Defending America’s role as world leader
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered the latest lecture in the Kerschner Family Series Global Leaders at Colgate to a packed Sanford Field House audience during Family Weekend in October.
Hillary Rodham Clinton engages with students during a Q&A session moderated by Provost and Dean of the Faculty Douglas Hicks. (Photo by Andrew Daddio)
It was a warm welcome-back for Clinton, who first visited Colgate in 2004 to help launch the Upstate Institute. Noting 2013 as the year of Colgate’s lucky number, she said that the university’s 13 founders “must have done something right, because Colgate has become one of the most dynamic centers of higher learning in our nation.”
Colgate’s role as a regional and international leader served as a springboard for Clinton’s defense of American leadership in general. “With all the challenges we face at home and abroad, our country is well positioned to rise to any of them,” she said. “Even after a long decade of war and financial crisis, America is still the indispensable nation.”
Clinton argued that proof lies in the very changes that are causing a reevaluation of America’s status. Each one — including the rise of China as a global power, democracy movements in the Middle East, and recent shifts in energy production — favors America’s strength for creativity and relationship-building. “We will have to lead in new ways if we want to maintain our role in the world,” she said, “but the shifting global landscape makes American leadership more necessary, not less.” She further noted that the United States must again become a nation of ideas.
After her speech, she fielded questions from President Jeffrey Herbst. The conversation moved from the Congo to Syria, foreign surveillance to cyberwarfare and the government shutdown.
Earlier, she met with several dozen students, answering their questions about drone strikes in Pakistan, the 2016 primary race, the Clinton Foundation, hydrofracking, and being a woman in a male-dominated professional environment.
Dialogue continued the following week when the College Democrats and College Republicans co-hosted an open forum titled “Debating Hillary: Her Colgate Speech and Record.” The brown bag discussion featured a student-moderated panel with political science professors Tim Byrnes and Robert Kraynak as co-facilitators.
Julia O’Connor ’14 “was really fired up” about the small-group Q&A session.“I saw a woman who was not afraid, even when she was given tough questions,” she said.
Endowment reaches $800 million
Colgate’s endowment broke through the $800 million mark in November 2013 and recently drew positive attention in Institutional Investor magazine. The university was cited as one of 20 with midsize educational endowments that “schooled” their larger peers such as Harvard and Yale from June 2007 through June 2012. Strong performance continued into the most recent fiscal year (July 2012–June 2013) with a 13.7 percent investment return.
“The markets giveth and they taketh away,” said President Jeffrey Herbst of the milestone, “but I am glad to mark this moment.” He credited all the trustees who have been involved in endowment management for Colgate over the years as well as colleagues in advancement and finance for their efforts in growing the fund.
For generations, the Colgate endowment, supported by the generous contributions of alumni, parents, and friends, has provided invaluable support to the university and its students. This has translated to more than $285 million in support of university operations, which includes financial aid and other academic programs. The endowment is a critical source of funding and allows Colgate to provide superior academic and student services. The strategic budgeting process provides a strong balanced budget approach, ensuring smart investment for today’s and tomorrow’s students.
The Nutcracker, an entirely student-run production presented by the Colgate Ballet Company and local children, has become a holiday tradition.
A model for post-grad prep
In an Atlantic article titled “A New Goal for Colleges: No One Moves Back Home After Graduation,” Michael Sciola, who leads Colgate’s Center for Career Services, said he agrees with that goal. “By the time you’re a senior in college, you’re the best at your profession [being a student],” Sciola said in the article. “Then in May … we lay you off.”
The way to prepare students for post-grad life and work is to teach them about the realities of the workplace, Sciola said. The article described Colgate as a leader among colleges revamping their career services to do just that. It also cited Real World — now a year-long series for seniors that facilitates alumni networking, class unity, and discussions about life skills like negotiating a salary, finding an apartment, or buying a car — as a model program.
“Colgate is doing a great job of adjusting the way it prepares its students for changes in the economy,” said Kelly Henderson ’09, a Real World participant. “Colgate teaches students to be lifelong learners and masters of adaptation.”
Another innovation taking flight is the launch of seven professional networks: the Real Estate Council, Colgate Entertainment Group, Finance Network, Digital Media and Technology Network, Entrepreneur Network, Health and Wellness Network, and the Common Good Network. Coordinated by career services and alumni relations, the groups support student professional development and career exploration, and promote alumni engagement with Colgate as well as networking. (Read more on pages 3 and 42.)
Sciola is becoming a go-to source for media interested in the changing face of career services in higher education, having also been quoted in a U.S. News & World Report in September. He also is being appreciated by students. Alexandra Macey ’14 wrote on Twitter: “Just had a wonderful meeting with Colgate office of career services. Mike Sciola was so helpful & attentive and got me on Navigate!”
Celebrating Nelson Mandela
In December, the Colgate community joined South Africans and people across the world in honoring the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. The event at the chapel featured excerpts of Mandela’s speeches, reflections from faculty members, and music. It was hosted by Africana and Latin American Studies, the president’s office, and the ALANA Cultural Center.
(photo by Erica Hasenjager)
“[Mandela] reminds us that the power of change is indeed ours, when and if we come together,” said Jonathan Hyslop, professor of sociology and Africana and Latin American studies, in his opening remarks.
President Jeffrey Herbst gave his insight based on his time visiting and living in South Africa. “I’ve seen how the country has and has not changed, and most of all, the impact of Mandela on an entire society, on the continent, and indeed, the world,” he said. “He held true to a fundamental principle: he believed that South Africa should be unified. In the end, his true guiding stars were immutable.”
Members of the Black Student Union and the African Students’ Union read excerpts of Mandela’s Rivonia Trial speech as well as sections of his inaugural address. Performed in the style of spoken word poetry, the selections evoked powerful messages of unity, triumph, and responsibility.
“As a young woman about to graduate, I can only aspire to follow in Mandela’s footsteps and lead my life with integrity and love as my guides,” said Kate Maffei ’14.
The ceremony closed with a sing-along of the South African National Anthem, which incorporates lyrics in a variety of languages including Zulu, Afrikaans, and English. Watch the ceremony at colgate.edu/mandela.
— Marilyn Hernandez-Stopp ’14
Ghost hunter and demonologist John Zaffis led students on a tour of the campus graveyard as part of Halloween celebrations on campus. (Photo by Ashlee Eve ’14)
Capping off Coming Out Month
Activists Alexis Gumbs and Julia Wallace delivered the keynote speech that capped off Colgate’s celebration of Coming Out Month in October.
Gumbs and Wallace are co-founders of the Mobile Homecoming Project; they have been traveling around the United States interviewing people important to transforming the black queer movement. By collecting oral histories and piecing together an intergenerational connection, they hope to give voice to gay black women, trans men, and queer visionaries.
Coordinated by Colgate’s LGBTQ Initiative and the women’s studies department, the speech took place at the Center for Women’s Studies. More than simply giving a lecture, the two speakers used performances and video narratives to showcase the project.
Earlier in October, the LGBTQ Initiative used other activities to get campus members involved in Coming Out Month. As in previous years, doors were stationed in various locations so that people could write supportive messages to the LGBTQ community on them.
Three panelists shared their coming out stories during a brown bag lunch at the women’s studies center, and another event featured Valerie Queen, who discussed her work supporting trans-identified prison inmates.
“It was great to have so many of the events happen in [the Center for Women’s Studies] because this is a welcoming place where anyone can learn more about people’s experiences and get important conversations going,” said Che Hatter ’13, the women’s studies program assistant.
— Aminat Olayinka Agaba ’14
Intelligence as Alternative Energy
Poet-musician-activist John Trudell’s November lecture in Golden Auditorium was anything but conventional. A man of many trades, from activist for the American Indian movement to author to musician, Trudell visited campus to speak on “Intelligence as Alternative Energy.”
Interlacing his talk with samplings of his poetry, Trudell held to one central theme: we have lost understanding of humanity and what it means to be human. “We don’t recognize ourselves. We don’t know who we are,” Trudell said. He followed this critique with his own explanation of human composition, stating, “We are made up of the metals, minerals, liquids of the earth. We’re shapes of the earth.
(photo by Ashlee Eve ’14)
“If we respected our intelligence, we would generate power,” he said. “If we understand who we are as human beings, we can use that understanding to generate coherency and clarity.”
Although his lecture touched on a range of difficult subjects, Trudell’s solution was relatively simple: if we use our power as humans intelligently, we can change the course of humanity for the better.
Before his lecture, Trudell met with students in Professor Sarah Wider’s Native American Writers and Native American Literature courses.
“My favorite part was his give-and-give-back philosophy: if we take from the earth, we give back to it,” said Ellie Kantor ’14.
University photographer Andrew Daddio had proposed inviting Trudell to campus; his interest was sparked after watching the 2005 documentary Trudell. Asked to introduce Trudell, Daddio said: “I know he had a tremendous impact on me, and part of my motivation was to bring this to the students.”
— Marilyn Hernandez-Stopp ’14
Members of the Lifelong Learning Program attended a series titled The Iroquois and Their Neighbors, facilitated by Christopher Vecsey, Harry Emerson Fosdick Professor of the humanities and Native American studies and religion. Before the final session, participants attended the annual Native American Arts and Culture Festival in order to further what Vecsey described as “a freshly informed conversation about the Iroquois today and their neighbors: us.”
Reality TVstars Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge hosted a Dessert Tasting and Book Signing with the Fabulous Beekman Boys at the Colgate Bookstore on October 22. To celebrate the release of The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook, the couple did a book signing for more than 100 fans who sampled confections from the book including oatmeal cream pies with ginger cream.
Rollerskates and cupcakes sound like child’s play, but not when it comes to the Ladies’ Death and Derby Society. In October, Good Nature Brewery opened its tap room for a bake-sale fundraiser to assist Madison County’s first roller derby league. Homemade goodies and T-shirts were on sale to sponsor the approximately 20 women on the TitleTown KnockOuts team.
(photo by Mike Perkins)
Phoenix Project Dance (pictured above) lit up the Palace Theater stage in November. The company’s animated choreography was accompanied by local composer (and orthopedic surgeon) Anthony Cicoria’s original “Lightning Sonata,” inspired by his experience of being struck by lightning and the principles of a spark. Both Cicoria and the Phoenix Project Dance are based in nearby Norwich, N.Y.
— Hannah O’Malley ’17
Diwali lights up Colgate
A burst of fireworks illuminated the campus sky to kick off Diwali, the five-day Hindu festival of lights, on November 3. The celebration continued in the Hall of Presidents, which was bedecked with strings of holiday lights. Centerpieces of candles and confetti added sparkle and color to the white linen–covered tables.
“The lights symbolize the removal of darkness, evil, and fear, and the bringing of light, happiness, and positive energy,” explained Shambhavi Sawhney ’17. She and Nairuti Shah ’17 presented the story behind Diwali and the holiday’s present-day manifestation, illuminating the significance of the abundant lights.
Prosperity and wealth, mutual respect, a sense of community, and, for some communities, the beginning of a new year are additional tenets of Diwali commonly symbolized through colorful rangoli decorations and the exchange of sweets and gifts. The festivities were organized by the Hindu Students Association (HSA).
The celebration not only educates the community, but it also gives Hindu students a piece of their homeland. “I really miss home. I woke up at eight in the morning to Skype with my parents and grandparents so I could participate back home as much as possible,” said HSA treasurer Shivika “Shivi” Seksaria ’16, who is from Calcutta. “I am going to send a million pictures to my mom.”
— Hannah O’Malley ’17