Posts by lweddell
Gina Lujan’s 50th birthday was kept under wraps, sort of.
Lujan is the benefits specialist in the CC Human Resources department. And Tuesday, she discovered one of the “benefits” of working in that office: The entire department wore black and adorned themselves in veils to commemorate Lujan’s 50th birthday.
All six members of the department wore black tulle veils that Human Resources Manager Pam Butler whipped up the night before. Lujan had no idea what was in store when she arrived at work, and at first was mystified when one by one, her coworkers walked into her office wearing the black veils. (They later presented her with a veil too.) Shaleen Prehm, human resources manager and benefits administrator, baked a “dirt” cake with gummy worms for the occasion, and decorated Lujan’s office with balloons.
Dan Johnson, CC associate professor of economics, is making waves in the media world with his Olympic medals predictions. Television stations, newspapers, and blogs around the world are picking up his predictions, which were released January 18. Within 36 hours, he was featured in Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/2010/01/19/olympic-medal-predictions-business-sports-medals.html; on Canadian television: http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/TV_Shows/The_National/ID=1390655465;
in the Toronto Sun: http://www.torontosun.com/sports/vancouver2010/news/2010/01/19/12531926.html; on a Reuters blog: http://blogs.reuters.com/sport/2010/01/22/economic-model-sees-winter-olympics-gold-for-canada/; in an Italian newspaper (link not available); and cited in an on-air report by Bloomberg.
Johnson uses only non-athletic data to make his forecasts. He considers per capita income, population, climate, and political structure of the nations competing, along with the obvious advantage of hosting the Games. This last factor works heavily in Canada’s favor this year, putting them one medal ahead of the United States and Norway in the model’s predictions.
As a Canadian-born economist, that prediction warms Johnson’s heart, but he insists that the results are pure statistics.
Johnson first constructed the model with a colleague before the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia. Since then, the model has proven itself over five consecutive Olympics, averaging a correlation of 94 percent with actual medal counts, and 87 percent for gold medals specifically.
The big story this year, from Johnson’s perspective is that Canada should win three more medals than it won in Torino in 2006, due primarily to its home-field advantage. Canada is predicted to narrowly edge out the U.S., Norway, Austria, Sweden, Russia, and Germany for the title. However, Russia is predicted to win the race for gold medals, edging out Germany and winning three more than Canada or the U.S.
Why does he do it? Johnson says that he treats the model’s predictions as ‘benchmarks’ to help set national expectations at realistic levels. “We all subconsciously know,” he says, “that small, poor, warm nations are at a disadvantage when it comes to the Winter Games. Our model quantifies those effects, so that each nation can celebrate victory if they exceed the model’s predictions. For a small nation, winning three medals is an amazing accomplishment. For the U.S. or Germany or Russia, it’s appropriate to expect a lot more.”
This year, Johnson decided to publicly report only the predictions for nations that are expected to win 10 or more medals. “We can all celebrate with the nations not on the list, every time that they win a medal,” he says.
Accuracy rate of Johnson’s predictions for total medals won by a country:
• 2008 Beijing Summer Games: 93 percent
• 2006 Torino Winter Games: 93 percent
• 2004 Athens Summer Games: 94 percent
• 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games: 94 percent
• 2000 Sydney Summer Games: 95 percent
Accuracy rate of Johnson’s predictions for gold medals won by a country:
• 2008 Beijing Summer Games: 92 percent
• 2006 Torino Winter Games: 89 percent
• 2004 Athens Summer Games: 86 percent
• 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games: 85 percent
• 2000 Sydney Summer Games: 84 percent
A complete news release with Johnson’s predictions can be seen at: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/news_events/releases/2010/Jan.%2010/Olympic%20predictions.asp
When people ask what sustainability measures Colorado College has initiated, do you point with pride to pervious paving? Compliment the composting program? Praise The Preserve? Expound enthusiastically on the environmental mobile lab and energy audits?
Colorado College has a variety of sustainability initiatives in place, and to help increase awareness of them, the Campus Sustainability Council has launched the Campus Sustainability Virtual Tour: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/welcome/tour/sustainability/. Links to the site are posted on CC’s internal and external home pages, as well as the sustainability page.
The online tour is the brainchild of George Eckhardt in facilities services, and Mark Lee and Jen Kulier in the office of communications. All three are members of the Campus Sustainability Council.
“We wanted to promote awareness to the campus community and the larger outside community as to what the various efforts are at CC with regards to sustainability,” Lee said.
“So many things are happening on campus, and we wanted to locate all initiatives in one place,” said Kulier. “Hopefully, the more people learn about it, the more they will get involved.”
The tour, which includes text, photos, video, and maps, has 16 major points of interest, as well as one called “More Sustainability Initiatives.” Among the initiatives featured on the tour are the CC Student Garden, the solar panels on the Edith Gaylord Apartments, the car-sharing program, and water-saving landscaping. The online tour also includes an option for a printable version for those who want one.
The online sustainability tour, which took about three months to create, develop, and post, is aimed at multiple audiences: the campus community, alumni, prospective students, and community members.
“This sustainability tour will be invaluable in communicating to everyone on how the broader college community is contributing to campus sustainability. I learned a lot from going through the tour myself,” Eckhardt said.
The format is similar to the CC historic walking tour (http://www.coloradocollege.edu/welcome/walkingtour/) which was launched in 2008.
Check out the Super Bowl Doritos commercial competition. CC alum and English film track major Char Lee was casting director for a commercial that has made it into the top six of 4,000 entries. Three of the finalists will air during the Super Bowl. If you’re interested in watching her commercial (and voting for the top three), Google “Crash the Superbowl” or go to the following online link: http://www.crashthesuperbowl.com/. Char’s commercial is “CASKET.” Unfortunately, she won’t know if her commercial has been selected until it airs during the game.
Colorado College senior Kay Sherwood has been awarded a Stenner Scholarship from USA Cycling. Sherwood, an senior environmental policy major, received the scholarship for her academic achievements, athletic accomplishments, and service to the community with an emphasis on collegiate team involvement and leadership.
Sherwood maintains a 3.4 grade point average while competing both on the road and in mountain biking for the CC’s cycling team. After being introduced to cycling as a first-year student, Sherwood was quick to enter her first bike race and went on to qualify for road nationals that year. The Tiger squad then introduced her to mountain biking where she went on to take the Division II short track national title as a sophomore. The Ipswich, Mass. native has since collected four USA Cycling Collegiate National Championship medals on both the road and the mountain bike while working tirelessly to introduce more women to the sport and her Tiger team.
A photograph taken by Steve Weaver, Colorado College’s technical director of geology, placed 12th out of more than 16,000 entries in a contest sponsored by Audubon magazine. The photo of two sandhill cranes, which appears in the January-February issue of the magazine, was taken at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, and earned Weaver an honorable mention. Weaver, whose photos have appeared on CC’s State of the Rockies Report Card and posters, says the photo, which was taken about on a cold January morning last year, captures what he calls the yin/yang of the crane’s flight patterns. His award-winning photo may be viewed here: http://audubonmagazine.org/features1001/bigpicture.html and his State of the Rockies photos here: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/stateoftherockies/
Be sure to check out the one-man show featuring collages by Dave Armstrong, CC’s director of information technology services, at The Bridge Gallery in the Depot Arts District, 218 West Colorado Ave. The show runs through Sunday, Dec. 20, and gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Colorado College has received more than $2.3 million from the James W. Austin Charitable Remainder Unitrust, which will go toward a scholarship fund providing unrestricted financial aid. The donation is the single largest life income gift in the history of Colorado College.
The funds will establish the James W. and Esther Austin Scholarship Fund, in memory of Austin and his wife. James W. Austin graduated in 1929 from Colorado College with a degree in geology.
The gift to fund the Unitrust was originally made in 1993. Austin received monthly payments from his Unitrust until his death in 1997; payments then went to beneficiaries, the last of whom died in August 2009. The remaining principal and interest of the Unitrust will now go to Colorado College to establish the scholarship fund.
Austin was an alumni trustee at Colorado College from 1958-60. He was awarded CC’s Louis Benezet Award in 1991 for outstanding professional achievements.
Colorado College students Nicole Laniohan ’09 and Nguyen Nguyen ’11 took first prize for the best undergraduate poster presentation at the Rocky Mountain Branch meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. Laniohan and Nguyen, who worked with CC Associate Biology Professor Phoebe Lostroh, presented a poster on “Effects of Oxidative and Nitrosative Damaging Agents on Vibrio fischeri” in Denver in late November.
Vibrio fischeri are facultative light organ symbionts for specific squids and fishes. Strains isolated from one host species show adaptation to that host. In future experiments, Lostroh and the students plan to identify genes needed to detoxify various agents in a particular strain.
Susan Grace, lecturer and artist-in-residence with Colorado College’s music department, was honored at the ninth annual Pikes Peak Arts Council Awards for her work as music director of Colorado College’s Summer Music Festival.
Grace, who has served as music director of CC’s Summer Music Festival since 1989, received the “Vision, Courage and Achievement Award” on Sept. 20 at Colorado Springs’ Stargazers Theater.
In April Grace received a Pikes Peak Arts Council “Force for the Arts” award, which celebrates Colorado Springs community members who contribute to the arts in education. She is a member of the Quattro Mani piano duo and a 2005 Grammy nominee for her work on George Crumb’s “Ancient Voices of Children.”