ommunity past and future was the central theme of Skidmore Presidents’ Day and spring convocation, marking the start of the second semester in January.
A historical slide show presented images of Skidmore student activism and community engagement over the past 30 years. The convocation also included special recognition for the 75-year-old Skidmore News and the 30-year-old Higher Education Opportunity Program. A panel discussion addressed the problems and opportunities of social responsibility, and six campus community members were awarded for their service and dedication to the College.
A highlight of the event was the participation of Juan Williams, author of Thurgood Marshall: An American Revolutionary and the companion book to the PBS documentary Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965. A frequent commentator for magazines and television news programs, Williams is a longtime Washington Post journalist and columnist. In addition to giving the convocation’s keynote address, Williams moderated the panel discussion on community and social responsibility.
Panelists included Trustee Linda Jackson-Chalmers ’73, an administrator of the Albany school system; Thomas Lewis, Quadracci Professor of Social Responsibility and professor of English; Jens Ohlin ’96, a former Skidmore News editor and currently a Ph.D. student in philosophy at Columbia University; Skidmore President Jamienne S. Studley; and Kelly Sullivan ’02, president of the sophomore class.
At a Case Center party after the event, Williams stayed on to sign books and socialize with students, faculty, and staff.
The Presidents’ Day Award winners were:
Megan Przygoda ’00, a dance and sociology major and a founder both of the Social Norms Committee, which educates students about drug and alcohol abuse, and of a Bacchus and Gamma chapter, which educates students on health and responsibility issues.
Joshua Yesnowitz ’01, an American-studies departmental assistant who chairs the student Speakers Bureau and is active in the Student Government Association and several academic committees.
Ralph Ciancio, professor of English, a 34-year veteran of the faculty, a Nabokov scholar and recent Moseley Faculty Lecturer, a dedicated teacher, and a leader in policy and program development through service on numerous College committees.
Joanna Schneider Zangrando, Douglas Professor of American Culture, professor of American studies, and teacher of women’s studies courses, who led in the creation and served as first director of the Liberal Studies program and is again its director this year.
Leo Geoffrion, director of user and academic services in the Center for Information Technology Services, whose committee service, guidance, and leadership have shaped and improved the integration of computing technology into College programs.
Jon Ramsey, dean of studies, a supporter of academic honors like the dean’s list and Periclean, as well as academic services like tutoring and learning-disability assistance, and a leader in establishing Honors Forum and the International Programs Office.—SR