Colgate University News Items of interest about the Colgate community Wed, 25 May 2016 17:45:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Colgate celebrates Commencement Weekend 2016 Tue, 17 May 2016 02:17:49 +0000 Picture of graduation cap reading "The best is yet to come."

Photo by Gerard Gaskin

The Class of 2016 became Colgate University’s newest group of alumni last weekend. A series of special events and honored guests hailed the students’ accomplishments and the impact they’ve had on the university’s history.

“Colgate has changed over the years, and so will you — sometimes change will be forced upon you, sometimes you may reach out for it,” said Interim President Jill Harsin in her address during commencement on Sunday. “We are confident that you have the solid foundation to meet and embrace every change; and we wish for the very best for all of you as you set out on this wonderful journey.”

Quoting baseball greats Lou Brock, Joe Torre, and Jackie Robinson, commencement speaker and Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred P’16 encouraged graduates to take risks, learn from adversity, and treat others with respect. (Manfred came with more than words of advice. He also brought presents: Major League Baseball hats for the entire graduating class.)

Read a full transcript of the commencement address on the news blog. Watch the speech — and the awarding of six honorary doctorates — below or visit Colgate’s Livestream archive.

“Be patient with yourself, and kind to your own journey,” said baccalaureate speaker Omid Safi, professor of Middle Eastern studies and director of the Islamic Studies Center at Duke University.

On Saturday afternoon, Safi reminded students that Jesus was 30 years old before he became the Christ, Siddhartha was 35 before he became the Buddha, and Muhammad was 40 before he became the Prophet. “Success is not a linear climb up a mountain. Life is really messy, and every single one of us stumbles and falls flat on our face multiple times.”

Watch Safi’s full speech below or via our Livestream archive.

In the Class of 2016:
– 677 undergraduates received the Bachelor of Arts degree
– More than 150 students earned departmental honors or high honors
– Forty-eight students were elected to Phi Beta Kappa

The class valedictorian is neuroscience major Rachel Louise Goldberg of Westlake Village, Calif., and the salutatorian is physics major Sean Benjamin Foster of Boxborough, Mass.

You can see photos of our graduating seniors below or on our Flickr site.

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Commencement address by 2016 Jill Harsin, Interim President Mon, 16 May 2016 19:09:15 +0000 Interim President Jill Harsin stands at the podium in Sanford Field House during Commencement 2016 (Photo by Gerard Gaskin)

Interim President Jill Harsin at Commencement 2016 (Photo by Gerard Gaskin)

Welcome, and congratulations to all of you for your accomplishments. You are about to join a lively community of over 30,000 people who have the special distinction of being alumni of Colgate University. I have learned that among the grandparents here today, there are 13 (of course!) who are themselves Colgate alumni. So let us take a moment to thank the grandparents, and parents, and family, and friends who helped to make this day possible.

This is the 195th commencement at Colgate. The first took place in 1822, and it was very different from what we will see today. For one thing, graduation in 1822 began with a public final examination, as members of the class were questioned in Latin, geography, astronomy, rhetoric, moral philosophy, and other subjects in front of their families and the local townspeople.

On the second day of graduation (because it lasted for two days), seniors and juniors gave speeches — some 14 speeches during that first graduation, and they could last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour each. The students were showing off their knowledge, but also displaying their ability as ministers in training, because Colgate began as a Baptist missionary training school but with an emphasis also on general education. One of the speeches of 1822, by one of our most distinguished early graduates, Eugenio Kincaid, was titled “The Utility of Science to a Gospel Minister,” anticipating some of the major intellectual debates of the later 19th century.

As you have heard many times, Colgate was founded by 13 men with 13 dollars and 13 prayers. The 13 were all reasonably prosperous men, but driven largely by their sense of religious purpose; they founded the Baptist Education Society that became the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution, and then Madison University, and then, in 1890, Colgate University.

The 13 founders risked some disapproval from their fellow Baptists, many of whom believed that all one needed to be a minister was Bible knowledge and divine inspiration, not the broad theological and general learning that the 13 were proposing. But they embraced a very typically Enlightenment idea, a faith in the power of education to transform individuals and strengthen them in their work – a bold and ambitious determination.

Colgate has changed and grown over the years; it ceased to be a seminary and became a university devoted to the ideal of a liberal arts education. We have learned more about those changes as we have researched our history for the bicentennial in 2019, and we have found evidence of a college that evolved beyond the small numbers of central New York men who formed the core. In 1848, Samuel J. Smith, both Indian and British, was the first known graduate from Asia, not only at Colgate but perhaps in the United States as a whole; he returned to Asia, and became a well-known book publisher in Thailand. Our first known African-American graduate, in 1855, was Henry Simpson, who became famous as a minister and abolitionist; his graduation speech topic was “Wilberforce,” about the leading British anti-slavery activist.

In 1970, the entering class included, for the first time, a sizable contingent of first-year women. The new presence of women called for some adjustment; and 1974 became known informally as the “Year of the Woman,” not just because of the first women graduates but because of the hiring, for the first time, of a substantial number of women faculty members.

But history is not just about the distant past. Those of you here before me have made history — Colgate history — by your actions, your passions, your sense of what it means to be a citizen of this region or the world. Whether you exhibited your research project in the summer poster session, or authored a thesis in the social sciences or humanities; whether you were a student of dance or an actor on the stage of Brehmer Theater; whether you were an activist on behalf of racial justice, or against sexual violence, or a CL or Link, you have contributed. And many of you have kept alive Colgate’s traditions: as part of one of our athletic teams, as a singer in one of our a cappella groups, or as a member of our student government. I can only name a few of the ways in which you have affected this place, but you have all been a part of Colgate’s identity, in one way or another, for the past four years, and have helped to write the latest chapter of its history. Those of us who have been here for many years, as faculty members or as administrators, know that Colgate takes its identity and its life from present, past, and future students; and we can only applaud the creativity and excitement that you have brought here during the past four years.

So Colgate has grown and changed over the course of its lifetime, even as we remember our past. We still use West Hall, built in 1827, our oldest building — but where once it housed the entire college, including the chapel, it is now a residence hall. And we don’t force every graduating senior to make a speech anymore — and since there are nearly 700 of you, that is a very good thing — but we still think of graduation as a moment of thoughtful reflection. On this important day, you are looking ahead — to a job, to further study, to a fellowship, to a year spent in exploring your options, to starting a career.

I want to leave you with two thoughts. First, a sense of place and tradition. The area that encompasses Colgate, especially the hill, has been home to an institution of higher learning for nearly 200 years. That is a firm grounding; it is one to which you can return, and we hope you will, and often. The second thought is that Colgate has changed over the years, and so will you. Sometimes change will be forced upon you, sometimes you may reach out for it. We are confident that you have the solid foundation to meet and embrace every change; and we wish for the very best for all of you as you set out on this wonderful journey.

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Class of 2016 commencement address Sun, 15 May 2016 17:06:43 +0000

(Editor’s note: Robert D. Manfred Jr. P’16, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, delivered the following address to the Colgate University Class of 2016 on May 15, 2016.)

Good morning everyone. It is an honor and a pleasure for me to be here today.  I grew up just down the road in Rome, N.Y.. And, from a very early age, I can remember being impressed by the quality and prestige of this great university.  I am grateful to acting President Harsin and the trustees of the university for bestowing on me an honorary degree and for inviting me to speak here today.

Robert D. Manfred Jr. P’16

Robert D. Manfred Jr. P’16

As honored as I am, we all know that the real stars of today’s activities are the members of the Class of 2016. So, let me say early and often, congratulations to each and every one of you. As some of you may know, my wife, Colleen, and I have a very special bond with and affection for one member of this great class, our youngest daughter, Mary Clare. Mary Clare has had a wonderful experience here at Colgate. Colleen and I — and indeed our whole family — have had the pleasure of getting to know MC’s whole “posse”: Katie, Molly, Hannah, Sarah, and Jess as well as their families. During their time here at Colgate, we’ve had dinners and parties together here in Hamilton and have even taken vacations together. Our whole family has been enriched by these experiences.

Personally, my favorite enrichment experience was the lacrosse party that we attended last fall. I enjoyed my introduction to Keystone Light, the worst beer ever brewed. And, it’s very amusing to watch what can safely be characterized as “oldies” (people like me) trying to relive their youth by playing beer pong.

Sometimes graduates feel a sense of sadness on a day like today because the college experience is so great, and there is a lurking fear that they will be moving on from their college friends. I will let the Class of 2016 in on a little secret that may ease your concerns in this regard. You never really move on from your college friends. You may be separated by circumstances and distance, but the bonds that you formed in this great environment, during a unique period of maturation, will hold you together. Even if you see your college friends infrequently, you will find that the fondness and familiarity will return quickly. And, when you need friends the most, the first ones to show up will be your Colgate friends.

Friends and family are often mentioned in the same breath. So let me also say a word about family. A college experience at an institution like Colgate is a privilege. Very few of you could have enjoyed that privilege without the support of your families, and often that support involved sacrifice by your parents.  Please take a minute today and let your parents — or whoever supported you during your time at Colgate — know how much you appreciate their support. It will mean the world to them.

Commencement addresses are about looking forward. So, enough about college and how great it has been. It is time now to look forward to what is next. In looking ahead I am going to take advantage of my position just a bit. While I certainly have some thoughts of my own, I am also going to draw on the wisdom of some great baseball philosophers in the hope that I can offer the graduates some advice that will be useful in the transition to independence.

A major portion of the rest of your life will be devoted to work. But that does not have to be bad news. Work can be enjoyable and fulfilling if you can find a career about which you are passionate. Most jobs require a genuine effort. Most jobs require a sacrifice. And, most jobs, at least occasionally, produce stress and frustration. The effort, the sacrifice, the stress, and the frustration are much easier if your work involves something about which you are passionate. Even more important, if you are passionate about your work, your successes will be all that much more valuable to you.

A second crucial ingredient to job satisfaction is collegiality. A little collegiality produces a better work environment, better results, and more satisfaction.

Collegiality is a group effort. Leaders should make an effort to create an atmosphere of collegiality, but that effort will only be successful if the others in the workplace, no matter their position, participate as well. Everyone should make an effort to be inclusive and encourage a free exchange of ideas at work. Interact positively with your co-workers, recognize their accomplishments, and be generous with praise for praise-worthy efforts. Over time, you will find that your co-workers will become supporters and allies in your effort to move ahead professionally.

I would be remiss if I did not mention a concept with which I have struggled throughout my career: work-life balance. I have been in the workforce for 33 years. I have been lucky. Today, I have what I regard to be the best job in the world. But even before I became commissioner, I had great jobs that allowed me to interact with very successful and interesting people: a federal judge, partners in a great law firm, and dynamic leaders in the sports industry.

In my 33 years, I have unfortunately seen the careers of some talented people come to unhappy endings. Almost without exception those unhappy endings occurred with people who became completely wrapped up in their careers to the point that they seemed to lose their identities independent of their jobs. It would be as if I thought of myself as the commissioner of baseball rather than as Rob Manfred, whose job (I might add temporarily) happens to be as the commissioner of baseball.

This loss of identity is symptomatic, in my view, of an improper work-life balance. People become so engrossed in their careers that family, friends, and outside interests, the things that really matter, fall by the wayside. And, the myopic focus on work can rob people of objectivity and judgment. These people who lose their sense of self — independent of their title — become so obsessed with keeping their jobs that they lose their ability to do their jobs effectively. Ironically, this obsession with work all too often leads to failure at work.

Obviously, you have to pay attention to your career and strive to be successful. It is equally important, however, to focus on family, non-work interests, and the community in which you live. This broader focus will make you better and more effective in the workplace and happier in your life as a whole.

So, now let’s turn to one of my favorite topics, baseball, for a few short minutes. What do some baseball greats have to offer by way of advice to you as graduates?

Lou Brock is a Hall of Famer who played his best years with the St. Louis Cardinals. He was known for his speed and daring on the base paths, which disrupted opponents with amazing regularity. Lou Brock once said, “Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy I can beat every day.”

As Lou correctly points out, life is a risk reward business. If you are not willing to take the occasional — and well thought out — risk, you will never reach your full potential. Be smart. Be analytical. Use good judgment. But, don’t forget to be bold. Think big thoughts, and set high goals. If you follow this advice, you will have far fewer regrets when you reach my age than if you don’t.

Joe Torre is, of course, the Hall of Fame manager of the New York Yankees. I am also proud to say he is a colleague and a friend. Joe once said, “Hitting home runs and all that other good stuff is not enough; it is how you handle yourself in all the good times, and the bad times, that matters.”

There are two great messages in that one short sentence. First, it is a skill to handle success with grace. You all have received the gift of a great education and will enjoy many successes in your lives. With each success, take a moment, draw a breath, and think about humility. If you take quiet pride in your accomplishments and project a sense of humility, others will welcome the opportunity to celebrate your success, making that success all the sweeter.

The second lesson relates to the bad times. People often say that one of the great virtues of baseball is that it teaches young people important lessons, the most important of which is the ability to overcome failure. Think about it; even the best Major League player fails two out of three times when he comes to the plate. Yet, those players, over and over again, regroup, learn from their failures, and figure out a way to be more successful in the next at bat. When you fail, and all of us do, embrace the failure, figure out why it happened, learn from your mistakes, and recommit yourself to finding success.

Finally, the most important baseball player that ever lived was Jackie Robinson. He may not have been the best player, but he certainly had the greatest and most lasting effect on American society. Jackie broke the color barrier in baseball and helped fuel a revolution in America that changed our collective view of race relations. He began a process that led to a national debate over race relations that continues to this day. And, in the course of it, he endured indignities, hardship, and hatred always with dignity.

As you might expect, Jackie Robinson once uttered words that I believe teach the most important lesson of all. Jackie said, “A life is not important except in the impact that it has on other lives.” In a society that focuses on immediate self-gratification, these words may seem anachronistic. But in actuality they are timeless. They are reflective of a fundamental tenet of every major religion, namely the need to help others and treat them with respect.

I must confess, I do not remember a single thing about the commencement address at my college graduation 36 years ago. I spent a bunch of time on Google, and I can’t even find who gave the address. I hope from this address you will remember at least one thing. Jackie Robinson was right. You will all have busy and successful lives. Please find room and time in those busy lives to positively impact the lives of others. Engage in your community, and provide service to others. Be generous with your wealth, and try to help those that are less fortunate. At the end of the day, what you do for others is what really matters.

Congratulations to the Class of 2016.

Related links:
In photos: commencement weekend
LGBTQ advocate wins 1819 Award
In video: campus from above

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Senior Reflection: Kalani Byrd ’16 Thu, 12 May 2016 19:34:27 +0000 Name: Kalani Byrd

Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.

Major/Minor: Peace & Conflict Studies/Psychology

Campus activities:

Research assistant for Professor Jennifer Tomlinson in the psychology department
Student caller for the Office of the Annual Fund
Student employee in the merchandising department of the Colgate Bookstore
Member of Kappa Kappa Gamma with service on its philanthropy committee
Vice president of Colgate’s Panhellenic Council

Portrait of Kalani Byrd ’16

Kalani Byrd ’16

I want people to see … that a first-generation woman of color can be successful at Colgate. It was a blessing for me to have the opportunity to attend this university, and I did everything I could to reap the benefits, enjoy my time here, and set myself up for future success. Colgate is such a generous place, and you definitely can find the right people here to help you do well and support you along the way. I also want to leave people understanding that, despite some flaws in the system, there can be a place for women of color in Greek Life at Colgate, seeing as I have had such a positive experience and have found some of my best friends through it.

I hope I leave people with … an understanding that you do not have to study something “mainstream” or “expected” to be successful. You should absolutely only do what you want to do. I started out on the pre-med track and changed to peace and conflict studies, because it’s what I truly loved studying — and I still have a great job lined up after I graduate!

OUS has … tremendously impacted my time here at Colgate. Although I was annoyed back then to be spending my last summer before college taking classes here, I’ve come to realize that it was all totally worth it. The experience of those two classes really prepared me for Colgate’s academic challenges. Having a family of faculty and professors whom I can go to when I need literally anything at all has been invaluable. Some of my very best friends — friends I know I will be with for life — I also found from that summer and OUS. These are memories and people that are going to be with me for a lifetime, and for that, I am forever grateful.

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Spotlight shines on great teaching at Colgate Mon, 09 May 2016 19:58:06 +0000 Professor Rhonda Levine and interim dean of the faculty Constance Harsh stand together at a podium holding the Jerome Balmuth Award

Rhonda Levine (left), professor of sociology, receives the Balmuth Award from Constance Harsh, interim dean of the faculty and provost. (Photo by Alice Virden-Speer)

Colgate students spend four years of their lives engaging daily with some of the world’s brightest, most enthusiastic scholars. Faculty are at the heart of the academic experience, and in a world where undergraduates live the liberal arts, those bonds often extend beyond the boundaries of a classroom or the margins of a syllabus.

This week, the Colgate Scene paid tribute to the university’s dedicated teachers by publishing letters that former students have written home to Hamilton, thanking their professors for having profoundly touched their lives.

Via e-mail and hand-written notes, they, “revealed that their professors oftentimes helped to make the seemingly impossible possible: think in new ways, finish a thesis, determine a career path,” wrote Scene managing editor Aleta Mayne.

One of those letters was addressed to Rhonda Levine, professor of sociology and recipient of the 2016 Jerome Balmuth Award for Distinguished Teaching. The Balmuth Award was established by Mark Siegel ’73 in tribute to a pivotal professor who shaped his own Colgate experience and in recognition of the importance of teaching to the intellectual and personal development of undergraduates.

During her 34 years on the faculty, Levine has helped thousands of students realize the importance of what they do, say, think, and feel. And because of her expertise in the critical role of social class in stratification, labor politics, and race relations, she has found her office to be one of the most diverse meeting places on campus.

Portrait of professors Levine and Balmuth

Sociology professor Rhonda Levine with Balmuth Award namesake Jerome Balmuth, Harry Emerson Fosdick Professor of philosophy and religion, emeritus. (Photo by Alice Virden-Speer)

“Professor Levine is an extraordinary teacher, concerned not merely with the knowledge, thoughts, and attitudes of her students but with their very souls, their values, and qualities of character,” said award namesake Jerome Balmuth, Harry Emerson Fosdick Professor of philosophy and religion emeritus.

Levine always wanted to be a professor, she told the colleagues, alumni, and students who gathered for the celebration. It was even listed as her most likely occupation in her high school yearbook. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Michigan State University, her MA from McGill University, and her PhD from SUNY Binghamton. Before arriving at Colgate in 1982, she held teaching posts at Bowdoin College and Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

“Teaching at Colgate has been more rewarding than I ever could have imagined. Every semester has been an adventure,” Levine said. “I never know who’s going to show up in my office to talk about something we’ve been reading in class and how it might relate to something happening in their own lives.”

Deborah Fox Rush ’86 was one of those who benefited from Levine’s mentorship. On a special tumblr site established to honor Levine’s career, Rush wrote, “My entire legal career has dealt with the issues of poverty and class inequality and its impact on defendants in the criminal justice system. The lessons I learned in [Professor Levine’s] courses clearly started me on a path to my lifelong career.”

Noting the outpouring of gratitude by Levine’s students, Interim President Jill Harsin said, “What they are all saying is ‘she made a difference in my life; she made me feel as if what I did matters.’”

Looking ahead to the ongoing role of great teachers in Colgate’s third century, Levine said, “As we seek to be an even more diverse Colgate, I hope that we do not lose sight of the equally diverse methods of reaching our students and challenging them to be productive citizens of this increasingly complicated world in which we live.”

Related links:
Colgate Scene online
Celebrating Rhonda Levine
Why we should read Plato — Jerry Balmuth

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Colgate hosts 73rd professional network event Fri, 29 Apr 2016 19:57:36 +0000 Panelists on stage discussing the changing media landscape with Jeff Fager '77, executive producer of 60 Minutes.

Panelists discuss the changing media landscape with Jeff Fager ’77, executive producer of 60 Minutes. (Photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio)

Colgate University launched its professional networks to promote alumni engagement, cultivate new professional opportunities for members, and support undergraduate career development. Since then, thousands of alumni, parents, and students have engaged with professional networks by attending online, regional, and on-campus events.

Colgate launched the new Marketing, Media, and Communications Network and brought alumni, parents, and students together to discuss the state of journalism in the digital world — the professional network program’s 73rd event.

Jeff Fager ’77, executive producer of 60 Minutes, moderated a panel of alumni and parents that featured Joey Bartolomeo ’95, executive editor, SeventeenDina Dunn ’88, P’19 founder and general manager, Blink, LLC (and Thought Into Action mentor); Andrew Heyward P’00, faculty associate at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and principal at Heyward Advisory LLC; Todd Larsen ’88, chief executive officer, Blurb, Inc.; and John Martin ’84, managing director, NASCAR Digital Media.

Students who attended the event were able to hear from seasoned communications professionals and network with an even broader range of people.

Alumni talking

Alumni make connections at the Colgate Professional Networks’ 73rd event. (Photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio)

“I really enjoyed attending the marketing, media, and communications launch because of the emphasis the panelists placed on creating and building your own personal brand,” said Kerry Houston ’16. “I found their experiences and insight on this constantly changing and evolving industry to be very helpful in learning how to successfully market myself and my skills.”

The 10 different professional networks offer students (and parents) a chance to glimpse a roadmap to a desired career and learn from smart alumni about topics specific to their industry. They also allow alumni to network together.

“Every Colgate grad knows the power of our network, but to see it in action is palpable,” said Sian-Pierre Regis ’06. “Some of the biggest names in media showed up to the MMC event, dropping serious knowledge on the shifting state of the industry — to be able to get intel and then dive deeper in follow-up conversations is invaluable.”

While this event was a panel discussion, many professional networking events are not. Online events like the one on Colgate Day, are an opportunity for alumni to connect with each other wherever they live and work. On-campus events like SophoMORE Connections connect alumni, faculty, and students. For a list of upcoming events, visit

Related links:
Watch the entire Marketing, Media & Communications panel discussion
Attend the Colgate Day online networking event
See all of Colgate’s Professional Networks
Watch the Law and Finance summit

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Zombie movie by Rod Blackhurst ’02 wins top Tribeca honor Wed, 27 Apr 2016 21:30:31 +0000 The feature film Here Alone won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at Tribeca

The feature film Here Alone won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at Tribeca.

Here Alone, an independent film by Rod Blackhurst ’02, won the Tribeca Film Festival’s Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature last week.

Entertainment magazine described the production as “a taut, lean, unfussy film about a lone woman surviving in the wild woods of upstate New York.” Meanwhile, Maxim magazine wrote that the “Tribeca film festival proves the zombie formula isn’t dead.

In the movie, a young woman struggles to survive on her own in the wake of a mysterious, zombie-spawning epidemic that has decimated society and forced her deep into the unforgiving wilderness. The film was entirely self-financed (in part through a successful kickstarter campaign) and even self-cast — the lead actress, Lucy Walters, was approached via Twitter messages from Blackhurst.

Blackhurst, a French literature graduate, says:

“We thought Here Alone would appeal to fans of well-crafted psychological dramatic thrillers and elevated genre films — again showing our understanding of what it requires to tell a simple and powerful story.”

Tribeca audiences clearly agreed, giving Blackhurst and his crew the coveted top prize.

Watch the trailer.

Co-founded by Craig Hatkoff ’76, the Tribeca Film Festival saw controversy this year when the film Vaxxed was removed from the screening schedule. Colgate Professor Penny Lane wrote a post about the festival’s decision to screen the documentary, and numerous national and international media outlets quoted her words.

Variety wrote, “The reaction on Twitter, Facebook, and social media platforms was intense. The decision [to include the film] also was criticized in the creative community, with documentary filmmaker Penny Lane (Our Nixon) writing an open letter to the the festival saying that including Vaxxed threatened its credibility.”

CBS News included Lane’s words in its recap of the controversy as did the New York TimesRolling Stone, the Guardian, and USA Today.

In a fourth Tribeca-Colgate connection, The Return, which won the audience award in the documentary category, will soon air on the PBS series POV, produced by Chris White ’91.

Related links:
Rob Blackhurst ’02 in the Colgate Scene

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LGBTQ advocate wins 1819 Award Tue, 26 Apr 2016 20:00:54 +0000 Portrait of Providence Ryan ’16, winner of the 1819 Award

Providence Ryan ’16, winner of the 1819 Award. (Photo by Brian Ness)

An exemplary student and a fierce advocate for LGBTQ awareness and promoting positive sexuality, Providence A. Ryan ’16, a biology and philosophy double major from Schenectady, N.Y., is the 2016 recipient of Colgate’s highest student honor, the 1819 Award.

The 1819 Award is given annually to one student representing character, sportsmanship, scholarship, and service above and beyond their peers.

“Our 1819 Award winner has worked tirelessly to break down traditional academic barriers and has dedicated herself to key efforts meant to extend learning beyond the traditional classroom,” said Interim President Jill Harsin.

Ryan left an indelible mark on campus as president of the Advocates Club, planning and implementing programs focused on LGBTQ awareness, and she was a production manager and cast member of The Vagina Monologues and This is Not a Play About Sex.

One nominator wrote that, “Colgate will forever be impacted by the way she upholds standards of leadership, support, and service.”

Another wrote, “When I think about someone who has single handedly helped individuals on this campus, I think of Providence Ryan because of her involvement, kindness, and downright motivation to make wherever she is a better place for all.”

A Dean’s Award winner and a previous recipient of the George W. Cobb Award, Ryan embraced opportunities to work in the lab and in the field. In the summer of 2015, Ryan traveled with Professor Carrie Woods to study rain forest soil ecology. Ryan also spent time conducting research in Costa Rica, collecting soil samples and climbing trees to collect leaf samples from the forest canopy.

Ryan also had an influential role in helping new students adjust to campus life. She served as a resident coach for the Office of Undergraduates Studies, mentoring incoming students, and worked as a community leader for the Sophomore Residential Seminars, helping to shape that formative program designed to connect living and learning in new ways.

Watch the entire 2016 Awards Convocation.

Additional outstanding students recognized at the 2016 Awards Convocation include:

US Student Fulbright Grant
William Andrews
Carolyn Skelly

Projects for Peace Grant
Woohee Kim ’18c

Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship
Ranissa Adityavarman

Gilman Scholarship
Louise Zhang ’18

Coro Fellowship
Samantha Hom

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Awards-2015-2016
Alexandria (Aidan) Davis
Providence Ryan
Charity Whyte

Dr. Leo H. Speno Award
Danielle Putur

Jewish Student Life Awards
Renée Berger
Jessica Friedberg
Jake Pulver

Class of 1997 Award
Alain Cruz
Jennifer Dias
Usman Ghani
Samantha Hom
Julia Yarrington

Dean’s Community Service Awards
Emily Luba
Danielle Putur

Deans’ Community Commitment Awards
David Kim
Charity Whyte

Dean of College Special Recognition Awards
Dayna Campbell
Rachel Drucker
Bailey Graves
Susan Miller
Monica Murphy
Madison Paulk

Voice of Conscience Awards
Bailey Graves
Samantha Hom
Charity Whyte

The Dodge Prizes
Dana Michelle Chan
Asad Jamil

The Edward M. Stimets Memorial Award
Michael Vitale

The Upstate Institute Awards
Kayleigh Bhangdia
Jennifer Dias

Academic awards

Phi Beta Kappa Daniel H. Saracino Prize for Scholarship of Exceptional Merit
Lillian Pentecost
Charity Whyte

The Beckman Scholar Award
Amanda Liberman

Lampert Award for Outstanding Scholarship
Alexander Pustelnyk (in absentia)

OUS Award for Academic Excellence
Providence Ryan

Cleon O. Morgan Award
John Wilkins

Departmental/Program Awards

Africana and Latin American Studies
OAS Award for Excellence in Latin American Studies – Jamie Gagliano
Arthur Schomburg Award for Excellence in African Studies – Madison Paulk
Caribbean Studies Award – Dlorean Lemon-Riggs

Art and Art History
Fitchen Awards for Excellence in Art and Art History – Daniel Berry, Kristine Pfister
Harriette Wagner Memorial Award – Holland Reynolds

Asian Studies
Award for Excellence in Area Studies:  South Asia – Gautam Bhagat
Award for Excellence in Area Studies:  Pan-Asia – Helen Jatho
Award for Excellence in Area Studies: China – Hailey Savage

Director of Athletics Awards – Michael Borkowski, Randyll Butler
Joseph Huther Prize – Julia (Katelyn) Parker
John T. (Jack) Mitchell Memorial Award – Tyler Edmond
Thomas M. Wilson ’67 Memorial Leadership Award – Andrew Aicher
Gottesman Award for Excellence in the Sciences & Athletics – Alexandra Gadiano
Team Academic Excellence Awards – Men’s Football, Women’s Ice Hockey

Oswald T. Avery Awards – Nathanial Larson, Catherine Morris
Raymond J. Myers Awards – Julia Ceglowski, Jennifer Dias, Lindsey Sagasta
Christopher Oberheim Memorial Awards – Lindsay McCulloch, Christine Olivero, Sara Reese

Haskell Schiff Memorial Prizes – Scott Adler, Tianyi (Mike) He, Clare Lee, Alexa Werner, Elizabeth Riley, Sophia Gallucci,
Edwin Foster Kingsbury Prizes – Kathleen Burke, Linh Le,
Lawrence Chemical Prizes – Yuqi (Maya) Cao, Young-Woo (Leo) Cho, Linh Le, Sydney Loria
Roy Burnett Smith Prize in Chemistry – Andrew Thompson
McGregory Fellowship in Chemistry – Haochuan Wei
American Chemical Society’s Division of Organic Chemistry Undergraduate Award in Organic Chemistry – Tia Cervarich
American Chemical Society’s Division of Analytical Chemistry Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry – Megan Tigue

The Classics
J. Curtiss Austin Latin Prizes – Hillary Huggins, Elizabeth Johnson
Awards for Excellence in the Classics – Gordon Denis, Jee Hun (Henry) Kim, Yingsi (Erin) Lai, Syndey Loria, Kevin Shannon
Baldwin Greek Prizes – Zixing Chen, Benjamin Hack, Jiarong (Sophie) He, Daniel Mahoney
Newton Lloyd Andrews Prizes – Gabriella Bianchi, Erin Burnett, Hillary Huggins, Joseph Mays, Andrew Moshos

Computer Science
Awards for Excellence in Computer Science – Jiayang Li, Lillian Pentecost
Awards for Outstanding Contribution to the Computer Science Community – Courtney McGill, Samantha Spano
Laura Sanchis Award Excellence in Research – Lillian Pentecost
Edward P. Felt ’81 Memorial Prizes in Computer Science – Michael Lese, Jiayang Li, Lillian Pentecost, John Sneeringer

East Asian Languages and Literatures
Awards for Excellence in Chinese Language – Caleb Eckenwiler, Anna Olson
Award for Excellence in Japanese Language – Katy Lin
Mori Family Award for Excellence in Japanese Language – Elizabeth Johnson

Chi-Ming Hou Award for Excellence in International Economics – Julia O’Neil
Marshall-Keynes Award for Excellence in Economics – Melissa Haller
J. Melbourne Shortliffe Prize – Bradley Miles

Educational Studies
Charles H. Thurber Awards – Jungmin Kang, Jaqueline Macy, Mary Clare Manfred, Tylor Spinks, Tyson Spinks

Past 1819 Award recipients

Lasher Prize – Jessica Nuthmann
Lasher Prize for Distinction in English Composition – Brittney Wittmer
Scott Saunders Prizes for Excellence in Literature – Alison Bean, Anastassia Bougakova
Jonathan H. Kistler Memorial Curricular Innovation Prizes in English – Emma (Lee) Tremblay, Jaime Gelman, Sarah Chandler

Howard W. & Anne T. Pike Memorial Prizes – Tanner Holley, Allison Spanyer

Environmental Studies
Awards for Excellence in Environmental Studies – Mallory Hart, Kristina McNamara, Sara Reese

Film and Media Studies
Film and Media Studies Awards – Ian Lynch, Hang (Colin) Ren , Brittney Wittmer

Shannon McCune Prize in Geography – Melissa Haller
Peter Gould Award in Geography – Kayleigh Bhangdia
Kevin Williams ’10 Endowed Memorial Fellowship Award – Ana Tobio

Award for Excellence in Geology – Sarah Katz
Robert M. Linsley Prize for Excellence in Geology – Tiong Hua (Andy) Sia
Norma Vergo Prizes in Geology – Katherine Hardock, Kevin Varga
Kevin Williams ’10 Endowed Memorial Fellowship Award – Lily Daggett

Valentine Piotrow German Prizes- William Andrews, Rachel Ernst, Conrad Thallner

Health Sciences
Bernard and Sydell Citron Pre-Medical Scholastic Prize – Tyler Edmond

Award for Excellence in History – Kate Dugdale
History Honors Award – Zoë Zissu
Scott Saunders Prize for Excellence in History – Allison Chapin
Douglas K. Reading History Prize – Warren Dennis

International Relations
Paul O. Stillman ’55 Award – Elizabeth Kilbride

Jewish Studies
Jewish Studies Award – Samantha Sloane

LGBTQ Studies
LGBTQ Studies Awards for Academic Excellence – Toni Stickler, Catherine Williams

Core Curriculum Prizes
Core 151 Prize – Catharine Strong
Core 152 Prize – Jee Hun (Henry) Kim
Core SP – Alexander Pustelnyk (in absentia), Sarah Wylie
Core Cultures – Olivia Acker (in absentia)

Allen First-Year Mathematics Prize – Asad Jamil
Sisson Mathematics Prizes – Zhuting Jiang, Dong Mai, Eric Palmerduca, Daoyang Shan, Jinxin Shou, Quan Vu, Baiyu Zhou
Edwin J. Downie ’33 Award for Mathematics – Jacob Mayle (in absentia)

Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Award for Excellence in Medieval and Renaissance Studies – Erin Burke

Middle Eastern and Islamic Civilization Studies
Awards for Excellence in Middle Eastern and Islamic Civilization Studies – Madison Grant
Muhammad Eissa Prizes for Excellence in Arabic – Ashley Brekke, Meredith Reynolds

Class of 1909 Music Prizes – Madeleine Cuddy, Luc Herbowy, Benjamin Phelps
Robert G. Ingraham Memorial Music Prizes – Fiona Evans, Nathan Fritz, Logan Keig
Donald Lloyd Cotton ‘36 Prizes – Zixing (Elva) Chen, Erin Hoffman, Isaiah Keyes
Lorey Family Senior Music Prize – Soo Bin Kwon

Native American Studies
Award for Excellence in Native American Studies – Andrew Kil

William E. & Nellie K. Edmonston Neuroscience Awards – Tyler Edmond, Rachel Goldberg

Peace and Conflict Studies Awards
Dag Hammarskjold Prize in Peace Studies – Kerri Santero
Clarence Young Award – MacKenzie Neeson
Sterling Prizes – Dorothy (Quincy) Pierce, Meredith Reynolds

M. Holmes Hartshorne Memorial Awards for Excellence in Philosophy – Brett Christensen, George (Myles) Coen, Claire Grace
M. Holmes Hartshorne Memorial Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Study in Philosophy – Se Min Her
Balmuth Award for Philosophical Engagement – George (Myles) Coen
Robinson Essay Prize – Trevor O’Bryan

Physics and Astronomy
Physics and Astronomy Department Founders Awards – Brendan Sheehan, Jovana (Luna) Zagorac
Edwin Foster Kingsbury Prizes – Jonathan Schuldt, Kristina Wittler, Saiyang Zhang
Physics and Astronomy Alumni Awards – Sean Foster, Lillian Pentecost

Political Science
Dr. William Boyle Jr. Awards – Benjamin Antenore (in absentia)
Herbert J. Storing Memorial Award – Justin LoScalzo
Politics and Citizenship Award – Justin LoScalzo

Phil R. Miller Prizes – Rachel Neal, Julia Yarrington
Sarah Kulkofsky Awards – Margaret Gorman, Julia Kurtz
Kevin Carlsmith Prizes – Sierra Larson, Hannah Winslow
Service Awards in Psychology – Alison Scalzo, Julia Yarrington,

M. Holmes Hartshorne Memorial Awards for Excellence – Julia Queller, Joanna Howe
Robinson Essay Prize—Jessica Benmen

Romance Languages and Literatures
Charles A. Choquette Memorial Prizes – Jessica Capwell, Lacey Williams
David B. Jutten Prize – Christian Quattrociocchi
Awards for Excellence in Spanish Studies – Jennifer Dias, John Nuveen
Awards for Excellence in French Studies – Kerry Houston, Elizabeth Gwilym
Award for Excellence in Italian Studies – Alyse Kalish

Russian and Eurasian Studies
Robert L. Murray Award in Russian and Eurasian Studies – John McCaslin
Anton Checkov Prize – John Simoni
Richard Sylvester Award for First-Year Students – William Stowers

Sociology and Anthropology
Award for Excellence in Sociology and Anthropology – Anastassia Bougakova
Ramshaw Service Awards – Kellyann Hayes, Sylvie Lauzon, Michaela Murphy

Women’s Studies
Women’s Studies Awards for Academic Excellence – Monica Murphy, Toni Stickler
Elizabeth Cady Stanton Awards – Alexandria Davis, Susan Miller, Monica Murphy, Noufo (Stephanie) Nabine, Charity Whyte

Writing and Rhetoric
Joseph ’63 and Carol Trimmer Awards for Excellence in Expository Writing and Rhetoric– Leah Robinson, Brianna Torres, Grace Western (in absentia)
Trimmer Senior Scholar Award for Outstanding Achievement in Writing and Rhetoric – Alexis (Lexi) Panepinto

Professor-of-the-Year Award
Bob Turner, Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies

1819 Award
Providence Ryan



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Syllabus: “Horror” and the American Horror Film Mon, 25 Apr 2016 18:52:14 +0000 Campus at night

Photo by Andrew Daddio

Editor’s note: Wondering what’s happening in the classroom at Colgate? Here’s a real-time glimpse into academic life on campus — a syllabus from a course underway this semester.

FMST 352 “Horror” and the American Horror Film
Kevin Wynter, visiting assistant professor of Film & Media Studies
TR 2:45–4:00, 105 Little Hall

Course description:

This course examines some the key factors that have contributed to the horror genre’s capacity to maintain its continued viability in popular culture across a wide range of media including graphic novels, video art, and interactive gaming.

Beginning with the modern period of the American horror film and then expanding beyond its physical and ideological borders, this course is designed to encourage students to challenge the ideas that have become associated with the term “horror,” and to consider whether some other term or terms may be better suited to describe the types of feelings horror films and related forms of media actually inspire.

The following questions will be considered: What is horror? Do horror-genre films truly inspire horror or are we, as participants, moved by some other affect or response? Is it possible to locate cinematic representations of horror and its experience outside of the horror genre?


Course readings include Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, Mark Seltzer’s Serial Killers: Death and Life in America’s Wound Culture, and various articles.

Key assignments/activities:

Coursework includes keeping a nightmare journal, in which students are asked to describe an “especially potent nightmare” that they have had and to consider it in relation to horror films screened in class. The class also requires students to present on class readings and write a short essay about Watchmen. The final paper, meant to take into account all that was explored over the course of semester, has the option of taking the shape of a video essay.

Class format:

In addition to weekly meetings, there is a film screening on Thursday nights, 7–10 p.m. Students are expected to complete all reading assignments and come to class prepared to raise points of interest or difficulty. Attendance and class participation are crucial and will be taken into consideration when calculating the final grade.

The professor says:

After taking this course, you will never look at horror movies the same way. One of the learning goals I propose is to try to distinguish feelings of terror from feelings of horror, and to interrogate how horror movies really make us feel. What students soon come to learn is that the feeling of horror is not confined to the genre conventions they have become familiar with, but can be found with more intensity in films outside of the horror genre.

Related links:
Zombie film Here Alone by Rod Blackhurst ’02 takes home Tribeca’s Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature

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Syllabus: Silent Warfare Thu, 21 Apr 2016 18:27:21 +0000 Persson Hall

Photo by Andrew Daddio

Editor’s note: Wondering what’s happening in the classroom at Colgate? Here’s a real-time glimpse into academic life on campus — a syllabus from a course underway this semester.

POSC 390 Silent Warfare: Intelligence Analysis and Statecraft
Danielle Lupton, Assistant Professor of Political Science
MW 1:20-2:35, Persson 133

Course Description:
This course introduces students to the complex and crucial process of obtaining, analyzing, and producing intelligence in the making of American foreign policy. We cover subjects including problems with the structure of the intelligence community, covert action, psychological and bureaucratic constraints on analysts and policy makers, and how the intelligence community has responded to key threats. This course also explores the ethical issues raised by intelligence gathering, such as the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, the role of whistleblowers, and accountability of the intelligence community.

Key assignments/activities:
There are three central written assignments. The first is an analysis of an intelligence agency, where students identify challenges facing an agency and provide solutions. The second is an active learning assignment in which students conduct research on themselves based on publicly available data and write a report regarding the ethics of open-source intelligence based on their findings. The final paper for this course is an in-depth investigation into a major intelligence failure, its causes, and ways to prevent such failures in the future.

The main text will be Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy (6th Edition) by Mark Lowenthal.

The professor says:
“Students will gain a deeper understanding of the inter-workings of foreign policy by analyzing the value of information and how it supports the policy process. We engage with critical issues that affect not only policy makers, but also each of us as individuals, such as the use of drones to combat terrorism, the rise of increased domestic surveillance, and the ethics of enhanced interrogation techniques.

“In class, we focus our discussion on dissecting problems facing the intelligence community as well as providing solutions to those problems. Using this problem-based approach, students can apply the skills developed through course discussions and written work to any area of analysis in the future.”

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From the Colgate Scene: Poetry and memory with Pulitzer Prize winner Peter Balakian Tue, 19 Apr 2016 15:37:24 +0000 Illustration by Joe Ciardiello

Illustration by Joe Ciardiello

With a pair of new books out in 2015 — one a collection of his essays; the other, new poems — poet and English professor Peter Balakian unpacks, among other things, how language can, in his words, “ingest” the violence of history. The author of the New York Times–bestselling The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response and the prizewinning memoir Black Dog of Fate, Balakian has been called “the American conscience of the Armenian Genocide.” Last spring, he was invited to read and lecture at more than a dozen universities and made various media appearances including CNN and NPR’s All Things Considered in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the 1915 slaughter of Armenians by the Turkish government. He received the 2012 Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance.

Excerpts from Vise and Shadow: Essays on the Lyric Imagination, Poetry, Art, and Culture trace his writerly sensibilities — first, their roots, and second, on the notion of poetry itself. Two poems from Ozone Journal, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize, embody that expression.

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Balakian wins Pulitzer Prize Mon, 18 Apr 2016 20:53:17 +0000 Professor Peter Balakian teaches a class

Peter Balakian, the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor in humanities, professor of English, and director of creative writing at Colgate. (Photo by Andrew Daddio)

Peter Balakian, the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor in humanities, professor of English, and director of creative writing at Colgate, has won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Ozone Journal, his collection of poems published last year by University of Chicago Press.

In making the announcement, the Pulitzer committee cited the collection’s title poem, which takes readers back to 2009 when Balakian worked to exhume the bodies of Armenian genocide victims, buried for generations in the desert of Syria. “In the dynamic, sensual language of these poems, we are reminded that the history of atrocity, trauma, and forgetting is both global and ancient,” the committee wrote, “but we are reminded, too, of the beauty and richness of culture and the resilience of love.”

“All of Peter’s work is marked by a profound ethical concern and an appreciation for how the past indelibly marks the present,” said English professor Constance Harsh, interim dean of the faculty and provost.

The Pulitzer Prize is the latest — and highest — praise for Balakian’s extensive writings. The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, a New York Times Notable Book and Best Seller, earned the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize. Black Dog of Fate, voted best book of the year by the New York Times, the LA Times, and Publisher’s Weekly, won the PEN/Martha Albrand Prize for the Art of the Memoir. His translation of Grigoris Balakian’s Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide 1915–1918 was a Washington Post book of the year.

“As a historian myself, I’ve always admired Peter’s ability to capture the past and make it immediate to our present concerns,” said Interim President Jill Harsin.

For more from Balakian on poetry and memory, read his feature article in the autumn 2015 Colgate Scene.

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Colgate senior wins Rangel Fellowship Mon, 18 Apr 2016 17:13:59 +0000 Ranissa Adityavarman ’16, has been named a a 2016 Rangel Fellow.

Ranissa Adityavarman ’16 has been named a 2016 Rangel Fellow.

Ranissa Adityavarman ’16, an international relations major from Manlius, N.Y., is one of just 30 students nationwide to be named a 2016 Rangel Fellow, which provides financial and professional development support for graduate studies and to help facilitate entry into a career with the U.S. Foreign Service.

The Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program, formed in 2002, is a unique partnership between Howard University and the U.S. Department of State; its goals are to promote greater diversity and excellence within the U.S. Foreign Service.

“I decided to take this path because working for the Foreign Service can be, in my mind, one of the most important ways to influence foreign policy in our country,” Adityavarman said. “We are always going to have foreign policy decisions to make, and I want to be one of the people on the ground, lobbying for what is best not only for our national interests but also the interests of the countries with which we’re working.”

At Colgate, Adityavarman studied abroad as a junior with the Geneva study group, is an economics minor, and a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. Adityavarman also spent time volunteering at the Bumi Sehat Foundation in Bali, Indonesia, thanks to a COVE Levine-Weinberg Fellowship.

“This is a wonderful accomplishment, and I’m really proud of Ranissa,” said Kim Germain, Colgate’s Assistant Dean for Fellowship Advising. “She is poised to begin a great career in the Foreign Service, and winning the Rangel means that she will have strong support and mentorship throughout her journey there.”

Rangel Fellowships provide funding for two-year graduate programs in international affairs (up to $47,500 annually), arrange a mentor within the State Department for each fellow, provide paid internships and other professional development, and facilitate entry into the U.S. Foreign Service.

“I’ve been interested in foreign relations and politics for longer than I can remember, and working for the Department of State is a surefire way to get involved in both,” Adityavarman said. “Colgate’s Geneva Study Group was extremely influential… Working for a large humanitarian organization like CARE International, as well as meeting U.S. diplomats — who are foreign service officers — in their respective organizations was both humbling and inspiring.”

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Konosioni charity auction raises record amount Fri, 15 Apr 2016 21:00:27 +0000 Colgate's Konosioni Charity Auction

Alumni, parents, and students bid on items ranging from a private party with President-Elect Brian Casey to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon tickets. Photo by Alice Virden-Speer

This year’s Konosioni Senior Honor Society charity auction raised a record-breaking amount — more than $32,000 — for local organizations. The 19th annual event, which coincided with Entrepreneurship Weekend on April 8, drew parents, alumni, and students.

The event included both a silent auction and live bidding. The highest grossing items were two parties for 75 people at the future home of President-Elect Brian Casey, selling for a total of approximately $10,000. Other items included restaurant gift cards, a private movie screening at the Hamilton Theater, and hot tickets for everything from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to the Red Sox. Alumni — including former Konosioni members — donated many of the items.

Last year, in order to allocate auction money and reach a larger audience, Konosioni teamed up with Colgate’s Upstate Institute to launch the crowdfunding website Madison County Gives. The Konosioni Class of 2017 will again distribute the money raised through Madison County Gives.

The charities that benefited this year (from the 2015 auction proceeds) included Community Bikes, Friends of Rogers, Fiver Children’s Foundation, Food Bank of Central New York, Hamilton Food Cupboard, Community Action Partnership, and Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees.

“The charity auction holds a special place in my heart because it’s one time that parents, students, and alumni can come together in support of Madison County,” said Ranissa Adityavarman ’16, Konosioni president. “As students, it’s easy for us to forget everything that makes this area home for us, and running a philanthropic event like this has been a foundation for Konosioni’s commitment to service. I am so proud of the funds we raised this year, but am even more excited to see the tangible, genuine impact that the Class of 2017 can make with this kind of support.”

Other outreach efforts made by Konosioni included a week of service (corresponding with Brothers Charity Week) and a Konosioni-sponsored a cappella concert to raise money for Madison County Gives.


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Monument Quilt on display in support of sexual assault survivors Fri, 15 Apr 2016 16:00:12 +0000 Monument Quilt at Colgate

When finished, the Monument Quilt will comprise 6,000 squares, representing the number of sexual assaults that will take place during one week. Photo by Susan Kahn

The room was quiet as community members walked around viewing the Monument Quilt laid on the Hall of Presidents floor on March 29. The quilt, which has been traveling the country collecting squares for the last three years, was brought to campus and displayed for the afternoon.

Created in 2013, the quilt is intended to create a public healing space by and for survivors of sexual assault and abuse. By stitching together the stories of many, it aims to not only share individuals’ experiences, but also provide support.

“[It] felt very reverent,” said Allie Fry, the women’s studies program coordinator who organized the event. “It was powerful to see members of our community engage in a meditative and empathetic way.”

In addition to viewing the quilt in a safe space where people could be contemplative and comfort each other, Colgate visitors had the opportunity to contribute a square and participate in workshops.

The event began with a Brown Bag luncheon, called “The Monument Quilt: A Guide to Upsetting Rape Culture,” in the Center for Women’s Studies. The Brown Bag featured Hannah Brancato and Rebecca Nagle, co-founders and co-directors of FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, the organization that created the Monument Quilt; and Deletta Gillespe, a Monument Quilt activist and artist. Panelists discussed several ways they are working to bring visibility to the culture of consent and promote conversations.

“Colgate is very focused on prevention of sexual assault,” said Fry. “We need to be just as focused on supporting the survivors in our community. I thought it was important to bring the quilt to offer a space that is specifically by and for survivors, that prioritizes their healing, that shows that there is no one way in which we experience or respond to violence.”

The quilt will be finished when it comprises 6,000 squares — the number of sexual assaults that will take place during one week, statistically speaking. The finished quilt will eventually blanket the National Mall in Washington, D.C., during a weeklong display.

“Monuments are a space for survivors to heal and reconnect with community, and it’s an important part of the healing process to have that kind of a public venue,” Brancato told the Maroon-News. “We all see the magnitude of the problem and feel driven to do what we can to decrease the statistics, to end sexual assault, and to think of it as a problem that can end, not something we have to accept.”

This event was made possible by staff members in the Center for Women’s Studies and student volunteers, and through support from the Colgate Arts Council, the Center for Women’s Studies, the Shaw Wellness Institute, LGBTQ Initiatives, the Office of Advancement, Murray Decock ’80 and Sally Campbell, and the Network.

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