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campus scene

Art and religion across the Himalayas
Rob Linrothe and Vajrasattva
First-year "ready" strikes new cord Freshmen tackle jazz and Katrina
Student-life coach Calhoun succeeds Oles as dean
Admissions up (and down) Class of 2012 stats
Trustee arrivals and honors Janet Lucas Whitman '59 assumes board chair
Sports and service team up T'breds help lead sports camps

Student-life coach

A new dean
of student of affairs is on the job. W. Rochelle Calhoun, formerly executive director of the Mount Holy­oke College Alumnae Association, comes “with the highest possible praise” from her colleagues, says Skidmore President Philip Glotzbach. Pre­viously Calhoun worked in student affairs at Mount Holyoke, serving as associate dean of the college and also acting dean and vice president for student affairs from 1999 to 2003. She is a 1983 Mount Holyoke alumna, with an MFA in theater from Columbia.

As acting dean of the college, Calhoun oversaw seventy-two staff members in residential life, student programs, multicultural affairs, disability services, judicial affairs, career development, health and counseling, and spiritual life. At Skidmore she will guide similar cocurricular services and, Glotz­bach notes, will particularly help lead the college’s strategic initiatives in inter­cultural and global understanding and responsible citizenship, “areas in which she has shown particular interest and creativity at Mount Holyoke.” In fact, Skidmore’s entire strategic plan was a big draw for Calhoun: “It speaks to many ideas that I’d like to help champion. And when I visited campus I could see the genuineness of the college’s commitment to the plan; people here are working to make it a living, breathing document.”

Among the items on Calhoun’s near-term agenda are the campuswide deliberations about the role of Case Center as a cocurricular hub, enhancements to the residential component of the First-Year Experience, and plans for the replacement of the Scribner Village student apartments. Health and wellness are big issues too. And she’s thinking about the future of religious life. She ob­serves, “Enrolling more international students may mean more of the student body will have strong religious backgrounds and interests. Navigating and celebrating that variety is part of intercultural understanding. Also, students today are seeking more interfaith opportunities.” In fact, she adds, “this generation wants to connect across all sorts of boundaries. Our goal is to help facilitate and organize that, while also helping students develop their own autonomy and leadership skills.”

Calhoun replaces Pat Oles, who stepped down after ten years. As dean he focused on closer integration of academic and residential life, shaping a comprehensive res-life plan and helping guide Case Center renovations, construction of the Northwoods Apartments, the closing of Moore Hall, and the transformation of the dining hall. Glotzbach says Oles nimbly balanced “the many competing demands of student life .… with great distinction, humor, and, above all, a deep and abiding concern for the development of our students both inside and outside the classroom.” After a sabbatical this year, Oles will return to Skidmore’s social work faculty, which he joined in 1984. —SR