All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘beekeeping’

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Thanks, I Needed That: Presidential Passion, Insight and Commitment


I got to work late to start the week off on a cold and rainy Monday morning, in a loaner car and a bad mood, looking forward to lunch and not much else. Grrr, I was like.

So thank the gods for this particular Monday morning’s special staff-meeting guest speaker, President Carol Quillen. Carol Quillen is flat-out inspiring on the podium, as down-to-earth as a favorite professor while soaring skyward to eagle-eye the big picture of higher education passions and insights that brought her to us in the first place. All that to say: You can feel this woman think. By the end of the hour, I was like, “Thanks, I needed that!”

President Carol Quillen: “Like”

Carol, who can by wry, somewhat facetiously described her job as “talking to really smart people and repeating what they say to other really smart people.” That small comment got a big laugh from the assembled, a smart crowd of fundraisers and communicators. Then she talked specifically and with conviction about how Davidson is superbly, even uniquely, positioned in 2013 for “reimagining the liberal arts,” so that we can continue to ensure an “unsurpassed, transformational education” to Davidson students. She talked about a currently trending umbrella concept on this campus, “transition to impact,” a term encompassing internships and entrepreneurship and career services programming and post-graduate fellowships and community-based learning and more initiatives still emerging. And in the meantime, for anyone who doubts how highly the market values a solid liberal arts education, feast your peepers on this report about where members of the class of 2012 currently find themselves.

She talked about March Madness (of course!) and the college’s firm commitment to its 21 Division I men’s and women’s athletic teams as a(nother) unique Davidson calling card among liberal arts colleges and as an integrated part of the Davidson experience for all our nearly 2,000 students. “There’s one door into Davidson,” she said, and “Our student-athletes go to class the day after the big game,” and “People who compete at the highest levels of athletics gain skills you can’t get anywhere else.”

She paired Davidson’s longstanding and continuously emerging reputation for excellence—academic, athletic, and otherwise—with the college’s paramount intention of access for all, as embodied in The Davidson Trust. The Davidson Trust is the college’s commitment to meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students without the necessity for loans.

She cited David Leonhardt’s current New York Times piece, Better Colleges Failing to Lure Talented Poor.

“That’s tragic,” she said. “We can’t have a society where the primary predictor of a young person’s chance at education is the income or inheritance of their parents…. The Davidson Trust makes equal opportunity real.

“Our value proposition is not that we are cheap,” she continued, and I nearly snorted coffee out my nose. Right she is, I thought, and let’s call things by their name. Not cheap and worth it.

Higher education is becoming ever more “highly differentiated,” she noted. That’s great, she said, and all the more important, then, to define exactly what a Davidson education means, and can mean.

“Our curriculum is based on students doing things, on professors asking questions for which nobody knows the answers yet,” she said. “Our faculty is always going to be overwhelmingly tenured and tenure-track and part of the community.”

Aaaannd we’re back to “not cheap.” Also not scalable, she noted, but a one-student, one-family at a time proposition. That’s how we learn and how we live, at Davidson. You can’t do that online. And we are figuring out the enormous challenge of steady funding for The Davidson Trust and we shall continue to do so, she said with no small emphasis. If Carol Quillen were the type to put her hands on her hips and stare down educational injustice with a big ol’ schoolmarm stinkeye, she would have done so here. As it is, she’s lighter than that and more forward- and upward-looking, especially as regards standing behind The Davidson Trust. So she looked around the room and declared to us, clearly with the highest personal, professional and institutional conviction, “I don’t think it’s a choice. It’s an ethical obligation…. We believe we can do it, because we believe we can do anything.”

And having spent a good portion of the rest of the rainy Monday on campus among Davidson students, I believe it, too.

Thanks, Carol, and colleagues, and students, I needed that.

For more on what Davidson students are up to right this red-hot minute, check out the campus calendar.

In addition to March Madness, two of this week’s top opps to see Davidson students live in their natural habitat:

Guys and Dolls opens Wednesday! Need I say more?

• A Beekeeping Summit open to the community from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 20 in the C.Shaw Smith 900 Room of the Alvarez College Union. Free samples!

And coming soon [drum roll please]:

Dinner at Davidson, the student-run benefit dinner for The Davidson Trust, Saturday, April 6. Mark your calendar and come speak up close and personal with some sharp young Davidson College students. It’ll make you feel hopeful about the future.

Main Street Buzz in Davidson: Recalcitrant Queen Gives Up Crib in Nick of Time


Split gnarly tree with stinky towel and tubular bee condo.

Last Friday, a sweet story fell very nearly right onto my college newsroom desk in the Julia Johnston on Main Street in Davidson, no Internet research or crafty phone calls required. A microburst-style (helluva) storm that came roaring across Lake Norman around six that evening split a big ol’ gnarly tree (Arboricus gnarlicus) wide open in the backyard, exposing a beehive inside. Take that, Buzzfeed!

Quick as a wink, the Eco House students next door sprang into action, with help from beekeeping experts from around campus.

For the bees’ welfare, the good folks in Groundskeeping agreed to leave the part of the tree still standing up for a week or so to allow for relocation efforts. Come to think of it, bee relocation was also in the interest of Groundskeeping, too. A win-win!

Tubular bee condo in early stages of inspection as a potential new hive: “We’re just looking.”

The hive was in the traditional Winnie-the-Pooh style of the Time Immemorial Era. Soon, an early 21st-century, Hurricane Katrina-mobile-home hive was rigged of paper tubing and hung directly next to it, according to proper beekeeping protocol.

At first, nothing much happened.

Then, yesterday morning, Dodger and I noticed that it stank. At lunchtime that day, my pal Mike Goode of the Davidson Outdoors was out there to inspect the property. Mike explained that the smell was a repellent to encourage the bees to move before… well, timber-r-r-r! Now, it was all dependent on the queen. “Hey, girl, hey,” I thought, “time to bounce!”

Mike explained that it was clear from the traffic in and out of the tree that the old girl was still in the old hive. But at five o’clock, Dodger and I noticed that traffic into the tree hive had stopped and the bottom of the tube hive swarmed with a thick carpet of bees. The hive has now been relocated by Mike and Keyne Cheshire of Classics, who, I learned today, teaches about classical beekeeping as a classroom agriculture topic and has presented on the subject professionally.

Stay tuned. What beekeeping secrets can we learn from the ancient Greeks and Romans? Will the hive survive? Next Daybook Davidson.