorganized the office, procedures and the accounting system. He learned much from that experience and soon began to call June Seifert “O.M.,” his Other Mother. “Deborah was so well organized and methodical, and to this day remains a real inspiration,” he recalls. “She reorganized everything from simple forms to complicated accounting procedures, and taught me what she was doing as things moved along. She understood that I liked the challenge of big projects, and gave me a much broader perspective of business in general than I’d had before.” At first Ross struggled academically because he didn’t understand what was expected of him. Deborah and June worked with him in that area and helped him learn to make time for both academics and work. “They also taught me,” he says, “that it’s important to take your work seriously, but it’s equally important to have fun.”

Ross said, in an article in the fall 2004 WWC Facebook, “The most difficult thing I have found to adjust to here is the teaching style, even though in many ways it’s better than the method practiced by my uni. I study business here and I find the approach to teaching is much more studentled and discussion-based; in Ireland, the lecturer would lead the class and you would simply copy down the facts. Each has their advantages, but it’ll take a while to adjust after 14 years of a different method! No bad thing; gaining an international perspective is what I’m here for.” Ross took courses from then business professor John Showalter, who took him under his wing. “He gave me an insight into American expectations of students so I knew what to aim for and that enabled me to improve my grades. In his classes we were assigned business problems and had to come up with solutions. Approaching a challenge and figuring a way to resolve it is an important life lesson. I use the skills I learned in his class in my work now,” Ross says. Ross says his best memories are the things that make Warren Wilson truly unique, including the people. He worked through the challenges of living with a sometimes


incompatible roommate. He wore out four bicycles, often riding to Craggy Gardens and once to Mount Mitchell. One spring morning he started a hike up Greybeard Mountain in Montreat, wearing a tee shirt and shorts. By the time he reached the summit the weather had changed, and he descended the mountain in a snowstorm.

free raffle to give away his bicycle, a box of Lucky Charms cereal and the shirt off his back. Ross returned to Northern Ireland, but he continues to have strong ties to Warren Wilson. After graduating from the University of Ulster with a B.A. honors degree in retail management, he came back to the College for summer 2006.

He took photos everywhere he went, accumulating several thousand photos. As he explained, every day spent at Warren Wilson brought along something fun or new that was worth capturing. His pictures include images from September 2004, when Hurricane Frances brought floods that raised the Swannanoa River seven feet above normal and flooded the roads and farm fields. He was out with his camera again on September 16 documenting the damage done when Hurricane Ivan bashed the campus and wreaked havoc with our water supply. “I actually enjoyed the hurricanes because it was all a bit of an adventure. We have nothing like that back home, and since it happened so early in the new school year it really brought the campus together to ride it out.”

Ross has hosted Wilson students in Ireland several times, taking them on circle tours tailored to their interests. In January 2008, three of his Warren Wilson friends —students taking a WorldWide course, The City and Stage: Theatre History and Criticism in London, with David Mycoff— extended their trip to include a visit to Ireland. Charlotte Lawrence ’08, Bobby Bailey ’09 and Franklin Stone ’09 took a train to Wales and then a ferry to Dublin, where Ross picked them up. Franklin, a recent graduate, says, “We got to see a lot of the countryside in a short time. Ross knew all of the most interesting places to go, and it was a really cool adventure.”

Before Ross left campus to return to Northern Ireland at the end of the academic year, he asked some of his friends to help him with one last photograph. He wanted them to gather in the farm field after supper for a group photo shoot. “I stole the photograph idea from the centerfold of an old Warren Wilson publication. It seemed like a great way to capture the one thing that had amazed me right from the day I arrived at Wilson—the people.” It was a beautiful evening and, although it was in the middle of exam week, over 140 people came out to greet him. He got the photograph he wanted. After the photo shoot he held a

Ross has continued to maintain strong connections with many of his WWC friends, and emails his “O.M.” weekly. He is realizing the value of the business experience he gained through the Work Program. In his job he utilizes his business skills as office manager and controller at Eyekiller, a web design firm in Bangor, about twelve miles from Belfast. He has played a major role in reorganizing the business, allowing it to grow and thrive, and credits the successes he has had to the lessons learned through the Warren Wilson College Work Program. In August 2009 Ross returned to campus. He was two inches taller and fifteen pounds heavier, with a closely-trimmed, reddish beard and the same combination of serious

Lunar tree from Mt. LeConte

intent and good humor. He quickly adapted the speech patterns he’d learned here earlier, merging his Irish brogue with the local dialect and speaking with an accent he identifies as Irish-Southern. “My year here was probably the single most significant one in shaping who I am today, and it’s great to come back every once in a while to relive a little bit of it again,” he says. Ross is now twenty-five years old. He has a house, a job he loves, and knows he needs to live his life there. He has just one problem, one conundrum, one unsolvable puzzle that complicates his life: When he’s at Warren Wilson he says, over and over again, “It’s good to be home.”

Ross took many photos of the 2004 floods, including this one of Warren Wilson Road.





RETURN, R E C O N N E C T, REMINISCE Homecoming and Family Weekend is a fall tradition at Warren Wilson College. Alumni, parents, grandparents and friends come to campus for a weekend of eating barbecue, square dancing, reuniting with friends, visiting work crews, participating in service projects and immersing themselves in Warren Wilson life. At 2009 Homecoming, vibrant autumn colors and the warm sunshine supplied the perfect backdrop to this special time of community building at the College. Thanks to all of you who joined us in 2009. Make plans to return, reconnect and reminisce October 1-3, 2010.

On the Web: 




Environmental studies/global studies major Nora Purcell ’09 enjoys her coffee on the EcoDorm front porch.


By Samantha Contis


n September 2009, I spent four days at the greenest dorm in the United States. I was on assignment taking pictures for the New York Times Magazine of the first student residence in the country to receive Leed Platinum certification—the most prestigious level of certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council—in the Existing Buildings category. Warren Wilson’s EcoDorm, home to 36 undergrads, has composting toilets, kitchen cabinets made from recycled fence posts, a bike rack forged at the school’s blacksmith shop and a permaculture garden. If you visit, leave your hair dryer at home. While I was there, students were off to race mountain bikes, make pizza in the school’s brick oven, go shiitake mushroom hunting or complete their school assignment of identifying trees on campus. In the EcoDorm garden, I ran into Cella looking for veggies for her morning omelet and, later that afternoon, saw Dylan gathering pizza toppings. Inside the dorm, almonds dried on window screens and a bowl of grapes from vines outside the second story window sat on the coffee table. Biology major Jeremy Lekich ’10 takes care of the EcoDorm permaculture garden.


For a project in her statistics class, Cella found that each person in the dorm owned, on average, five musical instruments. That didn’t surprise me too much: music constantly filled the halls—accordions, mandolins, fiddles, banjos, harmonicas and voice harmonizing.


Biology major Emilene Whidbee ’10 hangs her laundry outside the EcoDorm.

During meal times it wasn’t unusual to witness Asa and Jeremy waltzing around the kitchen or for Jeremy and Dylan starting a drum session on the inside of the kitchen sink. Jeremy had to explain permaculture to me—an approach to gardening where the garden is designed in such a way that it becomes self-sufficient. It seems to be a philosophy to which all of EcoDorm subscribes. Everyone here cares greatly for the environment and for each other; together, they have created a sustainable home. My last day at the dorm was a warm Sunday morning. Emilene hung her laundry on the line next to the giant array of solar panels at the back of the dorm, and the residents and I gathered outside for brunch. Everyone had made something and together, hands locked and raised into the air, with an exclamation of gratitude, we dug in. On the Web:

When Your Dorm Goes Green and Local: SPRING 2010

Environmental studies major Hannah Ingelsby ’10 does journal work in the EcoDorm permaculture garden.


Showcasing a multi-talented man

whose impact lives on By Jack Igelman Among the belongings of Henry “Doc” Jensen enshrined in a display framed by cherry and walnut in Jensen Hall are his magnifying glass; a book he authored; a photo of him painting at an easel; and, at the center of the showcase, his guitar. Despite having been refurbished, the six-string that Jensen played left handed and upside down is time-worn and well used, like fine silver passed among generations. It is the guitar that accompanied him many times as he sang his original songs and ballads, delighting students and faculty at social gatherings, banquets and at chapel during his four decades at the College. Six years ago, Lucy Faile ’54, a dear friend of Doc Jensen and his wife Thekla, approached Billy Edd Wheeler ’53. “Lucy had the guitar and said she didn’t know what to do with it,” recalls Wheeler, who accepted it, only to allow it to collect dust in a closet at his Swannanoa studio. Two years later, Wheeler decided it deserved a better home. That’s when he hatched the idea to create the showcase in homage to the school’s much admired and beloved former dean. The permanence of the display, which was unveiled at 2009 Homecoming, is a fitting tribute to Jensen, who planned to stay only a year after having arrived at the Asheville Farm School in 1933 with a Ph.D. in botany from Harvard. Instead, he stayed for 42. While Jensen anticipated a career in research and university teaching, academic jobs were scarce at the time, so he accepted a position instructing agriculture and chemistry for a third of the regular faculty salary. Although the New Englander initially found Southern mountain customs unfamiliar, for a botanist the biodiversity of the Carolina mountains was a paradise. As the Depression worsened, Jensen settled in at the Farm School, becoming a champion of the mission. In 1942, he was named dean of the newly organized Warren Wilson Vocational Junior College. He held that position for more than 30 years.

The permanence of the commemorative display, of former Henry “Doc” Jensen’s most treasured belongings, unveiled at the

In a history of the College Jensen authored in 1974, he described himself as “a disturber of the peace, always pushing for change.” Jensen was indeed a maverick and an enthusiastic participant in discussions about the Farm School’s future. While his scope and lofty standards challenged some, he also broadened the views of many. Jenson, with longtime School president Arthur Bannerman, forged a vision that would eventually transform the school into a four-year liberal arts institution with a distinguished faculty and student body from all over the world. Still, Jensen, who died in 1975, never lost sight of the school’s commitment to serve impoverished young people from the mountains, and in his four decades at the College, he encouraged and inspired dozens of Appalachian men and women to reap the benefits of a first-rate education. Billy Edd Wheeler is among them.

2009 Homecoming, is a fitting tribute to the man who planned to stay only a year after having arrived at the Asheville Farm School in 1933. 24


In 1948 Wheeler, born and raised in West Virginia coal country, came to Western North Carolina having been lured to the Farm School by the Presbyterian mission. Happy to leave the economically challenged region and to play baseball while working for tuition, he finished a year of high school on campus and then enrolled as an English major in the junior college. On arrival he was warmly welcomed by Bannerman, who became a father figure to Wheeler and ultimately his father-in-law (Wheeler married his daughter Mary). But it was Jensen who became his role model. Wheeler was drawn to Jensen because they shared the same inclination to express themselves through art: painting, song and poetry. Wheeler was particularly fond of listening to Jensen describe visiting potential students in remote corners of Appalachia. “When he told stories, his English was so precise it was as if he was reading verbatim out of a book. He had a great command of the language,” says Wheeler. “It was always great to hear Doc talk about going someplace like Madison County, then coming back and writing a song about it.” Among the keepsakes in the display is an original recording of his songs and ballads, which Wheeler remastered as a compact disc under the title “The Songs of Doc Jensen” in order to raise funds for the display. Initially, however, Wheeler admired Jensen from a distance. “I was intimidated by him. He wasn’t the type of guy who’d throw his arm around you and give you a hug,” Wheeler explains. “His great warmth came from the songs he played.” Their relationship changed during Christmas break of 1950, when Wheeler stuck around campus. “I had written a poem, and I thought it was good enough for Doc to read,” says Wheeler, who remembers a magical evening blanketed with ankle-deep snow as he walked to Jensen’s home, unsure of the reception he would receive. “It took a lot of nerve for me to do that and interrupt his evening, but he was very cordial.” Wheeler was welcomed graciously and sat down with Jensen in front of a fire. “The room was a beautiful setting, but what I remember are Doc’s eyes,” says Wheeler. “He was very nearsighted. He had thick glasses and would take a paper right to them. His head would shake nervously back and forth.” What began as an unnerving episode for Wheeler turned into a momentous one. He recalls that Jensen didn’t say much as he gazed at the poem. Eventually, Jensen walked upstairs and returned with a handful of his own poems in progress. “After that, I was there quite a while,” Wheeler says. “He got out a book of Robert Frost poems and read his favorites. I thought, ‘This is the best stuff I’ve ever heard,’” Wheeler says. “He read ‘Mending Wall,’ ‘Birches’ and ‘The Road Not Taken.’

In a history of the College Jensen authored in 1974, he described himself as “a disturber of the peace, always pushing for change.” Jensen was indeed a maverick and an enthusiastic participant in discussions about the Farm School’s future. While his scope and lofty standards challenged some, he also broadened the views of many.



At that point, Jensen’s role as his mentor was sealed. After leaving Warren Wilson, Wheeler completed a degree at Berea College in Kentucky, studied playwriting at Yale and forged a successful career as a songwriter. Wheeler’s songs have sold nearly 60 million units. Among his accolades is a place in the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Association International Hall of Fame. He has penned songs for musical giants like Elvis, Johnny Cash, the Kingston Trio and Kenny Rogers. Wheeler has also authored plays, books of humor, and several collections of poetry. While Wheeler learned to sharpen his songwriting craft in later years, he credits his success to Jensen. “Some are on a train wreck with success and Billy Edd is one of them, but his talent blossomed here,” says Wheeler’s friend Rodney Lytle, Warren Wilson’s interim alumni relations director. “Doc Jensen drew it out—he recognized his talent and helped him push it to the next level.”


However, it wasn’t only Wheeler and students from the mountains whose lives Jensen helped form. True to his training as a botanist, he was never without a single-lens microscope and encouraged his students to be curious about nature. Wheeler says that in the classroom Jensen was known as a challenging but popular teacher. Jensen also urged faculty to be creative and demanding; according to Mark Banker ’73 in his 90th anniversary history of the College, Jensen once scolded the faculty for their unenthusiastic singing in chapel. Yet what many agree is perhaps Jensen’s most noble accomplishment was setting the stage for the enrollment of the College’s first African American student. While Bannerman and Jensen had put the word out in the late 1940s that the College was interested in integrating, it was finally in 1952—two years before the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown decision —that a group of Warren Wilson students befriended Alma Lee Shippy at a Swannanoa church. One of the students, Marvin Lail, suggested to the administration that they consider Shippy. “Doc called us into the hall

at Sunderland and told us about Shippy. He wanted to know if we would support it,” recalls Wheeler. The school’s male students voted nearly unanimously (one of 55 votes was opposed) to support integrating the College. “They transcended the thing called Jim Crow. They extended the welcome and said ‘come,’” explains Lytle, who credits the College’s culture of tolerance to people like Bannerman, Wheeler and Jensen. Lytle also remembers the warm reception he himself received at the College as an African American student in the late 1960s. Having access to higher education is something he didn’t take for granted, and it’s a link that many students at Warren Wilson, then and now, share with Wheeler and Shippy. The same year Shippy enrolled, Jensen outlined a vision to create a “Presbyterian International College” to open the doors to students from abroad. Some criticized the direction as a sharp turn from the school’s traditional mission of serving students from Appalachia and argued that cultural and language barriers would be difficult to


overcome. Jensen, however, believed that broadening the school’s sense of purpose and attracting a more diverse student body would give traditional students a broader world view, challenge prejudices and help develop a greater compassion and sensitivity for those who suffer. And seldom did Jensen take no for an answer. “If he were convinced he was right, he didn’t hesitate to make a decision,” wrote Banker in his history of the College. By the early 1960s roughly 20 percent of students came from abroad. Jensen was also a champion of the School’s work program and argued persuasively that service to others be a vital aspect of the School’s unique curriculum. Despite the accomplishments that helped form the modern image of the College, Jensen’s greatest legacy may be much more personal. His enthusiasm for attracting the disadvantaged to the valley may have something to do with the transformative aspect of being in an unfamiliar but extraordinary setting—an experience to which Jensen could relate and wanted to share. “Like many of the Appalachian kids who came, they were grateful for the opportunity to study here,” says Ben Anderson, the College’s director of media relations. “I think Doc proved to many students that a lot is possible for a poor kid from Appalachia.”

Although the guitar at the center of the display has deep meaning to Wheeler, the truth is that he found it difficult to play. Wheeler helped Jensen choose a new guitar, a Martin that Wheeler inherited and often uses. What may be even more meaningful to him is the College’s Alma Mater, written by Jensen. Wheeler considers it the best college anthem he’s ever heard and hard evidence of the high standards Jensen embodied and demonstrated unfailingly to students and faculty at the College. “He was probably the greatest influence in my life to make me think I could write and play songs that were worth anything. But there are hundreds of stories like mine,” says Wheeler, who dedicated his first collection of poetry, “Song of a Woods Colt,” to Jensen. “He motivated us to try and achieve what he tried to achieve. Doc’s supreme act was touching so many lives.”

True to his training as a botanist, Jensen was never without a single-lens microscope and encouraged his students to be curious about nature.

Not surprisingly, when Wheeler spearheaded the effort with Fran Moffitt Whitfield ’55 to create the Doc Jensen showcase, it wasn’t hard to find others who wanted to honor Jensen, including Lucy Faile ’54, Richard Bellando ’59, Jack Allison ’63, Birgithe Bloch-Thomsen ’65, Beverly Ohler, Tom Showalter and John Casey.



A LUMNI NOTES College Chapel facelift


fter waiting patiently for several years, the Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church and College Chapel recently received a facelift. At the request of the church congregation and with their financial support, student work crews pressure washed the chapel exterior. This thorough cleaning also served to remove a troublesome layer of mold that had been growing in the wood over the years. The Paint Crew then applied a coat of environmentally friendly stain to protect the wood from carpenter bees and the woodpeckers that feed on their larvae. The stain is a little darker than the Chapel’s natural color, but this particular stain also protects the wood from ongoing damage from the sun’s UV rays. –Steve Runholt College Chaplain and Church Pastor

Smith joins fellow WWC alumnus on Asheville City Council With the November 2009 election of Gordon Smith ’94, Warren Wilson College has two young alumni on the six-member Asheville City Council. Smith joins fellow alumnus Brownie Newman ’02, now in his second city council term. Smith is a licensed child and family therapist who grew up in central Florida. Newman, originally from upstate South Carolina, is director of outreach and education for the Conservation Council of North Carolina. They reflect the significant impact that alumni of relatively small Warren Wilson College continue to have on the largest city in the North Carolina mountains.



A LUM N I N OT E S Dispatches—2009 International Photo Contest winners Every fall, the College’s International Programs Office invites students, faculty and staff to submit photographs from travels abroad. Photo submissions are displayed, and WWC community members vote for their favorites.

People’s Choice Award Yaks grazing in the high plateau of Tibet north of Lhasa. George Pilzer ’10 took this photo while on the study abroad course HIS 377: Continuity and Change in Urban and Rural China, taught by Dongping Han.

Best Cross-Cultural Photo A group of high school students and children from the community crossed more than the language barrier during a game of Red Rover. Madeline Baay ’13 snapped this image while traveling in the village of El Chonco, Nicaragua. On the Web:







after 25 years of teaching music. She continues as an organist at Central College Presbyterian Church in Westerville, Ohio. She has three grown children and six grandchildren, all of whom are beautiful. Her husband of 46 years died in 2005. She currently enjoys choir, friends and patio gatherings. And music, of course.

living in Utah since retiring four years ago. She is a lay speaker for the United Methodist Church, and also their South Jordan coordinator in helping displaced families through an organization called Family Promise. She has ten grandchildren – five boys and five girls. She is also a substitute teacher for the Jordan school district.

well after donating a kidney in May 2008 to her girlfriend who had polycystic kidney disease. She started a new veterinary surgical practice in Berkeley, California, in June 2009. Her five-year plan is to return to Western North Carolina, where she’ll teach her urban girlfriend the joys of country living. Contact her at

in South Newfane, Vermont, living with her boyfriend, their cat, and a flock of chickens. While her recently opened acupuncture practice grows, she works parttime as an artist and cross-country ski instructor.

Darlene Wolfe ’54 has retired

Matthew M. Whong ’56 has a

Jane C. “Betty” Tago ’61 has been

memoir, Power of Dream, Love, Mission: My Memoir of 54 Years in the U.S. The book has been published in three languages— English, Korean, and Portuguese. All money raised by the book goes to missions. Classmates can contact him at mkwhong@aol. com.

Robert Deabenderfer ’64 is

Joyce (Lunsford) Osterman ’57


is working for Woodmen of the World. She has three sons and seven grandchildren. She would love to hear from her classmates. Evelyn Coskey ’58 is currently

living at the Advent Christian Village in Dowling Park, Florida.

teaching part-time at a junior college after teaching English for 39 years at Hillsboro High School in Illinois. He also serves on the Montgomery County Board and covers sports for the local paper, the Hillsboro-Journal News. His grandchildren live next door. J. Kim Wright ’81 has been named

as one of the American Bar Association Journal’s Legal Rebels, a group of 50 change makers and innovators in the profession. Bentley Wilkinson ’85 retired

from the state of North Carolina in November 2008. He now travels and divides time between his home in North Carolina, his apartment in Bangkok, and doing charity work in Vietnam. Sandra S. Doyle ’84 was honored

to be included in a group of 12 educators that studied tropical ecology in Belize last summer. Sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Educators of Excellence program, the group stayed in a jaguar preserve and on an island preserve. Beth (Mann) Woodward ’89

received a master of divinity degree from the Wake Forest University Divinity School in 2008 and completed a year of postgraduate study at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in 2009. She is serving a yearlong internship as a candidate for ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.


Christine Hillard ’93 is happy and

Paul Koons ’93 went on to earn

a master’s from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in low vision rehabilitation and has trained blind and visually impaired persons of all ages in Colorado, New York and California. He married in Santorini, Greece, in 2004 and has a daughter, Echo. Paul currently works with braininjured soldiers experiencing vision deficits. He would love to hear from the 1990 baseball team. Krisha Song Parkey Miller ’93

gave birth to her daughter, Mataya Zann Miller, on July 5, 2009. Labor began on July 4, 2009 at the wedding of Paul Weissburg ’92. Ben Stanford ’97 and family are

moving back to the East Coast after two years of working for the Southern Nevada Water Authority. He will build and direct his own research team as director of applied research for Hazen and Sawyer in New York. In his new capacity, he will have the opportunity to visit the Northeast, North Carolina, and Florida, and looks forward to reconnecting with his friends and family back east. Douglas Korb ’99 and Erika (Haupt) Korb ’01 welcomed their

son, Walker Florian Korb, into the world on October 22, 2009.

Rebecca Stott ’00 is happily settled

Kat Travis Coy ’01 remains a

counselor at Knoxville Catholic High School. She was recently named High School Counselor of the Year for the state of Tennessee. Sky Stephens ’01 started a new

job in September 2009 as forest entomologist for the Colorado State Forest Service. She expects to be a very busy “bugs and crud” professional, as her responsibilities include managing insect and disease issues of Colorado from the mountain pine beetle to thousand cankers disease. Joel Bassett ’05 and Brianna Quick ’07 were married in the

WWC Formal Gardens on campus this past August, with the reception being held at the Morris’ Community Pavilion. WWC professor Jeanne Sommer and Khenpo Tsultrim Tenzin, a monk from Maryland, officiated. Over half of the wedding party were WWC alumni, and Ingrid Johnson ’04 performed with her Runaway Circus at the reception. Mary Lopresti ’07 was promoted

to aviation safety assistant with the FAA. She writes articles for Habitat Herald, a newsletter published by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy in Northern Virginia. She misses friends, faculty and staff from her time at Warren Wilson, and hopes to see them if they’re ever in her area.

Allison (Rousek) Marsigli ’99 and

her husband, Jamie, welcomed their first child, Seppi Rebecca, on April 5, 2009. They live in Raleigh with their three dogs, including GU. Allison works part time as a veterinary technician.



M FA B O O K S H E L F Marisha Chamberlain ’80

The Rose Variations, a novel, has been published by Soho Press. Patrick Donnelly ’03

His second book of poems,

Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin,

Diane Gilliam ’01

Gilliam’s poetry collection about coal camp life, Kettle Bottom, has been released as a CD featuring narration by native West Virginians.

is forthcoming from Four Way Books.

Adam Halbur ’03

Julia Nunnally Duncan ’84


When Day Is Done, a novel, has been published by March Street Press.

Ahadada Books has published his first book of poems, Poor Susan Imhof ’94

Not Visiting Somewhere Else, a chapbook, has been published by HypocritePress.

2010 HOMECOMING REUNIONS Alumni with class years ending in 0 or 5 will celebrate reunions at 2010 Homecoming, held October 1-3. Classes are already organizing events, so start talking and planning with your classmates. Contact WWC Alumni Relations, or 1-866-WWC ALUM, for more information. Plans are already underway for the following classes: 1960 50th Reunion Contact class agent Nada Henderson Cail, 1985 25th Reunion Contact WWC Alumni Relations 1990 20th Reunion Connect with your classmates on Search for the group “Warren Wilson College 1990 Alumni.”

Margaret Kaufman ’93

Kathy Peterson ’07

Lindsay Knowlton, ’82

Matthew Specktor ’09

has been published through iUniverse.

Specktor’s first novel, was published by MTV Books/Simon & Schuster.

Sixteen Rivers Press is publishing her poetry collection, Inheritance.

Earthly Freight, a book of poems,

Peterson’s chapbook, Befallen, was published by Propaganda Press.

That Summertime Sound,

Paul Michel ’98

Michel’s first novel, Houdini Pie, is due out this year from Seattle’s Bennett & Hastings.

Endowment reached for MFA Program’s Holden Minority Scholarship Friends of Writers is pleased to announce the achievement of a long-sought goal: the establishment of the endowment for the Holden Minority Scholarship to the MFA Program for Writers. First awarded in 1995, and since awarded to twelve outstanding minority writers, the scholarship has been sustained, and is now endowed, through donations to Friends of Writers—a non-profit organization established and supported by faculty and alumni of Warren Wilson’s MFA program, the first and one of the most prestigious low-residency graduate writers’ program in the United States. A commitment to the challenge of making the MFA program more representative of the ethnic and cultural diversity of America led to the establishment of the Holden Scholarship, which has helped build that diversity while bringing to the program students of extraordinary talent, some of whom could not otherwise have afforded graduate work. The Holden Scholars to date include Fred Arroyo, A. Van Jordan, Ven Begamudre, Rodney Jack, Vyvyane Loh, George Higgins, Victoria Chang, Bora Reed, Natalie Baszile, Krystn Lee, Chloe Martinez, and Reginald Dwayne Betts. These Holden recipients are currently enriching American literature, having published seven novels, six books of poetry, a memoir, and edited two anthologies representing cross-cultural writers, as well as amassing a number of prestigious national awards and fellowships. The scholarship was named for the late Dr. Reuben Holden, a revered WWC president who brought the MFA Program for Writers to the College. The Friends of Writers, deeply gratified to have not only met but exceeded the goal of $300,000 to establish the Holden Minority Scholarship Endowment, are extremely grateful to the generosity of the community of writers and friends who have made this achievement possible.



A LUMNI NOTES Remembering Francis P. Hulme (1909-1986) By Joe Elliott ’81

In February 1981, shortly before graduating from Warren Wilson, I wrote an article for the College newspaper, The Talon, about Dr. Francis Pledger Hulme, my favorite teacher. A Phi Beta Kappa, Fulbright Professor at New Asia College and visiting professor of English literature at the University of York, England, Dr. Hulme, or Frank as he preferred to be called, taught at Warren Wilson for fourteen years after his formal retirement. It was my great privilege to have been one of his students. In my article for The Talon, I wrote the following: A sometimes professor of English at WWC, Frank Hulme is also a great reader whose voice rings out in class with deep resonance and poetic energy. He could, I believe, make an Alexander Pope or even Robert Lowell proud of their accomplishments. He is always articulate, even eloquent, when speaking. “Articulate as hell,” as one of his colleagues in the religion department put it to me. Possessed of a refined, sometimes stinging sense of humor, Dr. Hulme has enlivened many a class discussion with his witty insights and hilarious doubleentendres. In class, he seems to call on a seemingly endless reserve of critical knowledge and literary anecdotes to drive home his points. He can be a severe critic of one’s work, but his barbs carry no poison.

Rather, they are meant to instruct and challenge the student. He is just as quick to praise when something is done well. He is a great student of all things done well. Above all else, he is a lover: a lover of life, of books, music, dogs, good jokes and Southern Appalachian culture. The latter has served as the basis of many of his awarding-winning poems and stories. Concerning the specific place of the artist in society, he told me, “I don’t equate art with sociological and economic issues. An artist may be interested in that sort of thing, a Yeats, for example, interested in politics, but that doesn’t make Yeats a great poet. No, as Robert Penn Warren said, the artist must ‘scratch where it itches.’” I concluded the article with the following words that ring as true to me now as the day I wrote them nearly thirty years ago.

Frances Pledger Hulme Memorial Scholarship The Francis Pledger Hulme Scholarship, awarded to a rising sophomore English major, was made possible by Dr. Hulme’s sister, Patricia Myrer, and her husband, Anton Myrer. If you would like information on creating an endowed scholarship, contact Don Harris at 828.771.5824 or Janet Doyle at 828.771.3756.

Like his friend, the English poet Stephen Spender, Frank Hulme embodies the idea of the world citizen. He is that kind of instructor his students may recall in years to come with a smile and much gratitude. You could say that to have known and learned from him is to be a little more aware, a little more sensitive, a little wiser than you otherwise could have been. I count it a singular privilege and honor to have known and learned from such a man.

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A LU M N I N OT E S Homer Jones—A Lasting Legacy By Ally Donlan

Warren Wilson College is a place that draws people in. One walk around the scenic campus nestled in the Swannanoa Valley, alive with the sounds of community, and folks are hooked. While that immediate draw is a common occurrence, it is rare that people take that connection and then dedicate their life to making sure others have the same experience. Homer Jones, a dear friend to the College who passed away on September 12, 2009, did precisely that for more than 30 years. He shared the story of Warren Wilson College and his passion for the College with countless friends and acquaintances across the country. Homer Jones was the epitome of a renaissance man, enjoying a wide range of interests and activities throughout his full and robust life. After graduating from Washington and Lee University, he became a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, earning ten battle stars for heroic duty during World War II. After the war, he attended Harvard Business School and worked in the coal industry for several years with Eastern Gas & Fuel. However, in the words of his eldest son, Daniel, Homer’s “single, greatest, constant, all-consuming interest was his Sweet Briar bride, Helen Cornwell Jones.” Homer and Helen married in 1941 and had three sons, Daniel, Jonathan, and Larry. Homer was always a man of great religious faith, and soon his desire to make the world a better place inspired a career change. He became the first director of development for Princeton Theological Seminary in 1960. After three years at the seminary, he began working for the Board of National and Foreign Missions for the Presbyterian Church, where his responsibilities included raising money and support for Presbyterian projects all over the United States and abroad, including hospitals, schools, and churches. In order to fully understand the projects, Homer paid personal visits to different sites across the country. One of these stops was Warren Wilson College, a fortuitous visit that continues to impact students, faculty and staff.


Homer’s success as a director of development was rooted in his belief that people are more likely to give willingly to a worthy cause if they understand the mission and can personally experience that mission. Guided by that philosophy, Homer and Helen began arranging semiannual visits to Homer and Helen Jones spreading the word about the College. Warren Wilson— long weekends in the about the College’s international and spring and fall that involved sample classes, environmental focus. Homer was a catalyst campus tours, meeting the president, and in bringing people with means to places exploring Asheville. Homer explained with great need. He saw the College as a the reason for the trips in a 1997 letter to living and breathing entity where people could see the results of their donations. Homer was a catalyst Homer’s legacy includes introducing the in bringing people College to donors who provided the funds for two buildings on campus. In addition, with means to places the Homer and Helen Jones Scholarship has with great need. been established and continues to benefit He saw the College as a students in need. living and breathing entity There is a litany of words to describe where people could see Homer: husband, father, grandfather, the results sincere, generous, faithful, practical, curious, of their donations. observant, positive, humorous, and, of course, friend. Homer was an exceptional friend to the College—one we will miss and one to whom we will always be grateful for former president Doug Orr: “Your secret, his passion, dedication and enthusiasm. hidden valley is a human fly trap. Warren Wilson cannot be explained at church groups or dinner parties. Like an artichoke, it has to be experienced.”

Homer drew on lifelong connections to compile the invitation lists to these weekends, and soon hundreds of people had come to the College for a Homer and Helen Jones weekend. While on campus, people unfamiliar with the College discovered the Triad philosophy of education, saw students participating on work crews, heard about service-learning projects, and learned


A LUMNI NOTES Alma Shippy Memorial Scholarship established Alma Shippy was a quiet young man from Swannanoa when he made history by becoming the first black student to enroll at Warren Wilson Vocational Junior College in 1952—two years before Brown vs. Board of Education. Now, after his death in December 2006, the pioneering Shippy is being honored at present-day Warren Wilson College with an endowed scholarship bearing his name. The Alma Shippy Memorial Scholarship has been created by Shippy’s classmates and friends to help students with financial need who also bring diversity to campus. Although the scholarship fund has reached the endowment level, Warren Wilson is inviting additional gifts of any amount to help provide even greater financial assistance to Shippy Scholarship recipients. Shippy was “a mentor to children all over (the Swannanoa Valley),” said Rodney Lytle ’73, the College’s interim alumni relations director. “I’m thankful that he came to Warren Wilson, as he opened the door for my brothers and me.”

Shippy, a graduate of Asheville’s StephensLee High School who grew up in Buckeye Cove near the Warren Wilson campus, indeed blazed a trail for other black students at the College. Among them was Georgia Powell, who in 1955 became the first AfricanAmerican to graduate Billy Edd Wheeler ‘53, Alma Shippy and Rodney Lytle ‘73. from Warren Wilson. Shippy’s watershed enrollment, done For more information without incident or fanfare, also helped pave the way for many other black students at about the historically white colleges and universities Alma Shippy Memorial Scholarship across the South as racial barriers finally and how to contribute to it, began to crumble. At an emotional Warren Wilson ceremony in 2002 celebrating the 50th anniversary of his enrollment, Shippy said, “We had a wonderful closeness with the staff here. I still feel this is my family, right here.”

contact Richard Blomgren, interim vice president for advancement, at 828.771.2050 or

ALUMNICAREER SERVICES JOIN the Wilson Career Network (LinkedIn group) to connect with Warren Wilson students and other alumni, and to learn more about alumni career services. TO FIND OUT MORE, visit Alumni Career Services at: www.warren-wilson. edu/~careers/ OR CONTACT Bates Canon at: or 828.771.3759.



WA R R E N W I L S O N CO L L E G E LO S S E S Warren Wilson College

Asheville Farm School

Dorland Bell

Faculty, Staff, Volunteers

Carl B. West ‘48 August 15, 2009

Clyde L. English ‘38 November 10, 2009

Hazel B. Suttles ‘36 October 1, 2009

Barbara P. Butler October 31, 2009

Mentie Thomas ‘50 July 30, 2009

Samuel R. Patton ‘38 August 24, 2009

Mary Dockery ‘37 September 9, 2009

Elena M. Law February 12, 2010

Nina Scampato ‘53 November 14, 2009

Norris D. Capps ‘42 July 5, 2009

Carol Eastwood August 23, 2009

Asheville Normal and Teachers College


George H. Osborne ‘54 September 30, 2009 Herley Moore ‘57 July 29, 2009 Elizabeth Crotty Momm ‘61 April 7, 2009 James K. Sigler ‘58 November 24, 2009 John T. Tompkins ‘96 November 1, 2009

Margaret Bruce ‘33 October 10, 2009 Helen Lollis ‘33 July 29, 2009 Edna Twitty ‘35 October 11, 2009 Carrie Koone ‘37 July 12, 2009

If you are aware of a loss

Marian J. Elmslie August 16, 2009 Homer D. Jones September 12, 2009 Ernest J. Arnold September 17, 2009 A. K. Wehmeyer October 30, 2009

we have failed to acknowledge, please contact Rodney Lytle Interim Alumni Relations Director at 828.771.2046 or

Faye Robinson ‘40 June 30, 2009

Elena M. Law March 20, 1911–February 12, 2010 Elena Law died February 12, 2010 at her home in La Jolla, California. She joined the Warren Wilson staff in 1945 through the National Board of Home Missions. For 29 years, Ms. Law served as the secretary of the College while wearing many additional hats, including travel bureau, mimeographer, switchboard and print shop supervisors, staff secretary and mail clerk. “She did whatever was asked of her—always with a smile,” remembers Pat Laursen, former alumni relations director. Many of you may remember the statement, “Ask Miss Law.” If you have other memories and stories of Ms. Law, please share them by emailing Shannon Senn,



LOOKINGBACK WWC Choir in Bucharest In 1974 the Warren Wilson College choir was selected by Ambassadors for Friendship (AFF), a private arts organization that sent groups to communist bloc countries to promote good will, as one of ten groups to perform in Romania in June. AFF music director Schulyer Robinson said in an article in the Asheville Citizen that AFF was impressed with the cultural diversity of student participants and the caliber of their performance. After an intense three week period of preparation that included language and cultural seminars, thirty-seven student singers and instrumentalists, along with Robinson and Robert Keener, College Choir Conductor, flew to Bucharest as guests of the Romanian government. For three weeks the Americans presented concerts all over the country, in town “cultural houses” and schools. During the final week, the AFF tour groups were guests at a resort on the Black Sea. The photograph shown here comes from the collection of Robert Keener. Three unidentified students wear costumes that were sewn by members of the choir. —Diana R. Sanderson, College Archivist

How did you find out about Warren Wilson College? TWO WAYS YOU CAN HELP US RECRUIT WONDERFUL STUDENTS • Refer a student to us. If you know a great fit for Warren Wilson College please give us that student’s contact information and we will follow up. • Sign up as a college fair volunteer in your area. This will only take a few hours of your time. Also, it is fun and easy and helps us out immensely.

New students are our future.




Come Get Your Hands Dirty

Weekend@Wilson June 25-26, 2010


HAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR LIFE? A new job, a new home, a wedding or birth of a child? Please take a few minutes to let us know about the latest developments in your life by filling out this form. Please print clearly and indicate dates and/or places

of events so we get the facts straight. We generally refrain from publishing events that are expected to occur in the future to avoid any mishaps. If you have a picture of an event or child, please send it along. ❏ I would like the news below printed in the Class Notes section of the Owl & Spade. ❏ It is not necessary to print this news in Class Notes. Name (Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms.) ___________________________________________________________________ Class ______________ Street address ______________________________________________________________________ City ______________________ State ____________ Zip _________________ Country __________________ Email _______________________________________ Home phone ________________________ Office phone _______________________ Cell phone _____________________________ Job title _______________________________________ Company _____________________________________________________ Marital status ________________________ Spouse’s name _____________________________________________________________ Class Notes news: Please limit to 50 words or less. The Alumni Office reserves the right to edit for space and content. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Please fill out this form and send it to: Alumni Office, Warren Wilson College, CPO 6324, PO Box 9000, Asheville, NC 28815-9000 Fax 828.771.5850 •


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Photo by Alissa Whelan, MFA Program for Writers Office Manager I’ve always had cameras, but I don’t think I became serious about photography until I began working at Warren Wilson. Shortly before I began at the College, I had just upgraded from a three megapixel to a five megapixel camera (now practically obsolete), and was taken aback by the beauty on campus. After work, I found myself strolling around campus, stalking flowers, befriending farm animals and chasing evening sunsets. I began seeing differently. —Alissa On the Web:

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Spring '10 Owl & Spade  

The magazine of Warren Wilson College