On & Off Campus

Edited by Rick Denison

Bates Again Ranks High
Bates secured a spot among the top twenty national liberal-arts colleges in the annual ranking published byU.S. News & World Report in its September 18 issue. Bates further distinguished itself with inclusion inBarron’s Top 50: An Inside Look at America’s Best Colleges, published recently as a nonranked narrative of the country’s leading higher educational institutions.

U.S. News & World Report, listing nationally the fifty best universities and forty best liberal-arts colleges, bases its 1996 rankings on reputation, selectivity, faculty and financial resources, student retention, and alumni satisfaction. This year Bates moved up three spots to number eighteen in the “national liberal-arts colleges” category.

“We are very happy to move up three places in the rankings,” said Bill Hiss ’66, vice president for administrative affairs. “But more importantly, we are pleased that for many years Bates has been included in the very top categories in all the listings and continues to be.”

Hiss pointed to the importance of the guides and rankings in creating reputation as a complement to campus visits.

“People do not choose a college because they understand the fine details of an academic department any more than they buy a car because they understand the way a carburetor works,” he said.

Barron’s Top 50 profiled fifty institutions whose “emphasis on excellence” was determined by acceptance rate, test scores, academic resources, faculty, and student body.

In an alphabetical listing of the fifty schools accompanied by a description of reputation, Barron’s summed up Bates: “Great Regional Rep — Spreading.”

The portrait of the College, written in a lively, conversational style by J. Reese Madden ’93, paints a vibrant picture of academic excellence, outstanding faculty, and healthy social life [see sidebar next page].

If you want a reprint of the Bates entry in Barron’s Top 50, contact the Office of College Relations, Bates College, 141 Nichols Street, Lewiston, Maine 04240, or call 207 786-6330, or e-mail cwyse@bates.edu.

Benjamin Mays ’20 Reinterred at Morehouse College
Last spring, the remains of Benjamin E. Mays ’20 were reinterred at Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he served as president for twenty-seven years. President Harward represented Bates at the ceremony, which took place prior to commencement exercises on May 21, 1995.

Speakers at the event included President Harward, Mays’s niece, and Coretta Scott King. They remembered Mays as an intellectual and spiritual giant, a teacher and mentor to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and scores of other black leaders.

During the weekend, Morehouse unveiled a larger-than-life bronze statue and a half-moon wall engraved with quotes from the educator’s works. The remains of Mays, who died in 1984, and of his wife, Sadie, who died in 1969, were moved from Atlanta’s Southview Cemetery to the memorial site, in a newly built crypt in front of Graves Hall on the campus green.

[Photo: Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz]

This year's Convocation, the official beginning of Bates's 141st academic year, took place on a sunny Coram Library quadrangle on September 6. Above, keynote speaker Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz (center) departs the ceremony with President Harward and Dean of the Faculty Martha Crunkleton. Horowitz, a prominent scholar and author, is a professor of history and American studies at Smith College.

Another Busy Summer on Campus
At times during the summer of 1995, the Bates campus seemed as busy as at any time during the academic year. What with teachers’ workshops, children’s camps, and such old friends as the Bates Dance Festival and the All-Sports Camp, College departments and facilities were kept busy from just after Commencement until just before Orientation.Dean of the College Jim Carignan ’61, whose bailiwick includes the Office of Special Projects and Summer Programs, called the past summer one of the best yet.

“We were especially pleased with the Creative Writing Workshop, the Benjamin Mays Summer Science Program, and a pilot arts program for disadvantaged local young people,” Carignan said. “They continued a trend toward substantive, academically challenging programs consistent with the College’s academic mission.”

The newer programs built on the high reputation enjoyed by older ones, such as the Summer Debate Institute and the Muskie Summer Scholars.

Carignan estimated that counting participants in programs and spectators at public events, some six thousand people visited the campus during the summer.

Ghosh Finds Diversity, Community in China
It may be a while before Melanie Mala Ghosh ’93, coordinator of multicultural affairs, decompresses from a tumultuous ten days in China, where she attended the recent Non-Governmental Organizations Forum on Women. The forum in Huairou, near Beijing, was associated with the United Nations Conference on Women.

At the NGO Forum, Ghosh represented Bates and attended sessions dealing with education, race and ethnicity, and migrant and refugee women. She came away impressed and moved by the ability of thousands of women from disparate backgrounds to work through logistical problems and a sometimes heavy-handed security presence to articulate their concerns.

“The problems were there, but in a lot of ways they were really irrelevant,” she said. “These people were there to work, and they weren’t going to let little logistical difficulties stop them.”

A global perspective was the inevitable result of a gathering of 35,000 women who hailed from more than 153 nations.

“One of the amazing things was how much we Westerners can learn from women in some less-developed countries,” Ghosh said. “These women know how to organize, they know how to overcome systems that are stacked against them, and they don’t get discouraged.”

Ghosh, who is of Indian heritage, was especially interested in a presentation by a South Asian organization that encourages young rural women to aspire to higher education and not see early marriage as their only option.

“There are so many things we Americans take for granted,” she said. “It’s a real eye-opener for a lot of people to see the struggles that are being waged on a daily basis around the world.”

Pre-tenure Leave: Reflection, Renewal
“A remarkable opportunity — for growth, for reflection, for taking one’s bearings.”

This is how Peter Blaze Corcoran, associate professor of education at Bates, described his recently completed pre-tenure leave, a maze of forays that took him from the foothills of Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the margins of the Australian outback.

Martha A. Crunkleton, dean of the faculty, sees the pre-tenure leave option as an invaluable investment in the faculty.

“We want to insure that our tenure candidates are in good shape before they come up for review,” she said. “This gives them a block of time in which they are free to pursue study and research, unencumbered by the daily pressures of teaching.”

An authority on environmental education, Corcoran began his time away from campus as a scholar-in-residence at Sol y Sombra. The former home of artist Georgia O’Keefe, this twenty-acre estate in New Mexico has evolved into a kind of Eden at the hands of environmentalists who are committed to the concept of “permaculture,” an experimental approach to meeting human needs such as food, shelter, and water through efficient land use.

Sol y Sombra supports “an absolutely thoughtful and intentional environment,” Corcoran said. Every drop of water is captured and recycled, and the grounds are graced by “edible landscaping,” with flowers and fruit trees, roses and eggplant mingling in a soil-enhancing design. Inhabitants are physically nourished by the harvest from organic gardens and spiritually nourished by the lively exchange of ideas that takes place among those who go there.

Corcoran conversed with “a steady stream of fascinating scholars, politicians, scientists, and activists” during his stay. He said he made progress on a project detailing the significant life experiences of those who choose to be environmental educators, as well as on a monograph about the Bates course he teaches on environmental education.

Corcoran’s next stop was Brisbane, Australia, where he spent several weeks as a visiting academic at Griffith University. Australia, in his view, is possibly the best place in the world for the study of environmental education. “The thinking is very much based on deep ecology and social ecology and is way ahead of America,” he said.

After a stop in Thailand, where he was asked to serve on the board of a new multigenerational school, Corcoran proceeded to his final leave destination: thirteen miles down a dirt road in Abiquiu, New Mexico, “where the canyon vanishes and the road vanishes into rock and brush,” to the Monastery of Christ in the Desert. There his charge was to work with the resident brothers on ecology and environmental awareness.

In a letter sent back to campus from the Benedictine monastery, he described his life as a guest of the monks: “I rise with them for vigils at four in the morning, take simple meals with them in silence, and received their blessing on my work in making people aware of creation.”

If Corcoran is any example, Bates’s pre-tenure leave option is fulfilling its goals admirably. “This experience — the community life, the wilderness, the opportunity to go deep into my work — has been enormously beneficial, invigorating my planning for my fall-semester class in environmental education,” he said.

Back on campus, professional obligations have kept Corcoran busy from almost the moment he returned. Recently, he was named by the Environmental Protection Agency to a federal advisory panel on environmental education, which will make recommendations to the EPA on training programs and grants for environmental education.

Corcoran is grateful for the needed respite from campus, which enabled him to jump back into the academic fray full of energy. The time away afforded “lots of time to write, to internalize my perspective, to grow.” He returns to his students refreshed, fortified, and ready to re-invest the results.

“As I am enriched,” he said, “so too are they.”

Cindy Larock ’75

Seven Earn Tenure
Ten members of the Bates faculty have been promoted — seven receiving tenure — according to Martha A. Crunkleton, dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs.

Promoted to the rank of professor was Dennis Grafflin, associate professor of history.

The following assistant professors were granted tenure and named associate professors: Steven C. Dillon, English; Elizabeth A. Eames, anthropology; Cristina Malcolmson, English; John A. Rhodes, mathematics; James G. Richter, political science; and Peter N. Wong, mathematics.

Baltasar Fra-Molinero, visiting associate professor of Spanish, was named associate professor of Spanish.

Margaret Maurer-Fazio, instructor in economics, was named an assistant professor of economics, and David Jenkins, a lecturer in anthropology, was appointed instructor in anthropology.

Grafflin, the former chair of the history department, joined the Bates faculty in 1981 after posts at Middlebury College and Harvard University. A specialist in the history of east Asia, he has served as editor of the Early Medieval China Group Newsletter and is the author of numerous papers and scholarly articles. He graduated from Oberlin College and earned master’s and doctoral degrees at Harvard.

Dillon teaches courses in English and European literature and in poetry writing. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Colorado, he earned master’s and doctoral degrees at Yale University and joined the Bates faculty in 1988.

Eames, a specialist in African anthropology and women’s studies, recently was named chair of the women’s studies program at Bates. She graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College and received master’s and doctoral degrees at Harvard. Prior to joining the Bates faculty in 1988 she taught at Harvard and at Haverford College.

Malcolmson teaches courses on Elizabethan and seventeenth-century English literature. She earned bachelor’s and doctoral degrees at the University of California and taught at Reed College and Yale before joining the Bates faculty in 1991.

Rhodes, who has taught at Bates since 1986, is a specialist in modular forms, a branch of number theory. He has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to support his work. He graduated from Dartmouth College and earned his doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Richter, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Cornell University, earned master’s and doctor’s degrees at California. His research interests include Russian and Soviet politics and international relations. He joined the Bates faculty in 1987 after teaching at Hobart & William Smith Colleges and Notre Dame College of Ohio.

Wong is an honors graduate of the University of Wisconsin, where he also earned his doctorate and taught before joining the Bates faculty in 1988. He is a specialist in algebraic topology and fixed-point theory.

Fra-Molinero graduated from the University of Santiago, Spain. He earned a master’s degree at Indiana University and doctorates at Indiana and the University of Seville, Spain. A specialist in Spanish literature, he taught at Seville, Indiana, and the University of Florida before coming to Bates in 1994.

Maurer-Fazio joined the Bates faculty last year. She previously taught at the University of Western Ontario, where she graduated with honors and earned a master’s degree. She received her doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include the Chinese economy and developing economies.

Jenkins, who joined the Bates faculty in 1992, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Utah and a master’s at the University of Michigan. He teaches courses in the anthropology of the American West and the Andes mountains of South America.

[Photo: Melanie Mala Ghosh]

Right: Melanie Mala Ghosh '93, shown at the Great Wall with classmate Jeff Brainerd '93, represented Bates at the Non-Governmental Forum on Women.

[Photo: Philip Otis]

Far right: Philip Otis '95, a ranger on Mount Rainier, was killed in a rescue attempt last summer.

Beam Named President of New England Archivists

Christopher M. Beam, lecturer in history and director of the Edmund S. Muskie Archives, has been chosen president-elect of New England Archivists.Beam is currently serving a one-year term as NEA vice-president and will assume the presidency for one year starting next spring. He will then remain on the organization’s executive board for a further year.

New England Archivists was established in 1972 to bring together archivists, manuscript curators, and others interested in preserving and making available records of enduring value in the region. The group currently has about 550 members.

Theater Season Under Way
A season of challenging dramas, Shakespearean comedy, and colorful French Canadian works is on tap in this year’s theatrical season at Bates. Several of the productions deal with AIDS and its effects on its victims and those close to them.

First on stage at Schaeffer Theatre was Le Secret, a compendium of songs, dances, and sketches performed by the National Theater School of Canada in late September as part of Lewiston’s bicentennial celebration.

During Parents Weekend, the Robinson Players staged David Mamet’s study of campus political correctness,Oleanna, while the Department of Theater and Rhetoric produced Kathryn Miller’s drama A Thousand Cranes,about a twelve-year-old survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing.

Next at Schaeffer Theatre was Open Admissions by Shirley Lauro, a look at the issue of “equal opportunity” in college admissions.

Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s
was on the Schaeffer boards in early November.

Still to come are:

  • Revue Franco-Américaine, another salute to Lewiston’s bicentennial, December 9 and 10.
  • Let’s Talk About AIDS, a musical comedy by Sandra Deer, February 3-4.
  • Before It Hits Home by Cheryl West, about the effect of AIDS on a young black jazz musician, February 2-11.
  • Bingo by Edward Bond, a speculation on the last few days in the life of William Shakespeare, March 7-10.
  • Etta Jenks by Marlane Meyer, described by New York Times critic Mel Gussow as “a sardonic, eye-opening plunge into a contemporary nether world.”

Ticket information is available from the Schaeffer Theatre box office two weeks before each play’s opening. The number is (207) 786-6161. Interested persons may use the same number to add their names to the theater department mailing list.

Whitehouse Donations Featured at Bates Museum of Art
Ancient treasures of the Americas and some of the newest examples of the printmaker’s art share the spotlight this fall at the Museum of Art.

Now at the museum are two exhibitions: The Print Shop, on display until December 17, and Pre-Columbian Ritual Ceramics, open until March 15. The museum, located in the Olin Arts Center off Russell Street, is open at no charge Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

The exhibit of Pre-Columbian funerary ceramics comprises pieces from the museum’s permanent collection donated by David Whitehouse ’36 and his wife, Constance. The Whitehouses spent some twenty years collecting ceramics from North, Central, and South America and gave their collection to Bates in 1991.

The pieces on display are examples of ceramics buried with deceased members of such cultures as the Inca and Moche of Peru, the Olmecs of eastern Mexico, and the Quimbaya of Colombia. They include eating and drinking vessels, figurines, and effigies of divine creatures.

Speaking at the Museum September 15 on “The Religious Rituals of the Moche and Nazca Cultures” was Alan R. Sawyer ’41, former director of the Textile Museum in Washington. He also established the department of primitive art at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The exhibit is curated by two Bates seniors, Oh Mee Lee and Elizabeth Marzloff.

The Print Shop offers a view of current printmaking through the work of artists Karen Gilg, Randy Hemminghaus, Charles Hewitt, Allison Hildreth, Frances Hodsdon, and Katarina Weslien. In addition, a number of special events have been scheduled in conjunction with the exhibition.

They include free printmaking demonstrations, printmaking workshops, lectures on printmaking, and a trip to the Vinalhaven Press.

Phil Otis ’95 Dies on Mount Rainier in Rescue Effort
At a campus memorial service during Back-to-Bates weekend, classmates, friends, and family remembered Philip J. Otis ’95 as a caring person devoted to the outdoors and serving others. Otis died August 13 while working as a climbing ranger on Washington’s Mount Rainier.

Otis and another young ranger were engaged in a rescue mission when they apparently slipped and fell more than one thousand feet. Both were killed. Bad weather and faulty equipment have been cited as possible causes of the accident; the investigation is continuing.

Otis, a native of Minneapolis, was majoring in religion and environmental studies. His thesis explored links between Christianity and the environmental movement.

“Those of us who knew Phil understood that outdoor experiences were central to his life,” said President Harward in a message to the College community. “That he died in an effort to save another’s life was characteristic of how he lived.”

During a service in Seattle August 24, Otis and the other ranger, Sean Ryan, were praised by friends and fellow rangers for their zest for life.

“Phil was excited to be alive,” said ranger Debbie Brenchleys. “He was excited to be out there. He lived life to the fullest. And in my heart, he’s a hero.”

Carl B. Straub, professor of religion at Bates and Otis’s academic advisor, recalled Otis’s determination to connect the natural world with spiritual concerns.

“Philip was interested in a link between Western religions and our generation’s responsibility in caring for the environment,” Straub said. “He saw humankind as having the responsibility to be stewards of the earth.”

Honoring Philip Otis’s love of Bates and the environment, his family has initiated a memorial fund at the College that will support an annual Philip J. Otis Lecture on an environmental theme and also support the newly created environmental studies program. Contributions to the memorial fund in his memory can be directed to the Development Office, 2 Andrews Road, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine 04240.

Isaacson Book Now an Opera
Seed of Sarah, the acclaimed Holocaust memoir written by former Dean of Students Judith Magyar Isaacson ’65, continues to reach new audiences. An operatic adaptation debuted last spring, with music by Mark Polishook and lyrics taken from the book.

The opera premiered at the Portland Museum of Art on April 23.

“It’s a beautiful book, about Judith’s inner spirit,” Polishook told the Maine Sunday Telegram. He pointed out that the lessons the book teaches still relate to such events as the conflict in Bosnia.

The opera is the second part of Polishook’s Holocaust Trilogy; the first was based on Jerzy Kosinski’s book The Painted Bird.

In addition to maintaining a busy speaking and writing schedule, Isaacson, who received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Bates in 1994, in May accepted honorary degrees from Colby College and the University of New England.

FYI and Thanks
Bates is now finishing a major conversion to a new computer information system. Over the next few months, a few tough-to-predict bumps may appear in this new Bates information highway, and we thank you for your understanding. Bates couples, for example, may for a short time receive two copies of some College mailings. If you are concerned about any problems with your Bates mail (or concerned about anything else), you can always contact the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, 2 Andrews Road, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine 04240, telephone 207 786-6245, or e-mail alumni@bates.edu.

A photo caption on page 18 of the summer 1995 edition of Bates incorrectly identified Bates debater Quoc Tran ’95 as a Japanese university student. We regret the error.

[Photo: two recent graduates at Back to Bates]

Back to Bates weekend featured beautiful fall weather, exciting athletic events (though another losing football game), and revamped programming, including a Saturday-night fireworks display.

New Endowments
Through the generosity of loyal members of the Bates community, the following new endowments have been created at the College.The Blake Family Scholarship
Given by Nowell A. Blake ’54 and Moira MacKenzie Blake ’56 with income to provide scholarship aid for worthy and needy students.

The Foster Family Fund
Given by Joyce Foster Daley ’35 in memory of her parents, Rosa Lamb Foster and Eugene S. Foster ’07, and her brother, Dr. Eugene S. Foster ’39. Also contributed to by members of the College community who gave war stamps in 1944 to create a memorial fund in the name of Rosa Lamb Foster, a housemother and hostess at the Women’s Union. For scholarship aid with preference for women students.

Benjamin E. Mays ’20 Award
Given by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. H’94, chair of the Department of African American Studies of Harvard University, awarded to the senior who most exemplifies the values of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays ’20, in academic excellence, service to others, and moral leadership. Professor Gates received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Commencement 1994.

Ernest P. Muller Book Fund
Given by Charles A. Schmutz, Jr. ’57 in honor of Ernest P. Muller, professor of history from 1950 to 1988, for the purchase of periodicals and books, in print or electronically retrievable form, in the field of history.

Manford L. Palmer ’28 and Annette C. Palmer ’28 Fund
Created by the Trustees with the bequest of Manford L. Palmer, given in memory of Annette C. Palmer and Manford L. Palmer, income for the general purposes of the College.

The Parmelee Library Fund
Given by David W. Parmelee ’64 and Arlene J. Parmelee, for the acquisition of books, periodicals, documents, computer resources, and any other materials for the George and Helen Ladd Library that are deemed vital and essential for students and faculty to carry on their teaching or research; with preference for materials on European and American history and the biological sciences.

James G. Wallach ’64 Fund
Given by James G. Wallach ’64 and Mary Wallach with income to provide general-purpose support for Bates. The donors retain the flexibility to designate a specific purpose in the future.