Category Archive for: ‘Alumni Beat’
Heartfelt remarks were shared to great good applause all around, and gentle, loving fun was poked at the inimitable idosyncracies of Clarkness. Cole Barton, the C. Louise Nelson Professor and Chair of Psychology, even shared an ode to deck-shoed socklessness à la Clark, written especially for the occasion. President Quillen marveled at how beloved Clark Ross has remained, even in the face of the “no” answers he’s doubtless had to give to almost everyone in that room at some point in the last decade and a half.
Then Clark himself sauntered to the podium, hands in pockets. He told stories on himself and his own mentors and colleagues across campus—Ratliff, Zimmerman, Nelson, Spencer, Williams, Kuykendall. He tipped his figurative hat to students through the years, now alumni. And then he brought it all back to four pillars of Davidson that he sees as solid as the pillars of Chambers itself: faith, reason, honor, service.
“Those four things have never really changed,” he said. “The people have changed, and the manifestations have changed, and will change, and need to. But the underlying faith, reason, honor and service remain.”
Cheers, our friend! We’re glad you’ll be with us in the economics department for many years to come!
This from Gabrielle Wallace ’12 speaks—volumes—for itself.
An Old Man’s Wish and a Wildcat Favor
I cannot count the number of times older alumni mentioned the strong connection that we graduates share, and how the Davidson bond follows you wherever you go. “Great,” I thought to myself, “Real handy when I’ll be 3,000 miles away.” After graduating last May, I moved back home to the West Coast. Yet as fate would have it, a Wildcat was about to make history not those thousands of miles away in North Carolina, but in my own back yard. And not just any Wildcat, but Stephen Curry.
I found out about Stephen gearing up to break the 3-point single-season shot record the morning of the game. The very first thing in the morning, in fact, with my father rapping at my door and shouting how we needed to buy tickets immediately. I had to rub my eyes to realize I wasn’t dreaming, because I couldn’t remember the last time Dad had urged me out of bed.
My dad had been diagnosed with liver cancer on August 15, 2012 and given approximately one to three months to live. By the grace of God (and some holistic medicine), he had been outliving the doctor’s expectations by several months. However his health still steadily declined, and he moved in with me on his 73rd birthday. Some days he would not leave the bed, his liver cancer now also in his lymph nodes, a lung, and spine draining all of his energy. Yet there was my father (in mid April) with a vitality in his voice I hadn’t heard since before his terrible diagnosis. I opened my eyes to see him peeking his head in my bedroom door, listening how much he wanted to watch Stephen beat our home team, the Portland Trail Blazers. So, around noon, we splurged on some good seats for the 7:30 game. He was so excited he could hardly sit still, which was saying something for Dad these days. And suddenly an idea hit me, and I decided to put this Davidson connection to the test.
The first person I contacted was my friend Meg Jarrell: she lived across the hall from me freshman year on Second Belk, and as an athlete got to know Stephen herself. I told her that it would mean the world to me if he could grant us a short hello, and wondered if she could get a hold of him. It was 12:30 and I had 7 hours until tip-off to make it happen. She suggested I e-mail Bob McKillop, so I sent him an e-mail explaining my situation. I got no reply. After clinging to my iPhone for four hours, I finally let the crazy idea go, and went to run an errand. I came back home to a missed call and froze in shock as Bryant Barr’s voice came through my voicemail. Coach McKillop had forwarded my e-mail to Bryant, who had spoken with Stephen, and suddenly I was being offered post-game visitor’s passes and courtside tickets.
I decided to keep it a surprise for my dad until we got to the arena, and asked if we could wait a minute in the lobby before sitting down. Bryant and his friend (a friend who was offering up his courtside tickets for us) kindly explained to my father that he would not be sitting in section 121, row R, but would be sitting floor-level, watching the game from mere feet away. It was a moment I’ll never forget: realization and pure gratitude filling my father’s face as tears swept over mine. The rest, as basketball fans across the nation saw, was history.
Dad was elated to meet Stephen and, though I had to support his weight as we walked slowly up the stairs and out of the arena, he claimed he was so happy he felt he was floating on air. And I realized, 3,000 miles away, that my Davidson connection had never felt stronger.
Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield handed over control of the International Space Station yesterday to Expedition 36 command, as Canadian Hadfield, Russian Roman Romanenko and Davidson College Wildcat Astronaut Tom Marshburn ’82 prepare to close the hatch this afternoon at 3:50 p.m. and return to Earth.
But first, Expedition 35/36 posted what’s being billed as the first music video from space, with Hadfield rocking revised lyrics in honor of their pending trip. Brilliant! Safe travels home, gentlemen, and, as the 1969 David Bowie single says, “May God’s love be with you….”
As this is posted, the video has recorded more than a million views on YouTube.
Since Wildcat NASA Astronaut Tom Marshburn ’82′s conversations from space to the 900 Room, we’ve spotted him flying over Lake Norman several times at dawn or dusk, sun glinting off the International Space Station 230 miles up at 175,000 mph.
Now hear this, just in: NASA will broadcast live coverage of his expedition’s return to Earth May 12-14.
This just in from my colleague Anna Prushinski, maven of all things Steph:
“Regional SI cover is… Who else? Comes out Thursday but probably nowhere near here. Anyone have a west coast friend?”
In case you missed the This American Life episode earlier this month in which Benjamin Gilmer, M.D. ’92 tells his tale of two Dr. Gilmers to radio host Ira Glass, click image to hear or read all about it.
Updated: news story on J.P. from WSOC
J.P. Craven ’11, Wildcat baseball alumnus, was injured in yesterday’s bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon. The latest word is that he is recovering following surgery.
J.P. wrote this piece his senior year, and all of us at Davidson reflect this same sense of team spirit and goodwill back to him and his family now, as to all those affected by the bombings.
“The guys on the team are very close and their friendships stay strong forever,” says my colleague Susan Cooke, wife of Head Baseball Coach Dick Cooke. “We are all pulling for him!”
Okay, I made my Annual Fund gift early, to help meet the current five-day, $300,000 challenge. Sometimes I dilly-dally until June 30 just to see my collegial friends the fundraisers sweat (they’re even more highstrung than I am, come June), but since we have our division retreat tomorrow, I figured it could behoove me to play nice and give early and, what the heck, give the ol’ fundraising horn a toot to boot.
I’ll keep to myself the exact breakdown of my quite modest gift (“It’s about participation!” R Me), except to admit I parceled a bit to the unrestricted fund, which I think pays my salary, and then to say that I designated the lion’s share to The Davidson Trust. I know these kids. I love these kids. I see every day how the Trust benefits them, benefits all Davidson students from every background, and thus benefits this school we all love, have loved, or will love, from oldest alumnus to the undecided prospect who will be here Friday for Decision Davidson.
After four years as a student and nearly 12 as a staffer, I can tell you Davidson is the same in all the important ways and changing fast in all the important ways. Nobody knows exactly what that will mean tomorrow, but what a great base of operations and touchstone for us all.
“Life is a journey. Time is a river. The door is ajar.” —Jim Butcher, Dead Beat
In a time when death has been moving prominently in my circles on campus and beyond, I found some strange, hard comfort in reporting and writing a 50th-anniversary story about the college’s Humanities Program, which for me felt so full of life and memory as I approached my own half-century marker.
“Humes” was born the same year I was, so the program and I were both 18 when I ventured unsuspectingly into a Gilgamesh lecture in September 1981. Two very academic years later, I emerged with a deep sense of the broad sweep of my own Western culture in the world. It was a very personal and at the same time a very universal view of things as they are. A broad, deep view represents perhaps the essence of the liberal arts—the word “liberal” springing from the root word for “freedom” and the word “art” harking back to “fit together, join.” Thirty years on, I still subscribe to this very personal, very universal view of humanity through the humanities.
For the Humes program itself, I first thank Max Polley, professor of religion, now emeritus. Max “The Ax” was my freshman advisor and Humes professor then. One day he convinced me, of little faith and flagging in spirit after a disheartening first term, to stick with it. I did. Max lives at The Pines at Davidson now, where I recently visited him and other founding fathers of the Humes program: Sam Maloney (religion), George Labban (Greek) and Dick Cole (English).
With varying degrees of firmity, in age as in youth, all four men were in fine form when Bill Giduz and I went to take their picture and interview them in late February.
I had never formally met Cole before, but was immediately drawn to his quiet, sharp, humble, gentlemanly humor. He touched on a story in passing about his time as a World War II cryptographer. In passing, mind you, he touched on this grand adventure, just one out of a lifetime of them, his pages of the divine human comedy. What panache, I thought, what class and wealth of spirit still. Natty dresser, too.
A week later, Cole got a hard diagnosis. On March 23, he died.
“Gone on ahead,” is the best euphemism I’ve ever heard for dying, one I learned from President Emeritus Sam Spencer. “Gone on ahead” places everyone and everything in its proper context, which is to say in the fullness of time—and maybe even the fullness of culture if you squint just right for that very personal, very universal view of humanity through the humanities.
All this to say thanks. Thanks, Dick, for sharing your life, so well-lived, in such a meaningful way. Thanks, Max and Sam and George, for continuing to do so during the time we’re here together. George, down the hall in the healthcare wing—his door is ajar— watching very loud commercials of very pretty gals on a very large television…. Sam Maloney, in shoutin’ good form as he plans a solo cross-country auto trip for his 89th birthday…. Max, in customary dry, good-humored spirits as he cares for his beloved wife Jackie, companion for two camping trips across Europe with small children, and so much more.
So much more.
Life is a journey. Time is a river. The door is ajar.
Read more in the Davidson Journal print edition, coming very soon to a mailbox near you. Click here for the online version of the story, with the caveat that the photo slideshow linked at the bottom of that page is still in refinement.