— Tim Mansfield, associate vice president, institutional advancement and alumni relations.
Questions? Contact alumni relations: 315-228-7433 or firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a perfect weekend to come home.
Colgate Homecoming 2017 attracted students, faculty, alumni, parents, and friends en masse, September 8–9.
Men’s soccer started the festivities off right, taking down Oregon State 1–0. It was the team’s first victory over a Pac-12 challenger. Field hockey battled Lock Haven before the homecoming crowds descended on Whitnall Field for a roaring bonfire and concert. The evening featured tunes from Reel Big Fish (a feast for the ears) and a food truck rodeo to feed the throng.
Saturday morning featured a Colgate-style tailgate. Campus groups and programs — including the university’s four residential commons, the Presidents’ Club, sports teams, LGBTQ Initiatives, OUS/First-Generation, Greek houses, and Konosioni — pitched their tents outside Andy Kerr Stadium. Before the football team kicked off against the University of Richmond, the Department of Athletics cut the ribbon on a series of spaces and places dedicated to the performance of its student-athletes. After the game, it was time to induct nine alumni into the Athletics Hall of Honor. (For more on the new spaces and the Hall of Honor inductees, see this issue’s Go ’Gate.)
Computer science students, alumni talk tech careers
In the Coop TV room one mid-September Saturday evening, fingers flew over keyboards as computer science students coded their way through a game of Cops and Robbers.
This Coding Challenge, designed by Franklin Van Nes ’18, concluded the two-day Prep for Tech event on September 15 and 16. It was hosted by Professional Networks, Career Services, and the Department of Computer Science.
Colgate’s computer science department is growing quickly, with nearly 50 declared majors and minors in 2017, Professor Vijay Ramachandran said during opening remarks on Friday afternoon.
Students interested in tech careers attended workshops and panel discussions with alumni working in software development, technical engineering, and other areas of the industry. Students learned the ins and outs of technical interviewing and practiced their new skills in mock interviews the next day.
“I’m looking to go into tech consulting or tech education,” said Katie Chungbin ’18, an English and computer science double major who attended the weekend’s events. “It’s good to hear different perspectives on the industry from alumni, and I’ve never experienced a technical interview before, so this event is really helpful.”
Computer science alumni like Max Segan ’12, Farah Fouladi ’15, Ben Fallon ’16, and Jeff O’Connell ’94 helped plan Prep for Tech to aid students’ transition from college curriculum to postgraduate careers.
“Computer science technical skills plus a liberal arts education creates the most well-rounded problem solvers and engineers that you can possibly have,” O’Connell said. “Colgate creates the cream of the crop in terms of professional engineers and software developers.”
After two days of learning, networking, and interviewing, the Coding Challenge on Saturday evening was a welcome break. Van Nes designed the challenge to be a fun way for students to flex their coding muscles in friendly competition.
“I made a game called Cops and Robbers, and there’s a labyrinth lined with banks,” he said. “There are robbers who want to break into the banks, and cops who need to protect them.”
Twenty students split into teams and had an hour and a half to create the movements of the cops or robbers with code. “There wasn’t enough time for students to develop an entire solution for such a complex challenge, but each team presented their methodology with confidence,” Van Nes said.
Overall, the weekend was a success, he added. “It’s really encouraging to speak with alumni and see how they enjoy the field, and how useful Colgate has been in their careers.”
— Emily Daniel ’18
Like a book club, but better
More than 750 people have logged on for the fall 2017 Living Writers Online, the self-paced literary learning experience with 10 authors, including three Pulitzer Prize winners of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and the editor of Freeman’s Journal. An outgrowth of the popular course that brings contemporary authors to campus (created by English professor Frederick Busch in 1981), the program is free and open to all.
With 11 Colgate faculty colleagues partnering in dialogues with English professor Jennifer Brice — one for each text — the fall lineup has fostered shared intellectual pursuits in some fresh and fascinating ways.
President Brian W. Casey recommended and then discussed Ben Lerner’s 10:04. Physicist Alan Lightman, who received an honorary doctor of letters from Colgate last May, returned to discuss his essay collection The Accidental Universe.
Elizabeth Kolbert’s Pulitzer Prize–winning The Sixth Extinction was also the assigned summer reading for incoming first-years. In a video discussion with Brice, biology professor Catherine Cardelús reveals how her research ended up in the book. One participant wrote, “What an incredible experience… It really brings the text alive.”
“There are no exams or essays, just Colgate-made videos and podcasts about the books, reviews, interviews, articles, and a discussion forum,” Brice explained. Author events are Livestreamed, so participants can pose questions to the writers when they’re here on campus or watch the archived talks later.
Living Writers Online runs through December 7; you can register and take part at any time up to the end.
Get to know: Veronica McFall ’89
My job in a nutshell
I’m trying to build a bridge with alumni of different identities — multicultural, LGBTQ, international — who may have felt challenged by their experiences at Colgate. I’m always excited to learn about people’s lives after Colgate.
Mosaic: Colgate’s new multicultural alumni initiative
Colgate’s Mosaic initiative organizes and sponsors events and programs that connect multicultural alumni with each other and that support students of color, especially in career development and networking. Read Mosaic news and subscribe to the Mosaic e-newsletter by filling out the form at colgate.edu/subscribemosaic.
I’m also sharing with multicultural alumni how things are changing. How we need their support and their voices so that Colgate can continue to develop and evolve. There are really important things that alumni can do for current students.
One new initiative is Mosaic. It’s our way of connecting multicultural students and alumni. Current students really want to hear alumni stories. It gives light to the fact that you don’t have to struggle alone: You have alumni resources who can provide you with guidance and wisdom about how to navigate Colgate and how to seek out a career after Colgate.
Connecting people to resources
In my career, I’ve always been one to try to help people realize that education is accessible; you just have to decide that you want to obtain an education.
Access to education has always been paramount in my family. My father was the head custodian in an elementary school for 35 years. By him having the keys to everything, when the kids were on vacation, we had access — to the library, to computers. Being the first person in my family to go to college was a big deal.
Family: roots of learning
My father always said, learn as much as you can because nobody can take that from you. My mother instilled in us to not be afraid of the world, to be a part of the world, and to contribute to the world. My parents took us to the Bahamas every summer, to stay in touch with our culture and our family.
Working at Colgate, first time around
My first job after graduate school was multicultural recruitment for the admission office.
Along the road back to Colgate
Later, I worked for A Better Chance’s alumni relations department in New York City. [ABC helps students of color gain access to top independent schools.] It turns out, I knew ABC’s founder, Howard Jones ’39, who worked in Colgate’s corporate and foundation relations department when I was a student worker. We would talk about things like access and equity.
- I love to cook Bahamian food.
- I have been a producer and a reporter for local community TV.
- I’ve written two children’s books. B is for The Bahamas takes my children on a visit to learn about the country. N is for Nassau is about the island of New Providence. I found that there was nothing for my kids to learn about their heritage. So, I did the research. It took me 12 years.