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Welcome Back, President Cappy Hill

Cappy Hill ’76 is expected to be named the next president of the college within the next two months, definitely before the end of the academic year, according to a person familiar with the matter, who refused to be identified because the hope is to keep the appointment under wraps for the time being. We, of course, predicted this three weeks ago.

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#1 Comment By frank uible On January 5, 2009 @ 2:15 pm

So much for secrecy!

#2 Comment By Aidan On January 5, 2009 @ 5:02 pm

by “we,” Ronit, don’t you mean “David Kane?”

#3 Comment By Ronit On January 5, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

It’s called a nosism, Aidan.

#4 Comment By David Kane On January 5, 2009 @ 5:24 pm

Wow. Interesting stuff. Incorporating this data, I would update my estimate from 50:50 to 75:25 for Cappy. Another data point to look for is details on the search process. If the powers-that-be make a big deal of the search, have a website, announce their members, have some public meetings, then that would suggest a search of normal length (i.e., many months). If we see none of that, expect an announcement for Cappy before the end of March.

#5 Comment By Ken Thomas ’93 On January 5, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

“We must avoid both egoism and nosism in order to realize the glory of humanity.” J. Odera Oruka; Philosophy, Humanity and Ecology; Diane Publishing; 1996.

Now that’s our kind of humour.

#6 Comment By frank uible On January 5, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

Doesn’t solipsism fit someplace there?

#7 Comment By Aidan On January 5, 2009 @ 7:14 pm

Seems a little rich to complain about some editorial content while involking the royal we whenever you see fit, Ronit…

#8 Comment By Ronit On January 5, 2009 @ 7:23 pm

Do we contradict ourselves? Very well then, we contradict ourselves. We are large, we contain multitudes.

#9 Comment By JG On January 5, 2009 @ 7:47 pm

Can “we” get even a little bit more info about the mysterious (and hopefully non-Kane) informant? I mean, I’m all for anonymity to protect the guilty/innocent, but I have my doubts that any random alum, trustee, or prof really has all the pieces of the political puzzle here unless s/he is the head of the search committee. We all have our theories…but 2 years as Prez of Vassar just isn’t much.

I would like to say, however, that I’d be quite pleased for Williams to finally join the modern era and be lead by a woman. My interactions with Cappy were good overall. She is professional, organized, and seems to care a great deal about our fair school.

#10 Comment By Ronit On January 5, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

JG – the way I see it, leaving things anonymous allows for minimal embarrassment should my source turn out to be wrong, while allowing me to seem prescient and well-informed should the speculation be correct. Really, there’s no downside for me in posting anonymously-sourced rumors on the internets. A good working assumption is that my source is a squirrel who lives right behind Hopkins Hall.

#11 Comment By frank uible On January 5, 2009 @ 8:13 pm

And, of course, if you should get a reputation for disclosing your anonymous sources, then future such sources might dry up.

#12 Comment By sophmom On January 5, 2009 @ 8:26 pm

We like that word site, Ronit.

But Frank, we agree. There must be a funny way to work “solipsism” into the quote and nail three birds rather than two. We’d have to start by changing “humanity” to “me”…

#13 Comment By Dick Swart On January 5, 2009 @ 8:33 pm

I have a good guess as to the source …


#14 Comment By Ken Thomas ’93 On January 5, 2009 @ 9:16 pm

On or around 18 years ago, the folks in Jesup decided to use a program called RevRDist to automate distribution of software packages to workstations on campus.

This software had a rather glaring security flaw: it stored its administrative passwords, unencrypted, in the ‘resource fork’ of the program. Anyone who bothered to examine this, quickly had access to the means to surreptitiously distribute software to any Jesup-managed workstation.

At about the same time, effective audio transport algorithms– what has now become the underpinning of what is called “VoIP” — were just emerging into common use. The group which would become CU-SeeMe had just released its first “internet voice” application– something that would, just barely, allow a CB-like “you, then me” voice conversation between two computers.

Incidently, as it were– the combination of all these factors meant that almost any office on the Williams campus could be bugged. And if it can be done, it will, as it were, by Murphy.

This is a reportage, not a confession– but reporters keep their sources of information close, as well as anonymous, for good reasons.

#15 Comment By Ronit On January 5, 2009 @ 9:33 pm

From Vassar blogs, it seems apparent that there is tension between Cappy and certain Vassar faculty over job cuts… start reading here:



We’d have to start by changing “humanity” to “me”…

Thanks, this made me (us) laugh.

#16 Comment By sophmom On January 5, 2009 @ 9:37 pm

Geez, Ken, sounds like a lot of effort for very little return…unless they’re in training for the CIA, or um…Hollywood.

Kinda think the ‘squirrel’ is more likely.

#17 Comment By sophmom On January 6, 2009 @ 12:37 am

P.S to #16:

I just had a comment here in which my links got so fubared, I had to click ‘delete’. (aaargh).

But the basic gist of it was, that if you combine the timing of Morty’s resignation, with the info that Ronit has supplied in comment #15, and a bit of the basic human curiosity and resourcefulness that Ken sheds light on in #14, then I’d say, the ‘squirrel’, may simply be someone who is paying close attention.

So, given all that, ‘we’, (and I solipsistically, egoistically, and nosistically, speak for myself) are willing to lay odds, that Ronit, and/or, his ‘squirrel’, are on to something.

All that said, I am very sorry to see Morty go, but like JG, I quite like the idea of a woman leading Williams.

#18 Comment By sophmom On January 6, 2009 @ 1:06 am


Also, there might be a lot of merit to what’s implied in comment # 13. After all, history has proven as much.

Only Ronit knows for sure….


#19 Comment By Ken Thomas ’93 On January 6, 2009 @ 1:38 am

SophMom: I lost a longer reply (to you) a few nights ago, even though my installation of FireFox is *not* supposed to do that.

My longer reply to your comment #16, above, suffers several faults: as usual, there are a number of things I’d like to be able to reveal which I cannot– such as the best Williams College prank (ever), which would lose a great deal of its value by being revealed; and, as usual, it descends into a series of ramblings whose connections I thought I could make clear, but …

but. Let’s try to make it shorter: imagine that the techniques described in #14, above, were then applied in a few investment firms. Or government offices, consulates, embassies.

Just imagine. Then …

#20 Comment By nuts On January 6, 2009 @ 4:16 am

“Welcome Back, President Cappy Hill”

…gets our vote for post of the week (even though the week is young) because it has all the elements; a big rumor that may also be news, familiar wildlife — the squirrel not Cappy, as well Kane was the first to put the idea in play and then failed to trust his intuitive genius, comments full of playful debate about attitudes diction and grammar, and Swart’s iconic imagery – no one at The New Yorker does it better. Can we get a second?