Colby Observatory To Open for Venus Transit of the Sun on June 8

The Collins Observatory at Colby College will be open to the public for area residents interested in observing the transit of the planet Venus past the Sun on Tuesday, June 8. The transit begins at 1:15 am while the Sun is well below the horizon, and lasts until 7:25 a.m., when the silhouette of Venus leaves the Sun, according to Murray Campbell, the William A. Rogers Professor of Physics and Astronomy, who will conduct the observatory's open house. The observatory will open 11 minutes before sunrise, at 4:45 a.m. Clear weather is needed to see the transit, and information on viewing conditions will be available in a recorded message at 872-3251 prior to the event. The last transit occurred in 1789, Campbell said. By observing from different geographic locations the length of time that Venus was in front of the Sun, 18th-century astronomers were able to determine the distance from the Earth to Venus and, using Kepler's Third Law, from the Earth to the Sun. Perhaps the best known observer was Captain Cook, who was in Tahiti, but others observed the transit at locations including Hudson's Bay, Canada, the tip of Baja California, Mexico, near Philadelphia. Pa., and in Greenwich, England. An optical problem called the "black-drop effect" limits the accuracy of determining the distance to Venus using data from the transit. Modern astronomers use more accurate radar measurements for the distance to Venus, but observatories around the world will observe the transit optically. No one should look directly at the Sun, Campbell stressed. Looking through unprotected binoculars or telescopes results in instant eye damage and can blind the observer. Colby's Collins Observatory will provide views through safely protected telescopes. Web sites with information about Venus's solar transit include and

Celebration and Sorrow Mixed at Colby Commencement

Colby College's 183rd commencement provided a poignant mix of sadness and celebration on Sunday as families, friends and faculty hailed 484 members of the Class of 2004 and mourned the loss of one, Dawn Marie Rossignol, murdered last September in the fall of her senior year. President William D. Adams read a citation and presented a posthumous honorary bachelor of arts degree to Dawn's parents, Charleen and Emilio Rossignol of Medway, Maine, as somber faculty members, classmates and guests listened, some mopping tears, some sobbing audibly. "The Class of 2004, forever diminished by your absence, is nevertheless blessed to have called you its own," President Adams said in his citation addressed to Dawn Rossignol. The mood remained more subdued than usual as graduates crossed the stage one by one, receiving degrees from Adams in the Alfond Athletic Center, where the ceremony was moved because of rain. Before the presentation to the Rossignols, Adams presented honorary doctorates to five distinguished individuals: Shelby Davis, the founder of the Davis Selected Advisers, L.P., and sponsor of the Davis United World Scholars scholarship program; Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Barry Mazur, university professor at Harvard and a renowned mathematician; Bernice Johnson Reagon, historian and founder of the vocal ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock; and Richard Russo, author, Colby professor and father of Kate Russo, who graduated from Colby Sunday. Russo delivered the commencement address, which included "Russo's Rules For A Good Life," which he called "four simple, deeply flawed rules to live by." "Rule number one: Search out the kind of work that you would gladly do for free and then get somebody to pay you for it." Explaining the first rule he said, "While you search for this work, you'll need a job." "Rule number two: Find a loving mate to share what life has in store, because the world can be a lonely place, and people who aren't lonely don't want to hear about it if you are." to which Russo added, "After 30 years, my wife Barbara and I continue to delight in each other's company, and that's astonishing given the number of other people we've grown weary of." "Rule number three: Have children. After what you've put your parents through, you deserve children of your own." "Rule number four: If you have one, nurture your sense of humor." Russo said, "in an age as numbingly earnest as this one, where we're more often urged to be sensitive than just, where genuinely independent thought is equally unwelcome to fundamentalists on both the left and the right, it's laughter that keeps us sane. Indeed, the inability to laugh, at the world and at ourselves, is a sign, at least to my way of thinking, of mental illness." The first student in line to receive a bachelor's of arts degree was the class marshal and valedictorian, Justin Juskewitch of Mercer, Maine. The class speaker, elected by her peers, was Kate Chuprevich of Monmouth, Maine. "It seems I blinked and college is over," she said. "Friends will be more than just an instant message away, but honestly, I've never felt so prepared for the unknown. ... We are leaving now with so much more than we came with." Receiving the Condon Medal for engaged citizenship, the only award presented at commencement, was Jenn Rosenberg of Worcester, Mass., who was director of the Colby Volunteer Center. Transcript of Richard Russo's address is online at

“Art In Bloom” Exhibit at Colby College Museum of Art June 3-5

"Art in Bloom," an exhibition pairing works of art from the Colby College Museum of Art with floral arrangements designed by members of area garden clubs and local florists, will be on view June 3-5 at Colby's museum in Waterville. The exhibit will be open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. A reception to open the show will be held Thursday, June 3, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and refreshments will be served. "Art in Bloom" will include 40 floral arrangements, each complementing the style and feel of an individual work on display in the museum as part of the permanent collection or in the Tabletop Arenas exhibition. The event is sponsored by the Central Maine Garden Club. Simultaneously on view at the museum will be The Joan Whitney Payson Collection, 21 works including paintings by world-famous Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists (through June 6); Tabletop Arenas, contemporary still-life paintings by members of the national association Zeuxis (through June 13); Contemporary Highlights from the Permanent Collection (through October 31); works by Alex Katz in The Paul J. Schupf Wing for the Art of Alex Katz (ongoing); and American art from Colby's permanent collection, including the John Marin Collection, in The Lunder Wing (ongoing). Colby museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, and the museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. For information call 207-872-3228 or visit

Colby College Museum of Art Closed Independence Day Weekend

The Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville will be closed for Independence Day on Saturday, July 3, and Sunday, July 4. The museum will be open regular hours Monday, July 5. Currently on display at the museum is Contemporary Highlights from the Permanent Collection. Upcoming exhibits include Sites Unseen: Photographic Visions from the Vernacular Landscape, opening June 20, and Contemporary Painting: Curated by Alex Katz, opening June 27. Colby museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, and the museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. For information call 207-872-3228 or visit

Colby Announces November Events

Colby College is pleased to announce its November events. All are free (unless otherwise indicated) and open to the public.

Family Homecoming Weekend at Colby, October 1-3

Family Homecoming Weekend will be held at Colby College in Waterville Friday, October 1, through Sunday, October 3. The Alumni Relations Office reports that 1,400 visitors—alumni and families of current students—are registered to participate in weekend activities. Events listed below are open to the public and admission is free unless otherwise noted.

Colby Announces October Events

Colby College announces its October events. All are free (unless otherwise indicated) and open to the public.

Alum Journeys into the Music

Bluegrass musician Tim O'Brien '76 rallies audiences with his spirited tunes on CDs like his latest, "Traveler." Now he takes his talent from the stage to the big screen, in Bluegrass Journey, a documentary that's touring the country and recently played at the Maine International Film Festival. Dubbed by Variety as "a genuine crowd-pleaser," the film explores the culture around the music featuring top musicians, O'Brien prominent among them.

Colby Reunion Weekend Begins Friday

Colby College is gearing up for its annual Reunion Weekend, June 4-6, when Colby graduates spanning seven decades of classes will return to campus with spouses, families and friends.

Steve Witkin and Cheryl Tschanz to Perform Music for Cello and Piano

Cellist Steve Witkin will give a concert titled "Bach to Beatrice: Beautiful Music for Cello and Piano" on Saturday, May 8, at 3 p.m. in Colby College's Given Auditorium in the Bixler Art and Music Center. Witkin will be accompanied by Cheryl Tschanz, adjunct associate professor of music at Colby. The concert will feature music composed by J.S. Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Samuel Barber and Beatrice Witkin. It is open to the public and free of charge.

Colby Honored on Earth Day with EPA

Colby College was honored in Boston Thursday with an Environmental Merit Award from the New England Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The award recognizes exceptional work and commitment to the environment in 2003. "Colby College is 'walking-the-talk' when it comes to combining strong academic environmental programs with tangible actions to reduce the environmental impact of its campus operations," the agency said in a press release.

Judge Richard Arnold Named 2004 Morton Brody Judicial Service Award Recipient

United States Circuit Judge Richard Sheppard Arnold of Little Rock, Ark., was honored as the 2004 recipient of the Morton A. Brody Distinguished Judicial Service Award on Tuesday, March 30, at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Judge Sheppard is a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Eighth District.

Pulitzer Prize Winner Richard Russo to Speak at Colby Commencement May 23

Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2002, will be the commencement speaker at Colby College in Maine on May 23, President William D. Adams announced. Russo served on the Colby faculty from 1991 through 1996 and returned to Colby this year to teach creative writing.

Sherman Alexie “Without Reservation” at Colby April 18

Native American poet, author and screenwriter Sherman Alexie will deliver the lecture "Without Reservations: An Urban Indian's Comic, Poetic and Highly Irreverent Look at the World" on Sunday, April 18, at 7 p.m. at Colby College. The event will be held in the Page Commons Room of Cotter Union on the Waterville campus. It is open to the public and free of charge. A book signing will follow the lecture.

Hostage Negotiator and Former Hostage Terry Waite at Colby April 22

Humanitarian, hostage negotiator and former hostage Terry Waite will deliver the lecture "Moral and Ethical Decisions" on Thursday, April 22, at 7 p.m. at Colby College. The event will be held in the Page Commons Room of Cotter Union on the Waterville campus. It is open to the public and free of charge. A book signing will follow the lecture.

Tabletop Arenas Exhibit Opens at Colby Museum

Tabletop Arenas, an exhibit of contemporary still-life paintings, will open its national tour on March 28 at the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville. It will remain on view through June 13. An opening reception will be held Saturday, April 3, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. It is open to the public and free of charge.

Master Japanese String Musicians at Colby, March 6

On Saturday, March 6, Japanese musicians Yoko Hiraoka, Kyokko Suga and Motoshige Kai will perform a concert of Japanese music for string instruments at Colby College in Waterville. The concert, part of the 2003-04 Music at Colby Concert Series, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Paul J. Schupf Wing of the Colby College Museum of Art. It is open to the public and free of charge.

Our Country’s Good Performed March 12-13

Our Country's Good, winner of the Laurence Olivier Play of the Year Award, will be performed at Colby College March 12 and 13. It is part of the college's 2003-04 Theater and Dance season. Performances will be held beginning at 7:30 p.m. nightly in Strider Theater of Runnals Building on the Waterville campus. Admission is free.