Union College News Archives

News story archive

Navigation Menu

Book Shelf

Posted on Jan 30, 2005

The Union Bookshelf regularly features new books written by (or about) alumni and other members of the Union community. If you're an author and would like to be included in a future issue, please send us a copy of the book as well as your publisher's new release. Our address is Office of Communications, Union College, Schenectady, N.Y. 12308.


Adventures of the Mind: Wit & Wisdom with Bob
ISBN 7-5012-2166-9/G – 841
The simple, sincere advice of 85-year-old Bob Herman appears in two popular teen magazines in China and his “Bobisms” have inspired a book of columns published in China called Adventures of the Mind: Wit and Wisdom with Bob.

“I've never been to China, I have no Chinese friends, and I don't speak Chinese,” Herman, a former professor and economics adviser, said at his home in Slingerlands, outside Albany, N.Y. Herman writes about a host of topics including love, education, aging and youth, rebellion, greed, and success. Readers e-mail him letters every day seeking advice and praising him for his insight.

James Baar '49

Spinspeak II: The Dictionary of Language Pollution Authorhouse
ISBN 141842742X $13.50
If you believe that no matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, it is still a pig, then this book is for you. Spinmeisters today are everywhere. They seek to befuddle us by polluting language, gussying up and diddling down everyday words, moving familiar signposts, changing the maps in our heads. Our words-the gold standard coins of rational thinking-are being debased. Spin rots the mind. Continuing growth of spinspeak pushes us daily toward an Orwellian catastrophe: a mentally benumbed America; a manipulated society trying hopelessly to communicate using words with totally corrupted meanings. Spinspeak II: The Dictionary of Language Pollution is designed to help you fight this slimy tide of fog. The book contains: a history of spin; more than 1,100 current definitions of spinspeak in politics, business, government, academia, health care, the arts, and everyday life; a technical glossary describing more than 80 infectious varieties of wordspin, lookspin, and soundspin. Skeptical exposure is the solution wherever the fog of spinspeak roils communication. The mind you save could be your own. James Baar is a writer, international corporate communications consultant, journalist, software developer, former business executive, Washington journalist, and sometime college lecturer. He is the author of a satirical novel on business and public affairs, The Great Free Enterprise Gambit; four books on politics and technology; a forthcoming novel, Ultimate Severance; and a forthcoming collection of short stories, The Real Thing and Other Tales.


Guide to the Gothic III, Volume I & II
ISBN 0-8108-5101-6 $200
A cumulative supplement to Guide to the Gothic (Scarecrow Press, 1984) and Guide to the Gothic II (Scarecrow Press, 1995), Guide to the Gothic III offers researchers and students at any level a comprehensive bibliographical survey of Gothic scholarship and criticism of the 20th and 21st centuries. Over 1,600 new annotated entries covering 1993 to 2003 are included, along with 4,055 shortened entries from the previous two volumes. New individual author studies on Anne Rice and Angela Carter are included, as well as special sections on Gothic Chapbooks, Bluebooks, and Shilling Shockers, Pre-Gothicism and Graveyard Verse, Classical English Authors and the Gothic, Gothic Revival Architecture, the Doppelganger in Gothic literature, and Anthologies and Collections of Gothic Fiction. A new section on teaching gothic fiction with TV and audiovisual materials is also included. Reflecting the global nature of contemporary Gothic studies, other special features include sections on French, German, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Japanese, Australian, and Indian/Pakistani Gothic fiction. Readers are directed to pertinent websites and Internet resources on authors and special subject areas. Two comprehensive indexes are included to facilitate searching. This impressive reference source proves that the genre of Gothic fiction is not frozen in time, but rather is expanding exponentially across cultures, nations, and historical periods, making this a requisite addition to any academic library collection. Frederick S. Frank is Professor Emeritus of English at Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania.


Reading the Modern British and Irish Novel 1890-1930
ISBN 0-631-22622-2 $27.95
Daniel R. Schwarz has studied and taught the modern British and Irish novel for decades and now brings his impressive erudition and critical acuity to bear in this insightful study of the major authors and novels from 1890 to 1930. After a compelling introduction outlining his method and a substantial first chapter establishing the intellectual, cultural, and literary contexts in which the modern British and Irish novel was produced, Schwarz turns to powerful and sensitive close reading of modernist masterworks. He shows how Hardy's Jude the Obscure, Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim, Lawrence's Sons and Lovers and The Rainbow, Joyce's Dubliners and Ulysses, Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse, and Forster's A Passage to India form essential components in a modernist cultural tradition which includes the visual arts. In his characteristic lucid and readable style, Schwarz's work takes account of recent developments in theory and cultural studies. His persuasive study will not only be invaluable to students and teachers, but will also be of interest to the general reader. Schwarz is Professor of English and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University, where he has won major teaching prizes. He is the author of the recently published Broadway Boogie Woogie (2003) and the widely read Imagining the Holocaust (1999; rev. edn 2000). His many previous publications include Rereading Conrad (2001), Reconfiguring Modernism (1997), The Transformation of the English Novel, 1890-1930 (1989; rev. 1995), and Reading Joyce's “Ulysses” (1987; Centenary ed. 2004).


Manifest Destiny's Underworld: Filibustering in Antebellum America
The University of North Carolina Press
ISBN 0-8078-5581-2 $21.95
Although the word carries a different meaning today, the “filibuster” of the 19th century was an adventurer who organized or participated in private armed invasions of nations with whom the United States was formally at peace. As these expeditions reached their peak in the mid-19th century, author Robert May writes that “not a month passed when [one] was neither in progress nor in some stage of preparation.” Manifest Destiny's Underworld is the first full-scale analysis of this blatantly illegal movement which, on the eve of the Civil War, frequently captured the attention of the American public. Seen alternately as champions of Manifest Destiny and as pirates, the filibusters ventured into Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and other Latin American countries, and were feared by national governments throughout the Western Hemisphere; the resultant impression of bad faith still resonates in U.S. foreign policy today. Robert E. May is professor of history at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. His previous books include The Union, the Confederacy, and the Atlantic Rim and the prize-winning John A. Quitman: Old South Crusader.


The Rider's Edge: Overcoming the Psychological Challenges of Riding
PRIMEDIA Equine Network
ISBN 1-929164-22-X $19.95
Through her regular monthly column over the past eight years, Dr. Janet Edgette has entertained and educated the readers of Practical Horseman magazine about the influence their thoughts can have on their lives with their horses. Edgette believes that people often assume that equestrian sport psychology concerns itself only with performance nerves in riders, overlooking all the different issues this sport brings up that cannot be remedied by a new bit, a new horse, or extra lessons. In the columns collected in this book, she shows you how to develop healthy attitudes and perspectives that help you to make better choices regarding your horses, training programs, and yourself to bring about better riding. Edgette is an equestrian sport psychologist based in the western suburbs of Philadelphia; she is also a nationally recognized specialist in the area of adolescent and family counseling. She is the author of Heads Up!: Practical Sports Psychology for Riders, Their Families, and Their Trainers and three additional books about counseling and parenting teenagers. From 1995 through 2003, she wrote the “Heads Up” column for Practical Horseman magazine and served for much of that time as its consulting sport psychologist.


Questing: A Guide to Creating Community Treasure Hunts by Delia Clark and Steven Glazer
University Press of New England
ISBN 1-58465-334-5 $24.95
Inspired by the British pastime of “letterboxing,” questing has become one of the fastest-growing recreational-educational activities on this side of the Atlantic. In scores of communities, people from toddlers to teens, parents to grandparents follow maps, clues, and rhyming riddles seeking treasure boxes hidden in natural and cultural locations. In this book, two experts in community education explain how individuals and organizations can create and organize permanent quests to foster place-based education, stewardship, adventure, and fun. In the process of undertaking quests, participants “celebrate and strengthen community life” by forging “lifelong connections to the distinct landscapes and cultural features of their home ground.” This book is intended to offer inspiration and practical advice for parents, teachers, community group leaders, and others interested in learning about where they live and building community ties through questing.

Read More

Thank You

Posted on Jan 30, 2005

Recent gifts, grants, and bequests received by the College include:

Union received a distribution from a trust established by the late Robert Griffeth for Schaffer Library. Mr. Griffeth received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 1934.

An addition was made to the Henry C. Fagal Endowed Scholarship by Fred Fagal '38. Mr. Fagal established this scholarship in 1996 to provide financial assistance to a student or students from the Schenectady and Amsterdam, N.Y., areas.

Kenneth Van de Mark '39 recently established a charitable gift annuity. Mr. Van de Mark received a bachelor of arts degree in 1939 with a major in art history. He and his wife live in Ocala, Florida. Albert K. Hill '46 has established a new endowed fund that will provide a gift of a Union College arm chair for senior leaders in recognition of their work in enhancing student life on campus.

Joseph Hinchey '47 and his wife, Barbara, made a gift to the You are Union campaign to enhance the arts program. Mr. Hinchey, former chairman of the College's board of trustees, established the Joseph and Barbara Hinchey Endowed Scholarship at Union in 1992.

The Joseph I. and Virginia M. Petrucci Memorial Scholarship was recently established by Ralph and Ruth Petrucci. Preference will be given to students who are first generation in their family to attend college and, second, students from Schenectady and/or the Capital Region of New York. Dr. Petrucci received a bachelor of science degree from Union in 1950, majoring in chemistry. He was earned a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin.

David and Elaine Chapnick recently contributed additional funds to the David and Elaine Chapnick Scholarship. Mr. Chapnick, a member of the Class of 1959, is a life trustee of the College.

Rettig Benedict made a gift toward the You are Union campaign's arts and music component. Mr. Benedict received a bachelor of science degree from Union in 1964. He is living in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

H. Newell (Chip) Bacon '66 and his spouse, Dalli Bacon, have made a pledge to support the arts and music component of the You are Union campaign. The gift will honor Dalli's mother. Chip and Dalli live and work in New York City.

Trustee Robert DeMichele '66 recently made a gift to establish the Allison Endowed Scholarship honoring Ann and Bruce Allison. Mr. Allison was director of athletics from 1976 to 1977 and men's lacrosse coach from 1957 to 1976. In 1992, Mr. DeMichele established the Joseph T. Maras Endowed Scholarship. Mr. Maras was a former football coach and admissions officer at Union.

Steve and Diane Ciesinski made a recent addition to the Adam F. Ciesinski '41 Scholarship. The Adam Ciesinski Scholarship was established in 1988 by the Ciesinski family. Mr. Ciesinski is a member of the Class of 1970 and chairman of the board of trustees.

The R. Douglas Arnold, Class of 1972, Endowed Scholarship was recently established by Doug Arnold. The Arnold Scholarship will be awarded to a student who meets the financial aid requirements at the College. Mr. Arnold received a bachelor of arts degree from Union with a major in political science. He is a professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University.

A recent pledge to the arts and music component of the You are Union campaign was made by Randy Gilman, Class of 1976. She received a bachelor of science degree from Union with a dual major in arts and psychology, She lives in Livingston, N.J.

A new terms abroad fellowship has been created by James A. Fisher, Class of 1981, and Pamela S. Viglielmo, Class of 1982. Mr. Fisher received a bachelor of arts degree with a major in economics. Ms. Viglielmo earned her B.A. from Union with a political science major. This fellowship will be awarded annually to students who require financial assistance to participate in Union's terms abroad program.

Nancy Deloye Fitzroy has made a pledge to the residential life component of the You are Union campaign to name the Deloye-Fitzroy House on Seward Place. The gift honors the late Roland V. Fitzroy, Jr., Class of 1943, who received a bachelor of science in electrical engineering, and his wife, Nancy Deloye Fitzroy, who earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1949.

Lawrence Hollander, former dean of engineering, made an additional gift to the Lawrence J. Hollander Bicentennial Endowed Scholarship. The Hollander Scholarship was established in 1993 to provide financial assistance to engineering students.

Jeff and Sue White, parents of Colleen White '07, have made a gift toward the renovation of the softball field on Alexander Field.

An anonymous gift was made from a Union family to the arts and music component of the You are Union campaign.

Read More

Parent’s Perspective

Posted on Jan 30, 2005

For all of you who don't live in the area, we are very pleased to announce that snow has fallen in Schenectady-along with sleet and freezing rain. Winter has definitely arrived and so has the second term! We want to focus this magazine's column on some of the upcoming events that you'll want to be sure to get on your calendar:

Spring Family Weekend May 6-8, 2005

This is a “combination” weekend that rolls two very special events into one. The first is Steinmetz Symposium, the annual exposition of student scholarly and creative achievement, on Friday, May 6. This is our students' opportunity to really shine academically. Many are presenting a thesis, special project or research in sessions throughout the day. Each year, nearly 300 students participate. Parents, students, faculty are all welcome to attend and see what Union students are spending all this time on. Prize Day, on Saturday, May 7, is Union's chance to recognize student excellence in everything from acade- mics to community service.

Commencement Weekend June 12, 2005

You all know what this is and our senior families probably can't believe it's just around the corner! This weekend includes the Baccalaureate service and the Garnet Gala on Saturday. Commencement is Sunday at 10 a.m., but we recommend getting there early to get a good seat and enjoy some refreshments.

Homecoming and Family Weekend October 21-23, 2005

This is a little further down the road, but worthy of note nonetheless. Save the date for this weekend filled with opportunities to see faculty in action, watch some sports, attend a Parents Association meeting, enjoy some student performances and so much more.

We hope to see you at all of these weekends! We'd love to meet as many of you as we can. Please contact us at Parents_Association@union.edu if you have any questions or information to share.

Lori and Peter Nicholson (Kate '06)
Parents Association

Read More

Rearview Mirror

Posted on Jan 30, 2005

When you compile and edit an 850-page volume covering most of the College's first two centuries, you're bound to uncover some fairly obscure, but interesting, facts.

Wayne Somers '61

Herewith, courtesy of Wayne Somers '61, editor of the Encyclopedia of Union College History, we present a collection of “questions about Union history that most people could not answer.”

He warns, “This is an advanced quiz, which nobody is going to ace.”

A decade in the making with more than 50 contributors, the Encyclopedia is much more than a collection of trivia, however. (The book is available through the College's bookstore.)

  1. What is the most widely known song by a Union alumnus?(Hint: it's not “Home, Sweet Home,” “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” or “Taps.”)
  2. Which of these campus buildings is named for a former trustee: Achilles Rink Becker Hall Hale House McKean House Nott Memorial Silliman Hall Wells House Peschel Computer Center
  3. If you have walked around the campus in the past half-century, you've seen the work of Ephraim Keyser. Where?
  4. In addition to Nott Street and Nott Terrace, named for President Nott, and Landon Terrace, named for acting president Judson Landon, four Schenectady streets were named for 19th-century faculty members: Gillespie Street, Foster Avenue, Jackson Place, and one other that no longer exists. What was it?
  5. What Oxford-Cambridge heavyweight boxing champion became president of Union College?
  6. What president was born on the campus? What deceased president's remains are interred on the campus?
  7. What faculty member later served a term in the German parliament?
  8. What did the Class of 1922 drop on the Class of 1923 from an airplane?
  9. When this faculty member returned from a European sabbatical, more than 200 alumni and their families met him in New York Harbor on a garnet-bedecked boat, carrying a celebratory canon and a band.
  10. To whom is Memorial Chapel a memorial?
  11. Match the President with the luck:
    Richmond – Caught five trout with three casts of the fly
    Raymond – Hit a hole-in-one at the Mohawk Golf Club
    Day – Found a pearl in an oyster
  12. You have passed through the Class of 1910 Gate. Where were you at the time?
  13. Which of these fraternities never had a chapter at Union: Alpha Mu Sigma, Alpha Phi Delta, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Sigma, Sigma Kappa, Sigma Lambda Chi, Theta Nu Epsilon, Zeta Psi.
  14. What is the oldest named thing on campus?
  15. Who gave the College the present flagpole?
  16. What color was the Idol painted the first time?
  17. Where was the Union College barbershop?
  18. What Union College building has appeared on a U.S. postage stamp?
  19. What is the oldest existing Union College building?
  20. Which presidents' wives were born in Wales?
  21. Union's first provost's middle name was Willard. What was his last name?
  22. Which Union presidents had formerly owned slaves?
  23. He crossed the Delaware with George Washington and later became a professor at Union College.

Read More

Newsmakers: Alumni in the news

Posted on Jan 30, 2005

Infatuated with Iceland

“Hállo frá Ísland,” writes Jeffrey Nebolini '96; “I've been here about 2.5 weeks and so far everything is excellent.” Long infatuated with Iceland, Nebolini was able to travel there this year, thanks to a Fulbright scholarship. He is studying the world of Icelandic fashion, and working with fashion designers on clothing that is visually, and structurally, informed by the environmental extremes of Iceland's diverse geology.

“Iceland is a place of stark contrasts,” he writes. “For a remote island in the north Atlantic, it is unbelievably progressive. Here, a fashion-forward culture collides with nature. Reykjavik is just as hip as the East Village, and just as cosmopolitan as Manhattan, yet the residents heat their homes with geothermal energy, and the sun rises for only 3.5 hours in January. These contrasts are fascinating to me from a design standpoint. Icelandic designers are faced with the task of addressing these contrasts both within themselves and within their work. This fact has produced some very interesting results, especially in the world of fashion.”

Nebolini, a geology major at Union, might have ended up an environmental consultant or teaching geology, but his interests proved to be more diverse. He finished his MFA in graphic design last year at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan.

“I loved geology,” he says, “and I had a truly exceptional experience at Union, one that I continue to draw from on a daily basis. I suppose I'm a bit nontraditional in the ways I employ what I learned, but nevertheless, having that knowledge adds an invaluable dimension to my design process. When I started getting into graphic design, I used the visual language of geology quite literally. For example, I designed typefaces and textile patterns based on crystal geometry. Now, geology still informs my work, but its influence is much more conceptual.”

Nebolini also took courses in photography, sculpture, bookmaking, and traditional Chinese painting with Professors Charles Steckler, Martin Benjamin, and Chris Duncan. But he wasn't focused on a career in the arts at the time. “It wasn't until after Union that I decided to completely change gears. What followed was about five years of playing catch up. During that time, I essentially taught myself web and graphic design, and used what I learned in photography class at Union to create a body of work. Eventually I started freelancing and working for design studios, but I always felt as if I needed a design education. “In 2002, I went to Cranbrook, which is a very interdisciplinary school. Each student is given a dedicated studio, and the freedom to chart his/her own course. So almost immediately I started designing textiles and clothing. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't even know how to sew. I just started drawing, and designing on the computer. Then I started to take sewing workshops at a local sewing store and began to learn the basics.”

The summer following his first year at Cranbrook, he worked as a textile design apprentice at the Fabric Workshop & Museum in Philadelphia. “It was there that I learned how to actually produce textiles, and from there I just interpolated.”

As part of his thesis project, Nebolini staged a fashion show using professional models, and dresses, skirts, and tops that blend traditional fabrics of high fashion, such as silk, with more durable synthetic materials associated with rugged outdoor gear, including ripstop nylon or Tyvek (used in construction). “I use industrial materials out of context,” he says. “When you start to use them in ways they weren't intended, it starts to get interesting.”

He has made textile patterns using geographical information, creating abstract shapes from the space between rock and mud cracked by geothermal heat, map grids, or even the aerial view of bird tracks in the snow.

What made Nebolini decide to apply for the Fulbright? “It had been in the back of my mind for years. I just needed to find the right time to execute a proposal. My ideas came to fruition at Cranbrook, but began at Union, where I had an idea for a Watson Fellowship based on the social/ cultural impact of geologic hazards. That is, how rituals, relationships, traditions, and even mundane daily tasks are influenced by the presence of earthquakes, volcanoes, and floods-in places like Iceland, New Zealand, and Japan. But I never applied, and I have always regretted it.”

For him, the Fulbright was a second chance. “Perhaps it worked out better this way, because in the last nine years, my ideas have matured quite a bit.

He never thought he would actually get the Fulbright: “It seemed extremely untouchable, especially for an artist. Without a doubt, it was the most difficult thing I have ever applied for.”

A large part of Nebolini's project in Iceland involves documenting contemporary Icelandic fashion design. “I am interested in how environmental extremes (and dramatic geology) influence not only the design process, but the manifestation of the design process,” he explains. “Specifically, are fashion designers addressing the needs of the modern Icelander from a utilitarian standpoint? Where and how (if at all) do utility and high fashion collide? Do designers embrace or reject their surroundings as inspiration for fashion? Icelandic artists of all other types have historically celebrated their surroundings: Louisa Mattiasdottir paints Icelandic landscapes, Halldór Laxness writes about them, and Björk sings about them. While much of this documentary process will involve talking to both designers and their clients, most of the evidence will be visual. That is, I'll be attending fashion shows, visiting design studios, and photographing landscapes looking for a connection.”

Nebolini considers himself very fortunate to have Steinunn Sigurd as an adviser: “Steinunn is an Icelandic fashion designer who has worked with Tom Ford at Gucci, and was the head of ready-to-wear at La Perla. In her own line of clothing, she derives color schemes from the 'beautifully raw' Icelandic landscape.” He is also working with Halldor Gislason, dean of the Department of Icelandic Design and Architecture at the Icelandic Academy of Arts.

The other half of his project will be designing clothing. “I'm interested to see how my design process changes when placed in such a dramatic setting. I am welcoming the snow and the darkness-how they manifest themselves in my work remains to be seen.”

Steve Ente '75 and Bob Saltzman '69 have a shared passion for “things that go bang in the night.”

Bob Saltzman '69, left, and Steve Ente '75 prepare some of the 2,700 shells that lit up Homecoming 2004

The two are fireworks aficionados, traveling throughout the Northeast and beyond to help create and launch spectacular nighttime aerial and ground displays.

They met in 1995 at the first of two fireworks shows that Ente donated to Union's Bicentennial. Ente has donated shows to the College every year since, always joined by Saltzman and others in the crew who set up, launch and tear down the shows.

The two were together again last fall, staging a show for the Homecoming launch of the “You Are Union” campaign. The display, which put up some 2,700 projectiles timed to music in just under 15 minutes, was “way bigger than we did at the last ReUnion,” regarded by most at the time as nothing short of spectacular.

Ente founded a brokerage firm and ran his fireworks company as a “hobby,” at one point doing about 40 shows per year, mostly clustered around the Fourth of July. Saltzman, a technologist for GE's Global Research Center, got involved with the business years ago and moonlights for a number of firms that do displays throughout the region.

Fireworks have come a long way since Ente and Saltzman first became addicted. Back then, most fireworks displays were launched by members of volunteer fire departments who lit the mortars with a flare. Often, they got a chance to use their training in first aid and fire abatement.

Displays by Ente and Saltzman are professional and put a premium on safety, control and timing.

A display begins with music. Ente compiles of CD of music for each show and listens to it while he drives, mentally choreographing fireworks to the rimshots and crescendos of each piece. Then he goes to his computer and assigns launch signals to send particular shells skyward at key musical moments. The computer accounts for the “rise time” (the interval between launch and burst) so that each shell explodes with precision to the music. The CD is remixed with two tracks: one with music, the other with launch signals. During a show, a laptop computer sends the launch signals to thousands of wires connected to the shells.

Musical selections at the Homecoming show necessarily had to appeal to a range of generations. The selections ranged from Rusted Root's Send Me on My Way to Wagner's Flight of the Valkeries.

Ente relies on his four children to suggest music for the shows. He has twin daughters, Karin (coming to Union next fall) and Frances; and two sons, David, 26, and Brian, 22.

Both Ente and Saltzman emphasize that there is little money in producing fireworks shows. But the compensation comes from the applause they get at the end of a show. And at Union, they get another satisfaction: “There are a high percentage of alumni [at Homecoming and ReUnion] who haven't been back to campus in 20 years and are introducing Union to their family,” Ente said. “The fireworks at the end of the night can leave them with a great feeling about Union.”

Read More