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Evan Chartier ’14
Tom Dempsey ’72
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photo by Alice Virden-Speer
They can be beautiful and they can be terrifying — the duality of Hindu goddesses inspired Padma Kaimal’s new book,
Scattered Goddesses: Travels with the Yoginis
. But Kaimal wasn’t always drawn to these female icons.
“I fought it for a long time,” admitted the professor of art and art history and Asian studies. “I was resisting assumptions that I felt other people were making that, ‘You’re a woman; you must be interested in gender.’” But, at the time, Kaimal was fascinated with the god Shiva: “He’s an outsider god; he refuses to follow the rules,” Kaimal said. “He won’t sit in a palace wearing jewels like a king — he’s out on the mountainside, wearing skins of animals and necklaces of seeds. I guess he’s a good god for people of a naturally questioning turn of mind.”
Shiva actually led Kaimal to study goddesses because he was at the center of her favorite monument, the Kailasanatha temple in Kanchipuram, India — “the Sistine ceiling of Indian art,” she said. Although the central shrine is dedicated to Shiva, the female deity sculptures all over the building play a much bigger role than what existing scholarship had assumed. “I wanted to wrap my head around the monument, and I realized that I was just going to have to take on goddesses. Once I got into them, I realized that they’re so much more complicated than I thought, and [goddesses aren’t] just some model of matriarchic utopia of the ancient past.
“To realize that this was not a male-centered building, but a building about the dynamics between male and female deities, made me wonder if there was anything else like this in the region,” she added. Soon, Kaimal said, she found “my girls” — 19 sculptures from 10th century South India that had been scattered to at least 12 museums across North America, Western Europe, and South India. In
, Kaimal paints the complex story of how these sculptures were dispersed through the theft and heroism of several characters — an archaeologist, an art dealer, and a poor laborer.
Over the nine years that she worked on the book, Kaimal traveled to all of the museums where the goddesses are currently housed, dragging along her “very patient husband,” Andy Rotter, who is Colgate’s Charles A. Dana Professor of history.
Kaimal’s love of art history started with her mother. Calling herself “a mixie” of a working-class white Bostonian mom and Indian father, Kaimal was raised in America, but whenever her family visited relatives in India, her mother would take her to the archaeological sites and major monuments. Although Kaimal said she “always felt culturally much more American than Indian,” she kept ties with her Indian roots through 30 years of Indian classical dance, yoga, cooking, and an emphasis on extended family. (Her parents moved to Hamilton to help Kaimal and Rotter raise their two daughters, who are now 20 and 24.)
Her mom even served as an extra set of eyes as Kaimal was writing her book, “to tell me if I was being too jargony or exclusive in the way I’m telling the story,” she said. “The book is not meant to be just for scholars.”
Kaimal’s dream is to “get the girls back together” — reunite the sculptures under one roof. “The entire reunion is maybe a pie-in-the-sky [goal], but we’re taking some baby steps toward it,” she said. Next December 13, at the Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., an exhibition on yoga will reunite four of the goddesses. Kaimal consulted with the curator, wrote the catalogue entry, and will be giving a lecture at the gallery.
In the meantime, she continues to study the Kailasanatha temple and has brought her research into the classroom. In her seminar on narrative in sculpture for juniors and seniors, Kaimal has been using the discourse to further her own scholarship. “We’ve been reading theory about how visual narrative works, and I’m applying it to this monument. It’s incredibly helpful.”
— Aleta Mayne
Coach of figure skating and the rugby club
photo by Andrew Daddio
On the surface, rugby and figure skating couldn’t be more different. But Anne-Marie Lemal believes they go together like a scrum and a triple Salchow. As coach of both the rugby and figure skating teams at Colgate, she brings a wealth of experience in both sports.
Lemal’s professional skating career began in 1987 when she joined the New York Ice Company, performing solo at outdoor rinks around the city. “That was one of the coldest winters ever — it was regularly below zero,” Lemal recalled, adding that her most memorable performance was skating to “Santa Baby.”
A year later, Lemal had moved to warmer climes — California — and happened to attend the NCAA rugby championship game, where she met the coach of the Bay Area Shehawks rugby club. The coach encouraged her to try out for the club; Lemal did, joined soon after, and in her rookie year, the team won nationals. “It was an amazing start to rugby.”
Lemal was immediately drawn into the tight-knit circle of her rugby team. “Teammates really bond with each other because it’s almost like going to war together — you have to have each other’s back.” She also liked the adrenaline rush. “It’s the only full-contact sport that’s played exactly the same for men and women. And if you know the proper technique, you can take anyone down — it’s very empowering for women.”
For years thereafter, Lemal balanced playing rugby with pursuing her skating career. Among the highlights as a professional skater, after Lemal skated in a few shows with Nancy Kerrigan, people thought they looked so much alike that Lemal skated as her double in a Disney TV special. Although playing such a physical sport like rugby while making a living as a skater seems like a dangerous combination, “the higher the level of rugby, the fewer the injuries — it’s so much cleaner,” she explained. “I never got anything worse than lots of bruises.”
What’s more, Lemal learned that the sports actually complemented each other. “Because rugby involves so much explosive lower-body power, my skating was better than ever — my jumps were huge and my speed was so much faster,” she explained. “With skating, posture, body alignment, and core strength are crucial. These abilities are very useful in a contact sport like rugby. Skating also helped me deal with fear. You must be able to override the natural anxiety that comes along with hurling yourself into the air, spinning around, and landing on ice.”
Figure skating and rugby also led Lemal to her husband, Scott Brown. She was coaching the Skating Club at Dartmouth; he was working at the college and playing with the Dartmouth Old Boys rugby team.
Fast-forwarding to 2008, when Brown was interviewing at Colgate, a student learned that his wife had a figure skating background and asked Lemal for help starting a team. So, when Brown signed on as the associate vice president and dean of students, the university also got its first figure skating coach. Lemal did that for about a year before agreeing to also become the women’s rugby coach.
Under her leadership, the figure skating team has grown from 2 independent skaters to a solid group of 16. The team is in the most challenging division on the East Coast and competes in Eastern sectionals every year.
The rugby team of approximately 40 women missed going to league playoffs by a heartbreaking one point this year. “But it was a spectacular season because we went from being at the bottom of our league to the top [tier],” Lemal said.
Lemal combines her teams for workouts. “We do a total body workout, core body strength, and the upper body strength that’s missing for the figure skaters,” she said. Lemal also incorporates stretching and working muscles that are more often used in figure skating. “Some of my best rugby players are gymnasts and ballerinas,” she said.
Whether it’s on ice or a muddy pitch, Lemal has shown her players the best of both worlds.
— Aleta Mayne
Evan Chartier ’14
photo by Andrew Daddio
Student who served in Israeli army now serves campus in many ways
Evan Chartier ’14 was hiking the Israel National Trail when he found out that he would have to take a third year off before attending college. He had just finished serving two years in the Israeli army, and he was indulging his longtime desire to hike and camp before the next phase of his life. Midway through the trail, Chartier learned that he would have to postpone college due to issues with his financial aid paperwork. Seeing an opportunity to follow his travel dreams, Chartier decided to save up for a four-month trip to Africa by spending the next few months working three jobs in Jerusalem. In his travels spanning from Ethiopia to South Africa, Chartier applied to colleges from Internet cafes.
The globetrotter had visited Israel every summer since the age of 12, and first volunteered for the army the summer before his senior year of high school in Oak Park, Ill. “I can see myself living [in Israel] in the future, and I feel it’s important to have served when everybody else in the country, for the most part, has served,” Chartier explained. “It was during the Second Lebanon War, and that’s when I decided I wanted to take a year off before college,” he recalled. He joined the Israel Defense Forces as a Lone Soldier, which allows non-Israelis who meet certain criteria to volunteer. Chartier ended up serving two years, from 2007 to 2009, as a member of the first response tactical team in charge of communications, GPS navigation, and nonlethal weapons. “I definitely feel a bond with the country being with the people [in that way],” Chartier said, adding that becoming fluent in Hebrew was an extra benefit.
Currently the co-president of Colgate’s Jewish Student Union, Chartier works for the Saperstein Jewish Center and regularly leads the preparation of Shabbat dinner on campus. In addition, the dual women’s studies and sociology and anthropology major dedicates much of his time to promoting positive sexuality. Every Wednesday, he is the student facilitator of the Yes Means Yes seminar, a five-week noncredit course that discusses healthy relationships and sexuality. “We’re hoping to change the conversation and the culture [that can lead to] sexual assault, rape, violence, and even misunderstandings,” he said. To that end, Chartier also started a group called Colgate Advocates for Positive Sexuality and was one of the founding members of the Positive Sexuality House at 80 Broad Street.
Chartier has now traveled to at least 20 countries. As a Benton Scholar, he visited China and then continued on to Laos, Mongolia, and Thailand. Last summer, he and his partner, Caroline Crawford ’12, went to Kenya and Uganda on a grant from Projects for Peace, which supports undergraduates who have grassroots ideas for peace-building. Exploring the effects of foreign aid in the Lake Victoria region, Chartier and Crawford recorded more than 100 interviews with community members and composed them into YouTube videos.
Considering all of his campus involvements (he’s also on the Student Conduct Board and is helping to form a new women’s studies group), Chartier called his work with the Outdoor Education Program the most fulfilling.
“Keeping me in nature and having access to resources — maps, gear, local knowledge — has given me a sense of place,” said Chartier, who works at the rental center and leads the spring break backpacking trip to the Smoky Mountains. “Whether it’s going to the Adirondacks or to Little Falls to go [rock] climbing, being able to give other people a sense of place is a pretty awesome experience to share.”
— Aleta Mayne
Tom Dempsey ’72, Alumni Council Member
(photo by Andrew Daddio)
– Recently retired president of Utz Quality Foods, Inc.
– Chair of the Alumni Council’s athletics committee; member of awards and admissions committees
– President of the Delta Upsilon Alumni Corporation
– President of The Hardwood Club, which raises money for Colgate basketball
Who is someone who influenced you as a student?
Warren Ramshaw — he was a sociology professor. He challenged me and made me think a little bit differently than a small-town kid from Pennsylvania who just came here to play basketball. We had a conversation once where I thought he was giving me a coloring I didn’t deserve [as a basketball player]. And he said to me, “Well then, prove it to me.” A competitive person, I said, “OK.” That discussion really said to me, “Forget about what people are perceiving you as, and if they are perceiving you that way, it’s your responsibility to change it.” That’s what I tried to do, and we stayed friends.
What’s your most prized Colgate memorabilia?
Eighteen years ago, Ron Joyce ’73 called me and said a friend of his had found the Hickey’s (a favorite DU hangout) sign in the town dump and asked me if I wanted it. I said, “Absolutely.” I hoisted it up by our pool house, and from that year on, we’ve had a Hickey’s party every summer.
What’s your perspective on Greek life today?
I’m of the strong belief that a liberal arts college should not restrict what living options people should have. And as long as students want a fraternity/sorority system and can support it and handle it responsibly, it should be here. I’m proud of the DUs on campus today. If you walk into that house, the diversity you find in the brotherhood is great. When the DU house was sold, the alumni organization put the money into a foundation. So, anyone who cannot afford the cost of belonging to DU, we cover through a scholarship. I’m a big believer in the Greek system; I learned as much outside the classroom at Colgate as I did inside. The ability to negotiate, compromise, lead, challenge, have your thoughts challenged, and have the leadership of peers is essential — and a lot of that comes through my fraternity experience.
Tell us about your involvement with career services on campus.
I have done Real World a number of times. I’m doing mock interviews today. I did an embellished Day in the Life, where three students came to Hanover and spent a day with me and two days at my ad agency. As an employer, I believe so strongly in the liberal arts education. You just have to bring it out; you have to make the correlation between the hallmarks of liberal arts education — creative thinking, intellectual curiosity — and the things that an employer wants.
What’s your business philosophy?
It’s all about people. In my opinion, today, the art of dealing with people is one that is eroding too quickly. If you don’t learn to deal with people, either to accept them, negotiate with them, or compromise with them, it’s going to be a long life. If you lose the human touch by relying too much on text messaging and e-mail, you’re not going to be as successful.
As the president of a snack company, you must have every kind of potato chip available to you; what’s your favorite flavor?
I’m a regular guy, so I just like the regular ones.