On Wescott’s Death—and Exemplary Life
News of the death of longtime track and field head coach Jim Wescott, following a medical emergency while rowing on Megunticook Lake in Camden, Maine, May 27, brought an outpouring of sympathy and tributes. Former Colby runner Bill Donahue ’86 wrote about Wescott in a moving essay in Colby Magazine online.
Church Forest Study Lands NSF Grant
Travis Reynolds (environmental studies) and Cat Collins (biology) landed a $390,000 National Science Foundation grant that will allow eight student researchers to work each summer in Ethiopia’s church forests, tracts preserved for hundreds of years by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates grant establishes Colby as a center for training for the fieldwork, to be done by students from Colby and other colleges. The project expands work that Reynolds and Colby students have been doing in Ethiopia and on campus for three years. Read more >
The True Meaning of the Super Bowl
It’s Super Bowl Sunday. The brothers have a visitor, a Rinzai priest from Japan. He knows zilch about Super Bowls and watches impassively until, in an ad, a man in a locker room wheels on his friend, throws a cell phone in his face.
As the friend falls backward and hits his head, the priest jumps up and claps his hands with joy. He suddenly understands the Super Bowl. It is an epic parable, a teaching story, on the great cost of greed, anger, and ignorance, of self-created pain.
The visitor is sure the phone thrower is a teacher who, from deep concern, tries to wake up his student, to shock him into letting attachments go. The two brothers try to explain, but he just laughs and says, “You drop the ball. Don’t understand.”
—Peter Harris, from the 2014 collection Freeing the Hook.
To Your Health, By the Numbers
Former Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota delivered the 2014 George J. Mitchell Distinguished International Lecture, introduced by Mitchell, April 16. A leading national authority on health-care policy, Daschle sprinkled his talk with data, including:
40 million | 25,000
The number of Americans without health insurance and the number of those who die each year.
What America spends on health care. “More than the next ten countries combined. But when it comes to performance, we don’t even rank in the top twenty in overall outcomes.”
15 | 52
The percent of each American health-care dollar spent by the government in the day of Teddy Roosevelt (the first president to call for national health insurance) and today.
Under New Management
This fall students will have the opportunity to study basic principles of business, finance, and management—via a new minor in the Economics Department.
Approved in December, the minor in managerial economics provides a foundation in introductory micro and macroeconomics, targeted economic applications, and case studies.
Peanut Butter in Cereal?
Each year the crescendo toward commencement begins with a farewell reception in the Pugh Center for senior international students and foreign-language assistants. The president bids them farewell as a group, and students receive colorful sashes in the patterns of their nations’ flags to wear with their caps and gowns. At this year’s reception, April 16, Associate Dean of Students Sue McDougal asked each student to share “one thing that surprised you at Colby.”
Amila Emso, Turkey: The number of students on campus carrying water bottles. “I wondered if I needed to buy one to fit in.”
Byoungwook Jang, Korea: “This morning.” (Two inches of snow in mid-April.)
Kimara Nzamubona, Congo: “Putting peanut butter in cereal? … But I’m an American citizen now, so …”
Miia-Liisa Termonen, Finland: “I heard they have winter here. … I’m still waiting.”
Ricah Kunde, Germany: “People would say, ‘Let’s meet in the Spa.’ I thought, ‘They have a spa?’”
Guga Gogia, Georgia: “Why young, upperclass American men would wear pink shorts.”
“I went up to him and I said, ‘You are a very discreet man.’”
—Professor Kerill O’Neill, director of the Center for the Arts and Humanities at Colby, recounting his first conversation with President William D. Adams after it was announced in April that Adams had been nominated by President Obama to be chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Adams knew of the impending nomination for several weeks but was sworn to secrecy until the announcement came from the White House. O’Neill said he and Adams had many discussions about the humanities at Colby College while the NEH nomination was being kept secret.
William D. Adams Gallery? Surprise!
When he arrived at the Colby College Museum of Art for a reception in April, President William D. Adams was surprised to learn that the gallery at the museum entrance had been named the William D. Adams Gallery. The Board of Trustees, including life trustee Paula Lunder, at right, also informed Adams of a new $3.6-million financial aid scholarship endowed in his honor. Adams said he was “deeply touched and moved.”
Warm and Fuzzy? Maybe This Last Time
Professor of Government Guilain Denoeux received the 22nd annual Charles Bassett Teaching Award by a vote of the Class of 2014. In the recent tradition, he gave the Last Lecture immediately following final exams. Speaking in Ostrove Auditorium May 19, he began his remarks with tongue firmly in cheek:
I’d like to start by recognizing the senior class for this serious lack of judgment and common sense that it displayed when it voted to give me this award. As I see it, it all paid off: my sustained contribution to grade inflation over the years; my consistently low demands regarding students’ work; my warm and fuzzy personality … .
Denoeux then offered five guidelines for graduates, illustrating each piece of advice with colorful anecdotes from his own career in international relations in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Video of the Last Lecture is online.
Sunny Day for Shining Stars
The sun wasn’t the only thing shining at commencement May 25. The Class of 2014 includes many talented and accomplished people from all over the world, including valedictorian and ocean scientist Kathryn A. Moore (left) and Zimbabwean entrepreneur Gift Ntuli. With 472 graduating students, there are 472 stories, but we’ve posted about several who caught our attention: colby.edu/mag.
Colby Bench Makes Final Four
It isn’t every day that Colby men’s basketball makes the NCAA Final Four. But being featured in the warm-up to the marquee television event was just part of the unexpected and viral success of a video showcasing the supporting talents of the Colby bench.
A few numbers: as of this writing, the video was viewed 241,961 times on YouTube. It was tweeted more than 13,000 times and noted on Facebook more than 30,000 times. The video was showcased on ESPN’s SportsCenter and World News Now, among other shows. For the few who missed it, watch it on YouTube.
Arendell, Marlais, and Reich Retire from Teaching Faculty
Terry Arendell, professor of sociology, arrived at Colby in 1994 after earning her Ph.D. at University of California, Berkeley, completing a postdoc at the National Institute on Aging, and teaching at several other colleges and universities. Her research interests—gender and family and qualitative research methodology—made her an acclaimed expert on these subjects.
Lenny Reich, professor of administrative science and of science, technology, and society, earned his Ph.D. in the history of science and technology at Johns Hopkins University. At Colby since 1986, he was instrumental in establishing the STS program and he taught courses in the history of technology, the history of energy, and the history of oil.
Michael Marlais, the James M. Gillespie Professor of Art, earned his Ph.D. at University of Michigan after he had taught for two years as a lecturer in Colby’s Art Department. He retired after 31 years on the faculty. His areas of specialization are contemporary American, modern, Italian late medieval, and southern baroque art.