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Time to clean out my e-mail box of EphBlog material

1) Todd Pelkey ‘89 pointed out (two years ago!) this article about Michael Govan at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

2) From the Purple Bull mailing list:

Skip, a purple bull alum, just emailed me to let you guys know that Lehman will be here tomorrow at the Job Fair. He said:

“It will probably be most helpful for people looking at next year (current sophomores applying for internships next year and current juniors applying for full time next year).”

So, I encourage you all to check it out. Will be a good opportunity to get to know the Lehman folks, which is important since we’re not a core school for Lehman any more.

No worries on that front!

3) John Berger ’89 founded and runs (with his wife) The Emancipation Network: Fighting Human Trafficking and Slavery with Empowerment. Read about them here. Someone should invite him to give a talk at Williams.

Amity Shlaes on Bloomberg in December.

Youth is what the climate change conference in Copenhagen is supposed to be all about.

The advertising campaign for the United Nations Climate Change Conference on global warming that opens this week is even called “Hopenhagen,” to suggest that young people need to push their governments to save the Kyoto Treaty if they are going to prevent environmental apocalypse.

One reason that Hopenhagen has caught on is that youth fashion these days is as green as it gets. Copenhagen, thrift and handbags made of recycled seatbelts all go together in the under-30 mind. At Williams College in Massachusetts, some 50 students and faculty started a hunger strike to show their support for a climate-change agreement.

7) Most bizarre article featuring an Eph.

8) (d)avid points out this article (pdf): “Why do Institutions of Higher Education Reward Research While Selling Education?”

9) A letter from John Calhoun ’62:

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Williams Online

Let’s just say that this little post of Williams on Twitter ballooned a bit, shall we?

Ideas on how better can this post be organized?


Williams on Facebook:



Event Information/Calendars:



Williams freshman wins national ‘green’ award

By Meghan Foley, North Adams Transcript
WILLIAMSTOWN — Before coming to Williams College in August, Claudia Corona, of Los Angeles, took it upon herself to educate students at her high school about the importance of co-existing with the environment.

Her efforts didn’t go unnoticed, and during the spring of her senior year at the California Academy for Liberal Studies Early College High School in Los Angeles, she was nominated for an award given by the Sierra Club’s Building Bridges to the Outdoors program and the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE).

On Oct. 10, Corona received the second annual Green Youth Leader award at the 2009 NAAEE’s annual Conference in Portland, Ore….

Read the whole article.


Eph Links

Instead of letting an endless number of (dated) Eph links collect in my tabs, I will start dumping them in summary posts like this one. Some are more Eph connected than others. Enjoy!

Vassar Will Raise Tuition, Cut Jobs After Endowment Falls 21% –

“Vassar will reduce its workforce by 3 percent, through an unspecified number of job cuts, buyouts and attrition, and will suspend faculty searches and contracts for adjunct instructors, Catharine Hill, the president of the school, said yesterday in a letter to alumni.”

News: Bowdoin Punishes Professor Who Provoked – Inside Higher Ed

No luck in getting a copy of this paper and seeing if it mentioned Williams.

News: Give Me Liquidity! – Inside Higher Ed

Best I can tell, the Williams endowment is much better off in this regard than most of our peers. Kudos to trustees like Joe Rice ’54, Alan Fulkerson ’54 and Dave Coolidge ’65 who have managed the money in such a sensible fashion over the last 20 years or so.

A Response to Mark Taylor – Confessions of a Community College Dean – Inside Higher Ed

Time Scales, on Campus and in the Blogosphere : Uncertain Principles

Readers sometimes accuse me of dead-horsing beating. That may be true but it misses the point, as Chad Orzel ’93 points out, that each year there are hundreds of new readers (each new entering class at Williams, much less alumni coming across EphBlog for the first time) who are unfamiliar with issues like tips, quotas for international applicants and Investment Office sleaze.

Be Fair, Harvard (Originals)

“But recently I have endured yet another example – and another lesson – in how the entrenched leadership of our colleges and universities uses whatever tools are at their disposal to contain criticism from those who dissent from the reigning orthodoxies. The tool of which I speak is the administration’s control over the email lists by which anyone can, rapidly and with minimal expense, communicate with virtually an entire alumni body. It is a tool containing vast reform (if not outright subversive) potential, but also the potential for increased institutional control.”


News: ‘The Student Loan Scam’ – Inside Higher Ed

There is still a great Record article to be written about financial aid at Williams. Unlike, say, in the Investment Office, there is almost certainly nothing sleazy going on here, but it would still be interesting to know exactly how they handle the conversation when someone calls up and says, “I want to go to Williams but Haverford is offering me $10,000 more in financial aid.”

Quick Takes: May 5, 2009 – Inside Higher Ed

How long before textbooks disappear from the Williams campus? I suspect that most Kindle users would say: Less than a decade.


Links, 08/18

From Eph Planet:

Some posts and discussions from EphBlog in the last week or two that are worth revisiting:


Notable links, 08/11

Some of the most-clicked links from Eph Planet in the last few days:



Going forward, I am going to do a better job of presenting collections of articles/links that, while not worthy of a post of their own, are of interest to a Williams audience. (Many of these first appeared in Speak Up, but very few readers check that useful resource.) Here is the first set:

Article on the presidential search process from the search consultant’s point of view.

Discussion of endowment spending.

Complaints about the Harvard model of endowment management. Includes:

One way schools like Beloit and Kalamazoo may prosper is by offering vocational training, unique majors and other programs that the most-competitive colleges don’t provide, says Morton Owen Schapiro, president of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, which is tied with Amherst College 60 miles southeast as the top U.S. liberal arts college as ranked by “U.S. News & World Report.”

Amherst President Tony Marx says most institutions will scale back financial aid commitments.

“Access to higher education in America is going to be squeezed, become less equitable,” he says. “America will pay an unbelievable price for this 20 years from now.”

Bloomberg article on endowment losses and budget cuts.

Discussion of the relevance of the Ricci case to college hiring. See also Dean Dad.

OIT should stop spending tens of thousands of dollars on closed-source software and look more closely at open source alternatives like Kuali.


Links, 06/08/09

This is a quick selection of some notable links/articles that have been posted recently to the Speak Up! page:

From Henry Bass:

Joseph S. Perrott ‘57 has a novel out. It is called Sure-Kill and can be ordered from Amazon. It was published on April 3 but I just heard about having just exchanged E-mails with Joe about our annual opera get together next season.

I will order it but since I’m off for a 2 week vacation won’t be able to comment on it for awhile. Someone else will have to review it. Joe warns that it is “not for the prudish or faint of heart”.

From Larry George:

  • iBerkshires reports that Dr. Christina Cruz, formerly a crew coach (and an Olympian) and now on the Williams administrative staff, has researched and written about a subject that interests me greatly: the apparently increasing percentage of males who coach female teams. Not mentioned in the article, but also of great interest to me, is the paucity of females who have broken into coaching male teams.
  • Profile of a Californian who wants to become a lawyer and has been very involved in community service — welcome to the Class of ‘13, Gabe.
  • For those of you fortunate enough to be in/visit Williamstown this summer, keep two shows at the Clark in mind. One is a display of 17th-19th century Japanese art, with an emphasis on nature and the changing seasons, and the other focuses on Arthur Dove’s influence on Georgia O’Keeffe.
    And don’t forget the trails around the museum.
    The textures, compositions, and strong reprise of a lost era seen in the fashion photographs at the WCMA exhibit are worth a visit, as well.
    As a shout out to help both institutions, remember that both have excellent gift shops, where you can stock up on gifts, books, and stationery. The volume of Lane Faison’s Nation essays seems to be out of print, but there are plenty of other books at the WCMA, including Whit’s book on the architecture of the college.
  • Recent interview with Clarence Otis, Jr. ‘77, who is this year’s graduation speaker. Congratulations to today’s graduates.
  • Remembering Tom (”Stretch”) Longstreth ‘59, long-time St. Paul’s (Baltimore) English teacher and coach.
  • Farewell to Dr. Russell Salmon ‘56, who taught Spanish at IU Bloomington.
  • Farewell to Peter Bernstein, who wrote of markets and investing and was once on the Williams faculty.

From JeffZ:

  • Latest Eph nominee:
    Miriam E. Sapiro, Nominee for Deputy Trade Representative
    Miriam E. Sapiro is President of Summit Strategies International, which advises non-profit organizations and companies on international Internet and telecommunications policy issues. She has more than twenty years of experience as an executive in the private sector and as an official in the government during the administrations of Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton. Over the course of her career Sapiro has represented the United States in numerous complex multilateral and bilateral negotiations. In 1999, President Clinton appointed her Special Assistant to the President for Southeast European Stabilization & Reconstruction. Sapiro supervised efforts to revitalize the region, working with USTR and other agencies, as well as other governments and international financial institutions. From 1997 to 1999 she served at the National Security Council as Director for European Affairs, developing and coordinating implementation of security and economic policies. Previously she was a member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff and worked in the Office of the Legal Adviser. Sapiro received her B.A. from Williams College and her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was an editor of the Law Review. She has taught international law as an Adjunct Professor at New York University School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center and Columbia University.
  • If this guy is a success, he should definitely think of expanding to Williamstown, or delivering to the Williams campus — especially if he stays open late.
  • Ahhhh, Katie. (Brandi Brown ’07 has further comments)

hwc points us to Teach for America: The 2009 Class and news about Moody’s Investor Services downgrading Dartmouth College’s debt from AAA to AA+. He adds: “David Kane is not the only observer concerned about college debt. Moody’s is adding to their ratings analysis new measures of total debt in relation to assets. It is not a good time for colleges to be adding new debt. Amherst survived their $100 million debt offering with their AAA rating intact, but with their outlook downgraded to negative.”

From Sarah:

  • A couple of interesting pieces from the NY times, one a little old that may be interesting for readers. The first: A calculator to predict what colleges will cost based on current rates.
  • The second: An article on loan forgiveness programs. I’m not sure if people who go to Williams are eligible for the undergraduate programs, but I know a lot people rely on the money for graduate education. It seems pretty relevant for our graduates this year. For example, one of the ways I’m hoping to pay for medical school is through some sort of loan forgiveness program for doctors who agree to work in rural family practices. Most of the data in their graphic kind of freaks me out, because it seems that that these types of programs will be the first to go when state budgets are getting cut.

From PTC: Thank god. Lebanon is key. The Lebanese are connected and have a lot of wealth and influence all over the globe. A shift toward Iran there would have been a very bad indicator.



Brief news story on Congressional Black Causus event. The Eagle provides more extensive coverage. Fun photo gallery here. I talked to an attendee who estimated student attendance at 400-500, with many being turned away once Chapin and Brooks Rogers were full. He estimated the total cost at $50,000. (I would have guessed a lower cost and more students.) Others?

Fascinating story of the turmoil at Coke from four years ago. Lots of Herb Allen ’62 stories.

Two stories on the turmoil in private equity investments. Could the private equity and venture capital investments in the Williams endowment, marked to market, be down 50% from June 30? Yes, they could.



A new category in which I provide quick links to stories of interest, often pulled up from our comment threads.

McClatchy Newspapers coverage of the Congressional Black Caucus event on Monday.

Percentage of grades in the A range at Brown now at over 50% (pdf). My request for similar data for Williams was denied today. Previous discussion here.

Morty mentioned as a possible candidate for the presidency at Dartmouth; also, confirmation (?) that he was a finalist during the last search in 1999. Or did they just get that by reading EphBlog?


Financial/Budget Links

A collections of links relating to the financial crisis:

A Williams administrator notes this story about problems with the CommonFund at Smith. Does Williams invest in the CommonFund?

The 2008 budget is now available. Total spending for last year was $177 million, compared to $164 million in 2007 and $154 million in 2006. These sorts of increases do not scream out “budgetary discipline.” The more wasteful the spending increases of the last 10 years, the more painful the cuts to come. Note that, as best I can tell, these increases in spending are not driven by increases in the number of faculty. That increase was completed before 2006, after decisions made early in Morty’s term.

The Record article on Morty’s e-mail includes: “The operating budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year is $216 million, about half of which comes from the endowment.” Huh? Either Williams’s spending is out of control or the Record is very confused. How could the operating budget go from $177 million to $216 million in one year? That is a growth rate of 22% in the year after the endowment was flat. Unbelievably irresponsible, if true. More likely (I hope!) is that this “operating” figure includes capital spending on building projects. Could a reader from the Record clarify for us? Also, is the College really going to spend $108 million from the endowment this year? That would be 6% of the June 30 value of $1.8 billion. But the endowment is now worth (at best) $1.4 billion. If you spend almost 8% of the endowment each year, then it doesn’t take too many years to get in real trouble.

If that $216 million operating budget figure is accurate, then Williams needs to do some serious budget cutting. Batten down the hatches.

Eagle article. Entire article is below. Did you know that Williams employs 1,068 people? As I have been arguing for years, that is absurd. By the way, the Form 990’s list twice as many employees (latest pdf). What is up with that? Is this a full-time versus part-time distinction? If I didn’t know any better, I would be guessing that the Eagle is getting spun. Note also that Williams has “323 faculty members.” Really? That number clearly includes coaches (which is reasonable), but just how many coaches does Williams need?

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Eph Links

Brandi Brown ’07 is hilarious. “I’d be less bitter about being 55k in debt if Williams had an ice cream truck circling campus giving out free stuff.”

John Stahl ’95 passes along this observation: “If someone says ‘leverage resources for improved engagement collaboration’ I guarantee that nobody will be paying attention by the end of the sentence.”

Rachel Barenblat ’96 is feeling proud in Jerusalem.

Chap Petersen ’90 is passing laws in Virginia.

Jennifer Mattern waits. There is no more clever writer in all of Eph Planet.

Who are your favorite writers among the tribe of Ephs?


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