Top of the inbox this fine, almost-spring Monday morning is news from Charlotte buddy John “Buck” Bradberry ’84, who’s just published 6 Secrets to Startup Success.
“For several years, I immersed myself in the world of early-phase ventures. I developed a model for venture success and committed to write a book on the subject. Along the way, I conducted 55 hours of interviews, reviewed 51 books, absorbed 83 research papers, and inhaled over 500 online blogs, websites, and magazines—all while investing in, and advising, new founding teams in a real-time learning laboratory,” Buck writes on the Web site of his own entrepreneurial company, ReadyFounder.
I look forward to reading the book, and meantime, food for thought abounds in the pages of Buck’s site, down-to-earth and substantive fodder to feed the daydreams that happen upon even those lucky among us who feel like we have the best jobs in the world—say, writing about Davidson and Davidson alumni? (Hey, a guy can daydream and cover his paycheck, right?)
I hadn’t really thought about it, but yeah, why AREN’T there more female student government presidents, hmm? Susannah Wellford Shakow ’90, founder of Running Start, a nonprofit that educates girls and young women about politics, will participate in a Washington Post online chat today at 1 p.m. Tune in!
Full disclosure: This is a recycled column from the Spring 2006 Davidson Journal. Hey, it’s a favorite column for a favorite time of year, so sue me. And besides, springtime itself is recycling, right? Anyway, beyond all that, a friend once ’splained to me that even though it feels like we’re going round and round in circles in this life—and, of course, we are—the fullest perspective reveals a spiral of forward motion rather than merely repetitive circles atop one another. The visual: A finger tracing a spiral pattern in a generally forward direction from thigh to knee, not just going in circles in one spot.
Another visual resonating with me this moment in Carolina in the morning: standing atop Chambers Building and surveying the northern Mecklenburg and southern Iredell lands that our forebears fashioned for their use. Land, Katie Scarlett, land that a few scant generations ago was centered around a river lifestyle, not the lake lifestyle that we enjoy today.
I stood atop Chambers exactly five years ago, on a morning exactly like this one, then wrote:
Nothing Could Be Finer
It is the first day of spring—not by the calendar, but by the campus daffodils—and there is a cool breeze and warm sunshine streaming all around the Chambers dome, which is at arm’s length from me this fine Carolina morning. On the other side of me, there is empty space, much more of it and far emptier than I might have imagined from the brick walkway down below. I stand very still near the edge of the roof facing Main Street, then slowly turn a 360.
‘Kind of gives you a loose feeling behind you, doesn’t it?’ deadpans Ruben McIntosh. Ruben has worked in Davidson’s physical plant since July 1962, and he holds the key that got us up here. I laugh out loud with College Communications Fellow Jonathan Crooms ’04. The two of us failed last summer to jimmy the newfangled locks in Hance Auditorium (aka Perkins, aka Dome Room) to get out here, so we jumped at the chance this morning to accompany Ruben to the roof.
‘Now, I feel like my Davidson experience is complete,’ Jonathan says, taking a deep breath and casting a far gaze across several county lines.
You know that feeling of a ‘Davidson moment’? Well, here was a whole cascade of them, rolling fast and thick and all mixed in together across the years and blue-green acres, from Davidson’s own ‘Lake Wylie,”]’ built right over there near the future Erwin Lodge in the 1890s; to the golf course that cropped up in the early 1900s behind today’s soccer field; to the strapping young graduates who momentously stripped off their graduation robes to reveal the military uniforms they would wear to herald a new age through the battles of World War II; to the DCPC steeple cross itself, on which Ruben once laid his own hand, by God, doggedly outstretched from a shaky repair construction scaffold in 1968. Davidson moments cascading on down through the disasters and the joys and the grudges and the friendships and the unbridled intellect and the romantic souls that still resonate and inform this nearly terquasquicentennial (175th; I had to look it up) Davidson spring.
Chambers trembles, and up here on the roof, the big bell dutifully tolls its standing orders to an empty spring break campus. And I think to myself, there astride the topmost center of my daily universe: Nothing could be finer.
Back to the future, 2011: Still true, nothing could be finer as spring is springing on campus. Woo hoo!
Hot off the pixel press over at The Crier campus e-newsletter:
Thursday, 3/10/11, 10:00 pm, C. Shaw Smith 900 Room—Come out this Thursday to support one of Davidson’s most successful student bands, You and Your Effects! It will be the last Live Thursday for several of the members and they’ve been working hard on some new music so this will be one performance you don’t want to miss! Opening act will be Chocolate Rain!
Bill Giduz ’74 obtained a brownie and ice cream cake from Ben and Jerry’s. I procured a birthday card from CVS and a Davidson Journal coffee mug. We snuck in the back of Raeford’s Barber Shop on Main Street and got it all set up with nine found candles, the kaboodle balanced on cardboard in the seat of a disused barber chair next to the vintage Frigidaire. Then we snuck back around to the shop’s front entrance and came in and sat down to wait for our haircuts, whistling innocently at the ceiling, joshing with Mr. Norton, proprietor Ron Raeford, fellow barbers “T” (for Thomas) Marsh and Tim (for Tim) White. When Mr. Norton got toward Bill’s turn, Bill disappeared in back and came barrelling back out front with a lit cake and a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday. Instant party! Mr. Norton has been cutting hair in this town since World War II. Think about that. And you can read about it in this Davidson Journal article. Happy Birthday, Mr. Norton! And many more. (That was mighty good cake.)
During my rush-hour drive time to work this morning, I had a delayed reaction: Right there in front of Food Lion, a huge wave of missing a dear friend who moved away just crashed all over my car. Don’t you hate when that happens?
My great gal pal Jennifer Roe ’92, formerly Jennifer Foster of WDAV midday announcer fame, has flown the coop. First, she and Ben Roe, himself onetime general manager at the station, fell—surprise!—in love. The happy hindsight consensus of friends far and wide, at Davidson and well beyond: Well, of course they did. Fun, creative, lovely people, a perfect pair. And I only resent Ben the teeniest, tiniest little bit. Anyway, time came all too soon for them to move away, to Boston where they’ve joined the staff at WGBH. Congratulations! Seriously. *Snif.* Seriously.
Music from the station they left behind soothes my achy-breaky heart. WDAV plays all day on the boombox in my office and many evenings on my Bose at home. I love WDAV, which I have known all my adult life, if you count being a college freshman “adult.” Today I still cheer for WDAV, I bang a tin cup for it, in honor of its people and productions past and present. The talented team at the station, right next door to my office on Main Street USA, achieve stellar work at perfect pace, ranging from what we hear on the air to what we see and hear on the Web site to all the behind-the-scenes work it takes for live broadcasts and other community partnerships, all in the name of classical music, music, music, alive and kicking in this region and around the world. Why, my very own mama listens in Kemper County Mississippi, and I know Davidson alumni and others in far-flung lands who keep in touch with Davidson roots via WDAV.
It must be told that I am generally more of a pop-rock kind of guy myself, with an occasionally lowbrow twang and a dog in the back. But it is also the case that listening to and engaging with the more time-refined genres of classical music polishes a deeper, older piece of the collective human consciousness that’s in me. Wow. Besides, the enduring music of any era was, presumably, the pop music of its day, n’est-ce pas? So having some notion of what that day was about, thanks to WDAV’s creative approaches to programming on air and online, makes the music itself all the richer. (And it sure beats reading classical music CD liner notes.)
Yesterday afternoon, I ran into Interim Davidson College President John Kuykendall ’59 as he left the Wilton and Catherine Connor Broadcast Studio at the station, following his noon gig on the air kicking off the station’s spring fund drive.
“That station is really a going concern!” he said, marveling at the energy and momentum he’d felt during just an hour in the building.
Kuykendall was particularly struck by the numbers and enthusiasm of WDAV pledge-drive volunteers, who commit to the station’s success their time as well as treasure. I’ll be there amongst them for my shift next week!
WDAV Classical Public Radio. Love it. Support it. Bang a tin cup for it.
For all WDAV coverage on Daybook, click here.
Who cares about breast cancer?
Well, to quote Twain quoting Disraeli, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Sitting in on this morning’s Alumni College ethics class, “Ethical Issues in Medical Decision Making: Dr. Kristie Foley, Associate Professor and Associate Director of Medical Humanities,” I was reminded that the reason statistics has the honor of being lumped in with regular lies and damned lies is that most people don’t understand statistics, and further, a fair proportion of that cohort don’t understand that they don’t understand them, thus leaving the species’ more scurrilous statistics purveyors particularly prone to political prestidigitation of same.
Don’t you just hate when that happens?
Which brings us back to the question Foley asked of her 20+ pupils, most Davidson alumni, many of them doctors and medical professionals: “Who cares about breast cancer?” Short answer, everybody. But as we broke it down we saw more clearly why the fuss over the morning’s topic: the recent change in recommendations about mammography screening. Who cares? Women care. People who love women care. Doctors and hospitals care. Susan G. Komen cares. Taxpayers care. Insurance companies care, in their very special way. Lawyers care in theirs, oh yes indeed they do. And so on. You get the idea.
Foley did a whizbang, nay masterful, job for us laypersons in particular of presenting information on statistical prevalence and incidence; on medical screening, mortality and morbidity; on the difference between sensitivity and specificity; on the very history and push-me-pull-you relationship of science and Western medicine in the last two centuries, even before the National Institutes of Health and assorted other federales showed up with their purse strings.
An “Aha!” moment recurred in my head when I realized that for most if not all of my adult life, American society has conflated science and medicine inextricably. They weren’t always one and the same, Foley reminded us, and sometimes still aren’t. Truth matures, at different rates in different arenas.
Another “Aha!” moment came when Foley, in explaining the administrative side of being a grant-funded scientist, said in passing, “The NIH wants narrow questions.” “Aha!” I went inside my head. “But the public wants broad answers!”
Enter the PowerPoint meta-analysis, which provoked much consternation and commentary from this fully-engaged crowd of Davidson students of all ages, hashing it out without duking it out, gentlepersons all. One of the meta-analysis slides referred to “harms” as defined by the NIH in the current debate over mammography recommendations. J. Daniel Hanks, Jr. ’65, a radiologist in Rome, Ga., pointed out in no uncertain terms that that study was looking only at mortality, not quality of life issues. “Their definition of harm needs to be examined!” Hanks declared. Most of his classroom peers agreed at the micro, individual level; some were more inclined to give greater weight to economic and legal issues at the macroeconomic level.
Later, another bombshell question from our professor: “Is it ethical to screen people if you’re not going to treat them?” And full circle back around the question of “Who?”
Who’s asking? Who’s answering? Who cares?
Lots of people do, let us count the ways at Davidson Alumni College.
The news never sleeps.
At Davidson Journal press time, stories were breaking all around campus and rippling outward. And, stories were breaking all around the world and rippling inward.
In December and January in Tunisia, events leading up to the Jasmine Revolution and the ouster of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali focused attention on the hot-off-the-presses book Tunisia: Stability and Reform in the Modern Maghreb by Chris Alexander, McGee Director of the Dean Rusk International Studies Program, associate professor of political science and associate dean for international programs. That’s a mouthful. But just so: Alexander said he was “drinking from the fire hose” for a few weeks there, giving interviews to global news outlets, traveling to Washington, D.C. for briefings with government and military personnel, and writing articles for Foreign Policy magazine.
In February in the C. Shaw Smith 900 Room, Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha spoke on “Prospects for Peace in the Middle East.”
“He was a wonderful speaker,” said Alexander, who was Moustapha’s campus host. “His own interdisciplinary curiosity and cosmopolitan background was a good fit for the liberal arts in general and for his Davidson audience in particular. The 900 Room was packed, and the audience clearly appreciated Moustapha’s unvarnished perspectives. The question-and-answer session was very lively!”
Soon after the ambassador’s visit, final i’s were dotted and t’s crossed on the college’s plans for a new international study program, Davidson in Syria, set to begin in Spring 2012.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s historic period of unrest in January and February forced two Davidson students to flee that country.
To see and hear more Online Extras for stories in the Spring 2011 edition of the Davidson Journal, visit the Davidson Journal Online.
“At Davidson, hoops and books coexist,” the USAToday headline read when Davidson men’s basketball Wildcats went to the Elite Eight in ’08, thrusting our fair academic village into the national spotlight.
“Just doing our job as Davidson students,” scholarly athletes and fans told puzzled reporters who seemed a bit unaccustomed to interviewing college athletes who, you know, study and stuff. Today, spotlight or not, the Wildcat sporting spirit, studying and stuff continue apace on this campus.
Consider, for instance, that when Davidson math students get together, zany things are wont to happen. When they include Daniel Martin ’11 and they get together with Associate Professor of Math Tim Chartier and his sleight-of-handfuls of computer code and his sensibility of a professional mime, zany things are sure to happen. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the Mon., Feb. 21 entry to thoroughly enjoy the next 60 seconds of your life. Longer, if you like. Courtesy of young Dan and the math class.
That ought to get you in the mood for some real-time Davidson Wildcat athletics this weekend. On campus, baseball all weekend, women’s lacrosse and basketball Sunday, men’s basketball Saturday afternoon…. And on Saturday at 2 p.m., the spotlight will be on Davidson’s pioneering generation of Elite Eight athletes on Saturday in Belk Arena, as Davidson celebrates the men of the Lefty Driesell Years and the late Mike Maloy ’70, Davidson’s first African-American varsity scholarship athlete. Driesell called him “the greatest player I ever coached.” On the court, Maloy led the Wildcats to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including two straight Elite Eight runs, and off the court, he was a pioneer who used his prominence as a national basketball star to improve race relations both on campus and in the Town of Davidson community.
Charles “Lefty” Driesell along with many of his former players, including Terry Holland ’64, Jerry Kroll ’70, Fred Hetzel ’65 and Dick Snyder ’66, and assistant coaches and support staff will be back on campus for the weekend and honored at halftime of the game against the UNCG Spartans.