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Another Christmas Song

Need help getting into the holiday spirit? Be sure check out Stephen Colbert’s Another Christmas Song … co-written by very clever Eph Adam Schlesinger ’89. The Christmas album won a Grammy for best comedy album:

<td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;' colspan='2'A Colbert Christmas: Another Christmas Song
The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
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Eph Politics Round-Up

Kudos to Senator Mark Udall ’72 for batting lead-off in the U.S. Senate’s It Gets Better Video. Nice to see Ephs and Jeffs coming together on this (it also features Amherst alum Chris Coons). Of course, one group is conspicuous in its absence from this video …

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and “conservative legal star” (or at least former star) Judge Jeffrey Sutton ’83 was the decisive vote in upholding the constitutionality of the individual insurance mandate in Obama’s health care law. In so doing, Sutton was the first Republican appointee to rule in the administration’s favor.

Congratulations to Congressman Chris Murphy ’96 for receiving UConn’s (where he attended law school) Graduate of the Last Decade award. Murphy, who has been in the news thanks to his proposed Supreme Court Transparency and Disclosure Act, is off to a tremendous start in his campaign for Senate, leading the fundraising race on the Democratic side.

By the way, if Williams had a “graduate of the last decade” type award, who would the candidates be?

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Dead Anyway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Eph Sports Media Mafia

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

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

[Featuring Eph “Julianna McKannis” ’81]:

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

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Classic Colbert: Mark Udall

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

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Better Know a District – Colorado’s 2nd – Mark Udall
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive
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Commencement Week Round-Up

In honor of commencement, several stories of note from recent weeks related to this week’s ceremonies and/or the graduating seniors:

  • Be sure to read this Williams feature highlighting some of the future plans for this year’s graduating class.   Great to see so many seniors interested in serving their country and/or the world.
  • Another must read: this interview with senior Mopati Morake’11, who has clearly thought deeply about higher education.
  • Talented writer Andrew Triska ’11 will be finishing his novel after graduation.
  • Of course, for baby boomers, the most famous “graduate” of Williams is Benjamin Braddock (the novel was written by Eph Charles Webb shortly after his own graduation, and although Williams is not mentioned in the movie, he does wear a purple-and-gold tie).  Apparently a new adaptation hones closer to the novel.
  • One of my favorite Williams traditions is the Olmstead Award for Secondary School Teachers.  Read about this year’s recipients here.
  • Congratulations seniors, and enjoy what should be a wonderful weekend highlighted by tremendous Commencement speaker Cory Booker.
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Eph Tennis: NCAA Semifinals Today

The Williams men’s and women’s tennis teams both play in the NCAA tennis championship semifinals today. The women play at 2:00 eastern time, followed by the men at 5:00.  Follow both matches live here.

The second-ranked and three-time defending national champion women, who defeated homestanding Claremont yesterday, look for revenge against UChicago, who defeated the Ephs earlier this season.  Meanwhile, UChicago looks for payback of its own, as Williams bested them in last year’s semifinals.  Should be a great match. If Williams wins, they may face Amherst in tomorrow’s championship, although the Jeffs have to first get by a very talented Emory squad.

Unlike the women, who were widely expected to earn a place in the semis, the thirteenth-ranked men had to upset third-ranked Claremont in dramatic fashion, on Claremont’s home court, late last night.   Considering the circumstances, Bryan Chow ’13 had arguably the best individual effort by an Eph athlete all year. First, he and his partner won at first doubles.  Then, Chow fought off five seven points, recovering from a set down to defeat Claremont’s senior captain in a dramatic third set tiebreaker (11-9 in the tie break).  The pressure must have been immense, as all other matches were completed by that point, and Chow knew that a mistake on any of those match points would have ended the Ephs’ season.  Chow was very opportunistic, converting on his lone match point chance.  Eph coach Dan Greenberg ’08 called it the most “unbelievable college match he has seen.”  And Chow’s victory may end up earning the Ephs just enough points to edge out Middlebury in what should be a very competitive Director’s Cup race.

Williams faces an even tougher test against second-ranked Amherst today.  The Jeffs have already beaten Williams twice this year, and should have more left in the tank after a relatively easy quarterfinal victory yesterday.  But don’t count the Ephs out, as they were not expected to have a chance against Claremont, either.  Go Ephs!

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“Strike Artist” Stephenson Does it Again

Another tremendous long-distance goal from Khari Stephenson ’04.  Be sure to vote for Stephenson (who is up against David Beckham, among others) for MLS goal of the week here.

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Williams Trivia in Ohio

Williams’ end-of-semester all-night trivia contest commences at 10 p.m. tomorrow.  [I love the quote from the website, trivia concerns something you know, but can’t remember … exactly right].  For some reason, it will be simulcast by WKMV, a radio station based in Cincinnati, Ohio:

A special note: WMKV will break music format for about 8 hours for a special broadcast at 10pm Friday May 13 until the morning of Saturday May 14 at 6am. WMKV will be the national flagship for the Williams College Trivia Challenge, now in its 35th year. WMKV will be broadcasting to the world as teams of trivia players from professionals to academia contend for the national title. WMKV joins with Cincinnati Area MENSA to host this 8 hour national trivia game. You can play from home and be one of the teams or just eavesdrop and have fun with the questions, and the music that matches the trivia questions. Join WMKV and Cincinnati Area Mensa for the national Williams Trivia Challenge on May 13 at 10pm. If you’d like to join the program as a sponsor as we showcase Greater Cincinnati and its best and brightest facets or if you just want to find out more, contact WMKV at 513-782-2427…Williams College Trivia and the national broadcast emanating from WMKV in Cincinnati May 13 from 10pm to 6am..only on WMKV 89.3FM and wmkvfm.org.

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Ephs and the ACLU

Williams has a strong historical connection to the ACLU. Indeed, Morris Ernst (class of 1909) was instrumental in founding the organization.

A number of contemporary Ephs are also engaged in interesting work for the ACLU.  Most prominent among them is Jameel Jaffer ’94 (whose name is misspelled on our category list, alas), Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU.  He recently published two interesting editorials: one in the Los Angeles Times regarding secrecy in the context of national security, and another in the New York Times encouraging the government to honor public servants who rejected torture.

Jay Stanley ’89 is the Public Education Director of the ACLU’s Technology and Liberty Program.  He blogs about speech, privacy and technology here, and you can find his older blog posts here.

Finally, Alan Schlosser ’63 has litigated many interesting cases during his tenure as legal director of the ACLU of Northern California.  He recently published a column on OregonLive.com opining about terrorism task forces.

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Tennis Rivalry Showdown

Today, Williams looks to upset Amherst for the NESCAC title in both men’s and women’s tennis.  Both Eph tennis squads are led by alumni, Alison Swain ’01 for the women and Dan Greenberg ’08 for the men.  Swain has a fairly respectable start to her coaching career: three seasons, three national titles.

At 9:00 this morning at Middlebury, the third-seeded Williams men, fresh off upsetting defending national champion Middlebury thanks to a clinching comeback win from Zach Weiss ’13, looks to avenge a 5-4 regular-season loss to top seeded Amherst.  Amherst has finished second nationally two years running, and is the favorite to win this year’s national title.   The Ephs have a very young team — none of the top six singles players are upperclassmen — making this year’s run all the more impressive.  Despite being two of the top ten teams in the country, Amherst and Williams are both looking to end long championship draughts due to Middlebury’s recent dominance: since 1992 for Amherst, and since 2003 for the Ephs.

The women’s tennis match, played at 1:00 at Amherst, features top-ranked (nationally) Amherst versus number two Williams.  Amherst has dominated the NESCAC tourney in recent years (the Jeffs are looking for their seventh straight NESCAC crown), and has already beaten Williams twice this year, but oddly, the Ephs have had far more success in the NCAA tourney, including the aforementioned three straight national titles (and five total titles over the past decade).   Williams cruised path number five (nationally) Tufts in the NESCAC semifinal.

Go Ephs!

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Eph Reactions To the Death of Bin Laden

A sampling from across the political and intellectual spectrum:

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Strange Williams Sighting

Thanks to the tipster (who chooses to remain anonymous) who pointed out that the Williams fight song makes a strange appearance in the 1954 Titantic film, immediately prior to the iceberg collision.  Go to 1:30 of this video to hear the song.   I am still waiting for the deleted scene from James Cameron’s Titanic, in which Leo DiCaprio sings “The Mountains” while freezing to death, to be posted on YouTube. 

Here is a bit of trivia … what Eph closely connected with this movie is almost certainly responsible for this inclusion? Presumably, he associated imminent doom with the fate that annually befalls the Amherst football team …

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Situations Matter

Video preview for Sam Sommers 97’s forthcoming book (available in December), Situations Matter:

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Spring Arts Round-Up

A few arts-related stories from the past few weeks:

  • Great feature on “Southern Gentleman” Jesse Winchester ’66.  One additional bit of Winchester trivia for fans of The Wire (and if you aren’t, you should be): his song, Step by Step, plays during the montage sequence that closes Season One.  Pretty damn cool.
  • Rita Forte ’03, a/k/a DJ Backside, continues to receive positive media attention.  She was previously mentioned on Ephblog here and here.
  • David Turner ’97 received rave reviews for his supporting performance in Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, currently playing on Broadway.  At 1:41 of this video, you can see a clip of Turner, during which the reviewer extols his scene-stealing turn.
  • Famous Eph photographer Walker Evans (he dropped out prior to graduating) is featured in an exhibit highlighting the centennial of New York’s rapid transit system.
  • Williams recently installed a sculpture by Jenny Holzer on the Science Quad, part of a concerted effort to increase the presence of public art on campus.  Anyone have an opinion, or better yet, a photo?
  • Wilco is back in North Adams this summer for an encore of their tremendously successful Solid Sound festival.  Check out the line-up here.  I don’t know many of these bands beyond the headliners, but I have seen Jamie Lidell, and I recommend checking him out.
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Six Degrees of General Zod

Oscar-nominee, and just plain awesome, Michael Shannon has been selected to fill Terrence Stamp’s iconic shoes as General Zod in the forthcoming Superman re-re-boot (they’ve decided to ignore the previous reboot, and for good reason).  What does this have to do with Williams?  Well, as this article notes, Shannon’s manager is Byron Wetzel ’97.  Ain’t It Cool News, for one, “can’t think of anyone better for the role.”  Congrats to Shannon and to Wetzel on a role sure to raise Shannon’s profile.  See Shannon talk about Superman here:

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Early Spring Athletics Round-Up

A slew of athletics stories to catch up on:

  • The biggest news of the month is, of course, the (expected?) announcement that long-time Eph coach and administrator Lisa Melendy was named the new permanent athletics director.  Congratulations!
  • Congrats to Williams on ascending to its traditional position at the top of the Director’s Cup standings after a tremendously successful winter season.
  • Congrats to future Eph Ryan Barry ’15 for being named the top scholar-athlete in Western Mass.
  • The Williams baseball team (much like the softball and men’s and women’s lacrosse teams) had great success outside of conference play, but has struggled vs. NESCAC to date.  [The Ephs did stay alive in NESCAC with a crucial and dramatic rally against Wesleyan on Sunday].  One story of note: the break-out first year of the spring season has been first year catcher Marco Hernandez, who is either first or second on the Ephs in batting, slugging, hits, home runs, stolen bases, and triples.  Hernandez is also a very gifted football player, and is expected to play a bigger role on the gridiron next fall.
  • Congrats to the Purple Cow, recently named America’s most lovable mascot in a Reader’s Digest poll.  Although the poll  listed only the top four, rumor has it that Lord Jeff came in at number 3458.   
  • Be sure to watch Khari Stephenson ’04’s spectacular goal, which was recently named MLS goal of the week:
  • Nice article by Dave Fehr on the tremendous environment in Chandler during the last few weekends of Williams hoops.  Winter in Billsville can be long for both students and local residents, and packed crowds cheering on a winning team in hotly contested rivalry and tourney games can go a long way towards dulling the winter blues, and building tremendous school spirit to boot.
  • Great article on Williams swimming superstar Logan Todhunter ’12, who, along with fellow superstar Caroline Wilson ’13, led Williams to a third-place showing at the NCAA tourney.
  • Also check out this article on women’s basketball star Jill Greenberg ’12 who, with one year of eligibility remaining, is already the Ephs’ all-time assist leader.
  • Wonderful article by philosophy professor Alan Hirsch on hoops coach Mike Maker, whom he dubs the “anti Jim Calhoun.”  Speaking of Calhoun, Dave Paulsen ’87 must be feeling at least a LITTLE bit better about the drubbing his Bucknell squad received from UConn after watching the Huskies go on to win the national title behind the same stifling defense that frustrated the Bison.
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Not a Tiger Mother

Tom Addison ’84 was, along with notorious “Tiger Mother” Amy Chua, voted most likely to succeed in his high school class.  And succeed he has, despite, apparently, a slightly different life philosophy (I am confident, for example, that it would be beyond unthinkable for Chua or anyone in her family to turn Harvard down) focused on preserving access to nature, in particular, rock-climbing venues.  Kudos to Tom, who exemplifies what it means to be an Eph … always straddling the precarious line between Type A achiever and Type B enjoyer of nature / life!

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Engel in NYTimes … Again

Prolific NYTimes editorial writer, and Eph psychology professor, Susan Engel had another interesting op-ed piece a few weeks back about an inventive curriculum designed by some local high school students (anyone know which school?).  While I am somewhat skeptical regarding whether this would be feasible on a wider scale, this is exactly the type of learning environment I would want my kids involved in, one that fosters initiative, broad-based inquiries into big issues, and creative, outside-the-box thinking.  Because just as important as learning how to answer questions, is learning how to ask the most interesting questions …

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Final Four Mega-Preview

Williams played an amazingly gutty four games, in a VERY tough sectional, to advance to the Final Four, where they play tomorrow night at 6:00.   In the world of “survive and advance,” survive was the key word for the Ephs.  They survived injuries and illness to their three key players (regional player of the year Troy Whittington ’11, first-team all region James Wang ’12, and Nate Robertson ’13), each of whom took turns carrying the team, while James Klemm ’13 emerged as a clutch shot-maker, with big three after big three throughout the tourney.  The Ephs survived a first round scare against a scrappy Cinderella Husson team, then survived the full court press of a very athletic Becker squad.  But they saved the real fireworks for back-to-back wins, in a raucous Chandler Gym, over top-ten teams Virginia Wesleyan and, of course, Amherst, led by legendary performances from Whittington and Robertson, respectively.  See highlights from the Amherst game here and here, read the Williams game notes here and the Wooster game notes here, read the NCAA’s Williams preview here, and listen to Coach Maker on Hoopsville here (beginning at 5:30) and the Williams College basketball show here.

Now it is on to Salem for, incredibly, the sixth time since 1997, and the second straight year.  This year has a bit of a 2003 flavor, as Williams faces Wooster, once again, in the semifinal, and the Final Four includes a MIAC squad in St. Thomas (Williams beat another MIAC school, Gustavus Adolphus, for the 2003 title).  Eph fans can only hope for a similar outcome, although as you would expect, things don’t get any easier.  One bonus: Eph first-year and Pittsfield native Caroline Sinico will be singing the National Anthem prior to Saturday’s championship game.  She often performs at Chandler, and is top-notch.  Full previews of the four teams competing at Salem below the break:

Read more

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Bucknell Hoops Preview

The last time (before Friday!) the Ephs played in back-to-back Final Fours, they were led by Dave Paulsen ’87, who finished a tremendous year leading Bucknell to the Patriot League title, earning conference coach of the year honors in the process.  Watch post-game video of Dave here hear his thoughts on the Ephs’ Final Four run here, and be sure to read fellow Eph Tim Layden’s story on Paulsen’s time at Williams.  Go Bison!  

Bucknell will be a massive underdog againt perennial power and Big East champion UConn, when they play on Thursday at 7:20 at the Verizon Center.  Bucknell will be particularly hard-pressed to contain UConn superstar guard Kemba Walker, who has been keeping Paulsen from a good night’s sleep this week.  (At least one regular Ephblogger will be in attendance to cheer Paulsen on).  Nevertheless, some feel that Bucknell has Cinderella potential.

Bucknell’s key players:

  • Bucknell’s star is Mike Muscala ’13: Patriot League player of the year.  He reminds me of Eph all-American Ben Coffin ’04, in both appearance, playing style, and ability level, although he has an extra two inches in height, and deeper shooting range.  Very tough player on both ends of the floor.  Follow Muscala’s tweets on BisonGoDancing.
  • Bryson Johnson ’13: second team all-Patriot two-guard who Paulsen has called the best shooter he has ever coached … quite a statement from a guy who coached legendary Eph marksmen like Tim Folan, Tucker Kain, and Chuck Abba.  Johnson is reasonably athletic and can get to the rim as well, but it is his tremendous range which gives Bucknell a shot at an upset.  They will need him to hit some tough, deep threes, which can be the equalizer verses a more talented team.
  • Darryl Shazier ’11: the lone senior starter, a small but lightning quick first team all-Patriot point guard, can get into foul trouble and runs hot and cold in terms of shooting, but an electrifying player and the engine that makes Bucknell run.   Bucknell has no other true point guards in the rotation, so he has to stay out of foul trouble — the Bison offense has a tendency to bog down when he is not on the floor.
  • Bryan Cohen ’12: two-time Patriot League defensive player of the year, scrappy as hell on both ends, consumate glue guy, won’t often create his own shot but a good passer who will make the hustle play.  In the mold of Ephs John Botti ’96 and Jim Frew ’99.  Cohen will face his steepest challenge as a collegian in attempting to guard the fastest, and arguably the best overall, guard in the country, surefire first team all-American Kemba Walker.

Other guys to watch include the fifth starter, Joe Willman ’13, who does some dirty work and can hit mid-range jumpers, and who will have a major challenge dealing with UConn’s bigger and more athletic forwards, Cameron Ayers ’14, a very talented frosh who plays like you’d expect from a coach’s son — poised, crafty, and can shoot, and fan favorite / energizer G.W. Boone ’11, who is another capable shooter from deep.  Bucknell is not a deep team, relying heavily on these seven guys.

As for UConn, everyone knows about Kemba Walker … he will be a major handful for Bucknell, who will surely try to force him to feed teammates rather than have one-on-one opportunities.  Walker’s supporting cast is, as you would expect from UConn, talented as well, although none of them are stars in the Big East (if they played in the Patriot League, that would likely be a different story).  In particular, Bucknell will have to focus on do-it-all 6’5 wing Jeremy Lamb (UConn’s second leading scorer), and 6’9 F/C Alex Oriakhi, a physically imposing player who is a dominant force on the glass and protecting the rim.  Bucknell is at a particular disadvantage up front, where Muscala is the only true big man who sees major minutes, while Connecticut rotates five players between 6’8 and 7’0.

To win, Bucknell will have to keep Walker under control and force the other UConn players to beat them, keep Muscala and Shazier out of foul trouble as both can ill afford to miss much game action, do a credible job on the glass vs. a bigger, more athletic team, and hit threes, and lots of them.  I think Bucknell will at least make it interesting, but I am sure Coach Paulsen will have some sleepless nights heading into his first D-1 tourney ….

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The Eph Who Invented Old Age

Pioneering psychologist G. Stanley Hall, class of 1867, is the subject of a lengthy, and absolutely fascinating, article in this week’s New Yorker.  Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, psychics, a brother named Wrestling (short for “wrestling with God”), Hegel, cockfights, crematoriums, Darwin, masturbation, health crazes, and soap bubble-induced tragedies all play a role in his unusual tale.  The portion that mentions his time at Williams is brief, yet illuminating:

He went first to Williams College, where he was elected Class Poet and wrote a poem called “A Life Without a Soul.”  He fell for John Stuart Mill.  He graduated in 1867, having avoided fighting in the Civil War because his father bought him a substitute.

Alas, you have to be a New Yorker subscriber to read the whole thing, but it’s worth picking up the March 14th issue, if you are not.

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Donal O’Brien, Star Quarterback of the Birdwatching World

Congrats to Donal O’Brien ’56 (at far right in the photo) on earning the Audubon Medal for his bird-watching exploits.   And lest you think that the various sports analogies contained in that news story are less than apt, know this:  Don was featured in a lengthy Sports Illustrated story back in 1971 (alas, Ephblog was not yet around to chronicle that, but fortunately it remains in the SI archives).  How many Ephs can claim that honor?

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Best Name for an Eph-Owned Company?

I nominate Susan Lai 01’s accessory company Live Glamorously or Die .  They are also on Facebook.  Honorable mention goes to Derek Scanlon ’98’s My Pet Chicken.

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Men’s Hoops Tourney Preview EXTRA: FINAL!

UPDATED:  I have moved this preview up, and added many new links, for today’s NCAA hoops action.  As expected, Williams, VWU, Amherst and RIC all advanced to an absolutely loaded sectional in Chandler.  A few links pertinent to this weeken’s action: the latest basketball show, video highlights from the Becker game,  the North Adams Transcript’s preview, Williams’ sectional preview (including webcast links), and Amherst’s sectional preview.

Of the five teams who have dominated D-3 basketball from 2003 through 20010 (Williams, Amherst, Virginia Wesleyan, Wisconsin Stevens Point, and Wash U., who have combined to win every title during that time period, with an additional five runner-up finishes), three, number ten VWU, number nine Amherst, and number four Williams, will battle for a spot in Salem.  D3hoops previews the tourney here, Williams previews its sectional here, and Amherst previews its portion of the bracket here.  Watch the webcasts of the Williams games here.

If you want in on the Ephblog NCAA pool, there will be a bonus of five points per pick for each D-3 Final Four team.  My picks are Williams (of course), Stevens Point, Middlebury, and Wooster (I’m not exactly going out on a limb, as these are four of the eight favorites, along with Augustana, Randolph Macon, Whitworth, and Amherst).  Either post your picks, or send them to me via email.  My analysis of the teams in the Ephs’ bracket is below the break.

[Note: the women’s team also made the NCAA tournament, but they are certainly long shots … even if they win their first two games, both on the road, they will almost surely have to face Amherst, who has already defeated them three times, at Amherst in the Sweet Sixteen].

(Ed note: from Jeff’s great round-up [note: click on the Whittington article, which is truly a must-read] PLUS this additional story on NESAC Player of the Year.  For the uninitiated, I also highly recommend checking out some of Troy’s innumerable highlight-reel plays).

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Eph Furniture Cabal

In prior posts, I have highlighted the Eph booze and culinary mafia, as well as Ephs working on sustainable energy initiatives.  While there aren’t enough Ephs crafting / studying custom / hand-made furniture to qualify as a “mafia” (yet), there is a surprisingly strong contingent, large enough to fairly dub a cabal.

Blu Dot, owned by John Christakos, Charles Lazor, and Maurice Blanks (all ’87), has been previously featured on Ephblog.   Early American furniture curator Ethan Lasser ’99 has also been previously featured on Ephblog.  Jonathan Edie ’88 (pictured) was recently featured in this article chronicling his work (with his wife) at Chajo Art Furnishings.   Seth Rolland ’86 has been working as a custom furniture maker for 20 years.  Jason Phillips ’89 is the President of McGuire Furniture.   [Notice the concentration of alums in the late 1980’s … no doubt inspired by the infamous campus Furniture Wars of 1987, when the administration removed all furniture from row house common areas after one-too-many ottomans drunkenly tossed through windows, necessitating self-help in the form of hand-carved furniture sourced from Hopkins Forest].

Of course, every cabal / mafia needs a Dean, and for Williams, Leslie Keno ’79, Antiques Roadshow and Sotheby’s furniture appraiser, and now furniture designer, certainly qualifies.

Overall, while not yet a mafia, it is an impressive group of Ephs thinking outside the box, and using their talents in beautiful, creative ways.  I am particularly impressed with Ephs such as these, who took the immortal words of Martin Sheen’s character in Wall Street to heart:  “Stop going for the easy buck and start producing something with your life. Create, instead of living off the buying and selling of others.”  So, the next time someone tells you that everyone with a Williams degree is a consultant, lawyer, doctor, academic, or investment banker, please correct them!

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Ephs and the Unabomber

Odd bit of Eph trivia: both the first intended target of the Unabomber (Buckley Crist ’82, a materials engineering professor at Northwestern), and the judge who arraigned him in New Jersey (Dickinson Debevoise ’46) are Ephs.

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Great Eph Football Video

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