Union College News Archives

News story archive

Navigation Menu

Phan Cites Letters in Father’s Release As Political Prisoner in Vietnam

Posted on Sep 26, 1997

Minh Phan '96 may never know for sure, but his father's recent release after 16 years as a political prisoner in Vietnam may have had its start last spring when hundreds of friends at Union launched a letter-writing campaign.

At a reception last Wednesday in Thurston House, organized by students
in the College's chapter of Amnesty International, Phan got to say “thank
you” to some of those who sent 800 letters urging the release of his 77-year-old
father, Hien Dinh Phan.

The elder Phan's release came unexpectedly on Aug. 24 as Minh Phan
was visiting his family in Saigon, his first visit in nearly 10 years. The family had not
been notified of the impending release, Phan said. The first clue came when local police
called to ask why Hien Dinh Phan hadn't registered with them. Disbelieving, the
family went to the camp and found the father packing his bags.

Vietnamese authorities “never mentioned anything about the letter
campaign,” Minh Phan said, “But I think it helped a lot.”

The family had become increasingly concerned about the toll that prison
life was taking on the elder Phan, and he was growing increasingly weak from malnutrition,
Minh Phan said. As a last resort, the family agreed to the letter-writing campaign in

Union students and staff sent more than 800 letters appealing for the
release of Phan, who held a variety of posts with the South Vietnamese government before
the fall of Saigon in 1975. He was taken prisoner in 1981 for
“counter-revolutionary” activities after not reporting to a political
re-education camp, Minh Phan said.

“This is a wonderful example of what we can do at Union for someone
who is on the other side of the world,” remarked Kim Rohback '00, president of
the College's chapter of Amnesty International.

Jody Mousseau '97, who as last year's head of the Amnesty
chapter spearheaded the letter-writing campaign, is now teaching in Japan. “Things
certainly did work out for the best,” she said. “I am glad that Minh is so happy
with the results.

Read More

Events of Special Interest

Posted on Sep 26, 1997

o Sept. 27, 8 p.m.,
Memorial Chapel.
The Schenectady Museum-Union College chamber concert series opens
with the Borromeo String Quartet with Colin Carr, cello, performing works by Schubert.

o Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m., Nott
Andrea Barrett '74, winner of the National Book Award last year for Ship
will describe her work on a new novel about an arctic explorer. (See story this

o Oct. 2, 11:30 a.m., Arts
Painter Barbara Mungall, whose works are on display through October in the Arts
Atrium Gallery, will discuss her paintings and drawings.

o Oct. 3 through 5.
Homecoming and Parents' Weekend. Details available in Reamer Campus Center and the
College homepage.

o Oct. 9, 4:30 p.m., Reamer
Campus Center auditorium.
Faculty colloquium with Kenneth G. DeBono, Gilbert R.
Livingston Professor of Behavioral Sciences, on “Personality and Consumer
Decision-Making: Understanding the Psychology of Product Evaluation.”

o Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m., Nott
Philosopher Jurgen Habermas on “Learning from Catastrophes: A Brief
Look Back at the Short 20th Century.”

Read More

Andrea Barrett ’74 to Discuss Ship Fever And Other Works

Posted on Sep 26, 1997

Andrea Barrett '74, winner of the 1996 National Book Award for fiction for her collection Ship Fever and Other Stories, will speak Monday, Sept. 29, at 7:30 p.m. in the Nott Memorial.

There will be a reception after the lecture in Old Chapel.

Barrett also will meet informally with members of the campus community
on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 10:30 a.m. in the Humanities Lounge.

Her talk, titled “The Geography of the North,” will reflect
Barrett's thinking about arctic exploration, which is the focus of her new book,
suggesting its connections to creativity, writing, reading and the scientific perspective.

Barrett graduated from Union as a biology major and went on to further
study in zoology and medieval history before discovering that she wanted to be a writer.
She published her first book, Lucid Stars, in 1988, followed by Secret
Harmonies, The Middle Kingdom
(a Literary Guild Alternate) and The Forms of Water
before the award-winning Ship Fever.

Read More

Borromeo String Quartet to perform with Colin Carr

Posted on Sep 12, 1997

Schenectady, N.Y. (Sept. 12, 1997) – The critically-acclaimed Borromeo String Quartet will perform with world-class cellist Colin Carr in the first concert of this season's Schenectady Museum – Union College Concert Series on Saturday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. in Union's Memorial Chapel.

In celebration of Schubert's bicentennial, the group will perform Schubert's Quartet in G Major, Op. 161, D. 887 and Cello Quintet in C Major, Op. 163, D. 956.

Formed in 1989 by four young musicians from the Curtis Institute of Music, the Borromeo String Quartet has risen quickly to international prominence. Members include Nicholas Kitchen, violin; Ruggero Allifranchini, violin; Hsin-Yun Huang, viola; and Yeesun Kim, cello. All are faculty members at the New England Conservancy.

Internationally, their performances have taken them from Moscow to Montevideo, Uruguay, Tokyo, Amsterdam and Widmore Hall in London. In America, they have performed at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington and Boston's Isabella Steward Gardner Museum. The Boston Globe wrote: “The Borromeo String Quartet is simply the best there is on the planet … the only real treasure, it's been said, is spiritual treasure, and this was it.”

Colin Carr is winner of many prestigious awards including first prize in the Naumburg Competition, the Piatigorsky Memorial Award and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and has performed with many of the world's most famed orchestras, including those of Chicago, Baltimore, Montreal, Britain's Royal Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony. Also a faculty member at the New England Conservancy, he joins his fellow faculty members for what should prove to be a fantastic performance.

Memorial Chapel is located near the center of the Union campus. Parking is available on campus and on nearby sidestreets.

Tickets, at $15 ($7 for students), are available in advance at the Schenectady Museum (518)382-7890 and at the door at 7 p.m. For more information, call 372-3651.

Read More

From Roofs to Walks, a Busy Summer for Campus Operations

Posted on Sep 12, 1997

The Campus Operations “to do” list ran longer than most this summer.

Staffers and contractors were busy with improvements to residence halls, academic buildings and grounds, said David Grzybowski, director of campus operations.

Among the projects, they replaced the lights and poles
above Frank Bailey Field, renovated the cupola atop West College, and replaced roofs on
Webster House and Alumni Gym.

At ground level and below, workers installed a sprinkler
system in Library Field around the Nott Memorial and did steam line and sidewalk
replacement to the south and west of Science and Engineering and Bailey Hall. New
sidewalks and stairs now replace former dirt paths west of Psi Upsilon and between Webster
and Davidson.

Among other projects:

o Renovation of
bathrooms in Bailey Hall and Humanities;

o Carpet
replacement in Reamer Campus Center, Arts and Social Sciences;

o Landscaping,
paving and a new sculpture display area north of Arts overlooking Jackson's Garden;

o New plantings
in front of Memorial Chapel and Becker Hall;

o Stone stairway
and new entrance to Jackson's Garden from Chester Arthur Courtyard;

o Exterior
painting of Smith House and Sigma Phi;

o Renovations of
the Arts photo lab and print shop;

o Refinishing of
walls and floors of racquetball courts in Alumni Gymnasium;

o Renovation of
cashier's office in Feigenbaum Hall.

Read More