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Thanks for the memories …

“Surely you can’t be serious?”
“I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.”

#79 on the American Film Institute’s list of Top 100 movie quotes

Leslie Nielson 1926 – 2010


Buy These Books

Incredibly, three out of the 100 NYTimes Notable Books of 2010 are written by Ephs:

ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis. By Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera. (Portfolio/Penguin, $32.95.) More than offering a backward look, this account of the disaster of 2008 helps explain today’s troubling headlines and might help predict tomorrow’s.

CLEOPATRA: A Life. By Stacy Schiff. (Little, Brown, $29.99.) It’s dizzying to contemplate the ancient thicket of personalities and propaganda Schiff penetrates to show the Macedonian-Egyptian queen in all her ambition, audacity and formidable intelligence.

FINISHING THE HAT: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) With Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes. By Stephen Sondheim. (Knopf, $39.95.) Sondheim’s analysis of his songs and those of others is both stinging and insightful.

Do any Ephblog readers have recommended favorites from the NYTimes list (or, for that matter, other great reads for the holiday season)?  I absolutely loved One Day by David Nicholls, and I am not generally one for romantic stories …  very cleverly constructed novel.  My favorite recent fiction book not featured on this list (and it was released in hardcover last year, but the paperback came out in 2010, so I’m counting it), was Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.  Sort of a Harry Potter for adults, but that description doesn’t do it justice.  A really fun, quick read that you can’t put down once you are five pages in.

Speaking of literary Ephs, English Professor Jim Shepard’s’ latest story, Boys Town, was featured in a recent New Yorker.  Shepard was also interviewed regarding this story here.  Also keep an eye out for Carrie Ryan ’00’s forthcoming The Dark and Hollow Places.

Updated with Carrie Ryan’s correct year.  Also, here is a link to a running list of books published by Ephs.   Finally, here is an article (subscribers only, alas) about Caragh O’Brien, author of Birthmarked, and who along with Ryan may be the first two members of the Eph Post-Apocalyptic Dystopian Teen Novelist Mafia.


Nicknames revealed by wikileak …

After the two below from Dave, maybe something a little lighter?

Jimmy Kimmel reveals the code names used by the State Department for certain cantankerous leaders of the world.

Lord knows I am trying for a Williams link. Jimmy KImmel was 2nd banana to Ben Stein on ‘Win Ben Stein’s Money’ and Ben Stein’s father was Herbert Stein ’35, economist, who might be interested in the 10K or so words currently filling the spaces here on Willileak, perhaps a nickname for EphBlog.

Speaking of which:

Nicknames for constant contributors

Dave, PhDrew, Rory, dcat, loweel, HWC, Ronit, Jeffz, Whitney, KThomas, SR Mom, the list could go on to include even Rechtal, Karloff, and yr hmble sv’t.

Your contributions please!
(you may submit as ‘anonymous’ if you fear retribution)

Good Morning from a white out on I 84,



Williams Lies to International Applicants

Inside Higher Ed reports on the difficulties of enrolling poor, but qualified students: the more you accept, the less tuition money you have to run the school.

Williams used to be able pretend to be above these sort of base calculations. We were need-blind for everyone! But that changed last year when the College decided to go need-aware for international students.

But you know what the best part is? Williams College is still lying to international students about its financial aid policies.

Williams meets 100% of demonstrated need of every student admitted, and makes admission decisions without regard to an applicant’s financial background.

Isn’t that outrageous? Now, surely, you would think that, even if William is somewhat misleading on its main admissions page, it must admit the sordid truth in the detailed FAQ. You would be wrong.

Williams has a need-blind admission policy. This means your family’s financial circumstances will play no role in our decision regarding your application. We are free to admit the most qualified and promising students without regard for their ability to pay. We consider financial support money well spent—an investment in the overall quality of our student body. The more exceptional your peers, the better your education will be.

Again, will any reader defend this sleaze? Honesty and transparency is a bedrock principal of academic life. It may be reasonable (and I now think it is) to be need-aware for internationals. (Indeed, I think Williams should be need-aware for everyone.) But there is no excuse for lying about it.

But surely, you argue, Williams must have a small-print disclaimer to cover itself from these sorts of accusations. Just read the fine print in the page devoted to international applicants. Alas, you would be wrong again:

A contributing factor to this diversity of nationalities is our generous aid policy for international students. We meet 100 percent of the demonstrated need of every student admitted to Williams. Exceptionally talented international candidates typically will be admitted regardless of their degree of need. Since the ability to pay for a Williams education is no guarantee of admission, as Williams attracts a highly qualified pool of international applicants each year, we strongly recommend that any international student who might require financial aid at any time during the four years at Williams apply for aid initially. We cannot guarantee that a student will qualify for aid in subsequent years if an aid application was not submitted prior to the first year.

This isn’t just we-made-an-honest-mistake-and-forgot-to-mention-the-new-policy sleaze. This is we-are-actively-trying-to-mislead-international-applicants sleaze.

Contrary opinions welcome.


#1 Liberal Arts College

From the Office of Career Counseling:

As we are in the midst of fall recruiting here at the Williams College Office of Career Counseling it is a good time to remind you that we are happy to post your job and internship opportunities and schedule your on-campus recruiting events.

Williams is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions. This year Forbes and U.S. News and World Report have ranked Williams the #1 college in the nation and the #1 liberal arts college, respectively. Our students come from every part of the country and world, and from every imaginable background. They share formidable intellectual drive and pursue their varied interests with passion. It’s our goal to help you fill your job and internship opportunities with these bright and talented students.

Nothing wrong with this e-mail and I am always eager to help out my friends at OCC. It is also important for Williams to emphasize to non-alumni the high quality nature of our students. Lots of people, both inside and outside the US, would have trouble differentiating between, say, Williams and MCLA. Citing US News makes the distinction clear.

But doesn’t Williams have a (silly) holier-than-thou policy in which we promise not to mention rankings? If so, I am glad that OCC ignores it. Doing so helps out our students by increasing the quality and quantity of organizations willing to hire Ephs.


The ’55-’56 All-Stars … Political Science:

What ever happened to … I remember that guy … Jeez, PhDrew, what a lack of credentials … What is this, Read more


Enrollment Limits in Psychology

From WSO:

The Psyc department seems to be making a habit of dropping over 50% of applicants for their classes (around 50-60 students for a typical 200 level course). I hope Williams is doing something about this…it’s a really serious problem. Last semester, I know of at least 3 courses which dropped at least 50 students, and I’m assuming there were other overenrolled courses which I didn’t happen to know friends in. All told, that single department is probably dropping at least 200 students every semester. That’s ~10% of the student population! I guess I’m wondering why the class size caps are so stringent. Is there really that little space? Could we schedule Bronfman, Wege, and the TPL/TBL lecture halls more effectively so that we could offer more courses to a larger group? Last semester, I had a chem course with only 7 people in Wege, with no class before it, while the Psyc department was dropping tons of students due to ‘size caps’ which I can only assume are due to space constraints in the small Bronfman rooms. After all, wouldn’t a larger course be more valuable than a course that no one gets to take?

1) Williams should be more transparent. The Registrar should publish information about the number of students who seek to enroll in each class and the number that were dropped. We don’t need to know the names of the specific students, obviously, although information about class and major might be useful.

2) Are the 200-level Psychology courses known/thought to be guts? If not, then why is there so much interest in them? There are dozens of fascinating 200-level courses in smaller departments like Religion, Sociology/Anthropology, Philosophy, Art History, and so on. Why don’t more students choose them first?

3) I think that some/most of the dropping has nothing to do with class room availability per se. There are plenty of big lecture halls on campus! And nothing prevents the department from offering multiple sections. Keep two other factors in mind. First, the College (driven by both good pedagogy and concern over US News rankings) wants to minimize the number of large lectures, especially those with 50 or more students. Second, professors (for mostly good reasons) prefer smaller classes to larger ones. They are somewhat sad to drop dozens of students but also think that doing so allows them to provide a better education to those who remain.

4) Given that Psychology has a (deserved?) reputation as a too-easy major, the Department ought to use this popularity as an occasion to get more pedagogically serious, just as Economics did a few years ago. Requiring some more serious statistics (like, say, STAT 200) would do the trick nicely.

5) Williams course offerings should be driven by long term student interests. If lots of students want to take, say, PSYC 222: Minds, Brains, and Intelligent Behavior: An Introduction to Cognitive Science, then more sections should be offered, more professors in this area hired. Conversely, courses with lower enrollments should be dropped.


The Williams We Want?

Katie Chatas ’88 and Ted Plonsker ’86, Co-Chairs of the Alumni Fund 2009-2010, e-mailed asking me for money. My reply is below. I’ve written trustees directly on these questions, now and in the past. If I were a trustee, I admit, I probably would not pay attention to internal Ephblog debates.

Reinstating student loans? Is this the Williams we want? Chiming in here alone won’t accomplish much.

Write on, but just here.

Kate and Ted —

Praise and blessings on you both for this work. Come to Cambridge, and I’ll take you to lunch any day. I couldn’t live without my Williams education.

I could easily, however, live without the current trustees. Can the College be asking for money when we still have no explanation from Greg Avis and all about how/why they lost so much money in the endowment? Money raised by the hard work of people like you both. Money earned by people out in their jobs.

I’m afraid on this one I know something. I have an MBA. I have worked in money management. I know about endowments and money management. The Williams endowment (and Harvard and many more) lost money because the trustees were taking more risk than they had any right to take with the endowments. These losses had little to do with the economy because the endowment had no need to have so much at such high risk. For years back, the risk-free rate of US Treasuries has been 4-5%. The Williams trustees have been chasing returns of 20% and more. True, the endowment has had high returns. But someone has forgotten that higher returns entail higher risks.

Greg and all have offered no explanation for their substantial midjudgements and errors. No one has stepped down. What’s worse, the trustees have reinstated loans as part of financial aid. I have been a university CFO. Even with the current endowment, there is no financial
reason for reinstating loans.

Williams raised about $400 million in the campaign for Williams, thanks to people such as the two of you. Williams then lost pretty much the same amount due to dreadful financial management by the trustees. Alumni of influence, such as yourselves, have to put these issues on the table at the College. Otherwise, what’s the point of your efforts?

Wick Sloane ’76


Photo ID, #127

This is the second post in my new Photo ID series, which is a reprise of my original 2005-2007 Photo ID series. I will be posting them in the original order, except omitting the ones I don’t like. So, here we go with today’s picture:

Where was this photo taken? What memories do you have of this location?

(Originally posted here; link contains puzzle answer.)


Marcus Hummon ’84 Takes Another Shot at the Stage

Marcus Hummon, from The Tennessean

Country songwriter Marcus Hummon ’84 is debuting a revised version of his very personal play The Piper in Nashville. It will open this Friday, December 3, in Nashville. From The Tennessean:

Marcus Hummon’s The Piper is more than a piece about prostitutes, music, murder and Irish immigrants in Boston’s Scollay Square. It’s also a work of redemption, trust and surrender — as much for the playwright as anyone else…

[H]e was deeply moved by the 2001 suicide of his friend Stuart Adamson, a Celtic musician, front man of Big Country and Hummon’s partner for musical duo The Raphaels.

“It became a question of, ‘Why didn’t the music help?’ ” Hummon says. “Why didn’t it save him? So I created this brilliant musician for The Piper, a child with polio, who has to come to grips with what music can do in her circumstance. It was a way of answering the question, reigning victorious, redeeming a situation that seems unredeemable.”

And then there was the idea of the girl’s mother, a recovering prostitute attempting a new life by running a boarding house. The truth of her struggle, Hummon says, came from his family’s involvement in Magdalene, a two-year residential program for women coming out of violence, addiction and prostitution. Hummon’s wife Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest, founded the organization in 1997…

Hummon has written four previous musicals, which have been produced by local and regional theater companies. Because of the personal connections, Hummon is trying again to make The Piper a success:

The Piper has had previous incarnations at the New York Musical Theatre Festival and the Hartt School in Connecticut, but this time’s a little different. He’s added the hand of Michael Aman in writing the musical’s book (or in non-theater terms, its script), realizing, he says, that if it’s going to hit the next level, he’ll have to have some assistance. “I don’t ever want to see these characters not on stage because I wasn’t willing to accept help,” Hummon says. “And he’s been great. Outstanding.”

Hummon is better known for his work in country music. In 2005, Hummon won a Grammy Award as the writer of the Best Country Song, “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts (previously released by Melodie Crittenden). Hummon has had three #1 hits on the country charts — “Bless the Broken Road” as well as “Cowboy Take Me Away” by the Dixie Chicks and Sara Evans’s “Born to Fly.” (Hummon also wrote Alabama’s “The Cheap Seats,” which you may have heard between innings at the ballpark).

Far better known as a songwriter than as a performer, Hummon nevertheless has released several solo albums and often appears on stage with the better-known groups for whom he writes. Hummon is also the author of a children’s book — Anytime, Anywhere: A Little Boy’s Prayer, (available from

Despite his songwriting success, Hummon has apparently never been featured on EphBlog before. Interestingly, Hummon says he began his songwriting career while at Williams, where he majored in political science, played football and volleyball, and ran track. But Hummon is much readier to attribute his songwriting success to the liberal education he received before Williams:

“My parents were both very musical. From a very early age, I was exposed to great art. That and just moving around the world the way we did, certainly affected me. I was going into the 10th grade when we moved to Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A European or American can’t go to secondary education in Arabia unless you’re studying Arabic or at an Islamic school. So I took correspondence courses. It was very lonely, and Riyadh wasn’t a real swingin? town, if you can imagine.”

“My mother had studied art history and music history. She had all these portfolios of the works of Monet, Manet, Rembrandt and so on. Then she had a collection of classical records: Debussy, Chopin and whatever. I had to study a particular painter or a particular symphony. I had to read J.D. Salinger, Fitzgerald, Hemingway from her reading list. It was like a gift she gave me, the gift of art. I always appreciated that.”

The Piper runs through December 12 at Belmont University’s Black Box Theater. Tickets are $20. If you’re in the Nashville area, check it out!


The Greatest Documentarian of his Time

Check out this great Boston Globe feature on Frederick Wiseman ’51, whose films are currently the subject of a MoMa retrospective (about which the witty Wiseman seems to have mixed feelings: “I have no objection to that,’’ he says of the MoMA show. “But the next step is the obit.’’).  Watch Wiseman on Charlie Rose here.   Read more about Wiseman’s films here.


Birds of a Feather …

For those still on their backs in the postprandial-cum-coital positions from yesterday, who were not up and at’em at 4am to bust down the Walmart doors for that Ginzo knife set, this offering for your still-bleary eyes.

The WSJ foretells a flurry of wing beats from rare-book collectors at Sotheby’s for a well-preserved original edition of Audubon’s Birds of America (1840). The auction house is expecting a sale price of 6 to 9 million dollars.

With a link as tenuous as a turkey ‘in the style of’, I call your attention to the works of Walton Ford. For the pedants among us insisting on an eph ‘hook’, Ford lives and works in Great Barrington, a small town somewhere in the Berkshires (or not),

Ford takes takes the 1800’s naturalist style to make disturbing comments on society and morals, yet all in this scholarly style of extreme and accurate detail. The difference is in the details and the scholarly hand-written notes that appear in the very large works. His show at the Hamburger Bahnhof occasioned this very interesting article:

Just a little something to go with that apres Thanksgiving Bloody as you struggle back to Black Friday.


Soccer Concussions

Recall our discussion of football injuries. Now, consider soccer.

The concussion that brought a premature end to Taylor Twellman’s career came while he did what he did best.

Score goals.

Two years after being punched in the face in a collision with Los Angeles goalkeeper Steve Cronin while heading in a shot for the New England Revolution, Twellman announced Wednesday he was retiring because of the effects of the concussion.

After eight seasons and 101 goals, sixth most in MLS history, the 30-year-old St. Louis native said he had no option but to retire.

“It’s unfortunate to lose your career to an injury. It’s not a choice,” the five-time MLS all-star and former MVP said. “When you’re told that if you want to live your life and be healthy then soccer needs to stop, the decision’s made for me.”

“MLS was his destiny,” said Revolution investor-operator Jonathan Kraft, who called Twellman “not only … the poster child of the Revolution but the poster child of the league.”

Twellman’s injury might be specific to his case. But there is a school of thought which suggests that soccer players, in heading the ball, suffer micro-concussions which are, cumulatively, as dangerous as the repeated hits to offensive lineman. If that is true, then the simple solution would be to ban heading in soccer.


A Holiday Recipe from Porter McConnell ’00

Happy Thanksgiving! Looking for a regional favorite to complement your turkey? Check out Porter McConnell ’00’s blog, “Slow Christmas,” which features a delicious Kentucky Thanksgiving favorite: Oyster Casserole. A little background:

In Louisville, it’s tradition to serve oyster casserole at Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a curious thing, given Kentucky is a land-locked state and tinned oysters must’ve been pretty expensive back in the day. But if you’re going to splurge, it makes sense that you’d put them in a creamy casserole:  relatively few oysters are enough to impart a delicious aroma throughout the dish.

If this sounds delicious, follow the link over to Porter’s blog, where you’ll find the recipe, which she recommends serving at other times with green lentil and tomato stew.

And remember, on the occasions when posting is a little slow at EphBlog, you can always find something interesting in the “Eph Planet” feature on the left sidebar — which contains the latest posts from Porter and dozens of other Eph bloggers worldwide.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I will be eating Thanksgiving dinner with fellow Ephs from the classes of 1989, 1990 and 1958. Are any other Ephs at your table? Tell us about them.


This Passing Parade …

William Steig


7 Overtimes

James Wang '11 drives past Southern Vermont's Deshawn Hamlet, Nov. 19 2010. Williams Sports Information photo.

For the Williams men’s basketball team, last Friday night’s easy 97-65 victory against Southern Vermont in the Williams Invitational will likely prove memorable only if it is the start to another magnificent season.

Southern Vermont’s loss to Skidmore last night — just four days later — will likely be remembered much longer. It was the longest game in NCAA Division III history, a seven-overtime marathon:

Skidmore beat Southern Vermont on Tuesday night in the longest game in NCAA Division III men’s basketball history — a seven-overtime marathon, with the Thoroughbreds prevailing 128-123.

The game was tied at 59 after regulation, and they were just getting started.

“We always talk about toughness,” Burke told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “And tonight was just a battle of toughness. I told my kids, ‘Enjoy it — because you’ll never be part of anything like it again.’ They’ll be telling their kids and grandkids about this.”

It matched the longest NCAA men’s game in any division, and was two overtimes longer than the previous record at the Division III level. Cincinnati beat Bradley on Dec. 21, 1981, in seven overtimes for the Division I mark; Black Hills beat Yankton in seven OTs on Feb. 18, 1956, for the Division II record.

Southern Vermont’s Lance Spratling played all 75 minutes, one of several records the teams set.

“He’s an incredible athlete,” Burke said. “He still had some pop in his step at the end. Unbelievable.”

And to think — the game in Bennington, Vt., had more rebounds than fans. Only 142 people showed up, none knowing they would see history.

Southern Vermont’s low attendance is attributable, at least in part, to the fact that, as at Williams, their Thanksgiving vacation began yesterday and there will be no classes today.

Williams will play at Skidmore on January 25. We’ll hope to win that one in regulation, too.


Athletic Website Readership

I was curious about the amazing readership that Dick Quinn’s Sports Information website has attracted. Dick kindly sent this further information — in September, sorry for the delay in posting.

Note lower left corner of this paste. I may have left that info off of what I previously sent you. These numbers were as of 9:22 a.m. today. This will be the third month the site has attracted over 200,000 visits in a month and it will be at least an increase of 50,000 over last September.



Spoken Up

Archive of comments from Speak Up.


Donald Gregg ’51 on the North Korea Attack

Donald Gregg ’51, former Ambassador to South Korea and chair of the Korea Society, appeared on Good Morning America earlier today to discuss the North Korea attack.  Gregg advises a return to direct negotiations with North Korea regarding its nuclear program. Go to 2:40 to hear Gregg:


Public Speaking …

Quick! Make friends with that guy next door who has HBO. Ya gotta watch this. It’s 90 minutes of My Dinner with Andre as a monologue and without a script. And those minutes fly by! I wanted more!

Funny, cutting, accurate … a live dissection of our times and foibles and social niceties by Fran Lebowitz. And the insert of Capote on how a writer puts emotion into words in an honest voice is a life lesson.

HBO will be running repeats, plus if that neighbor has digital, it will be ‘on demand’. Take along a bottle of something …


When Williams Had a Medical School, Part I

Many students of Williams history are probably aware that Mark Hopkins had more than one doctorate, including a degree in medicine. But I suspect that fewer realize that the source of his medical degree was the institution so central to his entire life — Williams itself. Yes, during a brief period that included the era of Hopkins’ studies, you could be more than a Williams pre-med — you could be a Williams med.

The story of the medical school connected to Williams begins in the dark year of 1821, but not with Zephaniah Moore or Edward Dorr Griffin. Although not as isolated from all of civilization as their neighbors to the north in Williamstown, Pittsfield was struggling with its remoteness as well. Led by Dr. Henry Halsey Childs, Williams class of 1802, a group of Pittsfield leaders prepared a bold proposal: to petition the legislature for a charter and an endowment with which to found New England’s eighth medical school — at Pittsfield.

With the backing of the newly-created Berkshire Medical Society, Dr. Childs enlisted two other early Ephs in the cause: Lanesboro’s illustrious Dr. Asa Burbank of Lanesboro, class of 1797, and Dr. Daniel Collins of Lenox (class of 1800). Dr. Burbank is best known as the first president of the Society of Alumni after its founding in 1821, and as one of the first Williams tutors, during the two years after his graduation. Although less famous in his own right, Dr. Collins was the son of the Rev. Daniel Collins, one of the twelve original trustees of the College, and a prominent doctor in the Berkshires for over half of the 19th century.

Read more


Statistical Details of Athletic Report

Professor Heather Williams, chair of the Athletic Committee for 2008-2009, kindly replied to my request to know more about the details of their statistical analysis (pdf).

As chair of the committee, I am responsible for the statistical analyses. The design of the analyses was the responsibility of the committee, and several of us are statistically competent. The analyses themselves were run by the Provost’s office, and although you are certainly free to ask Chris Winters about them, I would imagine that he’ll be referring all questions to me. The report will not describe all of the results in detail, but will provide enough information about how the analyses were set up and the results to let the readers understand exactly what we did.

A quick summary, we ran a number of simple linear models (and logistic regressions, where appropriate to the question) that included a variety of variables that seemed likely to have affects on academic performance: reader rating, gender, class (fr., so., etc.), a proxy for socioeconomic status, and sport category (high/low profile), as well as a number of interaction terms.

I’m sure that, as an economist who is into numerical analyses, you would prefer to have more information, but I wouldn’t be comfortable about giving any additional details beyond this summary of how the analyses were done. The more details we give, the more people want to know, and it’s important not to make it possible for anyone (including us) to gain too much information about individual athletes.

Perfectly reasonable! I still think that the Committee ought to share the regression results (which are available in an Appendix on file in the office of the Dean of the Faculty) with the entire community, but this is a minor quibble. The Report is high quality and represents the best of the Williams tradition of faculty governance and transparency. Kudos to all involved!

For those interested, below is the e-mail that I sent to Professor Williams.
Read more


Photo ID, #126

From 2005-2007, I posted a popular series of Photo IDs on EphBlog. In the coming months, I am going to be running the series again with the same pictures, each Monday. Some of you may have seen them before; most of you will be seeing them for the first time.

Here’s how it works: I post a picture, taken at Williams (or occasionally in the surrounding countryside). You (1) tell where this picture was taken, and (2) share any memories you have of this location, and discuss whatever it reminds you of. Sound good? Let’s start.

From what vantage point was this photo taken? (Hint: David Kane actually asked me to take this photo. “Can you go to such-and-such location and take a picture of the view out the window?” he asked. And I did.)

(Originally posted here; link contains puzzle answer.)


Meet Ephblog’s Constant Comments (Number 1 in a series)

and visit his sites:

Yet even this award-winning political scientist Read more


RIP, Soane

E.J. Johnson’s lovely dog Soane recently passed away. A full generation of Williams students associate fond memories of Soane with the most popular class on campus, Art History 101. See a picture of E.J. and Soane here, and watch Soane’s gentle nature (even ducks seem unconcerned by his pursuit) in action below:


Feeder School

My brother (class of 1990) had a dispute with his neighbor over whether or not it makes sense to pay all the money to go to Williams if your main goal is to give your child an advantage in getting into graduate school. He understood the “name” advantage in sending your child to Harvard or Yale. But he thought that Williams (and other liberal arts colleges) was a waste of money.

Fortunately, the Wall Street Journal demonstrated seven years ago that my brother’s neighbor is (mostly) wrong. (See also this pdf.)

When it came time for Porter Leslie to pick a college, Washington University looked pretty tempting — after all, a scholarship there would save his family $13,000 a year. But with plans for a top graduate program after college, his parents decided to pick up the tab for Columbia. “That’s one reason we’re paying all this money,” says his mother, Sally Leslie. “He should go to the best college he can so he can go to the best grad school.”

But is that assumption correct? For years the focus in higher education has been about getting into the best possible college. Yet when it comes to professionals — the future doctors, lawyers and executives out there — it’s all about the right grad school. So with families all across the country getting ready for this year’s college admissions, we decided to look at which schools are most successful at getting kids into the nation’s most prestigious graduate programs.

To compile our list of the most effective feeder colleges, we researched the background of more than 5,000 students starting at more than a dozen top business, law and medical schools this fall, including names like Harvard Law and the Wharton MBA. Our survey canvassed grad-school admissions offices, spoke to officials at more than 50 colleges and in some cases counted up kids one by one in student “face book” directories. Then we put it all together, factoring in the class size at each of the undergraduate colleges so that small schools wouldn’t be penalized.

Read the whole thing.


Architecture for a thousand years …

Give or take …


The Cougar’s Den

Our friends at Middblog have added a sex columnist.

Welcome to The Cougar’s Den, a new MiddBlog series. I’m your host, super-senior Laura K., ready to share what little wisdom I have on the topic of sex and relationships at Middlebury. With this series, MiddBlog hopes to open up on-campus debate, increasing honesty and communication. Hope you enjoy the ride!

Will this series be successful? Would you like to see something similar at EphBlog? New authors are always welcome!


Jobs meet the Global War

Biomass moves forward in Pownal.


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