Wallace Long never imagined he would one day be conducting on the stage of Carnegie Hall in New York City. But he was invited to take Willamette’s choral groups there last May.
The Willamette Chamber Choir, the Alumni Choir, Master Chorus members and high school and church choirs from the Northwest were joined by Willamette alumni from around the country who flew to New York City to participate. For Dr. Donald Morrison ’54, who led his class to Glee championships four years in a row as song director, it was a chance to sing with his grand nephew, former Willamette student Rusty Licht (shown above.)
After more than 11 hours of rehearsal in New York, the group was ready. When the curtain rose, they poured their voices together into a performance that was, for many of them, a high point of their life. Morrison says, “Professor Long brought all these groups together in a wonderful way. I think he made us sing better than some of us were capable of singing.” For Long, it was emotional to see generations of students singing together.
New York City audiences know a good thing when they hear it. The choral groups, under Long’s direction, have been invited to return.
Bike racks were full around campus in September as more than 50 staff and faculty joined the Bike Commute Challenge, pedaling to campus through beautiful autumn weather. Willamette has won a regional team award for participation three years in a row. The challenge is sponsored by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and by Mid-Valley Rideshare and Cherriots bus service. “Biking to work is a sustainable, healthy activity that offers a great example to students and a host of benefits to our community,” says electronic music professor and guitarist Mike Nord, who serves as campus coordinator.
Andrew Duncan, a new assistant professor of chemistry, has received a $30,000 unrestricted research grant from the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation. The Faculty Start-Up Award helps new faculty at primarily undergraduate institutions initiate their independent research programs in chemistry-related fields.
Duncan is one of seven faculty members nationwide to receive the grant. He plans to use the five-year award to study ways to create right- or left-handed forms of molecules, which could help with the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, where molecular “handedness” plays an important role in the interactions of therapeutic compounds with DNA and enzymes in the body.
Anna Kwan ’07 and Elvia Mandujano ’07 are among 50 young women nationwide selected to participate in the 2006 Collegiate Women of Color Leadership Development Institute, sponsored by the Foundation for Independent Higher Education and funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The program recruits women of color from 650 private colleges and universities nationwide, with the goal of increasing gender and ethnic diversity in the workplace while teaching leadership skills. Kwan is majoring in Chinese studies, and Mandujano is majoring in English and Spanish.
In addition to their basic first-year courses, this year’s freshmen also are taking Music in the Electronic Age, Sexuality and Eroticism in Medieval Europe, Ancient Greece and Rome in the Movies and 34 other classes that make up the new College Colloquium.
The program allows students to pursue a topic of interest while also building a foundation for future study by developing writing, discussion and critical thinking skills. College Colloquium replaces World Views, the previous freshman seminar course where the entire class studied the same theme. Each College Colloquium class is limited to 14 students and lasts one semester. The professors who teach the courses also serve as their students’ academic advisors until the students choose their majors.
In the weeks preceding Commencement, the entire campus became a gallery for students in Prof. Heidi Grew’s Advanced Media and Design class. Their public art projects ranged from dozens of open umbrellas suspended near Jackson Plaza to hanging paper lanterns in the stairwells of Eaton Hall. This whimsical cut-paper silhouette — 13’ high by 77’ long — by studio art major Marcie Kriebel ’07 graced the entry of Hudson Hall. As Kriebel said in her artist’s statement: “I draw my inspiration from contemporary artist Kara Walker, who is best known for her large-scale black silhouettes that comment on race, gender and sexuality of the antebellum South. My imagery, however, is quite different from Walker’s. I like suggesting human characteristics in subtle ways through flora and fauna. We can identify with the moods and expressions they convey. I enjoy including familiar actions and physical features in forms that are clearly not human.”
An exhibition of contemporary prints created by Native American artists opens Oct. 28 in the Study Gallery at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. The First Crow’s Shadow Institute Biennial features artists from the institute, located on the Umatilla Reservation in northeastern Oregon. The Crow’s Shadow Institute seeks to create educational and professional opportunities for Native American artists to use their art as a vehicle for economic development. The exhibition closes Dec. 22.
Other museum exhibitions this fall and winter include:
When a dozen students in English Professor Thabiti Lewis’ Writing Hip-Hop class delivered their final essays live at the Bistro two years ago, few people took notice. By last April, the Conscious Overdose hip-hop show at Cone Field House drew more than 750 people.
The “conscious” in the title refers to a socially conscious form of hip-hop that is providing an alternative to harder-edged gangsta rap and edging into the runaway sales of pop music’s dominant genre. Conscious hip-hop — with roots in the Black Power Movement — focuses on economic justice, educational empowerment and racial equality.
Students across the country have organized the Hip-Hop Congress, a national network that hopes to initiate meaningful campus dialogue about social justice and race relations. With Lewis as advisor, Willamette students organized Oregon’s first chapter last spring and have begun the conversation. Their Conscious Overdose event made headlines on several national hip-hop sites.
For five years, Willamette Academy has worked to cultivate leadership and a love of learning in ethnically diverse and economically disadvantaged middle- and high-school students. The goal is to inspire them to attend college. This spring, the academy and its first class of students will reach a major milestone: graduating from high school.
These students and their stories will be featured in the summer issue of The Scene, but you can read about them throughout their senior year in our "Year in the Life: Willamette Academy" blog.
In August, Residence Life staff welcomed the first students to Kaneko Commons, a $16 million, 151-bed addition to the existing Kaneko Hall. The project — a reinvention of residential living on campus — is a partnership between Willamette and Tokyo International University of America (TIUA). Faculty associates and special events will connect classroom and extracurricular experiences for a more holistic education. Students, faculty and administrators have developed programming relating to core Kaneko themes: sustainability, Japanese culture and service to the neighborhood.
Kaneko Commons will be one of the “greenest” buildings on any college campus, with solar water heating, photovoltaic panels that provide electricity and shade, and a reservoir that will recycle rainwater to flush toilets. An enlarged dining facility and three-story atrium will be open by spring semester, with the dedication slated for January 2007.
About a month after breaking the Division III record in the 800 meters at the Tennessee Distance Running Solution, securing himself a top-five national ranking in the event, Nick Symmonds went on to take second in the 800 at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in June. There he competed against a field populated largely by professional runners and finished just behind veteran Khadevis Robinson. Symmonds’ time — 1:45.83 — beat his personal best by 1.5 seconds.
Symmonds later was selected as the 2006 NCAA Division III Male Scholar Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, and he was named to that association’s Men’s All-Academic Team for Division III. In mid-August, Symmonds was one of two runners to compete for Team USA in the 800 meters at the Norwich Union International Match in Birmingham, England. He took fifth place.
The Grace Goudy Distinguished Artist Series featured pianist William Chapman Nyaho Oct.16 in Hudson Hall. Nyaho, a West African native who often performs in traditional Ghana dress, performed music by composers of African descent from Ghana, Nigeria, Cuba, Jamaica, Egypt, Great Britain and the United States. The compositions were influenced by African tribal music, European classical music and American jazz, blues and spirituals.
Nyaho has performed in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and North America. The Oxford University–trained musician has been featured on National Public Radio and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. His CD, “Senku: Piano Music by Composers of African Descent,” was named one of the Best of the Year by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Willamette’s second annual Sustainability Retreat, held in August, brought 32 participants together to take the pulse of Willamette’s efforts at sustainability.
Working groups spent three days assessing how issues of sustainability have been incorporated into (1) curriculum, research and campus culture; (2) energy, water, transportation, food and construction; (3) purchasing and waste; and (4) health and well-being. Each group developed goals, and a roadmap and reach those goals. “This retreat is intended to be the first of many assessments,” says Economics Professor Nathan Sivers Boyce. “It’s not a one-shot deal, but something we need to look at every year.”
The Sustainability Council not only considers environmental decisions and their economic cost, but also accounts for education and equity, looking at how sustainability is incorporated into curriculum and research and whether the University is creating a sustainable campus community based on fairness and social justice.
“This gives us a comprehensive blueprint for the next steps,” Sustainability Council Chair Joe Bowersox says. “I think it’s becoming clear that this push makes sense for us as an institution, and a lot of decision-makers here are ready to move forward.”
The retreat was facilitated by Professors Joe Bowersox, Nathan Sivers Boyce, Karen Arabas and Sue Koger, with assistance from administrative assistant Andrea Carlson. The Sustainability Council was initiated by President Lee Pelton in 2004.
Experts from around the world converged at Willamette in October for Cultural Heritage Issues: The Legacy of Conquest, Colonization and Commerce. The conference included archaeologists, legal scholars, art historians, museum curators and experts from Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Nigeria and the United States, including the U.S. State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The 2003 looting of the Iraqi National Museum generated international discussion about the policies of cultural heritage management. There has been intense debate about how to protect archaeological sites and museums against looters; how to curb illegal trade in stolen art and artifacts; and how to resolve national and international disputes about the repatriation of human remains and artifacts displaced as the result of war, genocide, colonization or commerce. Closer to home, there is debate about whether the 9,000-year-old “Kennewick Man” skeleton, found in Washington state, should be studied by scientists or reburied. The conference provided a forum to discuss the legal and ethical dimensions of these and other cultural heritage issues.
The three-day event was organized by Professors Ann Nicgorski, Ortwin Knorr, Scott Pike, David McCreery, James Nafziger and Rebecca Dobkins, and by Hallie Ford Museum Director John Olbrantz.
Now in its third year, the School of Education’s Aspire part-time MAT program has exceeded its enrollment goals of 20 students per cohort. Twenty-seven students are enrolled in the 2007 cohort, 21 — and counting — in the 2008 cohort.
While most students are from the Salem area, others come from Portland, Albany and as far south as Corvallis. The Aspire program allows students to earn a master of arts in teaching degree by attending classes part time for two years.
The Atkinson Graduate School of Management has developed a new program targeting mid-level managers, small-business owners and nonprofit managers seeking additional business experience without the commitment of a degree program. The Certificate in Business Essentials (CBE) is based at the Willamette University Portland Center and can be completed in six months. The program includes six “business essentials” courses: Strategy and the Value Proposition, Operations and Logistics, Marketing and Customer Satisfaction, Financial Management, Leadership and Structure, and Organizational Communications.
This certificate program joins two others offered by AGSM at the Portland Center: The Certificate in Utility Management welcomed its second cohort this fall. The program targets managers in the utility industry seeking additional management training in a multi-sector program. The Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) Certificate program offers global certification for HR professionals and MBA students.
Associate Professor Maureen Musser took over this fall as director of the School of Education. Musser has been teaching at Willamette since 1998. She is a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Professors of Middle Level Education and the editor of The Chronicle of Middle Level Education Research.
Working with the Oregon Middle Level Consortium, Musser has done extensive research on how middle-school teachers have responded to No Child Left Behind mandates. In November, they will present their research at the National Middle School Association’s annual conference in Nashville.
Willamette’s law graduates continue to surpass their peers in Oregon State Bar examination passage. Eighty-three percent of the law school’s May graduates who took the July 2006 exam passed. The statewide passage rate among first-time takers was 81.6 percent. Willamette students have exceeded the state average in three of the last four years — once by 11 points.
Leah Daniels ’07 will represent the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at the Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) Leadership Forum held in Coral Spring, Fla., in November. Daniels was recently awarded a BGS scholarship as well as a place at the forum. Her academic achievement and community service made her a prime candidate for the award, given based on the society’s principles of honor, wisdom and earnestness. “Being an effective manager involves service and accountability to both your job and your community,” Daniels says.
Beta Gamma Sigma is the international honor society accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; membership is the highest recognition a business student can receive.
Debra J. Ringold, professor of marketing at the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, has been named chair of the board of directors for the American Marketing Association, the nation’s premier group for marketing professionals. Its 38,000 members include academics, researchers, marketing managers and students. Ringold has been a board member since 2000.
Ringold teaches in public, nonprofit and private-sector marketing, research, communications and public policy. She is just beginning a three-year term as associate editor of the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. Ringold’s main research interest is public policy and marketing, especially the way commercial activity is regulated and how that affects consumer behavior.
For eight years Robin Fromherz, assistant professor of education, has worked her grant writing magic to keep the arts alive for fourth graders at Richmond Elementary School in Salem. Thanks to her volunteer work with the Dallas High School theatre department, she is able to borrow props and set backdrops and provide fabric the department then makes into costumes for the players to wear in the big production.
This year, Fromherz and volunteers helped 20 students put on a full-fledged musical production of Aladdin in Smith Auditorium in May. Additional grant funds allowed other area school children to attend the two performances and local teachers to return to their classrooms with curriculum packets related to the production, including information on Arabic history and culture.
College of Law Dean Symeon C. Symeonides was elected vice president of the International Association of Legal Science (IALS). Seated in Paris, the IALS was founded in 1950 under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to promote the knowledge of foreign laws and the development of legal science around the world. Fifty-one countries and 11 international organizations are active members of the IALS.
Symeonides also was elected president of the American Society of Comparative Law (ASCL), the premier international comparative law organization. The ASCL comprises more than 100 American and foreign law schools. It was founded in 1951 in Washington, D.C., to promote the comparative study of law and the understanding of foreign legal systems and private international law.
In 2000, the College of Law adopted a long-range plan with quantified goals and benchmarks for the ensuing seven years. Admission goals were to expand the size of the applicant pool; improve the acceptance rate by an average of five points per year (from 74 percent in 2000 to 39 percent by 2007); and to raise the entering class LSAT median (from the 59th national percentile in 2000 to the 65th percentile by 2003 and the 70th by 2007).
To date, the College of Law has exceeded these goals.