In his baccalaureate address to the Class of 2008 Saturday, President William Adams confessed to harboring a lifelong desire to be Tom Waits and eight-years longing to enter the Mr. Colby contest. In the 20-minute talk, which was a hit with students and parents, Adams praised the soon-to-be grads for being "smart, engaged, articulate, thoughtful, and able to think critically and creatively... the most valuable attributes in any kind of work."
Each year the senior class votes to recognize an outstanding teacher on the faculty with the Bassett Teaching Award, and this year's winner was Professor of Education Mark Tappan. Tappan addressed the Senior Class Dinner May 19 (audio here) and asked students, "What is the most important thing you learned?" In his 17 years at Colby, the most important thing he's learned is about privilege, he said.
After more than a week of study period and final exams, underclassmen are packing and seniors are gearing up for commencement. Professor of Government Joe Reisert has enjoyed watching students devote themselves entirely to their studies, he wrote in a recent Morning Sentinel column. "Exams are to schoolwork what meets and matches are to sports: They are an opportunity to demonstrate excellence and to be rewarded for it."
Commencement 2008 will be Colby's first Green Graduation. Alaina Clark '08 developed the idea as part of a senior project, and the College has worked for months to implement new sustainability initiatives. Among them: minimizing the use of plastics, reducing electricity use, increasing composting, serving sustainable foods, and reducing paper use. The Green Team, a group of Colby students and employees, will staff information tables and assist visitors with composting and other greening efforts at events.
Professors and students frequently co-write academic papers at Colby; it's not as common that they get cited in mainstream media. In 2006 Professor Phil Brown (economics) and Jess Minty '06 published results of their study, "Media Coverage and Charitable Giving after the 2004 Tsunami," with The Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan. On May 13 it was quoted in the New York Times "Freakonomics" blog, which asked, "How Pure is Your Altruism?" and on May 16 Brown discussed the study on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."
The senior class has voted. Patrick C. Sanders of Fairfax, Va., will deliver the class speech at Colby's 187th Commencement on Sunday, May 25. He will share the stage with commencement speaker Robert E. Diamond Jr. '73, president of Barclays PLC. Four people in addition to Diamond will receive honorary degrees: astronaut Sunita Williams, television writer-producer David Simon, energy expert Amory Lovins, and art historian Gabriella De Ferrari.
Colby will conduct the second test of its emergency siren on Tuesday, May 13, between 1 and 3 p.m. The test will include loud tones and a voice message that may be audible within two miles of Colby. Tragic school shootings have prompted colleges and universities nationwide to reassess and bolster emergency response plans. Adding the siren broadens Colby's ability to alert students, faculty, visitors and the Colby community of a potential life-threatening emergency.
Colby was featured prominently in an NBC Nightly News segment about the Davis United World College Scholars program and benefactor Shelby Davis. The story, broadcast Friday, May 9, featured Davis and Qiamuddin Amiry '09, one of more than 165 Davis UWC scholars who attend or have graduated from Colby. Click here to watch the segment. Extended interviews are available here.
The women's lacrosse team enters the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Division III national tournament Saturday after winning the NESCAC championship May 4, having first-year coach Karen MacCrate Henning named NESCAC Coach of the Year, and placing four players (including NESCAC Player of the Year Kate Sheridan '09) on the all-conference team. The Mules (13-5), ranked ninth in the nation, play fourth-ranked Hamilton in a regional semifinal Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Hamilton. Coverage of the team's march to the nationals is online.
Students in this year's American Dreams documentary film course spent the semester getting to know their subjects, conducting interviews, and editing short films on diverse topics. Some of the films look at law enforcement in Waterville, contradancing, drag-queen entertainers, and human trafficking in Maine. In past years one student film became a promotional piece for Maine Handicapped Skiing, another served as a memorial to a fallen soldier in Iraq, and some were accepted for the Maine International Film Festival.
After a come-from-behind-victory over Middlebury in the semifinals Saturday, women's lacrosse won the program's first-ever NESCAC championship with a 14-12 win over Trinity College Sunday. Now the Mules (12-5) take on Eastern Connecticut (11-6) at Colby's Bill Alfond Field on Wednesday in the first round of the NCAA national tournament. See a photo with the tournament trophy and full coverage online.
The Society of Professional Journalists recently recognized insideColby for excellence in student journalism. InsideColby magazine and the Web site, insidecolby.com, each received second-place awards in Region 1, which spans Maine to Pennsylvania. More than 20 Colby students are involved in the project, which began in April of 2007.
The Colby College Museum of Art recently launched its new Web site, adding features for visitors and those who can't see the collections in person. Among the highlights: scores of images from the permanent collection, including many from the renowned Lunder Collection, and an education section with resources for K-12 teachers and for Colby students and faculty. Check it out.
Two senior curators from the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum are visiting Colby this week and took time to be interviewed for WCSH-6's "207." The show is scheduled to air May 7. In the meantime opportunities exist to see one of them, Roger Launius, live on campus. He will deliver the Undergraduate Research Symposium keynote address tonight and speak about his new book, Robots and Humans in Spaceflight, on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in Miller Library.
A program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency named Colby conference champion for use of green electricity. Beyond topping other NESCAC schools, Colby has the highest percentage use of green electricity of any college or university in the national competition. All of Colby's purchased electricity comes from renewable sources, the College has a co-generation turbine on campus, and it buys Renewable Energy Credits as well. Read more.
Colby recently was reaccredited by the New England Association of Schools & Colleges with its next comprehensive evaluation scheduled for 2017. A notice from NEAS&C praised a qualified, dedicated faculty and staff; bright, energetic students; comprehensive strategic planning; high-quality academic programs; and a willingness to confront challenges. "Colby College seems well positioned to acheive the goals it has established for itself," the report said.
The prestigious Fulbright Program was established in 1946 to promote mutual understanding between U.S. citizens and people from other countries. This year four current students or recent Colby grads received Fulbright grants to spend next year abroad: Hannah Coleman '08 will teach in Colombia, William Fong '08 will teach in Taiwan, Gretchen Markiewicz '08 will teach in Bavaria, and Danielle Preiss '07 has a research grant in Nepal. In addition Chris Hoffman '07, Chris Shelley '08, and Melanie Ungar '08 will all teach in Austria in a separate program administered by the organization that runs the Fulbrights.
"Extra weight on your back can ruin your knees, feet and neck, but most of all it can ultimately crush your spirit." That's one line in an eight-page article published by Bayley Lawrence '08J in Backpacking Light magazine about her solo through-hike of the entire Appalachian Trail. The piece began as a project in Professor Michael Burke's feature-writing course. Despite moments of despair, Lawrence's spirit ultimately soared.
Colby will receive $1 million from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to improve undergraduate science education by bolstering support to students, especially those in traditionally underrepresented groups. Among many initiatives, the grant will support a six-week summer program for students between high school and college, the hiring of two postdoctoral fellows, and work with local fourth- and fifth-grade students in the sciences.
From local to global, Colby students are celebrating Earth Day with events all week that include a Johnson Pond cleanup, a recycled art contest, and a clothing swap, a lecture about effective environmental policy, screenings of the BBC program Planet Earth in the student union, and more. A list of activities planned is online.