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Family night at Achilles Rink is a huge success

Posted on Nov 27, 2002

Representing the Northeast Parent & Child Society are (left to right) Tracy Toscano, Debbie VanAlstyne and Jennifer Anderson.

On Sunday, November 24th, the Union College Athletic Department and the local community celebrated the 34th Annual National Family Week at Achilles Rink as the Skating Dutchmen hosted the University of Connecticut. The Garnet added to the evening's festivities by handing the Huskies an 8-0 defeat as Union freshman goaltender Kris Mayotte recorded his first collegiate shutout and raised his record to 5-0-1.

Some of the activities that took place that night included the Child Watch Kidguard Safety Program where roughly 60 children will received a free laminated identification card that included their photograph and fingerprints. A Child Safety Fair provided families with information on different safety tips while the The Northeast Parent & Child Society supplied information on their Therapeutic Foster Family Programs.

Following the game families were invited to “Skate with the Dutchmen” and get autographs from their favorite players.

Freshman goaltender Tim Roth stands with two of his young fans.

“The Union College Department of Athletics and Price Chopper were very proud to sponsor the Child Watch Kidguard safety program,” said Val Belmonte, Union's Director of Athletics. ” This (Child Watch) is a wonderful program providing safety rules and free photo / fingerprint ID cards for parents to have of their children. Knowledge is power…and if we can provide ways to help teach children how to recognize and react to potentially dangerous situations…then any efforts are a worthwhile endeavor”.

National Family Week was a combined effort of the Union College Athletic Department with support from Price Chopper and the Alliance for Children and Families, with the generous support of The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Union's next community night will take place on Sunday, December 8 when, in the spirit of the holiday season, the Athletic Department will team up with the Marine Corps to bring Toys-for-Tots to Achilles Rink. All fans who bring an unwrapped gift to the Arena will receive $5 off a ticket (children under 12 will be admitted free with the donation of a gift) to that night's 7:00 p.m. game versus Iona.

Join the Dutchmen in helping to make this holiday season special for those local families in need of some extra holiday cheer.

If you would like further information on how you can help the Northeast Parent & Child Society, please call Jennifer Anderson at (518) 372-6708 or e-mail her at:

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New York Times article details search for Erie Canal by professors and students

Posted on Nov 25, 2002

The New York Times

Monday, November
25, 2002

the Way West, Shovel by Shovel


ALBANY, Nov. 23 – What were the
words to that song? Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal? Today, Stephen Jones went
15 centimeters, maybe 20, on a trip that was frustrating in a
so-near-and-yet-so-far kind of way: he did not find the one thing that maps and
charts and careful calculations had convinced him was buried right beneath his

What he was looking for was a
remnant of the original Erie Canal, the 363-mile liquid
highway that opened the way to the Midwest in the 19th
century. Specifically, Lock No. 53, a wood-and-stone bulwark that lowered boats
heading south to the level of the Hudson River and
raised Buffalo-bound vessels for the trip along the high and mighty Erie.

tough digging,” said Dr. Jones, a visiting professor of anthropology at Union
College in Schenectady.

His work carried him vertically
through layers of soil, instead of horizontally along the canal that Thomas
Jefferson dismissed as “little short of madness,” but if Lock No. 53
eluded Dr. Jones and his colleagues from Union
College, other fragments of the
canal have not. In two years of archaeological detective work in a neighborhood
of warehouses and vacant lots about a mile from the State Capitol, they have
uncovered evidence of a weigh lock, used to help canal operators decide what
tolls to charge. Nearby, they discovered the foundation of a toll collector's
house, a grand-looking structure with columns.

And last month, about 200 feet
from the pit for Lock No. 53, they found the smooth granite blocks that topped
a wall of a lock from a later version of the canal.

“This is the start of
everything,” said Denis Foley, a Union
College research professor in
anthropology, showing off the top of the lock wall. “The
start of the westward movement. This is what made New
York the Empire
State. This is what made New
York City the pre-eminent commercial city in the United

The history books tell the story:
the Erie Canal came along at just the right moment, and
was the first important national waterway built in the United
States. The laborers who laid out the locks
and installed the equipment that made them function were working in the
wilderness – there were no roads to haul in the supplies needed to build the
canal. Their champion was De Witt Clinton, who by the time the canal opened had
been mayor of New York City and
governor of the state. His enemies tried to laugh off the canal as “Clinton's

But it quickly became a moneymaker.
It also lowered the cost of shipping raw materials (the cost of transporting
flour had fallen to a penny a ton by 1830) and cut travel time between here and
Buffalo to six days, from two weeks
by wagon.

It opened in 1825 with Clinton
making an inaugural trip from Buffalo
to New York City. His departure was
signaled “by the booming of a line of cannon stationed at suitable
intervals all the way across the state to Albany
and down the Hudson.” So declared Roy G. Finch, the state engineer and surveyor, on the
canal's 100th anniversary. Finch called the celebration “a grand
salute 500 miles long, announcing to the people of the state the completion of
the most stupendous undertaking of their time.”

Soon America
was going canal crazy, building more than 4,000 miles of waterways and opening
back-country towns to hard-drinking, hard-driving barge captains. The Erie
was modernized and rerouted twice to handle larger vessels and more traffic,
but only short stretches of the latter-day New York State Barge Canal System
follow the channel dug for the original Erie.
Each time the canal was recast – in the 1840's and again between 1905 and World
War I – the engineers figured out how to make do with fewer locks, ultimately
trimming the number to 35 from 83.

The hunt for the old Erie
began with Dr. Foley and F. Andrew Wolfe, the chairman of the civil engineering
department at Union College.
Copying old maps and matching them against modern ones, they calculated where
the locks had to have been. The maps were not always reliable – “The
streetscape has changed,” Dr. Foley said – and a 1972 study said the
structures from the old Erie had
been demolished.

Still, after digging a few test
holes, they found Lock No. 1 next to a parking lot. That discovery led them to
press on toward Lock No. 53. They knew they were in the right area because the
maps showed both locks in the same milelong basin
that was in effect a changing area.

The mules that had pulled canal
boats from Buffalo were unhitched
where the archaeologists had been digging, Dr. Wolfe said. From there the
steam-powered predecessors of tugboats took over for the ride down the Hudson
to New York.

“We thought that, since we
know all the measurements, why don't we find the original canal?” he

Off to the woods, and the pit
where Dr. Jones was digging for Lock No. 53 (on the original Erie,
the locks were numbered east and west from Rome,
N.Y.). Dr. Jones found bits of clay pipes
like the ones 19th-century canal users would have smoked and tossed overboard.
Also in the pit was an iron handle that looked like one end of a shovel. Dr.
Wolfe speculated that it was part of a hay-bale pick.

So was there anything else down
there? Dr. Wolfe wanted to know what Dr. Jones had been finding.

“Slag, slag and more
slag,” he said. “There's no industry recorded as being close to here
to explain this type of slag, but that's archaeology for you. You always find
more questions than answers.”

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Professor Eshragh Motahar, visiting Fulbright in Vietnam, shares some experiences

Posted on Nov 23, 2002

Prof. Motahar in office at Ho Chi Minh University in Vietnam, where he is a visiting Fulbright Scholar

Eshragh Motahar, associate professor of economics at Union College, is in Vietnam this fall as a visiting Fulbright Scholar at the Fulbright Vietnam Program. Run jointly by Harvard University (JFK School of Government) and the Ho Chi Minh University of Economics, this graduate school is for Vietnamese professionals concentrating on economics and public policy.

Here are some of his reflections on the experience:

“We have a very bright, highly-motivated, and hard-working group of students from many sectors of the economy, the government and the academic world, and from all geographic areas of Vietnam. Contrary to stereotypes back in the U.S., students are very active participants in class, and, while polite and respectful, they take no nonsense from any one. They have a great sense of humor. They work very hard, but have a lot of fun as well.

“Subsequent to economic reforms in the mid- to late-80s, Vietnam has had a vibrant economy.  For example, during the 1990-99 period Vietnam was the fourth fastest growing economy in the world, at an average annual real GDP growth rate of 8.1 percent. Ho Chi Minh City, like many other cities and communities in Vietnam, is full of energy and vitality.

From Prof. Motahar, a banner announcing a Vietnamese performance of Hamlet (with the title spelled in the syllabic form). “U. Sec xpia” translates to “W. Shakespeare.”

“This is a peaceful and safe country, with an extraordinary variety of social and economic activities going on in the streets, on the sidewalks, on rivers, along the coast and in rural areas. The food is delicious and inexpensive. In addition to all kinds of “regular” food, I have dined on snakes, fried silkworms, and frogs. The variety and freshness of fruits and vegetables is just incredible. 

“The climate varies from tropical (hot and humid) in Ho Chi Minh City to crisp and cool in the mountains of the northwest.  Right now (early November) in Ho Chi Minh City, temperatures during the day are in the upper 80s, and mid 70s in the evening, with humidity to match both day and night.

“There is a horrendous traffic problem here in Ho Chi Minh City. Motorcycles are very popular, and nobody seems to walk; there is no good public transportation system. Motorcycles — mostly Hondas — are the universal mode of transportation for practically everything. I have seen sacks of rice, bags of vegetables, chickens, live snakes, flowers, trees and construction materials being carried on motorcycles. It is not unusual to see four people (man and wife and a couple of kids) riding one motorcycle.

“Crossing the street, especially during the rush hour, can be a bit of a challenge. Though once you get the hang of it, you cross with confidence and marvel at your ability to do so unscathed.  If you wait for the traffic light to give you a safe go-ahead, you could be waiting for a long time!

“In spite of its painful past relationship with the U.S., Americans, like visitors from other countries, are welcome here. In fact, a visit to Vietnam will, among other things, demonstrate yet gain the terrible harm caused by war, and the futility and absurdity of it.”

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Union receives $20 million gift from John and Jane Wold

Posted on Nov 21, 2002

Jane and John Wold

John Wold, a geologist and former U.S. Congressman from Casper, Wyo., and his wife, Jane, are making a $20 million commitment to Union College.

The gift – the largest in the College's 207-year-history – will provide endowment support for a variety of programs, including the annual fund, scholarships, a professorship in religious studies, scientific and technical equipment, and a possible new science building.

Wold is a 1938 graduate of Union College.

President Roger Hull, announcing the gift, said, “As a Congressman, as a trustee of Union, and as a scientist and businessman, John Wold has always been an exceptional leader. The gift that he and Jane are making illustrates that leadership. Not only will its generosity provide a significant boost to our new House System and several other important programs, it will serve as an inspiration for all Union alumni and friends and, I hope, raise their sights. What a great commitment from a great human being!”

In honor of this gift, Union will name, as part of the new residential system, one of the two houses to be created in North College in memory of Wold's parents. Wold's father, Peter, was the head of the College's Physics Department from 1919 to 1945, and John Wold recalls, “During most of my childhood I lived in the faculty residence at the north end of North College. I still think of myself as a ‘Campus Kid'.”

Wold also was a member of Alpha Delta Phi fraternity at the College, and he says, “I have been a longtime admirer of what the fraternity/sorority program has meant at Union in the past and what promise it has for the future, if it is properly administered. The House System preserves the option for those who want fraternities and sororities while providing new residential and social opportunities for all students.”

Wold is president of Wold Minerals Co. in Casper and a number of other energy mineral development firms. He was elected to the Wyoming State Legislature in 1956 and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1969 to 1971, the first professional geologist to serve in Congress. He was the original sponsor of the “National Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970.” He is a two-term Wyoming Republican State Chairman and a former member of the executive committee of the Republican National Committee.

Wold is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union, a director of the Federation of Rocky
Mountain States, vice president for Wyoming and South Dakota of the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association, and former president of the Wyoming Geological Association.

Wold and his wife, the former Jane Adele Pearson, a native of Schenectady and a graduate of Wheelock College, established the John and Jane Wold Professorship in Geology at Union in 1988. He was a term trustee of the College from 1981 to 1990, when he was named a trustee emeritus. In 1999, he received the College's Eliphalet Nott Medal, which recognizes alumni who have achieved great distinction in their fields.

As a student at Union, Wold was the College's second St. Andrews University Exchange Scholar and was a member of the Terrace Council, the varsity hockey team, and Sigma Xi, the national honorary society dedicated to scientific research. He earned his master's degree in geology at Cornell University and served in the Navy in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters during World War II.

Wold moved to Wyoming in 1948 to work for an oil company. Two years later he struck out on his own as a consulting geologist. He ran a one-man operation, doing his own geological work and research, and gradually moved his emphasis from oil to minerals. He was a co-discoverer and developer of the Christensen Ranch uranium ore body, one of the largest in the country, and also played a principal role in the development of the Highland Uranium Mine, the largest uranium solution mine in the world.

In 1999 he was named Wyoming Citizen of the Century in the Minerals, Oil, and Gas Category by the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming.

The previous largest gift to Union was $9 million from the F.W. Olin Foundation, Inc., of New York City, in 1996 for a high-technology classroom and laboratory building known as the F.W. Olin Center.

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Skating Dutchmen help celebrate 34th annual national family week

Posted on Nov 20, 2002

On Sunday, November 24th
the Union College Athletic Department and the local community will honor our families in celebration of the 34th Annual National Family Week with a series of events at the Dutchmen's 7:00 p.m. men's hockey game versus UConn.

Sunday night's activities will include:

  • The Child Watch Kidguard Safety Program from 6:30-8:30 p.m., where all children will receive a FREE laminated
  • A Child Safety fair, where families can pick up information on different child safety tips, and;
  • “Skate with the Dutchmen”, where families are invited to skate on the ice with their favorite players following the game.

For more information about Sunday evening's activities, call the Union Athletic Department at 518-388-6284.

National Family Week is brought to you by the Union College Athletic Department (with support from Price Chopper) and the Alliance for Children and Families, with the generous support of
The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

On December 8
, in the spirit of the holiday season, the Union College Athletic Department will team up with the Marine Corps on Sunday, December 8th to bring Toys-for-Tots to Achilles Rink. All fans who bring an unwrapped gift to the Arena will receive $5 off a ticket (children under 12 will be admitted free with the donation of a gift) to that night's 7:00 p.m. game versus Iona.

Join the Dutchmen in helping to make this holiday season special for those local families in need of some extra holiday cheer.

Read More