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Hearst and Gates aid minority scholars
The Tang Museum’s educational programs are in full swing, from lectures and performances to liaisons with area schoolteachers. Among the offerings have been public dialogues between Skidmore professors and exhibiting artists.
The dialogue series began with associate professor of theater Lary Opitz and sound artist Christian Marclay, who is well known in the experimental music world for his innovative use of the turntable as a musical instrument and for altering vinyl records by scratching, taping, or cutting and reassembling. His work in the Tang’s SOS: Scenes of Sounds exhibit included Tape Fall, a reel-to-reel audiotape continuously unwinding onto the floor, and Telephones, a collage-style video that was included in the 1999 Venice Biennale. Another dialogue paired mixed-media artist Annette Lemieux with Joanna Zangrando, Skidmore’s Douglas Family Professor of American Culture. They conversed about such Lemieux works as Broken Parts, a huge work on canvas showing a group of children clustered around a piano, and Scarecrow, made of newspaper headlines cascading down a canvas surface.
In addition, mathematics professor David Vella spoke with California artist Martin Kersels about his Attempt to Raise the Temperature of Water by Yelling at It (an attempt that succeeds, by the way), and Brazilian-born photographer Vik Muniz discussed his “photographic delusions” — works constructed from such unlikely media as dirt, string, wire, peanut butter and jelly—with Charles Stainback, Dayton Director of the Tang, who curated the museum’s recent exhibition of Muniz works.
The 2000 election season got a lot of students fired up and involved. A voter registration drive was sponsored by assistant professor of government Timothy Burns and Pi Sigma Alpha, the honorary society for political-science students. Then associate professor of government Ronald Seyb moderated a mock debate among candidates Ralph Nader, Al Gore, and George W. Bush—portrayed by Matthew Hancock ’01, SGA president Kenneth Hardy ’01, and John Eick ’02. The evening began with some political satire by the student groups Turn-Left (which sponsored the event) and the Ad-Liberal Artists, and the debate itself featured questions from the large, lively audience—which a quick poll described as 10 percent for Bush, nearly 40 percent for Gore, and over 50 percent for Nader.
On election day, students who’d registered to vote as Saratoga residents took advantage of a half-hourly van between campus and the district polling place. And that night a large crowd of students gathered at Gannett Auditorium for snacks, PBS television coverage (with CNN and Comedy Central on smaller screens), and analysis and discussion with government professor Seyb. WSPN radio scheduled special election-night coverage as well.
And a week later, when the results were still mired in confusion and controversy, the government department offered a roundtable discussion, with faculty members Seyb, Beau Breslin, and Robert Turner arguing issues ranging from Ralph Nader’s influence to the role of the media to the legal battles in Florida.
Hearst and Gates aid minority scholars
Skidmore’s William Randolph Hearst Endowed Scholarship Fund for Underserved Students recently gained $100,000 in new funding from the Hearst Foundation. The Hearst Scholarships aid New York State students from underrepresented minority groups.
Since 1991 Hearst Foundation scholarship support has helped advance two of Skidmore’s highest priorities: meeting the financial needs of its students and diversifying the student population. The additional funding, says President Jamienne S. Studley, brings the college closer to its goal of “making a Skidmore education accessible to deserving students regardless of their financial circumstances.”
Also this year, two Skidmore students are among the 4,000 inaugural recipients (from more than 62,000 nominees) of Gates Millennium Scholarships. According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which funds the grants, “The future of our nation’s economy, democracy, and quality of life is dependent upon the preparation of a diverse cadre of leaders who will help build a stronger society. These potential leaders, especially those from groups that have traditionally and historically been denied or discouraged, must receive the…opportunity of attending and completing a college education.” The scholarships are administered by the United Negro College Fund and other groups.
Gates Scholar Kareen Thorpe ’02 founded a campus jazz and hip-hop dance troupe and is studying in Paris and Madrid this year. Gates Scholar Diep Duong ’04 is a freshman and the sister of Diem ’03.
Renowned Shakespeare scholar Peter Holland presented Skidmore’s twelfth annual Adler Lecture this fall. Holland is the director of the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon and professor of Shakespeare studies at the University of Birmingham. His talk, “‘Counterfeit Presentments’: Illustrating Shakespeare and Performance,” looked at the range and meaning of illustrations in modern Shakespeare editions and explored the history of illustrating Shakespeare.
Holland is the editor of highly regarded editions of Shakespeare plays, in particular the Arden and Oxford series preferred by scholars, and the Pelican Shakespeare series for undergraduates. Referring to these and other editions, he reminded the audience that illustrations of the plays’ performances were not always demanded by readers, but once publishers realized the marketing impact of including the “performance moment frozen,” illustrations became a significant element in the publication of new editions.
The day following his Adler talk, Holland visited a class led by English professor and Shakespeare scholar Murray Levith. As academic director of the Skidmore College Shakespeare Programme since 1996, Holland has met a number of Skidmore students, greeting them upon their arrival in London and later hosting them with the Shakespeare Institute for a week in Stratford-upon-Avon.
The Adler Lectures honor the late Hannah Moriarta Adler, a native Saratogian and patron of arts and education, whose extensive collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century books are on loan to Scribner Library through the generosity of Norman Fox.