Regional association news


Engaged in conversation, Kenyon alumni and parents encircled the buffet table at the center of the Piedmont Room in Atlanta's prestigious Piedmont Driving Club, pausing only to fill and refill their plates with delicious hors d'oeuvres. It was springtime in Atlanta on Thursday, February 19, 1998, and time for the annual gathering of the Atlanta Regional Association, sponsored by club member Hunter Groton '79.

Having lost her voice, regional association president Griffin Doster Fry '80 quietly deferred to her father, Charlie Doster P'80, to introduce College speaker Perry Lentz '64, McIlvaine Professor of English. Proclaiming himself a member of the Perry Lentz Fan Club, Doster reminisced about Lentz, whom, he said, he had known since he was "a little runny-nosed kid." Lentz began his remarks with an anecdote of his first experiences as a speaker at alumni gatherings, in Akron and Toledo, and the continuing challenge of determining what is appropriate to say on these occasions. Having decided that alumni and parents have an interest in Kenyon history and what has shaped the College landscape, Lentz told the story of Charles Pettit McIlvaine, who succeeded Bishop Philander Chase and served as bishop of Ohio for four decades. For someone with such a long tenure, McIlvaine is little commemorated in the landscape of Kenyon, Lentz noted. There are, however, the McIlvaine Apartments on Rand Avenue, the central window in the apse of the Church of the Holy Spirit that honors Bishop McIlvaine, and the endowed chair in English that he currently holds.

A round of questions and continued conversations concluded the congenial Kenyon gathering.


"A contemporary Georgian-style structure with faux pilasters and simple arches, the Inn at Harvard was designed by Bostonian architect Graham Gund. The inn's living room is a towering atrium decorated with custom camel-back sofas and wingback and Queen Anne-style chairs; refectory and console tables are antiques; the majestic garden statues of Spring and Fall, eighteenth-century baroque replicas, were carved by sculptor Robert Shure."

Thus runs the description of the Inn at Harvard in a Country Inns magazine article about "The Year's Best Inns." The inn was the lovely venue for the Boston Regional Association's annual gathering on Thursday, March 19, 1998. It was a wonderful retreat from the evening's blustery winds and rains and a special treat to have the architect, Graham Gund '63, as the guest speaker.

After mingling and making themselves comfortable, guests were treated to Gund's slides and commentary on buildings he has designed and his descriptions of their architectural features. He emphasized the importance of the quality of light in design, a concern that is given prominence in his designs of the new music and science buildings at Kenyon. Concluding with slides of the new buildings, Gund commented on the College's strong original plan and the need for "enough space between buildings to breathe." Though efforts were made to save Philip Mather Hall, he noted, it was not feasible, because the sense of nature surrounding the science buildings would be lost. Gund said that Samuel Mather Hall, though, will continue to stand as one of Kenyon's best in the new Philip Mather Quadrangle. Before responding to questions, he remarked that he used to think about architecture when he was a student and how the beautiful campus could be improved.

Organized by Regional Association President Rosemary Torrisi '93, the evening was enjoyed by the assembled alumni, parents, and friends of the College. Visiting from Kenyon were Director of Development Kimberlee Klesner and associate directors Brian Dowdall '93 and Jo Usher P'94 from the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations and Annual Funds.


Sixty-two alumni, parents, and friends filled the private dining room at Reza's Restaurant for the annual dinner of the Chicago Regional Association on Thursday, February 26, 1998. The "windy city" welcomed and surprised College guests Perry Lentz '64, McIlvaine Professor of English, and Jo Usher P'94, associate director of alumni and parent relations and annual funds, with unseasonably mild temperatures.

Following a reception and a family-style dinner of Mediterranean fare, Alumni Council President Doug Vahey '86 welcomed all, noting the "volunteer power"--past, present, and future--that filled the room. Many of those present had helped shape Kenyon policy and programs, he said, and "the young alumni are carrying on to fill the shoes of current leaders."

Vahey introduced one such leader, Andrew Keyt '91, president of the association. Thanking Vahey, Keyt recognized Steering Committee members Gretchen Baker '97, who organized the evening; Tana Barton '95, alumni admissions chair; David Foote '66, a former Alumni Council president; recent graduates Megan O'Dowd '96 and Kelli Stebel '97; Angelique Tober '91, National Service Day coordinator; and Bill Russell '62, Alumni Council vice president. Though unable to attend the dinner, Trisha Homans Dillon '85 received the 1998 Regional Service Award for her years of outstanding service on the committee and her leadership as regional president.

Introducing the guest speaker, Keyt remarked that Lentz is very much a part of the College. "We can't think of Kenyon without thinking of Perry Lentz," he said. Lentz presented a historical biography of Charles Pettit McIlvaine, who, at thirty-three years of age in 1832, succeeded Philander Chase as bishop of Ohio. Noting that McIlvaine served as bishop for four decades, Lentz stated that "it was under Bishop McIlvaine's leadership that the College with which we are familiar came into being."

As guests departed, not even the heavy mist in the mild night air could dampen the great Kenyon spirit that had filled the room at Reza's that evening.


As if within a snow globe that had just been shaken, the flakes swirled every which way outside the windows lining the length of the room at the Metropolitan Club. Atop the River-Center Tower in Covington, Kentucky, though, Kenyon guests were comfortably enjoying a wintry Wednesday evening on March 4, 1998. "This is the coziest annual gathering!" remarked Cincinnati Regional Association President Kent Wellington '88 as he opened the "round-table discussion" and introduced College speaker Provost Katherine HaleyWill and her husband, Visiting Professor of Biology Oscar Will.

With everyone seated at one very large table, Will began by telling a little about herself and her arrival at the College in 1996. She mentioned how much she enjoyed teaching "The Victorian Novel" last fall to a class of twenty women and one man. Stating that Kenyon is the "quintessence of a liberal-arts college," Will discussed two new developments at the College,

"Claiming Our Place: The Campaign for Kenyon" and the curricular review. She described and shared renderings of the new science and music facilities that make up the building component of the $100-million campaign. This sparked questions about the age of certain existing buildings, the number of science majors, and the music and science programs. Announcing that there would be an open forum on the curricular review during Reunion Weekend, Will mentioned that the review committee's charge to study the curriculum will include many discussions, conversations, and consultations with Kenyon constituents. In closing, she stated that the College is in great shape, with momentum, energy, and a sense of looking forward.

After thanking Will, Wellington expressed appreciation to Kate Evans '92 for organizing the reception, recognized National Service Day coordinator Barry Gisser '88, and acknowledged past president Paul McCartney '84 before bidding everyone a safe journey home on the blustery March evening.


"If we make it like life, why bother going?" That was the question posed by Karina Borthwick Harding '90 in response to a comment made by a recent graduate who suggested that the College should be more like the real world to better prepare graduates for life after Kenyon. The animated discussion followed after-dinner remarks made by Ron Sharp, John Crowe Ransom Professor of English, at the Columbus Regional Association's annual gathering. Harding, currently serving as president of the association, and the other guests responded with numerous questions and opinions to the presentation Sharp offered on the curricular review process the College is undertaking. He explained that the Curricular Review Committee, formed a year ago to oversee the three-year process, is interested in receiving alumni input. He mentioned a meeting that was to take place during Reunion Weekend on Saturday, May 23, 1998.

The Columbus gathering was held on Thursday, February 26, 1998, at the Columbus Country Club. Kenyon parents Robert and Lain Howarth P'98,'01, sponsored the event. In addition to Sharp, guests from Kenyon included Nancy Anderson and Lisa Dowd Schott '80, assistant director and director, respectively, of the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations and Annual Funds. Prior to introducing Sharp as the guest speaker, Schott expressed the College's gratitude to the Howarths and Harding for their efforts. She also thanked Eileen Shaver Tuttle '86 for her seven years of service as the previous president of the association.


Talking and tasting at the hors d'oeuvres buffet in the elegant, wood-paneled reading room of the Detroit Club, alumni and parents met for the annual gathering of the Detroit Regional Association on Wednesday, April 8, 1998. Club member Richard Levey '68 sponsored the event, and Regional Association President John Thurber '90 organized the evening.

With plates and glasses filled, guests proceeded to the large living room of the club with its overstuffed chairs and divans for remarks by McIlvaine Professor of English Perry C. Lentz '64. Thurber stated that he was ashamed to admit he had never had a class with Lentz but went on to add, "Having heard how he grades, I may never have gotten into law school." That said, he presented the popular professor.

Having prepared and on two previous occasions presented a comprehensive talk on "the life and consequence of Bishop Charles Pettit McIlvaine," second president of the College, and having recently completed research on Lorin Andrews, president from 1853 to 1861, whose grave was to be moved for the new music building, Lentz said he had become "the leading expert on dead Kenyon presidents." However, "I will inflict neither on you," he declared, though he did add that anyone wishing the information on McIlvaine could send a request to him at the English department, remarking, "I'll be there for the rest of my life!" Instead, Lentz remarked on the "profound issue" of how the College will fare during the "culture wars" of today's postmodern world, "this time whose prominent academic movements condemn the spiritual, philosophical, moral, and aesthetic virtues that a liberal-arts education traditionally promotes." Citing examples of other small colleges that have chosen to isolate themselves from this postmodern world or have withdrawn from modernity to preserve their religious traditions, he said he believes Kenyon needs "beyond all else" the ability to be more selective in assembling its student body, to be able to select from sets of equally qualified students "those who are intellectually excited and eager to learn." In closing, Lentz not only invited questions, challenges, and comments but said, "I invite you to send money; and I especially invite you to send students, to place the College before secondary-school students in any way that you can."

Lentz's talk stimulated questions about Kenyon students and academic rigor, to which he commented on how seriously students take their work. In response to the idea of a "bring-a-student-to-Kenyon-weekend," he emphasized that the more students that know about the College, the more selective Kenyon can be.


"A great dinner and very convivial evening," said Regional Association President Tom Mason '66 of the annual gathering of the Indianapolis Regional Association on Wednesday, April 29, 1998. Nineteen alumni, spouses, parents, and friends attended the event, held at the Woodstock Club. One of Indianapolis's most attractive locations, the Woodstock Club was founded in 1915 as an offshoot of the Indianapolis Country Club.

The guest speaker for the evening was Edgar G. Davis '53, who for more than three decades was an executive with Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis. An emeritus trustee of Kenyon who had just attended the April meeting of the Board of Trustees, Davis reported on current concerns and recent trends at the College and on the early progress of "Claiming Our Place: The Campaign for Kenyon."


Colleen Hopkins Grazioso '94 organized a barbecue for Kenyon alumni and current students studying in England and hosted it with her husband, Chris Grazioso, at their home in Fulham, London. Guests arrived on Saturday, May 16, with salads, desserts, and beverages to accompany the treats from the Graziosos' grill. Assisting Colleen in coordinating the event was Lainie Thomas '92, who attended with her husband, Nicholas Hilton.

Could this gathering of enthusiastic alumni be the beginning of a London Regional Association? Whether or not, the success of the event means there will most likely be future informal get-togethers for Kenyonites in the London area!


Under the auspices of member David Schwartz '88, the Union League Club provided a welcoming venue for Kenyon alumni, parents, and friends gathered for a congenial annual gathering of the Philadelphia Regional Association on Tuesday, March 24, 1998. Following a requested, though "super-condensed," version of his popular Reunion Weekend "Ghosts of Kenyon" tour, Associate Professor of English Tim Shutt segued to his remarks on "the healthy and happy things going on at Kenyon."

Having been introduced by Regional Association President Phil Wilson '91, Shutt commented that while preserving much, the College has made many changes for the better. Noting the "all-embracing pursuit of excellence at Kenyon," he said that the College's athletes do better academically in season than out and referred to the very recent nineteenth and fifteenth consecutive National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III swimming championships won by the Lords and Ladies, respectively. He remarked also on the outstanding accomplishments of Kenyon students in art and drama. Shutt referred to the current campus climate of civility as reflective of "a shared enterprise and purpose with politeness and respect encouraged," contributing to the strength of the College and the early sucesses of its $100-million comprehensive campaign, "Claiming Our Place."

Shutt fielded questions on topics ranging from admissions to the status of sororities at Kenyon, calling on Senior Associate Director of Admissions Eric Chambers '91 (now an admissions officer at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School) for additional comment. Joining College speaker Shutt in Philadelphia from Gambier were Assistant Director Barb Meek and Associate Director Jo Usher P'94 from the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations and Annual Funds.


Sandwiched between Tuesday's and Friday's El Nino rains, blue sky and sunshine welcomed College visitors Tim Shutt, associate professor of English, and Jo Usher P'94, associate director of alumni and parent relations and annual funds, to Arizona on Wednesday, February 18, 1998. Prospective students and their parents joined alumni and parents at the University Club for the annual gathering of the Phoenix Regional Association.

The Kenyon banner identified the Living Room as the gathering site--as did Bob Ballantine '45 and Al Rich '49 who, having arrived early, were comfortably seated and catching up on the news. The glowing fireplace added to the warm and welcoming ambience.

Beginning the evening's program, Regional Association President Lisa Neuville '85 greeted all, recognized Grant Wiggins '95 as National Service Day coordinator, expressed appreciation to the College guests, and suggested that all take note of the Kenyon pennant hanging among others on the wall of the adjacent University Room. Following a brief Gambier update, Usher introduced Shutt for his remarks on the "health and thrivingness of Kenyon." Highlighting academics, the arts, athletics, civility, and the comprehensive "Campaign for Kenyon," he began with comments on the past weekend's Bolton Theater production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and the coming weekend's concert by the Kokosingers. Referring to athletic excellence, Shutt mentioned the women's basketball team and the recent North Coast Athletic Conference swimming championships won by the Lords and Ladies. At Kenyon, Shutt stated, there is "a multifaceted excellence and a peculiar kind of balance." Addressing academic matters, he referred to the three-year curricular review now underway and the College's commitment to excellence in teaching as a "constant centerpiece." The campus climate is one of civility, he remarked, and of excitement engendered by the "Claiming Our Place" campaign.

After a lively question-and-answer session, all eyes focused on a showing of "Learning in the Company of Friends," the College's most recent admissions video.

St. Louis

A sea of purple filled the stands at the St. Peter's Rec-Plex on Saturday, March 14, for the 1998 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Women's Swimming and Diving Championships. With the Ladies poised to capture their fifteenth consecutive national title, alumni, friends, parents, siblings, and other relatives from across the country sported Kenyon colors and cheered enthusiastically.

Sharing the excitement of the occasion, seventy-five fans gathered at the Rec-Plex for a pre-meet reception. Organized by Regional Association President Ed Curtis '93, the gathering was hosted by Jim Bastian '69, builder of the St. Peter's Rec-Plex swimming pool. To celebrate the swimmers, Bastian had special purple T-shirts made and gave one to each attendee. Though hoarse of voice, veteran College speaker at such gatherings and Associate Professor of English Tim Shutt presented a summary version of his regular College update. He curtailed his remarks in order to report to his poolside position as announcer for the meet, which explained the hoarse voice. Acquainted, refreshed, refueled, the Kenyon fans were ready for the meet to begin.

Through the efforts of St. Louis alumnae swimmers Carla Ainsworth '95, Erin Finneran '89, and Laura Kessler '82, along with Assistant Swimming Coach Gwynn Evans '94, many former Ladies swimmers were in the stands. Also attending from the College were Athletic Director Bob Bunnell, Sports Information Director Joe Wasiluk, and Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Relations and Annual Funds Jo Usher P'94, who witnessed the winning of a fifteenth national title for the Ladies and heard the announcement of Marisha Stawiski '99 as Swimmer of the Year. It was a winning night for Kenyon in St. Louis!


Provost Katherine Haley Will brought the latest academic news and a campaign update to a reception at the Toledo Club on Thursday, April 30, 1998. Alumni Trustee and Regional Association President Jim Carr '62 P'91 coordinated the annual gathering. Joining Will from the College was her husband Oscar Will, visiting professor of biology, who met and mingled with alumni, parents, and a prospective student and parent in the club's West Point Room.

Speaking on recent faculty hirings and the purpose and progress of the current curricular review, Will also commented on "Claiming Our Place," the comprehensive $100-million campaign Kenyon has recently launched. She shared renderings of the new music and science buildings, designed by architect Graham Gund '63, which inspired an informal exchange of questions and answers.

Washington, D.C.

Cherry blossoms and warm sunshine greeted Gambier visitors Tim Shutt, associate professor of English, and Barb Meek and Jo Usher P'94, assistant and associate directors, respectively, of alumni and parent relations and annual funds, upon their arrival in the nation's capital on Wednesday, March 25, 1998, for the annual gathering of the Washington, D.C., Regional Association. Sponsored by Paul Gambal '82, the reception was held that evening at the City Tavern Club in Georgetown with many Kenyon alumni, parents, and friends, in attendance, along with prospective students and their parents. The living-room setting and bountiful hors d'oeuvres buffet were welcoming to all as they greeted one another and engaged in animated conversations.

Regional Association President Lisa Volpe '88 opened the program with a few business items, including an announcement that she and Alumni Trustee Neal Mayer '63 were on the Alumni ballot for election to Alumni Council and the Board of Trustees, respectively, and recognition of Drew Martin '96 as coordinator for the National Service Day project on Saturday, April 25, 1998. She then introduced Shutt as the College speaker, and he began by noting that while his grandfather went to Kenyon and he grew up with a Kenyon pennant in his bedroom, both his parents went to Denison. Forgiving him that, those gathered were treated to his description of how academic, athletic, and artistic excellence work interactively at Kenyon. Commenting on the curricular review that has begun at the College, Shutt stated that it is a "whole-minded approach to revisiting the curriculum." He noted that the last time such a review was undertaken, fine-arts study was added as a fourth requirement. Concluding with remarks about championships and the comprehensive "Campaign for Kenyon," Shutt announced the winning of the Ladies' fifteenth and Lords' nineteenth National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III swimming championships and then, after describing the music and science building projects of the campaign, stated matter-of-factly that "Phil Mather is going to turn into lawn!"

Usher thanked Volpe for her leadership of the association and for organizing the reception. Usher introduced Meek and Kenyon Writer-in-Residence Fred Kluge '64, who attended the even with his wife, Pamela Hollie, who works in Washington, D.C. The comfort of the City Tavern Club setting invited continuing conversations among the many who lingered.

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