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ABC News anchor Charles Gibson to speak at Commencement

Posted on Jan 31, 2007

Charles Gibson
c. ABC, Inc.

Charles Gibson, the anchor of the top-ranked ABC’s World News, will be the featured speaker at this year’s Commencement, College officials announced today.

Gibson, 63, is one of the most distinguished journalists in television with more than 40 years of experience, some 30 of those spent at ABC News.

Approximately 500 students in the Class of 2007 are expected to receive their degrees during the ceremony, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. Sunday, June 17, on Hull Plaza.

Gibson will receive an honorary degree, along with Richard Sorabji, professor emeritus of philosophy, King’s College, London. Gibson will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, while Sorabji will receive a Doctor of Letters.

Gibson’s long tenure with ABC played a major role in his decision to speak at the College’s 213th Commencement. Gibson was covering the House of Representatives for the network in 1986 when he met with Philip R. Beuth, then an executive at Capital Cities/ABC.

“Phil Beuth literally changed my life,” Gibson said. “I hardly knew the man, but he invited me to have a cup of coffee one morning in the ABC cafeteria and out of the blue said, ‘What would you think of being the male host on Good Morning America?’ On the scale of surprises, that was off the charts.”

Gibson co-anchored the popular morning program from 1987 to 1998 and then returned to re-launch the program with Diane Sawyer in January 1999. In addition, he was also co-anchor of Primetime Thursday, now known as Primetime.

He and Beuth, a College trustee, remain friends. When Gibson signed off from Good Morning America last June, he thanked Beuth, saying he “hired me when everyone thought he was crazy.”  To view clip, click here.

Beuth, a member of the Class of 1954, is one of the College’s most generous benefactors. In 2004, he pledged $2 million to support Beuth House, one of seven houses in Union’s unique residential system; in 1996, he donated $1 million to support the expansion and renovation of Schaffer Library.

When Beuth asked his former anchor to speak at Commencement, Gibson reminded him of his own ties to the College. Gibson’s father, Burdett Gibson, graduated in 1923, and his uncle, Charles D. Gibson, was a member of the Class of 1920. Both men were born in Schenectady.

“I am delighted that Charlie has agreed to do this,” said Beuth, who retired in 1995 as president of Good Morning America. “Union is a wonderful school and deserves to have a speaker the caliber of Charlie.”

Phil Beuth

Gibson was named the anchor of World News last May after the death of longtime anchor Peter Jennings. The program has consistently finished number one in the weekly ratings this spring, beating rivals NBC Nightly News and The CBS Evening News.

Gibson joined ABC News in 1975 from a syndicated news service, Television News Inc. From 1970 to 1973, he was an anchor and reporter for WJLA-TV (then WMAL-TV), the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining WJLA-TV, he had been news director for WLVA-TV and Radio in Lynchburg, Va. His first job in broadcasting was Washington producer for RKO Network in 1966.

Gibson is a graduate of Princeton University, where he was news director for the University’s radio station, WPRB-FM. A native of Evanston, Ill., Gibson grew up in Washington, D.C. He and his wife, Arlene, live in New York. They have two daughters and a grandson.

Richard Sorabji

Sorabji joined the Department of Philosophy at King's College London in 1970, becoming Professor in 1981. Before that he was an Associate Professor at Cornell University, 1962-69.

Since 2000 he has taken up posts as Gresham Professor of Rhetoric at Gresham College, London (2000-03), Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas at Austin (2000-), Distinguished Visiting Scholar at New York University (2000-03), and Visiting Professor at the City University of New York (2004-).

Union College, founded in 1795 as the first college chartered by the New York State Board of Regents, offers programs in the liberal arts and engineering to 2,100 undergraduates.

The College also is included in the top tier of the country’s leading liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings. The College is ranked 39th out of 215 schools in the 2007 edition of America’s Best Colleges. Last July, the New York Times included the College on its list of 20 “hidden gems” in the higher education landscape.

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Kenney volunteers offers free income tax prep

Posted on Jan 31, 2007

Once again, the Kenney Community Center is offering VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), organized through Union's Economics Department. The IRS VITA-certified volunteers are Union College students. This free program is available to families and individuals with an annual income below $37,000 and is available Monday through Thursday, 6-8 p.m. by appointment only. Call 388-6652 (leave message and phone number) for details.

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Posted on Jan 31, 2007

duck exhibit

Through Feb. 23

Atrium Gallery

Arts Building


Features the work of Liam O'Brien, whose paintings and drawings explore the middle class obsession with theme parks and shopping malls, using rubber ducks, stuffed animals and children's toys as models. “The toy imagery acts as a metaphor, symbols used to represent the artist, his environment and culture,” O'Brien says.


Frank Rapant exhibit

Through March 22

Wikoff Gallery

Nott Memorial

Imagine No Religion

A new student show featuring the photography of Frank Rapant '07. The project focuses on crimes against women in major world religions. “I was amazed to discover the amount of abuse women are expected to take at the hands of ‘holy' men,” says Rapant in his artist's statement. “Perhaps if we, as human beings, begin to realize the harm religion has done to all of us, we might be able to further reform a troubled system.”

Rapant is an English major and Visual Arts minor. He is also a full-time photolab technician in the Art Department. 

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Posted on Jan 31, 2007

Thursday, Feb. 1, 4 p.m. / Humanities lounge / Meeting to discuss Asian/Asian American Studies courses, student groups, and campus programming; includes EAS and other parts of Asia and other Asian American communities.

Thursday, Feb. 1, 4:30 – 6 p.m. / Shaffer Library PBK Room / Philosophy speaker: “Emotions and Deliberative Reason” with Stephanie Beardman, Columbia University

Friday, Feb. 2, 2 p.m. / Reamer Campus Center / Reception to honor Laura Meloney ‘06 and Jennifer Pangburn ‘06 for their work in rebuilding the digital art display, “As One,” to hang in the atirum. 

Friday, Feb. 2, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. / College Park Hall / Conference: “Sustainable Development in the Capital Region”

Friday, Feb. 2, 7 p.m. / Messa Rink, Achilles Center / Women's hockey vs. Harvard

Friday, Feb. 2, 10 p.m. / Old Chapel / Slam Contest/Performance and the Mayhem Poets

Friday, Feb. 2 – Monday, Feb. 5, 8 and 10 p.m. / Reamer Campus Center Auditorium / Movie: Babel

Saturday, Feb. 3, 4 p.m. / Messa Rink, Achilles Center / Women's hockey vs. Dartmouth

Sunday, Feb. 4, 3 p.m. / Memorial Chapel / Chamber Concert Series: Emerson String Quartet

Wednesday, Feb. 5, 5-5:30 p.m. / Becker Career Center / Paid Summer Non-Profit Internships information session

Monday, Feb. 5, 7 p.m. / Nott Memorial / Performance: “The Meeting”

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 7 p.m. / Nott Memorial / “Abrupt Climate Change” part I of III with speaker Bill McKibben, “Global Warming as a Moral Issue”

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. / Reamer Campus Center / Career Services for U information table

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 1 p.m. / Blue House / This year's Nobel Prizes, Part II: Economics, Peace, Literature, presented by Union faculty.

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 4:30-5:30 p.m. / Becker Career Center / Internship/ job search prep program

Thursday, Feb. 8, 3:30 p.m. / Schaffer Library, PBK Room / “Prospects for Naturalistic Ethics,” featuring Philip Kitcher, the John Dewey Professor of Philosophy and the James R. Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization at Columbia University; presented by the Union College Wold Religious Studies Program

Thursday, Feb. 8, 6:30- 8 p.m. / Reamer Auditorium / “Darwin, Design and the Future of Faith,” a John and Jane Wold Religious Studies Lecture with Philip Kitcher, the John Dewey Professor of Philosophy and the James R. Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization at Columbia

Friday, Feb. 9, 6 p.m. / Viniar Athletic Center / Women's basketball vs. Vassar

Friday, Feb. 9, 7 p.m. / Messa Rink, Achilles Center / Men's hockey vs. Cornell

Friday, Feb. 9, 8 p.m. / Viniar Athletic Center / Men's basketball vs. Vassar

Friday, Feb. 9 – Monday, Feb. 12, 8 and 10 p.m. / Reamer Campus Center Auditorium / Movie: Happy Feet

Saturday, Feb. 10, 2 p.m. / Viniar Athletic Center / Women's basketball vs. Rensselaer

Saturday, Feb. 10, 4 p.m. / Viniar Athletic Center / Men's basketball vs. Rensselaer

Saturday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m. / Messa Rink, Achilles Center / Men's hockey vs. Colgate

Saturday, Feb. 10, 10 p.m. / Old Chapel / Lunar New Year Festival

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Surman article appears in journal

Posted on Jan 31, 2007

An article by Rebecca Surman, associate professor of Physics, appears in the journal, Physical Review D. “Supernova Neutrinos: The Accretion Disk Scenario” is co-authored by G.C. McLaughlin of North Carolina State University. Surman presented this and other work in a plenary talk at the international nuclear astrophysics meeting, “Nuclei in the Cosmos IX,” in Geneva, Switzerland last summer.

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