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In Memoriam

Posted on Nov 18, 2008


Peter C. Van Dyck ’38 

Life Trustee Peter C. Van Dyck ’38, of Bolton Landing, N.Y., a U.S. Army veteran, former General Electric vice president and active Union volunteer died Aug. 14, 2008. He was 91.

Van Dyck, who attended both Union and Amherst College, earned his degree from the latter.

Van Dyck began his career at GE’s credit corporation before taking leave to serve in World War II, in the Pacific Theatre, with the U.S. Army Air Corps engineers.

After returning from the war, Van Dyck worked as a GE auditor, finance manager and business training instructor before being appointed general manager in 1961. He was named vice president of the Appartus Service Division in 1971 and by the late 1970s saw the division grow to 175 service shops in 17 countries that employed 7,000 skilled workers.

During his 30-year career at GE, Van Dyck was a resident of Scotia and Schenectady. He served as a term trustee at Union from 1978 to 1988. He was named a life trustee in 1988, and trustee emeritus a year later. He was active on the Terrace Council and Friends of Union Athletics. He was also a committee member for Union’s national campaign in the 1980s.

He and his wife, Caroline Kreuger Van Dyck, have four children.

Union relatives include a great-grandfather, Cornelius L. Van Dyck, Class of 1826; two brothers, David Van Dyck ’44, and Richard Van Dyck ’50; and a granddaughter, Sydnie Wells ’07.  


Donald W. Male ’43

Donald W. Male ’43, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., who worked as an aerospace scientist for three decades before becoming a Unitarian minister in 1976, died Aug. 14, 2008. He was 86.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Union, Male was recruited by the Cleveland branch of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, now NASA. While there he earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Case Western Reserve University.

Beginning in 1952, Male spent a year as an advisor at the Pentagon before moving on to the U.S. Air Force’s Arnold Engineering and Development Center in Tennessee, where he served as chief of the plans division. The U.S. Air Force selected him as a fellow at the Sloane School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received an MBA in 1958.

Male decided to take early retirement from the Air Force, enrolled in Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and in 1976 received doctoral degree in ministry. He was ordained as minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tullahoma, Tenn. and was granted minister emeritus when he retired. He was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Association and served in this position for 10 years, the last two years as secretary.

His hobbies included canoeing and astronomy. He founded and was president of the Middle Tennessee Astronomical Society and led workshops across the Southeast.

Don Male came from a family with deep ties to the College. His father, Charles Sr., graduated from Union in 1913 and then taught surveying and engineering mathematics until 1954, when he founded an upstate New York surveying firm. Brother Charles T. “Tom” Male Jr. ’36 was a professor of civil engineering, and brothers William J. Male ’38, Theodore Male ’43 and Kenneth Male ’45 are also graduates.

Don Male, who was president of the Class of 1943, wrote on a ReUnion questionnaire in 1982: “Union provided me a high standard of education in the fundamentals and basics of science and technology, which even to this day has given me a clear advantage over most of my peers.”

He is survived by his wife Sue Anderson Male, of Murfreesboro; three daughters: Sherry Male, of Nashville; Peggy Lenny, of Tampa, Fla., Connie McCormick, McMinnville, Tenn., two step children: Jennifer Nourse, Richmond, Va.; Carl E.P. Williams, of Moore, S.C.; sister Janette Burger; and brother Kenneth J. Male of Niskayuna, N.Y.


Professor William M. Murphy

William M. Murphy, the Thomas Lamont Research Professor of Ancient and Modern Literature, celebrated author and political insider, died Friday, Sept. 26, 2008 at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady. He was 92.

A teacher who considered Gulliver’s Travels the greatest book ever written and a scholar who won prominence as biographer of the family of Irish poet William Butler Yeats, Murphy taught in Union’s English department from 1946 until his retirement in 1983. He became the Thomas Lamont Professor in 1978 and received the Faculty Meritorious Service Award from the Alumni Council in 1983.

In 1978 he published Prodigal Father: The Life of John Butler Yeats, which the next year was one of five finalists for the National Book Award for a biography. He later published a companion book, Family Secrets: William Butler Yeats and His Relatives, which The New York Times described as one of the finest biographies of the Yeats family.

He had a lifelong passion for politics, and as a close friend of U.S. Rep. Samuel S. Stratton, himself a former Union philosophy professor, Murphy shared his colleague’s passion for politics, intellectual discourse and adventure.

Murphy made unsuccessful runs for Congress in 1948, state Senate in 1956, and state Assembly in 1959. He was appointed by Stratton in 1956 to fill an unexpired term on the Schenectady County Board of Supervisors. He was a member and chairman of the Schenectady Municipal Housing Authority, which, with Stratton, had instituted a policy of desegregation in the city’s public housing. Murphy memoriamserved on the New York State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He was part of the mayor’s “kitchen cabinet,” and later, a part- time staffer in the Congressman’s Schenectady and Washington offices.

Murphy was born Aug. 6, 1916 in Queens, N.Y. and raised in Flushing, N.Y. He would go on to study at Harvard University, earning bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees there. He taught for three years at Harvard, then served another three years as secretary of Harvard’s Committee on Educational Relations. He served in the U.S. Navy for three years, specializing in anti- submarine warfare, before he joined Union College.

He married the former Harriet Doane on Sept. 2, 1939. For more than 60 years, they spent their summers at their home in Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia. Survivors also include a son, Christopher; and daughters, Deborah Chase Murphy and Susan Doane Murphy Thompson.

The family is planning a memorial service in the spring.


Professor Charles Dana Swartz

Charles Dana Swartz, the Frank and Marie Louise Bailey Professor of Physics Emeritus, died Aug. 28, 2008. He was 93.

He taught at Union from 1956 until his retirement in 1979.

He lived a full life that encompassed a range of interests and rich experiences. The youngest of five brothers, he was born in Baltimore in 1915 to Charles and Elizabeth Swartz. He remained in Baltimore through his education at Johns Hopkins University, earning a doctorate in physics in 1943. He worked on the Manhattan Project before embarking on a long career in academia.

He married Katherine Hunt Swartz in 1949. After beginning a family in Baltimore, they moved in 1956 to Schenectady and Union College. His tenure was punctuated by sabbaticals at Ankara University (Turkey), Oxford University (England) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, N.Y.). He also taught summer courses to science teachers in India in 1965 and 1968.

The child of a geology professor, he developed at an early age the curiosity and careful observation he would always rely on and encourage in others. He was a lifelong learner, largely self-taught in photography, botany, gardening, sailing, investing and many other fields. He could make or fix most anything. He was a voracious reader, avid traveler and could speak with authority on many topics. He was a formidable foe in any game that involved words.

Three years into their marriage, Kay contracted polio. Undaunted by her resulting disability, the couple developed into a resilient and self-sufficient team, allowing them to maintain their active, independent, adventurous lifestyle. They raised three children, traveled internationally and vacationed every summer at their beloved, rustic family camp on Kinneho Island, N.H. Their shared life was an inspiring example right up until Kay’s death in 2007.

Survivors include three children, Timothy (Merry Shernock) of Northfield Falls, Vt.; Douglas (Karen Spencer) of Fort Collins, Colo.; and Christina (Mike O’Brien) of Boise, Idaho.

Memorial contributions may be made to American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry St, Philadelphia, Pa. 19102; or Planned Parenthood, 1040 State St., Schenectady, N.Y. 12305

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Class Notes: Armand V. Feigenbaum ’42

Posted on Nov 18, 2008


Business innovator awarded national medal 

Armand V. Feigenbaum ’42 was recently awarded the 2007 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor for technological achievement bestowed on America’s leading innovators.

Feigenbaum and the other seven recipients were honored at a black-tie dinner Sunday, Sept. 28 in Washington, D.C., and received their awards from President George W. Bush the following day at a White House ceremony.

The award is for “outstanding contributions to the nation’s economic, environmental and social well-being through the development and commercialization of technology products, processes and concepts,” according to the medal’s Web site.

Armand and his brother, Donald S. Feigenbaum ’46, of Pittsfield, Mass., are longtime Union benefactors. Armand was worldwide manager of manufacturing operations and quality control for General Electric, and Donald had major management responsibilities in GE’s jet engine business when they founded General Systems Company in 1968.

The Pittsfield-based international systems engineering firm designs and implements integrated management systems for major corporations throughout the world.

Armand Feigenbaum is the originator of Total Quality Control. His book on the subject has been published in many languages and is the basic text on quality systems and improvement. It was first published in 1951, and a 50th anniversary edition was released in 2002.

The National Medal of Technology and Innovation citation reads: “For leadership in the development of the economic relationship of quality costs, productivity improvement, and profitability and for his pioneering application of economics, general systems theory and technology, statistical methods and management principles that define the Total Quality Management approach for achieving performance excellence and global competitiveness.”

Union President Stephen C. Ainlay and his wife, Judith, along with Donald, attended the Washington dinner and awards ceremony.

“We are proud and thrilled to join the Feigenbaums for this special occasion,” Ainlay said. “Union has a history of producing and nurturing creative minds, and Armand embodies this innovative Union spirit.”

Since 1996, the College has hosted the annual Feigenbaum Forum, which brings leaders from the academic and business worlds together at Union to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern. This year’s forum was held on Oct. 21.

In 1997, the College’s administration building was dedicated in honor of the Feigenbaums, who supported the extensive renovation of the building, which dates to 1871.

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Old Union

Posted on Nov 18, 2008


The accidental agriculturalist

Seaman A. Knapp, Class of 1856, was working as a schoolmaster in upstate New York in 1866 when he suffered a crippling leg injury in a freak sporting accident. The injury altered the course of his life and shifted the history of American agriculture.

Seaman A. Knapp, Class of 1856. For Fall 2008 Union College magazine.

In the late 1860s, Knapp, his wife and young children moved to an Iowa farm after a doctor prescribed outdoor activity to recover from his injury. From 1872 until his death in 1911, Knapp worked a variety of agriculture-related jobs in Iowa, Louisiana, Texas and Washington, D.C. He began publishing an agricultural journal in Iowa in 1872 and steadily rose to prominence within the industry. He made a dramatic impact in 1903, when he led demonstration projects to help Texas farmers battle the boll weevil pest with crop rotation and improved plowing, seed selection and fertilization. With help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the demonstration projects eventually reached 7,000 to 8,000 farmers and led to the Farmer’s Cooperative Demonstration Work, according to a short biography by James M. Clifton in American National Biography.

In April 1911, Walter Hines Page, a distinguished diplomat, wrote of Knapp’s funeral: “No one seemed to divine that in the coffin before them was the body of a really great man, one who has hit upon a fruitful idea in American agriculture—an idea that was destined to cover the nation and enrich rural life immeasurably.”

Page eulogized Knapp at the Washington, D.C. funeral, calling him a “a patient, idealistic and achieving man whose name will loom large in the future.”

The Page quotes can be found in an essay written by D. Richard Weeks, Class of 1928 and former professor of English at Union, that appeared in the Union Worthies set of pamphlets published shortly after the College’s sesquicentennial in 1945. The pamphlets chronicle several notable figures in Union’s history.

Knapp was born in December 1833 in what is now the Adirondack Park in upstate New York. At Union, Knapp followed the blossoming liberal arts curriculum, which included philosophy, criticism, political economy, Latin, Greek, chemistry and mechanics. He graduated with honors, married Maria Elizabeth Hotchkiss, of Hampton, N.Y., and began a career in educational administration in upstate New York and Vermont.

It was while teaching students at the Ripley Female College in Poultney, Vt. to play softball that Knapp was crippled, according to Weeks’ essay. The Knapp family, now including five children, moved to a farm in Benton County, Iowa. Here, Knapp became organizer and leader of a stock breeders’ association, and in 1879, was named a professor of agriculture at Iowa State Agricultural College. Knapp was tapped to be president of the Iowa college in 1884.

While at the college, he compiled a bill for congress that would, in 1887, become the Hatch Act. The act helped set up a network of agricultural research stations at several state colleges that boosted American agricultural production.

In the 1890s, Knapp spent several years in Louisiana helping set up experimental farms, which yielded major advances in the planting and cultivation of rice. Under Knapp’s direction, the farms used creative water drainage techniques, which allowed the usually soggy rice fields to dry out and bear the weight of harvesting machines that boosted production.

In the early 1950s, economist, business leader and writer Henry B. Arthur, Class of 1926, wrote of Knapp: “Agricultural output per worker in the United States is estimated to have increased almost two-fold, an increase due in no small measure to the labors of Seaman A. Knapp. It was his contribution to take the best knowledge in agriculture, known and applied by the few, and convert it to general knowledge, understood and actually practiced by the many.”

That idea was the driving force behind Knapp’s work with Texas farmers in 1903, which is regarded among scholars as Knapp’s best chance to effect widespread agricultural improvements. Using farm demonstrations, Knapp persuaded farmers to use new techniques to battle the boll weevil pest. The demonstrations worked. In 1903, the Department of Agriculture spent $40,000 to ensure Knapp’s demonstrations continued. Crop yields in Texas increased dramatically, boosting food production and the economy in rural areas. The farming demonstration model was later employed by the federal government to improve education in the South, eventually leading the formation of 4-H Clubs for boys and girls.  

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Posted on Nov 18, 2008



But Wait! There’s More! (maybe)


This narrative, related in a series of conversations, is the story of how the great and glamorous “American Advertising Magic Show” became a $500 billion global business, doomed itself in an ocean of corporate “funny money” and now struggles to be born anew in the Internet-driven media revolution of the 21st century. The authors, James Baar and Donald E. Creamer, both veterans of the ad industry, describe this business evolution through the colorful history of the creation, growth and destruction of the world’s seventh largest advertising agency from its amusing off-the-cuff founding through the mega-agency growth of the last 20 years.



Helping Teens Who Cut: Understanding and Ending Self-Injury

The Guilford Press

In his new book, Michael Hollander, a psychotherapist and recognized expert in the treatment of self-injury, gives parents the information and advice they need to get the best available help. The book advises parents on how to: talk to their child about cutting without making the problem worse; select a therapist or treatment program that’s a good fit; communicate about self-injury with their child’s siblings, friends and teachers; and recognize and respond to the signs of relapse. Hollander has worked with adolescents and their families for more than 30 years. He maintains a private practice in psychotherapy, conducts therapy with adolescents at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., and serves on the psychiatry teaching faculty of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.



Motherhood, The Elephant in the Laboratory

Cornell University ILR Press

Many women working in research science discover the difficulties of balancing motherhood and a career in a highly competitive and often male-dominated field. To address this issue, dubbed “the elephant in the laboratory” by one scientist, Emily Monosson has brought together 34 women scientists from several fields of research. From women who began their careers in the 1970s and brought their newborns to work, breastfeeding them under ponchos, to graduate students today, the authors of the candid essays encourage institutions of higher education and scientific research to accommodate the needs of scientists who decide to have children. Monosson is an independent toxicologist.



Psychology as a Major: Is It Right for Me and What Can I Do With My Degree?

APA Books

This book helps undergraduates use self-exploration tools to decide if psychology is the right major for them. The book also provides a comprehensive picture of the opportunities psychology offers as a field of study and a career. Experiential and self-assessment exercises help beginning students understand their personal motivations and build strategies for decision making and stress management. Donna E. Palladino Schultheiss, Ph.D., is a professor at Cleveland State University and a leader in the field of counseling psychology.



Associate Professor of History

Go If You Think It Your Duty: A Minnesota Couple’s Civil War Letters

Minnesota Historical Society Press

During the American Civil War, James Madison Bowler and Elizabeth Caleff Bowler courted, married, became parents, and bought a farm in Minnesota. They attended dances, talked politics, and confided their deepest fears. Because of the war, however, they experienced all of these events separately, sharing them through hundreds of letters from 1861 to 1865 while Madison served in the Third Minnesota Volunteer Regiment. The couple’s separation—which led Madison to battle in the Tennessee Surrender and the Dakota War of 1862—challenged their commitment to the war and to each other. These poignant letters provided them a space to voice their fear for and frustration with each other, and they now provide readers with a window into one couple’s Civil War.



Professor of Music, Anthropology and East Asian Studies

Making Music in Japan’s Underground: The Tokyo Hardcore Scene

Routledge 2008

This book considers how individuals make music in the underground Tokyo hardcore scene and expands views of young Japanese as they negotiate the increasing social demands and escalating problems in society at large. Grounded in the fields of ethnomusicology, anthropology, popular music studies, and Japanese studies, this work provides a deep ethnographic read of an important musical world in contemporary Japan.

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Across Campus

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



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