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Winter 2000

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Contents

On Campus

Sports

Books

People

Alumni Affairs
and Development

Class Notes

 

 
 

People and Projects

A little chap and a little brother
Teen culture
Downtime with the kids
Forgive them their debts
Skidmore and community
Riding the Internet roller coaster
A long love of things Italian
Voting for everyone


A little chap and a little brother

Bucky Polk ’89, little brother of Potter Polk ’86, knows it’s often those high-striving older brothers who make names for themselves. Not so with the Polks, at least when it comes to volunteering. Bucky Polk was recently recognized in Chicago for being one half of the best Big Brother Match of the Year. Says Polk, "I’ve been volunteering as a Big Brother to an 11-year-old inner-city boy for two years. We were given this honor because of the strides my ‘little brother’ has made with his school work, social development, and the manner in which our relationship has grown."

No doubt Polk would have heeded the call of Ernest Coulter, a court clerk from New York City who started New York Big Brothers in 1904. Appalled by the suffering and misery of children who came through his court–children who faced dangerous jobs, poverty, crime, and absent parents–Coulter appeared before a group of civic leaders and described a boy about to be jailed. "There is only one way to save that youngster, and that is to have some earnest, true man volunteer to be his Big Brother, to look after him, help him to do right, make the little chap feel that there is at least one human being in this great city who takes a personal interest in him. Someone who cares whether he lives or dies. I call for a volunteer!" Every man in the room raised his hand.

One hundred years later the need for mentors is still with us. Big Brother Polk shows he cares by joining his younger partner in "catching ball games, doing homework, watching movies, or eating (his favorite activity)." Adds Polk, "It’s a great way to give back and make a positive impact on a young person’s life."


Teen culture

Wondering if purple hair, bare midriffs, or platform sandals are still in? Want to know what rock stars carry in their grooming kits? (Vitamins, Advil, and baby shampoo.) Or perhaps you can’t wait another minute to find out what Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Love Hewitt are up to? Well then, you (and you are probably between the ages of 12 and 19) should sprint to the nearest newsstand for a copy of Teen People, the amazingly successful People magazine spin-off. Teens themselves–4,000 of them across the country–act as the eyes and ears of the magazine, spotting trends and writing about them and other topics. Teen People editors say one-third of the content is dedicated to celebrity and entertainment news, one-third to newsworthy issues and real teenagers, and the final third to fashion, beauty, and relationship advice. Real teens like summer intern Lissette Perez ’02, not professional models, are used in photo shoots.

While a Skidmore student graces Teen People’s pages, a trio of Skidmore graduates is active behind the scene. Turn to the advertising-marketing masthead and you’ll find that Carolyn Chauncey ’87 is promotion and merchandising manager, Kirstin O’Rielly ’94 is sales development associate, and Elizabeth Riordan ’97 is merchandising coordinator. When the managing editor cites "muscular circulation figures and healthy advertising revenues" you know that Riordan, Chauncey, and O'Rielly (pictured above at a national sales meeting) are part of a very effective team. Driving their success are the statistics about teen spending: $84 billion of their own money and $38 billion of their families’ money in 1997, and the recognition by advertisers that teens have power. Yet predicting the spending habits of teens is a fine art: "You can’t be too young or too old," says the 33-year-old editor.


Downtime with the kids

When Skidmore College awarded Jeffrey Treuhaft ’91 the Palamountain Award for Young Alumni in 1997, the citation noted the ground-floor role he played in the Silicon Valley start-up company called Mosaic, later to be renamed Netscape Communications Corporation, which became one of the fastest-growing cutting-edge Web services ever. It was a job that kept Treuhaft hopping and away from his family, as he often put in 18-hour days and seven-day weeks in the early months. In October 1999, five years after the birth of Netscape, the New York Times reported that Treuhaft had stepped back from the front lines of the Internet business and begun working part time as an investor and advisor to start-ups. With three young children and a "tidy nest egg" from the recent sale of Netscape to America Online, Treuhaft finds he now has time for daytime activities with his kids. "It seems mundane stuff," he said, "but when you finally get a chance to do it, you appreciate it." But Treuhaft’s thoughts on part-time work indicate he hasn’t retired permanently. "I don’t think I’d call this my career," he said. "It’s more catching my breath, while still pedaling the bicycle."


Forgive them their debts

Agnes Compton Stierwald ’32, the daughter and wife of Episcopal clergy, writes that she "has great enthusiasm for the hope and possibility" of the worldwide Jubilee 2000 Campaign. In fact, she says she gets "duck bumps" thinking of what could be accomplished. Based on the principles found in the Book of Leviticus–forgiveness of debt and freeing the oppressed during the year of the jubilee, which comes every 50 years–the campaign, says Stierwald, "is a global challenge for a spiritual awakening to examine how our individual and corporate lifestyles have broken our relationship with God, with each other, and with ourselves." In particular, Jubilee 2000 seeks to cancel the unpayable international debts of the poorest countries, some of which spend twice as much on interest payments as on providing health care, education, and other vital services. The 41 countries defined by the World Bank as "heavily indebted poor countries"–33 of them in Africa–owe about $220 billion in foreign debts.

Stierwald and other members of the Peace and Justice Committee at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Orleans, Mass., have been engaged in prayer, fasting, and study of Jubilee 2000 issues. And they’ve been pressuring government officials to voice support for debt relief. The worldwide Jubilee campaign presented a 17-million—signature petition to the G-7 countries in June, and in September President Clinton pledged to cancel 100 percent of the debts owed to the U.S. by over two dozen nations. When Congress passed an omnibus spending bill in November that included significant new funding for debt relief for impoverished nations, Treasury Secretary Larry Summers called the Jubilee 2000/USA Campaign a "formidable force."


Skidmore and community

Unless you knew differently, you might have thought it was a Skidmore affair last November when Community Hospice of Albany presented its prestigious Rozendaal Award to New York State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno ’52. Susan Law Dake ’71, chair of Community Hospice’s board of directors (and the wife of Skidmore trustee William Dake), presented the award honoring the late Hans M. Rozendaal, an early supporter and advocate for hospice care (and the husband of Skidmore Trustee Emerita Katherine Scranton Rozendaal). Dake thanked Bruno for his efforts on behalf of hospice, which include work on public policy issues, support for programs and services, securing funding for hospice centers, and speaking publicly on behalf of hospice care. Community Hospice of Albany, one of over 2,500 hospices in the United States, serves the entire Capital District including Saratoga County.


Riding the Internet roller coaster

If the headline "Free Money" didn’t grab your attention in the October 11, 1999, issue of the New Yorker magazine, then surely the two-page photograph of two ebullient women enjoying a fast-food break would have caught your eye. The caption identifies the celebrators as Candice Carpenter and Nancy Evans ’72, cofounders of the New York—based Internet company iVillage, which runs Web sites with news and information for women. The cause for their euphoria was the carefully orchestrated March 19 initial public offering (IPO) of iVillage common stock, which raised $87.6 million, giving the company the edge in the battle for the online women’s market and making CEO Carpenter and editor-in-chief Evans multimillionaires, at least on paper.

iVillage’s good fortune aroused a lot of media attention, said the New Yorker, because "Carpenter and Evans were neither ‘Webheads’ nor ‘computer geeks’ but women in their forties whose reputations were rooted in the realm of books, magazines, and television." Indeed, Evans’s previous jobs included top positions at Book-of-the-Month Club, Doubleday, and Family Life before she launched iVillage’s original Web site "Parent Soup" in 1996.

Alas, the stock began a steady decline during the mandatory holding period of six months for iVillage’s senior executives. Paper wealth amounting to $80 million in March was closer to $40 million last October. The women admit it’s been a roller coaster but say it’s what they "signed up to be on."


A long love of things Italian

She was an English major at Skidmore, but Valerie Taylor ’75 never placed her art-history textbooks so that they weren’t within easy reach. Her classmates may remember her as the gal who spent almost as much time studying in Florence as she did in Saratoga Springs. Although Taylor’s paying job for the past 22 years has been in magazine publishing–she’s information services director at New York magazine–she’s also been actively involved in the art world. She volunteers as a docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and in December completed a master’s in art history. She finds it significant that her early training has had "great results so many years later–Skidmore’s academic influence has a long shelf life!"

This past fall, Taylor and six other Hunter College graduate students co-curated and wrote the catalogue for Giulio Romano, Master Designer: An Exhibition in Celebration of the Five Hundredth Anniversary of His Birth at the Leubsdorf Gallery on the Hunter campus (where Tracy Adler ’90 serves as curator of the college’s art galleries). John Russell’s review in the New York Times complimented Taylor’s professor, who was the exhibit’s curator, and her "seven gifted students" for limiting the show to the drawings of the formidable and omnicompetent Giulio, who could draw, paint, design houses, furniture, tapestries, and coats of arms, and work with gusto on a small or regal scale. In November, Taylor and her colleagues participated in an international symposium to celebrate the exhibit at the Italian Cultural Institute.


Voting for everyone

Accessibility and privacy are conditions most of us take for granted when we go to vote. Not so for people with disabilities. Until the Americans with Disabilities Act became law in 1990, voters in wheelchairs, for instance, had to cope with voting machines that had levers, candidates’ names, and write-in slots far above their reach. In lieu of an accessible machine, people with disabilities were offered absentee ballots or assistance in the booth from election inspectors. A less publicized option was employed by wheelchair user Teena Willard ’84: she’d bring a backscratcher into the voting booth to pull down the levers.

This fall, Willard and an accessibility architectural consultant visited polling sites in New York’s Washington and Warren Counties to see if they were complying with state and federal laws for easy access. The survey found nearly 75 percent of the polling places in the two counties had problems of parking or access to the building housing the polling site. Also, only a few machines were within the reach of the wheelchair-bound in one county, but in the other most of the machines had been retrofitted so they could be lowered.

Willard–the assistant director of an advocacy group called Options for Independent Living–recommended that one town install a ramp, a walkway, and handicapped parking and for emphasis said that if changes weren’t made by Election Day, she’d demand that the town hold the election in the parking lot, as she had in Northumberland in 1993. The town fathers quickly obliged and excused their lack of compliance by saying they hadn’t had any complaints until then.

 


© 2000 Skidmore College