Regional association news
BostonOn the crisp and windy spring evening of Wednesday, March 26, 1997, in Boston, Kenyon alumni and parents gathered around the warm hearth and crackling fire beside the grand piano in Yvonne's at Lock-Ober Cafe. Feeling at home in what seemed like an elegantly furnished city apartment, Kenyonites quickly filled the room, as did their conversations. A pleasant surprise was the presence of President Robert Oden Jr., who was in town on other College business.
Regional Association President Rosie Torrisi '93 welcomed all, especially the recent graduates from the Class of '96, David Cowart, Anne Cullen, and Tommy Torrisi. She invited everyone to be a Kenyon National Service Day participant with Habitat for Humanity-Boston on April 19, then introduced Oden, who told three quick stories of events that had occurred within twenty-seven hours the previous weekend. "They're all true," he said, "and each reaffirms Kenyon's rightful place among its peer institutions." Not wanting to steal College speaker Tim Shutt's thunder, Oden simply stated the five numbers that appeared on the scoreboard at the National Collegiate Athletic Association's men's swimming and diving championships at Miami University the previous Saturday: 267, 283, 303, 336, and 689.5. These were the scores of the first five finishers, and all knew which one belonged to Kenyon.
"Chair of the faculty, voice of the Kenyon swimmers, and as distinguished a teacher and scholar as there is" is how Oden introduced Associate Professor of English Tim Shutt. Following up on the president's remarks, Shutt credited both men's and women's swim teams as "splendid" and added that "one other thing that had a wonderful effect on the Gambier winter was women's basketball." Remarking on the campus climate as "happy and welcoming," Shutt noted that at Kenyon differences in perspective are recognized as a strength and said that the College is in a good position to undertake its planned curricular review. In closing, he outlined some features of the upcoming campaign, underscoring endowment as the greatest need, then responded to questions.
Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Relations and Annual Funds Jo Usher P'94 thanked Rosie Torrisi for organizing a lovely reception and recognized trustee Harvey Lodish '62, Alumni Council member Pete Groustra '89, and Director of Alumni and Parent Relations and Annual Funds Lisa Dowd Schott '80, who were also present.
ClevelandAuthentic Chinese cuisine delighted Kenyon alumni and parents gathered at Lu Cuisine, The Restaurant of China, for the annual gathering of the Cleveland Regional Association on Thursday, May 1, 1997. Driving up from the College, Lisa Dowd Schott '80 and Jo Usher P'94, director and associate director respectively in the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations and Annual Funds, and Provost Kate Will arrived early and greeted guests as theyarrived for the occasion.
Chinese delicacies spun around on Lazy Susan centerpieces at each table for guests to select their favorite dishes. When most plates were empty, Regional Association President Pattie Rossman '88 welcomed everyone, officially introduced Schott and Usher, announced the annual golf outing on August 2, and called Jack Horner '50 to the podium. Horner presented the special Regional Service Award to Jim D'Orazio '73 for his leadership as regional president from 1993 to 1996 and his service in many capacities as a Cleveland steering-committee member. Accepting the award, D'Orazio said, " I'm caught by surprise, but never at a loss for words."
Introduced by Rossman, Will began by telling about herself as a professor, as an administrator, and, with her husband, Oscar Will, "one of the largest cattle barons in Ohio," owning fifty head of Black Angus. While she admitted that the thoroughly rural nature of Knox County was a surprise to her, she said she feels honored and privileged to work in Ransom Hall. Will talked with those gathered about the curricular review that is under way, the current campus climate, recent faculty hirings, and student support for diversity, both in their ranks and on the faculty. Responding to her remarks, members of the audience asked several questions, directed primarily to the curricular review. Pleased to meet and hear from the new provost, the audience applauded when Will closed by stating that "an unexamined curriculum is not worth teaching."
DetroitWith a spectacular Michigan sunset as the backdrop, Kenyon alumni and parents socialized in the elegant old Detroit Yacht Club on Belle Isle. It was the annual gathering of the Detroit Regional Association on Tuesday, April 22, 1997. Standing at tall tables by large windows overlooking the Detroit River, small groups clustered for conversation, cocktails, and crudites.
It took several gentle requests by regional president and event organizer John Thurber '90 with assistance from Jo Usher P'94, associate director in the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations and Annual Funds, before everyone was ready to move into the ballroom for the evening's program. Once they were seated and focused on College speaker Tim Shutt, associate professor of English and chair of the faculty, they gave him their undivided attention.
Pacing the ballroom floor, Shutt delivered a Kenyon update on athletic championships, campus climate, curricular review, and the upcoming campaign. Remarking on the championships, he said, "People almost never exceed my expectations, but it happened several times in women's swimming" when the Ladies won their fourteenth consecutive national championship this year. Shutt remarked that, since his arrival at the College in 1986, he has seen the campus climate become more civil and congenial, with a tone of healthy mutual respect--a good omen, he believes, for the curricular review that is currently underway, chaired by John Crowe Ransom Professor of English Ron Sharp. Commenting on the campaign, Shutt reported that endowment, music and sciencefacilities, and annual funds are the primary needs defined by the Campaign Planning Committee.
Shutt stayed on to answer questions long after the sun had set on the Detroit Yacht Club.
IndianapolisOne of Indianapolis's grand Victorian landmarks, the Propylaeum (which means "gateway to culture"), was the site of the annual gathering of the Indianapolis Regional Association on Tuesday, April 3, 1997. Guests enjoyed a reception and dinner in the three-story brick residence built in 1890 by John W. Schmidt, owner of a brewing company. Purchased by the city's Women's Club in 1923, the house provided a congenial setting for the enjoyment of Kenyon alumni and parents.
After a delicious dinner topped off with Clootie, a Scottish pudding with dates, walnuts, and fudge sauce, regional president Tom Mason '66 began the evening's program by welcoming College guests Jo Usher P'94, associate director of alumni and parent relations and annual funds, and the College speaker, Tim Shutt, associate professor of English and chair of the faculty. Individual introductions around the room included Regional Parent Chairs Liz and John Jenkins '66 P'99, Alumni Admissions Chair Julie Kipka Enkema '89, and Esther Ann Kelly, grandmother of Raymond Battey '00.
Following Mason's introduction, Shutt launched into his presentation of the "4 Cs"--championships, campus climate, curricular review, and campaign. His complete and compact College update gave the alumni and parents present the most current information from Gambier. Shutt announced the members of the Curricular Review Committee, designed, he said, to include all viewpoints, adding that "the keynote is balance."
Shutt responded to questions before adjourning for informal conversations and farewells.
PhiladelphiaOn a bright and glorious Monday, April 7, 1997, Bob Bunnell, director of athletics and physical education, and Jo Usher P'94, associate director of alumni and parent relations and annual funds, flew into Philadelphia for the annual gathering of the Philadelphia Regional Association that evening. Bob Price '58 sponsored the reception at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia, and Regional President Phil Wilson '91 organized the evening's activities in the club's Grille Room.
Taking center stage to welcome all, Wilson recognized Alumni Council President Ellen Turner '80, Regional Association Past President David Schwartz '88, and National Service Day (NSD) coordinator Kate Klein '92. Klein enthusiastically described the "Christmas in April" service project for Saturday, April 19, and encouraged all to participate. As Kenyon NSD chair, Turner remarked on the success of last year's inaugural event and the hope for another special day of service for Kenyonites across the country.
The Racquet Club was a natural setting for Bunnell to talk with alumni and parents about the College's "best year everathletically." In the fall, men's soccer brought the"small college world" to Gambier by hosting and winning the regionals and sectionals and by hosting the nationals, which the Lords lost in the fourth overtime. "It's a tribute to the coaches," Bunnell stated in reviewing the year's athletic successes. "At Kenyon we blend first-rate athletics and first-rate academics," he added, "and the best athletes are frequently our best students."
Bunnell recognized former College athletes with a special "Kenyon Athletics" T-shirt. To his surprise, there were more athletes than shirts. Among the recipients were John Montigney '45 for swimming and baseball, John Roak Jr. '56, Pete Driscoll '83 for rugby and Walt Hajduk '89 for lacrosse and golf, and Phil Wilson '91 and Rob Zelinger '96 for lacrosse and Ellen Ladner Kang '94 for field hockey.
Past regional president David Schwartz '88 was presented a gift of appreciation for his leadership in revitalizing the Philadelphia association. After thanks were expressed to Wilson and Price, Price took attendees on a personal tour of the club.
PittsburghSurrounded by shelves filled with leather-bound volumes, card catalog files interspersed between empty study carrels, and racks of hanging newspapers, Kenyon friends greeted one another in the library of Shady Side Academy in the Fox Chapel area of Pittsburgh. Arranged by Bob Kirkpatrick '73, director of admissions at Shady Side, and organized by Alex Maurer '89, regional president, this was the annual gathering of the Pittsburgh Regional Association on Tuesday, March 18, 1997.
As people arrived and conversations developed, the many Shady Side-Kenyon connections among those gathered began to unfold and multiply. The initial connection, of course, was Kirkpatrick, host of the event. Joe Pavlovich '53, who taught mathematics at Shady Side for twenty-five years, attended the gathering with his wife, Lee, and to his surprise, so did one of his former students, Shady Side and Kenyon alumna Betsy Wertheimer Franklin '80.
Following a general College update and special thanks to Kirkpatrick, Alex Maurer, and the Pittsburgh Steering Committee by Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Relations and Annual Funds Jo Usher P'94, Maurer introduced the College speaker, Bob Bunnell, director of athletics and physical education. Between weekends of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III swimming and diving championships at Miami University, Bunnell shared highlights of the Ladies' fourteenth consecutive national championship. He said to those gathered that, in spite of the men's loss to the Denison University Big Red this year after forty-four straight conference championships, the Lords would win their eighteenth consecutive national championship that weekend (and they did!).
Describing this as a most successful year athletically, Bunnell referred to it as "a blur of championships." In addition to swimming, men's soccer and women's field hockey and basketball won conference championships, and women's basketball made it to the final four. Looking ahead, Bunnell reported that women'ssoftball will be added in the 1997-98 academic year. In closing, Bunnell noted that Kenyon's long history of pursuing excellence includes athletics as well as academics.
The rainy spring evening concluded with the exchange of sports memories, including contributions from Kenyon Hall of Famer Joe Pavlovich '53 and former Lords baseball player Kevin Spence '80.
Washington, D.C.The City Tavern Club in Georgetown was once again the location for a successful annual gathering of the Washington, D.C., Regional Association on Wednesday, April 9, 1997. Sponsored by Paul Gambal '82 and coordinated by Regional Association President Lisa Volpe '88, the event was enjoyed by eighty Kenyon alumni and parents, as well as prospective students and their parents, who filled the room with conversations and surrounded the festive hors d'oeuvres buffet table.
While Volpe and Jo Usher P'94, associate director of alumni and parent relations and annual funds, were kept busy at the check-in table, College guests Liz Forman '73, assistant director of admissions, and speaker John Elliott, professor of political science, were engaged with the attendees. Alumni Council member Kelly Surrick '88, newly elected trustee and 1997 Commencement speaker Ulysses Hammond '73, Career Network Chair Anil Mammen '89, and Visiting Professor of English P.F. Kluge '64 also mingled among the crowd.
Volpe welcomed all and introduced College guests Elliott, Forman, and Usher. Appropriate to the occasion and location, Elliott presented an overview of the relationship between U. S. presidents and public opinion in an age of media politics, partially inspired by the analysis of political scientist Jim Ceaser '67. According to Elliott, presidents, starting with Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, began to cultivate the press and public opinion for the sake of building presidential power, and Congress has followed the same course since the 1970s. He suggested that this strategy seems to have backfired, as presidents have come to be controlled by public opinion rather than leading it. Elliott concluded that perhaps the Founding Fathers knew something when they sought to design a presidency which would be independent of public opinion.
After questions for Elliott, many sought him out for a more personal and direct exchange. The lingering few remaining until the room was cleared and the lights dimmed were proof of an enjoyable and successful Kenyon gathering.
Kenyon's National Service Day projects: A photo albumFor the past two years, Kenyon alumni, parents, and friends have gathered on an appointed day to devote their time and energy to worthy causes as part of National Service Day (NSD). From coast to coast, regional associations have put their members to work in projects ranging from to from garbage cleanup in public areas to house-building with Habitat for Humanity.
Among the projects pictured here--from NSD '97 (April 19, 1997)--are gardening at the AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco, California; doing clean-up work at Withrow High School in Cincinnati, Ohio; and planting at the Kenyon Center for Environmental Study (KCES) by the College's Student-Alumni Association and local alumni. From NSD '96 (June 22, 1996) are such projects as doing clean-up work along Gambier's Kokosing Gap Trail; landscaping at a Seattle, Washington, middle school; packing relief supplies in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; and working on a Habitat project in Cleveland, Ohio.
"It's gratifying to see so many volunteers turn out for these events," says Ellen C. Turner '80, former Alumni Council president and NSD chair. "Community service has long been a tradition at the College, and NSD builds on that tradition. Kenyon people know the importance of supporting their communities."
So look for notification of your regional association's 1998 NSD project. By participating, you help to show that alumni involvement can extend far beyond the Kenyon campus.
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