There were 277 applicants in the first round of "early decision" candidates for the Class of 1999, obliterating last year's record of 167. What's to account for the whopping 65 percent increase? Credit, certainly, the hard work of Parker Beverage and company, a star-studded faculty and, as well perhaps, some dandy national publicity in Princeton Review's rating of Colby students as being the happiest of all.

The latest issue of Black Issues in Higher Education lists Colby as 14th among the nation's colleges with the highest graduation rate for African-American students. Colby's rate of 80 percent falls behind only Wesleyan (90 percent), Williams (88 percent) and Amherst (87 percent) among the NESCAC colleges. Harvard tops the list with a 92 percent rate.

Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, John D. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, was the featured speaker at the annual awards ceremony for the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Religious Research Association, meeting in Albuquerque this fall. . . . Herb Wilson (biology) is the editor of a new book, Reproduction and Development of Marine Invertebrates, published by the Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994. . . . Priscilla Doel is cited as "a friend of the Portuguese, honoring us with her research" in the introduction to a piece she wrote on the Portuguese fishing industry published in the August issue of Revista de Marinha. . . . Linda Goldstein, the development officer who recently compiled the request for the terrific Olin Grant, has had a paper, Without Compromise in Any Particular: The Success of Medical Coeducation in Cleveland, 1850-1856, accepted for publication by Caduceus, the Journal of the Medical Humanities.

Waterville city solicitor and history buff Buzz Federle has written to explain that Frank Olin, whose fortune led to the creation of the Olin Foundation, was a native of Alton, Ill., where famed Colby grad Elijah Lovejoy was martyred while defending his newspaper presses against a mob. Olin was the founder of a small black powder factory in East Alton that eventually became the Western Cartridge Company. Olin acquired the Winchester Arms Company after World War I and produced a majority of the U.S. small arms ammunition for World War II. Olin's oldest son, John, used the profits to build Olin Industries, an early conglomerate. The Western Cartridge Company still operates in its original factory, about a mile from the Elijah P. Lovejoy Memorial.

At the request of the Belgrade Lakes Association, students in Biology 493 gave an oral report on their project on Long Pond and its watershed at the Union Church in Belgrade Lakes Village in November. The work of students each year is drawing ever-increasing praise from lakeside dwellers in central Maine and has effectively improved awareness of environmental and conservation efforts. Thank Dave Firmage, Clara C. Piper Professor of Environmental Studies, and students for education with outreach.

Pam Alexander, associate director of annual giving and a member of the Colby staff since 1981, has taken a new post as director of development at the Hewett School in Manhattan, close by where her husband, Jim, works. What with the departures of Sid Farr, Pam, Sara Waisanen, Lynn Magovern and Barbara Friedman, the department lost a whole lot of professional experience in a single semester. Taking Lynn's place is Demetra Giatas '88. Mary Federle Porter '88 was back to help for awhile, too. And we welcome Margaret Felton Viens '77, new assistant director of annual giving, replacing Sara.

David Brancaccio, son of Pat (Zacamy Professor of English) and Ruth, is being widely praised as the host of Marketplace, Public Radio International's daily business news program. David was first on the air at the age of 13, taking unpopular time slots on Colby's WMHB. . . . Some 100 colleagues paid tribute to Pat Mullen at a retirement luncheon on Tuesday. Pat has toiled as Colby's own clerk-of-the-works for the past 14 years, overseeing 21 new construction and renovation projects. . . . Admissions dean Parker Beverage made a fall tour of Greece, Turkey, Jordan, Cyprus, Kuwait and the UAE as one of 33 U.S. college admissions agents seeking students from that part of the world. On the way home, he joined the European Conference of Independent Schools in Hamburg, Germany. . . . Emeritus economics professor and vice president Bob Pullen '41 and his wife, Marge, have returned from Florida to live in Waterville. . . . Somebody temporarily put cardboard moose antlers on the mule statue-it was bound to happen. . . . After receiving Federle's letter, we thought for a time that we might make yet another Colby connection with Frank Olin. Olin played professional baseball for Toledo in 1884 and for Detroit in 1885, a bit ahead of Connie Mack. Mack went on to manage the Philadelphia Athletics and Jack Coombs, Colby 1906, who posted a 31-game winning season in 1910, but that's another story. John Coombs '97, by the way, is Colby Jack Coombs's great grandson. . . . 55 percent of Colby's faculty is tenured. and 12 are up for consideration this year, 11 next year. . . . Colby students were among 5,000 dancers at the sixth annual AIDS Dance-A-Thon at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston in the fall. Last year's event raised a record $450,000 and was the nation's second largest AIDS fundraiser. . . . Colby alum E. Annie Proulx's '57 Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Shipping News, is the number one book being read on college campuses this fall.

4th Floor Eustis/Table of Contents/From the Hill