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Fine By Me

Director of Campus Life Doug Bazuin just sent out an e-mail on the topic of what is fine by him.

The Office of Campus Life is offering “Gay? Fine by me” t-shirts to the campus. The purpose of this program is to affirm to the campus community that GLBT students (and faculty/staff) are accepted here at Williams. All you do is wear a t-shirt that says, simply, “Gay? Fine by me.”

More info here. Is there really nothing else that the Office of Campus Life might be spending time on?

The t-shirts are FREE, and come in a variety of sizes and colors, as well as men’s cut and women’s cut. Just stop by the Campus Life Office in Hopkins anytime between 1pm – 4:30pm, Monday – Friday to pick one up.

Free? Hmmm. Someone paid for them. Was it Williams? By the way, back in the day I don’t recall a distinction in t-shirts between men’s and women’s cuts. Was I missing something or is this just another example of how out of touch I am with today’s youth?

Also, is there any way for interested alums to get a shirt? I would certainly like one.

When you pick up a t-shirt, please leave your name and email address on our sign-up sheet. We will be sending emails before specific dates during the year that we’d like to try to get people to wear the shirts on the same day (National Coming Out Day, for example).

Good stuff. This is certainly more impressive a form of activism then claiming that everyone wearing blue jeans supports your cause.

The program was begun at Duke when they were labeled the most homophobic campus in the US by one of those ranking digests. Students at Duke decided they wanted to change that perception, and this is how they did it. The students who did this now run the non-profit organization out of New York, and colleges around the US are participating.

But the real question is what the College is saying to students, mainly very religious students, for whom homosexuality is not “fine by me.” Do they belong at Williams? Are their views valued?

More interesting still would be some counter-programming for the (few) conservatives on campus. I would certainly wear a t-shirt that said “Marine? Fine by me.” Trickier would be some trouble-making students who insisted on wearing t-shirts that said, “Gay? Not fine by me.” What would the College’s reaction be to that?

The problem here is not the sentiment (which I agree with) nor the t-shirts (which I would wear) but the College’s role in procuring and distributing them. These activities should be left to student groups, funded via College Council. The College, via the Office of Campus Life, has no business telling, say, devout Muslim students that their deeply held religious beliefs are wrong. Individual students (and professors, for that matter) should be encouraged — indeed, they have a positive obligation — to make that argument, to wear those t-shirts. But the College itself should be as neutral as possible.

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Ducking the Hard Questions

With regard to this thread, a reader writes:

My comments have to do with the whole nose counting issue. First, let me state the obvious: I usually disagree with Dave and often find him annoying, difficult and insensitive. Also, I do believe that affirmative action has a place in today’s world. However, Rory et. al. are driving me nuts! Why won’t they address the problem of counting a URM for your numbers but that URM not bringing any significantly different experience than a comparable non-URM? It seems a fair and justifiable question worth a response.

My hope is that the admission office looks at the applicants background in detail and sees what kind of “URM experience” they bring to the table. I think all kinds of URM’s experience are valuable: from the prep-school URM to the inner-city URM. But clearly it is in the college’s interest to have a diversity of diversity.

I hate it when people I agree with duck the hard questions and do not have the courage to take on a well thought out critique.

I hate it too.

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Deans ’78 , RIP

Stuart Deans ’78 died two weeks ago.

Stuart Deans swam as a boy, became an All-American swimmer in college and turned laps almost every day as an adult. As an official, he helped referee swim meets at the Family Y in Wilton and across the state. Last week, the 48-year-old Redding attorney, who specialized in environmental law, was back in the water in Hawaii.

As Deans finished his day with one last set of laps in a pool near the family’s hotel in Maui, he suffered heart failure and died in the water.

Younger Ephs should read the whole article to get a sense of what it means to live a well-rounded life.

Connie Deans [his wife], a Spanish teacher at John Read Middle School in Redding, produced one of her own memories — an e-mail sent by her husband to his office in Stamford on Earth Day last year.

“Stuart was in Naples, Florida, and he was out swimming in the Gulf with our two sons,” Connie Deans told one visitor. “It was their birthday. While they were out, they were joined by four adult and one young bottlenose dolphins.”

In his e-mail, Deans wrote: “They never got closer than about five feet but it was pretty cool.”

Deans, who said it was a reminder of the environment people needed to protect, signed off: “Try to find a couple of minutes today to watch the sunset or notice a bird that has returned from winter’s migration, or whatever other symbol of the interconnected nature of things you choose.

“Enjoy the day!”

Carpe diem is a recurring theme among Ephs of all ages. Connie Deans is class of 1979. My wife is also one class younger than I. We are just a ten years younger than Stuart and Connie. If I knew today that my number would come up in just a decade, would I spend my time any differently? Would you?

As family and friends gathered Thursday to share their memories of Stuart Deans, his daughter, Emily, expressed her own. She recalled when she had friends sleep over, they often awoke to find her father left them doughnuts for breakfast.

“We always looked up to our dad because he was something we all aspired to be,” she said. “I think a lot of our friends felt the same way because he was also a friend to them.”

Emily started at Williams yesterday as a member of the class of 2009. She and her mother will be on the same reunion cycle for decades to come, reunited every five years in a place that can’t but help to remind them of Stuart.

Life is often too bittersweet for words.

Condolences to all.

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First Days

If it is a rainy day at the end of August, it must be First Days at Williams. Throughout the 80’s the day of then freshmen now first year arrival seemed to always be a day like today, overcast with a bit of rain but not enough to make moving in too hard. At least, that was the weather 21 years ago.

But, from EphBlog’s point of view, there are two key questions: First, is anyone blogging the First Days experience? We are most interested in the presentations that the College makes. I heard some negative comments about last year’s speakers and wonder if things will be better this time around. Second, is anyone taking pictures?

Previous posts on First Days here and here. And, of course, I wonder if the class of 2009 will be learning The Mountains?

The central goal of First Days should be to ensure that every first year makes at least a friendly acquaintanceship with 50 or so other members of the class. A week is not enough time for friendship, of course, but it would be nice if everyone knew enough people well enough that there was always a table for them to join in Baxter (or wherever it is that first years are eating now). Also, it is best if these meetings are as randomized as possible. Ephs of specific interests and backgrounds will have no doubt congregate in the years to come. First Days is the time to meet those who you might not ordinarily meet.

The College already starts this process in the right direction by ensuring that entries are a microcosm of Williams as a whole. There is nothing wrong with well done social engineering. It is also wise to provide a week for the first years to do things as a class, without the pressure/distractions of other obligations. (Am I right in thinking that first year athletes don’t start practicing with their teams until after First Days are over?) I hope that the JA’s also mix up people (perhaps via entry-pairings?) in the discussions after the various speakers. And, certainly, every discussion should begin with the sort of learn-everyone’s-name game that is a staple of summer camps and retreats.

It would be also good to see more of this forced mixing. I hope that WOOLF groups are, for example, not organized by entry but instead mix up the entries as much as possible. It would be even better if the College put WOW later in the semester so that URMs are not (self-)segregated from the very start of their Williams experience.

We are all purple first.

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Bergeron ’04 Update

Here’s a nice update on the baseball career of Jabe Bergeron ’04.

After graduation, Bergeron eagerly anticipated the draft but was ultimately overlooked. But a short time later he received a call from the Mets offering him a contract.

He spent the majority of his time between the Kingsport Mets, a rookie-ball affiliate in the Appalachian League, and the Capital City Bombers, a single-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League.

In the minors he continued to hit for power while keeping a respectable average. He finished his first professional season with a .283 batting average, 10 homeruns and 34 RBIs.

See here for previous posts on Bergeron. Alas, the Mets recently released him. He now plays in Canada.

And the one thing Bergeron said he has learned through all of his experiences is to stick to what you know.

“Once you start getting down then you start wondering, you start tweaking things, you go into a slump,” he said “The more positive you stay, the better you’re going to play. As soon as you start getting into your own head and start analyzing and thinking too much, you start changing things that didn’t need to be changed in the first place.”

A lesson that applies to more than baseball.

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Some Context for Ephblog

While we’re having highly nuanced conversations on Ephblog about Williams and higher education, every once and awhile it’s good to step back and think about how rare that is in the U.S. According to an article entitled, “Scientific Savvy? In U.S., Not Much,” that ran in today’s New York Times,

American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small). Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity. Only about 10 percent know what radiation is. One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth, an idea science had abandoned by the 17th century.

A sobering thought.

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Helicopter Parents

An Associated Press story on Sunday talks about “helicopter parents” — parents of college students who “hover” over their children. For example, calling to complain to college administrators when their sons or daughters get bad grades, or

Recently, one parent demanded to know what Colgate planned to do about the sub-par plumbing her daughter encountered on a study-abroad trip to China.

According to the article, consumer-oriented parents expect a superb experience for their kiddies at $40,000 a year, and aren’t bashful about pointing that out to college administrators.

To foster student self-reliance, colleges have turned to skits, lectures, and reading lists to explain to parents that a certain amount of student flailing (without the crutch of parent intervention) is expected and good.

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The Magnificent 14

The College, as predicted by EphBlog, has declined to list the 14 faculty members that it considers to be Hispanic. It claims to consider such information “private to the individual.” But EphBlog has many readers and sources. One of them suggested:

Gene Bell-Villada (Romance Languages)
Maria Elena Cepeda (Latino Studies)
Ondine Chavoya (Studio Art)
Joe Cruz (Philosophy and Cognitive Science)
Antonia Foias (Anthropology)
Soledad Fox (Romance Languages)
Berta Jottar (Theater)
Manuel Morales (Biology)
Enrique Peacocke-Lopez (Chemistry)
Ileana Perez Vasquez (Music)
Merida Rua (American Studies and Latino Studies)
Cesar Silva (Math)
Armando Vargas (Comparative Literature)
Carmen Whalen (Latino Studies)

as the magnificent 14. True? I don’t know. I have been told that one of these might be considered a “stretch,” but your mileage may vary.

Interesting to see that Williams has two professors of Latino Studies. Williams also has two statisticians (Richard DeVeaux and Bernhard Klingenberg.) I predict/hope that, in a few decades, this parity will seem bizarre.

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Berke ’94 Opens Clinic

Dr. Beatrice Berke ’94 has opened her new dermatology clinic in Bradenton, Florida. Perhaps it is time for an Eph Derm Mafia?

My neighbors in Williams D back in the day will certainly recall their JA, Clark Otley ’86. Other members might include Shobha Jetmalani ’81, Richard Castiello ’63, Sewon Kang ’80 and Williams Wickwire ’80. My own genius wife was taught by both Otley and Kang.

To all the Ephs in medical school, remember one word: Dermatology. It’s the plastics of the 21st century.

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True and Not True

Emily Thorson ’02 has some amusing examples of “things I thought were true but turned out upon further reflection to be wrong.” But she ends her list with:

That the guy in full U.S. Army camoflage on the orange line was actually the best-disguised terrorist ever. [On a larger scale, this actually is true].

Hmmm. I don’t get it, but I am ready to take offense.

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Admin Realignment

On August 24th, Morty announced some administrative changes at the college. Helen Ouellette’s former post, that of Vice President of Administration and Treasurer, has been abolished, and its responsibilities are being parceled out. Williams will now have a CFO position (awarded to Cappy Hill), a Vice President of Operations (to be appointed), and a Vice President of Investments (to be appointed).

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Photo ID, #17

David suggested that people really do like seeing pictures of Williams College, so I’ll provide you with some on Fridays. I am studying at Williams-Mystic this semester, so I might put in some pictures of Mystic every so often, too. Tell me what you’d like. Feel free to identify the photos; I think it’s more fun if I don’t do it for you.

DSCN2794.JPG

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Purple People Magazine

Well, I just received my first copy of People Magazine, Williams style, in the mail today. Apparently, the college has decided to split the Alumni Review into two parts: People (issued 3 times a year), which contains the Class Notes and other alumni news, and the Alumni Review (issued 4 times a year), which will continue to report on college news.

People is a more compact format than the Alumni Review, measuring 6 inches wide, 10.5 inches tall, and (in this case) 0.25 inches thick. After getting over the shock — I’d heard no whispers of this heresy from the college — I kinda like it. It’s sort of a nice, toss-it-in-your-briefcase-and-read-it-on-the-plane-or-commuter-rail format. (I still think the type is too small, but based on the angry Letters to the Editor that say the same thing and get ignored, it’s clear I’m not going to win that battle. Apparently everyone who works on the Alumni Review has good eyesight.)

So what do you think about People? Like it, hate it, or somewhere in-between? The college is asking for your feedback via a mail-in card or an online survey (http://www.williams.edu/alumni/alumnireview/survey), but that will take months to collate, and any blunt comments will be smoothed out before public consumption. In this Internet age, why wait? What’s the collective, non-bashful opinion of EphBlog readers?

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Read the NY Times, Then a Williams Thesis

On Wednesday, The New York Times had an article on colleges adding locally grown food to their menus. The article mentioned Bates, Kenyon, Middlebury and Oberlin, but not Williams.

At this point, at least this Williams alum thought, “Hmm… I know Williams is doing some of this; I wonder what the Williams-specific take on this is.” And then, viola, I discovered this was covered in Jocelyn Gardner’s senior thesis for Human Ecology and Environmental Studies entitled, “Think Globally, Eat Locally: An Analysis of Williams College’s Food Consumption.”

If you’re wondering about the dynamics of offering locally grown produce and running a college food service, this makes pretty interesting reading, as she takes the time to set the problem in context. Jocelyn spends the first 30 pages describing the history of agriculture in the U.S., the next 20 talking about Berkshires agriculture, and then the next 25 about food consumption and Dining Services at Williams. She closes with five pages of recommendations.

Some factoids. During the 2003-2004 academic year, Williams served 775,000 meals and spent $2.44 million buying food. Meat, fish, and poultry was 34% of that expenditure, fruits and vegetables was 11%. Williams spent $13,830.77 on hot dogs and $4,880.78 on cottage cheese. Per capita consumption of beef for the year was 32.1 pounds; ice cream, 25.9 pounds.

She has some heartbreaking quotes from Bershire farmers who have had to get out of the business, and discusses the tradeoffs that Dining Services has to consider in order to offer fresh and interesting food without breaking the bank. Highly recommended.

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Anchor Housing and Intramurals

Any fan of Williams intramurals (IM) should be worried about the effect of anchor housing on this hallowed tradition. In fact, I predict that the institution of anchor housing will lead, almost inevitably, to an intramural scene at Williams that is much less popular and inclusive than the current one, and even worse than what IM sports could be with only some minor improvements. Yet only screed-lovers should read further.

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Fisketjon ’76 Interview

An interview with editor Gary Fisketjon ’76.

Slushpile: Knopf, like most of the major publishers, no longer accepts unsolicited, un-agented submissions. Do you ever fear that you might be missing some great new writer with this policy?

Fisketjon: Not true. We get scores, possibly hundreds, of them every week and log countless hours considering them – not, perhaps, to the satisfaction of those submitting them, but surely to my satisfaction, and surely more than any baseball-minded fool would get if he were to walk up to Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park and demand a try-out. Aspiring writers always tell me that agents are less accommodating in this respect, but about that you’d have to ask an agent.

Who needs an agent when you can blog? More on Fisketjon here:

“Who says there are no great editors anymore,” asks Peter Carey in the acknowledgments to his new novel, a reference to Gary Fisketjon. Novelists Kent Haruf and Joy Williams, also guests at this year’s conference call Gary ‘editor,’ as have Raymond Carver, Jay McInerny, Bill Morrissey, and Tobias Wolff from previous UND conferences.

And here:

And now we come to the club master, Gary Fisketjon, who knew and encouraged them all, this band of renegade writers who, one after another, found fellowships, publishers, and universities that welcomed them.

I know little about him accept he chain-smokes unfiltered Camels and is a vital and welcoming editor to the talented. He is about fifty and has been described as a cross between Maxwell Perkins and Steve McQueen.

Why not Fisketjon as Commencement speaker this coming fall, in connection with his 30th anniversary? He seems as accomplished as an editor as past Commencement speakers have been in their more visible fields.

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Ask a Chemist

Geoff Hutchison ’99 is answering chemistry questions for the local paper in Ithaca. He offers to answer ours as well. Do you have any questions for Geoff? Here are mine:

1) Is percholate really that dangerous?

2) Are you as embarassed as I am about the pathetic gut courses that the chemistry departments offers? I am especially dismissive of Chemistry for the Consumer in the Twenty-First Century.

By the way, my solution to the problem of gut science courses at Williams is actually simple. Departments should only be allowed to offer courses that earn credit for the major.

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Purple Referrals

It’s been interesting watching traffic from Ephblog turn up on my blog. After David pointed to my blog on August 20th, I’ve received a steady stream of visitors: 27 so far, to be exact. From far away — Korea, the UK — and from prestigious universities — Cambridge in England and Princeton in the U.S. Even someone from Williams — I can’t tell whether it’s a student or administrator — clicked over.

For those who wonder about Ephblog’s reach, take a look at the affiliated SiteMeter page. At this moment, it’s reporting that Ephblog gets 412 visits a day. The last 100 visits superimposed on a world map is sort of interesting as well.

So for those privacy freaks, yes, Big Brother is watching.

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We’re Number 14!

We all know there is a certain arbitrariness to the US News and World Report College Rankings. The selection of criteria and the weighting of the criteria are idiosyncratic. Alternative ranking exist. For instance, some clever economists ranked colleges by the head-to-head choices made by high school seniors). Well, the liberal Washington Monthly weighs in with its own rankings emphasizing public service:

From this starting point, we came up with three central criteria: Universities should be engines of social mobility, they should produce the academic minds and scientific research that advance knowledge and drive economic growth; and they should inculcate and encourage an ethic of service.

The authors are forthcoming with the limitations of the methodology and data (part of their purpose is to encourage universities to release data — something David Kane can fully support). The rankings of universities is radically different from US News and World Report. Here are the top ten universities: 1) MIT; 2) UCLA; 3) UC-Berkeley; 4) Cornell; 5) Stanford; 6) Penn State; 7) Texas A&M; 8) UC-San Diego; 9) U Penn; 10) University of Michigan.

The rankings for liberal arts colleges are not radically different: 1) Wellesley; 2) Wesleyan; 3) Bryn Mawr; 4) Harvey Mudd; 5) Fisk; 6) Amherst; 7) Haverford; 8) Wofford; 9) Colby; 10) Spelman.

Williams comes in at #14.

Williams, which U.S. News ranks as the top liberal arts school in the country, wound up at #14 on our list, one slot below Presbyterian, largely because of its weak service numbers.

One methodological irony is how Washington Monthly measured service. Numbers on teachers and government employees are not readily available. However, ROTC numbers for each college are easy to find. So schools with active ROTC programs are ranked more highly than they might be otherwise. Again, I think David Kane might fully support an expansion of the Williams ROTC program.

This might be the only source of agreement between David and Washington Monthly.

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Theses On-line!

EphBlog gets results! Some senior theses for 2004/2005 are now available on-line. (Thanks to Ronit Bhattacharyya ’07 and College Librarian David Pilachowski for the pointer. I also know that Morty was a fan of this effort.)

Again, no one believes that there are thousands of readers about to dive into these. But there are more than a few worth reading (although I have only had time to finish Lindsey Taylor’s so far) and several which will have portions more widely read then the vast majority of work produced by members of the Williams faculty this year.

Most importantly, the more public and open the College makes the process and product of academic work at Williams, the better that work will be done. Want to increase the quality of intellectual life among current undergraduates? Let the rest of us listen in.

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Gerson ’94 Networks

Mark Gerson’s ’94 firm makes a not-excessively positive appearence in this New York Times article entitled “Doctors’ Links With Investors Raise Concerns”. Basic idea is that investors want information about the products of the companies in which they invest, doctors have that information, and Gerson brings the two together for a fee. AFAIK, Gerson’s firm has been very successful in this endeavor. Indeed, outside of the Tripod, I can’t think of a more prominent Eph-founded firm in the last decade. Luckily, the only people whose “concerns” are raised are those that understand neither markets, nor research nor contracts. More commentary below.

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Viva La Difference

John Phillips ’02 offers his thoughts, such as they are, on the differences between French and American women.

American women cannot dress properly. Do not contest it, just accept it. Colors, perfumes, make up. It’s not a date, it’s hanging out with a flower vending clown.

Courting a French woman is like boolean algebra. You have to say enough double entendres to progressively eliminate all possible alternate meanings.

There is a reason Phillips walked out of Williams single, and it isn’t his political leanings.

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Creese ’75 Blogs Solo

Fellow EphBlogger Guy Creese ’75 is too shy to mention it, but he has his own blog, recently added to our exer-expaning collection of Eph blogs.

AFAIK, Creese is the oldest alumn with his own blog. But where are the blogs of the youngest Ephs? Surely, there must be a dozen or more ’09’s with blogs . . .

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He Who Is Blessed

Harvey Simmonds ’60* is the subject of a PBS documentary to air in the fall, “He Who Is Blessed.” Simmonds spent 20 years in the publishing world in New York, worked as a pot-washer and bartender on a riverboat in New Orleans, and then became a monk at the age of 46, all the while suffering from periodic bouts of severe depression. When he became a monk, he took the name Benedict, which means “he who is blessed” in Latin, hence the name of the film.

The producer, Ron Stegall, who was a student at Williams with Simmonds, produced the film. He lives in Deer Isle, ME in the summer, as do I, and is a friend of a friend, so I saw the DVD of the film. It includes many clips of people who know Simmonds talking about him, as well as many of Simmonds speaking about his life.

At Williams, Simmonds devoted most of his time to theatre. He explains how he would catch a ride to New York City on Friday afternoons, see a Friday evening show ($1 for standing room), sleep in Grand Central Station, catch a Saturday matinee, a Saturday evening show, and a Sunday matinee, and then return to Williams on Sunday afternoon. After graduating, he landed a job as a gardener, and horticulture became a lifelong passion for him. His job on the riverboat led him to befriend Wendell Berry and other great writers of his time.

You can order the DVD from the Web site, He Who Is Blessed.com. If anyone knows when the one-hour show will air on PBS, please post it below.

* The film doesn’t say what his graduation year was, but he was born in 1938.

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The Class of ’06 Five Years Out

In the course of meandering through some Google results, I ran into this Web page, which describes what the Class of 1906 was doing five years after graduation.

It’s a time capsule of sorts. First, the class was less than a third the size of today’s classes: 148 vs. 500. Second, many were engaged in manufacturing, compared to today’s emphasis on service jobs (lawyers, physicians, teachers). Third, although some had made it to Colorado, Washington, or the all encompassing “in the West,” most were living in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. And finally, good health, which we pretty much take for granted, was not the case in 1911. For example:

Basil Doliver Barlow: With Hornblower & Weeks, Bankers, until August 1909. Married Miss Florence Pratt in July 1908. With the Centennial Milling Co. of Spokane WA 1909. Wife Florence Pratt. Daughter Elizabeth born 12 Jan 1910. With the Columbia Valley Bank of Wenatchee WA 1910. Died 31 May 1910 of Typhoid Fever.

Luther Franklin Bodman: Left college at end of Sophomore year. Went to NC on account of ill health. Died Jan 1908.

Kenneth B. Coulter: 1139 Dearborn Ave., Chicago IL, at Harvard Univ for 2 years. An invalid due to paralysis. No info since 1909.

Morton Griswold: Harvard Law School 1909, engaged in law practice in NYC. Died 5 April 1910 at his former home in Wallingford CT of meningitis.

Russell Hobson: Died 22 Mar 1911 at Saranac Lake NY of tuberculosis.

Brockholst K. Miller: 744 Watchung Ave, Plainfield NJ, Had to give up law practice due to poor health, expects to locate in Salt Lake City UT and resume practice.

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We’re #1

The latest US News college rankings are out. Williams has maintained its #1 position, with Amherst second and Swarthmore third. Previous discussions here and here.

Again, it would make a great senior theses to look at the US News system and how Williams has fared over the years. One of the surprises (to me) is that Williams is only 5th on the “selectivity” rank. Why would that be? Note that Amherst also has higher SAT scores and class ranks. Hmmm.

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E-List

Stephen O’Grady ’97 has a fascinating article on how blogs “work.”

But for whatever the reason, I decided to look into the keywords a bit more deeply and explore my Google rank beyond the typical search on your name. What I found was surprising, at least to me. What I did was simple: look up the typical keywords people use to arrive here, then Google them myself and see where my entries were placed. What follows is an incomplete list of a variety of searches that my space is returned in the top 10 results on a Google search.

The interesting thing here isn’t that blogs are well regarded in Google; there is, after all, a reason that PR types are continually pitching (or spamming, depending on your view) the A-list bloggers. What’s interesting is that a blog with my ranking can actually do well, albeit in some fairly esoteric areas. . . . I’m as liable to end up with a high Google rank as anyone else out there. Is this a meritocracy or what?

Indeed. The whole post, like so much of what O’Grady writes, is worth your time. Even more fun, though, is that regular readers can look for themselves into EphBlog’s logs and try the same exercise. Some of my favorite Google high rankers are:

Readers are invited to submit their own favorites.

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Snake Hunting

M. Esa Seegulam ’06 has an inspirational post:

And one by one, the voices of discontent rise from the graveyard of emaciated, spent, purple bodies. But crying one by one does nothing. It is time to get names. It is time we found out who our tormentors are. Who makes the decisions that work so well to suffocate the backbone of this institution? Who decides that houses will re-open on inconvenient days, that students will be housed in buildings that may well be deemed cruel and unusual forms of punishment for summer-time, construction-time, bulldozing-time, steel-cutting-time living? Which ogre is stirring a cauldron looking down at us and laughing? And how can we, as students, best turn the tables and pour some salt on this worm? Without the students, this campus will be destroyed, so we must get this snake before it gets us. For all those of you angry, bitter, disenchanted souls out there who feel that somehow the gold in your cow has dried up to more of a piss-colored yellow, know that there is strength in numbers. And this fall, I am going snake hunting. I shall begin my hunt on the trail of the Grand Dame of Student Dissatisfaction. My anti-venom shall be a little concoction I whipped up in the lab. I gave it the simple name: PUBLICITY. I invite you to join me.

Read the whole thing

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Red Sox Diary

Those of you who followed the Red Sox Diaries either on Ephblog or on Rebunk might be interested in knowing that it looks as if it will see the light of day as a book that should be out by the 2005 playoffs. I will have more details as the publication date comes closer, but it is being published by a subsidiary of a small academic press. This was a labor of love, and I expect to get very little attention or monetary compensation for it, but I do hope you will consider buying it when it finally is available. The title has changed slightly, and it will come out as Bleeding Red: A Red Sox Fan’s Diary of the 2004 Season.

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Counting Faculty Noses

As a follow up to our discussion of undergraduate nose counting, it is interesting to consider the question of faculty nose counting. The Diversity Initiatives (excellent) data tables report that there are 14 “Hispanic” faculty at Williams.

Are there really? And, who are they?

To be clear, I am not certain that the 14 number is correct. The chart is hard to read. Whatever the exact number is, I’ll make the following predictions:

1) The readers of this blog, in their collective wisdom, can not come up with the 14 names. Start with Joe Cruz, Gene Bell-Villada, Cesar Silva, . . .

2) Vista will not like some of these names. Although most people agree that ethnic identity is one that people may largely (and acting in good faith) claim for themselves, there are limits to what ethnic activists will allow for. If a non-Spanish-speaking professor’s grandfather emmigrated from Spain, should she be counted as Hispanic? I suspect that Vista will answer No.

3) The College will refuse to release the list of faculty names. (I haven’t yet asked but will soon.) There may be legal reasons for the refusal. Federal law places severe restrictions on what information an employer (like Williams) can provide about specific employees. If so, this raises the interesting question of how any of us can know how many Hispanics teach at Williams.

EphBlog Koan: If there is a Hispanic teaching at Williams, and no one knows it, does the MCC website celebrate?

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