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Spring 2001

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Club do’s

by Cynthia Shaw, Associate Director of Alumni Affairs

Albany Capital District
December. Skidmore’s candle-lit Surrey Williamson Inn, filled with white poinsettias and beautifully decorated white lights, created the perfect setting for the annual alumni holiday party. To the delight of the standing-room-only crowd, Skidmore president Jamienne S. Studley gave an update on the college and one of Skidmore’s popular a cappella groups, the Dynamics, walked from room to room singing holiday songs. At the end of the night, club co-presidents Susan Geary ’99 and Catherine Spaneas ’93 were pleased to report that the evening’s raffle raised $107 to benefit the Saratoga Economic Opportunity Council. All in all, a very merry evening.

Boston
December. Food, glorious food! Under the guidance of Leila Joseffer ’97, eighteen volunteers from the Boston alumni club donated their time to sort food at the Greater Boston Food Bank. During their shift, five pallets—5,000 pounds of food—were sorted. Each Skidmore volunteer made more than 150 meals possible for people who are hungry.

Recent alumni enjoy a hot winter outing in Boston.

January. Matt Rosenfield ’97 has the Midas touch. After the holidays last year, he enticed sixty young alumni out of their warm dwellings to “beat the winter blues.” This year he did it again—only better. This time more than ninety alumni from the classes of 1992 to 2001 came out for a gathering at the eclectic Marché restaurant. Even though the weather outside was frosty, everyone warmed right up at this post-holiday party.

February. Leigh DuPuy ’92 planned a skating party on Frog Pond for Skidmore alumni and their families. Thirty people were looking forward to this outdoor activity, but unfortunately freezing rain and dropping temperatures were ugly enough for the pond to be closed to the public. (Talk about dedication: Leigh went above and beyond the call of duty by standing in the frigid downpour for an hour, just in case any Skidmore alumni showed up.)

Hartford
December. Lucy Skidmore Scribner would have liked Theodate Pope. Who? Well, just ask any of the sixty-plus alumni who attended the annual alumni holiday party, crafted by Marge O’Meara Storrs ’57, at the Hill-Stead Museum. Theodate Pope was one of the first licensed female architects in the U.S., and she built Hill-Stead as a retirement home for her parents. Completed in 1901, Hill-Stead is still home to some of the world’s finest masterpieces by Monet, Degas, Whistler, and Cassatt, as well as Chinese porcelains, decorative arts, and antique furnishings. The Skidmore group enjoyed an informative private tour, followed by a reception in Hill-Stead’s private theater.

Naples
January. President Jamienne S. Studley made her way to the Sunshine State to visit with alumni and friends, thanks to Barry Butler Batchelder ’63, who made the arrangements for perfect weather and a lovely reception at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club. Forty-five alumni joined Studley as they shared ideas about Skidmore’s strategic directions and heard news of the students, faculty, and new campus buildings.

New York City
December. There’s no better way to kick off the holiday season in the Big Apple than to enjoy the Nutcracker ballet at Lincoln Center. Patricia Kennedy Snyderman ’54 gets top billing for orchestrating all the details for more than seventy alumni, friends, and families who watched the magic of the season come alive with this favorite tradition.

February. Pat Snyderman pulled off another successful club event by arranging for Skidmore art historian James Kettlewell to speak at the National Arts Club. Reservations poured in, but then came a shocking phone call: the Arts Club had double-booked on the assumption that Skidmore’s event wouldn’t draw the numbers predicted. The event was quickly relocated to the Gramercy Park Hotel (and the Arts Club offered a reception and private tour at a later date). Everyone was contacted in the nick of time, and nearly a hundred Skidmore alumni turned out for Kettlewell’s talk on “Design at the National Arts Club and the Origins of Modern Art.”

San Francisco
February. A small but enthusiastic group rang in the Chinese New Year with a nine-course Chinese banquet at the Ton Kiang Restaurant. David Levine ’91 made the arrangements—and also made sure everyone sampled the plum wine and sake that he hand-delivered to the restaurant. Club co-president Jo Leech Lewis ’57 said, “Tonight’s event was everything I’d hoped the San Francisco club would become: old friends from all classes who got together initially because of their Skidmore connection, but who now look forward to getting together as friends.”

Sarasota
February. Skidmore’s version of “Antiques Road Show” scored high in the ratings, as Sarasota club co-presidents Jean Rowe Tourt ’50 and Sibyl Ringquist Connolly ’50, with sponsor Judith Dibble Sfikas ’54, invited Skidmore professor James Kettlewell to give a lecture on “The Intrinsic and Extrinsic Value of Art.” He shared his expertise as to how antiques and art are valued, and he evaluated some pieces of art that were brought to the El Conquistador Country Club for the event.

Schenectady
June plans. The club will hold a family picnic at the home of a Skidmore alumna on Thursday, June 14, at 6 p.m.

Southeast Florida
January. Club president Connie Talcott Smith ’63 organized another over-the-top event for an impressive crowd of eighty-plus alumni and friends. The group gathered at the Top of the Tower in Boca Raton for a lavish buffet brunch and a chance to mix and mingle with president Jamienne S. Studley. The conversation is always lively when this group gets together.

Chuck and Leah Cunningham Wood ’49 flank Skidmore president Jamienne S. Studley at the big alumni gathering in Boca Raton.

February. Sunny skies and an ocean view perfectly complemented a luncheon at the Seagate Hotel and Beach Club for a close-knit group of alumni and friends. Their Skidmore faculty speaker—Mary C. Lynn, author of the new Skidmore history book—had to cancel, but Connie Smith and event sponsor Sally Hagen Schmid ’64 invited people to stand up and share their own memories of Skidmore, prompting some very lively conversation and nostalgic memories.

Vero Beach
February. Terry Tiffany Sullivan ’62 made arrangements for a lovely reception at the Grand Harbor Golf and Beach Club for thirty alumni and friends. Despite missing their guest speaker professor Mary C. Lynn, who had to cancel her visit, the Skidmore group had a wonderful time together and expressed a strong desire for more alumni programs in their area.

Washington, D.C.
February. A surprise snowstorm turned D.C. into a winter wonderland. Businesses closed early and sent employees home. Traffic was at a standstill. But even a storm that shuts down a city was not enough to deter forty-five stalwart Skidmore alumni from attending a reception and tour at the Phillips Collection. Club co-presidents Brittany Hoff ’93 and Maritza Rivera ’91 were pleasantly surprised at the hearty Skidmore turnout, and everyone was delighted that because of the storm they had the whole museum to themselves

May plans. The club will join for a jazz outing at Kennedy Center on Monday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m.

On campus
February. The fifteenth annual Junior Admission Workshop brought more than 125 students and parents for campus tours, mock admissions interviews, and “insider” discussions of what does and does not make a strong college application. This popular program helps prepare children of alumni, siblings of current students, and children of Skidmore employees for their college search.

Art and history brought to life

It was a moonlit February evening in New York City. Street lamps cast intricate shadows of the wrought-iron gates surrounding historic Gramercy Park and illuminated a thin, bespectacled figure whose brimmed hat partially concealed streams of shoulder-length white hair. The man stood facing the gothic facade of the National Arts Club, craned his head to the right, and peered through a large bay window into the front parlor. “If you look just there,” he said, “you can see the bronze bust of Saratoga arts patron Spencer Trask.”

The man was Skidmore professor emeritus of art history James Kettlewell, who had just finished a slide-lecture about the National Arts Club and the evolution of modern American art for a group of alumni at the nearby Gramercy Park Hotel, and now he led Patricia Kennedy Snyderman ’54 and several others across the park for a peek at the NAC itself.

In detailing the architectural significance of the NAC building, Kettlewell traced the roots of modern American art from the British design reform movement to the age of ornament in American architecture of the 1870s. This High Victorian Gothic style is well represented by the NAC building, designed by British architect Calvert Vaux, whose work Kettlewell linked to, among other things, Saratoga’s Congress Park and Lucy Skidmore Scribner’s arts curriculum.

It was Spencer Trask, the first treasurer of the National Arts Club, and founder of the Yaddo artists’ retreat in Saratoga Springs, who chose the building, which had been extensively refurbished by Vaux, for NAC’s home. (Vaux had earlier made his reputation in the U.S. by laying out New York City’s Central Park, with the assistance and then full partnership of Frederick Law Olmsted. Later Vaux and Olmsted created Congress Park in Saratoga Springs.) Vaux’s architectural style, explained Kettlewell, was firmly grounded in the idea that basic design principles are the foundation of all art. “Skidmore adopted this movement as the basis for its art curriculum for the first fifty years of its existence,” stated Kettlewell. And that legacy “persists in the college’s art curriculum—evidenced by the 2-D and 3-D design courses that students take today.”

Alumni club co-president Peter Wan ’95 said he was amazed by Kettlewell’s “ability to portray the subject in a way that made it resonate with everyone, even nonartists.” Kayne Rourke ’95 commented, “Getting a chance to hear Professor Kettlewell speak once again was a joy. And seeing decades of alumni in one room, all familiar with his gift of presenting architectural history in such a dynamic and fun way, was really wonderful.” In fact Kettlewell may have expressed that sentiment best himself when he told his alumni audience, “If Skidmore is successful, you will become students for life.” —MM

 


© 2001 Skidmore College