All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Davidson Wildcats’
I love Alumni Reunion Weekend for the same reason I love the all-employee meetings at the beginning and the end of the academic year: Seeing big crowds of good Davidson people gathered together reminds me of the big picture of this place, as well as the individual brush strokes that help make it up. Again with complementary themes of “the world of Davidson” and “Davidson in the world…”
Last Saturday morning on the green, green artificial turf of Stephen B. Smith Field, Head Football Coach Paul Nichols ’03 was warming up the exceedingly friendly alumni crowd for Athletic Director Jim Murphy ’78. In addition to being a football coach’s football coach—Nichols threatened alumni latecomers with push-ups and detailed the current football Wildcats’ success at building a sense of family through communal breakfasting last semester—Nichols also showed off his bona fides at being a real ambassador for all that is Davidson, not just the college’s strong Division I athletics programs.
“He knows and understands Davidson, that’s the main thing,” Murphy said.
Murphy talked about the college’s recent decision to join the Atlantic 10 Conference, effective July 1, 2014. Here are just a few of the topics and topic areas that he and President Quillen led the college community in thinking about in preparation for the exhaustively considered decision: academic reputation, athletic reputation, admissions implications, name recognition, institutional peer cohort, missed classtime policies and logistics, team scheduling and transportation, NCAA championships access, media potential, television exposure, athletic scholarships, costs of changing conferences and costs of not changing conferences. The list goes on. Bottom line: time for a change.
“The Southern Conference has been phenomenal for Davidson College, and we want to celebrate that,” Murphy said, adding, “The A-10 is a great opportunity.”
The Q&A provoked good team spirit across the alumni generations present.
“Are there any schools smaller than Davidson in the A-10?” one asked.
Replied Murphy with a confident smile: “No, but there aren’t many schools smaller than Davidson in Division I.”
It’s a great day to be a Wildcat!
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!”
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.
In the spirit of getting fired up for today’s Southern Conference finals for the women’s and men’s Wildcat basketball games in Asheville at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively (ESPN 3), I bring you this direct quote with video linkage from the pixillated ethers of College Relations, courtesy of my friend and colleague Susan Cooke, director of research:
All – As we cheer on our 2013 basketball teams this week, I thought I’d share two classic videos from a few years ago – the first features members of the 2008 basketball team and members of The Davidson Show…. I THINK you’ll be able to tell which are the basketball players and which are the comedians.The second is the I Love Commons video that went viral a few years ago – also featuring our 2008 basketball players.
I’m not even going to make fun of the Internet brand “Twitvid.” Really. See?
This Twitvid clip of men’s basketball coach Bob McKillop & Cie speaks for itself.
And lest anyone in the midst of Madness forget that hoops is not the only sport at which Davidson excels nationally—it is one of 21 Division I sports at Davidson—consider “Drew Onken Wins Spot in NCAA Swimming Championships“: “Onken is the first Davidson swimmer to be invited to the men’s championship meet and the second Wildcat swimmer to participate in the NCAA Championships, joining Lindsey Martin ’11…. ‘It is a remarkable testament to Drew’s commitment and ability, and to the culture that he and his teammates – past and present – have established here at Davidson,’ said Coach John Young.” Onken will travel to Washington state next week to compete.
It’s a great day—and a great couple of weeks—to be a Wildcat! Check it out on Twitvid. Heh, heh.
I’ve been following the progress of Tim Saintsing ’98 in his work at an inspiring Wildcat alumni outpost he’s created within Excellence Boys Charter School of Bedford Stuyvesant, a New York City public school that prepares young boys to enter, succeed in, and graduate from college. Tim’s professional bio put him on track to be smack in the middle of where he’s clearly supposed to be right now—a co-director’s office and a classroom at Excellence Boys, to which he has lent an unmistakable Wildcat roar:
So all together now: A big Wildcat shout-out from the Daybook Davidson blog to all the Excellence Boys, and especially to the scholars in the Davidson Classroom! We of your namesake college are super proud of your hard work, and hope you can come visit us someday!
Honestly, if these young men are half as keen for education as Tim, they’ll set the world on fire. How can anyone resist the kind of enthusiasm that shows through in this e-mail from Tim to Darrell Scott ’10, president of the Black Student Coalition on campus, which has adopted Excellence Boys as pen pals:
Darrell, My man, the BSC’s pen pal letters to the boys of Davidson arrived this afternoon after dismissal. And they’re being distributed in the boys’ classroom mailboxes tonight. The boys will see them in their mailboxes when they come into the classroom at 7:15 AM, but they won’t be able to open the letters until the end of the day during their Choice Activity time. These boys will be so anxious and excited ALL DAY about reading these letters tomorrow afternoon. The anticipation is like Christmas Eve, a birthday party, and a sleepover all rolled into one. You have no idea how much this will mean to them. No idea. Rest assured: You will be getting responses soon. In the meantime, your efforts on behalf of the scholars of the Davidson classroom have just made the months of these boys. We’ll catch up soon…. Hope all’s good. Tim
Or this one, cc’ed to campus offices that sent sundry Davidsoniana to Excellence Boys Charter School:
President Ross, Your generosity means a lot to me, but it means the world to my boys…. One quick story for you to see what I mean: I had a mom a few Saturdays ago call me at 3:30 in the afternoon. She had taken seven of our rising 5th Grade boys, as a celebration for doing well on their State English and Math Exams, to see “any movie they wanted to see that was playing at the Brooklyn theater.” And while they were standing on the street, staring at the marquee, one of the boys spotted the Barnes & Noble three doors down. And he said, “Hey, let’s not go to the movies, let’s go read at Barnes & Noble.” After a quick, unanimous decision, they headed to the bookstore. And from the second floor stacks came the call from the mom, who said, “Mr. Saintsing, I don’t know what kind of school you’re trying to build, but you’ve got seven 4th Grade boys from BedStuy, Brooklyn on a Saturday afternoon deciding not to go see ‘Saw 6’ to spend three hours reading in Barnes & Noble.”… So if free stadium cups can motivate, if your magnets and ties can push, send them on!… Thanks again. Means a lot. Take care of Davidson, a place that I love so much. Tim
All hail all Davidson classrooms, wherever they may be!