Borger addresses Class of 2014
As the Class of 2014 celebrated their graduation, commencement speaker Gloria Borger ’74, P’10 recognized another significant milestone: the 40th anniversary of Colgate’s first co-educational graduating class. (Borger is pictured above; photo by Andrew Daddio)
“Colgate had made an immense effort to welcome us girls,” reflected Borger, who is now chief political analyst for CNN. She reminisced about how thoughtful the school had been in preparing for the arrival of its first women, describing the “ironing boards … and full-length mirrors … and, this is my favorite touch, plastic flowers had been carefully placed in the bathroom urinals.
“Coeducation may have started out as an arranged marriage,” Borger said, “but it blossomed into so much more. And we’re all the better off for it.”
In her closing, Borger urged the newest alumni to remember the valuable lessons they learned. “Your student days at Colgate are indeed over. That’s the bittersweet news. The good news is that you’re not really leaving — you can, and you should, take Colgate with you.”
In addition to Borger, receiving honorary degrees were George Avakian, a music historian and innovator in jazz recording; Mark Golden, CEO of Golden Artist Colors; and Lorie Slutsky ’75, president of the New York Community Trust.
More than half of this year’s 749 graduates earned university honors. One of the diplomas was awarded to Luke Stalker, a member of the class who died on March 10, 2013. Audience members stood and cheered as Stalker’s father, Peter, strode to the stage to accept the diploma from President Jeffrey Herbst on behalf of Luke.
In his remarks to the graduates, Herbst mentioned the special bond he had with the class. “I have always thought of you as my class. We entered Colgate together in the fall of 2010 . . . it has been a special pleasure to watch you learn, evolve, and leave your mark on our school.”
Beloved cashier battles cancer; students respond
Since Frank Dining Hall opened in 1984, thousands of students have been greeted by the infectious smile and charm of cashier Jean Brooks. One of the most recognizable faces on campus, she has built relationships with both current students and alumni, fondly referring to all as her “children.”
After Brooks, 70, was diagnosed with cancer in February, support came pouring in. She was the guest of honor at the 12-hour Relay for Life walk-a-thon for cancer research in March. And when members of the 2013 hockey team found out about her diagnosis, they collaborated and reached out to alumni to figure out how they could help.
“Jean has always supported us at the hockey rink, so we feel an incredibly close connection to her,” said Christian Long ’13, a former member of the team. “I’ve known her since my first day at Colgate, and I could always count on her for words of encouragement after a bad test or game.”
To help with treatment expenses beyond what insurance covers, Long set up a GoFundMe.com campaign. It launched on April 7, and in less than 24 hours, $21,000 was pledged. By press time, nearly $40,000 has been raised toward Long’s goal of $50,000, which he hopes will cover Brooks’s out-of-pocket expenses for treatment for the rest of her life.
“It’s beyond amazing,” said Brooks, adding that she’s still stunned by the overwhelming support. “I wish there was some way to thank each person wholeheartedly. It’s a huge burden that’s been lifted. The only fight I have now is the cancer.”
— Laura D’Angelo ’14
Brown Bag: Konosioni auction beneficiaries
From infant death prevention to providing bikes for those in need, four area nonprofits shared the impact of funding raised at the 2013 Konosioni Senior Honor Society charity auction. The brown bag luncheon took place just before this year’s event.
- In the past eight years, the Utica Safe Schools Build a Bike Program has distributed more than 3,000 refurbished bikes to children from low-income families. The group received $5,000 for their initiative, which also teaches the importance of nutrition, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle.
- The Mohawk Valley Perinatal Clinic’s Safe Sleep for Babies Initiative provides portable cribs and education to families in need. The program has given away 575 cribs, and the $7,300 in new funding will allow the purchase of 100 more.
- Community Action Partnership received $5,000 to cover procedures and testing at the Mary Rose Clinic, the only free health clinic in Madison County. Sometimes patients need more than the average prescription or bandage, and this is where the funding becomes most important.
- Community Bikes, started by Chuck Fox ’70, received $2,700. Individuals and families, recommended by local agencies and counselors, are paired with a volunteer to find the perfect bike for their needs, be it to play in the sun or to commute to work. Everyone leaves with a bike, helmet, bicycle lock, and the knowledge of how to safely use their new equipment.
This year’s auction raised $14,000 and will benefit a whole new group of nonprofits in the coming year.
— Kellyann Hayes ’16
Embracing Real Beauty
Stacy Nadeau is on a mission to help change people’s perceptions. “I want to challenge you to find your own best, healthy self, where mental health and physical health meet in the middle,” said the model for the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty during a talk in Golden Auditorium in March.
Nadeau spoke about the growing global issue of negative body image. Dove’s campaign focuses on displaying images of real, relatable women from diverse backgrounds that have not been airbrushed or Photoshopped.
One of the original six women in the campaign, Nadeau explained how images of an everyday girl like herself became plastered nationwide, in magazines, on billboards, and even bus stops.
Now Nadeau is calling on everyone — women and men — to keep talking, speak up, and discuss ways to incite more action. “Stop creating negative checklists about your body,” she said. “Stop bonding over conversations about things we don’t like about our bodies. Let’s change the conversation!”
Project Beauty, a campus group spearheaded by Emily Sisto ’16 and Alyssa Berger ’16, has stepped up to this challenge.
“We wanted to shed light on the topic,” said Berger, vice president. “We want to be a support group on campus and let people know that beauty isn’t homogeneous,” added Sisto, president. “There are many different forms and shapes — not just one, correct image.”
In addition to bringing Nadeau to campus, the group has posted positive messages — “Beauty is more than just a number on the scale” and “You only have one body; take care of it” — around the gym and in campus bathrooms.
They plan to collaborate with the Active Minds student group, which focuses on mental health awareness, as well as the Shaw Wellness Institute. (The counseling center also offers services in relation to body image issues.)
The group is also brainstorming ways to bring more awareness to male students. “There were a couple of men at the Stacy Nadeau talk,” said Berger, “so it’s a start!”
— Aminat Olayinka Agaba ’14
Spongy Hawaiian butter mocha dessert, Korean sushi, French crepes, and Indian palak paneer were just some of the dishes available at Night Market. After the spring Dancefest, hungry students rushed into 110 Broad Street to indulge in food from around the world. An estimated 500 students — from all corners of campus — chowed down during the alcohol-free event at 110 Broad Street in April. Within an hour, all the food — more than 34 dishes prepared by students from 12 cultural clubs and organizations — had been devoured.
— Aminat Olayinka Agaba ’14
“There’s so much negativity in the world… Do something that makes you smile — anything,” said Kye Allums in his keynote address kicking off Queerfest at the end of March. Allums made national headlines in 2010 for being the first openly transgender athlete in NCAA Division I history.
After retiring from the George Washington University women’s basketball team in 2011 and graduating with a degree in fine arts, Allums founded Project I Am Enough. As creative director, Allums uses art to help individuals express identity and encourage self-love, and recruits artists worldwide to share their stories.
“I was most touched by Kye’s message of simply being who you are and remaining true to one’s self,” said Drea Finley ’13 of his “vibrant and reflective voice.”
Queerfest celebrations also featured brown bag luncheons and talks from two notable figures in the LGBTQ community, Ignacio Rivera and Buck Angel. The week ended with Dragball! — a popular annual event featuring student performances and contests.
— Aminat Olayinka Agaba ’14
Reunion brings Colgate faithful back to campus
Einstein’s theory of relativity tells us that what you see depends on where you’re standing. The genius could have based his legendary thought experiments on a trip to Colgate’s reunion. More than 2,100 alumni and friends flocked to campus for Reunion 2014, and each had a unique experience tailored to personality and interest.
For those with an academic bent, there were more than 50 Reunion College lectures, including talks by Jim Young ’64 on working with clay, CNBC’s Eamon Javers ’94 on corporate espionage, and Carrie Blackmore ’08 on entrepreneurship and craft brewing. Maura Lofaro ’89 and Jason Barto ’89 talked environmental conservation, while Dr. Edward “Biff” Jones ’64 discussed medical ethics.
By night, astronomy professor Tom Balonek conducted a tour of the stars over Colgate. By day, English professors Jane Pinchin and Jennifer Brice held an information session on this fall’s upcoming online Living Writers course, powered by ColgateX. Associate vice presidents Michael Sciola and Timothy Mansfield spoke about the value of Colgate’s new professional networks. President Jeffrey Herbst, dean of the college Suzy Nelson, and admission vice president Gary Ross ’77 discussed the state of the campus and elements of the new strategic plan, which emphasizes increasing resources for financial aid and the university’s commitment to living the liberal arts.
Throughout the weekend, a festival-like atmosphere pervaded Whitnall Field. Saturday night, after class banquets, those gathered outside their tents could hear tunes from Gent Treadly and the Skycoasters. Bill Williams ’59, who traveled from California, said, “Classmates become close — we’ve stayed in touch, and this a great place to come together and reminisce.”
Recognizing multicultural work
At the ALANA Cultural Center’s Spring Soiree in April, keynote speaker Garfield O. Smith ’85 recognized the contributions of previous Colgate students who have paved the way for current students — including those receiving this year’s multicultural awards.
“Many of the same issues [as when I was a student] are still here, and thus, many of the same opportunities are as well,” reflected Smith, who facilitated the ceremony.
Now the vice president of marketing at Oberthur Technologies, a security services company, Smith majored in political science. As a student, he received the Stimets Award, the George Cobb Fellowship, and the President’s Award. In difficult times, Smith said, he “would often think about the likes of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. [’30], the first person of African-American descent elected to Congress from New York. Or Naceo Giles [’70], who, in 1969, led a 70-hour sit-in to protest racial injustice at Colgate and fight for a place that students of color could call their own.”
Noting the power of cross-cultural collaboration, Smith cited a study co-authored by Harvard University economist Richard Freeman. “Now, even scientific proof exists to show the benefits of collaboration to achieve a goal,” Smith said. “Take hold of the opportunity to reach out to others unlike yourself to solve these issues.”
Hoa Dieu Bui ’14, Danielle Bynoe ’14, and James Speight ’14 were honored for outstanding work in the multicultural community. Speight has been active in promoting multicultural awareness in Greek Life; Bui helped run Colgate’s Anti-Racism Coalition; and Bynoe has worked with the Broad Street Association to facilitate conversations between Broad Street residents and the campus community.
Colgate faculty and student groups that have contributed to the mission of diversity and inclusiveness were also recognized.
— Marilyn Hernandez-Stopp ’14
Few things are quite as tempting as a Maxwell’s milkshake on a warm day. Folks were encouraged to treat themselves to local favorites during Buy Madison/Shop Hamilton Week. Whether it was a banana smoothie from Hamilton Whole Foods, the spinach-artichoke dip at the Colgate Inn, or maybe even a new blouse from Steph boutique, purchases through the program increased awareness about the importance of supporting the local economy. Shoppers buying items of any amount could earn a total of seven punches on a card for the chance to win gift certificates.
Dancers in elaborate and colorful costumes paraded across the Palace Theater stage in June at the “Deep Blue” performance by ArcheDream for HUMANKIND (pictured). Modern technology merged with ancient ritual storytelling as a spectacle of illusions lit up the stage. The dancers illustrated “day, night, the lizard, the birds, air, and the phoenix” through graceful movements, use of blacklight, and accompaniment from the musical selections of director Eric Obenthaler.
Blending traditional and contemporary sound, The Jammin’ Divas filled the Barge Canal Coffee Company with their original folk songs in late June. Hailing from Ireland, Australia, Israel, and the United States, the women of this eclectic band create music in the hopes of bridging cultural divides. The previous evening, community members had the opportunity to learn more about their music and its meaning during a meet-and-greet session.
Crowds gathered on the Village Green on July 10 as Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 resonated in the open air. The central New York ensemble Symphoria also played musical masterpieces by Mozart and Brahms as well as several patriotic American classics. This annual concert highlighted a Hamilton summer in full swing as people brought out their summer picnic blankets and folding chairs to enjoy the melodies while the sun set.
— Lauren Casella ’16