|Welcome Class of 2007 |
185 students enter the largest class
When Provost Mary B. Marcy stood on the McConnell Theater stage to welcome the Class of 2007 shelooked out at the largest incoming group in the college's history; she told them a little bit about themselves.
You are diverse, she told them, and you come from states across the nation as well as countries around the world, including El Salvador, Bhutan, Turkey, China, Russia, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, and the United States.
New students Sean Wang and Emily Calderalo. Photo by Julie McCarthy
Fifty-six percent of the incoming class has completed just the 9th or 10th grade, and the group ranks above average in "nearly every statistical academic category, including class standing, GPA and test scores."
The languages spoken by the incoming class members include French, Bengali, Croatian, Dutch, Korean, Danish, German, Spanish, Hebrew, Swahili, Japanese, Chinese and Russian.
The group could present a very interesting concert, with Chinese percussion instruments, bassoon, flamenco guitar, Scottish pipes, cello, violin, saxophone, trombone, bass, viola and piccolo.
One of the students has just returned from a pipe band championship in Glasgow, and another has built a canoe by hand; one just climbed Kilimanjaro; another worked in Information Technology at Rutgers. One is an accomplished member of the international birding community.
You are compassionate and curious, Provost Marcy told them, holding up some of their activities as evidence: "You have volunteered for political campaigns, women's shelters, YMCA's and the Salvation Army, libraries, Food Not Bombs, museums, aquariums, retirement communities, soup kitchens, hospitals and animal shelters...Among you is a silversmith, a published movie reviewer, a glass blower, a dirt bike mechanic, a spelunker, an Irish step dancer, a tango enthusiast. You are actors and theater techies, cartoonists, filmmakers, photographers, museum docents, equestrians, organic farmers, snow boarders and cheerleaders, rock climbers and archers...." Well, you get the picture. Another day in the life of Simon's Rock.
The Provost then introduced them to their newest characteristic: "Finally, you are all now Rockers. You are part of our community and we are pleased and excited to welcome you."
Hablemos Club, Second Year at Simon's Rock
By Shanna Gregory ('07)
Last year, five students approached Residence Directors Juan Carlos and Anne Olivo and asked if they would be interested in advising a Spanish-speaking club. The couple agreed, the group began and has since grown to over 20 students. Hablemos meets in the Olivo's apartment in Hill House, where Anne is the RD.
This is the first year the group has elected a student president, Dale Simmons. As a second semester freshman, Simmons is excited and ready to begin a new year.
"Last semester we were more focused with conversations in our small group. Now that we are so much larger, I want to expand the activities to include restaurant trips and movie showings," Simmons said. She also encourages all students to join, especially those not currently enrolled in a Spanish class. "It's a great environment to practice and improve your Spanish, even if you do not think you're at a conversational level."
(Juan Olivo,far right, with students. Photo by Jessica Mah)
The first meeting of the year began with introductions around the room, of course, in Spanish. From the minute you walk through the door, English disappears entirely, and it seems as though you're in different country. The beautiful Peruvian decorations of the Olivo's apartment, as well as their warm hospitality, contribute to this atmosphere. They welcome the Vengan a Hablemos club weekly and are excited about the club's expansion.
Brian Conley ('96) featured on ABC's Good Morning America
"Many human interest stories in Iraq don't get reported because Western journalists can't get close enough to cover them," according to the July 5 Good Morning America program that featured alumnus Brian Conley's work in Iraq. Read more at:
A Tribute to a Mentor and a Lifelong Friend: Eileen Handelman, Former Dean of Faculty
By Dr. Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez ('78)
I first met Eileen Handelman, her husband Bob and her daughter Audrey in 1968, when Audrey and I were six years old. My parents had just built a house a few miles down the road from the Handelmans' house in Hillsdale, N.Y., and we discovered by coincidence that we were distantly related: Bob's cousin Walter had married my father's cousin Judy.
Blood relations or not, Audrey and I were soon fast friends, and all through my childhood years, the Handelmans were among our closest family friends, practically family. We saw each other every weekend, and Audrey and I often slept over at each other's houses; in the summertime we played together in the College Center and the library, waiting for Eileen to bring us home. I got to know Eileenand Simon's Rockvery well.
Eileen was the first woman I'd ever met who had a Ph.D., and as a physicist she was especially rare, physics being a field almost devoid of women at that time. She sometimes talked about the challenges of working as a research scientist at Bell Labs in New Jersey, before she made the decision to shift into academia. Eileen was beautiful as a young woman (in early photos, she bears a striking resemblance to Ingrid Bergman), and it couldn't have been easy being the only woman in the lab.
As a child, I was fascinated by the Handelmans' unusual family set-up: Bob stayed home as the primary parent, while Eileen went to work every day at Simon's Rock. Her love of teaching was palpable, as was her excitement at sharing complex ideas in physics (never better than over a tuna fish sandwich at lunch) and her total dedication to making the college succeed. I am sure that part of the reason it seemed so natural to me to go on to graduate school for my Ph.D. was the role model provided by Eileen.
When I became a Simon's Rocker in 1978, Eileen was Dean of Faculty. Those were difficult years, with the college facing financial challenges, and Eileen played a big role in helping the community adjust to the new Bard leadership that began in 1979. We all came through just fine, as can be seen in the graduation picture I have hanging in my office of Eileen handing me my B.A. degree on the lawn in front of Blodgett, huge delighted grins on both our faces.
Eileen retired from Simon's Rock before I came back to teach in 1994, my own newly minted Ph.D. in hand. In retirement, she provided another kind of model: always intellectually engaged, always reading literature, following and astutely analyzing the news, indulging her longtime love of gardening with a new passion. She and Bob designed and built a new house, around which she planted a meticulously detailed rock garden, and drifts of the daylilies that she began breeding with a scientist's precision. Even after Bob died several years ago, she remained fiercely independent, mowing her own lawns and maintaining her home on the mountain by herself right through the winter.
Eileen had a strong presence she could be argumentative, and if you disagreed with her, you had to be ready to explain why and stick to your guns, because she would shoot down flimsy arguments with ease. But she was always kind, and her integrity was absolute. She played an important, founding role in the development of what we know today as Simon's Rock.
Simon's Rock awarded a grant for the Science Initiative
In August, Mary B. Marcy announced that Simon's Rock had received a grant from the Davis Educational Foundation in support of a new science initiative. The $300,000 grant will fund summer workshops, equipment, consulting, travel, and staffing, including a position in the Win Commons in quantitative literacy.
"This grant is a significant endorsement of our vision for math and science at Simon's Rock, and a reflection of the creative work already put into developing the program," said Marcy in a recent announcement to the campus.
An interdisciplinary Science Seminar is one curricular component of the initiative, and Academic Dean Samuel Ruhmkorff says it will completely change the way science is taught here at Simon's Rock. He thinks the seminar could also serve as a model to other colleges that are trying to develop alternatives to a common phenomenon on liberal arts campuses, in which mathematics and sciences courses are avoided by students whose majors are outside those disciplines.
Science Division Chair Michael Bergman hopes students in the Seminar will get a good taste of inquiry driven science, a rare experience for undergraduates majoring in disciplines outside the sciences.
In late-August, two groups of students became part of a pilot of the Science Seminar, in which they and four mathematics and sciences faculty members, with Faculty Fellow Gidon Eshel, a leading climate scientist, are addressing the topic of global climate change.
We will report more on the Science Initiative and the Science Seminar in upcoming issues of Simonsays and The Magazine.