Posts in: General News

Geology 101 in Garden of the Gods

Garden of the GodsGeology Professor Jeff Noblett led a group of approximately 15 Colorado College faculty and staff on a late-afternoon field trip through Garden of the Gods on Aug. 15. The group hiked about two miles, winding through the geological formations, as Noblett pointed out various features.

Colorado Springs is geologically unique in that it has one of the most complete and complex exposure of earth history anywhere in the country, he said. The city also is unique in that rocks from every geological period, except the Silurian, are exposed within the city limits.

Participants learned about various types of rocks, faults and fault interpretation, angular unconformities, and graded beds, in addition to viewing some spectacular scenery with a new appreciation and understanding.

Much of the information Noblett presented is in his book, “A Guide to the Geological History of the Pikes Peak Region,” available in the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center. In addition to the geology of the Garden of the Gods, the book includes information on a variety of geological features within easy driving distance – Wilkerson Pass, Manitou Springs, Highway 24, Pulpit Rock, Palmer Park, Section 16, etc.

The book includes photos by Steve Weaver, technical director of geology, and was copy-edited by Cathe Bailie, music events coordinator. The event was sponsored by the CC Wellness Champions, co-chaired by Ryan Hammes and Lisa Brommer.

A quote at the end of the book puts the magnitude of the region’s geology in perspective: “If we were to scale earth history on a one-year calendar, with the earth forming on January 1 and today being midnight December 31, the oldest rocks we find in Colorado would not appear until the beginning of August. The detailed sedimentary record of the seas begins about Thanksgiving, and humans reach Colorado only in the final hour. It would be worth the time to sit in a high place above town and briefly review the geological history of the region.”

CC Group Summits Pikes Peak

Triumphant After Picture 2A group of 10 from Colorado College hiked 12.6 miles to summit Pikes Peak on Saturday, June 8. The hike up the 14,110-foot mountain was coordinated by Ryan Hammes, outdoor education director, and Lisa Brommer, associate director of human resources, co-chairs of CC’s Wellness Champions.

The group started up Barr Trail at 5:15 a.m. and reached summit about 4:30 p.m., with a few group members reaching the peak closer to 3:30 p.m. It was the first time many had climbed the mountain, a designated National Historic landmark which rises 8,400 feet above Colorado Springs and one of the 54 “Fourteeners” in Colorado.

In addition to Hammes and Brommer, the group included Pat Cunningham, Caitlin Apigian, Jeff Apigian, Mike Applegate, Kat Hodges, Inger Bull, Anthony Bull, and Heather Browne.

“It was an incredible experience and a great way to create relationships that go beyond the work place,” Brommer said.

The group descended the mountain via a CC van driven by Glen Powers from the transportation department, and celebrated with dinner at Amanda’s Fonda.

Stay tuned for additional wellness activities for staff and faculty!

Open House Celebrates New Children’s Center

An open house celebrating the new Cheryl Schlessman Bennett Children’s Center was held Friday, Sept. 28, with three generations of family members in attendance. Colorado College’s new children’s center is named in memory of Cheryl Schlessman Bennett ’77, an education major who was passionate about children’s welfare and taught elementary school in Colorado.

Assistant Soccer Coach James Wagenschutz reads to his son at the Children's Center.

Construction of the new $2 million children’s center was made possible by a gift from the Schlessman family. Schlessman family and friends in attendance at the event were Lee Schlessman ’50 (Cheryl’s father), Susan Schlessman Duncan ’52 and Jim Duncan (Cheryl’s aunt and uncle), Bill Bennett (Cheryl’s husband), Eric Bennett (Cheryl’s son), Sandy Garnett ’75 (Cheryl’s sister), Mick Fredericks ’76 (Cheryl’s cousin), Deb Angell ’74 (Cheryl’s cousin), and Peggy Christie ’77 (Cheryl’s college roommate) and Alex Christie.

The new 9,000-plus square-foot center will accommodate 64 children, from infants to preschoolers, nearly doubling the number that the former children’s center could hold.

Beth Dovenspike, director of Cheryl’s Center, and Sandra Wong, dean of the college and dean of the faculty, both spoke at the open house. “At Colorado College, we often talk about enabling our students to become life-long learners. As we think about our own childhoods, many of us realize how much our earliest social and learning experiences mattered,” Wong said.

She added that the center, which provides child care for Colorado College’s faculty and staff, offers an opportunity for learning to begin in a rich and healthy environment. “The center creates the kind of community we value. It attracts faculty and staff to CC, and builds connections as children grow up together and share friendships,” she said.

CC’s Race for the Cure Team Raises $800

CC's Race for the Cure team includes, standing, left to right, Lyrae Williams (president’s office), Jennifer Supinski (registrar’s office), Stan Supinski, Linda LaBue (physics), Enedina Andrews, Karen Britton (registrar’s office), Tom Skipworth, Terri Skipworth (registrar’s office), Audrey Burns, and seated on rock, Candace Santa Maria (registrar’s office), Amy Ingalsbe (business office), and Jordan Ingalsbe. Teammates not pictured are Veronica Paulsen, Liz Scherkenbach (information management), Garrett Scherkenbach, Piper Scherkenbach and Garret Scherkenbach.

Karen Britton in the registrar’s office recently organized a CC team to run in the Race for the Cure. The CC team ran to celebrate Candace Santa Maria, office supervisor in the registrar’s office, being a 15-year cancer survivor.

The race was held on Sunday, Sept. 9, and the CC team raised more than $800 in donations. All CC team members who participated were given a team T-shirt that said “Tatas and Tigertails.” The group hopes to make this an annual event that will grow every year. 

Rockin' the Tiger socks: From left to right, Terri Skipworth, Tom Skipworth and Karen Britton.

Tom Cronin publishes new book on leadership

Tom Cronin, the McHugh Professor of American Institutions and Leadership at Colorado College, has published a new book, “Leadership Matters: Unleashing the Power of Paradox.” The book offers a different view of leadership and does not emphasize specific rules for or characteristics of effective leaders. Instead, Cronin and co-author Michael Genovese, of Loyola Marymount University, see leadership as more nuanced and filled with paradox –for example, they point out that Americans want leaders who are like themselves yet better than themselves. Americans yearn for leaders to serve the common good – yet simultaneously serve particular interests. Leadership, they says, is a realm in which rules only occasionally apply and how-to prescriptions obscure more than they enlighten.

“Ideal leaders help create options and opportunities – help clarify problems and choices, build morale and coalitions, inspire others, and provide a vision of the possibilities and promise of a better organization, community, or world,” states the book. “Asking whether leadership can be taught is the wrong question. Can leadership be learned? is the better question.”

Doris Kearns Goodwin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian, calls the book “an absolute tour-de-force – one of the most wide-ranging, fascinating, intricate studies of leadership I have ever read.”

Kappa Sigma pledges volunteer at local organic farm

By Alexander Harleen ’13
Pledge Class President

 Lifelong improvement is a central tenet of Kappa Sigma, and community service is a key part of that growth. Every member of the fraternity participates in volunteer activities, and no less is expected of the incoming pledges, who are tested by their dedication to both the fraternity and the community. As the latest Kappa Sigma pledge class, we chose to explore the world of organic farming by spending a day helping farmer Doug Wiley at the Larga Vista Ranch.

From left to right working on the ranch are Alex Summerfelt, Jake Sullivan, Doug Wiley, and Alex Harleen. Skyler Trieu also was part of the project.

For most of us, it was the furthest we had been from CC for reasons other than skiing, backpacking, or climbing. Located about 30 minutes east of Pueblo, the Larga Vista Ranch has been family owned and operated since 1917. After making our way down a country road, we found the ranch, and Doug stood waiting with a couple of shovels. Doug’s handshake spoke to the difficulty of his labor; his thickly calloused hand felt like the gnarled branches of an oak.

Our task for the day was simple: build about 15 rows of seedbeds for the Wiley family’s personal garden. But what seemed simple in theory took a day’s worth of effort under the Colorado sun. Each bed was built to a specific width and height, depending on the type of crop that Doug wanted to plant there. Shoveling dirt proved a lot hard than it looks, and by the end of the day each of us had a new appreciation for the work it takes to get food to our table. While I’m sure Doug could have dug the same number of beds in half the time, he really appreciated our help and sent us off with several frozen bratwursts as a thank-you gift. It wasn’t quite “Dirty Jobs,” but we headed back to the car covered in a layer of sweat and dirt.

While I can’t speak for the rest of my pledge brothers, I never expected a commitment to service to be such a large part of the pledge process. Now, as a member of Kappa Sigma, I’m incredibly proud of the community service work of the Beta Omega chapter of Kappa Sigma here at Colorado College. All it took was a day of our time, but by getting off campus and doing some manual labor, we learned a lot about each other and got to help a local organic farmer. And nothing feels better than crawling into bed after a day of hard work.

‘The Best’ of Shane and Stormy’s Stockholm Trip

By Stormy Burns, music department office coordinator

Shane and Stormy Burns at the Nobel Committee reception.

As many of you know, in December Shane and I attended an exciting celebration. The Berkeley astrophysics group that Shane helped establish was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work. I’d like to share some “bests” of our trip to Stockholm.  

Best big event: The Royal Ball after the ceremony and banquet.
Best little event: The Christmas markets we found in the squares around Stockholm.
Best walk: Strolling in the cold and looking at the department store windows at night.
Best ride: The taxi ride from the hotel to the Town Hall to join our spouses for the banquet. (Five women in ball gowns and wraps can really fill a vehicle!)

Best big meal:
The royal banquet, complete with fireworks as dessert was served.
Best small meal: Lunch in a diner in old town Stockholm. (No burgers, however.)
Best drink: All that French champagne!
Best conversation: Overhearing why there is no Nobel prize in mathematics.

Best gifts:
Little wooden Swedish horses; tiny wooden star ornaments and candle holders.
Best tacky gift: Replica dynamite sticks made of black licorice and wrapped in paper.
Best group gathering: The Swedish lunch on the island of Fjaderholmarnas, in Stockholm’s archipelago, with the physics team.
Most fun in a museum: Watching the Nobel Laureates and other Ph.D.s romp on the play structures in the Pippi Longstocking Museum lobby.
Best hair: Judy Goldhaber’s electric shade of orange that she chose for the celebration week.
Best tiara and gown: The Crown Princess of Sweden’s blue gown and headpiece.
Best trumpet fanfare: At the beginning of the royal promenade to the banquet hall.
Best tourist event: The bus tour of the city with the Nobel laureates and their families.

I wrote and posted pictures to a blog I called “Stormy Adventures”: There are lots of photos of each day of our adventures and some video clips of the trumpet fanfare and banquet.  At this time, the blog has had almost 4,000 hits – it must be people looking for Saul and Shane in their white tie and tails!

The link to the official Nobel website is

Stormy and Shane celebrate with a champagne toast.

First Block Class Launches The Ninth Block

It’s not often that a class assignment becomes a tangible enterprise, but CC’s new on-campus bar is the direct result of an economics course. A first block economics course, “Entrepreneurship,” was instrumental in launching The Ninth Block, the on-campus bar.

The Ninth Block founders, from left to right, are Lee Carter, Ryan Patterson, Luke Urban and Bryce Daniels. Not shown is Tyler Thorne.

At the start of the school year, seniors Lee Carter, Ryan Patterson, and Luke Urban, and juniors Bryce Daniels and Tyler Thorne took Economics and Business Professor Larry Stimpert’s class in which the assignment was to write a business plan. Their first idea was a combination barbershop and bar, but they quickly dropped the barbershop side of the business and focused instead on creating a social space on campus in which students could gather and talk over a drink.

The result is The Ninth Block, currently located in La’au’s Taco Shop behind the Spencer Building. Daniels, a golfer, came up with the name, which is derived from the 19th hole in golf, commonly meaning the bar or clubhouse. CC’s Block Plan originally had nine blocks, and Patterson liked the historical significance and double connotation of the name.

“I strongly believe in the importance of students having a place to meet and socialize that doesn’t require an invitation. This gives students an option who might like to have a drink with a friend or group,” said CC President Jill Tiefenthaler.

Students under 21 can enter the bar but are not served alcohol. Entrants’ IDs are checked, and different wrist bands are worn by students over and under 21 years of age.

“We wanted a constructive place where kids could gather. There was a lot of support from the administration and the students,” said Urban. “What we were hoping to do was create an alternative to the house party scene.”

The group was encouraged by Stimpert, who liked the plan but kept challenging the students to make it better. ”He not only pushed our group, he pushed the whole class. He challenged everyone to do cool things with their project. He expected a lot out of everyone,” Urban said. “If it wasn’t for Larry, none of this would have happened.”

The on-campus bar, which serves CC students of age, faculty, and staff, is a pilot program, but Patterson said the goal is to find it a permanent, on-campus location. Colorado College previously had a campus bar, Benjamin’s Basement (also known as Benny’s) in the Rastall Center, which opened in 1975 and served 3.2 beer, soft drinks, and snacks. It ceased to exist when the building was enlarged, remodeled, and renamed the Worner Campus Center in 1987.

The students’ project fits in with an administrative goal to provide a location on or near campus where students 21 years can meet, socialize, and drink responsibly. Once the idea began to take shape, the students got in touch with Mike Edmonds, dean of students, and President Tiefenthaler, to discuss the possibilities of operating an on-campus bar. Both were open to the proposal, and Edmonds put the group in touch with Joseph Coleman, a local businessman who owns several restaurants. The students formed a partnership (PDUCT Management, derived from the initials of the five students’ last names) with Coleman, and Coleman agreed to house The Ninth Block in La’au’s, where it operates after the restaurant closes.

“It is an exciting opportunity, particularly for the students who came up with the idea,” said John Lauer, senior associate dean of students and director of residential life. 

The bar, which is open from 9:15 p.m. to 1:45 a.m., Thursdays through Saturdays, serves nachos, chips and salsa, six different beers, and has a “limited but adequate” bar; it does not, however, serve shots. The students said that was a deliberate decision, designed to help promote responsible drinking and to distance the bar from the house party atmosphere. “It should be a place where a professor and student would be comfortable going after dinner at the professor’s house to talk about the issues of the day,” Carter said.

An on-campus bar helps minimize the risks of drinking, Patterson said. “This pilot program gives kids the opportunity to show they can be responsible. No one wants to mess it up.”

“The Ninth Block presents so many possibilities for learning,” Lauer said. “It is truly a unique pilot that offers hands-on business experience, another gathering place for the campus community, and a chance for the administration to see how all involved respond to the project.”

Although the entrepreneurship class was only a block long (and all five got an A in the class), they continued to work on the project the entire semester, even spending their winter break getting their bartender certifications. The group would spend long hours discussing, developing, and discarding plans. They would take over a classroom, writing ideas on the chalkboard and fine-tuning them. Stimpert can vouch for that: “They developed a high level of commitment to their idea, and long after Block One was over, I’d see them meeting together in a Palmer classroom late in the afternoon or at night hashing out details,” he said.

The students found they were constantly thinking about the challenges of getting the bar up and running– and knew the others in the group were too, based on the flurry of late-night texts and emails.  “It was the perfect opportunity to learn what it is like to be a business owner and to operate a business on a small scale, said Carter. “It was a great experience.”

 The bar’s founders said that the Block Plan definitely contributed to their commitment to the project, and that it would have been challenging to maintain their momentum under a semester plan. “It definitely was one of the top five educational experiences of my life,” Daniels said.

“The entrepreneurship course represents the best aspects of teaching and learning in Colorado College’s Block Plan,” said Stimpert. “The students immersed themselves in the creative task of developing a complete business plan in three and one-half weeks.  They benefitted from the opportunity to work with nine successful entrepreneurs – most of them Colorado College alumni – who participated in the course. But most of the credit for the launch of The Ninth Block must go to these students. Their individual personalities quickly jelled into a hardworking and effective group.”

Student reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. “People are telling us that it’s fantastic, that it’s just what the campus needs,” said Urban. “Even people we don’t know are coming up and saying they were sick of the party scene, and it’s so great to be able to go someplace close by and have a real conversation. It makes all the work worthwhile.”

Patterson said the endeavor has been the defining project of his senior year; a “capstone experience.”

“I think it will be very rewarding in the end. We want to show everyone that this is a viable, sustainable concept,” Patterson said. “It definitely improves campus life.”

Ron Rubin Wins Inaugural Pie-Off

The gauntlet has been thrown down by pie-maker extraordinaire Ron Rubin, development officer for major gifts.

Rubin’s Brown Bottom Rum Pecan Pie was the grand prize winner in Colorado College’s inaugural Pie-Off.  The event, which drew 16 entries, was held Dec. 14 in Armstrong Hall as a benefit for CC’s Community Kitchen. CC community members literally put their money where their mouth was as they voted for their favorite pie with pocket change, dollar bills, and in some cases, five-dollar bills, and in the process raised a total of $175 for the Community Kitchen.

The event, organized by the athletic department and business office, featured three categories. In addition to be the overall winner, Rubin’s pie also took first place in the holiday category. Carolyn Madsen, office coordinator for the president’s office, took first place in the cream pie category, with her Black Bottom Pie.  Rubin’s Raspbarb Pie was the top winner in the fruit pie category. A very close contender in the cream pie category was the Buttermilk Pie, an anonymous submission, which lost by 39 cents.

Rubin entered four pies in the competition. He baked two fruit pies (bluebarb and raspbarb) on Tuesday night, then went to the grocery store at 5 a.m. Wednesday, returned home, and baked two more pies (the grand prize winner and a peppermint eggnog pie) by 7:30 a.m. Although he often bakes pies for friends and family, Rubin said it was the first time he has baked four pies in 24 hours – and vows to enter five pies next year. “Next year is really going to be a doozie!” he said. “I’m bringing my special, famous pie recipes. No one will be able to touch them. Next year will be twice as big with much more money raised, I’m confident.”

Prizes were provided by the athletic department, with the winner of each category receiving a CC shirt and the grand prize winner receiving four tickets to a CC hockey game.

The pies and participants in the competition included:
Jack Daniels Peach – Carolyn Madsen
Raspbarb – Ron Rubin
Bluebarb – Ron Rubin
Apple – Cheri Gamble
Apple Cranberry Current with French Topping – Jim and Jannette Swanson
Black Bottom – Carolyn Madsen
Buttermilk – Anonymous
Mile-High Coconut Cream –Angela Hines
Coconut Cream  – Camilla Vogt ’13
Peanut Butter Honeycomb – Melissa Beyers
Nesselrode – Carolyn Madsen
Mincemeat – Joan Taylor
Georgia Pumpkin – Joan Taylor
Brown Bottom Run Pecan – Ron Rubin
Peppermint Eggnog Cheesecake – Ron Rubin
Chocolate Pecan – Leslie Weddell

Here is Ron’s recipe:

Rum Pecan Pie with a Chocolate Bottom

2 heaping cups of pecans that have been toasted 5 to 10 minutes at 300 to become fragrant, then cooled. Do not allow them to burn. You have to watch the pecans closely so they don’t overcook.
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (packed and pressed)
3/4 cup light or dark Karo syrup (I use dark)
3 large eggs plus 2 yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum (I use Myers’s dark Jamaican rum. Cap’t Morgan would also be good, I bet!)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

To make filling:
Heat brown sugar and Karo syrup in a heavy medium size saucepan at low/medium heat, stirring occasionally with rubber spatula. When sugar is dissolved into the syrup, set aside.
In another medium size saucepan, whisk eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, rum, and salt together. Slowly whisk warm (not hot) sugar mixture into egg mixture. Return saucepan to stove on low and mix with rubber spatula.
Whisk in melted butter slowly.

Meanwhile, after pie crust is pressed into pie plate, put into 300 degree oven for 3 or 4 minutes for crust to get flaky. While in the oven, during the last minute, pour in the 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Leave in oven until starting to melt. Remove crust and chocolate and spread the chocolate around the crust bottom to form a nice layer of chocolate. Let cool before adding pecans and other ingredients so chocolate doesn’t melt when adding pecan mixture.

In a small pan over low heat, stir together cornstarch and water until pasty thick. Whisk into sugar mixture. Heat in sugar mixture saucepan on medium, stirring frequently about 3 minutes so it is warm to hot.

Sprinkle pecans into chocolate pie shell, then pour filling mixture on top of pecans.

Place pie plate with ingredients in 300 to 325 degree oven (depending on oven accuracy) on cookie sheet to prevent spillage from dripping onto oven, if it should bubble over. Bake until pie puffs and the mixture is a little bubbly and firm  throughout – about 35 to 40 minutes. You don’t want the mixture to be runny when taking it out of the oven. You can “shake” it a little to be sure it is firm in the middle. If need be, cook a little longer if not firm.

Place on rack and let cool for 45 minutes. Serve either warm or cool. Will keep for a week or two in the refrigerator.

Grant Promotes Programs Between CC, Air Force Academy

Colorado Springs hosts two nationally-ranked undergraduate institutions, Colorado College and the Air Force Academy— separated from one another by a short 15-minute drive and wide cultural, scheduling and administrative differences.

However, a recently awarded $6,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation will allow the schools to break down barriers to cooperation through a series of monthly forums that can range from dinners to receptions before or after an event to interdepartmental research seminars. Colorado College and the Air Force Academy have since further expanded the program to include University of Colorado-Colorado Springs students and faculty in program activities, said John Gould, associate professor of political science and lead CC contact for the grant.

The initial efforts will focus on building communication and collaboration in three areas: social sciences, humanities and natural sciences, with each division receiving $2,000 for inter-institutional community building.  Although the political science departments of CC and USAFA have a long history of informal collaboration due to their mutual interest in global studies and international relations, their interaction has been irregular due to a lack of resources.  Within the humanities and natural sciences, the USAFA and CC faculty have had less contact. The grant money is aimed at creating new opportunities for network development in all three divisions.  

Although the program was approved only a month ago, the institutions already have made arrangements for a number of collaborative programs. These include:

  • A USAFA/CC student discussion group that will attend major speakers events this year at the two colleges
  • A joint student outing of biology students to local fossil beds, with a common reading and group discussion relating to evolutionary biology
  • A joint dinner of the political science faculties before a lecture from military analyst Andrew Bacevich
  • A possible “Super Tuesday” primary event for students and faculty
  • Group student/faculty trips to the theater
  • A group discussion of Machiavelli’s “Prince”
  • A program of activities relating to the theme of “freedom riding and writing”

It is hoped that as the year progresses, the newly found inter-institutional community will develop a forum in which members share information about research interests, areas of potential collaboration, visiting speakers, talented one-year visiting faculty members and academic resources and strategies.  The goal is to create a communal identity—rather than an institutional one; an identity that will produce leaders willing to work on behalf of a community that extends beyond departments and institutions.

The Mellon grant provides an unprecedented opportunity to overcome the initial costs and barriers to community building and realize inter-institutional opportunities.