Bates in the News

Edited by H. Jay Burns and Doug Hubley

Symbiosis

In a September letter to The Chronicle of Higher Education, President Elaine Tuttle Hansen extended an ongoing College effort to reaffirm the symbiosis between a liberal arts education and the business community. A liberal arts education, Hansen wrote, “gives our graduates a realistic understanding of the complexity of the world and prepares them for lives satisfying to themselves and useful to others.”

In November, The Boston Globe talked to Hansen about the cultural barriers that minority students often face at the best small colleges and how those colleges must do better. Getting such students here “is so hard,” she told the Globe after leaders of top small colleges met in Boston to discuss minority-student issues. “We can’t afford to blow it.”

Also in November, in an essay for the statewide business magazine Mainebiz, Vice President Bill Hiss ’66 reaffirmed another symbiotic relationship, that between Greater Lewiston-Auburn and Bates, a $68-million business. “One part of that town-gown story involves the economic impact of a college that draws students from all over the world,” Hiss wrote. “The other part is the rapidly expanding economic and community cooperation between Bates people and the communities, a process of growing social capital and finding common cause.”

Ranks and raves

Elsewhere in these pages, College analyst Jim Fergerson uses the words “annoying, often inaccurate” to describe the myriad college rankings offered up by the media. Fergerson isn’t alone in his sentiments, but the rankings keep coming: Bates is in more horse races than ever, from the U.S. News & World Report‘s “Great Deals at Great Schools” list (No. 33 among liberal arts colleges), to the Peace Corps’ ranking of schools with the most alumni serving (No. 22 among small colleges) to The Wall Street Journal‘s compendium of schools whose graduates most often enter elite post-grad programs (No. 40).

Our favorite ranking was conducted by Washington Post education columnist Jay Mathews last spring. He asked high school counselors and teachers to recommend “the hidden gems…that students fall in love with.” Bates, which placed 28th out of 100, doesn’t require standardized test scores, Mathews wrote, “but students who have not applied themselves to their high school courses or shown intellectual merit in some way will not get in.”

Short terms

Yale Professor of Law Stephen L. Carter helped Bates conclude the June 9 broadcast of ABC World News Tonight as the last item in a montage of commencement speakers at U.S. colleges…. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education dedicated its spring 2003 issue to Benjamin Mays ’20. And the following issue fittingly listed Mays along with the Rev. Peter Gomes ’65, Karen Hasty Williams ’66, Benjamin Robinson III ’86 and the late Dr. John Kenney ’42 among Bates’ distinguished black alumni…. In a long-overdue profile, 88-year-old pianist and Bates artist-in-residence Frank Glazer told the Bangor Daily News that he owed his musical longevity to his doctors, his keyboard technique, and his wife, Ruth…. The Museum of Art’s exhibition of paintings by Cuban artist Manuel L√≥pez Oliva was hailed by the Cuban press…. Tom Carey ’73, director of campus security and a former FBI terrorism specialist, offered expert commentary on both specialties to newspapers in Maine and California…. The Wall Street Journal mentioned Bates while reporting on colleges’ efforts to cut calories for diet-conscious students. Our claim to fame: low-fat cheese…. Finally, striking a blow for, or against, the Bates fashion sense was Bates sibling Nate Funk, whose photo in a Bates T-shirt embellished a retailing story in The New York Times in December. “His wardrobe is slowly becoming solely comprised of Bates gear,” said Nate’s sister Arianna Funk ’07.