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Posted on Jun 12, 2008


Lorraine Morales Cox, assistant professor of contemporary art and theory, has had an essay published in n.paradoxa: international feminist art journal. In a special issue on violence, Cox’s piece, “Transformed Bodies, Colonial Wounds and Ethnographic Tropes: Wangechi Mutu,” shows how the collages of Kenyan born, Brooklyn-based artist Mutu “reveal important figurative and conceptual strategies to invoke reflection on the articulation of power, the construction of femininity and societal racialization that inscribes and constructs the acculturated body.” Now in its 11th year, n.paradoxa is the only international feminist art journal dedicated to contemporary women artists and feminist theory around the world.

A book by Raymond Martin, the Dwane Crichton Professor of Philosophy, and John Barresi, The Rise and Fall of Soul and Self: An Intellectual History of Personal Identity (Columbia University Press, 2006), has been cited in two award competitions: the ForeWord Magazine 2006 Book of the Year Award, where it garnered a gold medal in philosophy; and the Award for Excellence in Professional and Scholarly Publishing in Philosophy from the Association of American Publishers 2006, where it earned an honorable mention. The book will be reissued in a paperback edition in March. Martin is chair of the Philosophy Department. Barresi is a professor of psychology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Their book traces a wide range of theories concerning self and personal identity to reveal the larger intellectual trends, disputes and ideas that have revolutionized the way we think about ourselves.

Rudy Nydegger, professor of psychology, presented a paper on “Stress and Coping Strategies in Professional Firefighters” at the Applied Business Research Conference Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla. Nydegger co-authored the paper with Frank Basile ’07.

Terry Weiner, professor of political science, recently published an article in the journal Politics & Policy entitled “Touching the Third Rail: Explaining the Failure of Bush’s Social Security Initiative.” The article examines President Bush’s initiative to privatize the Social Security system and delves into the why Bush made Social Security reform a major goal.

William Finlay, associate professor of theater and chairman of the Theater and Dance Department, recently inaugurated a guest artist series at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn. He spent a week teaching master classes in the theater.

Robert Sharlet, the Chauncey Winters Research Professor of Political Science, has published his latest book, Russia and its Constitution: Promise and Political Reality (Martinus Nijhoff /Brill, 2007). Sharlet is co-editor of and contributor to the retrospective volume on the first decade of the post-Soviet Russian Constitution (1993-2003). The book’s essays cover a range of topics, including the Constitutional Court, the judiciary, federal prosecutor, criminal procedure and jury trial.

Daniel Mosquera’s documentary, Sanpachando (San Pacho espa’l que lo goce) was selected to participate in the Chicago Latino Film Festival and in the Caribbean International Film Festival in Barbados, both held in April. The documentary is being contracted with Artmattan Productions for distribution. Based in New York City, Artmattan Productions distributes films that focus on the human experience of black people in Africa, the Caribbean, North and South America and Europe. Mosquera is associate professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies.

Two choral works by Hilary Tann, the John Howard Payne Professor of Music, were premiered by the Melodia Women’s Choir in St. Lukes in the Field in New York City recently. “Wellspring” had its U.S. premiere, and “Contemplations” had its New York premiere. The program, “Force of Nature—Celebrating the Earth,” featured music written by 20th and 21st century composers honoring the spirit of the natural world. A portion of ticket sales were donated to Water is Life–Kenya, a not-for-profit organization devoted to helping drought-stricken areas.

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Varun Shetty ’08: ‘Don’t forget the wisdom of our youth’

Posted on Jun 11, 2008

Varun Sheety '08, student commencement speaker 2008

Graduating isn’t easy. In fact, it’s quite a complicated thing. 

Tomorrow, we’ll be moving on. Our protective Union bubble will pop, and the dreaded proverbial “real world” will loom ominously on the horizon. 

Starting tomorrow, the meal plans and dining halls go away. We’ll no longer be able to get our mail at the same place we get our shampoo at the same place we get our buffalo chicken wraps (at least until Wal-Mart figures out how to make that work).     

Tomorrow, four-day weekends and six-week vacations will seem like distant fantasies, gyms won’t be free, and Campus Safety will no longer have our backs. Friendships will be tested. Relationships might fall apart. “Home” may become a relative term, and perhaps scariest of all, people may stop referring to us as kids. 

We’ve graduated before, but never like this. In many ways, we’re graduating from our youth and entering the halls of adulthood, and that is a very, very complicated thing.       

So I want take a moment now to remind you of a much simpler scene. It’s a memory that I’m sure most of you have, as I do. I want you think back to when we were kids. If you need help, that was back when it was really important to have a friend who knew how to give a cootie shot, mushroom haircuts were cool and fish sticks were the only form of seafood you’d eat. And one day back then when you were out in the yard with your best friend, lying on your backs on the grass, staring up at the clouds, you might have turned to him and asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” 

Family photo: Student speaker Varun Shetty is surrounded by his family during Sunday's Commencement 2008 ceremony.

What do you want to be

The answers were different for all of us. I was pretty sure I wanted to be a professional basketball, football, baseball or hockey player. It didn’t really matter which one it ended up being, as long as I got my name on the back of the jersey and I got to make the winning play at the end of the game. 

As I got older, my answer to that question grew in complexity. I also wanted to be like my dad, whose life has spanned from a village in India to a suburb on Long Island, and who is the strongest and hardest working person I know. I wanted to be like my mother, who sacrificed so much to give me so much, and who taught me what unconditional love truly is. And I wanted to be like my sister, who was always aware that her little brother was watching, and who took her duties as a role model and a mentor as seriously as anyone I know, even when I scratched her face and snapped her head bands.            

If you all think back, I’m sure you’ll find similar memories. You had your goals. You made your plans. You knew what you wanted to be. 

But then something happened to me, and I think it might have happened to you, too. At some point between then and now, that simple word “be” got replaced by an equally small but far less meaningful word, “do.” 

Varun Shetty 08 – student speaker for Commencement 2008

What are you going to do after college? What are you going to do with your degree? What are you going to do with your first big paycheck? What are you going to do for a living? What are you going to do with your life! 

All of a sudden, all that mattered were actions, and not the actors that performed them. All of a sudden, life was no longer a set of experiences but rather a set of tasks to be completed: one long “To Do” list on a seemingly endless Post-It note. I hope that’s not the lesson that we’ve learned here. I hope we can come away with something more than just that.

If nothing else, our time here at Union has given us an understanding of the way the world is, and hopefully, also a sense of the way things yet ought to be. For me, much of that education came from the personal and impersonal interactions that I’ve experienced and witnessed in the past four years.

My education came from students who reached out to people half the world away when natural disasters hit South Asia.

It came from a group of students who decided that racism and homophobia had no place on this campus, and that one more act of ignorance and cowardice was one too many.

Varun Shetty 08 – student speaker for Commencement 2008

It came from a group of students who decided that this college wasn’t doing its part as a partner in the environment and challenged a new president to share their vision for a more responsible and sustainable campus.

My education came from a group of students who went to New Orleans to see what they could do to change the situation there, and then realized that they were the ones who were forever changed. 

These were not items to be crossed off a checklist. These were not simply things that we “did.” These were causes that we had come to embody, and experiences that would help shape who we are.

We realized that we can look at the problems we face as individuals and as a community, and we can look at our own selves in the mirror and understand that sometimes the first step to making a difference out there is to make a change in here. 

We can reconcile the wisdom of our youth with our more adult ambitions. We can, as Mahatma Gandhi once said, be the change that we wish to see in the world. We can embody that change, in our actions, in our interactions, in our most private thoughts and our most public endeavors. We can. I know this because during our time here at Union, many of us have. And as we leave this campus, we must continue to do so. The lessons of our youth must not end as we enter adulthood.

One of my favorite books is "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It’s the story of a grown man who comes to understand the mysteries of life through the unfiltered wisdom of a child. He dedicated his book to “the little boy from whom” his best friend, a grown-up, grew, reminding the reader that “all grown-ups were children once – although few of them remember it.”

It is a beautiful dedication, and it is an important lesson: “All grown-ups were children once.” We are in a truly unique moment right now. We’re standing firmly in the middle of two worlds, between adulthood, and all that came before that.

As you set out toward your goals, I would ask you to take a little time to think about what those goals really are. You’re going to do great things. This college has prepared you well. You’re leaving with a superb education and experiences that will lead you well on the path to wonderful careers.

The more important question is, are you going to be what you wanted to be? Are you going to be someone you can be proud of? Are you going to be someone whom others can trust, and respect? And are you going to be someone whom the next generation can think of, when they lay in the grass and stare at the clouds, and say, “I want to be…” 

That’s the challenge that I’m going to set for myself, and I would invite you all to do the same. Graduating isn’t easy, but if we work at it, we can rise to the occasion. And as we do, let’s not forget the difference between “being” and “doing.” Let’s not forget the wisdom of our youth as we grow into adults. All grown-ups were children first. Let’s not ever forget that.

Thank you, and congratulations to the Class of 2008.

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Parents Association Newsletter

Posted on Jun 11, 2008

      Well here we are at the end of another academic year. Commencement is upon us and we wish those graduating all the best as they begin their next chapter.

     This will be the last newsletter for the year – we will begin again in the fall. Please be sure to let us know of any email address changes so we can make certain you will continue to receive the newsletters.

Commencement Information – Sunday, June 15, 2008
A complete set of plans for commencement, including plans in the event of rain, instructions for the line of march, information about seating and line of march position for the graduates, maps to assembly locations for graduates, as well as, information on indoor broadcasts of the ceremony and the location of on campus parking lots is available by clicking here.

9:00 a.m.
Graduates and faculty assemble for the academic procession

9:30 a.m.
The academic procession begins

10:00 a.m.
Commencement exercises will be held in Library Plaza. Immediately after the Ceremony, representatives of the College's academic departments will host receptions where the diplomas will be distributed to the graduates.


News from Campus…

Becker Career Center
Congratulations to all your 2008 Graduates!! The Becker Career Center wishes them the very best.

For all students returning to Union in fall, you might want to remind them that fall is a very important recruiting season for many employers as they seek full-time and internship candidates. To be prepared to compete effectively, students should address the following four areas:

There are two groups of people who see resumes all the time, one is employers, and the other is career center staff. Whom would you rather see your resume first? I would suggest that a member of the Becker Career Center staff review any resume that will be submitted to an employer. 

Cover Letter
For many opportunities, a cover letter is necessary.  Students should know how to craft an effective cover letter. And again, I would suggest that a member of the Becker Career Center staff review any cover letter that will be submitted to an employer, especially the first few. 

Networking and Informational interviewing
Networking and informational interviewing skills are essential for discovering your passion and competing effectively during the 2008-2009 recruiting season, and summer is an excellent time to do some networking and informational interviewing. As students engage in networking and informational interviewing they will begin to see that they can network anywhere, anytime. Students can learn how to get started with networking and informational interviewing simply by contacting the Becker Career Center.

As with other experiences, the more time your student takes to prepare and practice their interviewing skills the more likely they are to perform better. As telephone interviews are frequently used, perhaps your student would benefit from conducting a mock telephone interview. If your student is interested, just have them contact us.

For students who are not sure what they want to do, summer is a great time to explore different professions by talking to people who do them. As students learn about different professions, career interests will become clearer. By knowing themselves and different professions, students will be better able to make decisions that will lead to success – however they define it.

We can help your student with all of the above. All the student has to do is want it. And remember, the Becker Career Center is open throughout the summer so if we can help your son or daughter with any career-related issues, encourage them to call (518) 388-6176 or email us at leibl@union.edu to schedule a phone or in-person appointment.

From all of us at the Becker Career Center, have a wonderful and safe summer.

Health Services
Just a reminder to parents…There is no charge to be seen at Health Services for the office visit. However, students will be charged for medical supplies and medications they may need. These items may be paid by check, cash, or billing their student tuition bill. For written prescription medications, Lange’s Pharmacy offers free delivery to Health Services daily. For their convenience, students may pick up prescriptions at Health Services. 

We strongly encourage you to call or fax Lange’s Pharmacy your prescription insurance plan information for direct billing to your insurance. Lange’s Pharmacy phone number is (518) 374-3324. Make an enlarged copy of the front and back of your insurance cards. Print your son/daughter’s name and “Union College Student” on the copy. Then fax information to Lange’s Pharmacy at fax number (518) 374-3325. When picking up medicine at Health Services, your son/daughter will only be responsible for the co-pay, simplifying your billing.

Blood work and other laboratory tests obtained at Health Services will be sent to

Ellis Hospital’s Lab for processing. The hospital will bill directly to the student’s home


Parents:   Please review your insurance policy with your son/daughter and have them keep these cards on them at all times. This will help reduce any confusion regarding billing.

We encourage you send your son/daughter to college with BOTH your medical insurance card and your prescription plan card. 


From The Parents Fund
For the past four years, the parents, family and friends of the class of 2008 have given almost $1,900,000. The College appreciates and values all of the support it receives from parents, through volunteering efforts, supporting your child’s academic growth and activities, attending College events and entrusting their child’s education to Union.

I hope that you will continue to participate at whatever level you can.  Your gifts are a critical part of every day life at Union College.  Your support sends the message that you believe in the value of a Union education.

Congratulations to the class of 2008 and their families on this milestone event.

Best Regards, Vivian Falco (Peter ’09) Chairperson, The Parent Fund


     Finally, have a wonderful summer, best wishes to seniors as they move forward and we wish the best also to all students coming back to Union in the fall!


                                                            Karen Dumonet (Vanessa ’07, Sebastian ’09)

                                                            Parents Association Chairperson

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Valedictorian, salutatorian and student speaker

Posted on Jun 11, 2008


Kaitlin A. Canty, Class of 2008 co-valedictorian

Name: Kaitlin A. Canty

Hometown: Cheshire, Conn.

Major: Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Political Science and Women’s & Gender Studies

Honors/Activities: Among her many honors, Canty was a Truman Scholarship finalist, a Presidential Scholar and a 2007 Phi Beta Kappa inductee. Enrolled in the Honors Program, she received Dean’s List recognition with a cumulative GPA of 3.99.  She was a tutor in the Writing Center, served as President of Women’s Union, was the co-coordinator of Safe Space and a member of numerous clubs and organizations including the Bias Crimes Committee, Pre-Law Society and Campus Action.

Plans after graduation: Canty plans to pursue family law studies in September at the University of Connecticut School of Law in Hartford.

Joshua C. DeBartolo, Class of 2008 co-valedictorian

Name: Joshua C. DeBartolo

Hometown: Middleburgh, N.Y.

Major: Bachelor of Science with a double major in Psychology and Economics

Honors/Activities:  The Honors Scholar completes his undergraduate career with a 3.99 GPA and membership in Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Epsilon National Economics Honor Society and Psi Chi National Psychology Honor Society. Active both on and off campus, DeBartolo spent a term abroad in Mumbai, India; served as co-chair of the Student Alumni Association; was an active member of the Entrepreneurship and Economics Clubs and played rugby and club baseball at the College.

Plans after graduation: DeBartolo begins his career mid-July as an analyst with Goldman Sachs in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Michelle E. Koo, Class of 2008 salutatorian and Fulbright English teaching assistantship winner.

Name: Michelle E. Koo

Hometown: Las Altos, Calif.

Major: Bachelor of science in Psychology

Honors/Activities: Roger H. Hull Community Service Summer Internship; Women’s crew, Volunteer tutor at local schools and Kenney Community Center; College tour guide; Wells Community Service Theme House; president of the psychology honor society, Psi Chi; Phi Beta Kappa.

Plans after graduation: Koo earned a 10-month Fulbright English teaching assistantship grant at a secondary school in Madrid that will begin in mid-September. After returning from Spain, Koo will become an elementary school teacher for a Northern Califorina chapter of Teach for America, which sends recent graduates to teach in low-income school districts for up to two years.    

Student speaker:

Varun Shetty '08, student speaker at the 2008 Commencement

Name: Varun Shetty

Hometown: East Hills, New York

Major: Bachelor of Science with a double major Biology and Political Science

Honors/Activities: Golub House activities chair, and coordinator; Shakti South Asian Students Association secretary; founding member of the Hindu Students Association and Multi-Faith Council; internship with the National AIDS Control Organization in New Delhi, India, where he researched the evolution of India’s national communication policy with respect to the HIV/AIDS epidemic; two internships with the New York State Department of Health.

Plans after graduation: This summer, Shetty plans to complete his graduate coursework in Health Care Management at Union Graduate College. He then plans to work for a community health organization in New York City for a year before applying to medical schools. 

Read Shetty's speech here.


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The Union Fund supports MAJOR EXCITEMENT

Posted on Jun 10, 2008

Jessica Handibode, class of 2009

Jessica Handibode, Class of 2009, came in as a biology major and picked up philosophy. "I feel like I can do anything with these two majors," she says.

The Union Fund supports "major excitement" by providing for a wide-ranging curriculum and extra-curricular opportunities that allow students to broaden their interests and explore new worlds. It also supports need-based scholarships, a world-class faculty and exceptional facilities. That is why the Union Fund is the cornerstone upon which Union’s excellence is built.

The Union Fund ends on June 30. Make your gift today and be one of the 9,000 alumni who support students like Jessica.

To make your donation, visit us online at: https://www.union.edu/giving or call toll-free at 1-888-843-4365 or email theunionfund@union.edu for more information.

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