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Alumni Travel: Chianti in a Tuscan Villa

Posted on Oct 31, 2005

Chianti – 2006 Alumni Holidays Travel Program

Chianti in a Tuscan Villa
Dates: June 25 – July 3, 2006
Cost: From $2,995 (includes lodging, airfare, meals and most excursions)Duration: 7 nights
Lectures by: Louisa Matthew, Associate Professor of Art History

Chianti – 2006 Alumni Holidays Travel Program

Sit back, relax and imagine yourself reaping Italy's rich harvest of pleasures. Acquaint yourself with Chianti in the idyllic village of Marcialla. Ponder, with anticipation, the many regional wonders you are about to explore. Sip sublime white wines and soothe your palate with fragrant olive oils at Castello di Monsantoin the heart of Chianti Classico. Travel to Pisa and be perplexed by its whimsical Leaning Tower before continuing on to ancient Lucca. Meander through Tuscany's character-infused hill country, stopping to visit San Gimignano and the crystal-laden town of Colle di Val d'Elsa. Finally, admire the Renaissance wonders of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Piazza della Signoria and Piazzale Michelangeloin Florence, and Siena's Mangia Tower and Duomo.

To request a brochure call the Office of Alumni Relations at (888) 843-4365.

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Mayotte snags ECACHL Goalie of the Week Honors

Posted on Oct 31, 2005

Kris Mayotte

Albany, N.Y. (Oct. 31, 2005) – Senior Kris Mayotte (Pittsburgh, PA) snagged ECAC Hockey League Goaltender of the Week honors for the week ending October 30th. He had plenty of tricks for the opposition while treating Union to a pair of wins and helping extend the team's unbeaten streak to four games. The netminder combined for 63 saves on 67 shots. Three of the four goals he surrendered came on the power play. Sophomore Josh Coyle (Brooklyn, OH) was named to the honor roll after improving his season numbers over the weekend. He combined for a goal and four assists and finished with a +3.

Mayotte surrendered just one goal, coming on the power play, on 28 shots in Union's 8-1 win at home against Bentley. He also prevented the Falcons from making it a one-goal game early in the third period with a breakaway save at 2:04, jumpstarting a five-goal offensive onslaught in that period by the Dutchmen. He followed up that performance with a season-high 36 saves on 39 shots to defeat UMass-Lowell on the road, 4-3. Mayotte displayed another strong showing in net with several key stops in the second half of the 3rd period. One of those saves came at 7:19 on a Lowell power play. He made a stop in front and fell back as the puck broke free and crawled back toward goal. For the weekend he posted a .940 save percentage and a 2.06 goals against average.

Mayotte now has three wins in his last three starts. For the season he has a 3.47 goals against average and a .897 save percentage.

Coyle had a season-high four points in Union's win against Bentley on one goal and three assists. He scored Union's third power play goal of the game for his fourth goal of the season, to give Union a 4-1 lead. He also assisted on the game-winning goal and added helpers on Union's third and seventh goals. Against Lowell Coyle picked up his sixth assist of the season on Union's game-tying goal to help bring his team back from a two-goal deficit.

Coyle is tied for first on the team with six assists overall and is second with four goals to go along with a team-best +5. He has registered a point in every game so far this season, including seven points (2-5) in his last three games.   


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Prominent religious scholar to speak at Union Nov. 1

Posted on Oct 28, 2005

  The Rev. Dr. Martin E. Marty says he never mixes politics with religion. It's simply not a good idea.

   Don't misunderstand. Marty, the author of more than 50 books and one of the nation's most prominent interpreters of religion and contemporary culture, doesn't hesitate when asked his opinion concerning the most controversial issues of the day. There is, however, a time and place for everything.

   “The pulpit is not well served by any overt form of amateur politics and talk of the left and the right,” said Marty, who on Tuesday will speak twice at Union College to help the school's Protestant Campus Ministry celebrate its 25 th year. “People shouldn't have to look up at me in the pulpit, saying 'God's word means this and God's word means that.' You have to have respect for the laity. The pulpit should be a politicalfree ground.”

   Ordained a Lutheran minister in 1952, the 77-year-old Marty hasn't slowed down much since concluding a 35-year teaching career at the University of Chicago in 1998. His books, including the 1970 National Book Award winner “Righteous Empire: The Protestant Experience in America,” and his most recent work, “When Religions Collide,” have made him a much sought-after speaker for more than three decades.

   “My wife and I say how these are the best years of our lives. Unfortunately, I just wish we had a lot more of them left,” Marty said recently from his home in Riverside, Ill. “But otherwise I do have an ideal life. I travel and speak probably more than I should, but people are always asking me. It's not like I'm calling them. They call me and I respond.”

   Marty will speak at 11 a.m. Tuesday at College Park Hall concerning “Literate Faith for College Students,” and will offer another lecture at 7:30 Tuesday night in Memorial Chapel called “When Beliefs Collide.” The college community is invited to each talk free of charge. Cost of the luncheon to the general public is $40, with tickets for the evening lecture going for $10.


   “Martin Marty is recognized as one of the foremost commentators on American religious life and culture,” said the Rev. Viki Brooks-McDonald, campus Protestant minister at Union. “He's the author of over 50 books and thousands of articles, and he's very enthusiastic about meeting college students. He insisted on it. He said he wouldn't come unless we found the time for him to sit down and meet with students.”

   As highly regarded as he is as a speaker, Marty realizes he won't produce as big a turnout as some other public figures on today's college circuit.

   “I may be famous in some circles, but I'm not a celebrity, so it's hard to ask a college kid to spend a few hours listening to someone he or she never heard of,” said Marty. “I won't attract a crowd like Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter, but neither will serious political scientists. But I love collegians, and if a few professors have alerted their class to my coming then I'm off and running.”

   Marty was born in West Point, Neb., the son of Lutheran parents, and was convinced he heard the call of the ministry after working at a tuberculosis sanitorium in St. Louis.

   “I went to seminary but really hadn't made a commitment yet until I started dealing with these poor women who were dying of TB,” said Marty. “That was my first taste of pastoral work. I was so inspired by these women, and the personal dimension this experience offered was quite attractive to me. I resolved then to go into the pastoral profession.”

   When he was done at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Marty went to the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and then the University of Chicago where he got his doctorate in theology. He served a Lutheran parish in the Chicago area for 10 years, and then began his teaching career at the University of Chicago. In 1956, he also began a long association with Christian Century Magazine that continues today as a featured columnist.

   His legacy at the University of Chicago is clearly evident in the form of the Martin Marty Center, an on-campus entity founded in 1998 to promote “public religion” endeavors.

   These days he will occasionally offer a Sunday sermon at his parish in Riverside, but likes to think of himself as just one of the members.

   “I both enjoy and appreciate the church participation and worship, but I'll only preach a few times a year,” said Marty. “I do sing in the choir regularly, but that's not really an enhancement to the choir.”

   The recipient of more than 70 honorary doctorates, Marty has also been awarded the National Humanities Medal, the Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Scientists, and the Order of Lincoln Medallion, and has also been elected fellow of the American Philosophical Association and the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences.

   Despite all the attention, Marty remains as friendly and as personable as ever, according to Brooks-McDonald, who first heard him speak when she graduated from the McCormick Seminary in Chicago in 1985.

   “I've never met a nationallyknown speaker who was so easy and wonderful to work with,” said Brooks-McDonald. “He is as delightful as he is gracious.”

   Marty had four sons and two foster children with his first wife, now deceased, and recently he married his college roommate's widow, and that union has brought another son into the family.

   “Including the grandchildren, there's 27 of us,” said Marty. “All the writing I've done was done in a houseful of children. Family is very important to me.”


   Marty doesn't answer questions with short sound bites, and instead offers responses that are usually complex and nuanced. Here are some of Marty's musings about issues of the day, both political and social.

   The intelligent design vs. the theory of evolution debate: “Well, if I use the word 'silly,' that would end the discussion and that's not what I'm about. But as a believer I can say that I believe in intelligent design, and then add that it has nothing to do with science. To me it doesn't belong in the classroom, at least not in science class. A biology teacher better be teaching evolution. We can keep science pure and leave intelligent design to the social sciences and humanities.”

   The Christian right: “The political dimension of the Christian right concerns me and sometimes frightens me. Some of the issues that the Christian right cares about I understand and am in sympathy with, but the overall thing that bothers me is their attempt to produce a Christian America. That contradicts our Constitution, and it's also unfair to a lot of people. It's not good for religion.”

   The health of religion: “Some people want to replace bad religion with no religion, but that's not going to happen. Humans are programmed for religion. During The Enlightenment, people thought religion would disappear, but it's outlasted fascism, communism, nazism and Maoism. They've come and gone but religion prospers.”

   Liberalism: “I'm not anybody's spokesman, but if people want to call me liberal, and that means I'm open to listening to other people, that's fine. But I don't really have any interest in the label.”

   Tolerance: “The word has become quite wishy-washy. Today it means if I can get you to believe as little as I believe then we'll get along OK. I like the word 'hospitality.' I don't have to give up who I am, but I do have to listen to other people who may be different.”

   Marty's visit to the Union campus is being sponsored by the John and Jane Wold Visiting Professorship in Religious Studies, First United Methodist Church of Schenectady, Grace Lutheran Church, and Union's Lamont Preacher Fund in cooperation with the Capital Region Theological Center.

   More information may be obtained from Brooks-McDonald at 388-6618.

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New president announced at Union College

Posted on Oct 28, 2005

Can a professor and Mennonite scholar from a Roman Catholic college find success as president of one of the oldest non-sectarian, liberal-arts universities in the United States?

Both Union College and Stephen Ainlay think so.

Ainlay was elected this week by Union trustees as the college's next president. He will take over the Schenectady college in June 2006, succeeding Roger Hull, who retired in June 2005 after 15 years at Union.

Ainlay, 54, is a professor of anthropology and sociology and a vice president for academic affairs at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass.

“Holy Cross is like Union,” Ainlay said. “They are very closely matched in terms of ratings. They are both in that category of highly selective liberal arts colleges. They face a lot of similar challenges and share a lot of similar values.”

Ainlay said he has succeeded at Holy Cross and elsewhere despite seeming to be a fish out of water at times.

“I was a non-Mennonite at a college founded by Mennonites and I was the first non-Catholic dean at Holy Cross,” he said. “I think what I have been able to do in these cultures is understand the goals, dreams and aspirations and help people realize them. That's transferrable.”

Clear favorite

Union trustee Frank Messa chaired the search committee that recommended Ainlay to the trustees. The committee received 65 formal applications for the job and interviewed eight candidates on Sept. 23 and 24.

At that point, Messa said, Ainlay emerged as a clear favorite. He excelled at meeting the four chief criteria Messa said the search committee laid out for the new president: background as a distinguished scholar, experienced administrator, exceptional communicator and a leader.

“It is very difficult to find an individual that is a perfect match for your school. We think we found it,” said Messa, senior vice president of the Saratoga Springs financial services and planning firm Ayco. “He seems to be a perfect fit on so many different levels.”

Ainlay said he likes researching and writing, but had reached a point in his career where a college presidency was the next logical step. He was familiar with Union College from his work with a group of deans at small colleges in the Northeast.

Union is “extraordinarily regarded” in academic circles throughout the Northeast and the rest of the country, he said.

“I can't tell you how many fellow deans and presidents said to me when this job opened up, 'That's one you ought to look at,' ” Ainlay said.

The search committee recommended Ainlay by acclamation to Union trustees without even bothering to vote, Messa said.

No union label necessary

Ainlay's lack of a Union College degree was not a factor in the search committee's decision, Messa said.

None of the eight final candidates are Union alums, he said.

Ainlay, an Indiana native, got his undergraduate degree from Goshen College in Goshen, Ind., and master's and doctoral degrees from Rutgers University.

In addition to books and journal articles about Mennonite life, Ainlay is also a scholar on the effects that blindness has on people when it sets in later in life due to macular degeneration and other medical conditions.

Ainlay and his wife, Judith Gardner, will live in the president's home on the Union campus.

Ainlay said Holy Cross has “worked very hard with the city of Worchester to realize our aspirations and the city's aspirations.” He expected to do the same at Union with Schenectady, which has made the college's expansion downtown one of its economic development priorities.

Details of his compensation package were still being worked out this week, but Messa said it will be “comparable” to the previous president's. Hull made about $320,000 a year at the end of his tenure.

Union College has 2,000 students and about 700 employees.

Professor Emeritus James Underwood will continue as Union's acting president until Ainlay is installed next year.





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History prof in NOVA show on Nazi atomic program

Posted on Oct 28, 2005

Prof. Mark Walker

Mark Walker, professor of history, will be a featured expert on a PBS NOVA show on Nazi development of the atomic bomb on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m.

The program – “Hitler's Sunken Secret” – airs locally on WMHT, Channel 17.

“The truth is that [the Nazis] could not possibly have built a weapon like the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki,” Walker wrote in an essay on the web site for the show. “This was not because the country lacked the scientists, resources, or will, but rather because its leaders did not really try.”

The Nazis were trying to win the war and devoted tremendous resources to weapons development. “So why not the atomic bomb?” Walker asks. “Nazi Germany, it turns out, made other choices and simply ran out of time.”

Prof. Mark Walker in interview for upcoming NOVA episode on Nazi nuclear development program

Walker, a specialist in the development of nuclear technology, is author of Nazi Science, editor of Science and Ideology: A Comparative History and co-editor (with Carola Sachse) of Politics and Science in Wartime. He was featured in a Sept. 30 article in the Guardian, a leading British newspaper, titled “Author Fuels Row Over Hitler's Bomb.” This fall, he organized a conference at Union on “Nukes in East Asia,” in which he was joined by six other experts from the U.S., China and Japan to discuss nuclear weapons, nuclear power and nuclear research in the Korean Peninsula, China and Japan. The workshop was sponsored by Union's East Asian Studies Program with support from the Freeman Foundation.

NOVA producer-director David Sington was on campus with a crew last March to film Walker in several locations – his office, the Nott Memorial, and walking through the snow in Library Field. Sington had earlier filmed in Norway at the site of a nuclear reactor, where the Germans had begun a program to refine weapons grade uranium.

The NOVA show follows an expedition to the bottom of Norway's Lake Tinn, where the Norwegian resistance sank a ferry that was to bring heavy water – required for the production of nuclear weapons – to Germany.

For more about the show, visit the NOVA website at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/hydro/

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