Kenyon in the News

The hiring of Shaka Smart '99 as head basketball coach at Virginia Commonwealth University triggered media attention starting on March 31, with a report on Smart, former Kenyon point guard and captain, had been an assistant coach at the University of Florida. The hiring was also reported by a number of television stations in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and in the Richmond Times-Dispatch; USA Today; Wisconsin State Journal in Madison;; and The Times-Dispatch called Smart "a fast riser" and interviewed Peter Rutkoff, professor of American Studies, who said of Smart, "He was a wonderful combination of very smart and incredibly diligent." Smart told the Associated Press, "We are going to wreak havoc on our opponents' psyche."

The unmatched success of the Kenyon swimming teams attracted stories in the New York Times, on February 25, and the Plain Dealer of Cleveland, Ohio, on March 25. The Times featured Coach Jim Steen in a story that opened this way: "A two-lane highway that accommodates Amish buggies and cuts through the farmland of central Ohio may be the road to success." Judy Holdener, associate professor of mathematics, told the Times that Steen "has that ability to connect with people, to figure out what makes them tick. He's a genius when it comes to that." Also mentioned in the story were swimmers Kellyn Caldwell '12 of Gambier, Ohio; Michael Machala '09 of Twin Falls, Idaho; Tracy Menzel '09 of Crawfordsville, Indiana; and Nat Carruthers '10 of Longmont, Colorado. Kris Caldwell '84, director of donor relations, was also quoted. Steen urges his swimmers to "engage in battle without compromise," the Times said. The Plain Dealer story opened with Zachary Turk '12 of Strongsville, Ohio, who won the 50-yard freestyle during the national championships. "The Strongsville native realized he didn't have to travel across an ocean to get some of the best swimming coaching in the country, compete for a record-shattering number of national titles, and get an excellent education, too," the Plain Dealer said. Jim Douglass, St. Edward High School swimming coach, said of Steen, "He's real. The guy loves the sport, but more importantly he loves the kids." Alisa Vereshchagin '12 of Solon, Ohio, who won the 200-yard breast stroke, was also mentioned.

Jennifer Delahunty, dean of admissions and financial aid, was quoted in the New York Times on March 8 in a front-page story about colleges coping with the shifting priorities of prospective students at a time of financial uncertainty. Admissions officials around the country this year had less faith in statistical models when figuring the number of students to accept and the number likely to enroll. "Trying to hit those numbers is like trying to hit a hot tub when you're skydiving from 30,000 feet," Delahunty said. The story was also published by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette of Little Rock; Denver (Colorado) Post; Gadsden (Alabama) Times; Gainesville (Florida) Sun; Herald Tribune of Sarasota, Florida; Seattle Times; South China Morning Post; Star News of Wilmington, North Carolina; and the Tuscaloosa (Alabama) News.

A story in the March 5 Canton (Ohio) Repository about a book club that has met for twenty-five years included a feisty reference to Kenyon friends David Utlak '74 and James Gwin '76 . The roots of the book club extend to "a fist fight during an intra-squad scrimmage on the Kenyon College lacrosse field." Student combatants Utlak and Gwin later learned they shared interests in philosophy, politics, history, and economics. After Kenyon, they met again in 1983 in Canton and in 1984 helped found the Local Men's Book Club. Utlak is a cardiologist. Gwin is a U.S. District Court judge.

A column in which Wendy MacLeod, James Michael Playwright-in-Residence and professor of drama, muses about the physical price paid by players in the National Football League was published on January 28 in the Washington Post. "I worry that we've become like the jaded spectators who watched the gladiators in ancient Rome," MacLeod wrote. "I feel a little guilty ... about the injuries suffered for our entertainment." The column was also published by the Albany (New York) Times Union; the Canton (Ohio) Repository; the Day of New London, Connecticut; the Houston Chronicle; the Miami Herald; the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; the Plain Dealer of Cleveland, Ohio; and the Silver City (New Mexico) Sun News.

The death of writer John Updike invited comment by P.F. Kluge, writer-in-residence, in a column published on January 28 in the Chicago Tribune. "I think Updike took a larger bite out of what ordinary life in America is like than any other writer I know," he said. The column was also published by the Grand Forks Herald of Grand Forks, North Dakota; the Erie (Pennsylvania) Times-News; the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader; the Philadelphia Inquirer; the Santa Barbara (California) News-Press; the State of Columbia, South Carolina; and the Taiwan News. Kluge was also quoted on Updike in stories in the January 28 edition of the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch and the January 30 edition of the Plain Dealer of Cleveland, Ohio.

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