Currently browsing the archives for February 2009

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Huge win!

Kyle Ayer surprised many people at the tournament except for his teammates and coaches.  Ayer the #4 seed beat the #5 seed James Woods in the quarterfinals 8-0 on Saturday setting up a match with Bryan Lenhardt the #1 seed and #3 wrestler in the country.  Ayer beat Lenhardt in overtime 7-5 with a takedown less than 15 seconds into the period.  The next day Ayer beat Nick Logan of RIC by pin in 3:36.  Lenhardt won three straight matches to get back to the finals and set up a rematch with Ayer.  The two battled in a highly contested and controversial match,” commented DiCenzo.  Three situations went uncalled late in the match that could have gone in the favor of Ayer.  Lenhardt won 7-5 in overtime to take home the New England Title.  Ayer ended his Williams career second in New England, a three-time all NEWA wrestler, with over 85 career wins.

That’s a tough break.  One of the best in the nation, and he does not get to go, just because he had another all american level grappler in his weight class.  Unfair if you ask me. The tournament should have a rule for this kind of thing. It appears the Ephs got robbed in wildcard selection.

http://williams.prestosports.com/sports/wrest/2008-09/news/0222NEWAFinals

http://williams.prestosports.com/sports/wrest/2008-09/news/0225_Wrestling_caps_off_historic_regular_season

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David : Fourteen Fun Facts (14) World Traveller

wheres-dave-o1

Well, tomorrow Waldo/Dave-o returns to the keyboard with the blank pages of ephblog waiting to sop up his virtual ink. Hopefully, he is tanned and has a couple of bottles of Duty-Free.

So here is the last two-parter:

a. Where do you think Dave-o has been for the month of February?

b. Where is your dream spot to catch some rays, some breaks, wallow in powder, walk the cobble stone streets?

L’envoi:

I know, yeah, uh-huh … I said I was pulling the series by popular request. You can follow that discussion somewhere below under the entry for #11.

But I did think Waldo was the most pleasant of the lot and I do want to welcome David back. My apologies to anyone offended by the reappearance of this annoying series. But it is #14!

For those benighted few who actually want to see the two pulled, #’s 12 and 13:

http://1956ephs.blogspot.com/2009/02/david-14-fun-facts-13-earthmover.html

http://1956ephs.blogspot.com/2009/02/david-14-fun-facts-12-tap-dancer.html

click on the pix to get them gagging-big!

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And the Oscar Contest Awards go to …

oscar-magnet
Yes. No tacky windsurfing guy in a pen going back and forth!

This time its’ tacky graphic windsurfing guys on a tacky graphic river!

But they are on a refrigerator magnet! Useful, nearly-decorative, and a constant reminder of your prowess in guessing the winners of Oscars 2009.

I’ll need a mailing address to send them to you. dick@swart.org I will virtually eat your virtual email after receipt.

Sophmom, JG, Holly, nuts, jeffz, PTC, Joshua A Delung, Another ‘05 Eph

Let me hear from you!

Your refrigerator is begging you.

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“Bill Bennett is My Idol.”

Ever wonder what would happen if, at age six, your kid decided to idolize Bill Bennett ’65?  Meet the future of the GOP, Jonathan Krohn.  He is only 13, so I’ll resist the urge to make any further commentary …

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Equitable Housing

From another Record Op-Ed by Andrés López ’09:

Without a doubt, Spencer Neighborhood offers the best housing in terms of location and room quality, while Dodd and Wood neighborhoods include some awkward housing choices. When Spencer Neighborhood sophomores have access to spacious singles in West Hall, while some Wood Neighborhood seniors get stuck with far-off, hermetically sealed or basement rooms, there’s got to be a problem.

My question to you folks is this: what are the hidden benefits of certain dorms, and the hidden costs? We can look at the advantages of location and room size with a map and room blueprints, but there are other factors – living above Prospect or Morgan basement is likely less peaceable than Lehman. Another factor are the small things in life, such as the motion-sensor in my shower room that inevitably shuts off the light while someone is still showering.

What do you remember about your housing here from years past?

Edited at 5:30 in order to focus more exactly on the dorms as opposed to the housing system.

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Kevin Koernig ’05 and his little friend

Picture of the day comes from this article about a baby giraffe born this Monday at Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, MA:

bilde

(h/t aparent)

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The Disciplinary Record of Mr. William Lowndes Yancey, Non-Graduate in the Class of 1833

From Perspectives: A Williams Anthology, edited by Frederick Rudolph ’42.

By any contemporary understanding of the meaning of privacy and privileged information, the Williams Collegedisplinary record of William Lowndes Yancey, Non-graduate in the Class of 1833, is revealed here in violation of Yancey’s human rights. […]

  • 2/23/31 – Resolved that Yancey be fined a dollar [$25.00-ish considering inflation] & recieve his first warning, for going out of town without leave, for getting intoxicated, & for using profane language.
  • 3/9/31 – Yancey was fined five dollars for playing cards.
  • 4/13/31 – Yancey was fined fifty cents for breaking glass.
  • 4/20/31 – Yancey, for disturning a religious meeting last Sabbath evening, & for getting intoxicated on Monday, was suspended till the commencement of the next fall term.

There’s more in the book, but this should give you an idea of Mr. Yancey’s relationship with Williams. He later returned, left after incurring fines for missing prayers, returned again, and then left once more for South Carolina.

Why does this matter? Well, our misbegotten Eph was to become “William Lowndes Yancey, an American leader of the Southern secession movement. Williams Professor Charles Keller hypothesized the “Griffin Hall” theory of the Civil War, because if Yancey had not left Williams, it is entirely conceivable that American history in this time could have unfolded entirely differently.

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Eph Hoops: Rubber Match Edition

Watch (live or on video) the men’s hoops team play Amherst for the third time this year in Saturday’s NESCAC Championship semifinal at Middlebury.   Hopefully some Eph fans will make the relatively easy trip north, as the fan presence had a big impact in the recent win at Lefrak.

The stakes could not be higher — a loss by either team likely ends its season (definitely in Williams’ case), and the winner gets bragging rights until next winter.  Williams and Amherst have met twice before on neutral floors, most recently at the 2004 Final Four.  Their record, of course?  One win each … previous discussion of the rivalry here, here, and here.

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“Ahhh, the excitement …”

recalls Rechtal Turgidley, Jr, “of those days preparing for the job interviews in New York.

“I have preserved this picture of the ‘Old Boys” returning to the house to ‘prep’ us seniors for that job interview. Not simply a question of the right clothes and haberdashery – that was taken for granted.
prepping-at-the-house

“But the all-important question: How to deal in a sincere manner with people who would soon be working for you!

“Those ‘first impressions were so important. And continue to be

“Good Luck to all aspirants! May the importance of your worth not overshadow the ability to be charming.”

Rechtal Turgidley, Jr
Quark Island, Maine

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“The Athletic Divide”

From an excellent Record Op-ed by Ifiok Inyang.

As a member of the varsity football team and therefore one of the many student-athletes here at Williams, I used to hold the perspective that the hard work, time spent and physical sacrifice that goes into being a student-athlete was something that only others in my similar predicament could understand; only they could understand this large part of who I am. I felt that the dedication of other students who participated in different activities was somehow not as legitimate because it did not involve athletics.

I know now that such a view is seriously flawed because I have become more involved in Sankofa, College Council and various other non-athletic commitments on campus. It was through such experiences that I realized exactly how similar we all are; we are all heavily committed to our responsibilities, and we all share the same academic burdens as Williams students.

Read the whole thing. Another good op-ed is here.

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Job Hunting

There’s a job and internship fair coming up soon on campus, and the signs are everywhere: people are editing their resumes, insuring that they can be contacted for interviews, and buying clothes suitable for such activities. The tension is high, due to the lower job market – fellowships for three in some places have been reduced to one position.

20 years ago, Mika Brzezinski ’89 was in the same predicament.

(The Setting: Morning Joe on MSNBC)
At the end of an interview with Don Browne, the President of Telemundo, Brzezinski came on the air to ask him if “you might remember one interview with a very young, naive, not ready… ah girl… interested in being in television. I’d say, probably exactly twenty years ago.”

An amused Browne responded, “I told you that I thought you had tremendous potential. And I gave you a little advice. And look where you are now!”

Source w/ video. We all start somewhere.

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Letter from Morty

To the Williams Community,

Thanks go to all of the very many people across campus who have been working hard on reducing spending now and on budgeting carefully for more substantial reductions in the coming academic year.

The process of setting the 2009-10 budget, while certainly challenging, is proceeding well. This is due in large part to the openness, creativity, and goodwill of many.

Given the continued volatility of the world’s capital markets, it’s clear that we need to start thinking of how Williams would respond if the general economy turns down even further or stays down even longer than we’ve anticipated.

To make those deliberations broadly representative, Senior Staff has formed an Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Budget Priorities made up of faculty, staff, and students.

The group will meet weekly through this semester to advise Senior Staff on what parts of our operations the College should protect most if we are forced by outside conditions to cut spending further than we now anticipate. I hope it turns out that we won’t need to cut further but we should be ready with a thoughtful plan in case we do.

I thank the committee’s members, listed below, for taking time from their busy schedules to serve us all in this way.

Regards,
M. Schapiro
President

Note that this group fulfills one of Lizzy and Mike’s campaign pledges. For a list of members, click: Read more

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Thank you David, Ken, and Ronit …

from the Board for your fast and professional work in implementing the two-part positioning-cum-disclaimer now visible at the top of the left-hand column.

Dick Swart 1956
President
EphBlog

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Donde Estan Los Guns

I thought this photo, highlighted in Jeremy Weinberger’s NCAA.com blog, was awesome:

Speaking of Eph tennis players, nice story from Williams Sports Information on senior Rick Devlin.

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Humanities thrive at Williams; Oakley quoted

A recent New York Times article discusses the decline of humanities in colleges, with only 8% of students nationwide majoring in the humanities. Students apparently want courses of study that will lead more directly to a job; the lowest percentage of students in the humanities was during the economic crisis of the ’80s.

I remember reading an article a few years ago that discussed how Dartmouth students were lobbying for more content in their classes that would be directly applicable to a job; this article reminded me of that one. At the time, I thought it was ridiculous, because there are many good reasons to get a liberal arts education, and job training was never supposed to be one of them.

The article points out that students at Williams have no such qualms studying the humanities — I have tried to determine the percentage of humanities majors at Williams, but have been unsuccessful; I suppose it is way above the 8% average, something above 25%. Williams actually has a center for humanities called the Oakley Center for the Humanities, and as such the article deftly quotes Mr. Oakley himself:

The humanities continue to thrive in elite liberal arts schools. But the divide between these private schools and others is widening. Some large state universities routinely turn away students who want to sign up for courses in the humanities, Francis C. Oakley, president emeritus and a professor of the history of ideas at Williams College, reported. At the University of Washington, for example, in recent years, as many as one-quarter of the students found they were unable to get into a humanities course.

I think that a humanities education and the accompanying analytic and intellectual skills one learns from it are a rare and precious opportunity. I am currently extending that opportunity as I study graduate-level pure mathematics, which is not considered a humanities discipline, but was one of the original liberal arts. I think that any time that a student can spend studying ideas for the sake of studying them, and really delving deeply into them, is time well spent developing the mind.

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The Winter Blues

photo by Diana

 

(photo by D. Davis)

 

So, I get a phone call from my son. It appears he is suffering from a case of the Winter Blues. Except that in his case, it’s more like the Winter Gripes. I’ll spare you the details, because chances are, you all know what I’m taking about; too cold, too gray, too much work, not enough play.

It is a very real syndrome, ranging from a general longing for short sleeves and sunshine, to it’s more serious counterpart, Seasonal Affective Disorder, appropriately known as SAD.

But rather than get into the symptoms, I’d like to hear about creative solutions. In fetching Diana’s beautiful photo from the archives, I noted she talked of sledding on a cafeteria tray the very day she took this shot. That to me, sounds like making the best of circumstances.

Any other ideas out there? I do remember hearing of the snowball-fight-to-end-all-snowball-fights. What about indoor games? Scrabble tournaments? Has a storm ever shut down campus?

Tell us your ‘winter tales’ please?

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Michael Beschloss ’77 on President Obama

Eph, and Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss rates President Obama’s 1st Congressional Speech Among Best Ever.

(apologies for not being able to embed video)

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Smart and Rich

Special thanks to ’04 for posting this interesting article from The Boston Globe:

Economy lifting college prospects of the well-heeled.

Here’s a bit that includes a quote from Morty:

Morton Schapiro, president of Williams College in Williamstown and an economist who specializes in higher education finance, said there has “never been a better time to be a smart, rich kid. And at some schools, you don’t have to be as smart as you did before. That’s what happens in a recession.”

Schapiro referred not to his own institution, a top-tier private school that meets the full financial need of its students, but to the vast majority of schools that must base admissions decisions – at least in part – on financial means.

He predicted that colleges would find ways to boost tuition revenue. Some will require students to borrow more money and pay more of their summer and work-study earnings, for example, and others will ask parents to contribute more.

 

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A ‘disclaimer’? …

Once again, sharp-eyed readers have noticed the ‘disclaimer’ at the head of the left-hand column.

The Board composed of Ronit, Eric, Sophmom, Lowell, Joe, dcat, and me, together with founder David Kane and Advisor to the Board, Ken Thomas have been wrestling with the question of distinguishing ourselves from the new blog to be set up under direct Williams aegis and to satisfy the growing need to identify ourselves as ‘unofficial’ to avoid confusion to new or infrequent readers.

Over the next few days, you may notice some changes to the top of the page. David, Ronit, and Ken are working within the technical capabilities and limitations of our system. You may find things change, and then re-change. Please have patience!

A line may even appear, something like ‘Your UNofficial source for All Things Eph.”

This or a close relative will be a way of establishing our position vis-a-vis the college-sponsored blog.

My thanks to Dave, Ken, and Ronit for a lot of hard technical work, and to these same three and Sophmom, Eric, Lowell, Joe, and dcat for their time and inputs to this needed Board action.

Dick Swart 1956
President
EphBlog

ADDED on Tuesday AM.

I can see I didn’t take enough time on this post to fully explain what has been approved by the board to be added. I am sorry for having written half-way and now add the other half.

The Board has decided to implement a change in two parts:

The disclaimer at the top of the left hand column

is a statement of fact and as such is necessarily a ‘disclaimer’. It serves to announce a fact but does not ‘sell’ the brand of EphBlog to our current and potential readers. It can be smaller than it is. It can be less obvious than it is. But it is not a positive statement of positioning. It is a disclaimer.

The line to be included as a part of the banner head

Your UNofficial source for All Things Eph is a ‘selling’ statement. It gives current and potential readers a reason stated
positively and with humour to read EphBlog. It serves to differentiate us quickly and with style from official William announcements and the to-be implemented Williams blog. This is our positioning statement.

I hope this adds more understanding to the rather bald-face original post! Again, I am sorry for my haste and negligence.

Dick Swart ’56

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David : Fourteen Fun Facts (10) Politician

lest-we-forget

David the Politician! In the best sense of that oft-maligned word! Who else could be so conservative and yet back Obama? His personal magnetism has drawn Republicans and Democrats much closer together!

A two-part question:

a. If David were on a ballot in your home town for something like mayor, selectman, sheriff, judge, would you send him a campaign contribution?

b. Dave is not wearing a tie in the picture! What do you think has happened to dress standards? Do you personally own a tie?

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How Much is Ephblog Worth?

The many hours I spend blogging (aka, avoiding real work) here were recently validated by Ephblog’s inclusion on this list of the “25 most valuable blogs“:

20.  The Superficial Network (AntiClown Media) has three sites with The Superficial being the largest. The Superficial takes an unusually cruel look at celebrities. Combined unique visitors for the three properties of 1.3 million and 15 million pageviews per month. Sites run a lot of inexpensive ads so CPM per page is only $6. Revenue for company is a little over $1 million. Inexpensive company to run. Probably clears $400,000 in operating profit. At 5x, the company is worth $2 million

21.  Ephblog is the brainchild of esteemed R-philosopher David Kane.  While Williams student pay upwards of $50,000 to gain access to his insights during Winter Study, Ephblog readers receive them for free on a daily basis (exception: every third February — even God rested on Sunday …).  Also, appealing to the Maxim set, there are, on occasion, photos posted of notable Ephbabes Mika Brez … (we don’t know how to spell her name, but she’s cute), Erin Burnett, Molly Shattuck, and Bethany McLean.  NFL scouts uninspired to attend games in State College, PA have been known to peruse the site in hopes of gleaning some nugget of insight from the oracular ramblings of esteemed colleague Frank Uible.  Moreover, all five NESCAC hoops fans have few other avenues to obtain comprehensive information on the Williams-Amherst rivalry.  Although Ephblog has yet to run any ads, Amherst and Dartmouth have considered stepping up to the plate in light of how many prospective Ephs the site has scared away.  Donald Trump has also provided venture capital thanks to an affinity for certain buildings regularly highlighted on the blog.  The site appears to cost very little to run, unless cost is measured in damage to souls, in which case the costs are incalculable.  Ephblog is worth the greater of 1.8 million or four year’s Williams tuition.

22.  Neatorama is about neat things. That gets a broad definition from giant rats to water found on Mars. The site has about 1.3 million unique visitors and four million pageviews per month. The site has a small number of ads which cannot bring in more than a $4 CPM per pages. That part of the site’s business probably does not generate more than $200,000 a year. The site also has an e-commerce section which looks well-managed. The average item sells for about $20. This operation could net the firm $250,000 a year. That would bring total revenue to just under $500,000. The site looks like it costs very little to run. Neatorama is worth $1.5 million.

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Continued Good Judgment …

exhibited by President Obama, in the form of two more Eph appointees: Kathleen Merrigan ’82 as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Jon Cannon ’67 as Deputy Administrator for the EPA.

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Holding your breath, acceptance note wet with sweat in your palm …

Oscar Statue

Last night’s Oscar results are in. And now tabulated, so are the results of the individual competitions in the NESCAC “Do I know my movies, or what” predictions.

The participants were asked for their predictions in six categories. I have added (for those many sophisto ephbloggers who didn’t watch) the results as voted on by The Academy:

Best Picture Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director Danny Boyle

Best Actor Sean Penn

Best Actress Kate Winslet

Best Supporting Heath Ledger
Actor

Best Supporting Penelope Cruz
Actress

And the results for this NESCAC event , computed on a Commodore 64, and hand-delivered in a mayonnaise jar just now to the back porch of EphBlog.

Out of eight participants

NO ONE got all six winners

SEVEN got Slumdog Millionaire

SIX got Danny Boyle

NO ONE got Sean Penn

FOUR got Kate Winslet

SIX got Heath Ledger

NO ONE got Penelope Cruz

And so, the standings

A four-way tie for first place with four correct predictions each

Sophmom, JG, Another ‘05 Eph, and Holly

A clear second place winner with three predictions

Jeffz

A two-way tie for third place with two correct predictions each

PTC, Joshua A Delung

And, amazingly, a competitor with absolutely NO CORRECT PREDICTIONS, that’s right, zero, nada, zip, nul, niente, ZERO

Nuts

However, he has been voted Miss Congeniality.

Congratulations to all the participants and I am sure we BEAT AMHERST, if indeed they would even dare to meet us on our virtual Weston Field. Swarthmore does not deign to participate!!

All eight participants will receive suitable awards. I will need a mailing address.

and now, (singing) Let’s all go to the snack bar, Lets all go to the snack bar …”.

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Amazing Sports Weekend

Often lost in all the talk of TIPS (which largely go to team sports) are the Ephs’ unbelievably strong individual sports which, year in and year out, carry the school to the Sears Cup.  Judging by last weekend, this year will be no exception.  Although the far-larger volume of individual sports athletes toil in relative obscurity compared to their football, basketball and soccer brethren, year in and year out, they overcome the odds and any obstacles (such as Williams’ very short outdoor training season and the criminally inadequate track and field facilities) to find success.  Consider:

— the women’s swimming team won its ninth straight NESCAC title in dominating fashion.  Frosh Logan Todhunter, who has already been a Sports Illustrated face in the crowd, set a NATIONAL D-III record in the process, becoming the first D-III swimmer to break the 2:00 mark in the 200 yard butterfly.  Presumably, a lot more records are likely to fall over the next three plus years.

— men’s wrestling, ranked third in the region, rose to the occasion to win New Englands, led by individual champions Ryan Malo ’11 and Corey Paulish ’11.  They also won the award for best team GPA in the region.

— men’s track and field had a big upset to win New Englands, edging out perennial rival MIT, who was formerly coached by current Eph coach Fletcher Brooks (who happens to be the big brother of Eph track and field and football legend Ethan Brooks ’96).  I imagine it was an emotional reunion for Coach Brooks.

— women’s track and field finished second in New Englands, this time barely losing out to nemesis MIT.

Congrats to all the Eph men and women!

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David : Fourteen Fun Facts (9) Squash Player

squash1

Squash, that hallmark sport of prep schools and elite colleges! And David, the Dominator of the T. One can only imagine being in a 4-walled court and David with a racquet in his hand! Terror!

However, the rewards and recognition as in the strictly Platonic shot above, make the game compelling.

2 parter:

a. Do you think John Irving drew on David in any way in his squash-centered novel “A Widow of One Year”?

b. What was your sport at Williams? Are you still playing?

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And the Winner is …

ephblog-million-aire

The secret?

“When somebody asks me a question, I tell them the answer.”

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David : Fourteen Fun Facts (8) Archivist

archivest-2

Archivest. David believes that EphBlog should be the archive of activities, events, happenings, discussions. riots, and effigy hangings of Lord Jeffrey Amherst that will preserve for future historians the history of Williams College as David perceives it. Here he is with a pizza that through carbon dating and the physical evidence of anchovies, dates it to late 1984 in the Sageian Period.

A two-part question:

a. What do you think an historian in the future far-removed would make of Williams College from a study of the ephblog archives?

b. What is your perception of the quality of student food as you knew it, with particular attention to, but not to the exclusion of other food groups, pizza?

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The New Co-Presidents

As seen in the election results, our new student leaders are Mike Tcheyan ’10 and Lizzy Brickley ’10. Mike is a Water Polo player who coordinated the WOOLF program for two years. Lizzy is on the Crew team, a former CC class representative, a current JA, and one of two students representatives on the Presidential Search Committee. Both are members of the 114th delegation of Gargoyle. See their Self-Nomination and Platform by clicking…. Read more

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Spring CC Election Results

CC Campus

  • Co-Presidents: Lizzy Brickley ’10 and Mike Tcheyan’10
  • Secretary: Zach Evans ’12
  • Treasurer: Rachel Hudson ’10
  • Minority Concerns: Ifiok Inyang’11
  • Class of 2010 Rep: Joya Sonnenfeldt ’10
  • Class of 2011 Rep: Emanuel Yekutiel ’11
  • Class of 2012 Rep: Newton Davis ’12

CC Campus is comprised of the year long officeholders. It sets the College Council agenda and makes appointments to student-faculty committees.

Neighborhoods CC Reps

  • Currier: Christina Metcalf  ’10
  • Dodd: Cameron Nutting ’11
  • Spencer: Hilary Dolstad ’11
  • Wood: Lane Wang ’11

Please note that each neighborhood will also send a leadership board representative to College Council. These people will be Emily George ’09 of Currier, Christophe Dorsey ’10 of Dodd, Schulyer Hall ’10 of Spencer, and Francesca Barrett ’12 of Wood.

First-Year House Reps

  • Armstrong: Will Weiss ’12
  • Dennett: Austin Brown ’12
  • Mills: Carmen Vidal ’12
  • Pratt: Aven King ’12
  • Sage: Amanda Weatherhead ’12
  • Williams: Shara Singh ’12

Honor Committee

  • Anthony Nguyen ’10, replacing Charlie Crawford ’10, who I think is abroad.

Honorary Degrees Commitee

  • Nick Arnosti ’11
  • Will Slack ’11

The Honorary Degrees Committee seeks the names of suitable candidates for honorary degrees and presents those nominations to the President and Committee on Degrees of the Board of Trustees.

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Presidential Search Update

Special thanks to “Aparent” for an update from the Williams College Presidential Search Committee.

 
“For those in the Williams community who are truly interested in the progress the Presidential Search Committee is reporting, here is the text of Thursday’s announcement:”

Milestones mapped; outreach meetings continue
February 19, 2009

To the Williams Community,

The Presidential Search Committee held its second in-person meeting in Williamstown on Thursday morning, February 12.

There were three primary objectives of the meeting. First, John Isaacson and Maggie Gilmore ’05 of search firm Isaacson, Miller helped the committee map out a tentative schedule of milestones and meetings. Second, President Schapiro addressed the committee, offering his insights into the Williams presidency and advice for us.

Read more

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