A fit opening for the Trudy Fitness Center
Thanks to the hard work of staff and contractors, with generous support from alumni and parents, Colgate’s Trudy Fitness Center opened at 6 a.m. on January 31. Located in front of Lineberry Natatorium and next to Huntington Gymnasium, the new 14,825-square-foot facility is almost three times as large as the Wm. Brian Little Fitness Center, where students have worked out for almost two decades.

(photo by Andrew Daddio)

    Before the sun could push above the horizon the Monday morning of the opening, 153 community members braved the frigid air and crossed the threshold. They were welcomed by President Jeffrey Herbst, Raider, and staff members.
    Patrons lined up in the hallway connecting Huntington Gymnasium and the center. As the doors were opened, one by one they filed inside, logging their names on the historic sign-in sheet. The first 100 picked up a memento — the Colgate Bookstore supplied 50 bobblehead mascots and Rec Sports provided 50 cinch bags.
    The center has 25 treadmills, 24 ellipticals, a dozen stationary bicycles, and several Precor adaptive motion trainers.
    However they roll, fitness buffs can review workout information and watch television programs on personal screens attached to their machines. The monitors can also be used to control the user’s iPod or access music playlists on a USB drive.
     New Precor strength machines have been placed on the first floor. Whether their intention is to lift, curl, press, or pull, patrons can do so with urethane-coated weights and dumbbells emblazoned with the Colgate insignia.
    Wellness advocates are hoping the new center will make an already fit campus even healthier. “We want to draw in even more folks by making sure that the facility is user friendly and by accentuating the social aspects of fitness,” said Mark Thompson, director of counseling and psychological services.
    The center is open to the campus community, and area residents can purchase memberships.

Constitution must apply equally

From the moment civil rights leader Robert P. Moses stepped up to the podium, the students and faculty members who crowded into Memorial Chapel seemed to hold their breaths. Moses’s talk, titled “Quality Public School Education as a Constitutional Right,” served as the keynote address for the university’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations, and was filled with moving anecdotes that encouraged audience members to think more deeply about the constitutional rights of all citizens.

(photo by Janna Minehart ’13)
    Moses — the Harvard-educated founder and president of the Algebra Project — spent much of his lecture tracing the history of the civil rights movement, beginning with a story about slave James Somerset seeking his freedom in England in the 18th century. Moses’s discussion of the movement during the 1960s and 1970s was enhanced with personal experiences, including a graphic description of the “hailstorm of bullets” he faced as he grabbed the wheel of a Greyhound bus driving a group of sharecroppers to the polls.
    Moses also chronicled the creation of the Algebra Project, one of his most celebrated achievements. He cited former Harvard President James B. Conant’s famous observation that “a caste system finds its clearest manifestation in an educational system.” Such was the situation faced by Moses’s son and his classmates. When his son’s friend announced that he wanted to do “their” math, referring to the math taught to white students, Moses began working with them to link the right questions and answers to “those pesky number lines.”
    Thus, through a MacArthur Fellowship award, the Algebra Project was born. By the late 1990s, the project had spread to more than 200 middle schools across the country with the aim of guaranteeing quality education for every child in America, using math as a means of organizing.
    Throughout his talk, Moses also emphasized that it’s the spirit of the “lived Constitution” that matters, not the “written Constitution,” meaning that the equal citizenship clause of the written Constitution doesn’t always transfer to all people as it should. Whether this discrepancy exists in public education or voting, Moses encouraged all in attendance to change this, inviting his audience to recite the words to the preamble to the Constitution along with him as he wrapped up his speech.
— Caitlin Holbrook ’11

Top 10 in post-graduate salaries

College graduates can measure success in many ways, some material and some not so tangible. One measure where Colgate has found itself in very good company was in post-graduate salary, determined through data generated by PayScale.com, an online site that says it has the largest salary database in the world.
    Colgate was ranked eighth among undergraduate institutions in terms of earning potential, higher than schools such as Duke (9), Notre Dame (13), and Penn (15). Among liberal arts schools, Colgate was ranked second in terms of salary potential, behind only Harvey Mudd College.
    The 2010–2011 College Salary Report suggests that companies are willing to pay a premium for graduates hailing from the nation’s top universities such as Colgate. As parents and prospective students consider the costs of college, media reports said, the potential earning power of a school’s graduates is one of many factors to consider.

Village Green

The Hamilton Center for the Arts held a free Hip-Hop Open House, led by Yan Kit Pang, in January. Classes were held for children ages 5-8, 9-12, and 13-18, as well as adult fitness sessions. The students learned breakdancing and other hip-hop choreography. “We wanted the community to really see what hip-hop dancing is,” said Pang, who perfected his own skills as a street performer and entertainer in Boston.

(photo by Emily Drewel ’13)

    Kicking off its fourth-annual Black & White with Shades of Grey exhibition, which ran throughout February and March, MAD Art, Inc. hosted an opening reception to showcase high-contrast art and craftwork by local artists. The reception gave art enthusiasts the chance to meet the artists, who displayed a variety of media from painting, charcoal, and photography to video, metal sculpture, and ceramics.
    Madison County musicians gathered in February at the Barge Canal Coffee Co. to perform as well as celebrate the release of Treasures in the Heart of New York. The album is a collaboration of local musicians and features original music, from folk to country to bluegrass. All of the proceeds from the CD sales benefit the Hamilton Food Cupboard. Also, attendees of the free event brought canned-good donations for the food cupboard. Stacey Marion ’11 painted the CD cover art.
    Colgate’s Greek Life and Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education organized a late-March Bike for Charity to benefit the Community Bikes Project, which refurbishes velocipedes for local families in need. The Hamilton Food Cupboard also got some love with contributions from people’s own cupboards. Participants competed in a 10-mile bike race, a 5K run/walk, or both. Hamilton’s Village Green served as the event hub, with sack races and other children’s activities, food, and prizes for the race winners.

Peace Corps top producer
The positive impact Colgate alumni have in far-reaching areas of the world continues to grow. The Peace Corps announced that 20 alumni are currently serving as volunteers, making Colgate the ninth-highest producer of volunteers among small colleges and universities.
    Since 1961, 327 alumni have served as volunteers, joining the many others who work in 77 countries in the areas of education, youth and community development, health and HIV/AIDS, business information, communication technology, agriculture, and the environment.
    “Colgate’s ranking shows the high level of commitment our students and alumni have to community service and to going out and making a real difference in the world,” said Ursula Olender, director of career services.

WNBA star candidly discusses overcoming adversity

Sheryl Swoopes is used to an audience — just not one in a classroom setting. “Man … I’m nervous. It’s been a minute since I was last in college,” she said, looking around Love Auditorium as she began her talk that was part of the university’s celebration of Black History Month. The native Texan and basketball superstar told her story as one of the first Women’s National Basketball Association players and offered an inspirational message on how to reach goals and overcome adversity.

Basketball superstar Sheryl Swoopes delivers an inspirational message. (Photo by Janna Minehart ’13)

    Much of her talk focused on a question she posed at the start: “How many of you know what it takes to reach your goals?” Swoopes noted that often, the answer will surprise and challenge us.
    She spoke of her modest upbringing, playing basketball against her tough older brothers, and eventually realizing that she had real talent. Moving up through high school, college, and eventually professional teams, she said she didn’t realize how her ambitions had caused her to change — and not all the changes were good. “Because I lost focus, forgot my goals, and forgot what I believed in,” she said, “I woke up one morning and thought, can I really handle the pressure of being who I’ve become?”
    Swoopes gave a candid and, at times, she admitted, depressing analysis of her struggles to illustrate the importance of doing everything for the right reasons. Her talk shared the breadth of her life experience, from playing one-on-one against Michael Jordan to coming out as a lesbian, a decision that profoundly affected her career and public image.
    Rachel Stahl ’11 found Swoopes’s message and openness inspiring. “She was very real, very down to earth,” Stahl said. “Being able to open up to us, to talk about her struggles with adversity, gives us motivation to do the best we can in life.”
    Even at her lowest point, having lost endorsements, fans, and the support of family and friends, Swoopes said she took lessons from the obstacles she faced, determined to find happiness again. She said, “Every day, I wake up and ask, ‘How can I make my life better, and how can I make the lives of others better?’”
— Kate Hicks ’11

Alumni career networking gets a boost from seniors

Senior class gifts come in all shapes and sizes, and they usually benefit the campus community. This year, the Class of 2011 has taken a different tack, choosing instead to honor their soon-to-be alma mater with a gift that impacts alumni.
    Funding from the seniors’ project will launch a new initiative within the Maroon Advantage, which is a partnership between the Office of Alumni Affairs and the Center for Career Services that is designed to provide job-search support for Colgate graduates. Their gift will be used to retain Caroline Dowd-Higgins, a career advising professional, who will establish an online toolkit, travel to alumni events, and consult one on one with graduates of all class years.
    Dowd-Higgins is currently director of career and professional development at the University of Indiana’s Maurer School of Law. A regular blogger with the Huffington Post, she recently released her first book, This Isn’t the Career I Ordered.
    At a time when universities around the country are cutting budgets and restricting their career services staff to student-only services, the Colgate community is thinking of inventive ways to expand services for graduates who are weathering an inordinately challenging job market.
    Online, www.colgateconnect.org/careerservices features tips and web-inars on updating resumés, writing cover letters, interviewing, and more. The Maroon Advantage also hosts networking and informational events around the country, encouraging alumni to put their Colgate connections to work while reconnecting with friends and classmates.
    Career services director Ursula Olender noted that her staff dedicated 274 hours to 380 alumni in the last academic year alone. Meanwhile, they conduct a robust series of educational programs for students, including signature 30-Minute Kickoff sessions, which help sophomores plan today for the questions employers and graduate school programs will ask tomorrow.
    Tomorrow is just around the corner for the Class of 2011, and, in a flash, they could be looking at a mid-life career change. Thanks to their own generosity and foresight, the Maroon Advantage could prove to be their golden parachute.

First snow day in 18 years

Colgate students are used to waking up in the morning to a few new inches of snow. But Monday, March 7, brought more than 2 feet — and the first full snow day since 1993.

(Photo by Janna Minehart ’13)

    Classes were canceled, and only those deemed essential personnel were required to brave the weather and head into work. Those personnel included members of the buildings and grounds department, some of whom came to campus Sunday night to start the snow-removal process and struggled mightily to get back to campus the next day.
    Several grounds workers got to campus by 3 a.m. Monday, after fighting through nearly impassable roads, according to Mike Jasper, associate director of facilities. Custodial crews helped with shoveling, and campus safety officers and Sodexho dining services employees were among those who somehow got to campus early.
    Frank Dining Hall and the Coop were open at 7:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., respectively. The Office of Admission even offered a 9:45 a.m. information session for a small group, and a few students were spotted leading some unguided visitors on impromptu tours of the snowy campus later in the day.
    By 10:30 a.m., the campus had received text messages, e-mails, and phone calls from the emergency notification service, announcing that Colgate had a snow day. The same thing happened at Hamilton College, Morrisville State College, and Syracuse University.
— Kate Hicks ’11

Brown bag
We’re all in the same boat

Themes such as oppression, difference, and inter-connectedness arose during a Brown Bag lunch in which six faculty members gave their perspectives on the quote that also served as the symposium title: “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” Held in the Center for Women’s Studies, the panel discussion focusing on diversity was part of the campuswide celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
    Educational studies professor Nisha Thapliyal talked about how King adopted Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of peaceful and nonviolent struggle for social justice. “We [need to] look for the many ways in which we’re deeply interconnected,” Thapliyal said, “and resolve the current conflicts produced by our histories of inequality and oppression, knowing we are interdependent on each other for our continued existence and well-being.”
    Helene Julien, a French and women’s studies professor, brought feminist insight to the discussion. Citing the black feminist bell hooks, Julien said our charge is to eliminate not only all forms of oppression, but also the constructs that make oppression possible.
    Using the metaphor of the boat, Ken Valente, a mathematics and university studies professor and director of the LGBTQ Studies Program, cautioned that being in the same boat “requires a great deal of patience and a sensitivity to the ways our lives variously intersect.”
    Also speaking were political science professor Stanley Brubaker, head of human resources Pamela Prescod-Caesar, and mathematics professor Joaquin Rivera-Cruz.
    As moderator, Charlotte Johnson, dean of the college, led a question-and-answer period during which students and professors offered comments on the presentations as well as how the discourse applies to Colgate.

Back on campus
Real World

Several hundred Colgate seniors headed back to campus early from winter break, eager to hear advice about life after graduation during Real World 2011. On the weekend of January 13, alumni returned to campus from different cities and careers, offering their wisdom at panels and networking receptions, urging seniors to remember the welcoming Colgate community outside of Hamilton.

Carrie Clifford ’93 (photo by Andrew Daddio)

    During her keynote address, actress and writer Carrie Clifford ’93 shared a reassuring, yet honest message about success and obstacles when pursing a career. She told her story, emphasizing the importance of finding a job you can be passionate about and working hard to reach your goals. Discussing the weekend’s prevailing theme of networking, she said, “Maintain your connections and see where they take you.” She cited as an example an audition for a director who had also attended Colgate; the link led to a job and a new professional relationship.
    At a panel on Creative Networking and Job Searching, Cindy Dietzel ’84 reiterated the importance of reaching out to alumni, noting that they can help recent graduates. “Keep in touch with us — we love to hear about what’s happening at Colgate,” she said. She encouraged the seniors to think of these relationships as friendships first, pointing out that networking doesn’t necessarily have to have a specific end in mind.
    Students also had the option to attend three career-oriented panels and hear from alumni about specific fields they could pursue after graduation. Many seniors were relieved to hear they don’t have to know exactly what they’re going to do after Colgate; even more reassuring was the promise of a generous and supportive community of alumni awaiting the Class of 2011.
— Kate Hicks ’11

Go figure –
Greek life

current student members of Greek-Letter Organizations (GLOs)

40% of eligible students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors) are part of Greek Life

3.26 average GPA of students who are GLO members

members of the University Orchestra are in a sorority (3) or fraternity (3)

40 Phi Delta Theta brothers shaved their heads in support of a brother who was diagnosed with cancer

78 Kappa Kappa Gamma members participated in the Yes Means Yes seminar on positive sexuality and healthy relationships

53% of alumni belong to a sorority or fraternity

1,526 GLO alumni reside in the New York City vicinity (the most populated region of Colgate GLO alumni)

55 GLO alumni live in the Hamilton area