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Johanna Justin-Jinich (Wesleyan ’10)

(Since this story has been extensively covered in the national media, I won’t add any links. I just wanted to acknowledge the severe pain it brings, not only to the Wes community but also to many of us in Wes’s sibling communities.)

Johanna Justin-Jinich, a junior at Wesleyan, was murdered last Wednesday while working at her campus job in the Wes bookstore cafe. A young man who knew her — but who was not a member of the Wesleyan community –and who is believed to have stalked her, turned himself in and is being held for the murder.

From all the reports, Ms. Justin-Jinich was a wonderful, vibrant, engaged Cardinal. As far as I can tell, the Wes administration and faculty and the local and state police acted promptly, wisely, and caringly, just as one would hope.

Please keep all of those affected in your thoughts and in your hearts and honor Ms. Justin-Jinich by turning to those around you with respect, affection, and the appreciation that awareness of the fragility of all our lives can nurture. May something good somehow come out of this horror.


Bascom Lodge (on Mt. Greylock) “Curator” Chosen

BEAT News, an online Berkshire environmental newsletter, reports that Bascom Lodge on the top of Mt. Greylock will be rehabilitated and reopened by The Bascom Lodge Group, comprised of Berkshire natives John Dudek, Peter Dudek, and Brad Parsons. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has chosen the group as the “curator” for the lodge under DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program, pursuant to which curators agree to rehabilitate and reuse historic properties in exchange for a long-term lease.

The lodge has been closed for the last two seasons because of the summit road reconstruction project. The new curators hope to reopen it late this summer.

BEAT quotes the DCR Commissioner as saying, “The Bascom Lodge Group brings 25 years of experience in hospitality and restaurant management to this project. Members of the group plan to be on site, managing the property, hiring local craftsmen to do the restoration, even making breakfast pastries in the lodge.”

According to the article, The Bascom Lodge Group “plans to bring back the tradition of providing quality food, lodging, and services to park visitors….inspired by the lodge’s unique historical, architectural, and natural themes.”

They also plan to sponsor events and lectures on the natural and cultural history of the park and region, develop interpretive gardens and landscaping to highlight the summit’s vegetation, and collaborate with DCR staff on tours and programs.

The article further notes that “Bascom Lodge was built in the 1930s in the Arts and Crafts style. Approximately 150,000 people – a mix of tourists, hikers passing by along the Appalachian trail, local families, and day visitors – visit the lodge each season.”

I wish them well and very much hope that they can pull this off. The Greylock summit is a strange, unique, and often magical place.


The Williams Campaign – Basic Questions about Finances

In the course of the tribute to President Schapiro that the College released today, penned by Trustee (and Presidential Search Committee Head) Greg Avis ’80, Avis noted that “The Williams Campaign surpassed its $400 million goal last year and in its final weeks is approaching $500 million.”

Until the recent financial crisis, I was not following the College’s finances closely. I would appreciate it if someone would answer a few questions to help me get a stronger foundation.

1) I believe that, while the College is on a fiscal year that ends in June, its fundraising campaigns are structured as being on a  calendar year. Does the quote from Avis mean that the College has raised nearly $500 million this calendar year (the reference to “last year” has me confused)? Is that all of its fundraising for calendar year 2008, or is it for a separate capital campaign to fund construction and perhaps other special programs (such as the earlier campaign to increase the endowment to fund the expansion of the faculty and thus enable the addition of more tutorials)? If it isn’t all of the fundraising, does anyone have any idea of how much else there might be and what it might be for?

2) (This is sickening.) Is it reasonable to assume that a third or more of the $500 million (and any other money raised this calendar year) has vanished into the black hole that has devoured a third or more of the endowment? Is it reasonable to assume that a good chunk of any year-end gifts might go the same way? 

3) The quote from Avis is quite upbeat, but does anyone know how the recent financial downturn has affected the fundraising stream at Williams? Except for my local food bank and food kitchen, every non-profit I know of is reporting that its fundraising intake is down dramatically for the whole calendar year and has slowed to a trickle in recent months.

4) How much money still needs to be raised for the construction projects (principally, the demolition of the Stetson additions, the construction of the new Sawyer, and the demolition of the old Sawyer)? Is this likely to be funded in a different way than the construction of the ’62 Center and Paresky (which involved issuing a considerable amount of debt)?

5) What do you think will happen when it comes time to set tuition for 2009-2010?


Morty Schapiro to Become President of Northwestern (and thoughts about the Presidential Search)

To the Williams Community,

Morton Owen SchapiroUpon the completion next summer of my ninth year as Williams president, I will be leaving to become president of Northwestern University.

This was not an easy decision for my family and me to make. Twenty of my thirty years in academe have been spent at Williams and I’ve loved virtually every minute. The past nine as president have been the greatest honor and privilege of my professional life. But with the completion of our comprehensive campaign this month and my strong feeling that institutions need new leadership every decade or so, I think the timing is right.

There’s much I still hope to do in these intervening months to help steer this place I love so deeply. Most importantly, with the support of the Board of Trustees, we are putting in place a financial plan that will assure that our college will be in a position to provide an exceptional educational experience for future students despite the current financial turmoil. Williams will emerge from the present challenges with its values intact and positioned to recapture its momentum.

Mimi and I have made many close friends at Williams — students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents — and we hope that you will remain in our lives. When you visit us in Evanston, feel free to wear your traditional purple, a color that both institutions proudly share.

All the best,


Morton Owen Schapiro
Professor and President
Williams College

(announcement from the Office of the President, posted on the Williams website on Dec. 16, 2008)


Sad News – The Last of the Trinity Has Left Us FURTHER UPDATED

UPDATES: Here are Professor Pierson’s New York Times obituary, a Faculty Meeting tribute by Prof. E. J. Johnson (who holds the Faison-Pierson-Stoddard chair in art), his Boston Globe obituary, and an obituary written by his family. Here is a column by Fay Vincent ’60.

The College has announced that Art Professor Emeritus Bill Pierson has died. Here is President Schapiro’s statement in full: 

Bill PiersonTo the Williams Community,

I am sad to report the loss of an historic Williams figure, with the death Wednesday of William H. Pierson Jr., Massachusetts Professor of Art, Emeritus, at the age of 97.

An accomplished artist, with an M.F.A. in painting from Yale, Bill introduced studio art to Williams. He instilled a passion for both art and architecture through his teaching here from 1940 to 1973, with an interruption to serve in the Navy during World War II. He was famously a member, along with Lane Faison and Whitney Stoddard, of the “Holy Trinity” that inspired countless Williams students to pursue careers in the visual arts.

His legacy lives also through his distinguished work as architectural historian. He wrote the first three volumes of American Buildings and Their Architects and in retirement rose for many years at six a.m. to make progress on his editing of a seventy-volume inventory and analysis of every significant building in the U.S.

The College honored him with the establishment of the Faison-Pierson-Stoddard Professorship in Art History and, in 2001, with the conferring of an honorary degree.

Bill’s singular curiosity and wit graced our community up to the very end, as he remained a lively presence almost daily at lunch in the Faculty House.

Our thoughts and prayers are now with his family and friends. A memorial service will be held in the Spring.

M. Schapiro

This truly marks the end of an era. 

Rest in peace.


150 Years of Baseball

Williams began playing baseball in 1859. That was also the birth of college baseball. On July 1st of that year, Williams played Amherst in Pittsfield in what is considered to have been the first collegiate baseball game. 

Since both Fordham and Williams enter their 150th baseball season this spring, they have scheduled a rare special game against each other. I don’t know what other special events are planned to commemorate the anniversary of The American Game. Williams will, of course, meet Amherst in the regular course of the season (and we hope the score will be considerably more favorable to the Ephs than it was in 1859).


An Inquiring Mind

The Denver Post reports the death of Bob Bucher ’58. The obituary highlights a quality deeply valued by many Ephs and nurtured by our professors: an inquiring mind that inspires others to think.

Bucher, an investment broker, never ran for public office, but he kept up on everything, studied history, worked for Republican candidates, was “enamored” of Abraham Lincoln and never tired of talking about issues.

His 4th of July parties included the usual food and drink plus a thought-provoking question that he wanted everyone to discuss.

He didn’t argue with people, but he closed the discussion with his own thoughts.

“He made us all better citizens” because of the “thoughtful and provocative questions,” said a friend, Cle Cervi Symons of Denver.

Bucher also enjoyed watching guests strike up conversations with strangers and maybe people with whom they disagreed.

This year the question was whether the court system should treat non-citizens who are charged with a crime the same as citizens.

Other questions had been on immigration and whether Supreme Court justices should be term-limited.

Rest in peace.


Today’s the Day – NCAA Soccer Semifinals @ 5 PM FINAL UPDATE

Macpherson Field, Greensboro, ready for play

(photo copyright Williams College)



The day has finally arrived. The Williams women play the defending D3 National Champions, the Thunder from Wheaton College (IL), in the NCAA Final Four today at 5 PM EST.

UPDATE: Wheaton ahead 1-0 at the half (5:50 PM). Williams playing strong. Almost scored twice in the first 2 minutes. Wheaton answered at about 6 minutes in. Luck has not been with the Ephs so far, with two no goals and a slew of flyers over the bar. They are composed and look very good. GO EPHS!

2ND UPDATE: Weird tap in early in the 2nd gives Wheaton another point. Bad luck Let’s hope it turns soon.

3rd UPDATE: Gabby Woodson sneaks one in. With 30 min. left, it’s 2-1, Wheaton.

4th UPDATE: Wheaton scored again, about 6 min. left.

FINAL UPDATE: And there it ended for the Ephs. Both teams played well and cleanly and the game was much closer than the score indicated. Until that third Wheaton score, it could have gone either way. A big disappointment, but a glorious journey. Congratulations to our Ephs and their worthy opponents.

In Greensboro: Macpherson Stadium at Bryan Park (directions included)

                    6015 Townsend Road 

                          Browns Summit, NC

In Williamstown: on the big screen at Paresky

Online: (remember to preload the Silverlight.2.0(2).dmg software )

And here’s another fun story about the team that gives a bit of flavor of what it’s like to be getting ready to play in the Final Four. Not mentioned in the article are the parents. I have no doubt that many (most?) of them are in Greensboro, that they are having a great time together, and that they and their daughters are enjoying spending a little (but probably not much) time together. From what I can tell, the parents form the core of a spirited, highly supportive fan section. If you can, join them in the cheering, whether at the field, in Paresky, or online.

Note that the Amherst men play today in the men’s Final Four. 

Go Ephs! Go Lord Jeffs! Go NESCAC!

The team, all cleaned up, in Greensboro (pre-NCAA banquet?)

(photo copyright Williams College)


NCAA Women’s Soccer Final Four: Ephs vs. Wheaton (IL) 5 PM EST Friday in Greensboro (UPDATED)

The Ephs (19-0-1) will play the Wheaton College (IL) Thunder (21-3-2) at 5 PM EST on Friday in Greensboro in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Final Four. 

According to their local paper, one Wheaton player is out battling cancer and several others have sustained season-ending injuries. Nonetheless, they are quite a formidable team. The defending national champions, Wheaton has won the championship three times (2004, 2006, and 2007) in the previous four years, losing only to Messiah College in 2005. (Messiah, last year’s runner up, is in this year’s Final Four, playing William Smith in Friday’s other semifinal.)

Williams, too, is extremely formidable. Undefeated this season, they are 36-1-1 in their last 38 outings, and are ranked #1 nationally.

The live free video should be here. If that does not work, try linking up through the Williams sports page. UPDATE: You need to download Silverlight.2.0(2).dmg ahead of time for the NCAA broadcast to work on your computer.

 If you are in Williamstown, go to Paresky to see the game on the big screen, thanks to arrangements made by Will Slack ’11. And if you are anywhere near Greensboro, please try to go out to support the team.

Lots of background information about the teams here.


team photograph copyright Williams College


Congratulations to the Fall Athletes

Congratulations to all of the Williams fall athletes. It has been, as Jeff points out, an extremely successful season on the playing fields, on the courses and courts, and on the water.

Special congratulations should go to those who received conference academic and/or sportsmanship honors.


Each season NESCAC honors scholar-athletes who

       are varsity letter winners,

       are juniors or seniors, and

       have a cumulative GPA of 3.35 or better.

This fall, 57 Eph scholar-athletes from nine teams were selected for this All-Academic honor (note that the list would be even longer if men’s and women’s crew and tennis, which have somewhat truncated fall seasons, were included). Many of the seniors on the list are repeat honorees, and many of the juniors will be repeat honorees.

Based on having done this exercise in years past, I can promise you that, when the 2009 and 2010 Commencement materials come out, if you cross-check these names (including those on the winter and spring season lists as well), you will find a pleasing overlap between some of these names and those on the PBK and math/science honor society, honors or high honors, Latin honors, and/or fellowship and other academic awards lists.

Lest you think that Williams, like many schools, has a two-tier system where a group of high-academic-stat but lesser skilled athletes warm the bench, boosting the team’s GPA, while lower-academic-stat athletes with sharper skills get all the playing time, look at the list. If you follow Williams sports, you’ll notice quite a few athletic stars’ and significant contributors’ names on the All-Academic list.  

Nowadays, athletes who play even a single sport are expected to put in many hours of training all year long. In-season sports probably require at least 25 hours a week, and often more, especially for those who have leadership positions and for members of teams that travel a lot. Several sports (golf, tennis, and crew) have two seasons, and many athletes play two or even three sports. The various skiing teams (and squash?) seem to have exceptionally long seasons (as of course do teams that advance far through an extended multi-tier NCAA post-season tournament system, as the women’s soccer team has done this year). To excel academically while putting in such large amounts of time and energy for practice, playing, travel, and team organizational efforts (and often doing very well athletically) is quite an accomplishment and bodes very well for these scholar-athletes’ successes after Williams. If you follow campus activities at all, you’ll notice that quite a few of the scholar-athletes’ names also crop up as leaders in various other activities as well, making their achievements even more difficult but also even more commendable.

All-Sportsmanship Team

Each season, NESCAC honors one student from each team from each member school for his or her sportsmanship, both in athletics and in his or her daily life. Honorees are nominated by their teammates and coaches. Eight Williams students were honored this year, all seniors. Lauren Garcia, a soccer player and member of the NESCAC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, is a repeat honoree. Congratulations to all eight. From past experience, these are often the people who keep the play fun for everyone.


NCAA National Soccer Semis & Final, Greensboro 12/5 and 12/6

The first details are out on the Women’s NCAA Division III Soccer National Semifinals & Finals

December 5-6, 2008
Macpherson Stadium at Bryan Park
Greensboro, North Carolina
Host: Greensboro College
Hosted by Greensboro College and the City of Greensboro


Friday, December 5
5:00 PM – Williams (19-0-1) vs. Wheaton (IL) (21-3-2)
7:30 PM – William Smith (16-1-5) vs. Messiah (22-0-2)

Saturday, December 6
5:00 PM — Friday’s winners meet for NCAA title

The games will be videocast for free on a CBS College Sports connection provided by the NCAA. The D3 men’s games will precede the women’s, and the current schedule is confusing because it only lists the men’s games. This may change over the interim, but look to the Williams Sports site for updates and clarifications. Cross your fingers that the video feed will work: I have a 50% success rate with this broadcaster this season. 

The Williams Sports page reminds us that the Williams women last appeared in this tournament in 1999, when Williams hosted and the team finished third.


Women’s Soccer (updated: WINS, 2-0!!) NCAA Elite 8 vs. Ithaca at 1 PM EST, Cole Field

The Williams women’s soccer team takes on the Ithaca Bombers today at 1 PM EST on Cole Field for the NCAA Elite 8/sectional final. Audio for the game will be available for free on Teamline, with the team’s regular online announcer Will Slack broadcasting.

The soccer parents will be picking up the NCAA admission fees for all Williams students who come down to Cole Field. Yesterday had quite a loud and loyal fan section, thanks in part to a similar parental funding incentive.

It will be another cold day, but may be a little bit warmer than it was yesterday. Expect rough, slippery going for the players as the temperature is not expected to reach above 29; as Will points out, cleats don’t work well on frozen ground. There may be flurries.

Go Ephs!

LAST UPDATE: Williams wins, 2-0. Looks like William Smith beat Amherst 1-0 in OT (but Amherst was the better team on stats — as we learned last year, anything can happen in these games).

UPDATE: At the start of the broadcast, Will just said it was 10 degrees warmer than yesterday (and I don’t hear the wind howling the way it did yesterday  Will says it’s very windy, and I hear it now), but still extremely cold. He expects the footing to be much improved. They’ve moved over to the men’s field today (because they chewed up the women’s field in yesterday’s semis). There is a good-sized Ithaca parent section present, in addition to very vocal Eph students, parents, and other fans.

Here’s what the end of the second half looked like yesterday:
















photo by Kris Dufour, copyright Williams College


X-Country: Both Men and Women 3rd in Cross-Country (Updated)

The Williams men came in third at the cross-country national finals today, behind teams from SUNY Cortland and North Central College. Edgar Kosgey and Jeff Perlis earned All-American honors, finishing 10th and 26th respectively.

Middlebury won the national championship on the women’s side, followed by Calvin College and then the Ephs in third. Lauren Philbrook placed 19th, earning her All-American honors after a terrific season.


Williams Soccer Wins Sweet 16, Advances to Play Ithaca (Updated)

In such heavy snowfall that broadcaster Will Slack was having trouble seeing some of the last plays, the Eph women’s soccer team has won the Sweet 16. 

Everything is up in the air. The weather is so bad that the other sectional semi may not be playable today.

But congratulations to the Ephs and the Lions for great play under worsening conditions. Hats off to Will for bringing it to the fans at home, and to the soccer fans (including a dedicated group of parents) for a great show of support at Cole Field.

LATEST UPDATE: The Ephs will face the Ithaca Bombers, winners of this afternoon’s frigid skating match on an icy Cole Field, tomorrow in the NCAA sectional final/Elite 8 round.

The Amherst women, too, will play  tomorrow. Having defeated Otterbein 1-0 today, they face William Smith in the Elite 8. Time will tell…. 

UPDATE: The broadcast has just come back on, with the other semi (Ithaca Bombers  vs. Lynchburg Hornets) going forward in snowy, 20-degree Williamstown. If they can finish it, the winner of this one is scheduled to meet Williams tomorrow (time uncertain — I’ve heard two things, which may have to do with the weather) on Cole Field for the sectional finals. Will is reporting that the field is well-dusted but the snowfall has abated; conditions remain extremely slippery, as well as cold.








photos by Kris Dufour, copyright Williams College



NCAA X-Country Sat. @11 and 12 EST

Tomorrow (Saturday) watch the Williams men (12 PM EST) and women (1 PM EST) [times corrected to account for time zones] compete in the NCAA cross-country championships here on CBS College Sports/

Go Ephs!









Photos by Kris Dufour,

copyright Williams College



Williams Women’s Soccer vs. TCNJ 11 AM Sat., Cole Field

Williams Women’s Soccer vs. The College of New Jersey in the NCAA Sectionals at 11 AM Sat. on Cole Field. Audio available at no charge on Teamline (I think Will Slack ’11 will be announcing the tournament). More information on the tournament here.

Go Ephs!


A Reach

photo by Kris Dufour, copyright Williams College

Tomorrow (Thursday) night, the Williams volleyball team will play Northern Ohio in the NCAA Elite 8 at Illinois-Wesleyan. The tournament will be webcast. The Ephs’ game will be at 9:30 PM EST, the last match of the day’s four.

This will be a reach, but this team has poise and heart. They’ve been on a remarkable streak, and have managed a string of striking upsets. May their momentum continue.

The semis will take place Friday night, and the final Saturday night.

Go Ephs!


Peanut Butter Pillows and Wilderness Fantasy Cookies

Courtesy of Laura ’92 (her flickr stream is here). Made by the Clarksburg Bakery baker. Are they still available?

UPDATE: The cookies, Chunky Cheese Bread, and other baked goods once sold at the late, lamented Clarksburg Bakery on Spring Street are made by former Clarksburg baker Jamie Ott at Cricket Creek Farm, a dairy farm with a farm store off Sloan Road in Williamstown, about a mile from the Store at Five Corners. The farm also produces artisanal cheeses (available for online purchase), pasture-raised beef, eggs, and milk, and has a barn space available as a small rental party place.

If you go to the farm’s website, you’ll see a list of stores (including Wild Oats, the co-op on Rt. 2) and restaurants that carry or use some of their items, as well as a weekly bread baking schedule.

Thanks to Tom Bernard ’92 for the heads up.


Another Top Ranking: Morty’s Salary in the Top 10

The Berkshire Eagle reports that “… a new survey puts Williams College’s Morton O. Schapiro ninth on the list of top-paid leaders at private schools that primarily award bachelor’s degrees. Schapiro’s compensation for the 2006-07 academic year was $514,744, including $62,729 in deferred compensation benefits, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual survey, released yesterday. Schapiro’s compensation total for the previous year was $474,518….”

Do I see both an excellent opportunity for leadership and a bit of a cost-cutting or hold-the-line possibility here?

Another interesting note: Rep. Grassley (he of the move to force more take down of endowments; I guess we already took care of that, unintentionally) was all over the rise in college presidents’ compensation.


Breaking News – Soccer

photo copyright Williams College

The sleet came down but the Ephs triumphed. They will take on the College of New Jersey next weekend in the Sweet 16.

UPDATE: Williams will host the sectionals. In addition to the Williams-TCNJ match, Ithaca will play Lynchburg. All games will be available online FOR FREE at Teamline. These being NCAA games, there will be a small charge for attending in person at Cole Field.


A Williams Gem

Fran Vandermeer celebrates her team (photo copyright Williams College)

The honors have been rolling in for the members of the volleyball team during the last week. They are young (they lost only one senior to graduation last year and will again lose one this year), so their poise and perseverance through a rocky mid-season — where they were losing more than they were winning–and their improbable upsets and streak are all the more admirable. They are now 28-12, with 12 of those wins coming in the last 12 games. Congratulations to regional tournament MVP Kate Anderson and to fellow All-Tournament Team member Nichole Ballon-Landa (both sophomores) and to their very worthy All-Tournament Team member peers Alice Cummings and Jessica Duff of Wellesley.

The remarkable Coach Fran Vandermeer deserves special congratulations. She has an extraordinary connection with her team. She tries to sit through the sets the way the other coaches do, but she can’t. She doesn’t yell or stamp, but she’s always there at the edge of the court and you can see her energy and passion flowing over the line to her girls. You can sense the connection in her strategic use of time outs and the knowledge of her team embodied in it; other coaches try to do this but she almost never fails to steady her girls and send them roaring back. And she seems to keep the focus forward, something that carries over in the girls’ poise (you won’t see them getting frustrated or turning on each other the way some other teams do). As I watched her make big changes in rocky moments during the Tufts, Springfield, and Wellesley games, I kept thinking about the trust she’s built among the girls: they implemented the changes with unhesitating confidence that the new arrangement was just the thing to turn the tide (often it seemed to become a self-fulfilling prophecy).

In her 19th or 20th year as a Williams coach, Vandermeer is one of the gems of Williams College. So is Cross-Country Head Coach Pete Farwell ’73, whose harriers again did so well yesterday but who is to be equally honored for the huge deep, smart, no-cut program he runs. Thankfully, there’s something about Williams, other NESCAC schools, and remnants of the Seven Sisters that nurtures these vital, longtime non-academic teachers.

Vandermeer steadies her team (photo copyright Williams College)


Volleyball – Williams vs. Wellesley

And Williams is going to the Elite 8 in Illinois next week. Wellesley played an outstanding game and almost took them.

The mantra of the game was, as the announcers kept saying, “No one’s going down easily in this one.” The lead went back and forth all game, and the recoveries were quite admirable.

The team with the NCAA New England Regional Championship trophy

[And a big shout out to another Eph team tonight: congratulations to men’s basketball and Coach Maker for winning their first game. Nice way to welcome your coach, guys. May this be the start of a long and productive run.]


The volleyball NCAA New England regional championship game is on Jumbocast right now.

(in reverse order)

The fourth set went to Williams.

Williams came out firing in the third set, taking it to 7-1. Then they slipped, and it was a back and forth slog that Williams ultimately took, 25-23. Anderson is affected by the injury, but still fighting.

Wellesly took the second set, 25-17. Williams standout Kate Anderson was hurt in the first set, missed part of the second, and then played hurt. Wellesley found a weakness in the Williams service return and worked it hard in the beginning of the set, wearing Williams down. This was a tough one with a lot of mistakes by Williams, and Wellesley is following the pattern that has twice before brought success in this tournament. I think having to use up both of her time outs early in the set greatly hindered Fran from being able to do her usual great job of steadying the team.

Williams took the first set, 27-25, after a remarkable rally by the Blue. Williams has admirable poise. Wellesley has astonishing perseverance. Each has found and has been picking away at the other’s weaknesses. 

The Tufts anouncers/commentators are doing a great job. They really understand the game.


Men and Women Advance to NCAA Championships

Hosting NCAA New England regionals today, both Eph cross-country teams had very successful outings despite the rain. They’ll run on a much flatter course next weekend at the NCAA championships at Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana.

On the men’s side, Edgar Kosgey won the 8K event, followed in by four other Ephs in the top 15. Their score of 36 placed them far ahead of second place Amherst, who, with a 122, also earned an automatic championship berth. Several other NESCAC schools may be granted at-large slots, depending on the results in other regions.


Edgar Kosgey (left runner); copyright Williams College

On the women’s side, only Amherst’s Elise Tropiano managed to get past Eph Lauren Philbrook, who is having a phenomenal year. Middlebury won this 6K event with a 57, while Williams tallied a 87 for second. Both teams earned automatic championship berths and could be joined by at-large invitees from New England.

Lauren Philbrook (left) (copyright Williams College)

REMINDER: Williams volleyball plays Wellesley at 7 PM tonight at Tufts for the NCAA regional championship (round 3). The game will be on Jumbocast.


Wintry Light

As winter approaches, one of the things I remember most from my time in Williamstown is the mesmerizing, ever-changing play of the light on the campus buildings and the Purple Valley mountains.

(copyright Dread Pirate Ruth; linked to her flickr stream)



(copyright Ledges; linked to her flickr stream)


Sign on the ’62 Center (a/k/a on EB as Trump’s Pompadour)










(copyright stenz; linked to his flickr stream)

One of my favorites from the williamscollege flickr pool.


Chunky Cheese Bread

photo copyright MiniLaura

Sometime in the last few weeks, we were talking about Clarksburg Bakery, late of Spring Street, and their cheese bread, which is now available from Wild Oats. From a MiniLaura submission to the flickr pool, here’s a picture.

UPDATE: The cookies, Chunky Cheese Bread, and other baked goods once sold at the late, lamented Clarksburg Bakery on Spring Street are made by former Clarksburg baker Jamie Ott at Cricket Creek Farm, a dairy farm with a farm store off Sloan Road in Williamstown, about a mile from the Store at Five Corners. The farm also produces artisanal cheeses (available for online purchase), pasture-raised beef, eggs, and milk, and has a barn space available as a small rental party place.

If you go to the farm’s website, you’ll see a list of stores (including Wild Oats, the co-op on Rt. 2) and restaurants that carry or use some of their items, as well as a weekly bread baking schedule.

Thanks to Tom Bernard ‘92 for the heads up.



The Ephs with their NESCAC championship plaque last week

photo copyright Williams College    

The Eph volleyball team has just defeated Springfield, 3-0, to advance to tomorrow’s 7 p.m. NCAA regional final against the winner of tonight’s contest between Tufts and Wellesley. The regional championship game will be webcast on Jumbocast.

If you follow volleyball, you may remember that Williams had an upset victory against #1-seeded Tufts to advance to their NESCAC championship game against Amherst last week. Williams will once again be playing at Tufts so, if you are in the Boston area, try to make it out to support the team. A loud fan section seems to make a big difference in volleyball.

Other Williams NCAA events this weekend: the Ephs host the men and the women in the New England Division III regional cross country meets on Sat. and on Sun. Williams hosts round 2 of the women’s soccer tournament. 

Go Ephs!

Volleyball Update: In the regional finals, Williams will face Wellesley, the winners of a persistent, hard-fought 3-2 semifinal victory over Tufts. Small, but scrappy, Wellesley came into the tournament on an at-large bid, while Tufts had been a powerhouse and was playing on their home court. To get to the finals, the Wellesley team had to play 10 matches (two five-set games), while Williams played a total of six. Hard to know which will dominate on Wellesley’s part tomorrow: the exhaustion or the exhilaration. Tomorrow’s winners will play in the Elite 8 at Illinois Wesleyan. Go Ephs!


Vintage Chapin Hall

Postcard of Chapin Hall, circa 1910

This is a postcard of Chapin Hall, dating back to about 1915. Constructed in 1911-12 and named in honor of Grace Chapin, the wife of Alfred Chapin of the Class of 1869, the building was originally called “Grace Hall.”  

Until I saw this photograph, I missed out on a lot of the ways this building shares features and motifs with both Stetson and the Williams/Sage pair (I seem to remember that Chapin was constructed first among that “neighborhood” group). 

I am experimenting with posting pictures (thanks to help from Ronit, Diana, and others), so please bear with me. My goal is to pull up from time to time and post some of the photographs from the “williamscollege” flickr pool that rarely come up on the EphBlog sidebar.


Secondary School Educators

In addition to alumni accomplishments in many other fields, Williams is known for producing leaders in secondary education. I thought of that this morning as I read the obituary for Bruce McClellan ’45, the long-time head of the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey.

The obituary notes that, “During his tenure the school underwent major changes, most notably with a student body that became both coeducational and increasingly diverse. Mr. McClellan was the driving force behind the admission of black students in 1964 and girls in 1987.” In addition, he greatly increased the school’s endowment, enabling Lawrenceville to offer institution-altering levels of financial aid and to provide impressive facilities and curricular offerings.

An outstanding student, a varsity athlete, and a student leader at Williams during World War II, McClellan also managed to serve as a summer warrior: “Between his sophomore and junior years at college, Mr. McClellan served as a pilot in the Army Air Corps and was separated from service in September 1945 with the rank of captain. He saw combat service over Europe with the 8th Air Force and earned the Air Medal with clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross.”

McClellan then went on to take up a Rhodes, and returned to Williams for a year as an assistant dean before leaving to teach English at Lawrenceville, where he became Head Master at 35. His work there would eventually win him honorary degrees from several colleges, including his alma mater.

As with many of the most effective leaders in secondary education, McClellan always kept his hand in as a teacher: “Mr. McClellan continued to instruct English through his time as head master, explaining, ‘It feeds my spirit to teach.’”

Secondary school teachers and administrators labor in something of a backwater, largely unrecognized, and yet providing vital services and having an enormous impact on our whole society’s future. Williams recognizes this with various programs designed to help students who plan to enter the field and with its acknowledgement that “we stand upon the shoulders of giants” in the form of granting the Olmsted Prize for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching at Commencement to four high school teachers who have made a difference to graduating Williams seniors.

Often, more cherished than any institutional award are the thanks of, and being remembered by, former students. Sadly, the mentors of our youth seem to pass away all too soon while we are off pursuing our careers and busy with raising our children. The upcoming Thanksgiving season would be a good time to write a note or pick up the phone to call one of your (or your child’s) former teachers or coaches.



Advances to round 2.

Go Ephs!


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