Posted on Nov 18, 2008

Homecoming '08: Sun, foliage and a football win

The College welcomed a record crowd of more than 2,500 for a Homecoming and Family Weekend that featured spectacular October weather, recognition of distinguished alumni and volunteers and a 35–14 football win over St. Lawrence University.

The College honored six alumni through the UNITAS Alumni Diversity and Service Awards. From left to right in the photo are: Bac X Nguyen ’94, a family physician and community volunteer; Joan Gould ’76, a community winactivist and volunteer; Estelle Cooke-Sampson ’74, chief physician in radiology at St. Mary’s Hospital in Maryland; Robert Holland Jr. ’62, a management executive and general partner with Williams Capital Partners; Emma Ester Bendaña ’04, a surgical resident at the University of Rochester Medical Center; and Roberto Rodriguez ’98, a college access counselor for at-risk youth in Brooklyn.

At the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, Richard “Ted” Vinick ’43 received the Special Appreciation Award for service and loyalty to the College and Alumni Council. Cooke-Sampson received the Distinguished Service Award for a lifetime of commitment and contributions to the College.

The weekend also included the UNITAS Alumni Career Panel; a reception for the Weeeekendend125th anniversary of Phi Delta Theta; a lecture by Dr. Barry DiBernardo ’80, a leading practitioner of laser and light based techniques in cosmetic surgery; and a walking tour of Greek life with Timothy Dunn, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life.

“When we finished our Sunday activities, the positive feedback was overflowing,” said Nick Famulare ’92, director of Alumni Relations.


Joint study to research female faculty in science, technology

A $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will support a three-year study by Union and Skidmore College researchers on recruiting and retaining female professors in the fields of science (including social science), technology, engineering and math—the STEM disciplines.

Brenda Johnson, professor of mathematics at Union, and Alice Dean, professor of mathematics at Skidmore, are co-principal investigators for the project, titled “Skidmore Union Network: Supporting Women Faculty in STEM at Liberal Arts Colleges.”

Work began this fall on both campuses.

The two were the only liberal arts colleges to receive grants from the national foundation through this round of its Advance Partnerships for Adaptation, Implementation and Dissemination awards program. The program seeks to increase representation of women in academic science and engineering careers by encouraging the use of effective existing innovative materials and practices.

Union and Skidmore scholars will consider how successful programs at some larger, research-oriented universities could be adapted for use and also make recommendations specific to the unique concerns of female faculty at smaller, liberal arts colleges.

Union and Skidmore mirror national trends, which show that women are under- represented as teachers and scholars in the STEM fields, while men continue to domi- nate the higher faculty ranks.

At both colleges, women constitute slightly more than one-third of tenure-track and tenured faculty in the STEM disciplines. One-third of STEM full professors at Union are women; Skidmore’s percentage of female full professors is one-fourth.

The Skidmore-Union project will target women faculty in these disciplines at two specific career stages: tenure-track (early career) and tenured associate professors who have been at the rank for seven years or more. A central goal is to give women resources and support to achieve tenure and promotion.

“We’re hoping to learn more about where gender imbalances exist and why,” Johnson said. “Although it is hard to separate the personal from the systemic, our hope is to learn more about the systemic issues and make improvements.”

Key goals of the study are to learn more about the climates and biases on both campuses that affect hiring, development and promotion of women in these fields, and to develop environments that will eventually result in a more balanced gender ratio. The researchers will share findings and recommendations with the larger community of liberal arts colleges


Terrace Council looks ahead

In early October, President Stephen C. Ainlay and his wife, Judith, hosted a Terrace Council reception at The New York Palace Hotel in New York City. Nearly 140 members of the Terrace Council, including alumni who graduated between 1936 and 2008, were recognized for their contributions to the College. The Terrace Council is made up of donors who give $2,000 or more to Union each year. Nearly 700 members contributed over $2.5 million to the Union Fund during the 2007-2008 fiscal year.

Among the highlights of the evening was the announce- ment of the expansion of the You are Union campaign. The new $250 million campaign goal will provide Union with the resources necessary to broaden academic programs, increase faculty and student support, and revitalize campus facilities as called for in the College’s Strategic Plan.

During the reception, Ainlay also recognized Armand V. Feigenbaum ’42, who was recently selected as recipient of the 2007 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor for technological achievement bestowed on America’s leading innovators (see story p. 15). Armand and his brother, Donald S. Feigenbaum ’46, of Pittsfield, Mass., are longtime Union benefactors