Wells College News Archives 2000
News stories from the College's archives.
Wells College students go hungry as part of nationwide anti-hunger campaign for Oxfam America
On the Thursday before Thanksgiving Wells students joined the annual Fast for a World Harvest Campaign
On Thursday, November 16th, one week before Thanksgiving, students at Wells College skipped a meal or went without eating for the whole day, as part of a nationwide campaign to fight world hunger. The event was sponsored by Wells College Community Service.
Wells students, faculty, and administration joined Oxfam America's annual Fast for a World Harvest campaign and gave up one or more meals in Wells College's dining hall. The cost of the meals went to Oxfam America's hunger-and poverty-relief programs in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Americas, including the United States. During lunch hours, members of the Wells College Fast group showed videos and distributed literature about world hunger. The dining hall staff helped by facilitating a Hunger Banquet. Participants broke into three groups representing the world's elite, middle class, and poor. Each group received treatment according to their class, raising awareness of world hunger.
The event was one of thousands of events which took place across the country. In total, some one million people from churches, schools, colleges, and community groups took part in Oxfam America's Fast for a World Harvest campaign, the central event of which is a day of fasting and poverty-awareness activities on the Thursday before Thanksgiving, November 16th. All monies raised from events and activities went to Oxfam America, a Boston-based international development agency that supports local groups working o increase their food production and economic self-reliance.
"At any given moment, there are over 790 million people in the world suffering from hunger, and every day 24,000 people die of preventable hunger-related illnesses," says Saira Raza '02, a Wells junior who helped organize the Fast event. "By participating in Oxfam America's Fast campaign, we're doing our part to try to change these grim realities. It's good to know that we can make effective changes in our community and in the world."
For more information, please contact Saira Raza '02 at (315) 364-2890 or the Office of Communications at (315) 364-3260.
Wells women stake out roles in the sciences by remembering past, embracing future
New home for the sciences scheduled, Zabriskie Hall targeted for renovation as campus
continues long, unique tradition of preparing women as scientists
Women’s colleges consistently outpace coeducational colleges in women who major in the sciences and mathematics
The tradition of educating women in the sciences has long been part of the Wells experience. Increased emphasis on science education continues to be a primary focus for Wells women, not only because it is part of an historic tradition, but also because science has become such a dominant and important force in our lives. Due to the preeminence of the sciences in the world today, and a quarter of the class of 2002 committed to the pursuit of a career in the sciences, The Board of Trustees at Wells unanimously approved plans for a new multi-million dollar science building.
According to President Lisa Marsh Ryerson, "for generations, Wells women have unlocked the mysteries of chemistry, biology, and physics by studying with gifted professors who are both scholars and teachers." "Preparing women scientists is our social responsibility as one of the nation’s leading colleges," Ryerson concluded.
Today, Wells College is a leader among women’s colleges in educating its students in science and mathematics.
In his 1906 Commencement Address, Nicholas Lansing Zabriskie stated, "...if you wish to see the [scientific] side of a liberal education expanded, you will have to provide the facilities for it, and so I determined to erect a building for the proper housing of scientific departments." Currently, the role of science at Wells has progressed beyond the walls of historic Zabriskie Hall.
Therefore, in 1998, Wells contracted with an architectural firm experienced in renovating and designing new academic buildings. Meetings between architects, faculty, staff and members of the administration were held to set priorities and identify multi-disciplinary use of spaces while maintaining general program intent.
In November 1999, it was determined that the science programs could no longer be appropriately housed in Zabriskie Hall. In order for the science program to remain in Zabriskie, the structure would require accommodations for handicap accessibility, elevators, enclosed fireproof stairways, elaborate ventilation systems, and additional infrastructure that would use as much as 30 percent of the existing space. Renovating the building with a sizable addition would actually be more expensive than building a new science facility.
In January 1999, the Wells College Board of Trustees voted unanimously to build a new science facility at an estimated cost of approximately $17.3 million. Included in this sum is both the actual cost of construction as well as an endowment for perpetual maintenance of the new structure coupled, with continuous support of the science program.
At the same time, Zabriskie Hall, the original home of the sciences since its inauguration in 1905, will be renovated to house other academic disciplines. The Trustees recommended the location for the science building in the October 2000 meeting. The new science building will be located in the parking lot north of Macmillan Hall. Prototype layouts have been developed and the new building increases the amount of student/faculty research space and makes room for more teaching laboratories as well.
"Our classes are rich with hands-on, investigative learning opportunities. A unique aspect of our learning experience is that every one of our science majors is required to do independent research in collaboration with a faculty member," said Candace Whitmer Collmer, Chair of Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences.
"In biology and chemistry, that research extends over three to four semesters and culminates in both a written research paper and a public, oral presentation in our Science Colloquium. Students working on their project get a lot of one-on-one attention from their faculty mentor and typically use equipment unavailable to undergraduates at many institutions," Collmer stated.
And what's especially unique is that the entire science curriculum at Wells works to prepare students for success in this independent venture. With classroom and laboratory meetings providing rich opportunities for collaborative, hands-on investigative learning, critical thinking and problem solving, and a wide variety of small, independent projects embedded in the labs associated with courses, it is common to find Wells’ students engrossed in independent and/or collaborative research projects.
Wells students continue to forge new ground in science and science research. Some of these trends, as well as highlights of their recent research with faculty are cited below:
- Nineteen percent of degrees granted over the last three years went to majors in the sciences and mathematics.
- Wells has extraordinary success in graduate student placement in the sciences and other fields. Seventy percent of Wells graduates attend graduate school, as compared to the national average of 25 percent.
- Students working with Professor Christopher Bailey (Chemistry) have used a kinetics approach to analyze mechanisms of iron release from ovatransferrin, thus continuing research he himself worked on as an undergraduate at Beloit College.
- Funding from the U.S Department of Agriculture (A.R.E.A.) Strengthening Program, has allowed Professor Candace Collmer and her students to work on several molecular biology projects related to the I gene of bean and resistance to plant potyviruses. To date, two papers on that work have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
- Jennifer Ellsworth "01, a mathematical and physical sciences major, is taking advantage of the college’s 3/2 engineering affiliations with Columbia University and will earn a B.A. from Wells and a B.S. degree from Columbia--all in five years.
- "When applying to graduate schools, I found that my undergraduate research experience at Wells was a critical factor. I believe it was vital to my acceptance to Harvard University’s Ph.D. program," declared Kristi L. Forbes, ’93.
At Wells College, professors deliberate about how to present their materials as effectively as possible, and opportunities for one-to-one discussions are frequent. Faculty members also develop creative and engaging laboratory experiences that make science come alive.
The new science facility will expand opportunities for all students by expanding the lab space and access to state-of-the-art research equipment. Research suggests that access to such research designs and methods are particularly beneficial to women students.
For more information, contact the Office of Communications at 315.364.3260. Further information can also be found at www.wells.edu.
Campus planning update from President Ryerson
October 30, 2000
To all Wells alumnae,
I am pleased to share important news from Wells. Earlier this month the Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed a resolution to adopt a master plan as the "guiding instrument for campus physical planning." This plan will enable us to provide the best possible educational experience for our students. This means there will be changes, some of which may be difficult to embrace immediately. As an alumna myself, I share many nostalgic memories of our campus from a student's perspective, but I recognize change is necessary for Wells to remain a leader in women's education.
Wells College will always be dedicated to providing an excellent liberal arts education in a small, residential all-women's campus. Indeed, one of Wells' greatest assets is her campus. Yet, as beautiful as many of our most cherished buildings are, unfortunately some are no longer suited to the work for which they were originally designed. In order to meet the ever-changing needs of our students and faculty, we must look at ways to improve our campus.
As you may already know, approximately $3.4 million raised during The Campaign for Wells College has been already earmarked for the science building. The remaining funds were dedicated exclusively for the endowment, academic programs, annual support, and previously completed projects, such as the renovation of Weld House and upgrades to campus technology.
The preliminary work of evaluating building conditions and investigating the relative costs of renovation and construction has informed decision making to this point. Equally as important, we have looked at the issues surrounding accessibility for differently-abled women, compliance with federal law, and energy and environmental considerations.
The renovation and expansion will improve essentially all campus buildings by increasing accessibility, providing better accommodations for all students, and enhancing the quality of teaching space for our faculty. In addition to highlighting and preserving our beautiful 19th century buildings and capitalizing on our relationship with the landscape and the lake, important components of the plan include the following:
- The proposed location for the new science building is just north of Macmillan in approximately the area that is now the parking lot. Zabriskie Hall will then be renovated to house other academic disciplines - which have not yet been determined.
- In addition to serious code compliance deficiencies, Barler and Campbell Halls are inadequate to support a vibrant and active arts program. For example, many of our studio art majors now work in other buildings due to lack of suitable space in Campbell, and Barler does not provide an environment conducive to teaching. At Wells, we care deeply about the arts and we are working with the faculty to clarify program needs and identify and design appropriate and supportive space for the arts.
- While clearly an impressive building, Long Library has proven extremely inefficient for heating and cooling needs. In addition, it does not have a central sprinkler system. Our librarians have identified numerous deficiencies, including the building layout and configuration, which detract from our ability to meet the needs of our current students as well as the long-term library needs of the college. We anticipate the possibility of removing the building and we are exploring the feasibility of moving Cleveland Hall for reuse as the foundation of a new library.
- The plan will create a core academic area on campus as well as a "common space" that will allow students and faculty to interact throughout the day. I believe this space will strengthen Wells' unique sense of campus community.
In addition, this long-range plan calls for the following as possibilities:
- consideration of moving Smith Hall to provide an expanded and improved student center;
- construction of new residential space to replace Dodge residence hall; and
- improved athletic facilities.
While the faculty is charged with maintaining the integrity and quality of the academic program as part of ongoing academic and campus planning, your voice remains a critical component of healthy dialogue about Wells' future.
I encourage you to share your feedback and ask questions directly of me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may expect further information about this exciting new stage in Wells' history in the upcoming February issue of the Express and on our web site at www.wells.edu.
I believe that although our buildings and the face of our campus may change, the core of our mission remains the same. It is our unwavering commitment to providing an excellent liberal arts education for women that allows us to move forward with both clarity and confidence.
Lisa Marsh Ryerson '81
Triumph For Wells singers in Germany
The Wells College Chamber Singers had a very successful concert trip to Germany last August, winning enthusiastic responses from audiences and rave reviews from critics. The fifteen student singers, conducted by Professor Crawford R. Thoburn, spent ten days in Germany participating in the International Youth Music Festival held in Bad Arolsen. Professor Thoburn's wife, Karen A. Hindenlang, director of music at St. Joseph's School in Auburn, New York, also went on the trip and served as accompanist as well as a singer with the group.
"It was a wonderful opportunity. Our students not only performed, they met students from other countries: Polish students, Siberian students, English students, and many others," said Crawford.
Afua Boahene '03, of DeWitt, New York, concurs. This was her first visit to a foreign country. By staying with a German family, she found herself immersed in a different culture; and the positive experience sparked a new interest in travel: "My host family was wonderful. They took care of everything, even providing me with snacks when I went to practice. My host father made sure I knew his home was my home. They were such warm people. I really enjoyed my stay."
Highlights of the chamber singers' trip included two concerts in one day at the Church of St. Boniface, prominently located at the top of an extinct volcano in Amoeneberg. In the morning, the singers performed for students at a prestigious private school, founded in 721 A.D. by St. Boniface. After a tour of nearby Marburg, led by the school's art history teacher, the Wells women gave a full concert in the evening to the entire community. Another memorable performance was given with other choral groups in a lovely Bad Arolsen church before a standing-room-only crowd.
The Chamber Singers have maintained a tradition of choral excellence since 1960, winning prizes in international competition, performing throughout the northeastern U.S., and singing by invitation for professional meetings of choral conductors and music educators. The performances in Germany featured a wide variety of compositions taken from the Renaissance through the 20th century, including American folk songs and works by American composers. Several of the selections were arranged or edited by Professor Thoburn.
"The rehearsals in the days before the festival were the most exciting I've had in years," said Crawford. "The students had been away from the music for several months, and they were obviously happy to be doing it again. I was particularly pleased that all the training they go through paid off. We did seven performances in six days. American choirs don't usually do things like that. We sang more than any other group."
Mary West '03 of Chichester, New Hampshire, said, "I gained confidence in my singing ability because I knew the group was dependent on me, as it is on each of its members, to perform well and make America proud to have sent us as representatives to this international music festival."
Professor of German Waltraut Deinert played a key role in organizing the trip and in attending to managerial details in Germany. As a former resident of Bad Arolsen, she brought the festival to the attention of Professor Thoburn and encouraged him to have the Chamber Singers audition to be included as one of the ensembles in residence. She also created an exchange agreement that brought the award-winning " Smoke Revival Orchestra" of Bad Arolsen to Wells for a residency and performance in October. Many of the members of the band had hosted Wells students in August, so it was a joyful reunion for many of the Chamber Singers and their German friends.
The Chamber Singers are thankful for the financial support they received from the Dean of the College, the Collegiate Association, and the large number of Concert Choir alumnae who had donated generously to a fund for sponsoring Choir travel.
A digitally mastered CD is being produced which will include recordings of the Chamber Singers made in Germany. It will be available from the College Bookstore for a cost of $14.00 (includes shipping charge). New York State residents please add the 8% sales tax (total cost $15.12). All profits from this venture will benefit the Choir Travel Fund. Send order to: Book Shop, Smith Hall, Wells College, Aurora, New York 13026 (315.364.3261; email@example.com.
As Jane Marsh Dieckmann '55 points out in Wells College: A History, singing and singing groups are a defining presence in college tradition. This recent success in Europe is an indication the legacy will continue and enrich more lives. "I feel singing brings together students who have varying interests and who might not have any other opportunity to get to know each other," said Mary West. "It also enhances the pride of Wells students in their school - to know we are one of the best in the area of performing arts."
Wells College organizes Community Service Day
On Saturday, September 23, Wells College students, faculty and staff will engage in a day-long community service initiative that will allow campus members to volunteer at numerous not-for-profit sites within Cayuga and Tompkins Counties. This program is part of a year-long theme entitled "Connecting Communities" sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Experiential Learning and the Office of Student Activities.
"This is a great opportunity for our students to learn what some of the important issues are right here in our region. From mentoring to domestic violence, from working with seniors to maintaining trails, each student will get a better understanding of how they can make an impact by sharing their talents," says Terry Martinez, Dean of Experiential Learning.
Several community agencies within the two counties have invited Wells women to join them for specific projects. The morning will begin with a campus-wide rally, then teams will head off to do their work. The day will culminate back on campus with a community celebration in which participants can share their experiences.
"Students are very excited to become more active members of the local community. This gives them a chance to work side-by-side with the community in a different way," says Jeanine Birchenough, Director of Student Activities. "Many of our clubs and organizations have worked with these agencies in the past. This will enable them to strengthen the ties previously made."
Among those agencies participating are Big Brothers/Big Sisters, SAVAR, the Faatz-Crofut Home for the Elderly, The Women's Community Building, The Cayuga Nature Center, and others.
This event occurs in conjunction with the Commission of Independent Colleges and Universities' efforts to promote community service in New York State through it's Think·Learn·Act. campaign.
For more information, please contact Terry Martinez at 315-364-3404, or Jeanine Birchenough at 315-364-3330.
Wells College names director of corporate and foundation relations
In July, Michelle H. Landers will become Wells College's new director of corporate and foundation relations, according to vice president for external relations Ann Rollo. Landers brings with her experience in the areas of grant proposal writing, outside funding research, curricular design, and developing fundraising strategies.
"It is my pleasure to welcome Michelle Landers to Wells," said Rollo. "I am impressed with her wide range of experience and am confident that Michelle will provide strong leadership and generate results as we work to enhance our corporate and foundation relations program."
Before coming to Wells, Landers served as director of grants and special programs at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. There, she was responsible for finding outside funding sources, developing faculty and staff proposal writing skills, and developing and implementing funding strategies for many initiatives, including an interdisciplinary ambulatory clinical clerkship. Prior to her Rochester appointment, Landers was the executive director of the San Joaquin AIDS Foundation in Stockton, CA. She has also held teaching positions at the University of Rochester and San Joaquin Delta College.
She earned her bachelor of arts degree magna cum laude from Colgate University with majors in sociology/anthropology and English. As an undergraduate, she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Landers went on to receive her masters and doctorate degrees in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of Rochester, where she was the recipient of the Lewis Henry Morgan Graduate Fellowship. She has conducted research in Great Britain and Hungary. Landers is a member of several community and professional organizations, including the Society for Applied Anthropology and the Association of American Medical Colleges.
"I look forward to becoming a part of the Wells community," said Landers. "The Wells faculty and staff with whom I met consistently expressed excitement and pride in the direction the college is going. I am eager to bring my own energy and experience to Wells, and to become a part of this enthusiastic team."
Noted human rights advocate is Wells College commencement speaker
Gwendolyn Webber-McLeod, former executive director of the National Women's Hall of Fame and a recipient of the New York State Governor's Award for African-Americans of Distinction, will give the Commencement address at Wells College on Saturday, May 27. The ceremony will take place beginning at 10:00 a.m. on the steps of Macmillan Hall on the Wells campus.
Webber-McLeod is a respected expert on communication, leadership development, and helping organizations value diversity. She is a frequently sought-after public speaker who takes great pride in using this skill to advocate for the positive development of women and girls.
In addition to her work with the National Women's Hall of Fame, she has served as communications/development director of the Seven Lakes Girl Scout Council and as director of Auburn's Booker T. Washington Community Center.
She is a partner in Treble Associates, a women-owned marketing, special events, and professional development firm located in Auburn, New York, where she manages Creating Respectful Workplace Environments (CReWE), the organization's workplace development division. CReWE services and programs are designed to enhance the workplace by focusing on the significant role positive internal/interpersonal relationships play in achieving business and organizational goals. She is also currently special assistant to President Lisa Marsh Ryerson at Wells College.
Among other numerous honors, she received an "Unsung Heroine Award" presented by the Central New York N.O.W. Chapter in recognition of her work with women and girls. The Syracuse Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority presented her with the Marjorie Dowdell Fortitude Award, and she was named a Woman of Excellence by the Seven Lakes Girl Scout Council.
Webber-McLeod is a member of the board of trustees of the SUNY Potsdam College Foundation, Planned Parenthood of Rochester/Syracuse, and a founding mother of the Friends of Women's Rights National Historical Park. She is the second woman to chair the Chamber of Commerce of Cayuga County Board of Directors.
She holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from SUNY Potsdam, where she was a cum laude graduate in 1978.
Looking at colleges? Try an e-visit to Wells
In a time when e-commerce is the new frontier for entrepreneurs, a small women's college in the heart of the Finger Lakes region has found a unique, e-solution for students involved in the college search. Wells, a top national liberal arts college for women, is one of the first colleges to offer e-visits.
Students and their families interested in learning more about Wells are invited to participate in a free, interactive, on-line open house on Tuesday, May 23 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. (EST). A second session will run from 9:00 to 10: 00 p.m. If you would like to participate, you may register here, or hit the Wells Open House registration icon on the top page of Wells' website www.wells.edu, or call 1.800.952.9355.
"The virtual open house provides prospective students with a tour of campus and a chance to meet our alumnae and students," said Wells' Director of Admissions Susan Sloan. "We expect that once college-bound students learn about the Wells community, they will want to schedule an on-campus visit."
The program includes live chats, audio clips, and a host of photographs and graphic images, including performances by student musical groups. Wells is one of only a few colleges in the nation offering this kind of high-tech experience.
According to Wells' Dean of Students Susan Ryan, "From a one-on-one discussion with a student participating in an internship, to hearing from a faculty member how experiential learning is integrated with classroom work, an e-visit helps students make informed choices about college."
Wells Students to Conduct Survey
Wells students enrolled in the sociology course "Research Methods" will this April conduct a survey on the sex education program offered in the Auburn Enlarged City School District. During the week of April 8 - 15, teams of students will go door to door in Auburn neighborhoods collecting data for their study.
The survey will measure Auburn citizens' attitudes and feelings on what and how local children are taught about sex education in school. Topics such as contraception and abortion, parenting, and sexually transmitted diseases will be included in the study.
"This is an empirical research project chosen by the students," explained Wells sociology professor Leslie Miller-Bernal. "A key part of the survey is the inclusion of the twelve topics outlined by SIECUS." SIECUS, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, developed guidelines in 1991 to assist schools in incorporating meaningful sex education programs into their curriculum.
Results from the survey will be shared with the Auburn Enlarged City School District.
Wells distinguished alumna honored
One of Wells College's distinguished alumnae is receiving new recognition this week in the legislative halls in Albany.
Mary Catherine "Kitty" Van Bortel, who received the Bachelor of Science degree from Wells College in 1976, is among an "inaugural class" of 14 graduates from some of New York's independent colleges and universities who have been selected for the Independent Sector's Alumni Hall of Distinction. Ms. Van Bortel, an entrepreneur from the Rochester area, is president and owner of the country's top-selling Subaru dealership. Van Bortel Subaru, located in Victor, New York, was founded by Ms. Van Bortel in 1985 with one car and $500. The company has grown to 35 employees and was ranked #11 in Rochester’s list of Top 100 Companies in 1999. In addition, Ms. Van Bortel has twice been selected by Working Woman magazine for inclusion in its roster of outstanding working women.
"This means of recognizing outstanding service, personally and professionally, to their respective communities and to the quality of life in our state, was established to focus attention on our stellar alumni and their contributions to New York," said James C. Ross, president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU), which is sponsoring the recognition. The graduates were nominated for the distinction by their alma maters.
Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of Wells College, said "I am delighted that Kitty has been selected as the first alumna to represent Wells in the Alumni Hall of Distinction. Her bold initiative and strong leadership skills are qualities we strive to instill in our students." Ryerson, also an alumna of Wells College, serves on the board of the Commission for Independent Colleges and Universities.
Other honorees included Daniel A. Carp, President, Eastman Kodak Company (Rochester Institute of Technology); The Honorable Rudolph Guiliani, Mayor of the City of New York (Manhattan College); The Honorable Judith Smith Kaye, Chief Judge of the State of New York (Barnard College and New York University Law School); and Leslie C. Quick III, President, Fleet Securities (St. Bonaventure University).
Nominees were inducted into the CICU’s Alumni Hall of Distinction at a special dinner held in Albany on March 6.
Wells College holds virtual open house
A top national liberal arts college for women, noted for the beauty of its campus, has moved to cyberspace - creating an exciting opportunity for students involved in the college search.
Students and their families interested in attending Wells were invited to participate in a free, interactive, on-line open house sponsored by the college's Office of Admissions. The event took place on Tuesday, February 1, 2000 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
"Visiting Wells in cyberspace is just as exciting and informative as a campus visit, although we highly recommend a real campus visit too," said Susan Sloan, Wells' director of admissions. "Participants will have the opportunity to explore the exciting academic and co-curricular programs of the college and meet members of our community."
The program included live chats with professors, audio clips, and a host of photographs and graphic images, including performances by student musical groups. Wells is one of only a few colleges in the nation offering this kind of high-tech experience, according to Sloan.
Wells was assisted in the creation of this event by Axiom Corporation of Rochester, New York.
Wells receives $3 million bequest
A bequest of $3 million - one of the largest gifts in the college's history - is designated to support the Wells biology department, according to Arthur J. Bellinzoni, Wells' director of planned and leadership giving.
The bequest was made by Dr. Ruth Barnhart of Roanoke, Virginia. Bellinzoni said the gift comes as a total surprise. "She was a very loyal and steady supporter of Wells for many years, but her gifts were always very conservative. We had no knowledge that Wells was in her will, nor were there any other indications she was planning to make a gift of this size to the college," he said.
Dr. Barnhart has the distinction of being remembered as the first woman physician in the city of Roanoke. She dedicated her life to pediatrics and was known for dispensing no-nonsense advice along with first-rate care. She graduated from Wells in 1923 with majors in French and history and subsequently received her medical degree from Cornell University.
This gift is particularly fortuitous for Wells because in January of 1999, the college's Board of Trustees voted unanimously to build a new science facility at the cost of $17.3 million. Included in this sum is an endowment for perpetual maintenance of the structure. "Dr. Barnhart's gift will serve as endowment for the biology program, which will be housed in the new facility, and will finance the purchase of science equipment," said Bellinzoni.