Currently browsing the archives for June 2011

Kendall James ’84: Birth of the Springstreeters


Summer fun!

Re posting of places to swim and more! Summer in Williamstown is the best. While it may be dead in here… it is not dead at the star stacked local bars and hang outs.


Dead Anyway

The good news: thanks to the departure of a few problematic voices, a (hopefully permanent) end to ridiculous infighting and name-calling among regulars, and a (likely temporary, but still) cessation of some of the more inflammatory / accusatory / speculative posts, Ephblog has ceased to be an embarrassment to Williams. The bad news: before that happened, virtually every consistent contributor got scared away (and of course, David K. continues his indefinite partial hiatus, which dramatically reduces both the content, and the conflict, on the blog). The result: very few posts scheduled for the rest of July and August. Granted, there isn’t a lot of Williams news during that time period in all events, but now is a great time for some of our long-lost contributors to give it another shot and schedule a few posts for the summertime … there certainly won’t be much competition for any posts, and maybe, just maybe, Ephblog can build some good-will!



We are at war. So far away for some… but still, but still…


Merce Blanchard ’55: Buster’ Takes One for Williams LAX


A (not so) New Director for WTF

“Six years later [Jenny Gersten] goes back to the summer festival where she got her start.”

The quote above is from the Sunday New York Times article titled “Second Act for New Chief of Festival” which needs a log-in. Better yet, read about it here in The Boston Globe.

I apologize for the quickie (running out the door) post, but I do recommend reading about Gersten and her plans. Sounds like she will be bringing a lot of fresh energy (and exciting talent) to the Williamstown Theater.


Future Ephs (Glad-I-Applied-in-1992 Edition)

Being a kid today ain’t easy, at least not if you hope to attend Williams … as can be seen from the scarily exhaustive accomplishments of some of the future Ephs highlighted in recent news stories.  Somehow, I fear that my high school resume, which included memorizing all of the dialogue in Die Hard, shooting hoops in my driveway, making wry observations while hanging around the mall, re-reading the Lord of the Rings, and just generally rocking the suburbs, would suffer in comparison:

  • Tara Miller was valedictorian of Lansing High School in Ithaca, New York.  Somehow, in her spare time, “her many accomplishments and activities include: two Academic Achievement Award in Foreign Language and one in science, the Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award, and ranking nationally and regionally in the French exam, a National Merit Finalist, a Presidential Scholar Candidate, Press Corps Outstanding Journalist at Hilton Model UN, NYSSMA Sr. High All-State Chorus for two years, co-president of Model UN, co-captain of varsity volleyball, secretary of National Honor Society, secretary of the Green Team, varsity indoor and outdoor track, the American Mathematics Competition, musicals, varsity chorale, show choir, band (flute), symphony orchestra, NYSSMA Solo Festival and seven published poems.”  Then again, why not publish EIGHT poems?  Slacker.
  • Rahul Nath was valedictorian of Glen Cove High School on Long Island.  Rahul’s ambitions — “I don’t know exactly what I’d like to be yet, but it should involve changing the way one would eat cereal in the morning,” he said. “You know, making a difference in the world” — are matched by his precociousness: “During this year’s Senior Awards ceremony, Nath won seven different awards for his achievements in community service, mock trail, drama and science.  He is also a designated AP Scholar with Distinction from the College Board, having received awards for excellence in AP Calculus, Biology and European History. In total, Nath completed 10 AP courses.  Not only has Nath achieved Principal’s Honor Roll since his freshman year, he was also named a Long Island Scholar by the Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented students.  A four-year member of the Wrestling squad, Nath earned All-Conference status for three of those years and a Superintendent’s Cup nomination this winter.  He also played football, lacrosse and tennis during his four years at GCHS.  Nath served as first chair trombone player with the Jazz Ensemble and as Vice President and bass section leader with the Select Chorale. He achieved All-County in Chorus last year and has performed with the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra Choir.”  Nath is not exacting resting on his laurels this summer, when his plans include “learning to drive a stick shift, learning to play bridge and the bagpipes, learning to speak rudimentary Latin, and learning to count cards effectively.”
  • Steven Kiesel, the boy’s scholar-athlete of the year at the Breck School in Minnesota, maintained a “3.6 GPA, with an emphasis on AP classes,” has played the saxophone since fifth grade, was named (despite being an undersized 5’9 160) first-team all-state as a wide receiver, is a three-time all-state lacrosse player, is a National Merit semifinalist, and “is one of seven MSHSL Triple A (Athletics, Academic, Arts) finalists as a senior.”  He is also wise beyond his years, listing his most gratifying non-athletic accomplishment as follows: “Getting accepted to Williams College. It’s a very exclusive school. I’m very proud to get in there. It was a big moment for me when I heard I was accepted.”  Be sure to watch the interview with Kiesel below as he illuminates a reporter about the history and pronunciation of “Ephs.”

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  • Andrew Bravo, valedictorian of Lenox High School, will stay close to home as an Eph next year.  “Bravo is an accomplished scholar-athlete.  He has played on the LMMHS varsity soccer team, varsity basketball team and the varsity baseball team, serving as captain for all three teams.  He has been an All-Eagle selection in each sport and has served as LMMHS’s senior MIAA Student Ambassador.  In addition, he is president of the National Honor Society, has been in Peer Education since 10th grade and is a member of the Quidditch team. He was the recipient of the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award and the CIAO Soccer Scholarship.  Bravo plans to attend Williams College in the fall where he will be majoring in biochemistry.”
  • Elaina Pullano, another local product, and yet another arts-athletics-academics-leadership quadruple-threat, was valedictorian of Wahconah Regional High School in Dalton, Massachusetts.  “Pullano is a member the National Honor Society, Student Council, Peer Mediation and the Mentoring program.  She participated in four years of varsity girls soccer and track and was captain of the track team this spring.  Within the community, she has been active as a member of the Interact Club, CRA Leaders Club and participated in her church by teaching Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.  She also was an award-winning vocalist in chorus and was selected Girls’ State.”
  • Jenna Maddock was in the cum laude society at Berwick High School in Maine.  Her insane depth and breadth of accomplishments should sound familiar by this point: “Jenna was inducted into the Cum Laude Society her junior year. She has maintained a respectable academic record, achieving high honors in every marking period and having the highest class average for five of the seven years from fifth grade on. She has also received Departmental Recognition Awards in science and French, the Princeton Book Award of Maine, the Chemistry Medal, and is a member of the National French Honor Society.  She has placed first in the state of Maine and in the top ten nationally for the past 5 years in the National French Exam and was a Presidential Scholar Nominee and National Merit Finalist.  She was also the top scorer in the state of Maine for the Chemistry Olympiad as a junior.  In addition to her academics, Jenna has played seven seasons of Varsity athletics at Berwick, four in Cross-Country and three in Softball.  In running, she has been named All-NEPSTA for all four years, team MVP and an EIL All-Star for the past two years, and was a co-captain her senior year.  She was named an EIL All-Star as a junior in Softball as well.  In addition to school athletics, Jenna is a Nordic skier and trains year round for the sport.  Skiing for Gunstock Nordic Association, she has been named to the New Hampshire J2 for both years she was eligible and has been named to the New Hampshire Eastern High School team for all four years.  This past year, she was the top-ranked female skier on the New Hampshire team and also qualified to compete in Junior Nationals in Minneapolis, where her best finish was nineteenth place.  Jenna also plays flute, playing in the Winterfest Audition Concert for three out of her four years in high school and performing in the pit orchestra for musicals. She has also played the piano at school concerts and Coffeehouses and enjoys being able to perform with other students.  In addition, she has been part of the stage crew for the winter musical.”  Jenna has not, however, discovered a cure for cancer or traveled to the moon.  So there.
  • Lauren Nevin was salutatorian of Portsmouth High School in New Hampshire.  “While in high school, Lauren’s school and/or community activities included Portsmouth High School student council: co-president as senior, treasurer as junior; varsity lacrosse: senior captain, four varsity letters; varsity soccer: senior captain, three varsity letters; varsity basketball: senior captain, three varsity letters; referee for fifth-grade basketball league; National Honor Society: Executive Board.  During her high school career, Lauren received the following honors or awards: Harvard Book Prize (2010); National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Achievement Award in Writing (2010); St. Paul’s Advanced Studies Program Superior Merit in Core Class (“The Quest”); St. Paul’s Advanced Studies Program Superior Merit in Writing Workshop; NHIAA Scholar Athlete Award; Granite State Scholar; National Honor Society; Several Awards in Academic Achievement in various high school courses; All State Honorable Mention for Soccer (2009 and 2010); Foster’s Dream Team Honorable Mention for Soccer (2010); Most Valuable Player, Lacrosse (2010).”

Congratulations to all.  I’d wish them good luck, but I don’t think they really need it …


Please Stand By


Memories of a run in

This goes out to the Ephs who had to deal with the nasty climate of corruption and murder that gripped the townie culture in Boston during the 80s.

A member of the crew about my age (early 20s at the time) named Butchie Doe tried to pick a fight with me in a Somerville bar during the summer of 1987, but I rejected his taunts to step outside as his friends dragged him away at the bartenders request. I am glad I did not take the bait, because there is a solid chance I would have been murdered.

Boston was a great city to go to school and work in in the 80s, but this nasty bit of corruption that inflicted itself on the local population is a terrible stain on many local officials as well as on the FBI’s reputation. I hope that anyone involved is discovered and put away forever.

I never did head back to that bar again for another round of beers. Corrupt elements of the polity and law enforcement in the city enabled thugs to rule entire neighborhoods- and those places were to be avoided. I hope that has changed in the last 30 years.

Updated video here.

If the FBI had done it’s job my dad would still be alive.


Donna Ching ’84: Dateless


Jim Christian ’82: Travels with Whit Stoddard


Eph Research Making News

Interesting article in the Washington Post over the weekend. The article explores the makeup of the highest earning taxpayers in the U.S.:

For years, statistics have depicted growing income disparity in the United States, and it has reached levels not seen since the Great Depression. In 2008, the last year for which data are available, for example, the top 0.1 percent of earners took in more than 10 percent of the personal income in the United States, including capital gains, and the top 1 percent took in more than 20 percent. But economists had little idea who these people were. How many were Wall street financiers? Sports stars? Entrepreneurs? Economists could only speculate, and debates over what is fair stalled.

Now a mounting body of economic research indicates that the rise in pay for company executives is a critical feature in the widening income gap.

The largest single chunk of the highest-income earners, it turns out, are executives and other managers in firms, according to a landmark analysis of tax returns by economists Jon Bakija, Adam Cole and Bradley T. Heim. These are not just executives from Wall Street, either, but from companies in even relatively mundane fields such as the milk business.

Read more



Thanks to Jeff Z for this note in Speak Up:

Congrats to Williams on an incredible 13th straight Director’s Cup! The Ephs just barely edged out Midd thanks to a huge spring sports total. The top four are Williams, Midd, Wash U. and Amherst, which also happen to be four of the top 7-8 academic D-III schools in the country, proving once again that athletic and academic excellence can go hand-in-hand:

Congratulations to the year’s Eph athletes for another terrific year on the field/water/court, etc. I hope that we can all still appreciate what a remarkable achievement winning the Director’s Cup is each year. Winning so many in a row has a tendency to blur the achievement, in a way which is not fair to this year’s athletes.


Ariel Williams ’10: My Williams Photo Debacle


Moving Mitt

In the late 80’s, I worked for a furniture company in Boston and we moved John Kerry’s furniture to a large multi level brownstone.
Kerry hired a local company and was a very personal guy who left a solid tip…. having said that, can Mitt win? Maybe?

Can the republican version of Kerry win the presidency?


Eph Sports Media Mafia

Considering that Williams has no journalism, media, or communications majors, nor the platform of a Division I athletics program, it is absolutely remarkable just how many Ephs have attained tremendous success in the highly competitive world of sports media.  No doubt, part of that success is attributable to the Williams Sports Information department led by Dick Quinn, which regularly employs students and highlights their work via the (I believe) unique Frank Deford and Aaron Pinsky ’06 awards.  Eph alums employed in this arena include:

  • Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Tim Layden ’78 is surely the most prominent Eph in the field.
  • Peter May ’73 covered the Celtics for over 25 years at the Boston Globe.
  • Philip Wall ’07 is a sports documentary writer/producer/director, whose recent works include The Passing Game and a highlight film for VCU’s recent Final Four appearance.
  • Sam Flood ’83 is the producer of NBC’s NHL coverage.
  • NBC Sports, in fact, employs an additional “flood” of Ephs, including Rob Hyland ’97 (who produces the Notre Dame football telecasts), Ikenna Iheoma ’10, Ben Horwitz ’09, Matt Marvin ’98, and Matt Casey ’93.
  • Jason Hehir ’98, who was given his start by Flood, runs his own production company and is a five-time Emmy winner.  Recently, he produced a fascinating documentary on the Fab Five as part of ESPN’s high-profile 30 for 30 series.
  • Mark Kossick ’97 is Director of Programming and Production for NBA Entertainment.
  • Pete McEntegert ’91 wrote The Ten Spot for years for, but is currently pursuing other ventures.
  • Naoko Funayama ’95 is NESN‘s Bruins reporter, and she’s developed a pretty mean slap shot, accordingly.
  • David Gow ’85 owns and operates the Sporting News Radio Network.
  • Topher Sabot ’99 is the editor of
  • You can read football / baseball star Darren Hartwell ’13’s contributions to, where he is currently a summer intern.
  • Christopher Clarey ’86 covers various sports for the New York Times.   Among other things, he blogs about soccer and tennis.
  • Based on Quinn’s assessment of his abilities,  it is no surprise that Lorenzo Patrick ’11 will soon be joining this august group of Ephs.  He is off to a great start, as he was recently hired to work at David Gow’s KGOW station in Houston.
  • Finally, be sure to read this fascinating article on Beth Choat ’86, who previously held several high-profile sports journalism jobs, and now works as a police officer in Las Vegas while writing young adult novels about teenage athletes.  She makes my list of top ten most interesting Eph alums, for sure!

NYT: Multiracial students face quandary on college apps

David has often written posts about the boxes that college seniors check in the “race” category on their application to Williams College. The New York Times has a recent article on the subject:

“I just realized that my race is something I have to think about,” she wrote, describing herself as having an Asian mother and a black father. “It pains me to say this, but putting down black might help my admissions chances and putting down Asian might hurt it. My mother urges me to put down black to […] get in to the colleges I’m applying to,” added Ms. Scott … “I sort of want to do this but I’m wondering if this is morally right.”

Within minutes, a commenter had responded, “You’re black. You should own it.” Someone else agreed, “Put black!!!!!!!! Listen to your mom.” No one advised marking Asian alone. But one commenter weighed in with advice that could just as well have come from any college across the country: “You can put both. You can put one. You’re not dishonest either way. Just put how you feel.”

The article examines many parts of this complex issue. Here is an observation that hadn’t occurred to me:

Some scholars worry that the growth in multiracial applicants could further erode the original intent of affirmative action, which is to help disadvantaged minorities. For example, families with one black parent and one white parent are on average more affluent than families with two black parents. When choosing between two such applicants, some universities might lean toward the multiracial student because he will need less financial aid while still counting toward affirmative-action goals.

Read more


Lizzy Brickley ’10: Finding Out that I Was a JA

These EPHS (Every Person Has a Story) videos are wonderful. So, I am going to post two a week for the rest of the summer, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:00 AM. Enjoy!


Williams Wants You

For future historians, I have archived below the job posting for Investment Officer, Marketable Securities.

Isn’t it a great thing that almost all the non-rich students in the class of 2015 will need to take out loans so that Williams can pay some fancy finance guy hundreds of thousands of dollars a year? Speaking for fancy finance guys around the world, I think that it is marvelous!

This job did not exist at Williams 6 years ago. And yet, miraculously, the endowment performed wonderfully. Why does it need to exist now?

Related rants here and here. Both highly recommended.

Read more


Top 50 most beautiful colleges

Another “best” list. Williams does not make the grade according to, guess which college does?

Yes, you guessed it!


Reunion Comments

Were any readers at Reunion this week-end? Tell us about it!


One Possible Explanation for our Economic Woes …

[Featuring Eph “Julianna McKannis” ’81]:

Report: Economy Failing Because U.S. Built On Ancient Indian Burial Grounds


Tour De Ephs

Three recent Williams Grads are biking across the country this summer! J.J. Augenbraun ’11, Tony Lorenzo ’11, and Christopher Fox ’11 are setting off on their epic adventure in less than a week! Check out their website here.

If you find yourself on their route and would like to meet and talk about Williams, or offer any support or advice, please contact them at

And be sure to join the Purple Peloton following them all summer long!


Classic Colbert: Mark Udall

There is no greater honor in American society today than a guest appearance on the Colbert Report.  Accordingly, any Eph who makes such an appearance deserves, at the very least, to be featured on Ephblog.  One we missed from a number of years ago: Senator (then Congressman) Mark Udall ’72, who was one of the first members of the House to brave Colbert’s brilliant “Better Know a District” segment.  If you’d like to see an Eph challenged to “disagree” with the statement “I hate Nazis,” this is your chance to do so.  No doubt, Udall attributes his subsequent political rise to this segment.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Better Know a District – Colorado’s 2nd – Mark Udall
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

Congratulations, Graduates!

A simple best wishes and best of luck for your futures, from all of us at EphBlog and all who must be far away from Williamstown.


Slack ’11 Wins Grosvenor Cup


Congratulations from EphBlog!

1) Are you an undergraduate who would like to be similarly honored? Write for EphBlog. It worked for Will! ;-)

2) Record coverage here.

3) Dean Bolton described Will as “resident expert on all things Williams.” Indeed! Not too far away from the EphBlog motto: All Things Eph.

4) Nice that the College Council officers pick the Grosvenor Cup winner. Has this always been true? The more power and responsibility that you give Williams students, the more successful the College will be. Remember the Tablecloth Colors!


Lavish Financial Aid Packages

Consider this comment from last February’s discussion of financial aid policy and international admissions.

I graduated from Williams in ’97. I know for a fact that the college admitted Internationals and gave them lavish financial aid packages when in many circumstances they did not deserve the generosity. I knew one student in particular whose father owned a clothing factory in India and could have easily paid for his tuition in full at Williams but was able to hide his familial assets when he applied to the school. It’s a shame that American students are in effect subsidizing these (shady) international students.

1) I have heard similar stories, but I do not think these cases are common. Am I naive? I think that the vast majority of international students who get a full ride at Williams (and that is the vast majority of international students) come from poor families.

2) These things happen with/to/for US students as well. How can the College know the actual wealth tied up in a small family business? How can Williams know how much the non-custodial parent (or grand-parents) are willing to contribute? Short answer: We can’t.

3) Even with perfect knowledge of current family income/wealth, financial aid can never be “fair”. Some families put thousands of dollars away each year for college. Other families, with the exact same income, don’t save anything and use that money for vacations. Is it fair for Williams to charge these two families the same amount?

I would like to see Williams make some fairly major changes. First, we should treat international and US students the same: need-aware for everyone. Second, we should use other schools more actively as part of the process. (Perhaps we already do this?) If Jose gets a great offer from Yale, and we really want Jose, then we should match Yale’s offer. If Jose does not get an offer from Yale, then I have no problem asking him to take out $10,000 in loans. Third, we should consider offering four year cost guarantees. That is, we should tell students when they are accepted that Williams will cost them X. It is unfair to set tuition anew each year.

Finally, and most controversially, Williams should consider raising its sticker price significantly. Why not charge wealthy families $100,000 per year? We are selling a luxury good. Let’s price it accordingly.


Hollander Hall Live Cam

Seems to update every few minutes. Just hit refresh.

In a few years (how many?), Williams could sprinkle dozens of cameras all around campus, each streaming live, high definition video on to the web. Will it? Should it?