Wells College News Archives 1996

News stories from the College's archives.

Top Girls theatre festival performance receives four awards

The Wells production of Top Girls was selected by the Theatre Association of New York State (TANYS) for a special performance in a statewide theatre festival which ran November 22-24. As a result, the Wells group received four awards from TANYS in recognition of outstanding acting, set design, and the original soundtrack.

The cast, crew, and director won an award for outstanding ensemble. Individual awards were presented to Mckenzie Keenan of Aurora for acting and Steven Kent Murphy of Ithaca for the original score. A special award went to Wells' Technical Director Joe DeForest for technical excellence.

Top Girls, a dark comedy by Caryl Churchill, was first performed at Wells last October. The play explores the sacrifices and regrets in the life of a woman who joins the corporate world in the wake of 1970s feminism.

DeForest worked closely with Susan Forbes, associate professor of theatre at Wells and director, to create a sparse and futuristic set. "Other productions of Top Girls have tended to be realistic, but I conceptualized this show in a very different way," explained Forbes. "I envisioned something that would give us a strong visual representation of polar opposites from the theme of the play. Joe expanded upon this idea and developed sculptural pieces for the set that we could move around and turn into whatever we wanted them to become; it worked very successfully for us."

Another striking visual aspect of the production was its representation of the corporate world. "I wondered how people find any sense of family, identity, and warmth in an environment that is so competitive and demanding. I wanted to project an image of the cold, steely, male-dominated world I experienced several years ago when we did a Wells performance on Wall Street," she said.

Forbes' interpretation of Top Girls also influenced her directing. "In the beginning we talked about the imagery, the mythological and religious references so abundant on the set. The polarities in theme are always the undercurrent for the emotional state of the characters."

Each actress in the show played a variety of roles with the exception of Katharine Schlist '98 of Clinton, New York, who plays the leading role. Other cast members were Gabrielle C. Seailles '97 of Columbus, Mississippi;

Disha Mookherjee '99 of Syracuse, New York; Christie Perfetti '00 of Oswego, New York; and Christina Kubasta '99 of Wautoma, Wisconsin. Susan Forbes also acted in the production. Murphy's soundtrack was created to match the abstract set design and directing concepts.

Three full-length productions are invited from a statewide pool to perform in the TANYS festival each year - this year's gathering was in Auburn, New York. "This has never happened before at Wells. We've been building the arts and performance major, and we made a decision last year to submit Top Girls. Given the conditions surrounding the festival, we made very specific choices in advance that influenced what we did with the set. The students had a high degree of focus and dedication. They were committed to working on this production with the goal of being invited to the festival," said Forbes.

December, 1996


Wells theatre slated for refurbishment 

Wells College will begin a major refurbishment of Margaret Phipps Auditorium in December. Located in Macmillan Hall on the Wells campus, Phipps Auditorium has hosted dramatic presentations, concerts, lectures, and academic ceremonies for the last 66 years.

An estimated $400,000 will be used to paint, professionally clean seats, install new carpeting, and make improvements in the stage area, among other changes. The project is funded by Wells and Pleasant Thiele Rowland, a member of the college's Class of 1962. The scheduled completion date is June of 1997.

"We are thrilled that this popular public space is going to be refurbished with the same attention to detail and design as other recent campus renovations," said Diane L. Hutchinson, Wells' vice president and treasurer. Professor of Theatre Susan Forbes will work with a theatrical designer to improve the stage area.

Macmillan Hall was constructed in 1930. Because the seats could be removed, Phipps originally served as a ballroom as well as a theatre. The space was renovated in 1974 by architect Walter A. Netsch who preserved many of its elegant features: columns, arches, windows, and chandeliers. Permanent theatre seating for 537 was installed; the stage was enlarged and modernized; but no significant renovations were made in the ensuing 22 years.

The funds pledged by Ms. Rowland are the continuation of a two million dollar project she began in 1995 to refurbish public spaces in the college's historic buildings. She is the founder and president of Pleasant Company, located in Wisconsin.

November, 1996


Anonymous Gift Sparks One Million Dollar Renovation Project

Wells has received a gift of $250,000 from an anonymous donor to begin renovation of Weld House, one of the college's five historic residence halls.

"This gift will enable Wells to be a more cohesive, residential community," said the college's Dean of Students Susan H. Ryan. "Weld has been under-utilized in recent years - its re-opening will create a tight circle of residence halls at the center of campus and enable all our students to feel they are a part of the close-knit community that Henry Wells envisioned when he founded the college."

In 1993, Weld was closed as a student residence due to extensive deferred maintenance. Since that time, it has provided housing for conferences, visiting sports teams, parents, and alumnae visitors.

Named in honor of William Ernest Weld, the college's eighth president who served from 1936-46, the Greek Revival structure was designed by Frank Frederick Larson and built in 1948. Weld housed 57 students and a head resident when it first opened. In the 1960s, it served as Das deutsche Haus (The German House) for summer language institutes and became the college's international student dormitory in the early 1980s.

The $250,000 gift has been pledged by a member of the Wells Class of 1937 and comes in the form of a challenge. In order to fully realize the donation, the college must raise an additional $750,000 by June 30, 1997. "The donor has great personal affection and respect for former President and Mrs. Weld and their family and wishes to honor them. Restoring the residence hall that bears their name is also a top priority in our current comprehensive campaign," says Arthur J. Bellinzoni, Wells' director of planned and leadership giving and professor of religion.

Renovation plans include both improvements to infrastructure and cosmetic refurbishment of living spaces. The building will also be networked as part of the college's technology initiative. The anonymous gift will be used to restore public spaces on the first floor, the resident adviser suite, and three student rooms in honor of Dr. Weld and his family.

October, 1996


Wells Representatives Attend ACLU Celebration in Texas

In this election year when women are noticeably absent in the race for the nation's highest offices, the American Civil Liberties Union in Texas honored the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for vice president of the United States: former Wells College President Frances Tarlton "Sissy" Farenthold.

On Saturday, September 28, the Greater Houston Chapter of the ACLU presented Farenthold with The Lifetime Achievement Award for Civil Liberties, the organization's highest honor. Arthur J. Bellinzoni, professor of religion and director of planned and leadership giving at Wells, and Attilio Rezzonico, manager of Wells' bookshop, attended the event.

Bellinzoni met Farenthold when she served as Wells' president from 1976-80. "I was honored to be invited to Texas," he says. "The most impressive thing about Sissy's years at Wells and her distinguished life of public service is her dedication to reform, equal rights for all, environmental responsibility, humanized government, and most of all her integrity."

A native Texan, Farenthold successfully ran for the Texas legislature in 1968. She ran for the Texas Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1970 and 1972. During that era, she also had an impact on national politics: her name was put forward as a possible vice-presidential candidate at the Democratic National Convention in Miami - the first time a woman's name had ever been brought forth in that capacity.

From 1973-94, she repeatedly served as a human rights observer and sometimes leader of delegations of elected women officials to Iraq, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cuba, South Korea, the former Soviet Union, and other countries.

Farenthold was the first woman president of Wells. She balanced the college budget, increased alumnae giving, established a new athletic facility, boosted enrollment, and made curricular innovations. She also founded the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) - a consortium of women's colleges that offers programs designed to prepare women for active involvement in political life and public leadership.

Farenthold received a letter from President Clinton which she shared with Bellinzoni. It reads in part: "In a lifetime of monumental achievement, many things stand out. I want to thank you for two in particular. First, for your service to Texas, to the nation, and to the Democratic Party. Second, for being such a good friend to us [Hillary and me] over all these years."

October, 1996


Wells Soccer Team Wins Conference Title

In their first year of competition in the Atlantic Women's Colleges Conference, the Wells College soccer team won the AWCC tournament on Saturday, October 26, defeating Hood College and Mary Baldwin College.

The tournament was played at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. Wells defeated Hood 3-0 in the semi-final game to advance into the championship round. Goals were scored by first-year students Jalina Kahler of Cold Brook, New York, Corine Sebast of Burnt Hills, New York, and senior Lillian Atteridge of Amherst, Mass.

In the championship game, Wells defeated Mary Baldwin College of Staunton, Virginia 1-0. The Wells goal was scored by Jalina Kahler. Kahler was named the tournament's MVP.

"We were absolutely thrilled to win this tournament in our first year in the league," said Wells' Soccer Coach Chris Perkins. "Our students are great players, and they truly deserve this."

The AWCC is committed to promoting the highest level of excellence for women in academics and athletics through organized regular and post-season competition among its members.

In addition to competing against teams in the AWCC, Wells competes against schools in New York State and is a member of the New York State Women's College Athletic Association.

October, 1996


A Wells Student's Research Contributes to Tropical Disease Study

Wells junior Katherine W. Abold synthesized a new compound last summer that may eventually lead to new treatments for malaria. She made the discovery while working at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, D.C. as part of the college's internship program. Her discovery is currently being analyzed and tested for anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activity.

Abold is a biological and chemical sciences major with a concentration in chemistry at Wells. Her internship was in the medicinal chemistry department of the division of experimental therapeutics at Walter Reed where she joined a research group under the supervision of Dr. Nancy Roth that develops anti-malarial compounds from natural products. "Dr. Roth gave me ideas about how to do the experiments, and I developed them by myself," says Abold.

Dr. Linda S. Schwab, professor of chemistry at Wells, provided contact information for Walter Reed's Col. John Scovill to set up the internship. "Walter Reed is a premier location for the study of tropical diseases," says Schwab. "I knew Kate enjoyed synthetic work in medicinal chemistry and the study of natural products."

Abold modified the structure of artemisinin, a natural anti-malarial substance found in plants of the wormwood family, used since ancient times in China for the treatment of malarial fevers. She prepared the new compound, deoxyartelinic acid, by removing an oxygen atom from the peroxide bridge of artemisinin. In addition to her work in chemical synthesis, she evaluated the anti-malarial activity of various compounds prepared at Walter Reed.

"Research I was doing at Wells was very similar to what I did in the internship," says Abold. "The lab techniques were about the same. The technology at Walter Reed is more sophisticated, so I had to be trained to use it. In the lab, I was well-prepared." She continues to explore anti-cancer compounds at Wells and plans another internship at Walter Reed in January.

These research experiences have helped shape Abold's plans for the future. "After the internship I made the decision that research on anti-cancer compounds will be my career," she says. "I want to go into an M.D./Ph.D. program. I'm going into the Air Force, and what I would ultimately like to do is work in the medicinal chemistry field as a doctor who does research rather than work directly with patients."

A resident of Woodbridge, Virginia, Abold is involved in many college activities. She is a member of the soccer team, a singer with the Whirligigs vocal group, a resident adviser, and a participant in the Air Force ROTC program.

Schwab is proud of the fact that an undergraduate from Wells is already making important contributions to science and medicine. "Kate got off to a great start in the biological chemical sciences major at Wells since she had the advanced placement credit to begin her college study of chemistry at the second course, Organic Chemistry. In particular, her coursework in Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products was directly relevant to her malaria research. These two courses are not invariably available in college chemistry programs even singly, much less together - it's an excellent combination for someone with Kate's interests and I think helped her to tie together her other coursework in biology and chemistry." Abold has been involved in research projects with faculty members at Wells for several semesters, and this experience has given her not only practical experience but also the setting to exercise her curiosity, creativity, and independence.

"Finding out just which features of a chemical structure are necessary for a desired kind of biological activity is the cornerstone of the drug development process. Potential new pharmaceuticals are always valuable. The more we learn, the better may be the range of treatments we will eventually have for diseases like malaria, endemic in so much of the world," says Schwab.

October, 1996


New book examines near-death experiences

The Near-Death Experience: A Reader, recently published by Routledge Press and co-edited by Jenny Yates, professor of religion and philosophy at Wells College and Lee W. Bailey, associate professor of religion and culture at Ithaca College, provides readers with an interdisciplinary view of a phenomenon that crosses epochs and cultures.

"I want to help physicians understand what is happening to patients during and after the near-death experience," says Yates. "We include essays from the fields of religion, psychology, and philosophy. It is important for people in the contemporary scientific world who are encountering this phenomenon in hospitals and elsewhere to learn that there are other ways of knowing and seeing."

Research on near-death experiences (NDEs) has increased and become more sophisticated over the last 20 years. A remarkable consistency has emerged as numerous accounts have been studied and analyzed. (A Gallup Poll in the early 1980s revealed that 15% of adult Americans reported an unusual experience around death.) Some of the most common NDEs involve traveling through a dark tunnel, out of the body travel, the appearance of beings made of light, and a rapid review of one's life.

The perspectives represented in the book are panoramic. The anthology includes an essay by Raymond Moody, a physician and philosopher who brought NDEs to a mass audience in 1975 with his bestseller Life After Death. An article by psychiatrist Karl Jansen focuses on the drug Ketamine which induces similar images of tunnels, lights, and out of the body travel in subjects. Jansen believes a sudden release of brain chemicals, similar to the effects of Ketamine, might be responsible for NDEs. A piece by researcher and NDE skeptic Susan Blackmore is included. Along with these discussions is an essay by Tibetan Buddhist Sogyal Rinpoche about death and rebirth images in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Judith Cressey's work is represented which locates parallels between mystical experiences and NDEs. Lee Bailey's contribution recounts the NDEs of Peter Sellers, Eddie Rickenbacker, Plato, and Black Elk. These and other selections provide the reader with a thorough understanding of the phenomenon.

The idea to assemble The Near-Death Experience began with a conference at Cornell University in 1994 where Yates and Bailey presented papers. Editors at Routledge were interested in publishing new scholarship on NDEs and invited them to submit book manuscripts separately, but Yates and Bailey decided collaboration would be a better way to approach the task of sifting through the vast amount of literature on the subject. "We spent the first summer doing computer searches on everything that had been published, particularly looking at the recent offerings. We ordered prints of all of that material and read hundreds of articles in addition to working with people we already knew," she says.

In her Cornell lecture, Yates talked about how mystical traditions across world religions report the appearance of a being of light which she interprets as a universal symbol of spiritual consciousness or enlightenment. "It is a phenomenon that is consistent and not in conflict with any religion, which seems to me where we have to move in the future in terms of understanding multi-cultures and multi-religions." These views are reflected in her contribution to the volume entitled, "Being of Light:

Dreaming the Vision Onward," which presents a mixture of personal analysis and applied theory.

Yates believes that helping people cope with their near-death experiences and subsequent life changes is important. She dismisses discussion of the validity of NDEs with the simple statement that we cannot deny the needs of the millions of people who have shared the experience. "Whatever culture you are in, discipline, or religion, people are reporting the same phenomenon in the near-death experience," she says.

September, 1996


Wells biology professor joins network to transform teaching

Candace W. Collmer, associate professor of biology at Wells, has been selected as a member of the Project Kaleidoscope Faculty for the 21st Century (F21) network.

Project Kaleidoscope is an informal alliance of individuals, institutions, and organizations dedicated to strengthening the nation's undergraduate science and mathematics community. Collmer was nominated for this honor by Ellen W. Hall, Wells' vice president for academic affairs.

Members of the F21 network serve as catalysts for reform in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education, at both the local and national level. A central objective of the program is to build local learning environments that attract all students to science and math and encourage their persistence in the study of these fields.

Collmer will have the opportunity to attend the PKAL National Assembly, join regional networks of faculty to stimulate dialogue, lead on-campus discussions of innovations in teaching, apply for PKAL Visiting scholar grants, and serve in a consulting role at other institutions.

Project Kaleidoscope provides persistent opportunities for faculty and their administrative colleagues to exchange ideas and share their enthusiasm and vision for building better learning environments.

Collmer received her B.S. from Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia and her M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell University and has been a member of the Wells faculty since 1990.

The Faculty for the 21st Century project is supported by the Exxon Education Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

September, 1996


New pathways to chemistry taught at Wells College

Faculty and students from Wells College and area high schools spent part of the summer learning how to make chemistry classes appeal to more students, especially women. The workshop, "New Pathways to Chemistry," was held at Wells College July 29 through August 16, with breakout sessions at Southern Cayuga and Groton Central Schools.

The program encourages students to investigate chemical questions about everyday items, and construct experiments to find the answers. The participants developed four experiment modules, each with an average of six parts; one at the elementary, middle, high school, and advanced placement levels.

The modules teach chemical concepts in an inquiry-based, hands-on format, and are organized in a mystery story context, which also emphasizes reading comprehension and logic skills. Three of the four mysteries involved forensic science; one was a true story about the mystery involved in the discovery of sulfa drugs. The experiment modules will be introduced during the 1996-97 school year in the Southern Cayuga and Groton Central Schools.

Jim Overhiser, science coordinator and eighth grade teacher at Groton Central School, worked on the middle school module. "This was a fantastic opportunity. Wells supplied us with the time and resources to develop this unit, and try out a variety of things." In January, Overhiser's students will solve the "Who Killed Professor Rig R. Mortis" mystery.

Overhiser explains that he made a few modifications to the project. "In the Professor Rig R. Mortis story, there are eight characters who provide essential information. Our drama department is going to perform the story, based on the script that was created at Wells, for videotape. This way, students will be able to review the video to look for clues."

This experiment was developed as part of the New Pathways to Chemistry project comprising college and high school teams. The workshop at Wells was one of four sites in three states. The project is administered through the College-University Resource Institute, Inc., in Washington D.C., under the direction of Julia Jacobsen of CURI, Inc., and Wells College Professor of Chemistry Linda S. Schwab.

The curriculum began 10 years ago when women faculty from four colleges decided that more effective ways of teaching chemistry to freshman and sophomore college students were needed. Wells College joined the group five years ago when the program was expanded to include seven colleges.

Schwab says the easiest place to introduce changes is in the laboratory, where there is room for freer exchange among students. "When students establish their own questions, and find the answers, they are imitating real work more closely," Schwab explains. "The students learn to observe actions in the lab, keep careful records, ask questions, then try to find the answers - just as they would if working professionally in related fields."

Participants in the workshop were Margaret Flowers, professor of biology at Wells; Stephanie Walker, a graduate of Groton Central School and Wells College; James Overhiser, science coordinator and Jennifer Evener, student Groton Central School; Sonja Sorochinsky, science coordinator, and Stephen Bechtold, Nathan Krause, students at Southern Cayuga Central School. Grant Dietert, a student at Southern Cayuga provided technical assistance and Matthew Dietert, student at the Montessori School of Ithaca, participated in procedural checking.

New Pathways is made possible by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, TRW, Inc. and Wells College.

September, 1996


Two from Wells attend White House policy summit

President Lisa Marsh Ryerson and Kathrine Ehrlich, a Wells senior from Weedsport, New York, had a working breakfast at the White House on the morning of Tuesday, September 17, to explore issues in women's education with top Clinton officials.

"Wells wanted to give an outstanding student with a special interest in government a chance to be involved in this important event," said the college's Dean of Students Susan H. Ryan. Ehrlich, a public policy major, is part of the college's mentor program that connects leaders from the junior and senior classes with first-year students to teach leadership development.

Ryerson and Ehrlich went to Washington along with other college presidents and students from the nation's 83 women's colleges for a two-day policy summit. Women's education and leadership issues were the subject of panels, roundtable discussions, and plenary addresses.

"We not only got to speak our minds, but I really felt like we were being listened to," said Ehrlich in a press interview. "It was an absolutely wonderful experience to have your voice heard."

The summit began with a keynote address by Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala. The roundtable discussions at the White House were led by senior administration officials such as Theresa Loar, Director of the President's Interagency Council on Women, and Judith Winston, General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Education.

Betsey Myers, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Women's Initiatives and Outreach, addressed the participants and led a panel discussion which included senior White House advisors Carolyn Curiel, Senior Speech Writer to the President, and Elaine Kamarck, Director of the Vice-President's Reinventing Government Initiative.

They gave their unique perspective on the various policies and initiatives likely to affect women in the 21st century and answered questions from the floor. Evelyn S. Lieberman, Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, accepted the resulting action agenda on behalf of President Clinton.

The policy summit was a collaborative effort of the Women's College Coalition (of which Wells College is a member), the White House Office of Women's Initiatives and Outreach, and Mount Vernon College.

September, 1996


Conference Features Leadership Training by Wells College Personnel

Young women from Baltimore-area private schools identify social problems and develop action plans

Staff and students from Wells College served as facilitators and counselors at a conference June 14-16 which brought students from six Baltimore-area private schools for young women to the Oldfields School in Baltimore for a weekend designed to help develop women's leadership skills.

"This is the first time Wells has conducted a program like this off campus," said Wells' Director of Admissions Susan R. Sloan, who was a conference facilitator. "The students benefited a great deal. Our reputation in leadership training for young women is growing, and we are looking forward to offering other programs like this in the future."

Wells' Dean of Students Susan H. Ryan, who was also a facilitator said, "The schools that participated in this conference sought out Wells College personnel because of our reputation for developing leadership skills. We were very happy to help the students and are pleased to be recognized as a college for leaders."

Sloan says, "This program offered great opportunities for Wells students - who served as counselors to these young women - to show other students what they have learned through the Wells leadership experience."

The Wells representatives helped the students increase awareness of collaborative leadership and social responsibility - a style that has become associated with Wells through its contributions to the field of leadership studies in recent years, says Ryan.

Twenty-seven sophomores and juniors from the private schools were selected to attend the program through nominations provided by their guidance counselors. They represented Bryn Mawr, Garrison Forest, St. Paul's School for Girls, St. Timothy's School, Roland Park Country School, and Oldfields School.

The participants were asked by the Wells facilitators and counselors to discuss issues of importance at their schools. After presenting the issues to the group, the young women worked in small teams to develop possible solutions. Students addressed such complex problems as drug abuse, tolerance, school communications, stereotyping, community service, and environmental awareness.

The Student Tolerance Education Program (S.T.E.P.) group worked to promote a greater understanding of diversity among students. They concluded that unhealthy images develop out of ignorance, and education is a solution. The students intend to post an issues box relating to diversity at their schools and hold an open forum to discuss the issues.

The school communications group focused on ways to improve communications among students, teachers, and the administration. The team plans to form small discussion groups comprised of students, teachers, and administrators and use these groups to resolve some of the existing issues at each school.

Students in another group worked together to break down the myths and stereotypes they feel are associated with private schools. They encouraged open discussion among students and the need to promote better images of the schools to one another. The students will return to their schools in the fall and encourage dialogue among the schools and continue to promote a positive image.

The students on the drug and alcohol abuse team believe that peer education is a vital part of solving this problem. They will create a survey to be administered to students in the private schools. After careful analysis of the survey responses, they plan to develop a peer education program to discourage drug and alcohol usage.

The students in the community service and environmental awareness group discussed the importance of community service and ways to better promote it. The group also felt that environmental awareness was an important issue for young people and should be an ongoing community service project in all schools. They hope to educate people about the importance of community service and environmental awareness through school clubs and organizations and to advocate volunteerism and the importance of recycling.

All action plans are subject to approval by each school administration in the fall. Students were encouraged to work with their administrations to implement the plans effectively.

Other activities in the program included workshops on conflict resolution, self-esteem, and team building. Students also took part in the ropes course, a program in which participants are encouraged to cooperate, communicate, support, trust and have fun while developing an appreciation for the natural environment.

July 1, 1996 


Annual Excellence Awards Given At Wells College

Wells College recently presented two awards to faculty members in recognition of academic excellence. Christopher T. Bailey, associate professor of chemistry, was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Medal; and Spencer H. Hildahl, professor of sociology, received the Excellence in Academic Advising Award.

The excellence in teaching medal is bestowed upon the instructor who exemplifies enthusiasm for teaching, is impartial and willing to share time outside of class, encourages students to think critically and act independently. The recipient also best embodies the spirit of the Wells education in addition to having a strong command of a given field of study.

Commenting on the award, Bailey says, "I was both pleased and honored to receive this year's Excellence in Teaching Medal. Members of the Wells faculty are all hardworking and extremely dedicated to teaching. To be singled out from this group is very humbling."

Bailey joined the Wells faculty in 1987. He received his B.S. degree from Beloit College and his Ph.D. from the University of Vermont. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Bailey recently returned from the National Conference on Undergraduate Research where he participated in the Undergraduate Research Network Symposia, a forum for faculty discussions. He was accompanied by five Wells students who presented their research to a national audience.

The excellence in academic advising award recognizes the fundamental importance of academic advising to the students of Wells College and to support the faculty in their advising work.

"Students have honored me in a very special way. I am appreciative and grateful. Thank you," says Hildahl.

Hildahl joined the Wells faculty in 1970. He received his B.S. and M.S. from Iowa State University and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. In addition to teaching, Hildahl is also the coordinator of the interdisciplinary minor in communications.

June 19, 1996


Connecting the Liberal Arts with Careers

Seniors graduating from colleges and universities this year are facing the same competitive job market that has been characteristic of the last several years, says Nancy B. Karpinski, director of career development services at Wells College.

"Computer skills are very important, even for liberal arts graduates; and there is job growth in the technical area. Students with language skills are in demand as we move into a global workplace," she says.

In order to help Wells students prepare for the challenges of careers in the 90s, Karpinski has utilized the resources of the college's Leadership Connection - a network of alumnae around the globe working in a variety of fields. With the help of this college-supported program, alumnae offer internships and career mentoring. They return to campus to meet with students in and outside the classroom and serve as leaders-in-residence.

On April 18 and 19, alumnae who work in a variety of different areas returned to campus for the From Wells to Work program. The visitors included a vice president with Pitney Bowes, a vice president with J.P. Morgan & Company, and a legal recruiter.

The program addressed the job search process. Students were able to seek advice about careers, participate in mock interviews, and attend a business luncheon that emphasized personal presentation. Throughout the event, they had a chance to see how a liberal arts education translates into a profession.

Alumna Donna Maltzan says, "I interviewed five students, and it was really fun. It was rewarding for me because I could see the light bulbs turn on. In most cases, it would start out as an interview and then I would provide feedback about their interviewing techniques. Then I gave them a chance to ask questions."

Alumnae contacts helped legal recruiter Dina Johannemann find her first job shortly after graduation in 1990. "I would never have been able to make those connections had it not been for the networking. I wanted to come back for this program to repay and continue that tradition because it makes such a difference," she says.

Johannemann interviewed six students during the From Wells to Work program. "I think the interviews are an excellent way to prepare. When you're comfortable and confident about your interviewing, you interview better," she says. "After the students go through this process, and then actually start interviewing for jobs, they'll feel a little more relaxed and a little more confident."

Students who participated were enthusiastic about the program. "This is one of the things that's great about Wells. These alumnae were willing to come from far distances because of the Wells Connection. It shows that they still care about us," says Wells senior Amy Hamaker.

Senior Michele Russo says, "Most businesses would like you to have two to three years of work experience. Graduates who want to go into their fields right away might find that difficult. I think internships give us an opportunity to test different fields. Wells has taught me to be more confident in myself, and I will carry that into the future."

May 17, 1996


Pettibone House Restoration Project Receives Historic Preservation Award

Wells College has won a 1996 Historic Educational Building Award from the Preservation League of New York State for its restoration of the 19th century Pettibone House located on campus.

"The efforts which Wells College and its alumnae made to restore Pettibone House certainly deserve to be recognized," said architect Mark Thaler who was a key member of the restoration team. "The Preservation League of New York State is the foremost private preservation agency within the state." Thaler works with John G. Waite Associates, an architectural firm in Albany, New York.

The renovation was done by McGuire & Bennett, Inc. of Ithaca, New York. Work began in September 1991 and was completed by the dedication ceremony on October 3, 1992. According to Diane Hutchinson, Wells' vice president and treasurer, the total cost of the project was $1.5 million; and generous gifts from alumnae and friends of the college made it possible. Alumnae and friends also donated antiques to furnish the building in accordance with its history.

Architect John Waite, widely known in the field of historic preservation, calls Pettibone House "an architectural masterpiece, an outstanding example of 19th century Gothic Revival domestic architecture."

The Preservation League presents awards annually, and this year's competition was specifically designed to recognize outstanding efforts to preserve historic educational buildings and continue their use as educational facilities.

Pettibone House History

Pettibone House was built in 1857 for the enigmatic George Pettibone, who probably never lived there. Historical documents in the college archives speculate about his exploits as a gambler, his dealings in New York City's financial world, and his stormy marriage; but little information about his life has been substantiated.

The property was adjacent to the mansion and grounds of Henry Wells' estate in Aurora which became the campus of Wells College. Henry Wells, founder of the Wells Fargo and American Express companies, bought Pettibone House in 1869 as an addition to the college for women he had recently established, and it was first used as the home of the president.

Pettibone served primarily as a residence hall for generations of Wells students, and it also housed the college infirmary during the 1920s and 30s. The house is the backdrop for a number of ghost stories that have been a part of college lore for decades.

New state building codes in 1984 caused the college to close Pettibone as a residence hall. In 1990, the trustees announced plans for the restoration and launched a campaign to raise the funds. Alumnae interest in the future of the building that they remembered so fondly contributed to the successful drive to raise funds.

The Restoration Process

Researchers delved into the college archives for historical information that would help them restore the house to its original appearance. Partitions were removed which had divided grand rooms; layers of paint were stripped in order to find original features.

Workers restored marbleized fireplaces and replicated those that had been removed. The asphalt roof was replaced with a wood shingle roof to match the original. Additionally, much structural work was done and an elevator was installed.

Local Support for the Award

The nomination for the award was supported with strong recommendations from two local residents: Randi Shaw Zabriskie of Aurora and Ezra Cornell III of Ithaca, both of whom have a special interest in area history and Wells College.

Zabriskie graduated from Wells in 1974 and lived in Pettibone House. "The building had an intimate, homelike atmosphere not found in large residence halls," she says. "The restoration of such a beloved building stirs up memories in the hearts of many and creates new memories for the people who now work there."

Ezra Cornell, whose involvement includes teaching economics at Wells, is impressed with the historical accuracy of the renovation. He says, "The early presidents of the college conducted most of their business in Pettibone's first floor study. I have no doubt that the room's spectacular view of Cayuga Lake provided a great deal of inspiration. The building now houses vital college offices that will also benefit from this setting."

The awards ceremony will be held at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York on Saturday, June 8 during the Preservation League's 23rd annual conference. A Wells College representative will be present.

Pettibone currently houses the Office of Alumnae Affairs, Career Development Services, the Office of Development, and the Office of Public Relations.

May 3, 1996 


Commencement Speaker Will Discuss Women, Values, and Public Life

Constance H. Buchanan, author and scholar of religion at Harvard University, will be the Commencement speaker at Wells College on Saturday, May 25. The ceremony begins at 10:00 a.m. outside Macmillan Hall.

Her address, about women, values, and public life, will be based on her book entitled Choosing to Lead: Women and the Crisis of American Values, recently published by Beacon Press. The book presents a new analysis of the relationship between women, motherhood, and the welfare of American society. It argues that women have an important role to play in leading the nation out of its values crisis and explores the barriers - practical, historical, and especially moral - they must overcome to do so.

Among Buchanan's other publications are "The Anthropology of Vitality and Decline: The Episcopal Church in a Changing Society," in Episcopal Women: Spirituality and Commitment in an American Mainline Denomination (1992) and "The Fall of Icarus: Gender, Religion, and the Aging Society," in Shaping New Vision: Gender and Values in American Culture (1977). She is co-editor with Clarissa Atkinson and Margaret Miles of Shaping New Vision: Gender and Values in American Culture and Immaculate and Powerful: The Female in Sacred Image and Social Reality (1985).

Buchanan is currently associate dean of the Harvard Divinity School where she has been on the faculty since 1977. She is also founding director of Harvard's internationally recognized women's studies in religion program which supports pioneering research and teaching on the interaction of religion, gender, and culture in societies around the globe.

She is a participant in the inter-faculty initiative at Harvard on Rethinking America's Commitment to Children and in the Divinity School's program on renewing civil society. In 1992, she received the Abigail Adams Award in honor of outstanding Massachusetts women from the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus.

After studying for two years at Wells, Buchanan went on to earn her bachelor of arts degree from Barnard College and her master of arts degree from Brown University.

April 26, 1996


Wells Students Present Findings at National Conference

Five Wells College students and one faculty member participated in the 10th National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), at the University of North Carolina at Asheville April 18-20. This is the eighth NCUR conferences in which Wells has participated.

More than 1,900 undergraduate students and 400 college faculty members from across the United States gathered for the conference.

The conference is a celebration of undergraduate academic scholarship and achievement, where the students have an opportunity to present the results of their research to a national audience. According to conference organizers, 86% of the students at the conference plan to attend graduate or professional school.

Wells student Cheryl Byrne, a senior biology concentration major from Aurora, New York, presented her work on "The Effect of a Covalently Attached Synergistic Anion on Iron-Release from Transferrin." This work was performed under the direction of Christopher T. Bailey, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the biological and chemical sciences major program at Wells.

Yvonne Lavalley, a senior chemistry concentration major from Middleborough, Massachusetts, presented research on "The Influence of Chain Length on Liquid Crystal Properties for a Series of N-Alkylpridinium Bromides." This work was done under the direction of Linda S. Schwab, professor of chemistry at Wells.

Katherine Lowe, a senior political science major from Liverpool, New York, gave a presentation entitled, "When Sex is a Felony: The Continued Dispute Over the Right to Privacy." This work was done under the direction of Nan M. DiBello, instructor in political science at Wells.

Christina Porter, a senior philosophy major from Akron, Ohio, presented her paper on "Violence in American Film." This work was done under the supervision of Rosemary Welsh, associate professor of art history at Wells.

Stephanie Walker, a senior biological and chemical sciences concentration major from Groton, New York, presented research done with Professors Margaret Flowers and Schwab on "The Isolation and Taxonomic Significance of Bioactive Cryptic Alkaloids from Amaryllidaceae and Related Families."

Professor Bailey attended the conference with the students and participated in the Undergraduate Research Network Symposia, a forum for faculty discussions. He is a member of the Council on Undergraduate Research.

Funds for Wells' participation in this year's conference were provided through a grant to the college's Presidential Discretionary Fund by the Hewlett-Mellon Foundation.

Undergraduate Research at Wells

Undergraduate research in the sciences has a long and distinguished history at Wells. The research experience allows each student to apply what she has learned in the classroom to an original problem in collaboration with faculty. This experience gives students an edge in graduate school and professional involvement.

At Wells all students are encouraged to work on research projects. Several of the college's science programs require original student research from all of its majors. Students regularly present their research findings at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research and other national conferences.

About the Conference

The University of North Carolina at Asheville started the conference in 1987 with 400 participants. The conference then moved to a different U.S. campus each year, returning to UNCA for its 10th anniversary. What makes the conference so remarkable is its sole focus on undergraduates, providing students the chance to present results of their original research.

According to conference organizers, the academic disciplines with the largest number of presentations this year were biology, chemistry, psychology, physics, literature, and history. 

April 26, 1996


American Book Award Winner Gives Book Arts Center Lecture

The Renaissance literary figure Aldus Manutius who invented the prototype of the modern printed book, the "pocket-sized" book, and inexpensive classics was the subject of a lecture by author and editor Helen Barolini at Wells College on the evening of Wednesday, April 24.

The event is one in a series of semi-annual lectures offered by the college's Book Arts Center and was made possible, in part, through the generosity of Susan Garretson Swartzburg, Wells Class of 1960, and the Garretson family.

Helen Barolini is the author of Aldus and His Dream Book, published in 1992 by Italica Press, Inc. Her lecture presented biographical facts, a historical context, and personal reflections on this important literary figure.

Aldus Manutius lived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and founded the Aldine press around 1490 in Venice. Building upon the innovations made by German printers, he revolutionized the art and industry of printing. During his lifetime, he published approximately 132 editions of books; the average size of an edition was 1,000 copies.

He printed the first editions ever of the Greek classics. "Aldus revived the classics while opening the way to democratic learning," said Barolini. In measuring his historical significance, she called him "a kingpin in the diffusion of Western civilization."

Barolini said he also published "modern classics" by Dante and Petrarch as well as travel books. Aldus pioneered the printing of smaller books which could be carried easily and conveniently and lowered the cost of books.

A central part of the lecture was her discussion of the Aldine edition of Francesco Colonna's Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, considered by many to be the most beautiful book published in the Renaissance. "This and the Gutenberg Bible are the masterpieces of printing," said Barolini.

In addition to his contributions to the evolution of the modern book, Aldus invented italic type, and many type designs that still exist today.

Speculating on the subject of literature in the Information Age, Barolini said she believes books still have an important role. "Have you ever tried reading a novel on a computer screen?" she asked the audience. If Aldus Manutius were alive today, she believes he would be enthusiastic about the Internet. "His great concern was the expansion of knowledge. He would agree with the electronic age because it opens new channels for the dissemination of learning."

Barolini, a member of the Wells College Class of 1947, is also the author of two novels, Umbertina (1979) and Love in the Middle Ages (1986). In 1985 she won an American Book Award for editing The Dream Book: An Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women.

About the Wells College Book Arts Center

The Book Arts Center is a teaching and publishing component of Wells College that houses the Victor Hammer Press and continues Hammer's work in the literary arts. Hammer is recognized by the printing and book arts communities as one of the great type founders and printers of the 20th century.

Fleeing the Nazi encroachment of his native Austria in 1939, Hammer came to the United States where he joined the Wells faculty as a professor of fine arts and established the Wells College Press. He remained at Wells until his retirement in 1948.

Hammer was an architect, painter, musician, type founder, and printer. He did some of his most important work at Wells - cutting the punches for and casting his American Unical Type, which has had widespread usage throughout the world since its introduction in the 1940s. 

April 26,1996


Summer Leadership Adventure for Girls

Wells College will help prepare young women for leadership this summer by offering an outdoor adventure camp for girls in grades seven through 12.

Leadership Adventure for Girls '96 provides the opportunity for girls to experience the value of teamwork and expand their leadership abilities while fostering self-esteem.

The young women will explore leadership through outdoor, team-based activities and interactive workshops on the Wells campus. Each of the programs and activities will focus on girls supporting and helping each other.

Campers will participate in daily waterfront activities, wilderness experiences, orienteering, and hiking. A full day will be spent mastering the ropes course. In addition, fine and performing arts sessions and evening workshops will stimulate creativity and lead each camper to develop new interests and discover talents.

Two one-week sessions are offered; the fee for a one-week session is $450. The first session is held July 7-13, and the second session is held July 14-20. Campers have an option of enrolling in both sessions for a fee of $800. A limited number of scholarships are available.

For more information, a brochure, and application materials write to Director of Leadership Adventure for Girls, Dean of Students Office, Wells College, Aurora, New York 13026, call 315/364-3441, or e-mail leaders@wells.edu.

Wells College is located on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake in the heart of the Finger Lakes resort region of New York State. Leadership Adventure for Girls takes place on the 360-acre campus which provides a variety of settings for the experience - from classrooms to lake to woods. Campers stay in the college residence halls, and meals are catered by Marriott Corporation in the beautiful Tudor-style dining hall. Campers have supervised access to all college facilities.

April 26, 1996


Wells College Receives Grant From Hearst Foundation

Aurora, New York... Wells College has received a $35,000 grant from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation to endow the William Randolph Hearst scholarship.

The scholarship will be used to support the Women in Lifelong Learning (WILL) program. WILL students are those age 24 and older. Students attend Wells both part time and full time and must meet the same degree requirements and follow the same program as traditional age students.

April 26, 1996

In the April Issue of the Wells College Express: 


A New Resident at Taylor House. President Ryerson gave birth to her third daughter on March 28. She is the first president of a women's college to give birth while in office, and in this article she talks candidly about the experience of balancing pregnancy with the challenges of a demanding career. A Special Staff Report

Working Together. A collaborative leadership model guides the six members of the senior administration. In this piece they discuss the challenges facing the college today and institutional strengths. By Sue Frackelton Jones '78

The Senior Thesis. This extensive report looks at the past, present, and future of a distinctive academic tradition at Wells. Professor Cynthia Koepp explains how the thesis process works in the history department; the history of the Koch Prize for the Best Senior essay is presented; and Koch Prize winners offer commentary. By Kimberly Beach '97, Sue Frackelton Jones '78, and De Villo Sloan

Career Connections. Nancy Karpinski, career services director, talks about ways alumnae can help current students make the transition from college to work. The interview also includes information about how career services can help alumnae at different stages of professional development. By Brigid Sheehy '92


From the Archives. Matt Swingly and Pleasant Rowland '62 have assembled a photo narrative representing all decades of history at Wells which is on permanent display in Macmillan Hall. A sampling of these photos, some never before published, are the subject of this issue's photo essay and cover.


Reflections. In her regular column, President Ryerson writes about a partnership between Wells and the Women's College Coalition that is bringing national attention to gender equity in education.

What's New at Wells. News about the elementary education program, the hit production of Nunsense, and the "working woman's poet" are included in this section.

Transitions. Jeanne Dalton '89 profiles new trustees Stephen Zabriskie and Ronald A. LeGrand.

AWARE News. Susan Raith Sloan '86 introduces the Henry Wells Scholars of the Class of 2000.

Arts Forum. An acclaimed sculptor is this year's Beckman lecturer. Plus a poem by Cathy Clark Gibbons '69.


News from Wells women across the world along with responses to the question, "What campus space is connected to your favorite Wells memory?"

April 5, 1996


Wells College Receives Grant from TRW

A $5,100 grant from TRW Transportation Electronics Division in Auburn will help Wells College improve science education for young women.

Wells, in conjunction with a consortium of small colleges, has developed a chemistry curriculum that is more "friendly" to women than traditional teaching methods. The grant will help the college share these ideas with area schools.

According to Wells Professor of Chemistry Linda Schwab, "We believe that if the approach to teaching chemistry is more discovery-oriented, if you pose a question or have a question posed to you, and you go out and attempt to answer it yourself - then the process of learning becomes much more exciting." She believes this approach to teaching science is particularly beneficial to young women.

Wells is one of 15 hub colleges where area high school teachers can work on developing and adapting experiments to their own schools. With access to the colleges, the teachers receive the support of scientists and find tools and experience to create curricular activities that will ignite the enthusiasm of their students.

The sciences have been dominated by males, and Professor Schwab says that it is vitally important to snare the interest of potential women scientists early in their high school studies. "The number of occupations in the sciences will continue to increase in the coming decades. At the same time, there is a projected shortfall of people who are qualified for these jobs. If women self-select themselves out of the field, the future will be grim."

March 29, 1996 


Wells Adds Elementary Education Certification

Last summer, Wells received approval from the State of New York to offer certification in elementary education. The college now has an elementary education program rooted in the liberal arts and community service.

Students pursuing provisional elementary teaching certification at Wells select a major from the college's liberal arts curriculum and minor in elementary education. They are candidates for a bachelor of arts degree. The college also continues to offer certification in secondary education.

While very much a part of the college's liberal arts tradition, the program is field based and requires students to spend much of their time in a school setting with children, says Dr. Bird Stasz, Wells' director of elementary education.

"From the beginning, students spend time in the college classroom learning methods and time in the elementary classroom practicing these methods, enabling them to connect theory and practice almost immediately," she says.

An emphasis on social responsibility and community service is a strong component of the Wells program. "Community service is no longer just volunteerism - it's volunteerism on top of career, family, and many other responsibilities. Students in our program learn that it is their responsibility to give back to the community," says Stasz.

The program allows students to work in a variety of area schools including public, private, urban, and rural settings. The Peachtown School, a private elementary school located on the Wells campus, is a popular site for Wells students. Additionally, there are many opportunities to participate in internships for academic credit in schools across the nation and in other countries.

For more information about the teaching certification programs at Wells College, call 1-800/952-9355.

February 29, 1996


Teams Compete in New Women's College Conference

Wells College has joined the Atlantic Women's Colleges Conference (NCAA Division III) for the 1996-97 academic year. Beginning in fall 1996, Wells will compete against other member schools in field hockey, soccer, swimming, and lacrosse.

Other women's colleges that are members of AWCC are Hood College, Frederick, Md.; Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, Va.; College of Notre Dame, Baltimore, Md.; Trinity College, Washington, D.C.; and Wilson College, Chambersburg, Penn.

The AWCC is committed to promoting the highest level of excellence for women in academics and athletics through organized regular and post-season competition among its members.

In addition to competing against teams in the AWCC, Wells teams will continue to compete against schools in New York State and will remain a member of the New York State Women's College Athletic Association.

February 29, 1996


Two Trustees Named

Ronald A. LeGrand, director of Minority Affairs and Business Development for Nabisco, Inc., recently became a member of the Wells College Board of Trustees.

LeGrand earned his law degree at Boston College and has done extensive work for the U.S. government as counsel for the Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse. He has also served as counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Government Operations.

He is a member of many organizations including the American Bar Association, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the Board of Directors and Board of Advisors for the Homeless Children's Tutorial Project, and is co-founder of the Boston College Law School's Third World Law Journal.

He says his most meaningful experience on Capitol Hill was as Chief Investigator and Counsel to the Judiciary Committee; LeGrand headed up the investigation into the background and credentials of Judge Robert Bork during his proposed nomination for the Supreme Court.

Continuing a tradition of family participation since Wells College's inception, Stephen L. Zabriskie has accepted the position of college trustee.

He holds a degree in English from Ithaca College. A writer by vocation, he brings a wealth of professional and community involvement to his new responsibilities at Wells.

He served as town supervisor for the Town of Ledyard, New York from 1981 to 1993. He has also been a member of the board of the Cayuga Lake National Bank, a director of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Cayuga County, and a trustee of Auburn Memorial Hospital.

Zabriskie says he is interested in the college properties and how Wells relates to the village in a historical context.

February 29, 1996


Young Women of Color Invited to Participate In Wells College Program

Aurora, New York... Wells College is seeking 10th and 11th grade high school women for participation in the spring session of 21st & Wells - a pre-college planning program for African-American, Latina, Asian, and Native American young women to be held on Thursday, April 11 and Friday, April 12.

Twenty-first & Wells participants will stay overnight on the Wells campus and experience academic life firsthand. Workshops offering valuable information on college planning and life as a college student will be presented to the high school guests by Wells students, faculty and staff.

High school students from Cayuga, Onondaga, Ontario, Seneca, Tompkins, and Wayne counties and the cities of Auburn, Corning, Elmira, Ithaca, Rochester, and Syracuse are encouraged to apply. Young women who meet the outlined criteria will be accepted into this free program.

Applications are available at area high schools or from Cynthia Oliver, Project Coordinator, Macmillan Hall, Wells College, Aurora, New York 13026. Telephone: 1-800-952-9355, or e-mail admissions@wells.edu. The application deadline is Friday, March 22.

The 21st & Wells program is funded by a grant from the Christian A. Johnson Foundation of New York City.

February 18, 1996


New Book Explores Formation of Identity in Latina and Latino Youth

Aurora, New York... A book by Wells College Professor Vic Muñoz, Where "Something Catches": Work, Love, and Identity in Youth, was recently published by the State University of New York Press in their Identities in the Classroom series.

The book explores the formation of identity in Latina and Latino youth. Using an innovative framework for her study, Muñoz interviewed youths from different regions of Puerto Rico about work, love, community, alternatives, and the support that they have been given.

According to Deborah P. Britzman of York University, "In a language that is at once Muñoz's own - even as she acknowledges and extends the languages of others (notably women theorists of color, artists, poets, and photographers) - this study maps that most difficult and vulnerable terrain: identity as cultural, social, historical, and unique."

Vic Muñoz is assistant professor of psychology at Wells College. She earned her B.A. and M.Ed. from the University of Massachusetts and her C.A.S. and Ed.D. from Harvard Univeristy. Also a photographer, the text includes documentary photographs by Muñoz.

Professor Muñoz is available for interviews.

February 12, 1996