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Teach First Years to Sing “The Mountains”

To the JA’s for the class of 2019:

At the 1989 Williams graduation ceremonies, then-President Francis Oakley had a problem. Light rain showers, which had been threatening all morning, started mid-way through the event. Thinking that he should speed things along, and realizing that virtually no one knew the words to “The Mountains,” President Oakley proposed that the traditional singing be skipped.

A cry arose from all Ephs present, myself included. Although few knew the words, all wanted to sing the damn song. Sensing rebellion, President Oakley relented and led the assembled graduates and guests through a somewhat soaked rendition of the song that has marked Williams events for more than 100 years.

Similar scenes play themselves out at Williams gatherings around the country. At some of the Williams weddings that you will attend in the future, an attempt, albeit a weak one, will be made to sing “The Mountains.” At reunions, “The Mountains” will be sung, generally with the help of handy cards supplied by the Alumni Office. It is obvious that most graduates wish that they knew the words. It is equally obvious than almost all do not.

We have a collective action problem. Everyone (undergraduates and alumni alike) wishes that everyone knew the words — it would be wonderful to sing “The Mountains” at events ranging from basketball games to Mountain Day hikes to gatherings around the world. But there is no point in me learning the words since, even if I knew them, there would be no one else who did. Since no single individual has an incentive to learn the words, no one bothers to learn them. We are stuck at a sub-optimal equilibrium.

Fortunately, you have the power to fix this. You could learn “The Mountains” together, as a group, during your JA orientation. You could then teach all the First Years during First Days. It will no doubt make for a nice entry bonding experience. All sorts of goofy ideas come to mind. How about a singing contest at the opening dinner, judged by President Falk, between the six different first year dorms with first prize being a pizza dinner later in the fall at the President’s House?

It will not be enough to learn the song that evening. Periodically over the last dozen years, attempts have been made to teach the words at dinner or at the first class meeting in Chapin. Such efforts, worthy as they are, have always failed. My advice:

1) Learn all the words by heart at JA training. This is harder than it sounds. The song is longer and more complex than you think. Maybe sing it between every session? Maybe a contest between JAs from the 6 first year houses? If you don’t sing the song at least 20 times, you won’t know it by heart.

2) Encourage the first years to learn the song before they come to Williams. There are few people more excited about all things Williams in August than incoming first years. Send them the lyrics. Send them videos of campus groups singing “The Mountains.” Tell them that, as an entry, you will be singing the song many times on that first day.

3) Carry through on that promise! Have your entry sing the song multiple times that day. Maybe the two JAs sing the song to the first student who arrives. Then, the three of you sing if for student number 2. And so on. When the last student arrives, the entire entry serenades him (and his family).

4) There should be some target contest toward which this effort is nominally directed. I like the idea of a sing off between the 6 first year dorms with President Falk as judge. But the actual details don’t matter much. What matters is singing the song over-and-over again that first day.

Will this process be dorky and weird and awkward? Of course it will! But that is OK. Dorkiness in the pursuit of community is no vice. And you and your first years will all be dorky together.

For scores of years, Ephs of goodwill have worked to create a better community for the students of Williams. It is a hard problem. How do you bring together young men and women from so many different places, with such a diversity of backgrounds and interests? Creating common, shared experiences — however arbitrary they may be — is a good place to start. Mountain Day works, not because they is anything particularly interesting about Stone Hill, but because we all climb it together.

Until a class of JAs decide as a group to learn the words (by heart) themselves during their training and then to teach it to all the First Years before the first evening’s events, “The Mountains” will remain a relic of a Williams that time has passed by.

But that is up to you. Once a tradition like this is started, it will go on forever. And you will be responsible for that. A hundred years from now the campus will look as different from today as today looks from 1915, but, if you seize this opportunity, Williams students and alumni will still be singing “The Mountains.”

Congratulations on being selected as a JA. It is a singular honor and responsibility.


David Kane ’88


Changes in International Admissions?

Have there been changes in the quota with regard to international admissions? In January, I asked Jim Kolesar:

Nine (!) years ago, you kindly answered my questions about international admissions at Williams and, specifically, about the 6% goal/target that the College then employed.

Has that policy changed?

I ask because there was a big jump in international enrollment for the class of 2018, to 49 from usual numbers in the 30s. Of course, this could just be random fluctuation, but at almost 9% of the class, it is a big move up in percentage terms.

Links added. Jim kindly responded (and gave me permission to post):

The 49 figure is best understood as a result of the randomness of yield.

Fair enough. Knowing how many accepted students will choose Williams is a non-trivial problem, especially in situations, like international admissions, which feature significant change. It is harder to forecast yield from Shanghai than it is from Andover.

But then I read this news:

Nesbitt expects the final [2019] class to be composed of 38 percent of American students of color. He expects the class to be 12 percent black, 15 percent Asian American, 11 percent Latino and one percent Native American. Additionally, nine percent of the class is expected to be international students. First-generation students, meaning neither parent graduated from a four-year college, will amount to 16 percent of the class.

Class size is usually 550. Nine percent of 550 is almost 50. Yield randomness might explain 50 international students for the class of 2018. It can’t explain the 50 in both the class of 2018 and 2019. Don’t believe that something is going on? Consider the recent time series:

2013: 31
2014: 37
2015: 38
2016: 31
2017: 37
2018: 49
2019: 50 (estimate)

Number prior to the class of 2015 were (always?) in the 30s.

Has there been a policy change? If not, what explains the increase?


Black Male Graduation Rate Around 90%

Thanks to the wonderful Director of Institutional Research Courtney Wade, we have some better context for yesterday’s discussion of a black male graduation rate of below 70% at Williams.

Your hypothesis that these numbers are based on a small sample size is correct. Keep in mind that IPEDS race and ethnicity categories changed several years back. Under current IPEDS definitions, “Black or African American” excludes people who identify as both Black and Hispanic (they are counted as Hispanic), or Black and any other race (they count as “Two or more races”).

The numbers I’m discussing here are available publicly through the IPEDS data center, which is very data rich, but can be very challenging to navigate.

In the Fall 2006 incoming cohort, we only had 13 Black or African American men, using this definition. Nine of them graduated within 6 years, yielding the 69% graduation rate College Results Online is reporting. Your other hypothesis, that this is likely a local low, is correct. The following year, for the Fall 2007 cohort (these data are available from the IPEDS data center), we reported that 16 of 18, or 89% of the cohort of Black or African American men graduated within 6 years, which is in line with historical averages. We haven’t yet submitted data for the Fall 2008 cohort.

The “ds” values you see on the Education Trust website for many schools stands for “data suppressed.” Their footnotes say that they suppress the data when the cohort includes fewer than 10 students. So it’s not that they’re not reporting the data, rather that College Results Online is suppressing the data.

Thanks to Wade for the clarifications! It is good to know that the 70% figure was a one-time outlier.


Fall in Love

What is the real purpose of Winter Study, especially for male undergraduates?

The real purpose of Winter Study is to fall in love.

You will never, ever, be surrounded by as many smart, pretty, eligible women as you are right now. Life after college is, comparatively, a wasteland. Of course, as you pass into the great beyond, you will meet other women, but they are unlikely to be as wonderful, physically and mentally, as the Eph women you are now blessed to know. More importantly, the best of them will choose mates sooner rather than latter. Exiting Williams without a serious girlfriend is not necessarily a one-way ticket to permanent bachelorhood (as several of my co-bloggers can attest), but it is not the smart way to play the odds. The odds favor love now.

It isn’t that your classes and papers, your theses and sports teams, are unimportant. But finding a soulmate to grow old with, someone to bear your children and ease your suffering, someone to give your life meaning and your work purpose — this is a much more important task than raising that GPA enough to make cum laude.

So, stop reading this blog and ask out that cute girl from across the quad. I did the same 26 years ago and have counted my blessings ever since.


A Deafening Silence

Since war came to the West on September 11, 2001, only a handful of Ephs have read these words. Are you among them?


My Home Is in the Valley Amid the Hills

Each morning I watch the sunlight drifting down through the pines, scattering the clouds from the mountain sides, driving the mists from the glens.

Each night I see the purple lights as they creep up the slopes of the Dome and the shadows as they fall on wood and stream.

My home is among young men — young men who dream dreams and see visions; young men who will carry my banner out into the world and make the world better because they have lived with me in my valley amid the hills.

Among my sons who have left me, some have caught the poet’s fire, and their words have touched men’s hearts and have bought cheer to a weary world.

And some, in answer to the call of country, have gone out to battle for the common rights of men against the enemy. Some of them will not return to me, for they have given all they had, and now they rest at the foot of a simple cross or lie deep below the waves. But even as they passed, the music of the chimes was in their ears and before their eyes were visions of the quiet walks beneath the elms

Whether apart in solitude or pressing along the crowded highways, all these who have breathed my spirit and touched my hand have played their parts for the better, for


This 1926 eulogy, written by Professor of Rhetoric Carroll Lewis Maxey, comes from page 136 of Williams College in the World War, a beautifully arranged remembrance of those Ephs who served in freedom’s cause during the Great War. To Williams students today, World War I is as far away as the War of 1812 was to the generation that Professor Maxey sought to inspire. What will the great-grandchildren of today’s Ephs think of us? What will they remember and what will they forget?

1st Lt Nate Krissoff ’03, USMC died eight years ago today. For the first year after his death, we maintained a link at the upper right to our collection of related posts, as sad and inspiring as anything you will ever read at EphBlog. Yet that link came down. Time leaves behind the bravest of our Williams warriors and Nate’s sacrifice now passes from News to History, joining the roll call of honored heroes back to Colonel Ephraim Williams, who died in battle during the Bloody Morning Scout on September 8, 1755.

More than 250 years have marched by from Ephraim’s death to Nate’s. But the traditions of military brotherhood and sacrifice are the same as they ever were, the same as they will ever be as long as Ephs stand willing to do violence against our enemies so that my daughters and granddaughters and great-granddaughters might sleep safely in their beds at night. Consider this moving ceremony in Iraq for Nate in the week after his death.

Before there was Taps, there was the final symbolic roll-call, unanswered. “Krissoff,” intoned Sergeant Major Kenneth Pickering.

“Lt. Krissoff.”

“1st Lt. Nathan Krissoff.”

By culture and custom, the Marine Corps is given to ritual and none so important as the farewell to comrades who have fallen in battle. And so the memorial service here for 1st Lt. Nathan Krissoff, intelligence officer for the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, was both stylized and achingly intimate.

The author, Tony Perry of the Los Angeles Times, captures perfectly the ethos of the Marine Corps. During Officer Candidate School, our Platoon Sergeant, Gunnery Sergeant Anderson, sang a haunting song of blood and sacrifice. The chorus went:

Let me tell you how I feel.
Why Marines must fight and die?

I can only remember snatches now, twenty five years later. It was a short song, repeated slowly, with emotion. For years, I have looked for the words to that plaintive melody, the eternal warrior’s lament of pain and suffering. Gunny Anderson only sang it with our platoon a handful of times, only when he felt that we were worthy of inclusion in the brotherhood of arms.

The last of those times was near the end of our training. At OCS, the fun-filled day begins with PT (physical training) at around 0500. Our entire company (200 men) is standing at attention in the humid Virginia morning. Back in July, there had been plenty of light to start exercising that early, but, by August, the later sunrise left us all waiting in darkness.

Gunny Anderson had the “duty” that morning, so he was the only member of the staff present. The others, well aware of the timing of sunrise, would be along shortly. Gunny Andersen, recognizing that graduation day was near and that he had us all to himself, led the entire company in that song, including the other platoons who had never heard it before.

And he did it in a whisper. We all stood there — having survived almost 10 weeks of brutal training, shouting our lungs out day after day — and whispered the song with him, 200 voices joined with the spirits of the Marines who had gone before us. Nate is with those spirits now. When the next Eph Marine is marching on that same parade deck during OCS, Nate will be watching him as well.

I remember the name of my platoon sergeant from 25 years ago. My father still remembers the name of his platoon sergeant from 55 years before. Let none of us forget the sacrifices of Marines like Nate and Myles Crosby Fox ’40.

Krissoff, 25, a champion swimmer and kayaker in college, was killed Dec. 9 by a roadside bomb that also injured other Marines. Hundreds of grim-faced Marines who knew Krissoff came to the Chapel of Hope, the converted Iraqi Army auditorium, for the service.

“We have a bond here, we have a family here,” said Staff Sgt. Allan Clemons, his voice breaking as he delivered a eulogy. “Nathan was part of that family.”

There were embraces, but not in the sobbing style one might see at a civilian funeral. The Marines put arms around another and slapped each others’ backs — the sound was like repeated rifle reports in the cavernous hall. Navy Cmdr. Mark Smith, a Presbyterian chaplain, said later he has seen Marines do this at other memorials. “They need to touch each other,” he said. “I’ve heard them talk about ‘hugging it out.’ But they want to do it in a manly way.”

By all accounts, Krissoff was a charismatic leader who had impressed his superiors and earned the trust of his subordinates.

War always takes the best of my Marines.

Civilians may not recognize the meaning of the first person possessive in that last sentence, may attribute its usage to my megalomania. Indeed, to avoid that confusion, my initial instinct was to write “our Marines.”

Yet that is not the way that real Marines think about our Corps. Despite defending an independent, freedom-loving country, the Marines are fundamentally socialist in outlook. Everything belongs to every individual. This is not just my rifle or my uniform, but my tank and my obstacle course. And what is mine is yours. See the bootcamp scenes from Full Metal Jacket for an introduction to an outlook as far away from Williams College as Falluja is from Williamstown.

At OCS, the worst sin is not to be slow or stupid or weak, although all these sins are real enough. The worst sin is to be selfish, to be an “individual,” to care more about what happens to you then what happens to your squad, your platoon, your battalion or your Corps. What happens to you, as an individual, is irrelevant.

When the instructors at OCS are angry with you (and they get angry with everyone), they will scream: “What are you? A freakin’ individual? Is that what you are? A freakin’ individual?”

To get the full effect of this instruction, you need to imagine it being shouted from 5 inches away by the loudest voice you have ever heard.

When they shouted it at me, I was sorely tempted to respond:

Yes! Indeed! I am an individual! Four hundred of years of Enlightenment philosophy have demonstrated that this is true. My degree in philosophy from Williams College has taught me that I, as an individual, have value, that my needs and wants are not subservient to those of the larger society, that I have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

For once, I kept my mouth shut.

In quieter moments at OCS, I recalled Rousseau’s parable of the Spartan mother from Emile.

A Spartan mother had five sons in the army and awaited news of the battle. A Helot arrived; trembling she asked his news. “Your five sons have been killed.” “Vile slave, was that what I asked you?” “We have won the victory.” She ran to the temple to give thanks to the gods. That was a citizen.

For Rousseau, there are two ways for a man to be free. First, he can live alone, cut off from humankind but self-sufficient. He needs no one. Second, a man can be a citizen and so, like the Spartan mother, unconcerned with his own, and his family’s, well-being. All that matters is the polis.

A Marine is many things, but not a freakin’ individual.

The article continues:

He grew up in Truckee, Nev., graduated from Williams College, majoring in international relations, and hoped someday to work for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Lt. Col. William Seely, the battalion commander, talked of the silence left by death of Krissoff and other Marines. “When we depart these lands, when we deploy home, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the long silence of our friends,” he said. “Nathan…your silence will be deafening.”

If there was mourning, there was also anger that, as the chaplain said, Krissoff “was taken from us by evil men.”

This is true and false. Marines do not sympathize with the insurgents whom they battle but they do empathize with them. “Clifton Chapel” by Sir Henry Newbolt describes this duality in the oath that every warrior takes.

To set the cause above renown,
To love the game beyond the prize,
To honour, while you strike him down,
The foe that comes with fearless eyes;
To count the life of battle good,
And dear the land that gave you birth,
And dearer yet the brotherhood
That binds the brave of all the earth.

Most of those responsible for Krissoff’s death are now themselves dead, killed in battle by Krissoff’s fellow Marines.

Among the readings and quotations was the classic from World War I, “In Flanders Fields.” The poem challenges the living to continue the fight and not break faith with the dead: “Take up our quarrel with the foe/To you from failing hands we throw/The torch: be yours to hold it high….”

I did not know, when I first wrote of Nate’s death, that his fellow Marines would also be using “In Flanders Fields” as a way of memorializing his sacrifice. Who will take up the torch thrown by Nate? Are there any Williams students heading to OCS this coming summer? Are there no warriors left among the Ephs?

Williams College in the World War opens with a call for remembrance.


The text, by Solomon Bulkley Griffin, class of 1872, begins:

The wave of full-hearted devotion that rose in the World War has receded from its crest, as must have been in times more normal. But never will there be forgetfulness of it. Memory of the glory that wave bore aloft is the priceless possession of all the colleges.

The service of Williams men enshrined in this volume is of abiding import. By it the past was made glorious, as the future will be shadowed while it is illumined. Natural it was to go forward when God quickened the souls of men to serve the need of the world, and so they held themselves fortunate.

Indeed. Yet are Griffin’s assurances that we have nothing to fear from “forgetfulness” correct? I worry, and not just because of the contempt with which faculty members like Mark Taylor treat the US military. Consider the College’s official description of the most prestigious prize at Williams, the only award presented on graduation day.

WILLIAM BRADFORD TURNER CITIZENSHIP PRIZE. From a fund established in memory of William Bradford Turner, 1914, who was killed in action in France in September, 1918, a cash prize is awarded to the member of the graduating class who, in the judgment of the faculty and of the graduating class, has best fulfilled her or his obligations to the College, to fellow students, and to self. The committee of award, appointed by the President of the College, is composed jointly of faculty members and members of the graduating class.

Was Williams Bradford Turner ’14 just a soldier who was “killed in action in France?” Does this description do justice to Turner or is it an example of the “forgetfulness” that Griffin thought unlikely? Consider:


He led a small group of men to the attack, under terrific artillery and machinegun fire, after they had become separated from the rest of the company in the darkness. Single-handed he rushed an enemy machinegun which had suddenly opened fire on his group and killed the crew with his pistol. He then pressed forward to another machinegun post 25 yards away and had killed 1 gunner himself by the time the remainder of his detachment arrived and put the gun out of action. With the utmost bravery he continued to lead his men over 3 lines of hostile trenches, cleaning up each one as they advanced, regardless of the fact that he had been wounded 3 times, and killed several of the enemy in hand-to-hand encounters. After his pistol ammunition was exhausted, this gallant officer seized the rifle of a dead soldier, bayoneted several members of a machinegun crew, and shot the other. Upon reaching the fourth-line trench, which was his objective, 1st Lt. Turner captured it with the 9 men remaining in his group and resisted a hostile counterattack until he was finally surrounded and killed.

The most important prize awarded by Williams College is named in honor of a winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, and virtually no one at Williams knows it. If Williams today does not remember that 1st Lt William Bradford Turner ’14 won the Congressional Medal of Honor, then who will remember 1st Lt Nathanial Krissoff ’03 one hundred years from now?

Both died for us, for ALMA MATER, for Williams and the West.

Krissoff’s brothers bade him farewell in Anbar just one year ago.

When the roll-call and Taps were finished, the Marines came single-file to the altar to kneel in front of an inverted rifle with a helmet placed on the buttstock. Each was alone in his grief.

As are we all.


E. Williams Armigeri

sealEphraim Williams was a career soldier who died in battle. For most of its 200-year history, the College has had a comfortable relationship with the armed forces. Williams graduates and faculty served in times of peace and war. Even the College’s motto, E Liberalitate E. Williams Armigeri, makes reference to the benefit we have all derived “From the generosity of E. Williams, soldier.”

Over the last 50 years, the connection between Williams and military service has atrophied. Virtually no active member of the faculty has served in uniform. Only a handful of graduates enter the military each year. If one admits that the military plays an important role in society and that having an informed opinion concerning the use of force in international relations is a critical part of being an educated citizen, then the failure of Williams to have a substantive connection to military life and culture is troubling.

ar_1991And, unfortunately, unavoidable. Williams-caliber high school seniors are unlikely to consider serving prior to college. Williams-caliber Ph.D. recipients almost never have a military background. There is little that anyone can do about this state of affairs. But I think that we all have an obligation to be cognizant of it.

The estrangement of Williams from things military first struck me during a mini-controversy in the pages of the Alumni Review. The Summer 1991 issue featured a cover photo of a graduating senior, Jonathan Dailey, being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Former Professor Mark Taylor, one of the best, and most opinionated, teachers on campus was so incensed by this affront that he felt compelled to write to the editor. His letter, published in the subsequent issue, is worth quoting in full.

I was deeply disturbed by the photograph of three Marines in uniform standing besides the Declaration of Independence in Chapin Library that was on the cover of the most recent Review. Many of us at Williams have struggled throughout the year to raise the critical awareness of our students about the disturbing implications of the glorification of military power in the Gulf War. In my judgment, this photograph sends precisely the wrong message to our students and alumni. taylor_emeritusIt is little more than another example of the reactionary flag-waving mentality that has run wild in the wake of our supposed “victory” in the Gulf. Such an attitude runs directly counter to the ideals of a liberal arts education. I would have hoped that the editor of the Review would have been more thoughtful and more sensitive to the power of images to communicate cultural values.

Taylor is a great proponent and practitioner of deconstruction, of looking for the meaning behind the simple words of a text. Let us deconstruct his letter.

First, it is unclear what, precisely, has made Taylor “deeply distressed.” Is it the very existence of the Marine Corps? Or does Taylor except the need for some sort of military establishment and simply object to the tradition of clothing members of that establishment “in uniform”? Or is it the juxtaposition of these Marines and the Declaration of Independence, which, after all, contains the first claim by these United States to have “full power to levy war”? Or was Taylor distressed that this scene was chosen as the cover shot for the Review? I suspect that it was the last of these which moved Taylor to write. The military, while perhaps necessary, is a distasteful part of modern life. According to Taylor’s “cultural values,” it is worthy of neither celebration nor respect.

Second, note the reference to “students and alumni” as opposed to the more common trio of “students, faculty and alumni.” Obviously, Taylor is not concerned that faculty members will receive the “wrong message.” Presumably, they are smart enough not to be swayed. He worries, however, that the same may not be said for the rest of us.

Third, consider his concern over the “reactionary flag-waving mentality” which “runs directly counter to the ideals of a liberal arts education.” Did 2nd Lt Dailey USMCR and Williams ’91 missed out on some important lectures? Is Taylor suggesting that individuals like he and Dailey, who aspire to the liberal arts ideal, should not wave flags or that they should not do so in a reactionary manner. Perhaps lessons in progressive flag-waving are called for.

The typical comment which an ex-Marine (like me) should make at this point involves the irony of Taylor’s denigrating the very institution which secures his freedom to denigrate. Or perhaps I should note that Marines like Dailey stand ready to sacrifice themselves for causes, like protecting Bosnian Muslims, which Taylor might find more compelling than combating the aggression of Iraq. But, in this case, the irony is much more delicious.

parishTaylor is the Preston S. Parish ’41 Third Century Professor of Religion. In other words, an alumnus of the College, as his contribution to the Third Century Campaign, endowed a chair which Taylor now holds. And who is Preston S. Parish? Besides being a generous alumnus, he is a former officer in the United States Marine Corps and veteran of World War II. He won a bronze star for leading infantry units from the First Marine Division in combat on Guadalcanal and Peleliu.

For Marines fighting the Japanese in World War II, combat looked like this:

Not much “reactionary flag-waving” going on there . . .

In the beginning of his book Tears, Taylor reminds us of Kierkegaard’s aphorism that it is not the job of an author to make a book easy; on the contrary, it is the job of an author to make a book hard. Reading a good book, like attending a college which aspires to the ideals of the liberal arts, should be difficult. It should challenge us. Taylor was one of the best professors at Williams precisely because of his ability and inclination to challenge his students — question their preconceptions and to encourage them to question his. When my sister-in-law entered Williams in 1994, I told her that the one course that she shouldn’t miss is Religion 101 — or, better yet, 301 — with Mark Taylor. He made things hard.

It is supremely fitting, then, that Williams, via the medium of the Review has challenged — or at least “deeply distressed” — Mark Taylor. It has made him think, however fleetingly, about the worth and purpose of military preparedness in an unfriendly world. A great college, like a great book, should challenge, not just its “students and alumni” but its faculty as well. Ephraim Williams’ generosity, like that of Preston Parish ’41 and Jonathan Dailey ’91, is of money and blood and spirit. They make things hard for all of us.

Originally version published in the Spring 1995 Williams Alumni Review, by David Kane ’88. Modified since then by EphBlog.


Happy Birthday Eph Marines

Today marks the 239th birthday of the United States Marine Corps, celebrated around the world at the Marine Corps Birthday Ball. On many dimensions, the Marines are the Williams College of military organizations: elite, steeped in history, less well known among the hoi polloi, athletic, cultish and intellectual. Or perhaps Williams College is the Marine Corps of American high education? Either way, there is a special bond among we few, we happy brothers of Williams and the USMC. Traditionally, Marines offer each other birthday greetings this day, and so, to my fellow Ephs Marines: Happy Birthday!

The earliest Eph Marine I have been able to find is Joseph Fairchild Baker, class of 1864, who attended Williams in 1860 — 1861 but never graduated. He was the son of a United States Senator and served as a lieutenant and captain. Does anyone know his story? If we don’t remember his service 150 years ago, then who will remember ours in the decades to come?

Joel Iams ’01 sent us this letter nine years ago.


The roads of Fallujah were eventually cleared, but not until we lost Nate Krissoff ’03. Given the rise of ISIS, they may need clearing again. If the President calls, I am sure my Marines will be willing, with Ephs at the forefront.

Below is a list of Eph Marines. Who am I missing?

Myles Crosby Fox ’40
Preston Parish ’41
Joe Rice ’54
David Kane ’58
TB Jones ’58
Jerry Rizzo ’87
David Kane ’88
Tony Fuller ’89
Jonathan Dailey ’91
Bunge Cooke ’98
Lee Kindlon ’98,
Zack Pace ’98
Ben Kamilewicz ’99
Joel Iams ’01
Rob MacDougall ’01
Jeff Castiglione ’07
Brad Shirley ’07
Hill Hamrick ’13


Yard by Yard

More than fifty years ago, Ephs took the field against Amherst.

Tomorrow, they do the same. And ten years from now. And one hundred. Do our Eph football players recognize their history? Do you?

TB Jones ’58 (my father’s roommate) played varsity squash at Williams. I remember seeing his picture in one of the many team photos that used to line the walls of the old gym. Walking by those old photographs each day for practice provided me with a great sense of the history that I was becoming a part of. Years later, those emotions were perfectly captured by Robin Williams in “The Dead Poet’s Society” when he takes his class to view the pictures of past students at their fictional New England prep school.

From the script:

Keating turns towards the trophy cases, filled with trophies, footballs, and team pictures.

KEATING: “Now I would like you to step forward over here and peruse some of the faces from the past. You’ve walked past them many times. I don’t think you’ve really looked at them.”

The students slowly gather round the cases and Keating moves behind them.

KEATING: “They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you. Their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because you see gentlmen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in.”

The boys lean in and Keating hovers over Cameron’s shoulder.

KEATING (whispering in a gruff voice): “Carpe.”

Cameron looks over his shoulder with an aggravated expression on his face.

KEATING: “Hear it?” (whispering again) “Carpe. Carpe Diem. Seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”

The boys stare at the faces in the cabinet in silence.

Decades from now there will be another young man at Williams who will walk down those halls on his way to practice. Perhaps he will play squash like TB Jones and I did (although I hope that he plays more like TB than like me). Whatever his future might hold, I hope that he sees our pictures and wonders about us, about where we went from Williams and how prepared we were for the journey. I hope that he realizes how fortunate he is.

Does football coach Aaron Kelton remind his players of the history of those who have gone before? Does he know their names and their stories?

I hope so.

Williams may win or lose tomorrow. Given the fact that the team has struggled the last few years, that the seniors have lost this game every year that they have been at Williams and that Amherst comes into the game undefeated, a victory tomorrow would be one of the sweetest in decades, all the more so because no (?) neutral observer gives Williams any chance at all.

Did Frank Uible ’57 win or lose the games he played against Amherst more than 50 year ago? In the longer sweep of history, one game, one loss, is as dust in the corridors of memory. What matters is the day itself, and the place we each occupy within the traditions of the Williams community.

No one remembers the score of the game these men played 100 years ago. But we look in their faces and see ourselves.

I am Frank Uible ’57. Who are you?

[Thanks to EphBlog regular “nuts” and Williams Sports Information for the photos. Note that the original post in this series did not include a YouTube clip because YouTube did not exist. Old Time is still a-flying.]


EphBlog Voted for Coakley ’75



Winter Study Course Recommendations

Today is the last day for students to select a course for Winter Study. Here they are. I like this one. Which course would you recommend?


Crazy U – Part II

Crazy U – One Dad’s Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College, cont’d.

In our last post, we considered Andy Ferguson’s interaction with the college admissions process.  In this section, we take up why-in-the-hell college costs so much, or what my guy calls the “Unanswered Question.”  Actually, it has been answered – and by an Eph!

The Fergster considers three possible causes for why college costs have been soaring well above inflation for decades:

1) The Government

Ferguson refers to, but doesn’t name, two “brave economists from the University of Oregon,” who “found that ‘each increase in Pell aid is matched nearly one for one by tuition increases.’” I was curious about what makes an economist “brave” in Ferguson’s mind, so I did some internetting. The brave U of O Ducks would appear to be Larry D.Singell, Jr. and Joe A. Stone, who co-wrote a paper entitled For Whom the Pell Tolls: The Response of University Tuition to Federal Grants-in-Aid.” According to his CV, Prof. Singell puts similarly lame puns in the titles of ALL of his papers, which may be why Ferguson considers him brave. (Memo to Dick and Brandi: If either of you ever make it down to Eugene, look this guy up, he needs your guys’s help.)

But get this – the theory that schools simply sop up federal student aid in the form of higher tuition (i.e., the ANSWER to the so-called Unanswered Question) is known as the “Bennett Hypothesis.” That would be William Bennett ’65, who gave the Baccalaureate address at my graduation. So it was an Eph who, in 1987, discovered the cause of skyrocketing tuition and told the world about it in the New York Times, which is prolly why the Fergunator never heard of it.

2) A Vast Ivory Tower Conspiracy

For me, this was the best part of the book, by far.  We meet Prof. Richard Vedder, distinguished professor of economics at Ohio University, to whom Ferguson put the “Unanswered Question,” whereupon Vedder gave a positively show-stopping performance.

“YOU WANT MY SHORT ANSWER?’”he said. “This is my simple, one-sentence answer to why colleges keep raising their tuition: because they can!” He let out a short laugh, a high and wild sound. “I mean, who’s going to stop them? Parents? The government? There’s nothing stopping them – literally nothing.”

Vedder is Charlton Heston telling us that SOYLENT GREEN IS MADE FROM PEOPLE
Pure potty-book GOLD.

And because he’s my pal, Fergie knows I want more Vedder. Need more Vedder. And he delivers:

“They call it ‘shared governance.’ What that means is everyone thinks they run the place. . . .and there is the poor president. His job actually is to run it. To do this he has to buy off all these various interest groups and make them reasonably happy. You buy off the alums by having a good football team. A good football team costs money. You buy off the faculty by giving them good salaries. You let them teach whatever they want, keep their course loads low. You buy off the students by not making them work too hard. . . .You buy off the legislators and trustees in various ways: tickets to big football games, admit their kids if they apply, get a good ranking from U.S. News. All this costs huge amounts of money. No wonder the universities are expensive!”

So there you have it – Williams costs so much because David and hwc are shaking down Adam Falk for a good football team. I can’t believe I didn’t see that before.

3) Himself (and people like him)

Our family was an instant case. My wife and I couldn’t afford to send our son to Georgetown, by any rational measure. But that wasn’t going to stop me if he got in. I was going to borrow against savings or the value of my house, or, if we got lucky, I’d hold out my hat to catch a grant or a subsidized loan tossed down by the gods of financial aid. There are thousands of parents like us. . .

As for me (I caught myself unconsciously nodding in agreement as I read these lines) I think Andy nails it.  Sending your kid to college has always been a part of the American Dream – and while the rising sticker price may or may not have turned it into a dumb idea financially, there is simply no way that those of us who have already lived it are going to tell our kids that they can’t.


Crazy U – Part I

Crazy U – One Dad’s Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College - Simon & Schuster. (228 pages.  Two Williams references – one overt, one hidden)

Allow me to introduce my pal, Andy Ferguson. He’s a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, and a former speech writer for George H. W. Bush. We haven’t actually met, but I know him inside and out because he reveals so much of himself in his book, and I like him a lot. He looks a little (intentionally, is my guess) like a kinder, gentler Mark Twain. He’s a man of letters, but he’s no fancy pants – just a feller telling some (scathingly funny) stories over a beer or five. And I can tell he gets me – he certainly knows where I do my reading. The fundamental unit of organization of this nice little book is the amusing anecdote, and he considerately puts a blank line between each one so that the reader can easily see how far it is till the next good stopping point. And unlike the big “insiders” catalogues, which annoy Andy because they deliver information perfectly suited for bathroom reading, but in hopelessly unwieldy, phone book-like bindings, this book is comfortable to hold in one hand, and stays open reliably on your lap. Bathroom tested, bathroom approved.

To get a good picture of my pal Andy, imagine Tevye – as a Little League Dad (Awright slugger, keep your head still. Eye on the ball. Hands back Compact swing. Wait for your pitch. . . ) trying to coach his son into manhood. Like when the son is heading out the door for an admissions interview:

“Be yourself. Relax. Be sure to have some questions for her. Don’t ask about basketball. Ask about academics. Show passion. . .”

And in a chapter called “Obsolescence Descending,” Ferguson, who writes essays for a living, recounts how he was reduced to consulting Google for help in editing his son’s admissions essay.

Read more


Eph swifties

Back in the day, we used to be able to rack up quite a few miles on family car trips trying to come up with Tom Swifties.

Here are a couple with Eph references, with an open invitation to do better:

1) As a solution to academic-athletic tension: “Sirloin Tips,” Tom proposed modestly.

2) “Wanna try my f@#*-saw?” asked the sexhibitionist?   “Oh, come off it!” reciprocated Morty.


An Eph food haiku

This is dedicated to ronit, a true comfort-food guru who brought the must-read TinyWords to the sidebar, and to rory and those charming Ephs who run IdiotsBooks, who should know what I’m talking about:

Real philly cheesesteaks
Require Amoroso rolls
Soft, never soggy


“Always tough to know if”: Redux and a side bar to the post above this …

Ed Note. It has been some time since 7 February, 2004. Yet this post, “Always tough to know if”, from that date shows up with a current comment yesterday and another comment follows adding further detail to this inspiring story. Lucy Terry Prince: what an interesting sidebar extension to the discussion above, perhaps suggesting that the ability to perform is not the issue.

Always tough to know if stuff on the web is reliable or not, but this article caught my eye.

I would like to introduce you to the first Black in America to compose a poem. No, not Phyllis Wheatley, but rather her name is Lucy Terry Prince. She could not read or write, but in 1746, she composed the poem, “Bars Fight.” This poem was verbally passed down until it was published in 1855. Although Lucy Terry Prince was not a literary genius her contribution to Black history is unquestioned.

Lucy Terry Prince was an eloquent speaker. She argued to get her son Festus, into Williams College. This, “illiterate” former slave debated in front of the hyper-educated board of trustees to the college. Although unsuccessful, she later was successful in arguing a property dispute before the U.S. Circuit Court in 1796.

I had never heard this story before. If true, it would make for a great senior thesis. It would be especially interesting to know where the descendants of Festus Prince are today.


This post is NOT gay

All campus email sent out this afternoon with subject: This e-mail is NOT gay


On behalf of College Council, we are writing to you about an issue that is relevant to the entire Williams community. Multiple students have recently approached Council members surrounding the issue of homophobic language on campus. Active forms of homophobia are relatively easy to recognize, but we are talking about something much more subtle, while no less harmful.

Phrases such as “that’s so gay,” ”fag,” “no homo,” or “dyke” even when they are not directed at a gay* person or used with malicious intent, equate homosexuality with something that is negative. The implication is there, whether it is intended or not. When these terms are used, it creates a climate of homophobia on this campus.
Read more


CGCL VII: James Phinney Baxter ’14

‘Aliu’ is Andrew Liu ’11

President Baxter graduated as valedictorian of the Class of 1914, went on to pursue a PhD in history at Harvard, and then after teaching for several years returned to serve as President of the College from 1937 to 1961. He begins his speech by talking about World War I, and how “none [in the Class of 1914] realized that [they] were on the eve of a world war, whose consequences would shape our lives.”
He continues: “we who were leaving this Berkshire valley perceived that we were about to enter a world of more rapid change. We were still ignorant, however, of the lengths to which that acceleration would go.”

The Purple Bubble has been around for at least 100 years, it seems. So, “what can we do in our colleges and universities now to help the next generation do better?”
Read more


Comparison of Williams & Amherst Endowments

With the 2010 financial statements just off the presses I thought it might be interesting to try to construct a side-by-side comparison of the Williams and Amherst endowments.

Here’s my attempt: Comparison of Amherst & Williams Endowments: 6/30/2010

I’ve tried to group the various assets in each endowment to allow for some rough comparisons. At the bottom of the page I’ve computed some ratios that I find interesting.


1) Amherst is more aggressively invested and has less flexibility over its aset allocation.

The key thing here is how much each school has in “Level III” assets, and how much additional cash each can be required to invest in these assets. The values that colleges report for their Level III assets, literally, are educated guesses, and nothing more, and the state of financial reporting on them, while improving, is still poor.

2) Despite its heavier investment in illiquid, Level III assets, Amherst says it expects a long-term return of about 6.8%. Williams puts its expected long-term return at 8%.

3) Last year in the management discussion, Amherst showed that its target and actual asset allocations were kind of far apart. This year there is no discussion of its target and actual asset allocations. Williams did disclose its target allocations in the notes to its financial statements, and its actual allocation seems to be reasonably in line with the target.

4) Amherst’s unfunded cash calls are 53% of its combined Level I & II assets, compared to 30% for Williams. This would only be a concern when cash calls exceed distributions from Level III assets. When that happens (as it did last year for Amherst) one has to go to the Level I & II assets.

I don’t consider myself an expert at analyzing a college’s financial performance. This is simply a lay person’s attempt to read and understand via a seat-of-the-pants camparative method. I believe that the important decisions, regarding things like admissions & financial aid policy, staffing levels, salary freezes, construction plans, etc., are influenced more by the trustees’ expectations about the near-term prospects for the endowment than by any other single factor.

It seems at this point that Williams Trustees seem to feel that the worst is behind us endowment-wise, and that Amherst feels that it has a lot of heavy lifting to do. I’m very interested to know whether other Ephs and Jeffs have a different take.


News on the Sawyer Library Project

To the Williams Community,

That loud cracking sound you may have heard over the weekend marked a longed-for thaw of the freeze on major campus construction.

Encouraged by the great educational opportunities afforded by the proposed new Sawyer Library, by the readiness of the construction plans, and by generous pledges in recent months that bring total philanthropic support for the new library to more than half of its $80 million cost, the Board of Trustees has approved my recommendation that work on the new Sawyer begin at the start of the construction season this spring.

Part of the larger Stetson-Sawyer Project, which included Hollander and Schapiro Halls, the library was put on hold when the global financial crisis hit two years ago. We will now be able to provide for the arts, humanities, and social sciences the kinds of wonderfully effective teaching and learning spaces that Schow Library affords the sciences and math. Drawings and floor plans for the project can be viewed at .

The schedule anticipates opening the new Sawyer Library, to be attached to a renovated Stetson Hall, in 2014. This will be followed by the razing of the current library building and the construction in its place of a new green space that will connect Stetson/Sawyer with the Paresky Center and the Frosh Quad.

Our thanks go to the many people, led for years by Professor of Anthropology Michael Brown and College Librarian Dave Pilachowski, whose meticulous work produced such an exciting project, and to the faculty, staff, and students who have patiently endured a postponement that had been of indefinite length until this moment. And, of course, the deep gratitude of us all goes to our donors, a number of whom wish to remain anonymous at this time, for their great generosity and for their commitment to this project and this college.

The other project postponed by the recession has been the renovation of Weston Field, which is now being thoroughly reexamined to ensure that it meets the College’s needs. We’ll report more on the details of that process as they become clear.

I can’t tell you how deeply delighted I am to have on track a project as important to Williams as construction of the new Sawyer Library.

Best wishes,
Adam Falk


The Changing World and America’s reaction

Living in the Purple Bubble makes it very easy to forget about what is going in the real world. I used to diligently read newspapers and magazines but at Williams, I’m pleased if I know what day it is.  The college does its part by having newspapers available to all of the students but with our workload and other obligations, many students just stop following the news and lose touch with what is going on in the world.

While I have an aggregation of news as my homepage which provides me with updates throughout the day of political and economic occurrences, having a Yahoo email account which displays Yahoo News when I log in allows me to keep tabs on how most of America views the world. The Yahoo homepage receives almost 38 billion page views a year in the US so what I read is what millions of Americans read. For that reason, I view Yahoo News as one of the most influential news sources in shaping America’s view of the world, especially as Yahoo’s news stories almost always interpret the news for the reader. Yahoo News does not do this with subtlety as earlier this week, “10 Signs The U.S. Is Losing Its Influence In The Western Hemisphere” came up on my screen when I logged into Yahoo Mail.

That article provided a list of comparisons between the US and other countries in the Western Hemisphere showing that America is no longer dominating every industry as Chile has increased copper production while Brazil is mining more iron than the US. The basic thrust of the article, countries only succeed at the expense of other countries, reminded me of the economic philosophy of Lester Thurow ’60 who wrote extensively about the fall of the US due to the rise of the USSR and when he was proven wrong, he switched to writing about how America will slip as Japan and Europe rise in stature.

It is very easy to write about how America is falling as one can find statistics to show that America is no longer dominated the world as it once did, but that does not mean America is in trouble. Reading about how the rest of the world is catching up to the US in terms of production should excite Americans as we can’t fall into the trap that Thurow is offering us. Countries benefit from trade and from the growth of other countries’ economies.  Being first in the production of beef, as America has since the turn of the 20th century does not translate to a better life for Americans, but having more beef to consume as Brazil has increased it production does. Economic development is not a zero sum game, we can all benefit from each other. Forgetting that is very dangerous as viewing other countries purely as competitors will lead to an end of cooperation and that is not a world that I would want to live in.

We should not join the hand wringers and we should stand against cries of America’s downfall. The world is rising to our level, we are not falling and that is a development we should celebrate. There will be more opportunities for economic growth in our future than even before as so many people have access to the necessary education and technology. That change will be accompanied by an increase of competition as we are no longer competing with other Americans and citizens of just a few other countries but the entire world.


Alignment of Senior Administration

From Adam Falk:

To the Williams Community,

I am writing to expand campus-wide a discussion I’ve begun about a topic of importance to the College: the alignment of senior administrative responsibilities.

A hallmark of Williams is the strength of its system of faculty governance. Without a doubt, this is one of its attributes that drew me here; it’s a key reason for the excellence that the College has attained. In particular, Williams has been very well served by the practice of rotating faculty into the positions of Dean of the Faculty, Provost, and Dean of the College, which embeds faculty at the center of our prioritizing and planning.

Many dedicated faculty, past and present, have done great work in these roles. They’ve done so, I’ve come to realize, despite significant drawbacks to how their positions are configured. It’s critical that the faculty in these positions be focused on advancing our top academic priorities, but unfortunately they increasingly find themselves needing to burrow into detailed administrative and management duties, which in our ever more complicated world require technical knowledge and skills. These responsibilities limit, often extensively, the time needed for strategic thinking and leadership. Meanwhile, the steep learning curves involved in these positions can make them less attractive to faculty, and the technical skills required of the Provost seem to limit its candidates to faculty in certain academic disciplines.

With the right realignment of responsibilities, I believe, we could re-focus these positions to recapture their original purpose — to think, plan, and see carried out our core academic mission.

Read more


CC State of the Union: Dining and Summer (9/14/2010)

Williams Students,

To those who are returning from summers here, there, and everywhere welcome
back to our crazy school. To the new saucy first years, welcome home.

In an effort to increase transparency, a tradition was started last Spring to write
to you monthly with what your council has done, is doing, and is planning to do.

This Summer council worked on three main projects:

1. We formed a committee of students, faculty, staff, and administrators charged
with implementing the necessary changes to Williams Dining in response to the
closure of Greylock and Dodd last Spring. They met every week this summer and
did some incredible work.

2. As part of our Williams History Initiative, Council worked with the College
Archives to write, design, purchase, and install 18 bronze beautiful plaques in
18 entrances to dormitories across campus. Next time you walk into your dorm,
look around for the plaque, and take a second to actually read the thing. Come

3. Council worked with Facilities, Dining Services, and the Student Body at-large
to completely redo the bottom floor of Paresky (the Lounge and 82′ Grille). The
new arcade games, the new tables, chairs, couches, and TV area in the Lounge
and the improvements to the Grille including the banners on the walls, the much
wider beer selection, new food items, and new tabletops and chairs are all
products of collaborative Council work.

4. A bunch of small things too like the new Picnic tables outside Paresky…and,
finally, after three years of trying, those two glass doors that have ALWAYS been
locked going from Whitmans’ to the outside world are finally unlocked starting
today! Victory!

Now, many of you have noticed that the Dining experience has changed at
Williams from last year. Changes have been made across the board. Everyone is
going through a period of adjustment right now. This includes us as students
in addition to the dining services staff. Yes, lines are long right now, but it is
important to give this new system a chance and some time to exist outside the
initial period of adjustment.
Read more


Team Pinsky completes Pan-Mass Challenge

The Pan-Mass Challenge was the weekend of August 7-8, and 10 Team Pinsky riders participated in the event in memory of Aaron Pinsky ’06. On day 1, all 10 riders completed the 111 miles from Sturbridge to Bourne, where a pack of Team Pinsky supporters waited with a banner cheering the team on.

On day 2, 6 riders proudly wore Team Pinsky jerseys – masterfully created by Galen Glaze ’06 – and rode 81 miles across Cape Cod, from Bourne to Provincetown. It was a special weekend, with perfect weather and an incredible atmosphere.

Thank you to everyone who donated to the Pan-Mass Challenge through Team Pinsky. To date, Team Pinsky has raised $69,000 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, almost double our minimum fundraising requirements. We remain in awe that we will be able to donate so much to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Aaron Pinsky’s memory. Thank you to everyone for your support and contributions.

Thank you,

Team Pinsky

Ellie Schmidt ’06, Adam Ain ’06, Geoff O’Donoghue ’06, Alex Smith ’06, Mary Singer ’06, Gillian McBride ’06, Adrienne Boardman, Andrew Boardman, Eoin Byrne, Will Schmidt, and Mary Ridge

[Posted by Ronit Bhattacharyya ’07]


Guess who’s #1?


Team Pinsky Update

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the Pan-Mass Challenge through Team Pinsky. We’ve been incredibly touched by everyone’s support over the past couple months, and we’ve already raised $50,000 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the memory of Aaron Pinsky ’06.

As we approach the ride this weekend, we’re also nearing our goal of $55,000. If you have not yet donated and would like to, you can donate to Team Pinsky at Click on the “Donate to my Ride” link to contribute.

Thank you,

Team Pinsky


Team Pinsky
Ellie Schmidt ’06, Adam Ain ’06, Geoff O’Donoghue ’06, Alex Smith ’06, Mary Singer ’06, Gillian McBride ’06, Adrienne Boardman, Andrew Boardman, Eoin Byrne, and Will Schmidt


The Passing of Clara Park

From Adam Falk this afternoon:

To the Williams Community,

I am sorry to inform you that Clara Claiborne Park, senior lecturer in English emerita, died on July 3. From the 1970s through the 1990s, Clara taught Homer, Virgil, Dante, Milton, Shakespeare, and expository writing in ways that inspired generations of Williams students. “From the encampments of major writers, she would lead us on forays through the woods of theology, philosophy, history, and the arts,” wrote Sean Keilen ’92. “It is no surprise to me that her classes were filled not only with English majors but also with students from every other humane discipline.”

Clara’s pioneering work on women characters and female authors was hailed by her academic peers, and she reached a broader audience in articles for national periodicals from the Ladies Home Journal to The Nation. Clara received honorary doctoral degrees from Williams and from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and was awarded the prize for feature writing at the 1999 National Magazine Awards. As a speaker and writer on autism, Clara earned an international reputation. Her 2001 book Exiting Nirvana: A Daughter’s Life with Autism describes the interior of her daughter Jessy’s world, based on Jessy’s own notes and drawings.

We send deepest condolences to her family, including Clara’s husband David, the Webster Atwell Class of 1921 Professor of Physics Emeritus; her daughter Jessy, a longtime employee in the Williams mailroom; her son Paul, lecturer in English; and her daughter-in-law Deborah Brothers, who chairs the Theatre Department.

A graveside service will be held at the Williams College Cemetery on the morning of Thursday, July 8, at 10:00 a.m. A memorial service for the entire community will be held later this year.


Adam Falk


ACE Homecoming Concert Poll

In an effort to bring an artist to campus that reflects the desires of the student body, we are contacting you to get a feel for what (and who) you want to see this Homecoming! There are twenty artists on the poll. While we cannot guarantee that any one of them will perform, the data we collect will be used to either attempt to secure one of these artists or one in the vein of music the students of Williams want to hear.

IMPORTANT: Voting in the “1” column signifies that you ARE interested in the artist coming to Williams. Likewise, voting in the “2” column signifies that you ARE NOT interested in the artist coming to Williams.

With that being said, CLICK HERE TO VOTE! (choices after the break)

Read more


Science, Technology, and Human Values

Great article on the front page of the Williams College website about this class, which is taught by Prof. Beaver of the History of Science department.

Link to article


You have noted that students come in to your class with preconceived notions about science and technology. What do you mean by that?

There is a great deal of mythology around science and technology. The biggest one is that science and technology are always the wellspring of progress. Most students come in to the class believing that innovation invariably moves society forward, that virtually all new discoveries and technologies have practical applications, and that these applications will improve our lives in some measurable way.


Riding for Aaron Pinsky ’06

This August, 7 Williams alums will be riding across Massachusetts in the Pan-Mass Challenge in honor of fellow alum Aaron Pinsky ’06, who passed away from brain cancer on February 13, 2010. Aaron was diagnosed with the condition in January, 2008, and in the following 2 years he inspired his friends, family, and doctors as he faced his condition with incredible poise, courage, and self-awareness.

Last fall, when his prognosis became clear, a collection of his college and high school friends decided to form “Team Pinsky” and complete this 2 day, 192 mile bike ride across Massachusetts in his honor. We chose the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) because 100% of all rider-raised dollars goes to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where Pinsky received his treatment. Since its 1980 inception, the PMC has contributed $270 million to Dana-Farber through the Jimmy Fund. This year, Team Pinsky will be raising at least $36,000 of the PMC’s $31 million target in his name.

Please help us achieve our goal. To donate, go to and click on the “Donate to my Ride” link.

Please also pass this on to friends and family members who Pinsky touched during his lifetime or who may be touched by this story and would want to support this cause.

Thank you,

Team Pinsky


Team Pinsky
Ellie Schmidt ’06, Adam Ain ’06, Geoff O’Donoghue ’06, Alex Smith ’06, Mary Singer ’06, Gillian McBride ’06, Adrienne Boardman, Andrew Boardman, Eoin Byrne, and Will Schmidt

Posted by Ronit Bhattacharyya ’07





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