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Arts on view
“Summer school” vacation
|Skidmore vacationers Gene Carter and Rita Rodriguez, at home with
daughter Adela-Marie '02.|
Gene Carter and Rita Rodriguez, parents of Adela-Marie Carter ’02, were in search of a fun vacation that would also be intellectually stimulating and culturally rich. When the Washington, D.C., residents, both retired executives and finance professors, saw a brochure on Skidmore’s Summer Exploration program, “It was an easy decision for us,” recalls Rodri-guez. “Gene said, ‘Why don’t we grab a week in a city filled with music, culture, and some provocative classes?’ and I replied, ‘Let’s go.’”
Offered each August by Skidmore’s special programs office, Summer Ex-ploration combines faculty-led seminars and lectures, cultural offerings like the Philadelphia Philharmonic at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and pure recreation, including a day at Saratoga’s famous racetrack.
From three choices of seminar for the morning hours, Rodriguez opted to explore film noir with Professor of French John Anzalone. The class studied genre classics like The Big Sleep, Double Indemnity, and Sunset Boulevard, tracing this distinctively American cinematic style bearing a French name to its origins in German Expression-ism. “It was an absolutely wonderful experience,” Rodriguez says. “It was the first time in my life that I experienced cinema with the benefit of in-depth analysis. Professor Anzalone opened a window for me that I really appreciate. It was truly a sample of what Skidmore does best.”
Meanwhile, Carter spent his mornings with social psychologist Sheldon Solomon, who explored the nature of self, consciousness, and social behavior through examination of the novel Winesburg, Ohio, which participants were asked to read in advance. “Unlike real college students, I actually did the reading,” quips Carter. And he found the class’s blend of philosophy, psychology, and literature “very appropriate for adults with significant life experience.”
Another highlight for Carter was the lively dorm life after class: “It was great fun sitting in the lounge, micro-waving popcorn, and having late-night bull sessions. There were many individuals who brought rich experience to bear on the subject matter, and we all shared the common experience of parenting.”
Afternoon lectures provided food for thought, too, ranging from “Men are from Mars, Women are from Ve-nus: Love Letters from Antiquity,” to a talk on the role of the U.S. Supreme Court, to a guided walking tour of Saratoga Springs architecture, to a detailed introduction to the evening’s orchestra concert.
Carter describes Summer Explora-tion as “a first-rate mix of academics, culture, and small-town charm. The curriculum was smartly arranged, and the friendliness of students and staff couldn’t be beat.” For Rodriguez, a Cuban refugee who attended college in Puerto Rico, it was also an opportunity to compare her experience to her daughter’s—in fact, Adela-Marie dropped in on several classes and was impressed by her parents’ capacity to adjust to cafeteria and dorm living. “My daughter found this aspect of our experience particularly amusing,” says Rodriguez with a laugh.
For information about Summer Exploration 2002, visit the special-programs Web page, www.skidmore.edu/administration/osp, or call 518-580-5590. —MM