Category Archive for: ‘Uncategorized’

MLK Day and Davidson: Time to Reflect

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John Gadsby Chapman depicts Pocahontas, wearing white, being baptized Rebecca by Anglican minister Alexander Whiteaker in Jamestown, Virginia; this event is believed to have taken place in 1613 or 1614. (Wikimedia Commons)

Yesterday I attended “MLK Seminar Series: Racial Framing in Disney Films and Social Media.”  Joshua Arthur ’12, Tommy Chaisuesomboon ’17, Elizabeth Lackey ’17, Craig Stevens ’17, Joi Stevens ’17 and Zach Zapatero ’17 examined how racial framing is perpetuated in Disney children’s films, as well as in social media.

Kids do see color, so it’s important to talk to them early, they said. I recalled Uncle Remus and his story about the tarbaby, from a long-ago kids’ movie matinee at Thruway Shopping Center in Winston-Salem. What a fun story for six-year-olds of any background—and at the same time what potentially harmful stereotypes if left unexplored for their fullest inventory of meaning. I’m grateful for a strong sense of exploration of context and fairness that I gained from family, from schoolteachers, and, notably, from my own—ongoing!—Davidson education.

Pocahontas, Walt Disney Pictures, 1995

Tough questions are the stock in trade for fully exploring life, so kudos to these students for bringing some tough ones forward in a room packed with interested students, faculty, staff and community members.

How much of Disney’s treatment of skin color and race is conscious? How much is unconscious? Where is the line?  How have such lines shifted and changed, and not changed, over the years? Where do colorism and sexism meet in film? In other, emerging media? Important questions all, ones that will never be definitively answered.

But worth a second thought. And a third, and fourth….

They’re Ba-a-a-ack! Spring Semester 2014: The Inundation Commences

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Students have arrived for the start of spring semester, and a full calendar beckons, academically and beyond.

Rob Hagerty ’15: Blue skies ahead!

“It’s the end of my laziness,” Rob Hagerty ’15 of Chevy Chase, Md., says with equal parts wistfulness and anticipation. “It’s the end of boredom on the one hand and the beginning of being inundated!” As a hall counselor, he’s enjoying the excitement of freshmen on his hall as they shuffle rooms, start a fresh class schedule, and in a few cases lament hometown-honey breakups over winter break. Rob is struck by the cohesion of Davidson’s ever-evolving freshman hall experience: “The guys are having a good time getting reconnected. They have a very real sense of camaraderie. There are not many cliques that I see, and there’s nobody who seems like the odd man out. People are doing their own little things, but they’re having fun together.”

Belk First East: Think, think, think.

A full campus calendar helps with that. Herewith, a sampling of just a few imminent highlights open to the public:

• On Friday, the popular “Musical Interludes” series kicks off the season with the first of many free Friday lunchtime concerts in Tyler-Tallman Hall at 12:30 p.m.

• Next Tuesday, an 11 a.m. lecture in Tyler-Tallman, “Public Dissonance,” takes a look at music through the lens of gender and sexuality studies.

• Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., Artist Associate in Piano Cynthia Lawing offers a concert in Tyler-Tallman.

• In athletics, hoops and other sports are in full swing. Black Out Belk on Thursday at 7 p.m. as  the men’s basketball team takes on Elon. On Saturday starting at 1 p.m., Wildcat swimmers take on Gardner-Webb at the Baker Sports Complex Cannon Pool.

• Davidson celebrates Martin Luther King Day on Monday with a full range of activities, highlighted on Tuesday at 11 a.m. in Duke Family Performance Hall with a talk by Benjamin T. Jealous, immediate past president and CEO of the NAACP.

• On Jan. 30, James Barrat ’83 will speak about his documentary film career at 11 a.m. in Lilly Gallery and at 7 p.m. in Hance Auditorium about his wave-making new book Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era. Check out his press page.

A few more teaser topics from January: Wrestling, tennis, Sochi, lunar new year, an Ai Weiwei exhibit, Dorothy Allison, the Reduced Shakespeare Company…. February and beyond: “Identifying Trust” with President Emeritus John Kuykendall ’59, violinist Jamie Laval, Aquila Theatre Company in Fahrenheit 451, “The History of the Universe from Beginning to End” with physics Nobel Laureate John Mather, “Dragnet Nation,” sustainable art, “Mr. Marmalade,” spring liederabend, Providence Gap

Bookmark the Davidson College calendar, and prepare to be “inundated” with good stuff!

 

Preach! Preston Davis ’06 Joins High Point University

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Rev. Preston, clickable.

A livelier nut, in all the best ways, I do not know than the Rev. Preston Davis ’06.

From his crazy (we have pictures) post-grad days as a Davidson Fellow to occasional campus sightings since, Preston’s just one of those people you’re glad to see coming.

And that’s just who you want in a college chaplain’s office (for example, see Davidson’s College Chaplain Rob Spach ’84—really, go see him; you’ll feel better about everything, I promise!) So now Preston is in the chaplain’s office at High Point University.

Congratulations to Preston—and to HPU!

Space Chat Do-Over: 4:55 p.m., MONDAY, APRIL 22!

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Technical difficulties have never kept NASA down for long, and the good folks in Houston were gracious and quick to reschedule last Friday’s event after a glitch prevented astronaut Tom Marshburn ’82 from hearing his fellow Davidsonians assembled in ye olde 900 Room. We’re on for this coming Monday afternoon!

Astronaut Tom Marshburn ’82

Davidson College will host a live NASA downlink from the International Space Station (ISS) between 4:15 and 5:30 p.m., Monday, April 22, in the C. Shaw Smith 900 Room of the Alvarez College Union. This is rescheduled from a previous event that had technical difficulties. Attendees will have the opportunity to question alumnus Astronaut Thomas Marshburn, M.D. ’82, about his experiences aboard the ISS, 230 miles above Earth.

The event is free and open to the public but seating is limited. Doors will close at 4:45 p.m. and the half-hour question and answer session will begin at approximately 4:55 p.m. The session will be simulcast to an overflow area outside of the 900 Room as well as online at http://www.davidson.edu/live.

Marshburn is currently on his second space flight. He completed his first flight in July 2009 on Space Shuttle Endeavour. Just three-and-a-half months ago he launched again aboard Soyuz TMA-07M from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He is serving as flight engineer for Expedition 35, and will return to Earth in May.

Marshburn also served as a flight surgeon at Johnson Space Center, co-chair of medical operations for the Shuttle/Mir Space Program, NASA representative to the Harvard/MIT Smart Medical Systems Team of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, and lead flight surgeon and medical operations lead for Expedition 7 to the ISS.

Marshburn earned a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College as a physics major, and earned master’s degrees from the University of Virginia and University of Texas Medical Branch, and his medical degree from Wake Forest University.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.

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Links

NASA homepage

Expedition 35 Mission Summary

Current and archival Marshburn coverage on Daybook Davidson

Marshburn article in Davidson Journal

 

 

THIS WEEK—Soul of a People: David A. Taylor ’83 Discussion Forum

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Reminder that later this week, David A. Taylor ’83 will answer your questions online, beginning Wednesday. Visit the Davidson College Online Book Club to learn more!

 

Space Stuff Happens: An Imperfect Feed—With Cool Hazelnut Tricks!

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“Roomful of red and black!” by Eleanor Cross ’01. The C. Shaw Smith 900 Room as TV studio for the NASA video downlink

The downlink with Astronaut Tom Marshburn ’82 (see previous post) we’ll call a success, because if you think about it, connecting with anybody in real time from space is a freakin’ miracle. We could see and hear Tom, but in the event, our audio to him made it only from Davidson’s expertly engineered sound boards to Houston, but not all the way to the International Space Station 230 miles up. So, instead of the planned Q&A moderated by Richardson Professor of Physics Larry Cain, Tom did some cool somersaults and weightless parlor tricks with water drinking bags and his microphone and a bag of hazelnuts, and gave us a verbal tour of the ISS. He answered a few of the questions we’d sent up by e-mail data packet, from the personal (no, he doesn’t feel lonely with his crewmates right there and a regular rotation of familiar mission-control voices around the globe numerous times per space “day”) to the philosophical (a critical-thinking, liberal-arts perspective is essential for humans’ very survival, especially in light of the technologically-oriented world we live in).

Big thanks to Tom and the good folks at NASA, and Larry Cain and Tech Czar Jim Nash and his fine crew and Wendy Roberts in the Davidson President’s Office and a special shout-out to my colleague Gary Bartholomew (!) and our great Davidson IT folks and all the wonderful and good-natured Davidson students who prepared questions, and our special guests from the community… The list goes on of folks who will be looking forward to welcoming Tom back to Earth and back to campus. Tom, we want to see you do all those same tricks on the stage at the Duke Family Performance Hall! In the meantime, we’re proud of you, we’re proud for you, and we wish you safe travels at 17,500 mph all the way home!

TODAY! NASA Astronaut Tom Marshburn ’82 Downlink in Union at 4:05 p.m.!

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This morning, Astronaut Tom Marshburn, M.D. ’82 wrote me in response to a wardrobe question: “I packed my Davidson pennant and shirt into a small return package that returned safely to Earth on the Dragon.  That was my only chance to get them back home, since they can’t go with me on my Soyuz when I return…. See you later today!”

It’s okay if Tom’s not in Davidson gear for this afternoon’s livestream video downlink. Nearly 100 Davidson students have signed up to be in the 900 Room studio that Jim “Big Dog” Nash and his fine team are putting together, and many of them will doubtless be in Wildcat garb. The event’s emcee, Richardson Professor of Physics Larry Cain, will even wear a Davidson T-shirt that Tom took up on his first space flight!

There will be monitors in the overflow area on the Davis Cafe level of the Union, in addition to the livestream. The event is free and open to the public; seating is limited. Doors will close at 3:55 p.m. and the half-hour question and answer session will begin at approximately 4:05 p.m.

Links

@AstroMarshburn on Twitter

NASA homepage

Expedition 35 Mission Summary

Daybook coverage

Marshburn article in Davidson Journal

Stephen Enniss ’82 “Gone to Texas”

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Click to enlarge

Congratulations to head librarian of the Folger Shakespeare Library Stephen Enniss ’82, who has been appointed as the new director of the internationally renowned Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin.

Read all about it in the New York Times Arts Beat blog and in the UT Austin press release.

E.H. Little Library Director Emeritus Leland M. Park ’63 is so proud for his Davidson protégé! (See 2009 Davidson Journal story, right.)

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Wildcat Astronaut!

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Right on cue, NASA Astronaut Tom Marshburn ’82 and his International Space Station crewmates will fly over campus tonight, in a 230-mile-high orbital preview to this Friday’s live video downlink in the 900 Room.

It’s been fun and an honor to be in the middle of planning for the downlink event, which will also be live-streamed on the Internet (see below). Trivia tidbit: My newsroom office in the college’s Julia Johnston House on Main Street is directly below the room where Tom roomed as a sophomore!

You can sign up at the NASA site below for “Spot the Station” alerts. Here are the specs for tonight’s flyover:

Time: Tue Apr 09 8:37 PM, Visible: 4 min, Max Height: 43 degrees, Appears: W, Disappears: NE

Here are the specs for Friday’s campus event:

Davidson College will host a live NASA downlink from the International Space Station (ISS) between 3:30 p.m. and 4:35 p.m., Friday, April 12, in the C. Shaw Smith 900 Room of the Alvarez College Union. Attendees will have the opportunity to question alumnus Astronaut Thomas Marshburn, M.D. ’82, about his experiences aboard the ISS, 230 miles above Earth.

The event is free and open to the public; seating is limited. Doors will close at 3:55 p.m. and the half-hour question and answer session will begin at approximately 4:05 p.m. The session will be simulcast to an overflow area outside of the 900 Room as well as online.

A physics major, Marshburn earned a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College, master’s degrees from the University of Virginia and University of Texas Medical Branch, and a medical degree from Wake Forest University.

Previously, Marshburn served as a flight surgeon at Johnson Space Center, co-chair of medical operations for the Shuttle/Mir Space Program, NASA representative to the Harvard/MIT Smart Medical Systems Team of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, and lead flight surgeon and medical operations lead for Expedition 7 to the ISS.

Marshburn completed his first space flight in July 2009 on Space Shuttle Endeavour. On Dec. 19, 2012, he launched aboard Soyuz TMA-07M from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Marshburn is completing his second deployment to the ISS, serving as flight engineer for Expedition 35, and will return to Earth in May.

Links

NASA homepage

Expedition 35 Mission Summary

Daybo0k coverage

Marshburn article in Davidson Journal

 

 

Big Bin Strikes 11th Hour for Acceptance Letters: Coming Soon to a Mailbox Near You?

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My mailroom buddy Allen Sherrill was rolling a big bin of envelopes into the union as I was leaving the fitness center today. It was heavy, very heavy. It was so heavy it rumpled the rug. Stacks of smaller-bins of mail within the large rolling bin teetered and tottered as he made his way to the elevator. “It’s the class of 2017!” Allen crowed. I followed him and got this cellphone shot of him goofing atop the voluminous pile. The green sheets say “Hold til 3 p.m.” That, we decided, is in case some harried admission officer needed to dash across campus and snatch something back, or switch which bin it was in. A few of the red cards on the small bins of business-sized envelopes had words like “Deep Wait” and “Deny.” But, oh, those bins of large, flat envelopes headed out around the nation and the world with their color glossy admission packets and their ecru bar-and-diamond stationery upon which is printed a sentiment doubtless commencing, “Congratulations!”—oh, those? Well, we’ll be seeing a scientifically and artistically well-honed percentage of those letters’ recipients on campus next year. Welcome in advance, Class of 2017!

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