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Keep It Up, Ephs!

  nikki-reich-113 The women’s defending National Champion tennis team takes on Emory in Atlanta in an NCAA DIII semifinal that starts at 9 AM. At 2 PM, the number-one ranked Amherst team will make its bid for the final in the other semi-final. It’s overcast and about 60 degrees now in Atlanta, with the temperature expected to reach a high of 76 later, so the weather shouldn’t be too hard on the northern teams. Our women have a tough job on their hands, especially in the midst of a hometown Emory crowd, but let’s hope their victory yesterday, pulling it out from the clutch, inspires them to great things. Go Ephs! Here’s an article about yesterday’s competition, highlighting cool closer Nikki Reich ’11 (pictured above; photo copyright Williams College). Go Ephs!


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.


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.


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.



This is the Williams Service Medal from the Great War.

RIP, Ephs.

(click for larger)


Crew Triumphs

The men’s and women’s A boats have just won the Collegiate 8+ events at the Head of the Charles Regatta, and the women’s B boat has moved up from 14th to 4th. This is very big for the women’s A boat and HUGE for a recently soaring men’s team and for the women’s B boat (demonstrating continuing strong breadth of team on the women’s side that really helps at NCAAs, where the D3 championship is based on the combined finishes of the A and B boats). On the women’s side, Trinity seems to be in a building year and Bates continues to build on last year’s remarkable improvement, sure to be a strong contender in post-season competition next spring.

Among the HOCR announcing team is Williams’s own first female Olympian Nancy Storrs, who coaches for the Canadian National Team and is a legend in the sport.

Yesterday, Williams Women’s Head Crew Coach Justin Moore repeated at silver in the Masters doubles with his friend Coach Andy Card of Yale. There were also several alumnae on the course in various events but I haven’t tracked down their results yet.

Look for very strong Williams men’s and women’s teams this spring. 

Go Ephs!


CCI Update #2

Hey everyone,

Here are the minutes from CCI’s most recent meeting: CCI Minutes 09.11

As per usual, let me know if you have trouble opening them.

Now to the question raised on the last post.

Why are locals left out?

Technically, CCI’s mandate only deals with student-student interactions.  We will be talking to CC to see if they would be okay with us including locals’ views on these interactions; however, we are unsure if town-gown relations fall under our jurisdiction.

Some other people have requested to see the mandate, which is linked above.

Have a wonderful weekend!

– Emily


Eph Pundit: Derek Charles Catsam ’93

Recall my idea for an Eph Pundit, an author on EphBlog who would would post links/thoughts on contemporary politics (somewhat in the spirit of Instapundit) and, thereby, provide a start to discussions. Note the third goal of EphBlog:

EphBlog is not simply a place for you to get your daily fix of Ephery. We’re that, of course, but we aspire to greater things. Many of us who live beyond the Purple Valley have discovered that life after Williams does not provide nearly as many opportunities for honest, informed and open-minded debate as we might have hoped. A wise Eph does not argue about foreign affairs with his boss. A sensitive Eph does not debate economic policy with her staff. A sensible Eph does not argue about controversial issues of the day with the other parents on the sideline of a childrens’ soccer game.So, where should an Eph who misses the intellectual thrill of the back and forth discussions that make a Williams education so magical go? Where can he find smart people who completely disagree with him but are open-minded enough to listen to his arguments and patient enough to point out his errors. To be honest, we don’t know. But we hope that EphBlog might one day be the answer.

Until Election Day, we are going to experiment with making this vision a reality. Longtime EphBlog author Derek Catsam ’93 has kindly volunteered (after some cajoling by me) to be our first Eph Pundit. He will be posting links, thoughts, observations, questions and anything-else-he-wants about the US election for the next two months. Please join us in the conversation. Comments:

1) If you don’t like this idea, feel free to speak up but don’t blame Derek. Blame me.

2) If anyone else would like to be an Eph Pundit, let us know. More are welcome. All we ask is that you add the category Eph Pundit to the post.

3) Although it will be nice to include an Eph connection for these posts (say by linking to Dan Drezner ’90), like so, or someone else on Eph Planet), that is not a requirement. “All things Eph,” in this context, means things that Ephs like us want to talk about.

4) Another rationale for this idea derives from the recent tendency for our comment threads (e.g., here) to veer off into a political discussion. Nothing wrong with talking politics with your fellow Ephs, of course, but we clearly need to organize this a bit better.