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Posted on May 31, 2007

Thursday, May 31, 4-5 p.m. / Hale House / Unveiling, portrait of former Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Christina Elliott Sorum by Professor of Fine Arts Walter Hatke

Thursday, May 31 – Sunday, June 3 / ReUnion 2007

Thursday, May 31, 1:50 p.m. / Humanities 115 / Guest Professor Kurt Raaflaub discusses “The Truth about Tyranny: Tacitus and the Historian’s Responsibility in Imperial Rome,” sponsored by Department of Classics

Thursday, May 31, 5 p.m. / Breazzano House Great Room / Breazzano House dedication

Wold House

Thursday, May 31, 5 p.m. / Wold House Great Room / “Loose Change” documentary

Friday, June 1, noon / Old Chapel / Café Ozone

Friday, June 1, 12:30 p.m. / Sorum House / Scholar Kurt Raaflaub on “Zeus and Prometheus: Greek Adaptations of Ancient West Asian Myths”

Friday, June 1, 3 p.m. / Reamer Auditorium /Public lecture by Kurt Raaflaub, “War is the Father of All: The Politics of War, Empire, and Freedom in Democratic Athens”

Friday, June 1, 7:30 p.m. / Taylor Music Center, Fred L. Emerson Auditorium / Alumni Writers Series presents Kerrie Ticknor Droban ’87

Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2, 8 p.m. / Yulman Theater / Aristophanes’ ”The Birds”; with June 2 post-play talk by classics scholar Kurt Raaflaub

Saturday, June 2, 1:30 p.m. / Wold House / A conversation with Alumni Writer Kerrie Ticknor Droban ’87

Friday, June 1 – Monday, June 4, 8 and 10 p.m. / Reamer Campus Center Auditorium / Movie: Premonition

Aristophanes' Greek classic “The Birds” at Yulman Theatre.

Sunday, June 3, 2 p.m. / Yulman Theater / Aristophanes’ “The Birds”

Monday, June 4, 12:50 p.m. / Social Sciences Building 104 / Pizza and Politics: "Student Activism and the Iraq War"

Tuesday, June 5, 7 p.m. / West 2nd floor South Lounge / Part of Union RAs’ “30 Days of Tolerance,” “Straight Man in a Gay World”

Wednesday, June 6, 6 p.m. / Arts 215 / Feminist Film Series presents “Maria Antoinette” directed by Sofia Coppola

Thursday, June 7, 12:30 p.m. / Taylor Music Center Emerson Auditorium / Jazz Workshop concert

Friday, June 8, noon / Old Chapel / Café Ozone

Friday, June 8, 5 p.m. / Mandeville Gallery and various downtown venues / Art Night Schenectady, featuring art, music, food and more

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People in the news

Posted on May 31, 2007

Quynh Chu-LaGraff, associate professor of Biology, recently presented an abstract at the annual Experimental Biology meeting in Washington, D.C. The abstract was titled “Drosophila Ppt1, a Batten Disease Homologue, is Required for Normal Embryonic Neural Development.” Co-authors were research students Erika Selli ’07 and Cassandra Denefrio ’08. Earlier in April, Chu-LaGraff also presented a paper at the National Drosophila Conference in Philadelphia.

“Incline Thine Ear (Psalm 86),” an anthem by Hilary Tann, the John Howard Payne Professor of Music, recently had its American premiere at the Cappella Clausura spring concert in Newton, Mass. Tann was a guest at the concert. Her work, scored for mixed choir, organ and trumpet, was for the first time surrounded by its set partners, “Luminaria Magna (Psalm 136)” for full chorus and organ, and “Praise, My Soul (Psalm 104)” for chorus, organ and two trumpets. 

The San Francisco Chronicle recently featured the research of Assistant Professor of Biology Jeffrey Corbin in a review of the invasion of California grasslands by non-native plant species, titled “Don’t blame the newbies for grasses gone brown: For coastal prairies, the real culprit may be disease, animal grazing.” Corbin’s research has demonstrated that established native grasses can successfully compete with the non-natives, suggesting that domination by exotic species requires disturbances such as grazing or drought to proceed.

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Celebrate the tradition: ReUnion 2007 is here

Posted on May 31, 2007

A record 1,000-plus people will converge on campus today through Sunday for the annual celebration of Union’s graduates. There’ll be festivities and activities galore.

David Breazzano

President Stephen C. Ainlay and the Board of Trustees will dedicate Breazzano House, honoring David J. Breazzano ’78. The ceremony and reception will take place at the former Orange House Thursday, May 31, 5-6:30 p.m.

A 35th anniversary luncheon will unite the pioneering women graduates of the Class of 1972 Friday, June 1, 11:30 a.m. in Upper Class Dining Room at Reamer Campus Center. Those attending include Susan (Mullaney) Maycock, Margaret “Meg” (Patterson) Green, Camile (Avakian) Price, Mary John Boylan and “Kin” Andrea (Flagg) Bolz.

An Engineering awards reception will honor six outstanding individuals on Friday, June 1, 3:30 p.m. at Beuth House. They are: Jonathan Comeau ’97, Electrical Engineering, principal electrical engineer for Tyco Electronics; Richard Fateman ’66, Computer Science, professor of computer science at University of California at Berkeley; Lisa Freed ’86, Civil Engineering, a civil engineer and landscape architect for Brown & Brown; Lawrence Hollander, dean of Engineering emeritus; Ivan Kaminow ’52, Electrical Engineering, retired scientist with Bell Labs; and Samuel Tolkoff ’96, Civil Engineering, director of business development for Foster-Miller, an advanced robotics and health sciences firm.

Kerrie Ticknor Droban '87, A Writer Returns

A lecture and conversation with mystery crime writer Kerrie Ticknor Droban ’87 will be held Friday, June 1, 7:30 p.m. at Emerson Auditorium in the Taylor Music Center as the culmination of the Alumni Writers Series. On Saturday, June 2, at 1:30 p.m., Droban will lead an informal discussion about her work in Wold House.

Hilary Tann, profesor of music

The College will honor four alumni and one faculty member Saturday, June 2, 11 a.m. at the Alumni Convocation at Memorial Chapel. The Alumni Council will present the Alumni Gold Medal to Lee Davenport ’37, Joseph Hinchey ’47 and John Temple ’67, all former Trustees of the College.

New York City Attorney Mark Zauderer ’67 will receive the Eliphalet Nott Medal, which recognizes the perseverance of alumni who have attained distinction in their field. Hilary Tann, the John Howard Payne Professor of Music and internationally recognized composer, is to receive the Faculty Meritorious Service Award. 

Aaron Feingold '72

Also on Saturday, Aaron Feingold ’72, a cardiologist in Edison, N.J. and collector of historical artifacts, will present two treasures to the College at the Terrace Council and Ramée Circle Society Reception, 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Nott Memorial.

Feingold will give President Ainlay a first edition of Einstein’s “Theory of Relativity” and an original manuscript that was part of a four-part lecture that Charles Proteus Steinmetz, Union professor of engineering and renowned scientist, gave on Einstein’s theory. The Steinmetz manuscript is dated November 1921. Einstein visited Steinmetz in Schenectady that year, the same year he won the Nobel Prize in physics.

Fireworks, like these at a recent ReUnion, will celebrate the launch of the “You are Union” campaign.

Also on tap for ReUnion are a get-together with an award-winning brewer, a chemistry symposium, a production of Aristophanes’ great comedy, “The Birds,” a Minerva footrace, alumni parade, Saturday night fireworks and more.

Throughout the weekend, four of the College’s most prized possessions, plates from the “Birds of America” collection of engravings by John James Audubon, will be on display on the first floor of Schaffer Library.

Want to learn more? For complete details, visit www.union.edu/reunion.

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The Delta Phi: Remembering and Reconnecting

Posted on May 30, 2007


Over a year ago, an idea was proposed to bring the Brothers of The Delta Phi back to Union's campus for a weekend. As Les Trachtman '77 was starting to plan a mini-reunion of his Delta Phi brethren and their friends from their 70's era, John Seebold '86 found the medallion that had hung over the front porch on the Delta Phi House at Union while rummaging around in his attic. Since safety and structural issues led to the deconstruction of The Delta Phi House at 1241 Lenox Avenue in the late 90's, the crest of the third fraternity founded at Union College had been in John's care. After finding the pendant, he approached the College with the idea that "the medallion that was affixed to the front of the House be mounted and placed in a visible spot close to the site where the House once stood."

Les, in coordination with John, suggested the "the commemoration of the unveiling of the medallion be held at the site during ReUnion" and "we would very much enjoy seeing a strong turnout from not only the designated reunion classes but also from the brotherhood as a whole."

In January of this year, a letter was sent to all Brothers from John and Les asking for their support in helping to erect this monument. The response was truly fantastic! By the end of February, not four weeks later, the goal of $5000 had been met and exceeded. Gifts continued to come in and the response to the reception was growing rapidly.

With the funds raised and the plans for the monument finalized, the past three weeks have seen the construction of the five ton monument complete with the 80 pound medallion on top and a dedication plaque memorializing The Delta Phi and the House at the highest point on Union's campus.

As ReUnion approaches, The Delta Phi reception and dedication is going to be exactly what John and Les had hoped for, a gathering of Delta brothers and friends to remember the House, but more importantly their time at Union and the friendships which were created there.

The Delta Phi Blog (set up by Les Trachtman '77):

Official Delta Phi ReUnion website:

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Devoted alumnus Robert J. Mielke ’60 dies

Posted on May 30, 2007

Robert J. Mielke '60, former chairman of Union’s UCALL Steering Committee, treasurer of the Union College Club of Schenectady and member of the Union Alumni Council and Terrace Council, died Monday. He was 69.

Robert J. Mielke '60 died on Monday, May 28, 2007. He was 69.

Mielke, of Schenectady, earned a B.A. from Union and later received his master’s degree in history from the University of Pennsylvania. Mielke later earned a master’s degree in library science from University at Albany.

He worked as a high school librarian in the Fort Plain Central School District for 27 years before retiring in 2000. In the late 1980s, Mielke helped lead the formation of the Union College Academy for Lifelong Learning or UCALL. The academy hosts College professors or others during a series of five weekly classes for Schenectady area adults.

"Bob was a wonderful person who was a dedicated and loyal son of Union,” said Dominick F. Famulare ’92, director of Alumni Relations. “He adored the College and friendships that came with it. He was thrilled and proud to win the Special Appreciation Award during Homecoming in 2005. He will be missed."

He was a lifelong member of Zion Lutheran Church in Schenectady, where following his retirement, he served as the church’s archivist and librarian.

Over the years, Robert had done extensive gardening. He enjoyed listening to music, and attending concerts, musicals and the opera. He especially enjoyed fishing and spending restful, quality time at his camp in the Adirondacks.

He will be remembered for his friendly, kind and gentle nature.

Robert is survived by his fiancee, Evelyn Thode; several cousins, and many friends.

Funeral services will be Saturday, June 2 at 11 a.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, Nott Terrace, Schenectady, followed by interment in Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schenectady. The family will receive relatives and friends on Friday, June 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Griswold Funeral Home, 1867 State St., Schenectady.

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