On & Off Campus
The Name Fits
Learning and teaching � obvious functions of a new academic building. But the new academic building at Bates will also encourage the trademark sense of community among faculty, students, and staff.
So, what better name for Bates’ new academic building than Pettengill Hall? After all, the Pettengill name has represented Bates fellowship since the 1930s.
“It’s so very appropriate,” said Ursula Pettengill of Syracuse, N.Y. Her late husband, Frederick “Pat” Pettengill ’31, who died in 1986, had a long teaching and administrative career at Syracuse University, but his heart always remained with Bates.
The Pettengills’ $5-million gift — a combination of his and her planned and outright gifts — will put the Pettengill name in limestone above the entrance to the five-level, 91,000-square-foot structure. The building’s formal name will be Frederick B. and Ursula P. Pettengill Hall, and it will open in the fall. The dedication will take place Oct. 2 during a special series of events over a special combined Back to Bates and Parents and Family weekend.
During his lifetime, Pat Pettengill volunteered in many capacities for the College, as class officer, class agent, College Club president, and Central New York Bates Club president. He is best remembered for recruiting dozens of Bates students from the Syracuse area and keeping track of their careers during and after Bates.
“The kind of work that he did for Bates was invaluable,” Dean Emeritus of Admissions Milton Lindholm ’35 said. “He was just an outstanding human being.”
“When he visited Bates, he would take the Syracuse students out to dinner,” said Ursula, who enjoyed her own long career at Syracuse, as the head of food services for the university. “And he would take out their friends, too. I’ve never known anyone who had such a deep affection for a college. He loved Bates.”
Trustee Helen Papaioanou ’49, a friend of Ursula Pettengill’s, sees a perfect match between the Pettengills’ generosity and the College’s vision for the building, which will house social-science departments and interdisciplinary programs. “Those are the academic fields that interested him,” she said. “But even more, he knew that the interaction between students and faculty is such a substantial and fulfilling part of Bates life. Supporting that interaction with a building like this is a dream that Pat might have envisioned.”
A New Phillips Era
Following last fall’s news of the nearly $9-million bequest to Bates from the late President Emeritus Charles Phillips and his wife, Evelyn Minard Phillips, the College has announced an unprecedented endowment program of student and faculty awards, honors, and opportunities in the Phillips name.
President Harward and the Trustees crafted the four-part Phillips endowment program to evoke President Phillips’ landmark “Bates Plan” of the late 1940s, ’50s, and early ’60s. The program’s mission also captures the forward- looking spirit of current College strategic planning, known as Goals 2005 (the College’s sesquicentennial) and the Vision for Bates. (In his column on page 7, President Harward touches on the Phillips legacy at Bates.)
Significant new resources in the form of professorships and research funds will support the faculty, while other grants will underwrite academic and student-life programs. For students, a significant windfall comes in the form of a study- abroad fellowship program, providing annual grants of up to $10,000.
The four targeted areas of the Phillips endowment program are as follows:
Scholarship and Research: The Phillips Faculty Fellowships provide opportunities for Bates faculty members to gain a full-year’s leave with pay and travel stipends, enabling them to travel to pursue scholarship and to interact with other leading scholars in their fields.
Teaching: Distinguished appointments to the Phillips Professorships,recognizing teaching and scholarly excellence, are to be announced this spring.
Learning beyond Bates: Phillips Student Fellowships, also to be announced in the spring, offer students the chance to enrich their academic programs with projects — in service-learning, career exploration, research, or some combination of the three — undertaken in international and other culturally distinct settings. Grants will range up to $10,000 for semester-long projects. “The fellowships will add a whole new dimension to a student’s undergraduate career,” said Professor of History Dennis Grafflin, a member of the selection committee. “These opportunities will move students out of their comfort zones and into challenging and rewarding experiences outside the Bates bubble.”
According to Grafflin, the added benefit of the Phillips Fellowships, compared with a post-graduate fellowship like a Watson, is that students who apply must have at least a semester remaining at Bates. “It’s a wonderful advantage that Phillips fellows will spend time back on campus with other students.”
Leadership: Grants from the Phillips Department and Program Support Fund will help academic and/or student programs achieve greater excellence in specific areas.
Recipients of awards from the Phillips endowments will be announced in coming issues of Bates Magazine. “Charles and Evelyn Phillips worked so sincerely and devotedly to establish and sustain the valued qualities of Bates,” said President Harward, who has called the gift a “transforming legacy.” He added, “With this magnificent gift to Bates, they have given to us a remarkable opportunity to carry on their work.”
Spendable income from all the Phillips endowments will amount to approximately $350,000 annually. The Phillips bequest, believed to be the largest gift ever from a U.S. college president to his or her institution, pushes the endowment over the $150 million mark, an increase of nearly $100 million during the 1990s alone.
A Great Society
In special recognition of the Charles F. Phillips and Evelyn M. Phillips bequest, Bates has announced the Charles F. Phillips Bequest Society to promote and recognize the vital role planned giving plays in the College’s strength and excellence.
“For more than half a century, the Phillips name has been associated with love for Bates, with thoughtful planning on behalf of the College, and with selfless generosity,” said Victoria Devlin, vice president for development and alumni affairs. “The Phillips Bequest Society will serve to recognize these wonderful qualities among the many Bates people who have made estate plans that involve the College.”
Donors who inform the College that they have included Bates in their estate plans automatically become members of the Phillips Bequest Society, said Elizabeth Ferguson, the College’s planned-giving officer. “Their membership gives us the opportunity to thank these generous donors, as well as to share information and news about Bates and Bates events that might be of interest.”
What’s the Buzz?
The groundhog may not have seen his shadow this year, but he couldn’t avoid hearing the mid-winter buzz about Elizabeth Strout �77′s first novel, Amy and Isabelle (Random House, $22.95).
In its Jan. 17 Sunday edition, The New York Times called the novel “one of those rare, invigorating books that take an apparently familiar world and peer into it with ruthless intimacy, revealing a strange and startling place.”
The familiar world is the fictional New England mill town of Shirley Falls; Strout’s story focuses on a mother and teen-age daughter, and how their conflicts and missteps intertwine and intersect with other large and small dramas in the town.
By early February, Amazon.com had the novel among its top 10, Timehad called it an “assured debut,” and the Feb. 8 New Yorker described it as “an excellent novel about enduring the banalities of ordinary life — the challenges, as one character puts it, of eating the elephant one bite at a time.” Strout was hosting bookstore chat sessions on the Internet, and rumors were heard of a movie deal.
“This has certainly changed everything,” Strout told us in a brief February conversation. “Mostly, the phone rings more.” An English major at Bates who has had stories published in literary magazines and Redbook andSeventeen, Strout lives in Brooklyn.
For 12 Sunday mornings during the fall semester, Israeli native Mishael Caspi, visiting professor of philosophy and religion, joined sculptor Joel Mahoney, a senior from Freeport, in transforming a lump of clay into a work of art. The two also forged new ground in the traditional master-acolyte relationship. “Suddenly I removed myself from the student-professor level and became involved in a personal relationship,” said Caspi, who has taught Mahoney, a religion and art major, in his Biblical narratives course.
Each Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon, as Caspi sat and Mahoney pinched, pressed, and pushed the clay, the two men covered considerable conversational territory, touching upon mutual loves of music, art, and politics. Mahoney engaged in a favorite activity of trying to trip up Caspi in a weekly contest of Name That Tune. The professor stumbled but once when he failed to identify Rachmaninoff’s Concerto no. 2. Defeated, Caspi recalled that “for a moment, I held my head in embarrassment, but Joel’s laughter at tricking his professor freed both of us and put us on a different level. In my 30 years of academia, I have never spoken on that kind of level with a student. It was bliss.”
“He’d tell me lots of interesting stories about his life, and about interesting directions that a life can take,” said Mahoney, who is completing an honors thesis in religion on the art and thought of Wassily Kandinsky, the early 20th-century father of abstract painting. Mahoney also is working on a series of five other portraits in wax, wood, plaster, and wire as part of the annual senior thesis exhibition at the Bates College Museum of Art, where the Caspi bust will be on display in April.
“This is the second time in my life I’ve been objectified,” said Caspi, whose noble countenance once inspired a student of his wife to paint his portrait. It’s actually the second time Mahoney has sculpted Caspi. The first effort, undertaken in spring 1998, was in wood, but the artist was displeased, so the duo changed media. This time, both parties are excited with the results, to be bronzed and kept by the model.
1 Down, 3924 to Go
The admissions deans, sequestered in their offices and homes reviewing applications for the Class of ’03, had a lot more reading to do this winter after a record-setting 3,925 applications flowed to Bates through the mail and the Internet. The previous mark was 3,847 for the Class of ’00.
Since the mid-’90s, applications to Bates have risen from around 3,500 to this year’s total. Dean of Admissions Wylie Mitchell says a number of factors contributed to the increase. “We hired eight senior fellows this year to do campus interviewing,” he said. “That freed the deans to do more traveling and recruiting, and to better manage communication with potential applicants and with our outstanding network of Alumni-in-Admissions volunteers.”
Applications came from 49 states (Wyoming missed out), the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The biggest jump in admissions came in the international category (see next story on international recruitment) with a record 650 applications from 75 countries, from Albania, Canada, and China to Vietnam, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.
Mitchell says the long-term goal is to hit 4,000 applications by 2001-02, while keeping the target number for the incoming class constant at about 450 and campus population (which doesn’t include study-away students) at about 1,615.
By early February, the Class of ’03 already had 165 members after two rounds of early decision. Bates will mail decision letters for regular admission in late March.
S’il Vous Plait
James Carignan ’61 (above), associate professor of history and dean of the College for 28 years, has always had more than academia on his mind. Seeking to improve economic development in Lewiston, increase collaboration with Auburn to save tax dollars, and rejuvenate pride in the community’s French Canadian heritage, Carignan ran unopposed for the Ward 3 seat of the Lewiston City Council last November. “Lewiston is at a significant juncture,” Carignan told the Sun Journal, “and I think we need some careful analysis and effective leadership that brings the community together and working towards a vision. I want to be a part of that leadership.”
Though this is Carignan’s first elected office, he’s no newcomer to public service. He has served on the state’s Task Force on Learning Results, the Maine Coalition on Excellence in Education and the state Panel of Mediators. Locally, Carignan has co-chaired the L/A Together Commission, and he’s a member of Lewiston Mayor Kaileigh Tara’s Downtown Renaissance Task Force.
His campaign materials asked voters to “please” vote for Carignan. As for that uncommon courtesy, Lewiston’s newest councilman said, “I wanted to bring a certain civility and politeness to the political arena.”
Ask nicely and ye shall receive.
A Strong Asian Market
A first-year student from Scottsbluff, Neb., was recently asked if she knew any international students at Bates. She ticked off five names. Then she said, “Not many people have heard of Bates in Scottsbluff. So how do they hear about Bates in Asia?” When it comes to the Far East, at least, the answer is Kim Ma Gustafson, Bates’ admissions presence in Asia for the last three years. Gustafson’s work is part of stepped-up international recruitment efforts at Bates, in line with the College’s commitment to the continued diversification of its applicant pool — geographically, as well as racially, socially, and economically. Sixty-three international students are on campus this year, comprising about 4 percent of the student body. In the coming decade, the College would like to see that percentage doubled.
Gustafson, whose parents are China-born, is a graduate of South Portland High School and Middlebury College. She joined the Bates admissions office in 1994 and was assigned to international applications. But that didn’t take her far from Lindholm House. Due to high cost (a three-to-five-week admissions trip through the Far East, typically organized by an outside firm, can cost upwards of $15,000), Bates had stopped international travel, instead relying on the good work of Alumni-in-Admissions volunteers abroad. That changed in 1996, when Gustafson’s husband was offered a two-year assignment in Taiwan. Rather than severing ties with Bates, Gustafson made a proposal: She would establish a home office in Taiwan and recruit for Bates in Asian countries. Bates jumped at the offer.
During her two-year stay, Gustafson established an effective network of admissions connections, working and traveling from her home office in Taiwan (“No one else was doing anything like this,” she said). Last summer, Gustafson returned to Bates but headed back to Asia in the fall for a three-week visit to South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong. She visited 20 schools, covered three national fairs, and met with alumni volunteers.
“Kim is doing in Asia what [Dean Emeritus] Milt Lindholm ’35 was doing so well in New England 40 and 50 years ago,” said William C. Hiss ’66, vice president for administrative services. “She’s developing trust and long-term relationships with schools and counselors.” In addition, said Hiss, Gustafson has been able to create a Bates presence at the best, most high-powered international schools, where Bates must establish its credentials as an elite U.S. college if it hopes to attract students. Hiss himself has done similar admissions work in Great Britain, and in Europe, Dean of Admissions Wylie Mitchell has strengthened the College’s recruitment efforts. And while many international students are academically qualified for admission, said Gustafson, interviews and knowledge of their high schools (the same factors that come to bear for a U.S. applicant) help Bates better evaluate a student.
“We get many qualified students, that’s true, but we also want to find students who have the right personal qualities,” said Gustafson, who points out that the friendly, egalitarian climate at Bates is particularly inviting for international students. “We want someone who shows a tremendous interest outside of academics or a sense of adventure and confidence, someone who will contribute to the Bates community, not just take.”
He’s Where Science Should Be
By early winter, seniors were grappling with theses all over campus. Stress was high, but most seniors could take comfort in the fact that they were not trying to cure a disease.
Except Aaron Hagge-Greenberg.
The recipient of a national student research fellowship, Hagge-Greenberg is studying ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease — also know as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — which affects approximately two million people nationally. In 1998, Hagge-Greenberg was one of just 11 recipients (and many of the others were medical school or Ph.D. students) of a Solvay Pharmaceuticals Student Research Fellowship, awarded by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).
“We don’t know a cause, so it’s difficult to find a cure,” said Hagge-Greenberg, who began his research last summer at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “My research is helping to find the cause, which helps to investigate treatment.”
Hagge-Greenberg hypothesizes a two-part cause of IBD: a chronic overstimulation of the immune system, accompanied by a the body’s inability to suppress the immune response. “As the immune response progresses unchecked, inflammation occurs,” he said. Working with his mentor at Case Western, Hagge-Greenberg studied Interluekin 13 (an anti-inflammatory protein) in healthy and IBD-infected cell cultures to determine if it played a role in inflammation associated with colitis and Crohn’s disease.
“I enjoy the research because it’s a little like a �Choose Your Own Adventure’ story,” Hagge-Greenberg said. “You follow an idea until either you get somewhere, or the story says, �You die, turn back to page two.’ It’s like putting together a puzzle.”
Hagge-Greenberg, a resident of Grafton, Ohio, has two thesis advisors: his mentor at Case Western and Pamela Baker ’70, associate professor of biology at Bates. Baker says she only assists with the details and putting it all together; the rest is the work of Hagge-Greenberg. “It’s not everyone we allow to work this independently,” she said.
Baker says that Hagge-Greenberg’s research on colitis and Crohn’s is valuable science.
“Aaron is working at the basic science level to figure out how the disease progresses and find a place where the progression can stop and where you could interfere,” she said. “The level he’s doing it at is where science needs to be.”
John Edgar. . .Till
Author John Edgar Wideman’s talk on Martin Luther King Jr. Day was less an occasional speech than a reading — a lyrical, personal, work-in-progress shared with several hundred listeners in Alumni Gymnasium.
The reading was about an image and a name — literal and metaphorical — that stays in Wideman’s mind. The image is the infamous black-and-white photograph, published in Jet magazine in 1955, of what remained of a Chicago teen-ager after a Mississippi lynch mob beat him to death and threw his grossly disfigured body into a river: one eye gouged out, a bullet in his skull, the side of his head crushed. The boy’s name was Emmett Till.
“The name Emmett is spoiled for me,” said Wideman, and then continued: “Sometimes I think the only way to end this would be with Andy Warhol-like strips of images. The same face. Emmett Till’s face replicated 12, 24, 48, 96 times on a wall-sized canvas, like giant postage stamps, end to end, top to bottom, each version of the face, exactly like the other, except different names printed below each one: Martin Luther Till. Malcolm Till. Medgar Till. Nat Till. Gabriel Till. Michael Till. Huey Till. Bigger Till. Nelson Till. Mumia Till. Colin Till. Jesse Till. Your daddy. Your momma. Your sister. Brother. Aunt. Cousin. Uncle. Niece. Nephew…Till.”
The face and name of Emmett Till — “the horrific death mask of his erased features,” Wideman’s metaphor for the unhealed wounds of slavery and racism — “marks a sight I ignore at my peril, a grievous wound, a wound unhealed because untended. Beneath our nation’s pieties, our self-delusions, our denials and distortions of history, our professed black or white certainties about race, lies chaos — the whirlwind that swept Emmett Till away and brings him back.”
Ultimate, JB, and the Goose
The game of ultimate frisbee is played on college campuses, beaches, at camps, and in backyards. But where and when did this competitive disc-throwing mania start? Would you believe at Bates in the ’50s?
At least, that’s what Clark Whelton ’59 will tell you.
The simple act of tossing a flying disc probably originated at Yale, where the nearby Frisbie Pie Co. “carried a line of homemade pies in circular tin pans embossed with the family surname,” according to Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things. “Sailing the pans [became] a popular diversion among students.”
At Whelton’s 18th birthday party in June 1956, he remembers a friend from Middlebury suggesting they play “frisbee,” which had jumped to Vermont from Yale. “At my party, we played with one of my mother’s pie plates, standing in a circle and flipping it back and forth,” Whelton said. “There were students present from Harvard, Dartmouth, Cornell, Amherst, UConn, BU, and several other colleges, and no one had heard of frisbee before.”
When Whelton returned to Bates in the fall of 1956, he launched the game of frisbee on campus, specifically on the lawns of John Bertram Hall. But pie tins were scarce, so other flying objects were sought.
“There were no plastic frisbees available,” he said. “So we played with a heavy, metal Pabst Blue Ribbon beer tray liberated from the Blue Goose. It made a �wo-wo-wo-wo’ sound as it lumbered through the air. If you caught it the wrong way, there was serious pain involved.”
“One evening on the lawn behind JB, we started playing �keep away’ with the beer tray,” Whelton said. “It soon became a team game, as one group tried to keep the frisbee away from the other. The next night, three or four of us sat down and drew up some rules, but the game was too tame. So we added end zones, points, and a few basic prohibitions against homicidal conduct.”
Thus was ultimate frisbee spawned. “Over the next week, through trial and error, the game refined itself into pretty much what ultimate frisbee is today,” Whelton said. “It may be possible that the game was invented on other campuses simultaneously, but if it was, I never heard of it. We cooked it up on the lawn behind JB.”
Under the Influence
How do you teach fifth- and sixth-graders that alcohol consumption impairs gross motor skills? Joe Pelliccia (below), associate professor of biology, had 34 students from Lewiston’s Longley Elementary School measure how quickly salt-water mussels absorbed food marked with red dye. Then the students introduced alcohol into the seawater. Bombed out of their bivalves, the mussels ate much slower.
For Pelliccia’s wide-eyed pupils, the sway of first-hand empirical evidence proved more powerful than being told to just say no.
Bates Day in the Lab, organized last fall by senior Jessica Taisey of Freeport, also gave students a chance to conduct other hands-on science experiments, including testing rat memory with Professor of Psychology John Kelsey and experimenting with lasers with Associate Professor of Physics John Smedley.
“It was a gas working with these kids,” said Pelliccia. Teaching grade-schoolers is “big-time different,” but he said that the alcohol and mussel experiment is the same one he gives to first- and second-year science majors at Bates.
The day was part of the ongoing Longley School Project, in which Bates students mentor Longley students, teach on a practicum basis in the school, and have developed an after-school theater program taught by theater majors. The project has received a three- year $89,000 grant from the National Corporation for Public Service.
Far and (Study) Away
Ranked sixth in the country in the percentage of its students studying abroad (see list), Bates continues with its myriad study-abroad offerings, brief and extended alike.
Short Term ’99 looks especially ambitious. In May, “Bates Theater in Budapest” presents an English-language production of The Red Faust by Hungarian playwright Zsolt Pozsgai — two-time winner of at the Erno Szep Prize for best new Hungarian play — at the International Buda Stage in Budapest.
Students will stage the world premiere at Bates in March before heading to Hungary, with both productions under the direction of Professor of Theater Martin Andrucki. Hungarian native Katalin Vecsey, a lecturer in theater at Bates with extensive Budapest connections, will accompany the group.
The prospect of traveling to Budapest to stage a play about the life of Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty especially intrigues Andrucki, who recalls vividly Mindszenty seeking refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Budapest (where he would remain for 15 years). “I remember as a kid, ” Andrucki said, “that Mindszenty was held up to me as a hero in the fight against communism. He is a reality in my imagination.” In economics, colleagues Maggie Maura-Fazio and Jim Hughes have packaged an unprecedented academic outing in China, where, according to the pair, “the scale of environmental problems is unbelievable.” For four weeks, their 10 students will visit farming communities, large and small-scale industrial enterprises, reforestation sites, nature reserves, and pollution-control facilities. Last spring, Maurer-Fazio (fluent in Chinese) and Hughes, joined by Associate Professor of Biology Sharon Kinsman, spent 21 days prowling several provinces to lay the groundwork for the ground-breaking trip. “We developed our guanxi,” said Maurer-Fazio, invoking the Chinese word for relationships and networking, so that Bates students will have opportunities rarely afforded outside observers, such as visiting with workers at the Yizheng Chemical Fibre Plant outside of Nanjing, the largest plant of its type in Asia, with worker housing on its grounds.
Sober Times at the Bill
Life in Roger Williams, circa 1970s to early 1990s, might be summed up by paraphrasing the line about the psychedelic ’60s: “If you can remember living in the Bill, you probably didn’t.”
Indeed, the current cohort of Bates students are mostly unaware of the Bill’s former reputation. As such, the recent College announcement that the Bill will become a chemical-free dorm (where the students agree on no drinking, no use of controlled substances) raised nary an eyebrow among students, while for alumni of a certain era, it’s like Ted Kennedy announcing he’s becoming a Republican.
Until a campus-wide housing reorganization in 1993 changed the Bill from coed to female only, the Bill had attracted a mix of artists, intellectuals, and establishment contrarians. As one resident said back in 1993, the Bill was “a monument to the Bohemian, free-thinking spirit of the College’s founders” (though the writer may not have known that Bates founder Oren Cheney was a vigorous abstainer who required that all students sign a pledge of abstinence).
In 1993, the College, pointing to the Bill’s “unhealthy and unproductive environment” and a pattern of growing substance abuse among its residents, turned the dorm into female-only housing, thus closing a chapter in the Bill’s history.
Housing coordinator Keith Tannenbaum arrived at Bates in 1997, but even he knows that offering the Bill as chem- free living “drips with irony.” However, the College’s decision has little to do with the Bill’s faded reputation, and all to do with the increasing popularity of chem-free living at Bates. Prior to the Bill’s reassignment, demand for spaces in current chem-free houses — including Cheney House — had outstripped supply.