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A (not so) New Director for WTF

“Six years later [Jenny Gersten] goes back to the summer festival where she got her start.”

The quote above is from the Sunday New York Times article titled “Second Act for New Chief of Festival” which needs a log-in. Better yet, read about it here in The Boston Globe.

I apologize for the quickie (running out the door) post, but I do recommend reading about Gersten and her plans. Sounds like she will be bringing a lot of fresh energy (and exciting talent) to the Williamstown Theater.


Ann Bancroft – Baccalaureate Speaker 2011

My first reaction on hearing that Ann Bancroft was slated to be this year’s Baccalaureate speaker, was – Huh? I thought she passed away a few years ago – I was, of course, mistaking her for the other Ann Bancroft. This Ann Bancroft is living the life most actors might dream of portraying.

From the college announcement, we read:

Author, teacher and explorer, Bancroft was born in St. Paul, Minn., in 1955. Bancroft received her B.S. in physical education from the University of Oregon. She then became a wilderness instructor and gym teacher in Minneapolis before giving up her teaching post in 1986 to join the Will Steger International North Pole Expedition. After traveling for 56 days by dogsled, Bancroft, along with five other team members, arrived at the North Pole. The trip totaled 1000 miles starting from the Northwest Territories in Canada, and Bancroft was the only female member of the team.
In 1993, Bancroft led the American Women’s Expedition to the South Pole, which consisted of a 67-day, 660-mile long trip on skis. In 2001, Bancroft and Liv Arnesen became the first team of women to ski across Antarctica’s landmass.
Bancroft maintains a passion for teaching children. In addition to her teaching in Minneapolis, she has coached a variety of sports. In 2001, she founded the Ann Bancroft Foundation, a nonprofit organization that celebrates the achievements of women and girls. Bancroft is also included in a documentary featuring celebrities who have dealt with learning disabilities, as she was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child.

Moving on to the Anne Bancroft Foundation, we read about her Dare to Dream program,where “micro grants” of up to $500 are awarded to fund experiences for underserved girls…and her annual Dream Maker Awards created to celebrate those who “encourage and support the achievements of girls and women”.

With partner, Liv Arnesen, Bancroft co-founded Bancroft Arnesen Explore, where if you click on 2012, you can read about their upcoming adventure in which they will “lead a team of six women, from six continents, on an 800 mile, 80-day long expedition to the South Pole. It is no wonder she’s been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

At The Yale Center For Creativity and Dyslexia, we hear how her disability has informed who she has become:

“It’s given me strength. I feel lucky, and I couldn’t say that as a child.” Ann has gone from hiding her disability, as she did for her first expedition, to talking about it with other students with learning disabilities. She has given a voice to dyslexia, one where she is not ashamed of her disability, but rather feels proud that she is among others in a group of other “fantastic, brilliant, exciting people.”

Indeed, what a life! I look forward to hearing more from her.


Cory Booker – Commencement Speaker 2011

I am going to attempt a post on each of the speakers and honorees scheduled for this year’s graduation ceremonies. It’s a somewhat selfish endeavor in that it’s a good way for me to find out more about them before I arrive for the ceremonies. And what a truly special weekend it promises to be. There isn’t one guest I don’t look forward to hearing. I’ll begin today, with Commencement speaker, Cory Booker.

The school announcement introduces him as “the Honorable Cory A. Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey.” Born in 1969, he was an All-American football player in high school (in Jersey) and a Varsity player at Stanford where he earned a B.A. in political science and an M.A. in sociology. After earning a Rhodes Scholarship, he went on to Oxford, and from there, earned his law degree at Yale.

After some very helpful leads from Booker fan, Jeff Z (and Google, of course) I found much, much more. From Mother Jones (Nov. 2010), we learn of his fervent belief in “the power of small daily acts of love and kindness”, of his stint on the Newark City Council, during which he lived (for eight years) in a “troubled public housing complex”. We read of his bitter 2002 loss to the longtime mayoral incumbent, Sharpe James, whom he eventually beat in 2006, in an election so controversial it was documented in an Academy Awards nominated film called Street Fight. (James was later convicted of five counts of fraud by a federal jury.) Booker’s mayorship has been credited with significantly reducing crime and recidivism, slashing the budget before the recession hit, and inspiring Mark Zuckerberg to donate 100 million dollars to the Newark educational system.

There’s more. Bill Moyers, calls him a “shining star reformer”. From the many NY Times articles, there is one devoted to his personal, and ongoing mentoring of “the boys”, three young men who’ve all had previous brushes with the law. From Time, we hear how he made headlines last winter by using Twitter as a public service tool, guiding efforts to bring help to snowbound citizens. Showing up on doorsteps with his own shovel, he inspired Twitter feeds like “I have a snowpocalypse crush on @Cory Booker“, and “superhero with a shovel“.

Having never heard Booker speak, I linked to the 2010 commencement speech he gave at Pitzer, thinking I’d catch a few minutes of it just to get an idea. I not only watched the whole thing, but have been thinking about parts of it ever since. Booker is one accomplished and charismatic guy, and I am very pleased that I will be on campus to hear him.


The Job Search – Q & A with Will Slack ’11

Ed note: Thank you, Sr Mom, for donating your time and energy to this interview. It is a pleasure to have Will Slack back on this blog and enlightening to be able to hear his thoughts as he prepares for the next step of life outside the bubble.

As Sr Mom requests, perhaps readers have memories, specific suggestions, or direct contacts to add to the quest that many are beginning. If so, we might be able to offer an on-line extension of the alumni networks’ already-extant helpline.

Several hundred graduating ephs are in the process of looking for jobs. We all know it isn’t easy, especially now. I think starting a dialogue about it, could be beneficial. In my opinion, EB is an un-explored source in that regard. With that in mind, I asked Will Slack if he would be willing to participate. He agreed and we came up with this simple Q & A.

Please jump into the conversation in whatever way strikes your fancy. Tell us how it was for you. Whether it’s support, advice, suggestions, or anecdotes, there are a lot of ephs who could benefit from what you have to say.  And to other current seniors, we would welcome hearing from you as well, either in comments, or in a full post.

My questions are in bold, with Will’s answers in italics.


What career paths are you considering?

Williams has been very good at showing me what I’m good at (listening to people, making decisions responsibly, enabling people to pursue their goals, learning the intricacies of an organization and leveraging that knowledge for good, helping people, keeping secrets) and what I’m bad at (stepping back and getting perspective during moments of focus, saying what I mean without communication foul-ups, stressing out about keeping secrets). Unfortunately, none of this points to a clear career path.

At the present moment I want to end up doing some sort of governmental work. I believe that technology offers a huge opportunity to increase efficiency and reduce the costs of governmental administration, but only if those policies are pursued with intelligence, and I want to be someone who raises different ideas and possibilities that allow our governments to do a better, cheaper job, especially for a citizen with a grievance but little institutional knowledge of the body s/he must appeal to.

If that indicates a clear career path, I would appreciate knowing what that is, because I’m confused at the moment. :P

Read more


When I think of Williams…

photo by psmithinseattle

…I think of moving-in day at the frosh quad, a certain bench next to West College, Lane Faison’s gravestone, Thompson Chapel, coffee at Tunnel City…

We all hold different images for places that are important to us. What might yours be?


(Belatedly) Kicking off Senior Year

Greetings all. It’s been a while since I’ve posted, so please have patience with my rusty skills.

Here’s the gist of it:

Senior year is a very big deal. At least it is in our household. Exciting, bittersweet, confusing and stressful. Pick an adjective or emotion, and chances are, it fits. There are deadlines to meet, reservations to be made, announcements to be ordered, gifts to consider, and that’s just on my end. My son has his usual workload and cram-packed schedule. And plopped on top of that, are all of the special activities, festivities and responsibilities, that go along with being a senior. Not to mention that making an exit from the Purple Bubble, means making an entrance into the real world. Phew…

I have been considering all of this, and would like to come up with a series of posts for Ephblog. I could use some help. With that in mind, reminiscences, suggestions, advice, ideas…anything having to do with that grand denouement that is Senior Year, would be greatly appreciated.

I would also like to extend an invitation to any Williams seniors who would like to contribute, either here, or in your own post. Your perspectives on this amazing year would truly be a gift.


Mike Glier ’75 in Botswana

Elephant Tracks at Nxai Pan, Botswana

First, apologies for going at this a bit backwards. Just think of it as entering a gallery from a side room, rather than the one planned by the curator.

The painting I posted yesterday was from Glier’s recent work in Hawaii. He is there because it is the third part of a much larger plan, which he outlines quite beautifully on his site. Hawaii, is the antipode of his location last year, which was Botswana. I actually posted about that part of his trip back then, but since Dcat is in Botswana now (or just returned?), and because Glier has completed paintings that were not up last year, I thought I’d post a refresher.

I highly recommend you explore Glier’s site. His project is inspiring, original, and of grand breadth, and his *paintings, photographs, and writing will transport you. If you are reading this, chances are good that you are not on vacation, and that you are looking for a bit of distraction from work. If so, Glier’s project will be a meaningful one.

*All Botswana Posts


Mike Glier ’75 – Work in Progress

I have not posted in a while so let’s see if I can get this image on the page…

I have been following Professor Mike Glier’s posts for a while and was quite struck with his recent work on Hawaii. You may have seen the paintings in the sidebar a while back. I think they are a breath of fresh air, or should I say, a dousing of cool water?

Hope everyone is having a nice summer, even if not in Hawaii.



I have been thinking about doing this post for quite a while. Initially, it seemed like a natural follow-up to Dorm Living, and then I was reminded of it when Tiny Dancer posted her lovely tribute to her JA partner, and most recently, Swart’s coming-to-the-rescue of his lovelorn pal and college roommate, Rechtal, finally got me to here.

My original intention was to post something fairly fleshed out. After all, if you google the subject of “Roommates”, a veritable cornucopia of sites, books, rants and blogs appear. But, since I don’t have the time and/or ability to focus on a detailed post, I offer this simple musing instead.

As evidenced by my Google search, the whole roommate topic is a rich one. One of the funniest things that came up was a recent book titled I Lick My Cheese. We’ve all heard the horror stories about the roomies from hell. The ones who steal your food, or help themselves to your closet. I once had a flatmate who borrowed a blouse and decided to cut a few inches off the bottom of it so it would better suit her, I kid you not. That same gal borrowed my favorite earrings (without asking) and lost one.  And then seemed so flabbergasted that I was peeved with her . Definitely put a damper on the relationship.

But, then, there are the good stories, the lifelong friendships that can result from a random pairing. Swart and Rechtal, for example. And my husband’s very best friend was one of his college roomies. And, I am certain my son will remain friends with the roommates he has had at Williams.

So, really, this post is a chance to hear your stories. From roommates to entry mates, to flat mates, feel free to share, or maybe even confess. Did you “lick your cheese”, or padlock the refrigerator? Or instead, were you the lucky recipient of a pairing that led to a real bond?

I have also heard that playing practical jokes on one’s roomie is a popular pastime, so feel free to share those remembrances as well. You may end up inspiring current students.

And, if there is anyone who has inside information on how the freshman room and entry mate decisions are made at the college, please share it. I have always wondered about that process.


Art + Science

WCMA currently has an exhibition titled Landscapes of the Mind.

Co-curated by Psychology Professor Betty Zimmerberg and Interim Curator Kathryn Price, the show features the work of four artists who, in very different ways, draw their inspiration from the inner landscape of the brain.

The  piece featured here, is by artist Jessica Rankin, whose embroideries on organdy, are inspired by neurological activity.

Andrew Carnie , on the other hand, “demonstrates the birth and differentiation of brain cells” by projecting images in the darkened Rotunda. Katy Schimert uses a variety of materials, ranging from wire mesh, to light bulbs, to build installations modeled on brain structures. And finally,  Susan Aldworth’s etchings were initially inspired by seeing images of her own brain during her stint as a neurology patient.

Jenny Tang reviews the show for The Record , while Charles Bonenti at The Berkshire Eagle explores the artists’ backgrounds and processes.

The museum is also featuring a series of events around the exhibition, one of which is a symposium on March 13th, featuring a  discussion on the intersections of art and science.


Dim Sum and Then Some

I was just checking out the Williams Schedule of Events and I can’t believe how many interesting choices there are, just for today.

Starting with Environmental Studies Lunch at The Log, to Math and Physics events, then a choice of a free film in the afternoon or French horn recital, on to dinner, another film or the Planetarium, the Theater, or dance performance. And from there one can wrap up the evening dancing to Latin music at Fiesta Dance Night. Who says there’s nothing to do in Williamstown?

Anyway, they all sound great, but I happen to love Dim Sum, so the dinner caught my eye. A little late to be posting about it, but nonetheless I thought I’d mention it as it’s put on by CASO, and will benefit Wokai, both of which I know next to nothing about, so I’m hoping some students will drop by and give us more information.

And, any Dim Sum lovers out there? My favorites are the little curry chicken empanada type tarts, chicken and rice wrapped in leaves of some sort, and those little gummy sesame plum balls. I don’t know the names for any of these tasty treats, so please someone, feel free to fill me in me.

Mmmm, might have to book a trek for Dim Sum very soon.


Sherman Alexie, Faulkner Award Finalist

Okay, okay…

I know…this isn’t high finance, and it isn’t dramatic, and it might get zero comments, but nonetheless, it is Eph related. Sherman Alexie, the author of the last Williams Reads, is a finalist for the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award. Now, granted, this isn’t even for the same book that Williams Reads chose, but, nonetheless, I do remember there was a lot of discussion about Alexie as an author choice, and so, I thought I’d post this.

For what it’s worth, one of the other nominees, is Barbara Kingsolver for The Lacuna. I happened to just finish reading her book and highly recommend it. As the quip in the quip says, it’s about “art, McCarthyism and post World War II America”, but in my opinion, is equally rich in how it deals with gender issues and love, in all it’s guises. In fact, I’d like to see it considered for the next Williams Reads.

Anyway, a hearty congrats to Sherman Alexie.  And, it would be nice to get some feedback from Williams Read(ers).


Wick Sloane, engaging at 12am

Thanks to ’12 for linking us to this article in the NY Times featuring Professor Sloane and his midnight class at Bunker Hill Community College.

Wick Sloane, who teaches the midnight writing class at Bunker Hill, tried to transport Mr. Chin and the other students from the windowless, concrete-walled classroom one recent night with an essay by Edward Abbey, the nature writer, about encountering a mountain lion in the New Mexican desert. When one student answered a question with a giant yawn around 2:15, Mr. Sloane asked, “Can everyone make it about 15 more minutes?”

For homework, he assigned an essay analyzing Calpurnia’s rhetoric in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” leading one student to ask whether Shakespeare used an alias. The room started buzzing with opinions.

“Do you want to stay and debate who Shakespeare was?” Mr. Sloane asked.

They did not, but not for lack of enthusiasm. “He’s got me engaged,” Mr. Chin said, “which is not easy at this time of night.”

Read the whole article. Not only is Wick strengthening writing abilities, it sounds like he’s building his biceps as well.


Bubble Tea

So, now that I’ve got your attention, who here has experienced Bubble Tea? I have, and it is an utterly unique concoction.

I had it in Singapore many years ago. It is a drink, although you need more than a straw to finish it off. There are lots of variations of the recipe. Mine was milky and sweet, with shaved ice, tapioca pearls and  even beans. My travel partner thought me a brave soul for ordering it, would not consider even a taste, and was horrified when I slurped the whole thing down.  

Bubble Tea is only one of the many delights of the Global Feast being served tomorrow evening at Greylock Dining Hall. If I was on the Williams campus, I would not miss it. The International Club and Dining Services has teamed up to give you curry, and sticky rice, and spring rolls and much more. Yum! 

So, go and have a taste of somewhere else. If you can’t get off campus for a change of pace, this might be the next best thing.

P.S. What strange and exotic food would you like added to this menu?


Fay Vincent ’60 on Umping

Fay Vincent has an Opinion piece in yesterday’s NY Times, titled “Building a Better Umpire” . Citing missed calls in the first round of playoffs, he’s come up with a few suggestions on how to fix “a few fundamental problems with professional baseball’s umpiring system”.

WITH the American League and National League Championship Series under way and the World Series looming, the baseball world is buzzing with criticism of the umpiring during the first round of the playoffs. In a game between the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins, for example, an umpire called foul a ball that hit the glove of the Yankees left fielder in fair territory — a mistake that may have cost the Twins the game. Such missed calls have led to a renewed outcry for the wider use of instant replay to ensure better officiating. But before we turn to the intrusion and delay that additional use of tape reviews would cause, a few fundamental problems with professional baseball’s umpiring system should be fixed.

Read more


Morty’s Strategic Plan at Northwestern

Morty seems to be moving into gear at Northwestern, with an emphasis on inclusivity and environmental issues. 

“We have a long way to go before our institutions can be considered truly inclusive,” said Morton Schapiro, the school’s 16th president. “I’m not talking about tolerance. People don’t want to be tolerated. They want to be full members of the community.”

Schapiro, 56, said he would work to ensure that the 158-year-old university helps provide an education for people of all backgrounds. During a 90-minute ceremony resplendent with scores of professors in colorful regalia, he also stressed that Northwestern has a moral imperative to use its resources to help address environmental issues.

“I’ve lived in this country all of my life and the environmental degradation that my generation has witnessed and implicitly approved sometimes makes me embarrassed to face my three children,” he said.

The conventional wisdom, Schapiro said, was that once developing countries become rich enough, they can afford to care about the environment. Trained as an economist, he said he didn’t find that argument compelling.

“There’s a moral and an economic imperative not to delay” in addressing the problem, he said. “And Northwestern needs to help lead those efforts.”

Read the whole article here. 

*Thank you to Dave for the link.


Misc Alumni News

For the purposes of archiving, a round up of misc. alumni news from “Speak Up”. 

*From Ronit:

Articles by or about two Eph Marines:

Steve Forrester ‘68, editor of the Daily Astorian in Oregon

NYT profile of the work Jerry Rizzo ‘87 has done with the Cornell football team


*And on David Kaiser:

David Kaiser: Afghanistan – an historical perspective


*And from Dave:

Lots of Wade Rathke ‘71 material.


Read more


Best of Ephblog

A couple of weeks ago, Jeff Z came up with a great idea:

Random thought on potential Ephblog feature: although I recently tweaked David for applauding his own prior post, it did get me to thinking, there is no best of Ephblog or anything like that for new readers to glance at … maybe on one designated day some of the regular authors could each pick 5-10 of their favorite past posts and compile links to such posts in a single post on the main page? It seems a bit egomaniacal if one person does it, but if we all do, less so …

With that in mind, take a moment to think about the posts that have caught your fancy. If you can remember them well enough to fish them out of  “Categories”, or through “Search”, then make a link in your comment. If you don’t have the time or inclination to find the post, or only vaguely remember the discussion, then give us a hint and we can try to sleuth it out.

I have created a new category called “Best of Ephblog”, and your nominations will deem a post gets filed into this category.

So, take a little stroll down EB Memory Lane, and let us know what comes up. I will start off with a few of my own favorites, and link them in Comments.


Travel-Study 2010

I am really enjoying the September issue of the Williams Alumni Review. It is beautifully done, and there are several articles I’d like to post for discussion.

For starters, the inside back cover is all about the Travel-Study Program for 2010. I pored through the listings and they are enticing. Mind you, I come from a family of seasoned travelers, we don’t usually shine to any kind of group/tour  arrangements, but these sound pretty great.


Portugal’s Douro River (June 24-July 5)

Sailing on a comfortable riverboat from Porto to Spain, making tasty connections between culture and cuisine with Gastronomica editor Darra Goldstein, the Francis Christopher Oakley Third century Professor of Russian, Two days in Lisbon are included.

Hmmm, I haven’t been to Portugal, and I especially  like the “tasty connections” part. Sustenance is a priority for me. 

Now this one might better appeal to my husband. He is of a more adventurous nature (and is largely the reason why I spent a week on the Amazon in a very uncomfortable riverboat, and with nary a “tasty connection” to speak of):

Red Sea Civilizations (jan 24-Feb 7)

Examine antique sites in Egypt, Jordan and Israel, from the Pyramids to Petra (including nine days aboard a small ship), with history professor Magnus Bernhardsson. 

Yup, throw in a dig and he’ll be especially happy.

So, have any of you taken one of these trips? Or find one of these especially enticing? Or have any stories to tell about your own travel-related “replenishing of the curious mind”? Because I am planning to get the heck out of Dodge soon, and a few real reminders of the wonder of a new destination, will help me deal with the less wonderful stuff (airports, security lines, delays, lost bags, etc.) in between.






Making books. Seeking genre. Living in a barn.

If you happen to be anywhere near Bethesda, Maryland this weekend,  stop by the Small Press Expo (SPX) and see what Robbie Behr and Matthew Swanson are up to. Look for the banner that says Idiots’ Books.

They will be debuting their newest book, Nasty Chipmunk, as well as giving out free copies of Story Circles. Pick one of these up for me, please, and let me know how much a copy (1 of 50) of Nasty Chipmunk will set me back. The illustrations look gorgeous, and between the talent of this duo and the limited edition, I consider this a collector’s item.

Oh, and say hi from EphBlog!


Camille Utterback ’92- Awarded MacArthur

Utterback 2

The MacArthur Foundation has made artist Camille Utterback, one of its ’09 Fellows.

Interactive and/or computer-generated artwork has been an important part of the contemporary art scene for quite a while now , but Utterback’s work is some of the most unique. Through the use of an installed camera, her video installations capture the trajectory of the viewer  and respond. The piece moves and changes as a result.  In effect, each viewing becomes a completely new work. Utterly engaging!

Don’t miss this short video in which she describes her work. And learn more about her on her site, here.

Congrats to Ms. Utterback on her MacArthur Award. I look forward to seeing, and taking part in, her work.


Update from Ronit’s comment @ 11:

*Ethan Zuckerman congratulates Utterback, a friend and past intern of Tripod.

*And MASS MoCA tips their hat to her as well.



Greg Crowther ’95, left us a gem on “Speak Up”. He says:

I just posted a blog entry that is partly about Bill Bowerman, one of the great track coaches of the 20th century. The book I’m reading about him, “Bowerman and the Men of Oregon” by Kenny Moore, opens with the following quote: “A guru gives us himself and then his system; a teacher gives us his subject, and then ourselves.” Quick, what’s the Williams connection?

You guessed it — it’s a line from Adam Gopnik’s essay on Kirk Varnedoe, as previously featured on EphBlog. I was shocked (and pleased) to run across this quote again, since I only read about two books per year. Anyway, the Bowerman book is a great read for those interested in sports mentors and the like.

I have been stopping by Greg’s site ever since Ronit posted this lovely piece by him a while back. He writes about running, and in this essay in particular, a type of training called “HARD/EASY”. He cites Coach Bowerman as an early sourceadvocate of this principle, and quotes writer Kenny Moore on the man:

“Take a primitive organism,” Bowerman would say. “Any weak, pitiful organism. Say a freshman. Make it lift, or jump or run. Let it rest. What happens? A little miracle. It gets a little better. It gets a little stronger or faster or more enduring. That’s all training is. Stress. Recover. Improve.”

Read the whole thing. Like all good writers who write about their passion, Crowther’s words will inspire you to yours, whatever that may be.


New York, New York…

Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leaving today
I want to be a part of it: New York, New York.

Williams Transport introduces Friday shuttle to New York City
By Laura Corona – News Editor

In response to student calls for more ways to get off campus, Williams Transport is expanding its operations, most notably by offering weekly shuttles to New York City. Beginning this Friday, vans will depart from Mission Park at 3 p.m. and drive students to 8th Avenue between West 30th and 31st street in Manhattan. The vans will make a return trip on Sunday, departing from New York City at 3 p.m.

The ticket price for the weekly shuttle is $32, but students who purchase tickets three or more weeks in advance receive a $5 discount. The direct shuttle offers an upgrade from the Peter Pan bus, which costs $50 and takes close to five hours. Departing daily from the Williams Inn, the Peter Pan bus has been the only regular local service to New York City available in the past.

Rachel Hudson ’10, executive director of Williams Transport, explained that strong student demand prompted the move. “In our June 2008 survey, we found that many students were eager to travel to New York on the weekends but found the existing travel options to be too expensive and time-consuming,” she said.

In addition to the New York City service, Williams Transport will offer a shuttle to Secaucus, N.J. before and after breaks, expanding its list of destinations. A free shuttle will also run to Berkshire Mall every Sunday.

*Special thanks to Parent ’12 for this great news!
(from the Record)


Misc News Round-up

This is a summary post of various news items from Speak Up. 

Read more


Wick Sloane ’76, After Midnight

In the same halls that served as setting for Good Will Hunting, Professor Wick Sloane burns the midnight oil teaching College Writing I, to a class of very dedicated students.

Age range? 18 to 59. Languages other than English spoken by his students? Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, and Somali. 

What’s more, he scurries home to meet his 4am deadline for Inside Higher Ed in order that we can read about it now. Judging by the results, I’d say those students are in the best of hands. Read the whole thing.


Link to Wick’s pamphlet, “Common Sense — The Bachelor’s Degree is Obsolete.”

(link added by Ronit at Wick’s request)


Convocation ’09

Tomorrows convocation panel discussion sounds like a diverse mix of Ephs. The theme is “Inspired Lives- Paths Well Traveled”

Convocation event featuring Bicentennial Medalists in a panel discussion where they will share their life stories. Bicentennial Medals recognize distinguished Williams alumni for “significant achievement in any field of endeavor.” Medalists are:

The Honorable Karen Ashby ’79 The first African American woman appointed to the bench in the state of Colorado, she is a nationally recognized expert in matters pertaining to juvenile and family law.

Mika Brzezinski ’89 A television news journalist with star power, she is a familiar anchor on a host of NBC shows including MSNBC’s Morning Joe, NBC Nightly News, and Weekend Today.

Gary Fisketjon ’76 Vice president at Alfred A. Knopf, he has been honored for “discovering, nurturing and championing writers of fiction” and is considered an editorial master by established writers worldwide.

John F. Raynolds ’51 This innovator devised strategies that led to development of the U.S. Navy Seals and steered Outward Bound, USA, through its largest growth in history, all the while inspiring others through his speaking and writing.

Senator Mark E. Udall ’72 An accomplished mountain climber, the Senator from Colorado is nationally recognized for his steadfast commitment to addressing challenging environmental issues, including his early support for alternative energy.


Sounds good to me. I hope someone can report back.


Besser ’81 Joins ABC

Dr. Richard Besser ’81…

… a 13-year veteran of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, joins chief medical editor Dr. Timothy Johnson at ABC News as the senior health and medical editor.

The medical team’s newest member weighs in on swine flu concerns.
Before joining ABC, Besser served as acting director of the CDC and was the former head of the CDC’s Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response.

Here is a bit of video from the ABC site. It starts with a nice bio of Besser and then segues into swine flu precautions.

(Ronit, feel free to embed the video. I tried with no luck. Unless, like “more” it does not show in preview?)


Parent ’12 at the Shippee Concert




(In the words of Parent ’12)

Concert at the Bechstein Piano Centre

Sept. 4- “Chopin with a side of Beethoven”

(Thanks to Ronit for posting this concert on EB.) 

 It was a first for me to hear a concert in a store, which raised questions of marketing.  Would I buy a Bechstein?  Could I afford a Bechstein?   How big a Bechstein would fit in my home?  Who comes to these concerts?

It also was a first to be at an Eph-related event (Joe Shippee ’07 performed) that was not at Williams or the Williams Club.  Although Ronit & I did not cross paths, I did overhear comments between different generations like… he was 2 years behind me… I lived in Currier, did you?  … do you think things (clearly referring to the economy) have changed?

It was an interesting concert with a traditional program.  The program notes were interesting– bulleted highlights accompanied with score excerpts… like reading someone’s notes for a class.  The bios were interesting– Mr. Shippee was joined by a friend, Christopher Schmitt (Juilliard ’09), whom he had met while at a summer music camp when they were both in high school.  

If I were to buy a Bechstein, I would want to have Mr. Schmitt play it regularly.  As Joe remarked, one of their teachers at the camp, if given the option, would curl up under the piano while Chris played.


Mike Glier ’75 in Tsodilo
















Mike Glier ’75 , has moved on from the Okavango Delta to the Tsodilo Hills…

…an elbow and knee of bedrock that sticks out of the Botswana sand sheet. Inhabited by humans for over a 100,000 years, the hills have been consecrated with 5000 rock paintings and a three dimensional image of a Python, believed to be one of the world’s first sculptures. These artifacts are a trace of people who lived lives with days that had a rhythm filled of actions that had a reason. What were their lives like? How did they get through the day? And again I wondered what knowledge has been lost? Perhaps there is an echo of an answer in the following images from Tsodilo Hills and fifteen tips on bush survival provided by Matsaudi and Lenamile.

Check out Professor Glier’s wonderful post here, and be sure and take note of the tips on bush survival. After all, you never know when a hippo might surface next to your boat.

(P ’12, scroll down for the elephant paintings)


Speak Up Round-Up

Just archiving a few odds and ends from Speak Up. 

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