• Mark Your Calendar with Exclamation Points! Campus Events Spring Forward with a World of Possibilities


    The first day of classes after spring break can feel a tad sluggish for students, and the rest of us, as we hitch up our bloomers and look down the final stretch of the semester. Subtract an hour of sleep for Daylight Savings Time lag, and even more coffee may be desired….

    Well, not this particular Monday, when all that’s required is exclamation points. Today, both men’s and women’s Wildcat hoopsters are playing Southern Conference championship games in Asheville! Here we go, Wildcats, here we go!

    But wait! That’s not all with the exclamation points! People, get ready! It’s the Davidson College Campus Calendar, offering a panoply of possibilities, some things old, some things new, something for everybody on Earth and then some.

    Click for article.

    Out of This World—It’s been a treat to converse by e-mail with Statesville native and Davidson Wildcat astronaut Tom Marshburn, M.D. ’82, who is on a five-month deployment to the International Space Station. I’ve even waved to him as he and his crewmates flashed across the twilit Mooresville sky one recent evening. Sign up here for NASA Spot the Station alerts. And this just in: Next month, Tom will converse directly with Davidsonians in a live downlink from the International Space Station on the afternoon of Friday, April 12 between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. EDT. Mark your calendar now and full details TBA.

    Soul Writing—The word “soul” feels rare these days. But it is perhaps the single perfect word to call a reader’s attention into Soul of a People: The WPA Writers’ Project Uncovers Depression America by David A. Taylor ’83, currently featured on the Davidson College Online Book Club. Get a copy today and begin reading—and watch the Smithsonian Channel documentary, also linked at the book club page. Mark your calendar for a campus-based event on this one, too: David will join us online at the book club page for discussion Wednesday through Saturday, April 17–20, 2013!

    This Week—Taking a look at our regularly scheduled calendar just for this week, I spy a Libertarian lecture on Wednesday, a clarinet recital Thursday and a lunchtime Musical Interludes concert on Friday. Also, Friday and Saturday men’s baseball, Saturday women’s tennis and a Sunday afternoon classical music concert.

    Next week—Guys and Dolls opens, men wrestle, art opens at the Van Every/Smith Galleries, Passion Pit plays Belk Arena, and on and on.

    Remember to check back early and often at the Davidson College Campus Calendar!

  • A Zoom with a View: Lake Norman from Earth Orbit


    Update: NASA says, Wave to Tom tonight!

    Time: Mon Feb 25 7:56 PM, Visible: 3 min, Max Height: 59 degrees, Appears: NW, Disappears: WSW
    This just in, to Ground Control from Dr. Tom:

    Hi John –

    Just wanted to send a picture of Davidson from space.  We saw a beautifully clear day Sunday over North Carolina, so I pulled out the 400mm lens and started taking pictures all around Lake Norman.  I’ll keep taking pictures anytime we fly over.  At five miles per second, North Carolina goes by fast!  But it’s always a joy to see all of you.

    All the best from ISS,



  • Davidson Wildcat in Space: A Rainy Monday Means Nothing at 17,500 Miles Per Hour


    This just in from Tom Marshburn ’82, orbiting Earth far above a rainy Monday, on the International Space Station:

    Hello John!  How are you doing?  I’ve been tracking our orbital path daily, looking for a flyover of the Piedmont area, but recently it’s been rare, at least while the crew is awake.  The inclination of our orbit and rotation of the Earth under us dictate that we pass over the same spot on Earth at the same time of day only every 60 days – we call these two-month intervals our ‘seasons.’ I did get a glimpse of the East Coast as we tracked down the Midwest a couple of nights ago, and it looked like you were having a clear night.

    Work is going well and the time is rushing by.  I can’t believe we’re already over 1/3 of the way through the mission.  We’re completely adapted to the Station environment now, and have been very busy.  The work week seems to only have a Monday and a Friday, with a couple of hours in-between.  And week before last we set a record for number of hours of research support.  It’s incredible how the control centers around the world can weave such a complex schedule and keep so many experiments running simo.

    Chances to catch more than just a glimpse out the window are rare, and the sights of Earth get more astounding as our eyes become better trained at picking out details.  We’ve begun to view the Earth, I think, as an interstellar visitor might, with hues, atmospheric conditions, coastlines, and geologic formations taking the place of borders or place names.  The red mottled desert of Australia, granite of Eastern Canada, deep misty green of India, and of course the Eastern US Piedmont, are all immediately recognizable.

    The six of us are happy and healthy, and the Station is running well.  This week we undocked one of our cargo ships, emptied of it’s supplies, so it can de-orbit and incinerate on re-entry, leaving room for another ship launching next week to bring more supplies and experiments.  So we’ll have enough to keep ourselves, our ship, and the laboratories running and productive for some time.

    Please say hello to everyone at Davidson for me, and all the best from space!


  • This Sunday, February 10: Celebrating the Joy of Dodger the Dog!


    Dodger, July 2010. Photo by Anna Prushinski.

    A huge “Thank you!” to the many, many friends of Dodger near and far who have rallied kind thoughts and prayers of strength and love after his death Jan. 24. Some of you, I only even know because he introduced us. Good dog!

    This Sunday, there will be a celebration of Dodger’s life at 12 noon at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 102 Fairview Rd., Mooresville, N.C. 28117. All are welcome.

    Afterward on this college campus of friends that he also loved best of all places on the planet, friends of Dodger will gather informally at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the cafe-level fireplace in the Alvarez College Union to share favorite Dodger stories and then take a walk together in his honor. All are welcome, up to and especially including canine buddies for the walking part!

  • Charles Wright ’57 Wins Bollingen Prize for Poetry


    Charles Wright ’57. Photo courtesy U.Va./Dan Addison

    Charles Wright ’57, professor emeritus at U.Va. and one of America’s most celebrated poets, has won Yale’s 2013 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry, which carries a cash award of $150,000. Well Wright ought to win prizes, I say, for helping us wonder about our oft-neglected souls with such clarity of elemental questioning:

    After it’s over, after the last gaze has shut down,
    Will I have become
    The landscape I’ve looked at and walked through
    Or the road that took me there
    or the time it took to arrive?
    —from Sprung Narratives by Charles Wright

    For more on the Bollingen and on Wright’s work, see the Yale press release and this U.Va. profile.

  • Congratulations, Full Professors!


    Dateline today, from the desk of Clark G. Ross, dean of the faculty:

    At its plenary session this morning, our Board of Trustees approved the following eight faculty members for promotion to full professor:

    Kristie Foley (Medical Humanities)

    Ann Fox (English)

    Karen Hales (Biology)

    Laurie Heyer (Mathematics)

    Barbara Lom (Biology)

    Fuji Lozada (Anthropology)

    Michael Mossinghoff (Mathematics)

    Fred Smith (Economics)

    Congratulations, one and all!


  • Good Dog


    “My dog died.”

    Those are three of the saddest words I know. I have been right in the middle of them for four days and counting.

    Last Thursday afternoon, break time: Yay! Dodger and I left my office at 3:36 to go check the mail, but first a quick round of campus “squirrelveillance,” par for a Thursday. I clicked on his trusty red leash and hopped on my trusty red bike, just like hundreds of times. Across Main Street, we rounded the corner of Cunningham by Carnegie—no cops, yay! *Click* He arced right by Phi Hall and the Old Well, I arced left over the D Road bricks in front of Chambers. As our trajectories began to reconverge on the far side of campus by Sloan, we gained speed, more than usual even, since we’d been cooped up a couple of days and it was brisk out. We must have been approaching his top recorded speed of 32 miles per hour, timed by ’67 Comet on the lake campus dirt road just last summer. This day, traction control on the curving bricks made it advisable for me to suspend my self-imposed prohibition against riding my bike on the grass. Reunited now side by side in a straight line, we just flat hauled ass across Chambers Lawn, churning and laughing and flapping in a cold wind, yay! Twenty seconds farther on, that happy dog, a dirty no-good squirrel and a small but fatal outcropping in a brick wall conspired for a mercifully brief end to Dodger’s time on earth. He broke his neck, probably never knew it, and my dog died in my arms.

    Robert Abare ’13, a student worker in College Communications, captured this last iconic shot of Dodger on Thursday, patiently waiting to rock and roll.

    But first, he lived, and boy, did he ever.

    Dodger’s aplomb even rated an obit in the local online newspaper, DavidsonNews.net.

    His exploits are well-documented in the “Search: Dodger” functionality of this blog.

    Of particular note are his young adult years as a travel co-writer in the Great Summer Road Trip of 2009.

    [Updated Tues., 1/29/13: WDAV will be running a day sponsorship in memory of Dodger tomorrow at 8:30am and 1:30pm, and featuring a pix of him on their homepage then www.wdav.org. Thanks, classical music friends!]

    What’s been most striking to me just in the four days since his death, when I’ve been able to perceive anything at all outside my own black grief, is the touch he brought to so many lives on the Davidson campus, at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Mooresville, in the town of Davidson and in Charlotte, across this nation. I’ve had calls from Maine to Miami to Vegas, fielded e-mails from all over, watched Facebook explode with heartfelt love, all of it for Dodger and for many good dogs who’ve gone on ahead of him, and for the people who’ve loved them.

    In the course of any given week these last five years, it has not been unusual for students, or even faculty or fellow staff to introduce themselves to me by saying, “You don’t know me, but I love your dog.”

    Oh, no. If you loved my dog, I know you, and I love you, too.

  • R.I.P. Dodger: 2006—2013


    Dodger died in my arms this afternoon. He was chasing a squirrel on campus alongside a building and was going so hard and fast that when he reached a jut in the wall, he hit it full force, which, if you ever saw him run, you know is a lot. The impact broke his neck and he died within a few minutes.

    Dodger doing what he did best and loved most, chasing a squirrel across Chambers Lawn.



  • Sustainability 3.0: Money, Justice, Environment


    The greener, granola-ier images of “sustainability” have been around awhile. Why, as far back as 1990, yours truly wrote a recycling column called “Talkin’ Trash.” So clever.

    Time has mercifully moved on.

    Jeff Mittlestadt ’99

    Now leading the sustainability charge at Davidson is Jeff Mittelstadt ’99, who returns to alma mater as the college’s first, full-time director of sustainability. A triple threat with masters’ degrees in environmental management (Duke), in business administration (UNC Chapel Hill) and in journalism and mass communications (UNC Chapel Hill), Mittelstadt likewise takes a three-pronged view of sustainability circa 2013.

    “It’s a triple bottom line,” he says, “of economic prosperity, social justice, environmental integrity. It’s about not just how they conflict but how they can drive each other.”

    He’s calendared a trifecta of events to begin drawing out for students, faculty and staff the finer points of sustainability and vital place of those points in the life of the campus—and far beyond into the world of careers and life in general.

    Tuesday, Jan. 22—Bullish on Sustainability, Sprinkle Room 3:30-5:00 p.m. “Are you interested in making money? Are you interested in business? Have you thought about sustainability as a strategy for investment and profit? Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend this event to learn about financial profitability/economic prosperity as one of the three pillars of sustainability. Sustainability is often described as the Triple Bottom Line, which refers to financial profitability/economic prosperity, environmental integrity and social equity. This workshop will begin with discussion of a few case studies about making money through sustainability and the role financial profitability can play in sustainability. Investment, entrepreneurship and business strategy will be summarized with respect to their roles in sustainability. Then attendees will create strategies for a case study based on economic, environmental and social conditions in Mecklenburg County. The workshop will end with discussion of opportunities for financial profitability/economic prosperity within the sustainability context of the case study. Then, there will be a summary of unique opportunities for business and sustainability in the Charlotte area and throughout North Carolina.”

    Wednesday, Jan. 23—Social Equity: Pillar of Sustainability, Multicultural House, 3:30–5:00 p.m. “This is an interactive workshop for students, faculty and staff to learn about the social pillar of sustainability through active engagement in case studies and connection to local opportunities. Are you interested in social equity? Did you know it is one of the three pillars of sustainability? Come to this event to learn more about how sustainability provides a framework to address social equity issues. You will also learn about how social equity is a pillar and a driver for sustainability. This workshop will include case studies that provide a glimpse of this component of sustainability, will provide an overview of ways to measure social impact and sustainability, discuss the transdisciplinary nature of these topics (how policy, culture, economics, government, policy, education, health, environment, non-profits, for-profits come together), and present opportunities for students, faculty and staff to get involved in the social aspects of sustainability through multiple centers, departments and divisions at Davidson College and with our community.”

    Contact Jeff for more info at jemittelstadt[at]davidson.edu.

    “I’m staying extremely busy,” he says, clearly happy to be home. Mittelstadt counts Davidson as the first place he truly felt was his own home, after moving around a lot growing up. He’s helping flesh out his new job description as he goes along, and is grateful for the skills he gained in his degree work. He remains most grateful for the solid foundation of his Davidson education, and the chance to put that to use with the current and continuously refreshing crop of students. “How you communicate and analyze information is really important, and I know how Davidson students develop their critical thinking and communication skills in all the liberal arts disciplines.”

    Finally, for the third event, come meet Jeff:

    • Wednesday, Feb. 06—Sustainability 2013 Launch Event, C. Shaw Smith 900 Room, 3:00–6:00 p.m. “This is an open house for students, faculty and staff to learn about how sustainability relates to your interests. FREE FOOD AND BEVERAGES. Are you interested in social equity? Economics or business? The environment? Did you know these are the three pillars of sustainability? Come to this event to learn more about how sustainability is related to your interests and can be a helpful tool for reaching your goals on campus, in the classroom and in the community. Find out what is happening in sustainability at Davidson College and how you can become involved. Many campus organizations and interests will have displays and tables illustrating opportunities and current projects. See you there! [FREE FOOD AND BEVERAGES.] If you would like to have a table/display at this event or if you want more information, please e-mail the organizer at the address above.”


  • Happy Spring Semester 2013! Humes on Ovid, Curly on Robert, ACUI on Alvarez


    “Imaginary depiction of Ovid,” per Google Images.

    I celebrated the first day of classes yesterday by attending Professor and Chair of Education Rick Gay’s inaugural 2013 Humanities lecture on Ovid in Hance Auditorium—aka Perkins for you long-timers like me. Yes, it was in 1981 that I attended my first-ever Humes lecture in very nearly the same seat, only harder. Hance has had a major facelift, with cushiony seats now and multimedia, the works. Ol’ Ovid looks about the same, and still with the pithy “art of love” nuggets. My favorite, and a crowd-pleaser amongst the freshmen all around: “If you have bad breath, don’t talk.” Nyuk!


    Day Two of the semester, today at lunch I celebrated by firing up my spiffy new laptop at one of Robert Whitton‘s favorite “office” tables at the Union Cafe. It still seems empty to me since Robert left us little more than a year ago, and I guess it always will seem a bit so to many of us, even when the union is as full of life and loud with laughter as it was today, which Robert loved even more than the Three Stooges. Nyuk, nyuk!

    This newest of Davidson semesters rolls in with props to the life breathed daily into the Alvarez College Union, by its sterling staff and inimitable Union Board. The Association of College Unions International features Davidson front and center in the current issue of its magazine, in a story by Marsha Herman-Betzen. Check it out!

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