On slugs and giant clams

“The Last Good Buy” (spring 2014, pg. 26) was a fascinating look at an important topic, although I am still not convinced that I should let slugs eat my garden.

Guess who's not coming to dinner?

Guess who’s not coming to dinner?

Nonetheless, the illustrations and accompanying text were so well done that I shared them with teachers and students at my school who are studying environmental issues.

— Patricia McMahon Griffin ’76, Derby, N.Y.


“The Last Good Buy” is an interesting commercial tie-in with ecological extinction.

One note on the report of the giant clam’s “unsubstantiated” ability to trap a diver’s arm or foot… When sailing in the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean, I have encountered these huge clams while diving and wondered about their dangerous reputations. A healthy specimen of about 3 feet in diameter had its shell open 8 to 10 inches in the normal filter-feeding manner.

I gently poked a hotdog-sized piece of coral from the ocean floor into the opening and the clam instantly slammed closed, trapping the coral. It convinced me that an errant swimmer could easily have a foot or hand trapped in one of these giant clam shells. I decided to leave it alone and follow the beautiful striped (highly venomous) sea snakes as they hunted in the reef!

— Ron Schaper ’70, Coral Springs, Fla. 


April 1, 2014 “Colgate to launch graduate school of dentistry”

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Richard Frost: Plaudits to Brooks, Hicks, Herbst, and Ross for the puns and mockery of administrative bloviation. I particularly enjoyed the promotion of Colgate in the observatory’s maroon sky. A Swarthmore classmate (1951) asks whether toothpaste and college share the same DNA. I didn’t think so, but why not? All used toothpaste has DNA, and so do old colleges.

Tim Carroll ’77: Will there be a formal brush period for sophomores now?

David Badami ’88: I bit.

Barbara Needell ’79: Being a dentist, I can offer all my support for the new program. I have always Gleemed that Colgate students were Ultra Brite. In my 28 years of practice I have heard all of the Colgate dental comments. So this is a natural transition for Colgate to make. I offer my help in instruction in any of the Composite areas of study. Although I am well Rooted in Florida, I can act as adjunct faculty. The theme can be “Drill, fill, and bill,” since it has been used by us dentists for years. So, with Pulp Fiction as our favorite movie and Crown Royal as our favorite drink, we can help Colgate Bridge the Gap between a university and the medical/dental mecca of the world!

Ken Belanger, biology professor: Finally … we don’t have to explain why we’re a “University”!!! I was really getting tired of that drill. Filling in those gaps for prospective students and candidates who might brush us away. I’m alright with this … as long as we don’t lose our floss-ophy department!


Keynote address by Gloria Borger ’74, at Colgate’s 193rd commencement

Online at

May 18, 2014, Michael Weiner ’77: “Ms. Borger has reminded us that the ability to self-direct, combined with a vigilant focus on balance, are indeed the fundamentals to an ultimately rewarding and happy life.”


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May 30, 2014, Jennifer Koskinen ’93: “I’m smiling from ear to ear (and singing along thousands of miles away) while listening to my college a cappella group, The Swinging ’Gates, in a live reunion stairwell-sing at Colgate University via speaker phone, and posting about it on FB… All thanks to technology that didn’t exist when I was singing with these amazing women.”

June 13, 2014, Ramsey Brame ’04

Commute to work in a fighter jet.

“Just sippin’ some joe on the commute to work. Happy Colgate Day!” Ramsey Brame ’04


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How are we doing?

We recently asked a random sample of Colgate people their opinions about the Scene. The survey is sponsored by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education for alumni magazines across the nation. Thank you to all who responded; your feedback will help inform our future work.

Who responded?
Number of responses: 1,027
Alumni: 96%
Parent or other relative: 12%
Faculty/staff, current or retired: 1%

Under 25: 2%
25 to 34: 18%
35 to 49: 21%
50 to 64: 32%
65 and over: 27%

Women 35%, Men 65%

75% read every issue, 18% read most issues, 6% read it occasionally

59% read all or most of the Scene, 40% read some of it, 1% don’t read it

Time spent reading the Scene:
60 minutes or more: 18%
30 to 59 minutes: 45%
10 to 29 minutes: 31%
1 to 9 minutes: 5%

You prefer to read the Scene
In print: 83%
Online: 5%
Combination of print and online: 12%

Shelf life:
Keep it more than a month: 33%
Keep it up to a month: 33%
Keep it up to a week: 28%
Discard immediately after reading: 6%

91% say the Scene strengthens their personal connection to Colgate.

86% consider the content excellent or good — compared to 80% nationally.

Topics you take the most interest in:
(Interested or Very Interested):
Class notes: 89%
Campus controversies: 77%
Visiting speakers: 76%
Obituaries: 76%
Colgate history and traditions: 75%
Admission policies and results: 72%
Athletics: 66%
Cultural events, performances: 64%
Issues facing higher education: 56%
Student research/academics: 53%
Letters to the editor: 53%

Consistently portrays the institution accurately and objectively: 23%
Contains some “spin” but is generally accurate and objective: 45%
Usually portrays the institution only in a positive light: 23%
Is not a good source of objective information: 3%

Action steps:
The Scene has inspired you to:
Contact a classmate or friend: 45%
Make a donation to Colgate: 39%
Submit a class note: 36%
Attend an event: 35%

  • “Engaged the Upstate Institute in the K-12 STEM initiative in NYS.”
  • “Purchased a book written by a fellow alum.”
  • “Joined ‘A Better Colgate.’”
  • “Wrote a profile piece.”

A sampling of comments:

  • Keeps me current with the university NOW, as opposed to only in a nostalgic sense.
  • Don’t be afraid to report and discuss controversies.
  • Fosters pride in the school.
  • Secular progressive politically left leaning bias.
  • Too conservative.
  • Stunning photography with articles written at a college level instead of the “dumbed-down” level of most media sources, print or online.
  • Some articles are too long.
  • Less paper — standard size format — more economical.
  • Please don’t move it online! I leave the Scene on the kitchen counter, and read bits of it at a time over the month. If it was only online, sadly, there is a decent chance I wouldn’t read through it at all.
  • Make it only available online — send by e-mail.
  • Very accessible and easy to read — gives very quickly a broad overview of what’s happening at Colgate.


Call for Nominations: Colgate Board of Trustees

The Nominating Committee of the Board of Trustees welcomes recommendations for new members to bring guidance and wisdom to the university’s governing board.

The board seeks energetic and committed people with expertise in areas including, but not limited to: higher education, finance, the arts, technology, global learning, legal affairs, marketing, or media relations. Nominees should display the ability to exercise informed, independent judgment and to act in the best interests of Colgate to properly steward the university’s academic, program, and fiscal resources.

Candidates should be willing to fully immerse themselves in the work of the board. They should place Colgate as a priority in terms of time and philanthropy, and be committed to staying abreast of the changing landscape of higher education. The full board meets at least four times a year, and trustees are expected to participate in meetings at other times. Trustees are also often asked to attend and/or host other university events.

Each year, the board welcomes three to five new trustees for three-year terms that may be followed by two additional three-year terms. Recommendations may be made by mail to: Trustee Nominating Committee, c/o Robert L. Tyburski ’74, Secretary, Colgate University, 13 Oak Drive, Hamilton, NY 13346, or by e-mailing