Sunday, May 18, 2008

Commencement 2008

12:38 pm

The sun comes out as the crowd moves to Founders Green.

11:42 am:

Kosman: "Benjamin Morris Zussman." Well done! Crowd cheers. Nancy Vickers, President of Bryn Mawr College, delivers the close. "Remember the time before the wax hardened, when each was a fresh seal..."

11:07 am:
President Emerson: "As Faculty Marshal Aryeh Kosman reads your name, please come forward to receive your diploma..." Kosman: "Allyson Kimberly Abrams...Emmy L. Acevedo..."

10:30 am:
The awarding of honorary degrees has begun.

First up: John Carroll '63. "For your editorial excellence, mentoring of reporters and dedication to integrity..."

Carroll riffs on money. "The Class of '63, to my knowledge, produced no business moguls...we responded to the call to serve society, not ourselves...Haverford grads were more attuned to issues of right and wrong...Newspapers remain America's great engine of original reporting...How much will the public know -- and not know -- in the future?...My message to you is this: among other forms of success, I do wish you prosperity. Yes, make a little money along the way, but don't fail to do more..."

Next: Dr. D. Holmes Morton. "Thousands of children worldwide have been helped -- or saved."

Dr. Morton sees modern slavery in poverty. "Educational debt, medical debt, insurance debt... restricts our freedom, our choices...Think about that before you rush off to buy that BMW...I work in a different place...small, nonprofit, whose mission is humanitarian...Take with you the ability to care..."

Finally, Anna Deavere Smith. "For your compassionate engagement in social issues..."

Smith reminisces about her undergraduate life at Beaver College (now known as Arcadia University). "There was a mere thimble-full of Negro girls...We were not asked if we had a preference about the race of our roommate...but white girls were asked if they would 'mind' rooming with a Negro...MLKing was killed during my first year...Most girls were concerned if race riots would complicate travel plans for Spring Break...But by sophomore year, we Negro girls were called 'Blacks'...The drumbeat of change today is no softer...I know you're excited about the opportunities that await outside these gates, waiting for you...You've been educated for a global community...You're now about to have more mobility than mankind has ever known...Pay attention to how you move...increase your circle, strengthen your reach...Stay savvy that we are ultimately as vulnerable as the most vulnerable and never as powerful as the most powerful...As you move out of here, move with grace. Keep grace alive."

10:20 am:
President Emerson greets the crowd. "You have worked hard. Really, really hard...You are now fully prepared to go forward and find your life's work. I salute you!"

10:00 am:
And they're off!

9:45 am:
Students head to Ryan Gym to line up:

9:42 am
Testing, testing, 1,2,3:

9:40 am

The diplomas arrive. That's registrar Lee Watkins in the foreground. Although we are conferring 301 degrees, only 295 will be on hand to receive their diplomas (six started their Haverford career in the Class of 2007 but completed their degree requirements after last year's exercises):

9:30 am

Violet Brown, Steve's assistant, joins the conversation. Contingencies are discussed. Decision: we stay outside.
9:27 am
Tom King (Security) and President Steve Emerson '74 check out the weather radar:

8:50 am

Aryeh Kosman, emeritus professor of Philosophy and Reader of the Names, says "inside."

8:41 am:
The big day is here and at 8:41 am the question is not "Where did I put my mortar board????" but rather "In or out?" Everything is set up...

But the doppler radar isn't pretty:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cranking Up to Wind Down

Commencement is Sunday and endings are in process. The Philosophy Dept. threw a party for its majors yesterday. Prof. Ashok Gangadean's academic interests include clarifying the universal logos or common ground at the heart of human reason and rational life; surely charcoal grills are a fine example of such common ground:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Bees By The Ducks

No pun today about the campus buzz re: a honeybee infestation in one of the faculty houses that line College Lane, by the duck pond. Instead, just the facts, which are these.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Most Dangerous Job On Campus

Preparations for Commencement have begun. Today the tree guys thinned out dead and dying limbs above Lloyd Green to ensure that nobody gets hurt on the big day.
Surely, this guy must have the most dangerous job on campus:
But no. The most dangerous job on campus is Being A Car Belonging to Felicia Hutchison '08:
Felicia, depicted in her role as Coop Barista, has had not one but TWO vehicles crushed by falling limbs, most recently during a storm that ravaged a tree behind Leeds:

Something to show her grandchildren when they move in for Customs Week!


Sunday, May 4, 2008

52 Years of Net Frustration End

The year was 1956. A war hero was running for President against an Illinois politician. Citizens were angry about the price of gas, which had reached an all-time high for the decade--23 cents per gallon. Elvis Presley first hit the top 40 charts with "Heartbreak Hotel."

Their names are Bob Pratt, Phil D'Arrigo, Geoff Steere, Carl Getty, Hans Engelhardt, Michael Heeg, John Coulthurst and David Willcox. They went on to become doctors, dentists, professors, and financial services consultants.

Coached by Norm Bramall, those members of the Haverford tennis team turned the tables on the Swarthmore squad which had beaten them in 1955, and took a 5-4 victory for a Hood Trophy point. That team had a 12-1 record; Pratt, Steere and Coulthurst were undefeated during the season.

The year is 2008. A war hero may be running....well, you know the rest. (If you're curious about the price of gas, we can tell you that the 23c/gallon in 1956 is $2.15 in today's dollars.) Elvis is dead.

Their names are Tom Kinrade, Steve Feder, Evan Stiegel, Marc Rudolph, Hailu Yang and Marc Adelberg. Their coach is Sean Sloane, a fitting successor to the legendary Bramall.

Supported by 14 teammates, all of whom played at least one varsity match this season, those six members of Haverford's men's tennis team turned the tables on a Swarthmore squad that had beaten them, 6-3, three days earlier, to take a 5-4 win in the first round of the Centennial Conference 2008 playoffs.

And in between 1956 and 2008....a lot of tennis balls had flown over a lot of nets, Elvis had many hits, but no Haverford men's tennis team had ever beaten Swarthmore in one of the longest series losing streaks ever in college sports.

Marc Rudolph applied the coup de grace to Swarthmore on April 26 when he took the final set of his 3-set match, 6-0, reversing a straight-set defeat by the same opponent on April 23 and ending Swarthmore's dominance. Teammates Adelberg in singles and Kinrade/Stiegel in doubles also found the winning secret somewhere between April 23 and 26.

The Fords didn't have much left in the conference finals the next day vs. Johns Hopkins, but they finished with a winning record and second place in a very tough league. Kinrade was named Player of the Year in the Centennial, and he and doubles partner Stiegel made the All-Conference team.

Adelberg will walk across the Haverford Commencement stage on May 18. The others will all be back in 2009. We don't think it will take Haverford 52 years to beat Swarthmore again.

-Greg Kannerstein '63

Friday, May 2, 2008


The ultimate study break!

Bico News Editor Dave Merrell threw bean bags (and caution) to the wind and invited me to be his partner in a round of cornhole. The presence of Dave, who plays on the tennis team, ensured our victory:


The annual rite de printemps is unfolding on Founders Green. The stage will host an ipod from 4p-6p, followed by a Weezer copy band that will perform the "Blue Album" in its entirety.

Jason McGraw, Coordinator of Student Activities, snarkily promised to spin "oldies" from 4p-5p for the benefit of the presumably oldies-preferring workers in Founders (e.g. people like your correspondent). Jason also suggested that we provide the following documentary photos of setup activities to the Admission Office as part of next year's recruiting effort, a campaign to outdo Middlebury in maximizing the amount of "Man Nipple" imagery we show to prospectives:


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hillary Clinton Comes To Campus

After the appearance, Chelsea came outside to say hello.
The view from the green:

Chelsea, Hillary and a guest arrive in the Great Hall via the East Asian Studies wing.

The backstory:

Hillary's turn. It'll be a small (~250 people) gathering inside Founders Great Hall -- and with Chelsea and, it is rumored, Dorothy Rodham in tow, the appearance is being promoted by the campaign as a special "women's event". I will leave the insightful questions to our bright student attendees; personally, I would like to ask Mrs. Rodham what it was like to meet Mick & Keith, as documented in that new Scorsese film about The Rolling Stones.

The same K-9 crew from Obama day has returned for the "sweep" of the building during which everyone had to evacuate:

Big screen TV will pipe the proceedings out to the Green:

Excitement: One of the dogs apparently freaked out at a smell emanating from a TV/video cabinet located in a basement out went the cabinet:

...meanwhile, the crowd lines up outside the building:

Metal detection upon entry; a glacially polite security official has asked me not to photograph the process. Sorry. Here's the view from inside: