Stay Connected

Winter 2018

The Office of Alumni Relations is pleased to offer many ways for alumni to stay in touch with each other, and with Colgate! E-mail me with questions or concerns at— Tim Mansfield, associate vice president, institutional advancement and alumni relations.
Questions? Contact alumni relations: 315-228-7433 or

Venice, Italy: Past and Present

Canal in Venice, Italy

In late October, 22 alumni, family, and friends spent a week in Venice, Italy, as part of a trip organized by the Office of Alumni Relations. Venice, Italy: Past and Present was led by Mary Ann Calo, Batza Professor of art and art history emerita, and Elaine Ruffolo, Italian Renaissance art historian.

The group explored both Renaissance and modern art in Venice. Calo led the group through world-class contemporary art at the Biennale, Peggy Guggenheim Museum, and the Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi, where they saw the much-buzzed-about Damien Hirst exhibition. Participants also saw Renaissance masterpieces from Titian, Tintoretto, Bellini, and more at the Galleria dell’Accademia, Doge’s Palace, and Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari church. In a behind-the-scenes opportunity, alumni watched art restoration in progress at the Galleria dell’Accademia. Architecture was also on the agenda, with a day trip to the Italian countryside to visit La Rotonda and other buildings designed by Andrea Palladio.

Mary Ann Calo speaks to alumniIn addition, the alumni group hosted a reception for students participating in Colgate’s Venice study group, led by Ulrich Meyer, professor of philosophy. Alumni and students connected at the informal networking reception, which was followed by a private visit to St. Mark’s Basilica, one of the highlights of the trip. Another memorable experience was a visit to San Lazarro, an Armenian monastery on a Venetian island. After a guided tour of the monastery, the group presented the monks with signed copies of English professor Peter Balakian’s Pulitzer Prize–winning poetry book, Ozone Journal, and his memoir, Black Dog of Fate.

“The Colgate Venice trip was like a chance to do a study abroad program all over again,” Jane Anderson ’01 said. “Even better was the chance to explore with art historian Mary Ann Calo, one of my favorite professors.”

The trip was part of the Office of Alumni Relations’ Intellectual Engagement programming, which gives alumni and other members of the Colgate community the chance to engage in lifelong learning with professors. To find out more about upcoming opportunities to learn from professors through regional lectures, travel, and online programs, visit

— Carolyn Strobel, assistant director for alumni relations for professional networks

3000 Nights in one night

Mai Masri and student

Filmmaker Mai Masri (right), who spent time discussing filmmaking with Colgate alumni and students in the fall, on the set of Children of Shatila

In New York City last fall, alumni and parents of students got a taste of Colgate’s campus-based film events through the university’s collaboration with The Flaherty. The nonprofit organization, whose mission is to promote independent films, held The Flaherty NYC fall 2017 program. Parents of students and alumni living in the area were invited to a reception and screening of Mai Masri’s prison drama, 3000 Nights, at Anthology Film Archives.

The film, which focuses on the struggles imprisoned Palestinian women face, was an extension of Masri’s documentary work. Following the screening, Professor Mary Simonson, director of film and media studies, moderated a discussion between Masri and her daughter, Hana Chamoun, who portrayed a prisoner in the film.

“It’s really exciting for our alumni who are out in the world working. For those working in industries outside of film and media, it’s an opportunity to feel like they’re back on campus,” Simonson said. “For those working in the film and media industry, it’s also a way for them to network with the independent filmmaker community and the documentary filmmaker community in New York.”

After the event, Masri and Simonson traveled to Colgate to continue the conversation. It was part of the Colgate/Flaherty Global Filmmaker Residency, which brings filmmakers to campus each fall for an intensive weeklong exploration of film and filmmaking. On campus, Masri discussed her exploration of Palestinian identities and the techniques she used in filming. Throughout the week, students watched 3000 Nights, Masri’s documentary Children of Shatila, and excerpts from her other documentaries.

In addition to bringing the filmmaker to campus, Colgate also hosted The Flaherty NYC fall 2017 curators, Maori Holmes and Charlotte Ickes. Throughout the week, the director and curators met with students in classes and at post-screening discussions.

This annual fall event builds on The Flaherty Seminar, which brings 170 filmmakers, scholars, and curators from around the world to campus each summer. Although some faculty and students from the film and media studies department participate in the summer seminar, the fall residency allows all Colgate students and faculty to participate during the academic year.

— Melanie Oliva ’18

Discussing disruption in retail

Panel of alums

L to R: Reuben Hendell ’82, P’18; Chris Erb ’01; Kate Foster Lengyel ’99; Paul Petras ’88, P’20; Eric Biddle ’98; Bill Hecht ’86; and Dan Hurwitz ’86, P’17, ’ 20.

More than 200 Colgate alumni and friends joined the Colgate Real Estate Council and the Digital Business and Technology Network last month for a conversation on eCommerce and the changing face of retail sales.

The panel, “Beyond the Box: Disruption in Retail and the Impact of eCommerce,” was chaired by Dan Hurwitz ’86, P’17, ’20, founder and chief executive officer of Raider Hill Advisors and chairman of the Colgate University Board of Trustees. It featured Colgate alumni from multiple areas of the retail and real estate industry, including: Reuben Hendell ’82, P’18, co-founder and CEO of BrandShop Digital Commerce; Bill Hecht ’86, chief operating officer, Westfield Corporation; Paul Petras ’88, P’20, attorney at law; Eric Biddle ’98, managing director, Barclays; Kate Foster Lengyel ’99, founder and CEO of SwearBy; and Chris Erb ’01, group vice president, head of development, Macy’s.

Panelists discussed the ways that the retail industry has changed in recent years. Although consumers continue to do the majority of their shopping in brick and mortar stores, eCommerce has begun to account for 10 percent of sales in the United States.

Hendell said that the consumer is the driving force of the economy. Because consumers and consumer interactions are “anything but stable,” the industry’s future is unstable, too, he said.

Lengyel echoed that sentiment, saying, “The consumer is the boss. Technology needs to keep up to consumer demands.”

Because consumers in the United States often buy things out of want rather than need, retailers work to convince consumers that their products are worthy of being purchased. Retailers have readjusted their consumer experiences, hoping that the experience helps to sell their products.

Panelists reached a consensus that the product and the experience are equally important. The product is the core of the retail experience, but the experience can affect the perception of the product.

“Good real estate could not bail out a terrible merchant, and great merchants did a tremendous amount of business in some pretty mediocre real estate,” Hurwitz said.

After panelists finished their discussion, Colgate’s Real Estate Club — tuned in from Hamilton, N.Y., via LiveStream — asked the first question of the night, and the conversation returned to the reimagining of brick and mortar sales, because many traditional retailers may cease to exist after attempting to refinance in the next few years.

Wal-Mart has used eCommerce to bring consumers back into the store. Costco has brought consumers into the store by offering short-term sales that may not be available the next time the consumer visits. Only time will be able to tell which of the various strategies will create the most convincing consumer experience.

At the end of the panel, alumni took time to reflect on the ways Colgate Professional Networks have affected their post-graduate experience — connecting alumni, students, and friends of the school to create enriching professional experiences.

— Melanie Oliva ’18

Greetings from the Alumni Council

The Alumni Council represents the more than 33,000 living members of Colgate’s alumni body, who live and work around the world. The council convenes at Colgate three times per year to engage with university administration, faculty, and students (future alumni) on a variety of topics. In these discussions and throughout the year, the Alumni Council provides an alumni perspective that draws from the diversity of class years and viewpoints represented by the council members.

The Alumni Council consists of 55 alumni leaders who have been elected by the alumni body in recognition of exemplary volunteerism, devotion, and consistent support of Colgate. As representatives of the alumni body, the members of the Alumni Council are available to hear your thoughts and ideas year-round, and share these perspectives as part of on-campus discussions.

Through the years, the Alumni Council has spearheaded a variety of initiatives in partnership with the university, including Real World and the Partnership for Community Development, which aligns Colgate and the Village of Hamilton’s economic interests. Currently, the Alumni Council contributes significantly to mentoring programs such as SophoMORE Connections and Day in the Life. As this edition of the Scene goes to print, 140 alumni have just visited Colgate as part of the SophoMORE Connections program, which enables sophomore students to learn about career opportunities from alumni.

The council would like to thank all alumni who strengthen the Colgate network by volunteering for the university, participating in regional alumni clubs, and joining the professional networks. We send you good wishes for the year ahead and encourage you to reach out to any member of the Alumni Council anytime to catch up on Colgate news and share your thoughts.

The Alumni Council

2018 Alumni Council Nominees

The Alumni Council, upon recommendation of its nominating committee, has approved the following slate of alumni for election at Reunion 2018. The candidates, chosen from approximately 300 alumni, have strong records of varied Colgate volunteer service, a consistent history of giving financial support to Colgate, and meaningful personal or professional accomplishments or contributions to the greater community.

Complete information about the nominations process, as well as short biographies of the nominees, are posted at Paper copies are available by calling 315-228-7433, or by sending an e-mail to

ERA I: John McQueen ’70
ERA II: C. Thomas Kunz ’72
ERA III: Lauren D’Onofrio ’82
ERA IV: Bruce Ferguson ’91
ERA V: Jessica Prata Cianciara ’01 (beginning her own term after filling unexpired term)
ERA VI: Jarrett Turner ’04
ERA VII: Karl Fries ’10

At-Large: Greg Dahlberg ’98 (beginning his own term after filling unexpired term)
At-Large: Lauri Hadobas ’77

Regional VP Far West: Emily Raiber ’02
RVP Southeast: Kevin McMurtry ’88
RVP Southwest: David Rea ’82