Rochelle Mason, CC’s associate dean of students, has been nominated for The League of Women Voters of the Pikes Peak Region’s seventh annual Making Democracy Work Award. The award honors an individual for her hands-on work in the community.
“Rochelle Mason’s work in civic life, in higher education, and in the arts, is making Colorado Springs a more vibrant place to live,” said Charlotte Gagne, chair of the League’s Award Selection Committee.
Mason has long been involved in community projects aimed at enhancing education and access for youth, working to ensure that they have the opportunities and resources to make connections with life-changing impacts. “This was a passion I discovered over the years. I just want all young people to have the same resources and access I did to higher education. As a first-generation college student (the first in my family to complete a four-year degree), having this type of support truly shaped my life,” Mason said.
Before joining Colorado College in 1990 Mason worked at the Urban League of the Pikes Peak Region, where her work helped ensure equal opportunity in education and employment. Mason participates in numerous organizations and has helped organize the annual Juneteenth and city-wide Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations. She also serves as assistant director of a Mexican folk music ensemble.
Mason and her fellow nominees will be recognized, and the winner announced, at an award reception to be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at Stewart House, 1228 Wood Ave. The Colorado College community is invited to attend; cost is $25 and checks are payable to LWVPPR and may be sent to LWVPPR, P.O. Box 7888, Colorado Springs, CO 80933. RSVPs and payment are requested by Feb. 9.
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.
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.
The Woman’s Club of Colorado Springs presented a check for $27,659.77 to Colorado College on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 in conjunction with the club’s annual luncheon and fashion show.
The money will be added to a scholarship fund the Woman’s Club established at CC in 2002 when they gifted their club house to the college.
The Woman’s Club of Colorado Springs Scholarship Fund provides scholarships each year to two female CC students who are from Colorado Springs and who have participated in community service during high school or college. Kasi Carter ’11, a past Woman’s Club scholar and current scholars Shaye Smith ’13 and Jordyn Watts ’15, joined Debby Fowler, stewardship director for the college, in accepting the check. Smith and Watts both spoke about the opportunities open to them as a result of receiving this scholarship.
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.
Libby Rittenberg, former CC economics professor, faculty assistant to the president, and dean of summer programs, is now wearing a new CC hat – ombudsperson, a position she will hold for a minimum of two years.
Rittenberg, who retired in 2010, started in her new position on July 1, taking over from Jane Cauvel. “It’s a good opportunity to continue to be part of the CC community,” Rittenberg said. “The position came at the right time. It’s part-time, and it allows me to make what I hope will be a valuable contribution. Plus, it’s an opportunity to learn something new, in an entirely different field.”
Rittenberg was nominated by both staff and faculty members, and is appreciative of that implicit vote of confidence. She attended “ombuds training school” in Orlando, Fla., this summer, and was surprised at the variety of organizations that employ an ombudsperson – everything from the F.B.I. to Coca-Cola to colleges and universities. The four major principles of the ombuds office are confidentiality, informality, independence, and neutrality, and the CC ombudsperson reports to the audit committee of the Board of Trustees and to the college president.
Rittenberg says she will be dealing mainly with “issues” rather than “disputes,” as many matters that come to the ombudsperson are not full—blown arguments but rather concerns that can fester if not addressed. She will identify trends, rather than report on individual cases, and in that way help to bring about change, if necessary. She plans to visit as many departments as possible during the next few months in order to explain what the office is about and how it can help CC employees.
Originally from Charleston, S.C., Rittenberg came to Colorado College in 1989 as an associate economics professor interested in international economic development. She applied for a position at the college – the only school she looked at that was not on the Eastern Seaboard – after seeing an ad that specifically mentioned international experience as a plus. Besides the opportunity to become part of such a fine liberal arts college, she selected Colorado College because of the value it places on an international perspective, and because it was the only school she interviewed at in which people from a variety of departments came to the presentation interview. “At all the other schools, it was only the people in the department who came to the ‘job talk,’ as we call it. At CC, I was struck by how many people from various departments attended. I thought, ‘Wow, people from different departments talk to each other here.’ That made an impression,“ she said.
Rittenberg earned a B.A. in economics-mathematics and Spanish from Simmons College in Boston, and master’s degree and Ph.D. in economics from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. She initially was drawn to economics because of the way economists look at issues, rather than by the issues themselves. “Economists look at so many different kinds of issues beyond what people think,” she said. “That framework becomes a useful device, and has been useful in so many things I have done at CC.”
Her research areas include international trade, sources of economic growth, stabilization/liberalization policies, the transition of centrally planned economies, Third World debt, productivity analysis, and the Turkish economy. Rittenberg has visited Turkey more than 30 times, in large part because her husband, Nasit Ari, a research engineer whom she met while folk dancing when she was an economist at Mathematica, Inc., in Princeton, N.J., is from Istanbul.
Rittenberg keeps her hand in economics by working on the third edition of her book, “Principles of Economics,” co-authored with Timothy Tregarthen and published by Flat World Knowledge. In an effort to keep the cost of textbooks down, the book is an open-source textbook, based on the iTunes model, in which consumers can purchase and download as much or as little of the book as they want. “We’ll see how it goes,” she said. “It’s still a test model.”
Rittenberg enjoys hiking below tree line and riding her electric bike, and makes it a point to spend time outdoors every day. In recent years she started taking piano lessons, something she hasn’t pursued since junior high school. She also enjoys the arts, especially concerts, plays, and opera. Her passion for the arts meshed well with her six-year tenure as dean of summer programs, as she enjoyed spending summers in Colorado Springs attending as many of the arts and cultural events as she could. She has served on the boards of the Colorado College Summer Music Festival, the Colorado Springs Conservatory, the Bee Vradenburg Foundation, and the Foundation for School District 11.
Rittenberg can be reached at 330-0410 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A self-described email and phone junkie, Rittenberg will return an email or call as soon as possible. Her September office hours at Tutt Library, Room 212 are 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. Tuesdays and 4-6 p.m. Wednesdays. Office hours for subsequent months will be posted outside the ombuds office and on the ombuds website: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/offices/ombuds/. She also is more than willing to meet people off-campus; call or email her to make arrangements.
On Saturday, May 5, family and friends of Evan Spirito ’10 gathered on CC campus to dedicate a bench in his memory. Evan passed away November 2, 2011 after a valiant three-year struggle with lung cancer. Evan played lacrosse at CC. Following the final men’s lacrosse home game on May 5, Evan’s family, lacrosse teammates and friends dedicated his bench which is located at the top of the Tiger Trail behind McGregor. As a close friend of Chris Quon ’09, Evan’s bench is next to the tree planted in memory of Chris, both overlooking Washburn Field where they spent many hours together.
In addition to this bench, the Assistant Lacrosse Coach’s Office in El Pomar Sports Complex is in memory of Evan and in recognition of the support he received from his coaches and fellow athletes at CC.
Spirito’s jersey, No. 19, and Quon’s jersey, No. 12, hang in the CC press box for all home men’s lacrosse games, and hang on the CC team bench when the team travels for away games.
By Laurel Hecker ’13
Each year, the Center for Service and Learning recognizes students, faculty, and community members who are outstanding examples of what it means to serve others. Volunteers, student leaders, professors, student groups, and community organizations are honored in various award categories. Though recipients do their work with no expectations of reward, the Service Award Recognition Dessert (SARD) is a yearly opportunity to acknowledge on-going acts of selflessness, impassioned leadership, and community involvement. This year, on April 26 at McHugh Commons, the Center for Service and Learning recognized 18 exceptional people and groups from the extended CC community with 11 unique awards.
Spirit Awards: Annette Daymon, Kelsey Fowlkes ’13, Kristen Wells ’12, Tessa Harland ’13, Emily Burton-Boehr ’12, Qua Nguyen ’13
Outstanding Commitment to Social Change: Samantha Barlow ’13
Commitment Beyond the Course Award: Michaela Kobsa-Mark ’15
Award for Innovation in the Curriculum: Re Evitt
Organizational Leadership Award: Cassie Benson ’12
Innovative Leadership Award: Kathleen Carroll ’13
Teamwork Awards: Early Birds, CREATE
Partnership Award: Concrete Couch
Outstanding Initiative by a First-Year: Christine Odegi ’15, Skyler Trieu ’15
Class of 1981 Outstanding Community Service Award: Marley Hamrick ’12
Anabel and Jerry McHugh Director’s Award:
The awards ceremony in McHugh Commons on April 26.
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.”
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.
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.