Kenyon in the News
President S. Georgia Nugent took part in a spirited roundtable discussion with other higher-education leaders and newsman Dan Rather on the challenges of the admissions process facing families and colleges. The discussion was part of an hour-long segment of Dan Rather Reports called "Stress Test: Getting into College." The program aired on May 27, 2008, on HDNet. The dialogue touched on admissions fairness, the competition among students and colleges, and the controversy over subjective college rankings. Families should know that more than 3,000 colleges and universities in this country provide wonderful educations, Nugent said. "Who's going to reach their hand across the table and work together to change the system? Those efforts are beginning," she said.
H. Abbie Erler, assistant professor of political science, was quoted on May 27, 2008, in the Washington Post in a story about presidential pardons. The story focused on the recent appointment of Ronald L. Rodgers as head of the U.S. Justice Department pardon office. Erler has written a study about the factors behind pardons. She told the newspaper that Rodgers' military background and role as an investigator in narcotics cases could indicate a reluctance to recommend clemency for felons. "That sort of sets the tone," she said.
USA Today, on May 14, 2008, included Kenyon in its list of commencement speakers. The newspaper noted the May 17, 2008, address of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Anna Quindlen P'10. On June 9, the Wall Street Journal online Buzzwatch column included a quote from Quindlen in a feature that captured a thousand words from twenty-six commencement speeches around the country. In her speech about putting fears aside and ignoring naysayers, Quindlen said, "The voice of conformity speaks loudly. Don't listen."
A Wall Street Journal story published on May 14, 2008, covered the challenges facing students studying abroad as the dollar weakens. Sarah Ott '09, who was studying in Paris, was among the students quoted. "Just to lead a normal student life here is so expensive," she said. Ott and her peers tended to avoid cafÈs, where soft drinks ranged up to $8 a glass, and relied on take-out sandwiches.
A campus speech by actress Jamie Lee Curtis P '09 to mark National Women's Health Week attracted coverage by the Mansfield (Ohio) News-Journal on May 3, 2008. Curtis discussed aging gracefully and in good health. "Our obsession with what we look like is killing us," she said. "It's sick what women are doing to themselves in the name of beauty and turning back the clock."
A witty column on travel abroad by Wendy MacLeod '81, playwright-in-residence and co-resident director of the Kenyon program at the University of Exeter, was published on April 22, 2008, by the International Herald Tribune of Paris. "I'm here to tell you the only people you're going to meet when traveling in Ireland are other Americans," MacLeod wrote. "There we all are in the pubs listening to 'traditional Irish music.' There we are again taking pictures of the wild swans at Coole. The problem with guidebooks is that they've given everybody the same itinerary."
A story about popular memoirs, published on April 16, 2008, by CNN.com and CNN.com International, included comments from Patricia "Patsy" Vigderman, assistant professor of English. The memoirs trend has outstripped the publishing of debut novels. Vigderman sees a parallel between memoirs and the rise of reality-television programs, and she has a dim view of most current memoirs as appealing to prurience. "Memoirs are a form of self-display," she said.
Michael Levine, Samuel B. Cummings Jr. Professor of Psychology, was featured in a story about anorexia and the influence of Web sites. The piece was published on April 15, 2008, in the International Herald Tribune of Paris, and on April 16 in the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and the Gainesville Sun of Gainesville, Florida. The story discussed a proposed law in France that would ban Web sites promoting eating disorders with starvation tips. Levine argued that banning the sites could backfire and create more demand for them.
The spring 2008 issue of Ms. Magazine included a column on the objectification of women, with comments by Sarah Murnen, professor of psychology. Girls, she said, "are taught to view their bodies as 'projects' that need work before they can attract others, whereas boys are likely to learn to view their bodies as tools to use to master the environment."
USA Today toasted Kenyon on March 13, 2008, as the Ladies went to work in Oxford, Ohio, to earn the College's fiftieth national championship in swimming. "Gambier is home to a collegiate superpower, not Ohio State, which is in nearby Columbus, but Kenyon College," the story said. "Coach Jim Steen presides over both swimming teams, programs that have helped the 1,600-student school grab more NCAA titles than any other Division III member."
Stewart Peckham, director of the Career Development Center, was quoted in the March 6, 2008, edition of the Wall Street Journal in a story about how students can craft internships to suit their interests. Peckham advised students to be prepared to submit specific proposals with areas of interest and goals. The story was also published on March 7 by the Globe and Mail of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and on March 10 in the Baltimore Sun.