Mathias Hall Gets a Facelift

By John Lauer, Director of Residential Life and Housing

Mathias Hall, one of Colorado College’s largest residence halls, is undergoing a long-anticipated and much-needed renovation during the summer break. The improvements will enhance the quality of life for all Mathias Hall residents. The renovation will increase the flexibility of common spaces; enhance community with more inviting gathering spots; demonstrate a commitment to sustainability by utilizing low-flow water fixtures, recycled content materials, Energy Star appliances, and energy efficient lighting; and integrate technology upgrades to improve opportunities for students to collaborate on projects and assignments. Specific improvements include: replacement of the fire sprinkler system, new flooring for common areas and bathrooms, the creation of private dressing spaces in the shower areas, the creation of open lounges that bring natural light into the building’s core, and upgraded lighting fixtures for all residence hall rooms and corridors.

An exciting aspect of the project is the expansion of the college’s Living Learning Communities (LLCs) from one to four. The program is a collaboration between multiple offices within both student life and academics.  The purpose of an LLC is to provide an intentional housing community, including a dedicated kitchen and lounge area, for a group of students who would like to develop their knowledge around a shared interest. Although each community must abide by Colorado College guidelines and policies, each community also develops its own standards of living and program plans with the assistance of a staff advisor. Students who applied to participate in next year’s communities had the option of choosing among four different themes: Grassroots Organizing, The Spirit of Non-Violence, Gender and Sexuality, and Global. 

Planning and design for the renovations began in October, and construction commenced on May 14. The project is scheduled to be completed no later than August 16, as residence halls open on August 28 for the 2010-11 academic year.

Tip Ragan Gives Commencement Address for UT’s History Department

graduation-2010-coffin-ragan-millerCC History Professor Bryant “Tip” Ragan gave the commencement address at the University of Texas department of history’s Class of 2010 commencement ceremony.

Ragan, who received a B.A. from UT’s history department in 1981, told the audience that even after nearly 30 years, “Talking in front of my former professors, some of them here, and friends and colleagues is particularly nerve wracking. I feel as if I am going to be graded again.”

Almost 200 graduates of the participated in the ceremony on May 21, bringing hundreds of family and friends with them. Among the graduates was a man who took 52 years to earn his undergraduate degree. (See below.)

Ragan was introduced by History Associate Professor Martha Newman, chair of the department of religious studies, who met Ragan when they were fellow graduate students while studying in Paris.

She recounted the Thanksgiving dinner they shared in France. He had called to let her know that he’d found a turkey, which was very rare for that country. But there was a catch — he needed her assistance in preparing it for dinner. And by the way, it still had all its feathers. “He is a person who always brings people together,” Newman said. “He has the ability to get people to do things for him, all the while making it seem like it is to their benefit.” That, she said, is a skill that administrators can always use and seek to cultivate.

Ragan told the history grads, “Your liberal arts education has given you the tools in order to succeed, analytic, communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills.”

He also told them, “We could spend countless hours talking about the wonders of history, but you guys want to graduate. So I’m just going to mention three important ways that I think that history shapes us as individuals.

First, history stokes our passions. Second, it encourages us to be more cosmopolitan by introducing us to historical subjects who are very different from us and consequently makes us more open-minded and tolerant. And third, it demands that we be honest—with ourselves, with our historical subjects, and with our own contemporaries.”

His commencement address can be read in its entirety at:

The graduate was Dr. Harvey Michael “Mike” Jones, who currently teaches pathology at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine. He had started at the University of Texas in 1958 intending to become a lawyer, but changed his mind after three years and decided to become a medical doctor. He scrambled to take the necessary science courses in his remaining year. So with four years of coursework, but not his bachelor’s, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis waived the undergraduate degree requirement and admitted him.

After eight years as a Navy physician, he had a private practice for 29 years before joining the UNC faculty. But his love of history — especially medical history, continued to grow over this time, and three years ago, he decided to complete his bachelor’s degree in history, saying “it just felt like things were incomplete.”

A Costa Rican Sabbatical Yields Many Surprises for Mark Hatch Family

By Greg Collette ’12 

There were 4:30 a.m. wake-up calls from howler monkeys, a two-mile walk (each way) to the grocery store, no television or Internet, and poisonous snakes. Costa Rica, besides the poisonous snakes, was the perfect place for Mark Hatch, Colorado College’s vice president for enrollment management, to take his administrative sabbatical.

            For Hatch and his family, it was the trip of a lifetime.

            After a quarter of a century working in admissions at four private colleges, Hatch was ready for a break. Feeling, sometimes, due to the cyclical nature of admissions that he was running on a treadmill, Hatch wanted an adventure. He wanted a place where he could write and reflect, a place where he and his family could reconnect and not be distracted by the trappings of American life. A sabbatical in the small town of Monteverde in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, offered the perfect opportunity.

            Established in the 1950s by Quakers who opposed the American draft during the Korean War, the town of Monteverde is considered one of Costa Rica’s Seven Wonders. The town is well-known to ecotourists for its nature preserve, Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde. The 26,000 acres, set aside by the Quakers in the 1970s, draws 70,000 visitors a year. Despite the influx of large numbers of international tourists, the town still remains relatively small and Costa Rican with only 7,000 residents – of which only 700 are American.

            Life in Monteverde was nothing like the Hatches had ever experienced. Their house had little in the way of the conveniences of living in the United States.  In addition to no Internet and television, they also had no car. But without the normal distractions separating everyone, Hatch and his family were able to reconnect. After dinner, the kids couldn’t retreat to the TV or computer. Instead, the time between dinner and bedtime was filled with family readings and storytelling.

            Outside of their home, everything was completely different. Instead of squirrels on their front porch, often there were toucans. One morning, Hatch recalls, there were eight toucans sitting on their porch chatting away. Although the flora and fauna were the most visible differences, the language and culture were the most daunting. For Hatch’s wife and daughters, they posed little challenge. Hatch’s wife knew Spanish and was taking classes in it; by the time they returned to America in December, Hatch’s 8-year-old had an 11th grade proficiency in the language.

            For Hatch, however, it was a different story. Having taken French growing up, attempting to communicate with many of the locals was nearly impossible at first. By the end of his stay, he was able to let a taxi driver know where he wanted to go, but often, his 8-year-old would translate for him, an experience he describes as “a proud one for a dad, but horrible for a 45-year-old man.”

            The language barrier did not stop Hatch from engaging in the community while in Monteverde. He began working at the school his daughters attended, the pre-K through 11th grade Centro de Educación Creativa, or the Cloud Forest School. Sitting on a pristine 106-acre campus located in the rainforest, the 200-student school focuses heavily on environmental stewardship.

            Hatch taught courses on environmental education at the bilingual school. He spent 15-20 hours a week teaching both inside and outside of the classroom. For Hatch the courses he taught were a great way to engage with the students. They spent time in the local forests, doing everything from planting trees to testing water samples. And despite a student body that is 90 percent Costa Rican, Hatch found little trouble communicating with the students, which he credits to them, saying that the students were extremely good to him.

            It seemed Hatch’s sabbatical was going to be spent doing things that were completely different from what he was used to at home. In August, the school hired an interim director after the previous director left. The new director was a local parent and did not have any administrative experience. It was not long before she asked Hatch to come in and look at the school budget. They realized that the school was in serious financial trouble. Almost overnight, Hatch’s 15-20 hours of work per week doubled. The long hours, though tiring, were not a burden.

            “Helping the school became a huge passion,” he said.

            Originally, he planned on spending much of his time writing and reflecting, but working to keep the school from closing became a huge priority, second only to his family.  Yet, Hatch still gained much insight from the experience.

            “It made me incredibly appreciative of CC,” he said. When Hatch left for his sabbatical, CC had just endured one of its toughest economic years in recent memory. In fact, Hatch had been approved for his sabbatical in May 2008, but with the recession hitting the country and the school, he decided to defer his leave until the following year.

             Although he already was amazed at how CC handled the financial crisis during the 2008-09 school year, his time in Costa Rica put a new light on how well CC was handling the economic recession. His experience also made him miss his work back at CC. Despite the cold welcome of January weather when he returned to campus, Hatch said it’s good to be back helping students begin their futures here at Colorado College.

‘Western Skies’ to Ride KRCC’s Airwaves Once Again

The much beloved news magazine “Western Skies” returns at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 6 after several years of dormancy. Produced by KRCC News Director Andrea Chalfin and “The Big Something’s” Noel Black, the hour-long, monthly show addresses a single topic facing the region and the West. The show will air on the first Sunday of each month.

“Tourism” will be the subject of this Sunday’s “Western Skies” and will feature:

  • A roundtable discussion about the past, present, and future of this vital industry with Terry Sullivan, CEO and president of Experience Colorado Springs, Leah Davis Witherow, archivist at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, and Susan Wolbrueck, board president of the Manitou Springs Business Improvement District.
  • A segment on the burgeoning agritourism in Colorado by Michelle Mercer.
  • A conversation with Capitol Reporter Bente Birkeland about proposed legislation pitting whitewater rafting against private land owners.
  • A feature on Pikes Peak’s famous donuts.

Tune in to 91.5 FM, and make sure you check the KRCC website for additional web-only features, including a video of donut making, a history of Balanced Rock in photography, and much more.

CC Golf Warriors Take No Prisoners at 14th Annual Golf Tournament

By Ron Smith, Director of Campus Safety

The winning golf team. Photo by Pam Butler.

The winning golf team. Photo by Pam Butler.

The sun is peeking over the horizon as the dew is glistening on the fresh mowed grass.  At that precise moment there stood 62 fearless CC warriors dressed in their brightly colored battle clothes, their faces painted with sunscreen, just waiting to receive the word to grab their clubs and climb aboard their covered chariots to do battle on the sacred grounds of the Valley Hi Golf Course.

The atmosphere was tense as the command was finally given, “Welcome to the 14th Annual Colorado College Golf Tournament.

“Today you will be facing an opponent that is relentless and deceiving.  This opponent will stop at nothing to gain a victory over you by using such devious tactics as sand, water, weeds, gullies, trees, beer carts, outhouses, boogies, double boogies, and yes, even the dreaded geese and geese droppings.  Some of you will survive, some of you will use mulligans, and some of you will falter, but remember, whatever the outcome of today’s events, you will be honorably welcomed back at the 19th hole.  So, my comrades pick up your clubs and go forth to get as many birdies as you can.”

As the war correspondent/photographer Pam Butler stood at the gateway to the upcoming battle, she remarked that the sight was breathless as the 31 chariots with the 62 CC warriors headed off to uncertain results.

After an excruciating day, the embattled CC warriors returned to the 19th hole to claim their prize. The team of Chris Melcher, John Calderhead, Randy Stiles, and Ray Nunn held their clubs high as they proclaimed victory over the 16-team field. The crowd was silent as the winners accepted their prize and listened as the winners boasted that their names will be forever engraved in CC history along with the other teams that passed before them. 

Of course, during all great battles there are people who excel in individual greatness by going above and beyond the capabilities of their nemeses. These individuals seek no rewards for their accomplishments. They do it because they know that they are good enough to beat anyone, one-on-one, when it comes to their specialties. For the sacrifices these individuals endured throughout the day, each was presented with a token which was commensurate to their accomplishments. So without further ado here are these exceptional individuals:

Ken Cooper – Men’s longest drive
Jill Fetters – Women’s longest drive
Stacy Davidson – Women’s closest to the pin
Tom Walters – Men’s closest to the pin 

So as the sun set over Valley Hi and the geese were finally out of danger and at peace, the mighty CC warriors said good bye to the 14th Annual Colorado College Golf Tournament and limped home to the big tube of Ben Gay.

TCO Committee:  Stacy Davidson, Don Davidson, Lynda Smith, Ron Smith

KRCC Receives $15,000 Grant from El Pomar Foundation for Programming

KRCC, Colorado College’s NPR-member radio station, has received a $15,000 grant from the El Pomar Foundation. The grant will be used to produce local news shows for the community and provide additional political coverage on the state legislature in Denver, both of which have been requested by KRCC’s member stations. “These programs are vital components of the comprehensive news programming that KRCC provides members and listeners in Southern Colorado,” said Delaney Utterback, KRCC’s general manager.

Although Colorado College is the fiscal agent for the radio station, KRCC is solely responsible for raising revenue for its budget each year. This is the toughest economy KRCC has faced in its 26-year history as a National Public Radio member station, Utterback said.

KRCC’s mission is to offer broadcast radio programming which reflects Colorado College’s commitment to the liberal arts and diverse ideas and people. KRCC began in 1944 in Colorado Springs as a public address system at Colorado College, and began airing NPR news in the fall of 1984. As of 1999, KRCC was heard in Westcliffe, Gardner, Limon, Manitou Springs, Trinidad, Buena Vista, Salida, Villa Grove, Canon City, Colorado Springs, and Raton, N.M. In 2000, a repeater station for KRCC in La Junta was completed.

In 2003 KRCC added a political show, the “Capitol Coverage Project,” and in January 2005 KRCC began broadcasting a local weekly news magazine called “Western Skies.” Two years later, the show evolved into “KRCC Local News” featuring daily news segments during “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”

Winners of Lewis Award for Student Film of the Year Announced

The winners of the Lewis Award for Student Film of the Year have been announced. Arielle Gross ’12 took first place with “Contact: The Eye,” and received a $500 prize. Nick Wellin ’10 took second place for “Showdown,” and received $300. The other two finalists were Connie Jiang ’12 for “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and Rachel San Luis ’10 for “Bullet in the Brain.”

The selection committee, consisting of retired Lecturer in Film Studies Tom Sanny, English Professor John Simons, and History Professor Peter Blasenheim, looked at films chosen from the English department’s filmmaking classes as well as the student film festival.

The Richard A. Lewis Memorial Film Award was endowed by Estelle and Barton Lewis in 2002 to honor the memory of their son Richard ’75. The award serves to recognize high-quality student work as well as provide encouragement and support for future film projects. DVDs of the finalists for each year are on file in Special Collections at Tutt Library, and there is a DVD of this year’s finalists in the English department office. To view all the past winners, go to:

Two CC Students Named Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars

Colorado College students Rachel San Luis ’10 and Rakhi Voria ’11 have been named Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars. San Luis graduated cum laude as an English/film studies major and Spanish minor; Voria is an international political economy major and journalism minor.

The Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, awarded by The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, provides a $26,000 grant for a year of study in any university in the world outside the United States. San Luis will spend a year at the Denver School of Science and Technology as a Colorado College Public Interest Fellow before using the Rotary scholarship to study filmmaking abroad. She hopes to study in Prague, Madrid, Barcelona, Vancouver, or Auckland, N.Z. Voria plans to use the grant to pursue a degree in international development at Oxford, Cambridge, or the London School of Economics after she graduates.

The purpose of the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship program is to further international understanding and relations among people of different countries and geographical areas. The program sponsors academic year scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as for qualified professionals pursuing vocational studies. Upon returning home, scholars share with Rotarians and others the experiences that led to a greater understanding of their host country.

CC Shoes Sent Walking Worldwide

Lauren Paley, Kasi Carter, and Andrew Baird spent two days boxing donated shoes.

Lauren Paley, Kasi Carter, and Andrew Baird spent two days boxing donated shoes.

CC’s Soles4Souls shoe drive was a resounding success, as many faculty, staff, and students stepped up and donated their old shoes. The campus-wide project was launched in conjunction with a children’s book published by Charlotte Blessing, CC’s director of international programs.

The book, “New Old Shoes,” is told from perspective of a pair of shoes, and was inspired by the secondhand clothing and shoe markets in East Africa, where Blessing lived for 13 years.

Blessing’s book is narrated by a pair of red sneakers, and follows their journey from their first home with a young American boy to children in Africa. When the sneakers become worn-looking, the family sends them to Africa, and a boy there receives the shoes with as much excitement as the original owner. After adventures with him, the shoes end up with a girl who walks to school in them, and ultimately uses them as the hands for a scarecrow.

Blessing read her book to “Little CC” at the CC Children’s Center, and the children, parents, and staff there donated shoes there as well.

The Colorado College community donated enough shoes to fill 22 boxes. Lauren Paley ’11, Kasi Carter ’11, and Andrew Baird ’12, Center for Service and Learning interns, spent two days sorting and boxing the piles of shoes, which ranged from flip-flops and pumps to running shoes and consstruction boots. The shoes were shipped to a Soles4Souls warehouse, where they will be sorted and distributed around the world.

Board of Trustees Meeting Actions

The CC Board of Trustees met May 13-15 on campus and conducted the following business.
Voted to approve:

  • Isabel Werner ’08 as the first “young alumni trustee.”  She will serve a non-renewable two-year term.
  • Renewal of terms for trustees Neal Baer, John Chalik, Eben Moulton, Adam Press, Jane Rawlings, Bob Selig, Mike Slade, and Hans Utsch.
  • 2010-11 trustee committee assignment changes.
  • Professor Emeritus status for Mike Hoffman and John Watkins.
  • Six tenure-track hires: Daniel Arroyo-Rodriguez (Spanish), Andrea Bruder (Mathematics and Computer Science), Mona El-Sherif (Arabic), Maroula Khraiche (Economics and Business), Ryan Platt (Drama and Dance), and Carrie Ruiz (Spanish).
  • Self-funded health, legal, and scholarship reserves as Board-designated funds.
  • The final phase of Cossitt Hall renovations, not to exceed $503,000.

The Board dined with members of the Faculty Executive Committee and Staff Council and recognized outgoing trustees Meg Mathies ’57 and Ed Robson ’54.