About EphBlog

Purpose: EphBlog encourages, organizes and supports the Williams Conversation.

Motto: All Things Eph.

EphBlog is like a party, but with a handy disclaimer. We hope that you’ll join us for a bit. Like any good party, there should be something here for every Eph.

First, EphBlog is a place where “all things Eph” are posted and discussed. If you want to read about Eph athletes, authors, CEOs, doctors, engagements, heroes, interns, Nobel Prize winners, Red Sox fans, Rhodes Scholars, runners, terror victims, warriors or writers you have come to the right place. We cover financial scandals and criminal trials. We even do a little bit of original reporting, but links and comments are the standard fare.

Second, EphBlog serves as a resource to the community of Ephs, past, present and future. We try to answer questions, provide information, recommend good writing, help with reunions and offer advice. See our Eph Blogroll for all the Eph blogs that we are aware of. We collect feeds from these blogs at Eph Planet. For our readers, we provide easy PDA access [link broken], a complete archive and a collection of Eph quotes. At some point, we hope to provide Eph News, a listing of all news stories about, you guessed it, Ephs.

Third, EphBlog provides a forum for debate on:

In other words, EphBlog is not simply a place for you to get your daily fix of Ephery. We’re that, of course, but we aspire to greater things. Many of us who live beyond the Purple Valley have discovered that life after Williams does not provide nearly as many opportunities for honest, informed and open-minded debate as we might have hoped. A wise Eph does not argue about foreign affairs with his boss. A sensitive Eph does not debate economic policy with her staff. A sensible Eph does not argue about controversial issues of the day with the other parents on the sideline of a childrens’ soccer game.So, where should an Eph who misses the intellectual thrill of the back and forth discussions that make a Williams education so magical go? Where can he find smart people who completely disagree with him but are open-minded enough to listen to his arguments and patient enough to point out his errors. To be honest, we don’t know. But we hope that EphBlog might one day be the answer.

Comments are always appreciated and, if you want to join us in these efforts, we would welcome additional bloggers. Come join the party.

About the Authors

Bagna Braestrup ’08

  • Bagna was a history and political science double major who spent most of his time either working at the OCC, playing basketball in Lasell or Chandler, or enjoying some refreshing drinks with fellow classmates at the Purple Pub/Herring. Bagna was a proud JA to the class of 2010 and is a frequent visitor to the Purple Valley.

Derek Catsam ’93

DeWitt Clinton ’98

  • Co-founder of Williams Students Online, DeWitt was originally in the class of ’97. DeWitt took a year off to help start Tripod, Inc., before returning to graduate in ’98 as a double major in Political Science and Computer Science. After graduation, DeWitt went to work in Seattle, WA as a Program Manager for Microsoft. DeWitt returned to the Berkshires to start both Eziba and Avacet. DeWitt later moved to New York City to run software development for Site59, Inc. and software architecture for Travelocity. DeWitt is currently principal engineer at A9.com, an Amazon.com company. DeWitt lives in San Francisco, CA, and continues to write about and develop open source applications at Unto.net.He is not to be confused with the DeWitt Clinton who served as governor of New York State and championed the construction of the Erie Canal.

Guy Creese ’75

  • Guy was a history major at Williams, not always the straightest path to working in high tech, where he’s been — among other things — a programmer, a tech writer, a customer support rep, a product manager, and an IT industry analyst. At this point, he analyzes the content management and search markets for Burton Group, an IT industry analyst firm. Guy has long been interested in things Williams. One Winter Study he did an oral history project on the differences between the Baxter and Sawyer administrations; his Senior Honors thesis was entitled, “The Concept of the Gentleman at Williams College: 1929-1939.” He also serves as the Webmaster for the great Class of 1975 (www.williams75.org).

Current Eph

  • A student currently at Williams.

Diana Davis ’07

  • Diana was a math major at Williams, where she also took a lot of psychology courses, attended the Williams-Mystic program, and was on the cross country, track and crew teams. She is currently working on learning lots of math so that she can get some more letters after her name.

Sean Denniston ’87

  • Sean is from Cambridge, Massachusetts happily leaving that university town for our pleasant corner of the world majoring in history. After Williams, he spent two years at University College, Oxford University. While at Oxford, he was a frequent visitor to Ephraim Williams House (almost always by chance on guest night — free meal!). Sean earned an MA in Modern History. Even if by Sean’s own confessions he didn’t “bleed purple” he was proud to introduce Williams to his British and international contemporaries hoping he was a good if not always sober ambassador. Sean later earned a JD at Boston College (ably run by Dan Coquillette ’66) and has spent most of his career in government. While for years a wondering Eph, he is re-rooted to alma mater by warm memories of his campus job (Chapin Library), Professors John Hyde and Irwin Shainman, and friends. Sean considers Williams truly unique and hopes this isn’t lost by change for change’s sake.

Ben Fleming ’04

  • Beginning in August, Ben will be a student at the Graduate School for Journalism at Columbia University. He was previously sports editor at the North Adams (Mass.) Transcript, where he worked for two years following his graduation from Williams. His bias in favor of [INSERT DISFAVORED BERKSHIRE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL HERE] was, as has been mentioned previously, legendary. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Ben majored in art history and economics, played soccer and rugby, and worked at the Record and WCFM. His preferred manner of ordering pad thai from Sushi Thai Garden — extra spicy, order of peanut sauce on the side — was stolen in whole cloth from Shomik Dutta ’05, but has proven no less delicious as a result.

Emily Flynn ’09

  • Emily is a Psychology major with a concentration in Maritime Studies, often seen around campus playing jv soccer, tutoring at the elementary school, singing in the Accidentals, leading tours of pre-froshies, or just playing around (avoiding work) in Paresky. This semester she is cruising the high seas and studying at Mystic, but she looks forward to coming back to the world’s greatest little cow city in the spring.

Chris Fox ’11

  • Chris Fox is an English and Psychology major with particular interests in drama, education, and fiction writing. On campus he is a member of Combo Za, a Frosh Revue Alumnus, an Editor of Monkeys with Typewriters (the essay magazine) and occasional writer for the Record.

Andrew Goldston ’09

  • Awaiting bio . . .

Chris Gondek ’90

  • Chris Gondek is the producer and host of The Invisible Hand Podcast and Yale Press Podcast. His crowning moment in interviewing was getting Antony Jay, co-creator of Yes, Minister, to admit that he might have turned into Sir Humphrey Appleby had he joined the British Civil Service. Chris lives in the Connecticut portion of Portland, Oregon and is learning Attic Greek to fulfill his life’s ambition of translating his archive of Jughead comics into the language of Sophocles. Favorite Williams quote: A Williams graduate is someone who can mix cocktails comfortably in five languages. Former entry mate (Williams C) of Ephblog authors Jane Penner and Brendon Kane, proving that Kurt Tauber and the Freshman Residential Seminar must have been right after all.

Morgan Goodwin ’08

  • Morgan is a Chinese major with an interest in envi studies and sociology. He is currently a JA, the class of ’08 representative to College Council, a member of the Gargoyle society and a member of Greensense (and a few others). Morgan also chairs the Focus the Nation steering committee. Instead of sleeping, Morgan skis for the Nordic ski team, sits on a few more committees, makes movies, extols the virtues of Williams to his frosh, blogs and has been known to swim in the Green River during wintertime on multiple occaisions.

Lowell Jacobson ’03

  • Lowell was a member of the Wrestling Team during his first 2 years at Williams and was a double-major in Physics and History. He is the first student in quite some time to take advantage of the 3-2 engineering program with Columbia University, where he is currently working on his BS in Electrical Engineering before heading off to law school somewhere next year in hopes of eventually becoming a patent litigator. Lowell made a laughably unsuccessful run for CC co-presidents during his sophomore year with John Philips ’02, and his most prominent contribution to Williams is probably the cartoon cow he created that currently heads up the peer health webpage. He also maintains a collection of quotes at http://quotes.loweeel.com that includes some quotes from both Williams students and professors.

Professor Peter Just

  • Peter is a Professor of Anthropology

David Kane ’88

  • David played squash and was a philosophy and economics double major. He is married to Kay (Fang) Kane ’89. They have two daughters, Michaela ’18 and Cassandra ’21. David has a Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government and served in the United States Marine Corps for three years. When not blogging, he works in finance and daydreams about how much fun it would be to teach at Williams. David founded EphBlog in January 2003.

Jonathan Landsman ’05

  • Jonathan Landsman apparently began helping Ephblog before he even knew it existed, through the “excellent minutes” that he wrote during his term as College Council’s secretary. He learned of Ephblog’s existence when he found himself amidst a turmoil in CC over condemning an inflammatory site he had not heard of, but would visit for the first time when he went home that night.Jonathan’s fascination with the ways of Williams, a wish for the best for students there, and desire to write drove him to the secretary position, as well as to the debates on Anchor Housing (which he will never call by any other name), to his numerous past and present writing on this site, and to his current passion for writing on Willipedia (an encyclopedia of the Williams consciousness).While a student at Williams, Jonathan learned and loved contradancing, bridge, and gardening. He is currently studying Horticulture at Cornell University.

Abby Martin ’11

  • Abby is a work in progress and is quite happy not to have to commit to anyone or anything yet, thank you very much.

Stewart Menking ’79

  • I became part of the GREATEST class Williams College ever has or ever will know. Ergo, my life is fulfilled and fully actualized. And when my two sons are no longer teenagers, I will once again be an intelligent human being.

Anna Morrison ’07

  • Anna graduated from Williams with a major in English, and a certificate in French Language. She is currently a member of the Mississippi Teacher Corps, an alternative-route teacher certification program similar to Teach For America. She spends her time lesson-planning, grading, and arguing daily with teenagers.

Mike Needham ’04

  • Mike graduated from Williams in June, 2004 with a double major in Political Science and Economics. He served as an editor of The Williams Record for three-and-a-half years including a one-year stint as Editor-in-Chief. He now lives in Washington DC where he is chief of staff of The Heritage Foundation. Mike talks too much when he is drunk and sometimes even when he is not. He was not drunk when he submitted this bio.

Daniel Ohnemus ’04

  • Ohnemus is an [admittedly unfortunate] double Bio-Chem major from Cape Cod, currently doing marine chemistry research despite having spent his entire undergrad tenure in labs. This is not entirely true, however, as he also spent time as a [lab] TA, tutor, JA, JA SelCom co-prez, and frat member (Octet). When not cruising around some ocean or preparing to do so, he’s probably making snide comments online while trying to continue working without getting paid (i.e. go to graduate school).

David Rodriguez ’06

  • David is currently a senior at Williams doubling up in Economics and Math with a penchant for public economic policy and a specific dislike of the Bush administration. David plays for the men’s rugby team and has several Amherst jerseys to show for it. Aside from playing rugby, he like long walks on the beach, romantic candlelit dinners, and little puppy golden retrievers.


  • PTC is a townie with a wide ranging connection to the college. Born and raised in the Berkshires, he misspent his youth in the 70s and 80s hanging around Spring street and drinking at places like the Ice House, Stone Hill and Davie Deans. When he was old enough he took a seat at the Pub. His connection to the College includes relatives and close friends who are alum, faculty and employees. He has been away from home working for the past 17 years, but still drops by annually or semi annually to visit his old haunts and spend time with friends and relatives. One day, he shall return.

Will Slack ’11

  • Will is a policy-minded sophomore serving on way too many ’08-’09 committees, and quite happy about it. He is politically active in the blogosphere, but writes here under his real name.

Eric Smith ’99

  • Eric’s contribution to Williams was as an art major. He ran XC and indoor/outdoor track, broke multiple large pieces of furniture, and was a JA. He has his own tech consulting firm and is based in Cambridge, MA. Eric is the tech admin of this site (meaning he is usually too busy/lazy to actually do anything, and grumpy about it when he does).

Dick Swart ’56

  • ‘Dick Swart’ (not his real name) is a 27 year-old Columbian farmer-turned-drug ‘mule’ now residing in Hood River, OR under the Federal Witness Protection Program. Through an administrative error, he was provided with the wrong set of credentials. Among the bona fides was a 1956 Gul. This yearbook, his Ben Nye Theatrical Makeup Kit, and an Orvis catalogue make it possible for him to be alive today! His singing of the fight song is amusing at the end when he warbles “… to Guilliams, to Guilliams, to Guilliams”. All things considered it could be worse … just imagine “Lord Heffrey Amherst was a soldier of the King …”.

Jeff Thaler ’74

  • Jeff was a townie in Ithaca, NY before arriving at Williams in 1970. The College today is very different from what it was back then. He stumbled into Prof. Robert Gaudino’s Williams-at-Home program in 1971, and it helped turn around Jeff’s college education, and post-college life. Jeff was a Political Science major who, along with being the Social Chairman of Agaard House and thus the College for a year, perfecting a great punch and dance tape for the Winter Carnival Party, also wrote his senior thesis on the non-PS subject of liberal arts education at Williams. He enrolled at Yale Law School, naively thinking he would continue his liberal arts learning there, and was quickly slapped back to reality by his many classmates who already were interviewing for summer Wall Street jobs after 2 weeks of classes. Since then he has been an appellate public defender in NYC; lived in Maine for 30 years with his Middlebury alum wife Karen Massey and two sons Greg (24) and Kai (21); and has worked in Maine in private practice as a trial, environmental and energy lawyer, as well as several years as in-house lawyer and advocate for Maine Audubon Society under the directorship of Chuck Hewett’72. When not chained to his email, Jeff also works at Portland’s Center for Grieving Children as a bereavement facilitator, co-chairs a couple state and national environmental associations, presently co-teaches a course at the University of Southern Maine on the refugee experience overseas and in the US, and has directed two WSPs in 2008 and 2009 involving home stays and service learning with refugee and immigrant families in Maine. Last, he is old enough to remember Yoyo in the Snack Bar.

Ken Thomas ’93

  • Awaiting bio…

John F. Wilson ’64

  • German major at Williams, Class of ’64. Fulbright Fellowship, followed by Peace Corps in Ecuador. Later switched to economics and did my Ph.D. at University of Pennsylvania. Spent 17 years with the Federal Reserve Board, followed by 16 years with the International Monetary Fund, now retired from both but consulting in economic statistics, notably remittance flows to Latin America and on national Flow of Funds accounts and compilation. A strong advocate of financial transparency, including for nonprofits such as Williams College.

Whitney Wilson ’90

  • Awaiting bio . . .

Jeff Zeeman ’97

  • Jeff purportedly majored in political science and econ at Williams, where he was co-president of College Council and was personally responsible, as head of campus tour guides, for unwittingly convincing scores of prospectives that they would be better served passing up a Williams education. Currently an attorney in Washington, D.C., he is ecstatic to find others as interested in Williams as he, as the Class of 97 is fast tiring of Jeff abusing his class listserver privileges by inundating them with unrequested updates on the Williams basketball team. His life ambition is to start the first fantasy basketball league featuring Nescac players.

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