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Summer Exploration: Confessions of an addict
Beverly Harrison Miller '67,
Alumni Association President

Alumni still love learning from Skidmore faculty.

Last year, the alumni board’s Jo Leach Lewis ’57 and alumni-office staffer Kirstin Drabek ’94 surveyed alums about programs they’d like to see offered by regional Skidmore clubs. Among the creative and diverse subjects they identified, faculty lectures stood head and shoulders above all others. The alumni office is heeding this loud call and lining up faculty to speak throughout the country.

But instead of waiting for faculty to come to your local club, why not come to the faculty? It’s not too late to register for Summer Exploration, held on campus in August (visit
summer and look for the programs for adults). This program—almost a decade old and with faithful, near-perennial adherents (I am one of them)—is a superb vacation. You get to choose from one of three morning seminars to attend Monday through Thursday. There are two afternoon lectures (this year, a tour of the Tang Museum exhibits by John Weber, the new Dayton Director, and a talk on diet and exercise by Paul Arciero, associate professor of exercise science), plus evening programs and more. Housing is in an air-conditioned dorm, and all meals are provided in the dining halls (you’ll be pleasantly surprised).

Ross Professor Sheldon Solomon, a frequent and ever-popular seminar leader at Summer Exploration, always discusses an interesting book. Reading it is the only homework—no tests, just lively discussion. This year he’s analyzing Henry Miller’s Remember to Remember from a historical, social-psychological, and philosophical perspective. Another option is with Beth Gershuny ’89, assistant professor of psychology, who will explore whether there is a connection between madness and creative genius. Or you can join a Raku workshop led by Skidmore ceramics teacher Jill Fishon-Kovachick ’81.

After class, there’s a rousing Boys Choir of Harlem concert, and a Philadelphia Orchestra performance prefaced by a lecture by Chuck Joseph, Skidmore’s vice president for academic affairs and author of an award-winning book on Stravinsky. There’s even a Friday afternoon at the racetrack, preceded by a handicapping workshop with horse owners Jack and Meg Nichols Carrothers ’67. Jack provides tips on how to bet (no guarantees, of course). An alternative option to the track is a walking tour of Saratoga’s famous springs with Skidmore geoscientist Kim Marsella.

And there’s free time as well to explore Saratoga: a cocktail in the secluded garden behind the Adelphi Hotel, a soak and massage at one of Saratoga’s renowned baths, barbecue at PJ’s just south of town, a concert at the Lake Luzerne Music Center, the National Museum of Dance, Mrs. London’s delectable baked goods. But, for me, there’s nothing to compare with simply sitting on the patio outside Case Center, looking out across the lawn at the Tang and the rolling landscape, and reflecting on what a marvelous place Skidmore is and how lucky we are to have gone there.