Bates in the News

A sampling of Bates-related news in the media.

They’re Alpha dogs, those Navy pilots, as Lt. Col. J.J. Cummings ’89 proved when he gave Today show cohost Matt Lauer a stomach-turning, nationally televised ride in his F-16 on March 26. Today was on hand to welcome the return of the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its crew of 5,000 from deployment in post-Sept. 11 operations. The next day, J.J. and wife Sara ’89 were interviewed at home, which gave J.J. a chance to rib Lauer about the flight, during which Lauer succumbed to air sickness — at least that’s Cummings’ story. “I heard the animal cries from the back seat,” Cummings said to Lauer. Check out the clips at

Choreographer John Carrafa ’76 “seems to be everywhere at once,” said The New York Times in April. Carrafa won best-choreographer Tony nominations for Urinetown and Into the Woods and is now at work on the Broadway-bound musical Dance of the Vampires, among other projects.

Since being profiled in Bates Magazine several years ago, Corey Harris ’91 has taken his blues music in a thoughtful new direction. His initial work, including Between Midnight and Day, was in the acoustic rural blues tradition. But with his latest, much more plugged-in CD, Downhome Sophisticate, “Corey Harris wants to redefine the blues,” according to Steve Inskeep, who interviewed Harris on NPR’s Morning Edition. “I like to call my music diaspora rock,” Harris says. “I’m looking at my people who are black around the world, seeing what unites us musically, and trying to express that as a black American.” The story is archived at

In a May story about the nation’s first college fair specifically for gay high school students, The Boston Globe noted that Bates, Harvard, and Tufts, among others, lead the trend of trying to portray their campuses as welcoming to gay students. “Gay students are emerging as an appealing new [admissions] niche,” said the Globe.

Admissions testing was the theme of WNYC radio’s issue-oriented talk program On The Line in May. The show welcomed Dean of Admissions Wylie Mitchell and Rebecca Zwick of the University of California-Santa Barbara, who discussed the importance of SATs in higher education. Learn more at

The Boston Globe noted in February that Daniel Stedman ’01 won a Teddy, the Berlin Film Festival’s award for gay- and lesbian-themed films, for his bittersweet four-minute movie Celebration. Stedman noted that there was some controversy around his film “because I’m actually straight.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Also in February, the Boston Sunday Herald profiled Jeff Butland ’73, the new regional administrator for the Small Business Administration. Noting that Butland is a former Marine who competed in a triathlon at age 50 last year, the Herald said “the Maine native said prepping for his new job has been the mental equivalent to the physical challenges he conquered in boot camp and as a triathlete.”

Usually called upon for commentary on political strategy, Professor Emeritus of Political Science Doug Hodgkin was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune for his perspective on the recent influx into Lewiston of Somali refugees. The Hodgkin family roots in Lewiston go back to the 18th century, and he commented on how Lewiston citizens view the Somali immigration. “There is unease,” Hodgkin said. “People are arguing that there are positives in the sense of getting diversity and getting a better sense of the world. But the positives tend to be pretty abstract and nebulous. People can more readily think about the negatives in concrete terms — tax bills and competition for what jobs there are.”