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Summer 2001

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On Campus




Alumni and Development News

Class Notes



Message from the president:
Festivities of spring

     At the end of each academic year, we take pride in recognizing our students’ achievements—academic, leadership, service, and athletic—in celebrating their graduation, and in welcoming our graduates back for Reunion. To give you a flavor of the festivities this spring, here is a sampling of my remarks on these special occasions. I hope you enjoy this verbal “scrapbook” from some of Skidmore’s most inspiring and beloved annual events.

     Opening of the day-long Academic Festival, featuring presentations of outstanding student projects: “This festival celebrates the greatest gifts this school could give you:

  • a sense of pride and accomplishment
  • a thirst for learning
  • close relationships with faculty and other students
  • mastery of your chosen topic and discipline
  • engagement in the life of the mind and the college community

     To paraphrase the Olympics: let the games begin!”

     Dedication of a birch tree outside Aikens Dining Hall, in memory of longtime food service director, and bequest donor, Jean Aikens: “The Skidmore community appreciates the power of ‘breaking bread’ together. Jean understood how much of our community life and relationships are forged over lunch and coffee, chicken dinners and waffles. Jean left us a tremendous legacy: her tenacious loyalty to Skidmore students, staff, faculty, and guests; her fierce dedication to service and high standards; and, literally, a generous legacy to support our continued excellence.”

     President’s address at Commencement: “Ever since we saw the movie we expected the Class of 2001 to be special. You are the heirs to the Space Odyssey legacy, the true millennium graduates.... You have taken the lessons of the classroom into your lives and out into the life of the college. You build arguments and you take them apart. We’ve seen your ability to write effectively and to integrate diverse cultural perspectives. You have practiced, sharpened, and made these tools truly your own. These are sturdy tools for a life of learning, of citizenship, service, and leadership, and for achieving your personal goals with honor.”

     President’s address at Reunion’s alumni awards ceremony: “At the heart and soul of Skidmore are relationships. We achieve excellence through intense student-faculty relationships. The web of relationships at Skidmore creates a community that respects individualism, diversity, cooperation, and independence.

     The Skidmore I see will continue to emphasize seamlessness across learning experiences. We can simultaneously advance learning for its own sake and to enrich values and service, learning to support work and career goals, and to build understanding and mastery. And Skidmore can exploit our smallness, assuring that we stay personal and responsive even as we offer breadth of programs and experiences. Through it all, we must do what is best for Skidmore and our students, marching to our own drummer while listening to the orchestra of changes around us.”

     A fiftieth-reunion toast to the Class of ’51: “Here’s to Spanish moss and foreign travels, to the Boltons and Miriam Benkovitz and Margaret Paulding and the unforgettable teachers whose names we’ve forgotten. Here’s to confidence and pride and self-reliance and good sense. From O’Malley’s to grandchildren, you’ve found joy in life. As I tell the graduating class each year: You will always be a part of Skidmore, and Skidmore will always be a part of you.”


© 2001 Skidmore College