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Winter 2000

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Contents

On Campus

Sports

Books

People

Alumni Affairs
and Development

Class Notes

 

 
 

News Briefs

Snatchy tunes
Malcolm presents Russia notebook
Taking shape
Honoring heritage
Listen and learn
Paulding bequest celebrated
Modeling
Mentoring program for gifted kids
East meets West


Snatchy tunes

Bandersnatchers past and present raise the roof in a 25th-reunion concert during Oktoberfest. Some 40 Banders got in on the act, from freshmen to alumni of the ’80s and ’90s; five grads came all the way from the West Coast. Andrew Lefkowits ’01 says, "The alums really enjoyed the chance to sing again in front of a big crowd"–and, for one weekend, "to forget about jobs and mortgages and all that adult stuff." For current members, "it was nice to meet some of the legends and see where the group and its traditions came from. It gave us a better sense of what the group is, what it has been, and what it should be." For more photos, news, and album orders, visit the Bandersnatcher's web site.

Bandersnatchers Bandersnatchers Bandersnatchers
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Photos by Tom Stock


Malcolm presents Russia notebook

October 5, 1999, marked the day that President Jamienne S. Studley first performed one of the duties she’d heard about at "new president’s school": she conferred an honorary degree. The recipient of the Skidmore doctorate of letters was author Janet Malcolm, the 1999 Steloff Lecturer. In the degree citation, Associate Professor of English Linda Simon told Malcolm, "You have pinched, prodded, and poked us. You have taken as your subjects nothing less than truth and power, secrets and lies, morality and responsibility. . . . You have proved an intrepid and uncommonly reflective investigator."

Born in Prague, Malcolm and her family left Czechoslovakia in 1939. She grew up in New York City, where she now lives. Malcolm began her writing career as photography critic at the New Yorker and has been a staff writer at the magazine since the 1960s. In seven books and numerous articles published regularly in the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, she has written on issues as diverse as the aesthetic of photography, the world of psychoanalysis, and the moral ambiguity of journalism. Her accounts of these and other contemporary topics are both controversial and critically acclaimed.

In her Skidmore lecture titled "In Chekhov’s Footsteps," Malcolm blended travel writing, memoir, and literary biography, circling around the figure of the Russian writer Anton Chekhov, pursuing his shadow from Moscow to St. Petersburg and Yalta, and reflecting on what is entailed in the effort to tell "life stories" and to "understand" them.

Frances Steloff, the late founder of New York City’s Gotham Book Mart, endowed the lecture series in 1967 as a way to bring outstanding literary and artistic talent to Skidmore. The most recent Steloff Lecturers have been Robert Pinsky, Mary Gordon, and J. M. Coetzee.


Taking shape

Steel and concrete begin to give shape to the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, slated for completion in the fall. For years it was a "hoped-for" museum, then a "proposed" teaching museum and gallery, then the "future" Tang. But now there’s nothing prospective or iffy about it: it’s here. With its dramatic roofs sloping down toward the ground and wide angular walls studded with high windows, it’s already making statements–about inspiration and ambition, about meeting spaces and crossroads, about innovation and interaction. And that’s empty–just wait until it fills up with exhibits, like the challenging multimedia opener Scenes of Sound.

For photos of the construction progress, visit the Tang web site.


Honoring heritage

Two student groups celebrated their distinctive cultures this winter.

Skidmore’s observance of Latino Heritage Month opened with a candlelight vigil, a dance performance by Magdalena Solomon and Company, and a Day of the Dead exhibit. A traditional Mexican end-of-October ritual in which families prepare food and decorate shrines for their deceased relatives, the Day of the Dead has roots in both indigenous Mesoamerican cultures and Catholicism’s All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day. The exhibit in Scribner Library was a collaboration of anthropology, art history, and studio-art students in the courses "Mesoamerican and South American Art" and "Mexican Cultures."

Other Hispanic cultural events included Cafe con Leche, an evening of student performances in a coffeeshop setting; a workshop on Latino women; and a keynote address by Sandra Guzman, editor of Latina magazine.

In December, black students gathered for a Kwanzaa celebration. With organizational (and culinary) help from Skidmore’s multicultural affairs coordinator Patricia Trosclair, the event featured a candle-lighting ceremony, a historical reading, and a traditional African-American dinner complete with barbecued chicken, cornbread, peas and rice, and pralined bread pudding.

And February is Black History Month, with a full slate of campus events, including a visit by Atallah Shabazz, daughter of slain Black Muslim leader Malcom X; the traditional student fashion and talent show, this year featuring the return of several alumni participants; a Caribbean celebration with music and food; a faculty lecture; and Food for the Soul, a dinner-and-movie event.


Listen and learn

The Triple HelixThe Triple Helix threesome are this year’s Sterne Artists-in-Residence at Skidmore. In one of their lecture-recitals, Lois Shapiro (piano), Rhonda Rider (cello), and Bayla Keyes (violin) discussed the developing interest in the self, subjectivity, and the psyche in 19th-century culture, particularly in piano trios by Brahms, Schumann, and Dvoràk. Among other musical highlights last semester was a weekend visit by internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella, who gave a master class for voice students and inaugurated the Filene Concert Series with a public recital.





Paulding bequest celebrated

Many who gathered in the Sports and Recreation Center in December to honor the late Margaret Paulding, and to celebrate her bequest of nearly $500,000 to the College, remembered her as larger than life. The recollections were both literal (she was a tall woman) and figurative–the Skidmore professor of physical education universally known as Miss Paulding was a legendary teacher, "a beloved and occasionally fierce model and mentor," as Dean of the Faculty Phyllis Roth said.

In a 36-year career that spanned the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s, Paulding was honored by half a dozen collegiate athletic associations for the excellence of her teaching. A faculty leader on both the old and new campuses, she served as department chair and sat on every one of the College’s major faculty committees as well as two presidential search committees. Skidmore awarded her an honorary degree in 1975.

Among the ceremony’s speakers were Athletics Director Timothy Brown and several of Paulding’s longtime faculty colleagues, including Nancy Davis, Anne Fairbanks, Isabel Brown, and Beverly Becker. "Margaret’s specialities were kinesiology and body mechanics," recalled Becker, "but she was also instrumental in developing Skidmore’s dance program." A host of other memories, personal and professional, were fondly shared by all. Even after she retired in 1973, Paulding’s unfailing presence at Skidmore dance performances was "an inspiration to me–a dancer, not a phys-ed person–when I was a young faculty member in the ’80s," said Mary DiSanto-Rose, director of the College’s dance program. She told the group: "Miss Paulding would be thrilled to see how it’s all coming together."


Modeling

Clay artist Toshiko Takaezu Clay artist Toshiko Takaezu is especially well known for her "closed forms"–sealed pots, some of them very large, often suggesting hearts, torsos, boulders, or moons. Takaezu was on campus in November as this year’s Raab Lecturer. The founder of the ceramics department at Princeton University, where she taught for 25 years, Takaezu has won numerous awards and honors; her work is in the collections of major New York, Boston, and Philadelphia museums. Named a "living treasure" by her native state of Hawaii, Takaezu is a treasure to Skidmore as well: she has taught in the Summer SIX art program since 1970, and a number of Skidmore art students have apprenticed with her over the years. The Raab Lectures at Skidmore are made possible by Roseanne Brody Raab ’55.


Mentoring program for gifted kids

Skidmore’s Education Department has launched an innovative program matching Skidmore student mentors with gifted fifth graders at a New York City elementary school. The initiative is funded through a $10,000 grant from the John Ben Snow Memorial Trust via the Independent College Fund of New York.

According to Education Department Chair Ruth Andrea Levinson, the program developed as a creative response to "increased mandates for diversity in field experiences in teacher education." Communicating largely through the Internet (e-mail exchanges and Web sites), five Skidmore students are teamed one-on-one with five pupils at PS 6 in Manhattan. Each pair has chosen a topic in science or mathematics to investigate together; the Internet allows team members to share information and materials as their projects progress during the school year.

Despite her initial apprehension about the long-distance, technology-mediated aspects of the program, Sarah Higgins ’02 has found the experience practical and valuable. "I’m able to apply what I’m learning about childhood development and gifted children in a concrete setting," she says.

Using a "service learning approach," Levinson explains, the students engage in "a process of experience, dialogue, research, reflection, and action. The mentors need to remain flexible and open to what the needs of the pupils are–so there is continued experience, reflection, and relearning." In fact, she sees benefits for all participants: not only are the fifth graders enjoying an enriching academic project, but the teachers at PS 6 are learning how to provide for independent students in their classrooms, and the Skidmore mentors are learning about the excitement and motivation of students eager to study new material.


East meets West

Students from Showa Boston enjoy a visit to Skidmore

Students from the Japanese college Showa Boston enjoy a visit to Skidmore, hosted by Sean McGuire ’00 and other students of Masako Inamoto, lecturer in Japanese. It all began when Showa staffer Suzanne Klein ’94 invited Inamoto and students for a day of cultural exchange: the two groups enjoyed origami, bowling, and shopping at Japanese stores in Cambridge. The next month, Inamoto’s group welcomed 23 Showa students for Thoroughbreds basketball, a chamber-music concert, and pizza. Apart from the huge academic benefit of conversation with native speakers, says Dan Burrowes ’00, "communication makes the world a little bit smaller, and you find that everyone else also deals with things like quirky roommates, final exams, and being scared in a new place." Klein says her group was especially impressed with the rapport between Inamoto and her students. On every level, the exchange was so valuable that e-mails in Japanese have been whizzing between Boston and Saratoga ever since.

 


© 2000 Skidmore College