Currently browsing the archives for November 2011

Van Heuvelen ’05 and Shoemaker ’05 Wed

From the New York Times:

Ms. Van Heuvelen and Mr. Shoemaker met by accident, when at the beginning of college in 2001 she sent “an off-color joke,” she said, intended for her best friend, whose e-mail address was almost identical to Mr. Shoemaker’s.

“It was some sort of inappropriate joke my older brother sent me,” Ms. Van Heuvelen said. “It was sufficiently embarrassing for someone I didn’t know.”

Mr. Shoemaker was unfazed by it, and although their paths crossed a couple of times, they spoke to each other in earnest only at the start of senior year.

“She had just returned from Beijing studying Chinese, and I had just returned from Oxford,” said Mr. Shoemaker, who recalled talking to her about a half-hour while standing in the doorway of his new dorm room. They soon learned they had carrels next to each other in the library.

Remembering their conversations there, he said, “She talked to me about John Barth’s ‘The Sot-Weed Factor’ and I talked to her about Romanesque portals I studied in early medieval architecture.”

They were at the library again in February 2005, when their relationship took a turn as Mr. Shoemaker asked her out. Their dinner date, at an Italian restaurant, ended not with a kiss, but with a return to the library, to finish papers due the next day. Mr. Shoemaker also used the opportunity to ask Ms. Van Heuvelen to a dance that weekend.

After the dance, “I invited Adam over for dinner the next evening,” she said and recalled that after dinner, “as we were saying goodbye we had a goodnight kiss.”

The memory of that kiss — and the summer together that followed their graduations — would have to hold each of them a while. She left for Beijing, to study Chinese language and culture on a fellowship that would last into the following spring, and he was off to study law in Cambridge.

Congratulations to all!


Gerson ’94 Weds

Apologies for the delay in posting this 2007 wedding announcement.

Rabbi Erica Rachel Greenbaum, the daughter of Sandra and Kenneth Greenbaum of New York, was married last evening to Mark Lee Gerson, a son of Susan and Michael Gerson of Short Hills, N.J. Rabbi Matthew Reimer officiated at the couple’s vacation home in Sag Harbor, N.Y.

Mr. Gerson, 35, is a founder and the chairman of Gerson Lehrman Group, a New York information-services company. He graduated summa cum laude from Williams and received a law degree from Yale.

It is fitting that a world class networker like Gerson would be able to cross the great chasm and marry an Amherst woman.

Congratulations to all!


Walk Worthy

Bishop Harry Jackson ’75 was the Commencement speaker at Patrick Henry College last year.

Saturday’s commencement featured a rousing and inspirational keynote speech by Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in D.C., who spoke not only of the high honor but of the high cost of obedience to God’s call to lead the nation and influence the culture. Having served courageously at the forefront of the evangelical community’s efforts to halt the legalization of gay marriage within the District, Bishop Jackson recounted how he, his family, and church, have paid a heavy price as a result.
“We’re in one of the darkest seasons in the history of this country,” he began, reciting a list of cultural trends marking the nation’s unmistakable and rapid retreat from its Christian roots. Citing Isaiah 59:15 – “Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey,” he recalled the vicious attacks on his person by gay marriage activists incensed by his work in defense of traditional marriage.

“We’re in that place in our history,” he continued, “when the righteous will be seen as prey. But the glory of the Lord is committed to each one of you as you contend for the truth. The evangelical wing of the Church must be honored, and you must go out and make your voices heard. We cannot afford for you do just disappear into your careers and miss the great opportunities before you.”

Observing how the American church has contracted “social laryngitis,” having apparently abdicated its role to “speak out with authority” on social issues, Bishop Jackson echoed Dr. Farris’s call to live lives worthy of the God we serve. Citing Isaiah 60:1 – “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you,” the Bishop concluded his speech to graduates with a call to action.

“Go forth from this place with trust, passion and commitment,” he cried out. “Great Awakening ‘number three’ is coming to America, and it just might come through [the young men and women in this auditorium].”

Bishop Jackson is as successful in his field — religious leadership — as Eph Bicentennial Medals are in theirs. Why won’t Williams award him a medal and/or invite him to speak at Claiming Williams or Convocation or Commencement? Political correctness.



Useful overview article on college rankings.

Railing against the rankings will not make them go away; competition, the need to benchmark, and indeed the inevitable logic of globalization make them a lasting part of the academic landscape of the 21st century. The challenge is to understand the nuances and the uses — and misuses — of the rankings.

Correct. It is critically important that Williams maintain and strengthen its #1 position in the US News Rankings. Suggestions for doing so? My favorites include:

1) Decreasing the number of large class sections. No class at Williams should have more than 19 students. This is a good idea pedagogically, and will help the rankings since US News penalizes colleges for having large classes.

2) Decrease the number of students. A Williams with 540 students in each class is a little too large. We are a small liberal arts college, not Dartmouth. Dropping back to 500 or so, would both improve various ratios (student-faculty, endowment-per-student) and significantly improve the quality of student life by allowing Williams to eliminate doubles.

No more lectures and singles for all who want them. Although these changes would be expensive, a Williams with them (and need-aware admissions for all applicants, not just internationals) would be better than a Williams without them (and need-blind admissions).


Jackson ’75 on Religious Tolerance

Bishop Harry Jackson ’75 on religious tolerance after 9/11.

And perhaps we’re not talking about the fact that there can be a sense of anger and outrage that someone will blow themselves up in a particular setting. And, in D.C., we may feel very intimidated. We know that we would be high on a target list.

The 9/11 mosque controversy is one that I don’t think that we have helped people process their feelings. So, as a pastoral counselor for many years and one who trains ministers, I think you would agree with me, Reverend Vincent, that there needs to be a voice, a pastoral voice that helps people deal with how they feel positively, as opposed to explosively.

But, again, I agree that there needs to be leadership, religious leadership. I pastor a church in D.C. that has 22 different nationalities, black, white, Hispanic, first-generation Africans, people who have come from all kinds of walks of life and faiths.

I think there needs to be some specific teaching on this. And the next generation may be less tolerant if we don’t do something. Think about what happened with Al Sharpton vs. Glenn Beck on the Mall, all the hubbub: Is the Tea Party racist or is it not?

We are in a time that, unless we give clear leadership, as Reverend Vincent said, we can slip away from our professed values. And our leaders are supposed to lead the way in exemplifying the American dream.

I only feel explosively on Tuesdays.


Gap in IQ

Chris Satullo ’75, writing in The Philadelphia Inquirer three years ago:

The charge of elitism isn’t about people flaunting income; it’s about people flaunting IQ. Americans, as a rule, don’t resent people who have more money than them — particularly if the wealth is seen as earned. Envy, maybe, but not resent. You don’t resent people whom you hope to emulate. And most Americans dream easily about having much more dough than they do. What Americans more readily resent is someone who is smarter than them, who knows it, who shows it, and who seems to think being smart makes you better than everyone else. A gap in income, you can always dream of closing. A gap in IQ, not so much. It’s more personal, thus easier to resent.

1) Does this explain why so many readers resent me when I expose the realities of the Williams admissions process, especially the advantages which accrue to athletes and URMs?

2) Satullo was (successfully?) explaining why Barak Obama was being charged with “elitism” during the 2008 presidential campaign. Do you agree with that explanation?

3) My take on elitism is different. I have no problem with people that are smarter than me. Indeed, I try to hang out with them as much as possible! But I have a problem with anyone telling me how to live my life, especially if they insist on using the power of the state to enforce their preferences.


Mad Cow on CUL

Thanks to Josh Ain ’03.


Nobel Peace Prize — for Education?

Wick Sloane ’76 writes:

No one has ever won a Nobel Peace Prize for education. Click here and look for yourself. I can’t be alone in finding this embarrassing for all of us in education. Here in the nation with the self-proclaimed “finest higher education system in the world,” why hasn’t the Big Ten won the Nobel Peace Prize? Or the Ivy League? Or even the Little Three. The opposite of peace would be war and conflict. Isn’t war the ultimate failure to solve a problem by other means? Isn’t our job in education to teach people to solve problems of all sizes?

Read the whole thing.