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Drawings of Arnold Bittleman on exhibit at Mandeville Gallery

Posted on Aug 18, 2004

Untitled {detail}, pen & india ink/paper, by Arnold Bittleman

Drawings and prints by the late Arnold Bittleman,
Union professor of art, will be on exhibit from August 26 through Oct. 10 at the Mandeville Gallery in the Nott
Memorial at
Union College.

The show is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are
Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit  http://www.union.edu/Gallery/ or call
(518) 388-6004.

A nationally renowned artist,
Bittleman (1933-1985) joined the Union College faculty in 1966 after teaching at Skidmore College, Parsons School of Design, and Yale University. He arrived at Union as the founding and only member of
the Studio Arts faculty, and was an artist-in-residence and lecturer in the
arts, initially declining the position of professor, and declining offers from
Yale to return there to teach.

Untitled {Man After Rembrandt}, pen & india ink/paper, by Arnold Bittleman

Bittleman, a very popular professor, was not interested in
rank, or in the machinations of departments; he was interested in educating
students and creating art. During his 20 years at the College, Bittleman taught
drawing, painting, design, color theory, photography, and printmaking.  He was extremely active on campus, designing
event posters, designing and advising for The
Union Book,
organizing concerts, film series, and lectures. In 1970 he
received tenure and became a full professor.

Untitled {detail}, pen & india ink/paper, by Arnold Bittleman

His own work flowed slowly, carefully onward, and though he
often had difficulty in finishing work, he exhibited widely and regularly.  His work was shown at numerous venues
including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American
Art in New York City, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. His works are in a number of
collections: the Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the
Brooklyn Museum; the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, NY; the
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Mass.; the Schenectady Museum; the Arkansas
Art Center, Little Rock; and many others.

Bittleman grew up in the Bronx. 
He attended James Monroe High School and the Rhode Island School of
Design before receiving a B.F.A. (1956) and an M.F.A. (1958) from Yale University, where he studied with Josef Albers
(about whom he later made the film To
Open Eyes
– on view in this exhibition). In 1983, Bittleman was diagnosed with
an inoperable brain tumor. Despite his worsening illness, he continued to teach
through the fall of 1984. He died April 7, 1985 at 51.

The show, previously at Gallery 100 in Saratoga Springs, was curated by Rachel Seligman, director of the Mandeville

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At summer open houses, enthusiasm spills over

Posted on Aug 13, 2004

At the Aug. 13 open house, students explore what matters most in the application processs.

Not even Hurricane Bonnie could dampen the spirit.

Enthusiasm was running high as Union
welcomed a record-breaking 564 prospective students and parents in two open
houses this summer.

Said one student after a drizzly day on Aug. 13, “I was so
interested in what my tour guide had to say, and I had such a great interview,
I did not have time to think about the bad weather.”

Another student cited the emphasis on making students
comfortable with the admissions process: “the presenters mentioned the school's
efforts to make the college search process as positive as possible, and it
really showed.”

“Our goal was not simply to show our beautiful campus, our
great programs and our friendly and talented people,” said Dan Lundquist, dean
of admissions. “We also wanted to give the students and families a sense for
what matters in the admissions process – for both sides – whether they end up
at Union or not. Simply put, we want to be partners in
good outcomes.”

In one event, Union's admissions
officers asked prospective students to take the stage in an exercise intended
to show what matters most in an application. Grammatical mistakes, for example,
don't weigh heavily. And a good recommendation from a favorite teacher may
carry more weight than one from a guidance counselor.

“I had a FABULOUS visit, which I can't say I really
expected,” said another student. “But now, I can't wait to visit again, apply,
and hopefully be accepted!”

Checking the facts at summer open house

Other comments included:

— “The campus had a very friendly feeling, and the school
was extremely presentable. I am very enthusiastic about applying to Union

— “Many of my family members are Union alums, causing me
to initially discount Union as one of my options when
applying to schools. However, after having visited Union,
I have completely changed my tune and cannot wait to apply.

— “I found Union more attractive
and friendly than I had imagined it. I will most definitely apply to your
school in the fall. I inquired about music (I play the harp) and both a
professor and secretary were exceptionally friendly and helpful.”

— “[Biology Professor] Peter Tobiessen was extremely
friendly and helpful by spontaneously showing us around the neuroscience
department after our tour.”

— “I just felt so much at home that the weather didn't
faze me at all. This summer, my father and I visited Union
for a second time, and I loved it even more. I had a great interview with
[Admissions Counselor] Kelly Herrington. Everything about my visits was great,
and I just wanted to let you know. Thank you.”

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Did you know?

Posted on Aug 10, 2004

The new home for the Office of College Relations, located in historic Abbe Hall, is now open. In addition to providing a private place for alumni to work, think, meet and relax, the center is a repository of unique Union collectibles and historical records and a model of architectural magnificence.

Portrait of a house

It all adds up for alumni at Abbe Hall. Here, in no particular order, is a list of what you'll find at Abbe Hall, located directly outside the College gates on Lenox Road.

Chester A. Arthur's original presidential flag

1 replica of the Steinmetz stove

121 Garnet yearbooks, dating from 1884-2003

A complete set of Freshman Records

Original photo of the Class of 1889

1 handwritten scroll from the Class of 1846

4 floors, 3 entrances and 100 windows

5 fireplaces

Original fabric wallpaper, ca. 1900, in the dining room

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Odd Jobs

Posted on Aug 10, 2004

Taking A.I. to New Depths: Sam Tolkoff '96

Sam Tolkoff '96 (B.S., civil engineering), came in on the ocean floor – not just the ground floor – of the high-tech submersible robotics industry. In fact, Tolkoff's career has mirrored that of the robotics industry, which began at MIT's Towing Tank Laboratory in the Ocean Engineering Department.

There, engineers developed a “robo-tuna” (featured on the Discovery Channel), among other experimental autonomous submarines, and there, Tolkoff completed degrees in mechanical engineering and ocean engineering in 1998.

After working at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, he joined Bluefin, a leading designer and manufacturer of autonomous underwater vehicles, which are compact acquatic robots that operate by means of onboard artificial intelligence.

“We're doing pretty well,” says Tolkoff, recently appointed to head Bluefin manufacturing and operations, “with 20 to 30 percent growth per year.”

Tolkoff recently took time out from his tech world to reconnect with old friends. He returned to the Union campus to visit his mentor, Ashraf M. Ghaly, professor of Geotechnical Engineering and Materials, and reports that Reinis Kanders (electrical engineering, '96) does contract work at Bluefin.

The U.S. Navy first identified the need to sort out fake submerged hazards from deadly mines during the Persian Gulf War, but it took about 10 years to develop the technology. While Bluefin vehicles will help the Navy, they also have become increasingly vital in the telecommunications and utility industries and in petroleum exploration and scientific research.

Working independently at depths of up to 6,000 meters, these unmanned, submersible craft have helped the Smithsonian Institution and the National Geographic Society search for giant squid and assisted scientists with cutting-edge research. They've also helped place underwater fiber optic cables and oil and gas pipelines.

Bluefin was a startup on the fringe of the MIT campus when Tolkoff joined the firm. “I was the fourth person hired and the only mechanical engineer,” he notes. “We were launched just down the street in an old auto parts store.” The company grew to 12 employees and earned $2 million in itsfirst year. It now employs 50 and expects to earn $10 million in 2004.

A Theta Delta Chi member, this Union alum thinks back in appreciation of the College's combination of a liberal arts environment with the focused academic discipline of a high-quality engineering department. “Most people looked at Union as a school of engineering, or a liberal arts school,” he said. “But it was both for me.”

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Class Gifts

Posted on Aug 10, 2004

Giving is Golden for Class of 1953

This Group of Grads heeds the (Conference) Call to Give

“The Gentlemen of '53” are so close a class, reports Elwyn Harp, that when one contributes to the Annual Fund, all do. “Let me brag a little,” says Harp, chair of the class' 50th ReUnion Committee. “The last two years we obtained 100 percent participation in the Annual Fund. That's remarkable.”

To celebrate the half-century since graduation, the 205 members of the Class of 1953 have endowed the large conference room in Abbe Hall. “We wanted to do something special for our 50th,” Harp said, noting the class had contributed $471,584 through annual, capital, planned gifts and five-year pledges.

“I've got a great committee working with me, 23 members. Rhein Vogel is class president; John Moses, our class giving chair. The more people you have working together, the more successful you'll be.”

Harp and his classmates attended Union during the Truman-Eisenhower years, the Cold War and the end of the Korean War. He says the campus has burgeoned since he first traversed its courtyards and corridors, “grown not only in opportunities but also in terms of numbers” – with enrollment nearly doubling to more than 2,000.

Gentlemen and gentlewomen, that is.

Class of 1973 Keeps on Truckin'

Library Gift Speaks Volumes about Class Participation

In the hang-loose '70s, members of the Class of 1973 graduated in shirtsleeves, donating their cap-and-gown costs to Schaffer Library in memory of classmates Edward Corbett and Kelvin Cook. They broke existing class gift records, with 74 students donating a total of $2,045.

Led by George Bain (B.A., American Studies, Concordiensis editor-in-chief), the '73ers were at it again. They recently raised $137,925 for a 30th ReUnion gift to name the library in Abbe Hall, home of Alumni Relations and the Office of College Relations.

Bain is an editor at the Syracuse Post-Standard, so a library tie-in was a natural. And in a a musical nod to the '70s, his 14-member class gift committee proposed that donation levels be keyed to top songs of the era: the Grateful Dead's “Truckin',” Neil Young's “Heart of Gold,” Santana's “Black Magic Woman” and Elton John's “Crocodile Rock.”

The oldies inspiration may have struck just the right chord – the class beat its $125,000 goal, with gifts from 87 class members in addition to Annual Fund pledges and a $25,000 challenge gift from Frank Messa, which provided added incentive.

The Abbe Hall library is now open. No popping of champagne corks around the valuable collection of face books and yearbooks, thank you.

They've Got Class – 1978

Grads Pose Challenge

Marking the 25 years since graduation, Dave Breazzano and Jim Lerner extended a challenge to the Class of 1978, offering to match each gift from every class member, dollar for dollar. Eventually, however, they proved even more generous than that.

This dynamic donor duo pushed the Class of 1978 past its $49,300 goal – to an impressive $105,251, with 38 donors making first-time contributions.

The biggest challenge, however, may be matching the enthusiasm of '78ers for their silver-anniversary celebration. “I was very excited about our 25th ReUnion and wanted to do something that would make an impact,” said Lerner.

Added Breazzano: “We're happy that our challenge helped encourage more of our classmates to get involved with giving back to the College that shaped each of us in so many important ways.”

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