Winter 2014

Editor’s Note

“That our acts are essentially optimistic is a central quality of Marlboro College,” says art professor Tim Segar in his feature titled “Outsiders: The Art of Joseph Beuys.” In an excerpt from a talk he gave incoming students last fall, Tim describes the delicate balance between curiosity and skepticism that all inquiring students must navigate. He suggests that Beuys’ enigmatic art exemplifies the transformative possibilities of curiosity, but that skepticism plays a time-honored role in academics as well.

This issue of Potash Hill has many offerings along the spectrum from curiosity to skepticism. Peter Sullivan’s inquiry into the possibilities of recognizing nature’s independent subjectivity is balanced with Robert Cabin’s editorial on “scientizing” public debates. Elizaveta Mitrofanova curiously explores the health benefits of a mysterious mushroom, while President Ellen McCulloch-Lovell expresses skepticism about using college ratings for awarding federal financial aid. You’ll find something for every degree of incredulity in this issue, and hopefully we strike the right balance for your own transformative experience.

I welcome your comments, both curious and skeptical, in response to this issue of Potash Hill. You can read responses to the last issue on page 46.

—Philip Johansson, editor


Front cover: Fallen leaves strike a balanced pose in the frozen firepond. Photo by Noah Woods ’15 

Hearing the Voice of Nature

By Peter Sullivan ‘13

Green politics has a history of promoting the needs and rights of the nonhuman world, but has anyone asked nature what it wants? Peter Sullivan goes about finding out how to “live in a living world.”

Photo by Pearse Pinch '14There is a yearning in green political thinking to hear the voice of nature. In many of the recent sea-changes in green politics, there is 
a palpable need to recognize the agency of nonhumans, and little means of doing so. As green politics tries to achieve an ecocentric point of view—one where nature’s interest is considered in itself—it faces the challenge of manifesting that point of view on nonhuman terms. According nonhumans their own voice must come from recognizing nature’s independent subjectivity.

The question at hand is not what the interests of nature are. Considerable scholarship has been given over to that question, which essentially cannot have a conclusive answer if nature is indeed given its own voice. Instead, I will discuss some ways we might be able to hear that voice and, more importantly, how we can live with the question of nature’s interests continually open. That question is already at the tip of every environmentalist’s tongue; green politics must ground itself by asking it again and again.

Some have tried to find a way around the question of nature’s voice entirely. Australian ethicist Warwick Fox claims that empathy with the natural world can be achieved by expanding the definition of the self through spiritual practice. Therefore, anyone with a sufficiently open sense of self need not listen to nature but instead simply identify with its interests. So long as we can understand what is good for the environment, the question of hearing it in itself is irrelevant. Fox compares the struggle for the rights of nature to the struggle for the rights of marginalized sexual and racial groups:

"The tautological fact that everything I think and do will be thought and done by a male with white skin does not mean that my thoughts and actions need be sexist or racist in the...sense of exhibiting unwar- ranted differential treatment of other people on the basis of their sex or race—which is the sense that really matters."

Likewise, as long as we are sympathetic to nonhumans, we can act in their interest. This is not untrue on its face. However, 
Fox overlooks an important element in 
other struggles for legitimacy: the element 
of self-representation. The women’s movement needed a women’s literature, and the legitimization of American black identity 
has been founded on its retreat and independent formation. In the same way, “what is good for the environment” must be answered, at least in part, by the environment itself. An ecocentrism lacking this element of self-representation merely speaks for a “nature” that is actually removed from nature, much as some American mid-20th-century Marxists spoke on behalf of “the people” while neglecting what the working class itself had to say.

The question “What does the natural environment have to say?” has previously been answered by particular characterizations of the environment: the conservationists’ untamed wilderness, species preservationists’ focus on specific press-friendly animals, the Romantics’ sublime Nature. Today these characterizations are accomplished more hesitantly and partially in nature writing and documentaries, and in the adoption (sometimes appropriation) of a variety of animistic religions. The hesitancy may perhaps result from greater awareness that the very practice is under question. Appropriating any one of these characterizations, these myths of nature, as nature’s one true voice 
is no better than characterizing nature as devoid of any value beyond being a resource. Ecocentrism demands that we look to the territory, not the map: to characterize the natural environment at all is to objectify it, and even the trendiest, most self-conscious characterization is only another way to assign values to resources. Nature does not need to be “valued” (valuated): it needs to be liberated from its status as a human product and project. Our knowledge of the environment must come from its own accounts and the many ways it reveals itself to us.

Sophomore Jamie Davis pauses to experience the first snow under a canopy of beech saplings. Photo by Pearse PinchThe question therefore changes slightly: “How can we listen when the natural environment speaks?” Derrick Jensen, the environmental activist, critic, and author of A Language Older Than Words, shows that this listening is very important indeed. He proposes an animate world that humans systematically ignore:

"As is true for most children, when I was young I heard the world speak. Stars sang. Stones had preferences. Trees had bad days. Toads held lively discussions, crowed over a good day’s catch. Like static on a radio, schooling and other forms of socialization began to inter
fere with my perception of the animate world, and for a number of years I almost believed that only humans spoke.... This silencing is central to the workings of our culture. The staunch refusal to hear the voices of those we exploit is crucial to our domination of them."

Our ability to commit atrocities against nature is predicated on our ability to silence non-human voices. For Jensen, an environmentalist ethic is waiting for us if we can only listen. He insists that this listening is not at all metaphorical. For means of hearing the environment, he offers anecdotes from his life: stars comforting him as a child, a tree contradicting an opinion he expressed only in a thought, mice demanding he leave a place for them in his home. Once we learn to notice these, our path of action will be clear.

I cannot corroborate these anecdotes myself—I might offer instead a childhood fear of dark closets, a social self-education facilitated by building houses with Legos, and a still-persisting habit of scolding soap-slickened dishes when I fumble and drop them. My world speaks in the mechanics and aesthetics of designed things. When I go into the wilderness I don’t hear voices, I get bored. Those who have heard the wilderness speak to them in words will find their nonhuman ethics there; those who have not must look elsewhere.

Australian ecofeminist Val Plumwood offers us a radically different model of environment-as-agent: also anecdotal, but more easily translated to universals and better connected to everyday life as we understand it. To her, we can access a natural perspective in events that disrupt what she refers to as “the narrative self.” When the narrative thread of identity becomes impossible to sustain, a more basic consciousness, perhaps shared with animals who have no evolutionary need for identity, predominates.

Plumwood encountered this consciousness while suffering a nearly fatal crocodile attack: “I glimpsed the world for the first time ‘from the outside,’ as a world no longer my own, an unrecognizable bleak landscape composed of raw necessity, indifferent to my life or death.” In these extreme moments when we participate in interactions common to all animals but that human culture cannot reach, we encounter something like an authentic commonality with these animals. These encounters, she suggests, can tell us how to live in a world with animals (and in which we are ourselves animals). Coming away from her own encounter of nearly being eaten, she is able to suggest a universal judgment about the rights of animals: “Reflection has persuaded me that not just humans but any creature can make the...claim to be more than just food. We are edible, but we are also much more than edible.”

Photo by Philip JohanssonDespite the unlikelihood of your average ecocentrist being attacked by a crocodile, Plumwood’s view is actually more realistic about our prospects for understanding the natural environment on its own terms. Insofar as we understand the nonhuman as something foundational to culture, which is in turn covered up by culture, the natural is already tacitly present but can only be brought to the foreground in the most extreme traumatic breaches of culture. This suggests a sort of prophetic source for nature’s voice. But we should not let others’ prophecies strictly determine our own ideas. The importance of hearing the environment speak, we should remind ourselves, is not to find the correct ways to characterize (and thereby objectify) it, but to hear its own accounts and accord to them legitimacy in themselves.

As green political rhetoric shifts focus to large-scale crises (such as climate change and peak oil) instead of specific grievances as in the species-conservation efforts of the 1990s, it faces the challenge of motivating people at a personal level. Reports of the ongoing apocalypse ask us to gaze with fear upon exponential curves and charts of changing sea ice albedos. Understandably, few feel up to the challenge of saving humanity or the earth. The individual connection to nature—the personal grounding of environmentalism—has nearly disappeared from this rhetoric. Hearing the voice of nature can help environmentalists reestablish our connection to the more-than-human world.

While Derrick Jensen tells us that nonhumans have a voice, and that listening to it is the ground of an environmental ethic, Val Plumwood tells us that hearing that
voice comes only on occasion, and usually
on occasions somewhat removed from our everyday lives. Yet, to even begin to act on behalf of nonhuman nature or to respond to its needs, we must have means of interrogating, controlling, and re-forming the places we live and the ways we support ourselves—our material interventions in the world. Until then, the voice of nature may only be heard by the few die-hard ecocentrists dedicated enough to listen to trees and stones or consort with crocodiles.

Peter Sullivan graduated in May with a Plan of Concentration in politics and environmental studies. This article is excerpted from his Plan paper titled “How to Live in a Living World: Green Politics and the Voice of Nature.” He is now living in West Brattleboro with a fellow graduate, a neurotic cat, and a long-neglected copy of Spinoza’s Ethics.

Defining a practical land ethic

“The growing drive to change our relationship with the nonhuman 
environment is wrought with internal conflict and debate about which 
tactics are the most ethical and whether those are the most efficient,” 
said senior Ayla Mullen. She is doing her Plan of Concentration in 
environmental political thought and ceramics, specifically looking for
 solutions to actualizing a new environmental ethic that includes the rights of nonhumans. Drawing from the work of Aldo Leopold, John Locke, Val Plumwood, Hannah Arendt, and Wendell Berry, Ayla is charting a more comprehensive approach. “When these authors are brought to conversation with each other, they propose what I see as a compelling normative argument for a practical land ethic—based in both a critical understanding of one’s interdependence with the ecological community and a vital, embodied, action-based relation to the land.”









Outsiders: The Art of Joseph Beuys

By Tim Segar

At student orientation last August, art professor Tim Segar welcomed new students on behalf of the faculty with an informal talk about the nature of skepticism, doubt, and the character of welcome. In this excerpt, Tim continues...

Does the notion of “welcome” to an institution like Marlboro contain the familiar game of insiders beckoning to outsiders, challenging new students to join them, to separate themselves—to change their stripes? At a gathering of alumni this summer, I heard this very suspicion when I asked a group of former students how they had responded to their first few days on campus. The problem, they said, was how to overcome just this kind of skepticism and doubt, how to make the transition from outsider to insider without losing their judgment. Put another way, they found it hard, at first, to stay curious.

The flow from outsider to insider status may just be the way of the world. In his seminal essay “The Theory-Death of the Avant Garde,” Paul Mann argues that the inevitable path 
of innovative outsiders, beckoned or not, is from the margins toward the center of culture. Paradoxically, it is their very challenge of the center that makes them eligible, eventually, 
for inclusion there. Think of all the people who were once dismissed as nuts whose works
now occupy the canons of music, art, science, and literature. Socrates, Galileo, Jung, Picasso, Stravinsky, The Clash. There are many examples of artists I could focus on, but I will share one.

A coyote expresses his views on performance art in Joseph Beuys’ 
I Like America and America Likes Me. Photo by Caroline TisdallJoseph Beuys was a German artist who lived from 1921 to 1986. His performance called How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare was made in 1965, when he was almost entirely unknown. Visitors could view Beuys through a window, where they found him sitting and cradling a dead hare in his arms. The artist’s face was covered in honey and gold leaf, and his boot was weighed down with an iron slab. He mumbled barely audible noises into the ear of the inert animal, as well as explanations of his drawings hanging behind them. This action, both strangely hilarious and moving, puts us in mind of the impossibility of teaching, the skepticism of listeners, indeed the deaf ears of most of those we ask to listen. It speaks to the difficulty of making one’s work known in the world and the possibility of an unexpected transcendence of these limits.

Beuys called pieces like these “actions.” A later example was I Like America and America Likes Me. In May 1974, Beuys flew to New York City and was taken to a room in a gallery 
on West Broadway, the site of the performance. He was transported by ambulance, lying on
a stretcher and wrapped in felt. For three days, the artist shared the room with a wild coyote. Some of the time he stood leaning on a shepherd’s staff, swathed in his felt blanket. Other times he lay on a bed of straw and watched the coyote. The coyote watched him, circled him, and shredded his blanket to pieces. The artist did things like striking a large triangle, drawing lines on the floor, and other mysterious gestures. As Uwe Schneede describes in his book Joseph Beuys: Die Aktionen, “The performance continuously shifted between elements that were required by the realities of the situation, and elements that had purely symbolic character.”

After three days, the coyote had grown quite tolerant of Beuys. The artist hugged him and returned to the airport in an ambulance, leaving without having set foot on American soil. As Beuys later explained: “I wanted to isolate myself, insulate myself, see nothing of America other than the coyote.” A bit of context to remember is that the Vietnam War was in its last year when this piece was made, President Nixon was on the verge of resigning the presidency, and the international community had been looking askance at the United States for quite some time.

In both works, Beuys is acting on our behalf both humorously—mocking our attempts to interact with the world—and shamanically—conjuring hidden languages with which to cross the boundaries of death, species, language, and cultural divides. Are we meant to trust him? Should we take his play as serious or foolish? Does skepticism take hold? When I first saw these pieces, it did for me.

As a survivor of the Second World War, during which he fought as a pilot, Beuys later created his own account of his experiences that was largely mythical. After a crash, he claimed to have been wrapped in fat and felt and healed of his injuries by a tribe of Tartar nomads. Was this an invention in the service of art? Beuys said he was looking for a way for himself and for Germany to get past the ghosts of the Second World War. He sought a personal, artistic, and political practice that he called Social Sculpture—not all of which was what we might think of as sculpture. He made drawings, installations, machines, and three-dimensional forms along with his performative work. He had a deep respect for the symbolic story-telling of tribal people and for what he called “the significant lives of animals.” He was deeply influenced by the teaching of Rudolf Steiner and, like Steiner, he believed in an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world accessible through direct experience.

Later in Beuys’ “action,” the coyote grew
less skeptical. Photo by Chloé lepetitYet his was a tenuous position, as many people found his work inscrutable, overblown, offensive, or just silly. Despite growing interest from a group of devoted students, he was fired from his teaching job in Düsseldorf, though he continued to teach in his former classrooms until he was evicted. “Teaching is my greatest work of art,” he said. “The rest is the waste product, a demonstration.” His teaching lives on here and elsewhere in the growing inclusion of the political in the artistic world. A phrase of his that I still use in drawing class today goes, “Drawing is thinking: thinking is form.” Beuys labored in opposition to much of the skeptical art world, and he died a controversial, almost cult figure assailed by critics and artists alike. Since his death, his reputation has grown immensely, and he has come to be deeply revered by posterity.

Like many artists before and since, Beuys exemplifies a victory of action and curiosity over doubt and indifference, but also embodies the possibility of acting in more than one realm. He combined theater, art, politics, and anthropology. There are many ways of knowing, and the work of the faculty and students of Marlboro represents a wide range of these modes. Many students find inventive ways of combining these in interdisciplinary work. One reason I chose Beuys is that his breadth of action reflects a way to learn. I can’t expect all Marlboro students to include art in their studies here, though I hope I am forgiven for trying. I can expect all of them to find many avenues past their doubt.

That our acts are essentially optimistic is a central quality of Marlboro College. There is no real reason for us to expect that our work will succeed, affect others, or spread, especially when we are ourselves full of doubt. Is there a chance that we can “explain pictures to a dead hare?” How do we maintain optimism and curiosity and also employ our skepticism and doubt? Can we resist the pull of center and be both an insider and an outsider? Over their four years at Marlboro, students present work that asks similar questions, no matter whether they are working with equations or essays, ecology or economics.

The progression from outside to inside has sped up in recent years to light speed, due, I think, to the rapid spread of information and to a cultural appetite for newness that is insatiable. But for new students at Marlboro, the restraint they may feel is not just a question of how to hang on to their closely held perspectives, experiences, feelings, beliefs, and desires—what, in some classes at least, they will hear called subjectivity. It is also a question of how to measure those things against the invitation they are receiving daily to join something other than that, something that has momentum and energy, rights and wrongs of its own. My advice to students is to keep their suspicion. Be skeptical—it has an honorable place in the history of thought—just don’t let it overwhelm curiosity. The experience of students here at Marlboro gives us ample evidence of the transformation this will invite.

Tim Segar teaches sculpture and drawing at Marlboro and has exhibited his work widely, including last year’s regional Juror’s Choice Competition at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, Keene State College. Tim is indebted to the description of Beuys’ pieces in Uwe Schneede’s book Joseph Beuys: Die Aktionen.

Performing presence and absence

“I would consider my work to be ‘performance to camera,’ in that I use 
photography and video as a tool to document live performances that are 
done in private for the camera,” said senior Hannah Cummins. “These 
images are then presented, or videos are installed.” She is working on a 
Plan of Concentration in art, specifically performance art, photography, 
and video dealing with notions of presence and absence, family, memory, time, and place. Hannah began her time at Marlboro delving deep to sociology, especially feminism, queer theory, and race/class/gender studies, and she is applying all of these foundations to her artwork. “My hope is to create work that is not only personally pertinent, but also politically conscious and engaged.” She is interested in education and is interning at the In-Sight Photography Project, in Brattleboro.


Cancer of the Birch Tree

By Elizaveta Mitrofanova '15 

Liza Mitrofanova explores the natural history and hopeful future of a fungus with roots in her Siberian homeland.

I am walking through a forest. It’s an old forest—the ease with which I walk through the pines and birches and firs tells me so. As the sun settles lower on the horizon, a vague notion of home nags at my mind, but I delay my return to sit down and break bread with a tall white birch. Leaning back, I contemplate the delicate, paper bark of the tree before me. It is light and even with artfully peeling sheets, but my eyes are arrested by a dark growth. Large and black, it erupts from the otherwise smooth body of the tree with a rough, corky texture. It dawns on me that this growth is bursting from the birch itself, a woody heart turned inside out, a tumor. It pulls me to my feet, and I realize that with some effort I can reach it. The growth is cool to the touch, 
and the texture not unpleasant: a marriage between earth and wood. I pull it off, and it is surprisingly light, with a scent that is earthy with a hint of sandalwood. I found chaga.

This was not my first encounter with chaga, but it was my first harvest. As a Siberian, I spent my childhood in a land of thin birches, which reached infinitely toward the sun. Yet the indigenous traditions of Siberia are far removed from everyday life 
in Novosibirsk, Russia’s third-largest city. Chaga is the hidden detail of the landscape of my childhood that took me 20 years to find across the world in southern Vermont.

The summer preceding my first discovery, an herbalist introduced the mushroom to me during a permaculture workshop. She emerged from a walk in the woods carrying
a piece of what looked like charred wood. Being an herbalist, she not only recognized the fungus for its worth, but in the coming days processed it into a lavish chocolate-infused chai that we all shared at our potluck-style supper. The entire experience piqued my curiosity in the way that only tasting a neglected past can, and chaga nestled itself in the back of my mind in a branching mycelial mass that would eventually have to burst.

Inonotus obliquus, chaga’s proper name, means “fibrous ear” on the “side.” Yet despite this delightfully anthropomorphic approach to nomenclature, the available body of scientific knowledge about I. obliquus remains scant. Information as seemingly basic as its lifecycle and reproductive patterns must be inferred from its taxonomical classification. Inonotus obliquus belongs to the phylum Basidiomycota, characterized by cylindrical, spore-producing structures called basidia. The organism is further classified into the Hymenochaetales order, distinguished by
the release of spores into the atmosphere through a mechanism known as “ballistospore discharge.” The spores are accelerated at
a rate equivalent to 25,000 g, propelled by the elegant coalescence of a water droplet.

Chaga is a dependent creature. It
 gathers nutrients by slowly metabolizing
its host tree, giving nothing in return. The host is most often a birch, although I. obliquus can colonize other trees such as beeches, alders, and elms. The only nutritional needs of this organism are nitrogen and carbon, which it obtains by leeching cellulose and lignin from its host. The ability of white rot fungi to break down lignin is something of
a biological miracle, because lignin is among the most recalcitrant compounds produced by living beings. Chaga breaks down the dead tissue in the heartwood of living trees, weakening the tree’s infrastructure, which allows the mycelial mass to burst out from within the tree. This eruption, which is what is most often seen when chaga is found, is not the reproductive structure that most mushrooms are known for. The fruiting body shoots 
forth only every five to ten years, and forms only after the host tree has died, making an encounter quite unlikely.

Contrasting chaga’s parasitic relationship with birches, there is the equally one-sided relationship between humans and chaga.
The native people of Siberia, Finland, and the Baltic region have been using chaga for ages as a medicinal substance. As far back
 as the 16th century, the Khanty people, residing along the banks of Siberia’s Ob River, used chaga to treat a number of ailments. In a brief article titled “Fungi in Khanty Folk Medicine,” published in 1989, Marat Saar describes several preparations of chaga, including a bodily rinse and a tea, used to treat worms, liver disease, heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, ulcers, and even cancers and tuberculosis. Yet the people who first discovered and developed a deep interaction with this fungus are largely invisible to the modern world, and the continued dismissal of their traditions and role in history will result in an irreplaceable loss of traditional knowledge.

My mother, a microbiologist who spent a significant portion of her career in cancer research at Novosibirsk State University, confirmed my suspicions that chaga’s medicinal uses are not widely known in Russian society. To find out whether she is familiar with chaga’s traditional uses, I asked her what 
she knew about the mushroom. “I tried chaga tea once,” she said, “but I didn’t like the taste. I remember during the economic crisis (after the fall of the Soviet Union) there were shortages of tea, so some people brewed chaga. Birches aren’t subject to inflation like the ruble is.” My household did not shy away from traditional remedies, so my mother’s vague awareness of chaga’s existence reiterated the void I had encountered in formally researching the relationship between native culture and chaga.

Despite the gradual disappearance of folk knowledge, modern science is attempting 
to take full advantage of chaga’s medicinal potential. There has been an influx of published research on chaga’s various medicinal properties, not the least of which is in the realm of cancer research. Using precise separation techniques, researchers have succeeded in isolating compounds from chaga in order to assess their effects on cancerous cells. The empirical data resulting from this research largely supports folk knowledge. Though a significant amount of research is available on various compounds isolated from chaga that exhibit cancer-fighting qualities, I will briefly describe only a handful of results. Chaga contains compounds that reduce cell mutation in the presence of specific mutagenic substances. Phenolic compounds isolated from chaga were found to have significant cytotoxic effects on cancer cells while causing minimal healthy cell death. Finally, certain polysaccharides from chaga have been correlated with improved immune response to cancerous cells. This is not to suggest that this fungus alone can cure cancers, but there is definitely enough evidence to explore the potential of using chaga extracts to supplement cancer therapy.

In contemplation of the obscure nature of chaga and the inaccessible nature of scientific research, I wondered how tales of chaga could have found their way to southern Vermont. 
I found one possible answer in an unexpected place: a chapter of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s novel The Cancer Ward, entitled “Cancer of the Birch Tree.” The protagonist of the novel is a political prisoner who discovers he has cancer and upon release is exiled and sent to 
a hospital in one of the Soviet satellite states. In this chapter, he tells the other patients about a practitioner in Russia who discovers that the country-folk in his region brew chaga to treat tumors. The prisoner feels a deep and bitter nostalgia for his home and a resentment at being deprived of something that could 
have potentially served as a cure for his and the other patients’ diseases. “People living in that country do not always understand their motherland, they want bright blue seas and bananas, but there’s the thing, so necessary 
to man: a black, ugly growth on a little white birch, her disease, her cancer.” There is a sense of painful irony in the collision between one species’ cure and another species’ illness, and Solzhenitsyn brings that tension to the forefront in this chapter.

Past the windowsill where the chaga
 I harvested lies undisturbed, my window looks into a sea of trees. Beeches, beeches, beeches, a dash of maple, some ash, endless young beeches, and yes, birches. I remember how ominous and mysterious that dark conk seemed, protruding from the white birch that kept me company on that autumn day. Chaga has lost none of its mystery since then, and in fact, it has only brought more: it has come to symbolize a forgotten and overlooked people.

The time has come for me to taste the fruits of chance and labor and prepare my own elixir. I hope that, somehow, in going through the same motions that the Khanty did, I will embody the type of understanding that evaded me as I sifted through scientific and anthropological texts. I use a pocketknife to cut a small portion of the chaga into thin shavings, increasing surface area for a more thorough extraction. I think of the inhuman patience of scientists, building an art out of precision to prove to the world that ancient wisdom is still relevant. Mine is a clunky, graceless process done in the stale air of a shared kitchen.

The pot I use is an ancient piece of junk from Siberia, typically used to prepare Turkish coffee. Watching as the chaga shavings trace convection currents in the simmering water,
 I can’t shake the sensation of cold, twisting anxiety building in my stomach. Will my simple process really make this dark fungus 
fit for consumption? A steaming cup of chaga tea is poured, and after a brief pause, the
 hard rim of the mug is at my lips. The taste is surprisingly mild, like watered-down English Breakfast tea with wooden hints of earth. The hot liquid spells relief as it heats my core and stretches through the fibers of my body to arrive in bursts of warmth at my extremities, finally, setting my nervous mind at ease.

This article is a shortened adaptation of Liza Mitrofanova’s essay “Cancer-Curing Cankers: Or, the mysterious life of mycelial growth,” for which she won the Freshman/Sophomore essay Prize last year. Liza is studying ceramics, soil ecology, and bioremediation.

Extracting anticancer compounds

Senior Daniel Zagal has been exploring the medicinal properties of plants in the lab, starting 
with a tutorial last year extracting compounds from hops and testing their anticancer activity.
 “The results were exciting and positive,” said Daniel. “More than one fraction inhibited the 
growth of cervical cancer cells and even killed some of them.” He went on to a summer intern
ship at university of Illinois at Chicago, where he helped develop a new method for the isolation
 of glabridin, a compound found in licorice with promising medicinal properties. His Plan of Concentration involves extracting compounds from stinging nettle, and testing them for anticancer and other pharmacological and biological activities. “Nettle was the first plant to be studied under a microscope, so it appealed to me as an interesting classic in science,” said Daniel.

Tale of Two Churches: Conquest and Reconciliation in Ameca

By Rosario de Swanson

In 2012, Spanish professor Rosario de Swanson traveled to Ameca, Mexico, to learn about two of the town’s most important churches and the role of religion in local history.

Photos by Rosario de SwansonAmeca is a small, provincial city in the state of Jalisco
that is famous for its religious devotion, celebrations, and pilgrimages. It is also the town of my childhood and formative years, where I have cherished memories and strong family ties. In 2012, I returned to Ameca to conduct a long-awaited research project. Although Ameca used to be a small town, today the city has long outgrown its traditional limits, with sprawling neighborhoods swallowing up historic ranches. There is even a university campus in the outskirts, where there used to be a hamlet. But Ameca is still surrounded by its beautiful maize and sugar cane fields, and is still moved by the sounds of the ingenio de azúcar, or sugar mill, and of church bells calling the faithful to mass.

The town has several churches, but the most important are the main city parish dedicated to Saint James, the mighty “Moor Slayer” of lore, and the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora
de Guadalupe. Although the stories of these two figures are shrouded in apocrypha, as a scholar I knew that the value of 
a cultural artifact is not rooted in the veracity of its icons and 
stories but in what people believe about them and what their
 beliefs mean to them. Whereas Saint James has been inter
preted as a symbol of Moorish defeat, and by extension of indigenous peoples’ defeat, the Virgin of Guadalupe is more conciliatory. She appeared to an Indian in a miraculous vision, near Mexico City in 1531, and has been interpreted as a symbol to mitigate the violence of the conquest and mediate the cultural and ethnic divides still ongoing today.

My goal while in Ameca was to speak to ordinary Amequenses about the stories surrounding the construction of Saint James Parish and the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, and see if they followed these very distinct cultural narratives. If they did, it would suggest that the town’s religious built environment also functioned as a cultural map tied to conquest and defeat, and ultimately to power. In Latin America, because of the long shadow of colonization, power is often tied to the arrangement of physical space. For example, Saint James Parish shares the city heart with the town’s official government building, called Palacio de Gobierno, whereas the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is located across the river, away from the city center and facing the mountain, in a quarter of Ameca known as la otra banda, where the town’s peasants used to live.

The indigenous inhabitants of this region, the Cazcanes, called the original town Huitzquiliq, or Thorny Weeds. Hundreds of years before the Spanish conquest, they founded their town in the skirts of Cuauhtepetl, or Eagle Mountain, overlooking the valley. They called their valley Amecatl, meaning where the water runs, after the great river that crisscrosses the region. In 1522, barely 
a year after the fall of the Aztec city-state of Tenochtitlan, a lone, tattered Spaniard by the name of Juan de Añesta entered the town in peace. He lived amongst the Cazcanes in relative harmony until his departure six years later, leaving behind a small group of Spaniards that had taken over a large tract of land in the rich river valley.

A detail from el Señor Grande de Ameca shows Saint James slaying Moors.Shortly thereafter, three friars arrived to Christianize and minister to the indigenous inhabitants, as religion was an important element in the conquest and colonization of the region. The most zealous among them was Fray Antonio de Cuéllar. Fray Cuéllar attempted to persuade the Cazcanes
to embrace the Catholic religion, abandon their town on the mountain skirts, and resettle near the river in the new Spanish town they called Santiago de Ameca, in honor of Saint James. By 1540, if not before, the indigenous population began resenting Spanish presence as they were forced to supply free labor for the different Spanish encomiendas,
 or Indian labor and land grants, given to Spaniards by 
the crown. These encomiendas functioned as agricultural plantations, and included quotas of forced indigenous labor upon which economic solvency would depend. In July 1541, a friar by the name of Juan Calero was killed, and a month later Fray Antonio de Cuéllar succumbed to Indian arrows. Despite much resistance, the indigenous population became the main labor source, and over time became integrated into colonial and post-independence society, primarily as peasants.

Spanish accounts indicate that as early as 1579 a main wooden structure served as a makeshift chapel dedicated to Saint James, the “Moor slayer.” However, an important point in this narrative is the almost miraculous appearance, sometime in the 17th century, of the crucifix that occupies the main altar. According to one story, a man called on the local priest to offer him a sculpture
 but then disappeared, leaving behind a sculpture of the crucifixion superbly carved in the indigenous Michoacan style. The miraculous appearance of this sculpture was so moving, the priest decided to name the church El Señor Grande de Ameca. However, the church archives fall silent on details of the further construction of the parish until 1722, when there begin detailed monetary expenditures due to its construction, which continue up to the time of its completion in 1770. By then the devotion to the Christ of El Señor Grande de Ameca had grown considerably.

By contrast, the construction of the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe across the river began much later, well after independence from Spain. The sanctuary was initiated thanks to a petition made to the main parish priest by a lay brother, Leocadio Briceño, in 1873. It is important to note that Briceño was of mixed indigenous and European ancestry and that at this point, 50 years or so after independence from Spain, such people could not become full priests or even enter the church’s hierarchy, although they could serve and work as lay brothers. Given his mixed ancestry, it is hardly surprising that el leguito Leocadio Briceño, as the records identify him, intended to build a church that in some way validated and recognized the indig- enous roots shared by the town’s peasants, who had become its main labor pool. It is also not surprising that Briceño’s initial request met with ferocious resistance from the main parish, as it challenged the old parish’s religious authority and meant a great loss of tithe levied to its parishioners.

Ameca’s Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe has been a symbol of cultural conciliation. The license to build Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe was not granted until five years later, 
in 1878, when Briceño was instructed to collect the property and revenue necessary for such a temple among the possible faithful. After decades in construction, during which masses were already being celebrated, the death of el leguito Leocadio Briceño brought the work to a halt in 1911. Construction began again in 1925 and was interrupted once more by the Cristero Wars, when Catholics rebelled against the anticlerical policies of the Mexican government. The work appears to have continued uninterrupted from 1943 onwards, but the details of its completion are missing from the church’s archive. All this time the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in la otra banda was a dependency of the main parish. That finally changed in 1970, when Cardinal Don José Salazar López, Archbishop of Guadalajara and a native son of Ameca, responded to the growth of the congregation and its devotion to the virgin by making the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe independent from the main parish.

Today, although the main parish of El Señor Grande de Ameca is still associated primarily with the town’s elite and the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe with the town’s peasant roots, it would be difficult to say which of these two churches is more important. The feasts associated with each of them bring extraordinary revenue to the town’s coffers each year. In another surprising turn, a little more than ten years ago, an enterprising young priest raised funds to add a carved image of the Virgin of Guadalupe to the façade of the church originally dedicated to Saint James. Some opposed the modification on purely architectural grounds, but most Amequenses applauded the move, and now the carved image presides over the entrance of the church. Although its style is different and the color of the stone is not the same,
 it seems to bring the history of the town full circle.

Pilgrimages to the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe happen each year on December 12, and are regarded as the most representative of local culture, as they go back 
to our town’s indigenous roots. The Christ sculpture of El Señor Grande de Ameca seems to complement this mission, as it now calls for Ameca’s hijos ausentes (literally absent children, as the people who migrated to the U.S. are called) to remember our origins, and perhaps one day to return. In September 2013, the Christ sculpture embarked on a pilgrimage of its own, visiting Ameca’s hijos ausentes living in the United States and calling on them to demonstrate their faith and pride in being from Ameca. While many Mexicans living in the United States consider the Virgin of Guadalupe a mark of their diasporic identity, for Ameca’s hijos ausentes, affiliation with El Señor Grande de Ameca appears to be an important symbol of their distinct roots within the Mexican community in the United States.

Although today the inhabitants of Ameca regard both churches as their own, the stories encoded within the churches’ histories show that this seemingly peaceful coexistence was not always so. Our town’s geography functioned as a cultural map, where ethnicity and race were ultimately tied to power. As the above stories make clear, religion was intertwined with conquest and colonization, and indigenous resistance was also located within this spiritual and paradoxically violent domain. Nevertheless, for the moment at least, reconciliation seems to have won out, as El Señor Grande de Ameca parish, originally dedicated to Saint James, is now presided over by the image of the virgin and in some way complements her mission. While the Virgin of Guadalupe once mitigated indigenous loss due to colonization, now El Señor Grande de Ameca ministers to Amequenses who have been uprooted by immigration.

Rosario de Swanson teaches Spanish and Spanish-language literature at Marlboro, with a focus on women writers and the Afro-Hispanic diaspora. In September she presented a reading of her award-winning play, Metamorfosis ante el espejo de obsidiana (Metamorphosis before the Obsidian Mirror), in Whittemore Theater.

Creating national identities in the New World

Mexico’s legacy of colonialism has parallels in the united States, another multiethnic 
nation born out of colonialism and the subject of senior Allen Iano’s Plan of Concentration.
“I’ve studied American history obsessively since I was about 4 years old,” said Allen. “I’m 
fascinated by the connections between intellectual trends and economic/demographic change.” Allen is exploring the contentious nature of pluralism through examples of “native” attitudes toward others, from loyalists in the American revolution to urban immigrants at the turn of the century. He is intrigued by the struggle of outside groups to find their niche and by the formation of allegiances for mutual benefit. “My family includes elements from very different backgrounds, and I’ve lived in several different parts of the country, so American history is a way for me to better understand myself.”



Science is Not On Our Side

By Robert Cabin ’89

Americans across the political spectrum 
love to argue that we should base our policies on the best available scientific evidence: “Science-driven education! Science-driven health care reform!” Many 
also believe, with a fervor that often resembles religious fundamentalism, that “the science” 
is on their side. The more passionate we are about divisive issues such as climate change, the more likely we are to accuse the other side of being anti-science, stupid, ignorant, corrupt, or perhaps all of these things at once.

This was more or less my philosophy when I set out to save the world as a card-carrying conservation biologist fresh out of graduate school. But I found out the hard way that everyone strongly supports science-based solutions until said science suggests something we don’t like. Even in the rare instances in which I managed to get a group of opposing stakeholders to agree to resolve their differences by deferring to “the science,” they almost always disagreed over how to choose, interpret, and apply this science in the messy real world.

After years of hitting my head against such walls, I discovered that (duh) there are scholars who actually study such things as 
the role of science in resolving public policy conflicts. From the perspective of the “church of science” that I had been indoctrinated into and once espoused, much of what I learned from talking to these people and reading their work seemed at first almost blasphemous.

For example, Daniel Sarewitz, a DC-based researcher who co-directs Arizona State University’s Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes, has persuasively shown how, contrary to popular belief, “scientizing” conflicts tends to lead to both greater intellectual uncertainty and greater political polarization. As he succinctly states in an article published, ironically enough, in American Scientist, “Even when a disagreement seems to be amenable to technical analysis, the nature of science itself usually acts to inflame rather than quench the debate.... ‘More research’
 is often prescribed as the antidote, but new results quite often reveal previously unknown complexities, increasing the sense of uncertainty and highlighting the differences between competing perspectives.”

“If you find the science that supports what you want to do,” Sarewitz told me recently, “then you think it can dictate what everyone else should do, and you don’t have to be honest about the complex sources of your own motives. On the other hand, if someone tells us the science says we have
to do something we think is wrong, of course we don’t trust the science!”

Similarly, Dan Kahan, a prominent professor of law and psychology at Yale, told me that “in every interesting case of public policy making, the judgment of what is the best available evidence, and what are the implications of this evidence, is a subjective, nonscientific, value-based decision.”

“It’s true that the public doesn’t know the scientific details of divisive issues such 
as climate change,” he continued, “but it doesn’t follow that the reason they’re divided is because they don’t know the details!” Kahan’s research suggests such conflicts are more a product of our different cultural values and identities than different levels of scientific literacy and education. Perhaps not surprisingly, he found that people with different cultural values strongly disagree about how serious
a threat climate change is. Interestingly, however, he also found that members of the public who are the most science literate, 
and the most proficient at technical reasoning, are also the most culturally polarized.

“It would be a lot more constructive if we could argue about values instead of the facts,” Kahan said, “because then we wouldn’t be calling each other anti-science and stupid.” Sarewitz drew a parallel conclusion: “Somehow we seem to think that the facts make our values stronger, but that’s backwards.” He also pointed out that research has repeatedly demonstrated that institutions that make the most progress resolving conflicts “don’t use science to try to solve political problems, but rather try to solve political problems first, then use science to make progress on implementing agreed-upon policies.”

Yet because we often do in fact mistake political conflicts for technical problems, we often futilely attempt to resolve such conflicts with science. Moreover, we can’t seem to stop arguing over whose side the God of Science
is on and which political party is the most righteous and holy. Thus a never-ending parade of books such as The Republican War on Science, and the recent rejoinder Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left, provide juicy red meat for their respective constituents and brisk sales for their authors. But I say that the notion that science can be on anybody’s side is itself an unscientific fallacy that leads only to ever-more partisanship, polarization, and paralysis.

Robert Cabin is
a professor of
ecology and environmental
science at Brevard College, and author
of the new Restoring Paradise: Rethinking and Rebuilding Nature in Hawaii (ISBN: 978- 0-8248-3693-1). He wrote about restoring Hawaiian forests in the Summer 2011 issue of Potash Hill.

Photo by devlo Media



Code Red for College Ratings

By Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, president

If you have followed the Obama administration’s new higher education rating system, the College Scorecard (, you’ve noticed how it attempts to measure “the best value for the money.” Marlboro College rates pretty well, depending on how you view price and value, but most noticeable are the measures of worth the scorecard misses. As I’ve described elsewhere, the scorecard makes no attempt to demonstrate the value to the individual in terms of intellectual and creative development: the critical thinking, problem solving, clear writing and expression, ability to understand cultural and historical context, and teamwork that serve students so well in a changing society and economy. Despite this omission, the scorecard stakes just got higher.

Over Hendricks Days in October, I participated in a leadership summit in Boston with Dean Nicyper ’77, Marlboro’s first alumnus chairman of the board of trustees, on the cost of attending a college or university. The keynote speaker at the conference, co-sponsored by the Davis Educational Foundation and the New England Board of Higher Education, was Jamienne Studley, the new deputy under secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. She addressed the administration’s determination to publish a 2015 version of the scorecard rating system, which will be used to award federal financial aid to “high performance institutions.” If you’re like me, you should be seeing flashing red lights.

Studley, until recently president of Skidmore College, explained that right now the huge federal investment in student aid—$150 billion—is based on enrollment, not outcomes. Seeking to influence results, the Department of Education is creating a system to compare colleges, based on information available to the federal government. It will measure affordability, access, and outcomes. In this context access is based on the number and success of Pell Grant students, defined as transfer rates, graduation rates, percentage continuing to advanced degrees, and salaries. Studley, who understands the learning objectives of the liberal arts, stated that these factors “will be refined with you,” and that the system may have a “Green, Yellow, and Red” color-coding. I couldn’t help but recall how well that worked out for Homeland Security, and hope that the federal government does not “dumb down” the system purporting to give the public information about college choice.

Let’s examine one aspect of the ratings: salary after graduation. Does this mean that engineering schools, which report some of the highest starting salaries, will get the most federal financial aid? Won’t salary ratings distort the “value” of a college in terms of its own stated outcomes and public policy objectives? As one conference participant pointed out, the country needs more qualified early childhood educators and teachers, and if a college prepares and graduates them, the low salary earned by people in these professions will penalize the institution. It could also discourage the college from accepting more Pell Grant students. What about colleges whose graduates go into AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, or Teach for America?

Then there’s the story of our own 2009 alumna Katherine Partington, who spoke at our 2013 Convocation (see page 45). Katherine did her Plan in political science and dance with Meg Mott and Kristen Horrigan, then moved to New York City, where she worked in a restaurant, presented her own choreography in various venues, and starred in the indie film Overload, for which she received the Los Angeles Movie Award for best actress. Katherine now has a fulltime job with another alumna, Sara Coffey ’09, as an arts administrator for the Vermont Performance Lab. Would this kind of unmitigated success even be measured by the new scorecard? According to information gathered by the federal government through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, Katherine does not even count in our graduation rates because she transferred into Marlboro; only students who choose Marlboro as freshmen and persist to graduation are counted.

Thinking about Marlboro graduates, 77 percent of whom go on to graduate school or professional studies, raised other questions for me. What about those who are working to pay off loans or save for advanced studies before settling into a chosen career? What about the extraordinary number of teachers, artists, and social service workers, whose talents are so needed by society but who
are not rewarded with high salaries? Are they, and the ways they developed at Marlboro College, not to be valued? These are the kinds of questions I am asking, and I encourage you to ask some of your own.

As Deputy Under Secretary Studley promised, there were four public hearings on the rating system in November, and the results will be made available at There is also an opportunity to comment further, and Marlboro College voices need to be heard. Please send your thoughts to the Department of Education at or to me at






On and Off the Hill

Kipling scholors ogling over artifacts, students discovering the wonders of mentoring, classes shooting a new Movie from Marlboro, new faculty and retiring faculty and not-so-retiring faculty. On and Off the Hill is where you find all the Marlboro news that's fit to print.





Kipling Society comes to Marlboro

Former library director Sally Andrews, retired president Tom Ragle, and current library director Emily Alling discuss the origin and extent of the Kipling collection. Photo by Philip JohanssonThe audience in Ragle Hall on October 7 could hardly contain their enthusiasm at hearing former library director Sally Andrews describe the contents of a small lockbox forgotten for more than 90 years in the vault of a Brattleboro bank. The box had belonged to Rudyard Kipling, and contained Kipling’s wedding certificate, a will, letters, and other personal items, including one poem never published. For the attendees to a symposium titled “Kipling in America, 1892–1896,” it was like Christmas morning and Thanksgiving dinner all rolled into one.

For the first time in its history, the London-based Kipling Society held a symposium in the United States, and they chose southern Vermont, where Kipling and his family once planned to make their lifelong home. The two-day event was hosted at Marlboro College, which holds a substantial collection of Kipling manuscripts and artifacts, including the mysterious lockbox, and at Naulakha, his historic home in nearby Dummerston.

While Kipling is well known for his stories, poems, and novels based in India, the first ideas for Kim and Just So Stories came to him while he was living in Dummerston. He also wrote some of his most popular books, including the two Jungle Books, a collection of stories called The Day’s Work, and the novel Captains Courageous, during his richly productive stay in Vermont. “Kipling in America” celebrated the author’s Vermont years and legacy with a range of distinguished presentations and discussions.

Kipling scholars from near and far assembled in the reading room of the rice-Aron Library to ogle at rare manuscripts and artifacts from Marlboro’s Kipling collection. Photo by Philip JohanssonSpeakers at the symposium included noted Kipling scholars from both Britain and America. Thomas Pinney, English professor emeritus at Pomona College and editor of the new Cambridge edition of Kipling’s poems, gave the keynote address, titled “What did the neighbors think?” Other speakers included Daniel Karlin of Bristol University, U.C. Knoepflmacher of Princeton, Tricia Lootens of the University of Georgia, Jan Montefiore of the University of Kent, and Judith Plotz of George Washingon University. David Richards, editor of the definitive Kipling bibliography, discussed a recently discovered manuscript with writing advice from Kipling to his sister-in-law Josephine.

The eagerly anticipated Marlboro collection included the humorous biography of publisher George Putnam, “born of poor but most disreputable parents,” carefully printed on a single sheet of toilet paper. It also included a little-known but important memoir by Mary Cabot, a local historian and close friend of the Kiplings, who gives a rare and intimate picture of their personal lives and relations.

“This is particularly valuable because they were reclusive,” said Tom Ragle, former president of Marlboro College, who presented the Marlboro Kipling collection along with Andrews and current library director Emily Alling. “They tried to shun the unwanted publicity that seemed to follow them about. By that time Kipling was a major celebrity.”

The second day of the symposium was hosted at Naulakha, which the Kiplings designed and had built for them—now beautifully and authentically restored by the Landmark Trust USA. In addition to a tour of Naulakha, participants were treated to a talk by Charles Fish of the Dummerston Historical Society on “Vermont and Vermonters in Kipling’s Day,” as well as readings by Mary Hamer from her novel about Kipling and his sister, Kipling and Trix.


New faculty member brings activism to anthropology

By Shannon Haaland ’17

Anthropologist Rebekah Park is at home finding solutions through social science. Photo by Elisabeth Joffe“I strongly feel that the experts are everyday people,” said Rebekah Park, who joined Marlboro as professor of anthropology in August. She was referring to her experience working in Washington think tanks, which tended to rely upon “experts.” “I was very concerned that people in Washington were creating policies without having a good understanding of how everyday people thought and approached the same social problem.”

Rebekah didn’t always want to be an anthropologist. When she was in high school, she wanted to do social policy analysis, and she hasn’t strayed far from that goal. As an anthropologist, she is very interested in exploring social problems and conducting social science research to contribute to solutions. Anthropology has always been a great source of curiosity to Rebekah, and while she enjoyed her high school anthropology course, her interest solidified in the applications of human rights research she encountered at universities.

“Anthropologists attempt to understand social problems from the bottom up,” she said, “meaning they look at everyday people in communities as experts, and they are very committed to that perspective. That’s why I became an anthropologist, because I wanted to have the tools to do social research at that level of social analysis.”

After receiving her undergraduate degree in anthropology at Northwestern, Rebekah got her master’s in applied medical anthropology while a Fulbright scholar at the University of Amsterdam. This led to her co-editing the book Doing and Living Medical Anthropology: Personal Reflections as well as writing related articles on heroin addicts and asylum seekers in Amsterdam. After that she received her doctorate in sociocultural anthropology from UCLA, one of the top programs in the country, taking particular interest in post-conflict areas, transitional justice, and human rights, especially in Latin America.

Rebekah observed fundamentally different paradigms of anthropology studies in Amsterdam versus those at American universities. In American anthropology there tends to be a distinction made between theory and practice, while it is the norm for Dutch anthropologists to seamlessly navigate academia and policy or NGO work without mention of a theory/practice divide. This is where Rebekah’s research interests lie, and it is the approach she plans to use with her students.

“Of course there is room for knowledge for knowledge’s sake, but I want students to know that they are in a privileged position to spend time studying something,” she said. “I want them to understand that perhaps they should think about the end meaning, or product. Especially in the climate we are living in now, I think people have to be articulate as to why a liberal arts education is important, and I think that begins with their own projects.”

Rebekah (near center) with former political prisoners in Córdoba, Argentina. Photo courtesy of Rebekah ParkRebekah herself is a case in point, having spent two years in Argentina for her dissertation research, interviewing former political prisoners of the military dictatorship there in the ’70s and 
’80s. The Association of Former Political Prisoners of Córdoba, whose members survived abduction, torture, and illegal imprisonment, invited her to work with them to document their memories of the past and to actively participate in their current political organizing activities. Unlike the desaparecidos (the disappeared persons), the former political prisoners, for reasons unknown to them, were made to reappear in legal prisons and survived. Because they were marginalized for having survived, Rebekah was the first scholar to work with an organized group of former political prisoners. She has just completed her first book based on her research in Argentina, called The Reappeared, to be published by Rutgers University Press as part of the Genocide, Political Violence, Human Rights series.

An enthusiast of international opportunities, Rebekah said that travel is one of the most important anthropological experiences someone can have. “The first international experience that changed me was when I was in Korea—I was 13—because it taught me what it felt like to be part of a majority,” Rebekah said. “There are completely different ways of organizing society, and sometimes you forget that when you stay in one place.”

Rebekah’s favorite thing about teaching at Marlboro is the one-on-one advising. “When you teach at a smaller college, you get to have more-personal interactions with students,” she said, emphasizing the atmosphere of Marlboro’s close-knit community.

“I am thoroughly enjoying my interactions with students so far at Marlboro,” she said. “I’m teaching two classes, Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology and Social Suffering, and I really enjoy speaking with all of my students. They’re really smart.” She craves gaining the knowledge of what motivates a student intellectually and being able to add structure to
a student’s independent creativity.

Working with the Marlboro faculty excites Rebekah; she is enthused to try co-teaching a class, as well as designing new classes. She wants to bring popularly debated topics at Marlboro, such as race and gender, into new light with analytical classes, and to teach more advanced tutorials in violence and human rights. Rebekah is also excited to understand and explore the concept of the Marlboro Plan of Concentration.

“That’s why Marlboro is ideal, because there is so much emphasis on figuring out what you want to do specifically on your Plan and the tutorial. I felt as though it spoke to my interests and strengths in teaching,” she said.

Shannon Haaland is a freshman at Marlboro College interning as a writer in the marketing and communications department.

Students find big rewards as Big Brothers/Sisters

Sophomore Sophie Gorjance hangs out with her “Little” in the greenhouse. Photos by Desha PeacockWhile Marlboro students spend most of their waking hours with other students, there are a few who are reaching out to include younger people in their circle, for mutual benefit. This year, 15 students have served as Big Brothers and Big Sisters (BBBS), committing for the full academic year to act as mentors to “Littles” at Marlboro Elementary School. Nine of those mentors returned from last year, so are completing their second year of service.

“The Big Brothers Big Sisters program at Marlboro College is a strong example of a community-based, service-learning experience,” said Stefanie Argus, student life coordinator, who spearheaded the program. “Students share the double gifts of time and commitment—sticking to a regular weekly appointment shows dedication.”

Mentors carpool to the
 elementary school four out of five 
weekdays to interact with Littles 
ranging from kindergarteners to 
seventh graders. They have lunch 
together, then head outside to
build forts in the woods and play 
soccer, basketball, or foursquare. For quieter activities, Bigs and Littles read together, make friendship bracelets, or do seasonal crafts like gingerbread houses.

In addition to programs sponsored by BBBS of Windham County, such as a fall harvest party, a bowl-a-thon, and a kickball tournament, there are other opportunities for partnership right on the Marlboro campus. These have included a visit to the college farm and greenhouse, in collaboration with the Farm Committee and the farm cottage, and a Mud Run in October to benefit BBBS. On a chilly Saturday morning, 19 hearty participants showed up to run the 1.2-mile trail, with obstacles including a tower climb, inflatable raft traverse, rope spiderwebs, balance beams, and rope shimmy over the fire pond. The event raised $198, all of which was donated to BBBS.

Junior Claire Trail weeds raised beds with a band of enthusiastic “Littles.” “I’ve been lucky to be involved with this opportunity for community collaboration with Marlboro Elementary School, and have personally been seeking other ways to invite additional partnerships between our two schools,” said Stefanie. “Ideally, I would love for college students to continue their matches throughout their time at Marlboro, and I hope that the program does have longevity and sustained interest.”

“I’m extremely impressed by the dedication of our students who participate in the BBBS collaboration,” said Desha Peacock, director of career development. “Beyond building good karma and a résumé, volunteering offers an opportunity to improve the quality of life for others and instills a civic duty in students that hopefully will remain an influence in later life. For students interested in early childhood education, it also provides a unique opportunity to experience an elementary school environment from a different perspective, providing insight into possible career paths.”


Carol Hendrickson retires; Marlboro thinks the world of her

Carol Hendrickson holds court in an anthropology class in the late 1990s. Photo from archives“People are born into worlds already rich with meaning, and grow up learning multiple senses of place,” anthropology professor Carol Hendrickson wrote in Potash Hill (Winter 2010). “When I first started doing anthropology fieldwork in Guatemala, I had a great deal of catch-up work to do to begin to navigate what others already knew about the places all around me.” Carol wasted no time gaining a sense of place at Marlboro when she first joined campus in 1989. She retires this year after 25 years of teaching “the three Rs:” reading, writing, and research in the form of fieldwork, considered the hallmark of anthropology.

Carol came to Marlboro after a year of teaching at Carleton College, with a doctorate from the University of Chicago. She had written her dissertation on women weavers in Guatemala, which resulted in her book Weaving Identities: Construction of Dress and Self in a Highland Guatemala Town (1995), selected by Choice as one of the best new books in anthropology. Like many faculty members, she was drawn to the small size at Marlboro and the ability to work closely with students.

“I guess I couldn’t really predict this from the start, but it quickly became clear that I loved doing tutorials,” said Carol. “Moreover, my family is from New England; my undergraduate experience was in New England (Bates); it was like coming home. It was just a really great place.”

According to Carol, the study of anthropology is important “because it teaches us that, culturally speaking, we’re not the only game in town.” In the classroom she liked to teach her students how to question assumptions about their own world and also come to understand the logic of worlds that initially might seem very strange. Carol believes that this permits her students to see other people’s lives, not to mention their own, with fresh eyes.

“Carol has always been welcoming of diverse ideas, and engaging with other faculty and disciplines in an appropriately critical way,” said Jeff Bristol ’09, who is now in a doctoral program in anthropology at Boston University. “This kind of interaction really is the hallmark and the benefit of being an anthropologist, and Carol was exemplary of that. I really couldn’t have had a better or more dedicated first mentor who was both theoretically strong and empirically conscious.”

“Carol brought to her teaching a cultural anthropologist’s keen way of observing the universe, finding unexpected connections, and unearthing the everyday lyrical-ness of life,” said Sari Brown ’11, who did her Plan of Concentration in religion and anthropology. “Without even meaning to, she was constantly collaborating with her students in their research, as she had an incredible knack for discovering, by chance, articles and ideas and occurrences that connected to their work.”

Carol visits the family she lived with in 1980 and 1981, when she first did fieldwork in Tecpán, Guatemala. Photo courtesy of Carol hendrickson“I think there is flexibility here for me to really teach anything,” said Carol, who often collaborated with other faculty members in classes. “Anthropology is a subject that people don’t know a lot about, and so particular classes might bring in visual arts students, for example,
and then they perhaps end up writing a Plan paper on the subject. Having control over your curriculum is really a plus.”

In addition to teaching popular classes like Ethnobiology, Senses of Place, Anthropology of Art, and Thinking Through the Body, Carol served as dean of faculty during the 1990s and director of world studies in the 2000s. She was a clear choice for the latter, with her international background and fieldwork experience.

“One of the things I really appreciated
 and made use of at Marlboro, in many ways, 
was the funding to go abroad,” Carol said.
 Her first Marlboro course trip was to the 
Yucatan in 2001, with biologist Bob Engel 
and ceramist Michael Boylen and five students,
 two of whom were in the World Studies
 Program (Potash Hill, Summer 2001). “That led 
to other trips such as the one in Vietnam, and co-leading trips to Cuba with Kate Ratcliff.” As director of world studies she also visited students doing WSP internships and study-abroad programs in Mexico and Spain. “Those were really excellent opportunities because I got the chance to see how those programs worked on the ground.”

Along the way, Carol developed a method of “visual field notes” that has augmented her learning process in the field and has been a key element of her recent academic work. Recent articles on the subject include “Visual field notes: Drawing insights in the Yucatan,” in Visual Anthropology Review (2008), and “Ethno-graphics: Keeping visual field notes in Vietnam,” in Expedition magazine (2010).

An excerpt from Carol’s visual field notes, this one from a visit to Vietnam.“Marlboro has been great in supporting research trips to Guatemala in the past 20 years,” said Carol. “I’m happy that I’ve kept a modest writing career in addition to the time teaching.” In 1999 Carol was awarded a coveted Fulbright-Hays faculty research grant for her work in Guatemala. In 2002 she came out with Tecpán Guatemala: A Modern Maya Town in Global and Local Context, co-written with Edward Fischer, currently being translated for publication in Spanish.

“Carol managed to stay well abreast of the anthropological world at large from Potash Hill, which itself can be challenging,” said Jeff. “More than this, however, she continued to
do fieldwork, which is not only extremely commendable, but also rare among sociocultural anthropologists, many of whom are content to write a dissertation and then surround themselves with the world of theory.”

In fact, Carol is looking forward to doing more fieldwork in her retirement, visiting field sites at
new times of year, reviewing her decades of notes and experimenting with new writing styles. She said that the challenge will be to keep up the energy and get projects done, but nobody else seems to doubt her ability to do that. As recently as November, she traveled to Chicago for the American Anthropological Association meeting to give two talks. One of them, called “Che’s Socks,” was about clothing and other relics of the Cuban Revolution, based on her many class trips to Cuba, and the other was about her visual field notes.

“One part of Marlboro that I have appreciated is my colleagues, and some students have become colleagues as well,” she said. “While they aren’t always in my disciplinary area, our conversations have been very important and pushed my work in new directions.” For example, for an article she’s writing on experiential learning in Vietnam, she asked Tessa Walker ’07 to send her some of her journal pages from their trip there together. “It’s great to keep up the conversations, and to hear what work they are doing, what graduate programs they are in.” Tessa is currently doing research on skateboarding as a mode of transportation for her master’s thesis project in urban studies at Portland State University, Oregon.

Sari said, “Carol worked endlessly to accompany her students in their passions, but she never seemed burdened by it; she seemed to really derive satisfaction from it.” Supported by an Aron Grant, Carol traveled to Bolivia with Sari, and collaborated with her on experimental, sensory-based ethnographic fieldwork. “Throughout the whole process, her humble but incredibly cultivated way of observing people and environments became a model not only of doing anthropology but of living in community that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.” 

Jim Tober explores economics of retirement

Jim Tober makes his mark in the classroom in the 1970s. Photos from archives“It was a simpler time in many respects, but I knew I wanted to come to a place like Marlboro even though I had never heard of Marlboro,” said economics professor Jim Tober, who joined the faculty in 1973. He described coming “somewhat accidentally,” sending an introductory letter before the college had even advertised the position. But it is no accident that Jim has stayed with Marlboro for 40 years, and made lasting contributions as a social sciences teacher, administrator, and mainstay of both environmental studies and the World Studies Program.

“Jim arrived my senior year at Marlboro,” said Peter Zamore ’74, an attorney and Marlboro trustee. “He was young, full of energy, and integrated well into the student body. He immediately experienced the essence of Marlboro—providing a solid education through creative use of limited resources.”

Jim came to Marlboro directly from his graduate program in economics at Yale University, where he did his dissertation on the political economy of wildlife conservation in 19th-century America, the subject of his first book. He was looking for a college that would welcome an interdisciplinary approach to economics, and found it in abundance here.

“I was something of an anomaly among economics graduate students in that I spent as much time as I could justify outside of the department, taking classes in anthropology, African studies, and at the forestry school,” he said. “The forestry school, in particular, embodied the kind of scholarly community that I found to my liking, where people of very different trainings shared
 a common concern, in this instance for natural resources and the environment.” He found the same kind of community in the Marlboro faculty’s shared commitment to interdisciplinary inquiry in the liberal arts.

Jim is known for a seemingly inexhaustible supply of distinctive ties.Jim’s arrival at Marlboro was well timed in 
terms of the faculty’s desire to build both the
 social science area and environmental studies. 
He and colleagues devised and co-taught an 
introductory environmental studies course for a 
dozen years or so, beginning in the mid-1970s. 
He has continued throughout his Marlboro
 career to offer many environmental studies
 courses, including those on environmental eco
nomics and policy, U.S. environmental history, 
land and land-use planning, endangered species
 (with biology professor Jenny Ramstetter), and 
wildlife law and policy. Jim was the first chair 
of the Environmental Advisory Committee, 
which advises the president on sustainability 
issues, and initiated the adoption of Marlboro’s
 Environmental Mission Statement. He organized
 a recent faculty retreat on environmental 
studies, and has been instrumental in a resurgence of that program.

Meanwhile, Jim’s passion for conservation has been an asset to the local community as well. He was a longtime member (and former chair) of the Marlboro Planning Commission, which guides development decisions in the town. He was also a board member of the Hogback Mountain Conservation Association during the acquisition of this town park property, and is now a member of the town commission governing its management. These activities supported Jim’s teaching on land use and environmental policy, providing practical, place-based case studies for students.

Eminently level-headed and comfortable in the role of administrator, Jim has held several administrative posts at Marlboro, starting with his very first year. He and his wife, Felicia, needed a place to stay, so they were offered an apartment in Random North if he served as dean of students, which he did for two years along with his teaching position. He also did a couple of terms as dean of faculty for a total of seven years, including two years during the crucial transition between presidents Paul LeBlanc and Ellen McCulloch-Lovell. Jim also served as the director of world studies in the early years of that signature program, and again in 1998–2000. “The World Studies Program was the impetus for several research trips, notably to look at wildlife management in Namibia and study the nonprofit sector in Bangladesh, that enlarged my global perspective and informed my teaching.”

But Jim still considers himself primarily a North Americanist when it comes to economics. His second book, Wildlife and the Public Interest: Nonprofit Organizations and Federal Wildlife Policy (1989), was based on his research on wildlife policy in the U.S. during a sabbatical year residency at the Yale Program on Nonprofit Organizations. This affiliation led to his teaching emphasis on the nonprofit sector, which has encouraged several undergraduate students to pursue Marlboro’s graduate and professional program on managing mission-driven organizations.

Over the years, Jim organized his teaching around two broad fields of inquiry, the analysis and comparison of economic systems and the history and development of public policy and collective decision-making, especially as related to the natural environment. He has always struggled with the orthodoxy within the discipline, and with the need to balance mainstream discourse with the range of topics and perspectives Marlboro students bring to the table.

Jim discusses his second book with Bob Cabin ’89, ed Pomicter ’90, and writing and literature professor T. Wilson.“The standard American economics curriculum—as distinct from my Marlboro offerings—obscures significant disagreement and disarray within the discipline as to the value of this orthodox approach, broadly known as the neoclassical synthesis,” said Jim. “It has been a real challenge for me both to certify that Plan students of economics know what they ‘should’
 know and to support them in exploring alternative—and often more useful and interesting—paradigms.” While few students arrive at Marlboro knowing that they want to study economics, many discover what the discipline offers once they are here, and this has provided Jim with generations of truly engaged students.

“Economics is known as the ‘dismal science,’ and I must admit I was hesitant to dive into the subject when I started thinking about Plan,” said Kelsa Summer ’13, who did her Plan of Concentration on the economics and politics of development and social change in Africa. “Jim helped me to see how economics can be intriguing, inspiring, and not so dismal after all. He gave me one of the important lenses through which I view the world, and I am very grateful for that.”

“Tutorial with Jim was precisely what Marlboro billed itself as when I first visited,” said Casey Freidman ’12, who did his Plan in the economics and politics of international relations, specifically U.N. food agencies. “Jim was an adept guide through intellectual worlds foreign to me, directing me to new, relevant ideas across a stunningly wide range of thought. He prompted me to clarify my own ideas, but the overarching direction of our examination was always my responsibility.”

Casey described feeling like part of a strange brotherhood of students who worked closely with Jim, “united by this enigmatic wise man.” He said, “It never took long for him to come up in conversation among us. There was often exegesis of his moods and reactions but the typical conclusion was ‘It’s Jim—there’s no knowing.’”

Jim is characteristically enigmatic about his retirement plans, although they will certainly include lots of gardening, traveling, writing, and, a recent fascination, ceramics. How he will focus his continued academic interests, or his quirky hobby of collecting panther TV lamps, there’s no knowing. But his legacy of inspired teaching will be remembered at Marlboro for some time.

“Great teachers don’t only teach you a subject matter; they teach you how to learn,” said Kelsa. “Jim is an expert at that. Some of my favorite hours at Marlboro were spent debating the fine points of economic development with Jim. He taught me how to peel away the layers of an issue, and showed me how in each hard question lies yet another one.”





College receives United Way award

Freshman Lily Hollertz gleans corn from a field for the Vermont Food Bank. Photo by Jodi ClarkIn October, Marlboro College was delighted to attend a community celebration, called Celebrate HOPE, sponsored by United Way of Windham County. While the focus was on stories of generosity and opportunity from across the county, the college had the special honor of receiving the first annual Partner in HOPE Award.

“I am very proud that Marlboro College received this recognition for our community involvement,” said Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, president. “This is really a shared honor—many in the college community have participated in vital ways in United Way’s service to the county.”

For example, eight students joined Jodi Clark, director of housing, for a very successful trip to participate in the United Way Day of Caring in September. The team went to Harlow’s Farm in Westminster, Vermont, to glean excess corn and tomatoes from the fields for donation to the Vermont Food Bank. In total, they picked 1,305 pounds
of food for Vermont families, and fostered an interest in doing more of this kind of community service.

Movies from Marlboro launches new season

Junior Reily Mumpton reflects positively on a semester of hands-on experience in the 2012 film intensive. Photo by Willow O’Feral ’07Following on the success of the first Movies from Marlboro film intensive in spring 2012, film professor Jay Craven is again assembling a team of 30 college students and 20 professionals this spring semester to produce a feature film. This year the hands-on film practicum will shoot a film based on Pierre et Jean, Guy de Maupassant’s 1887 novel of family, class, legacy, and self-discovery.

The last Movies From Marlboro production, Northern Borders, premiered to a sell-out crowd at Brattleboro’s Latchis Theatre last April, launching a 100-town tour of New England. The film, based on Howard Frank Mosher’s novel by the same name, stars Academy Award–nominated actors Bruce Dern and Geneviève Bujold.

“We plan to keep it on the road through 2014, with additional play through Netflix, cable, and streaming,” said Jay. “Northern Borders grew out of my long experience working with young filmmakers and my years of producing and releasing ‘north country’ pictures produced on significantly larger budgets. Building on these experiences, and by using recent developments in independent film production and distribution, I believe that Movies from Marlboro will help chart a new course for how independent films get made and distributed.”

Maupassant’s shortest novel, called a “masterly little novel” by Henry James, Pierre et Jean is widely credited with changing the genre of narrative fiction. The book introduces intense psychological complexity into its story of a family brought to the breaking point by startling revelations of legacy and legitimacy. While the novel was set in Normandy, the film adaptation will be set in 19th-century Nantucket, after the demise of the whaling industry and before the rise of tourism on the island.

The Movies from Marlboro program starts with an expedition to the Sundance Film Festival, followed by seven weeks of study, training, and pre-production work on the Marlboro campus. These include core courses in screenwriting and directing, film studies, and French literature. Participants will then move on to Nantucket Island for seven weeks of pre-production and production that will fully immerse students in the culture and practice of an ambitious film shoot.

“We continue to be inspired by John Dewey’s call for ‘intensive learning that enlarges meaning through the shared experience of joint action,’” said Jay. “Organized as the equivalent to a semester abroad, Movies from Marlboro combines the best of liberal arts education, professional preparation, and cultural immersion.”

Apple daze

Some reflections from freshman Shannon Haaland on the annual tradition known as Apple Days, which mysteriously lasts only one day.

Sophomore Gini Graydon ladles up hot cider on Apple Days. Photo by Clair Maleney It's a Wednesday morning in the Marlboro dining hall, and everything would appear normal, except for the row of apple cider cartons placed by the register and a tray of apples with sticks in them, ready to be dipped in caramel. Travis Wilmot, a senior, sits back in a wooden dining hall chair and grumbles to me about his lack of knowledge on the names of apples, something he feels is crucial for an inhabitant of Vermont to know.

Outside, the yellow beech trees and the reds of maples stand out against the pale, cloudy sky. Students stand around an apple press, taking turns pulling a crank in order to make more apple cider. It takes roughly 36 apples to make just one gallon of apple cider, we find.

Apple trees are a part of Marlboro. The trees are left over from when Marlboro was a collective of two farms. Today they still produce thick harvests of apple on campus each autumn. Slipping on fallen fruit while running late to class is bound to happen at least once, and serves almost as a rite of passage. Students can be seen encircling trees, pointing out which apple looks the most delicious, and then proceeding on a hunt to capture it.

Eating apples is not only an enjoyable tradition, but one that can aid students on their paths of academia. Apples contain boron, which is responsible for the plants' germination, and can also stimulate the brain and help increase mental alertness. Apple Days is a day to celebrate the campus residents, student and fruit alike, and the reminiscences of fall.

Worthy of note

"I had the high honor of serving my country and working as an intern in the American embassy in Berlin, where I had access to the world of diplomats,” said junior Max Barksdale (right). Max worked in public affairs, giving tours to German school groups, writing “extremely unique” memos, and organizing events, including the visit of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle. His internship relates directly to his course of study at Marlboro in international relations. “This year I’m taking a class on American foreign policy, which I now have the honor of saying
 I have seen firsthand.” See a video he worked on.

“I demonstrated that the representation of the African woman as disempowered and victim does not reflect the historical reality of the role 
of the woman,” said Boukary “Abou” Sawadogo in an interview for the African Women 
in Cinema Blog. Marlboro’s inimitable French professor spoke to blogger Beti Ellerson about his research on marginal figures in his recent book, Les Cinémas Francophones Ouest-Africains (Potash Hill, Summer 2013). There was also an article about his recent film, Salut Y’all: African Teachers on the Bayou, in the June issue of Francophonie, a publication of the RFI global French language radio station.

“I am in Spain, specifically Granada, studying the influences of Islam in Europe, so
the Alhambra was fascinating
to me,” wrote junior Amelia Brown (right) in her blog last semester. She traveled to Spain and Morocco through Central College Abroad, with a side trip to Germany to visit relatives. Despite some transportation snafus and other challenges, Amelia has gained valuable experience and perspectives for her course of study at Marlboro. “How often will I have a chance to live in Europe, to travel through Spain? It’s an adventure, and I am glad I came on it, no matter the challenges it has presented.”

Philosophy professor William Edelglass gave a series of invited talks this fall, including two in Oregon in October. He spoke at Oregon State and at Maitripa College, in Portland, about contemporary themes at the intersections of Buddhism and ecology. He also moderated two sessions at the international Association for Environmental Philosophy, in Eugene, for which he serves on the executive committee. In September he appeared at Salisbury University, where he presented two talks, one on Buddhist sand mandalas and one titled “Global Climate Change, Social Justice, and Buddhist Ethics.” He also gave a talk at Susquehanna University, in central Pennsylvania, together with one of their professors, on categories of religion and philosophy in non-western thought.

“I am really enjoying every moment here,” said Abdelhadi Izem (right), the Fulbright Arabic Fellow on campus for the 2013–14 academic year. “I am surprised at how fast students learn Arabic; they’re really very motivated.” Abdel, who is from Morocco, received his B.A. in English studies from ibn Zohr University, and has taught English for the past six years at the Hassan ii High School, in Guelmim. He was
 a great addition to the soc
cer team, and organized a Moroccan cultural festival in November, including tea, food, and a fashion show. “I am very fortunate that I was placed in Marlboro,” said Abdel. “It is heaven on earth. I love everyone here.”

“Very few of the new jobs created by construction in Boston’s Chinatown have 
gone to Chinatown residents, and the library that was torn down in the 1950s has never been rebuilt,” said senior Kara Hamilton. She did a summer internship with the Chinese Progressive Association, a grass-roots community organization in Boston’s Chinatown that is fighting the history of deconstruction and displacement of residents there. She developed materials for a community stabilization march called Tour R Chinatown, and collaborated with high school youth on a small “free library” bookshelf, part of their campaign to bring a library back to Chinatown. “I really valued getting to know the community, and was inspired by their activism—particularly the youth,” said Kara, who is doing her Plan of Concentration in Asian American studies and documentary studies.

“Koha is just one open source library catalog software that 
we use, all of which have saved the college gobs of money,” said Elliot Anders (right),
 web developer. Marlboro is also among the first colleges to use software called CUFtS and Godot, and last October Elliot and Amber Hunt (Potash Hill, Summer 2013) were invited to
 a Koha conference in Reno, Nevada, to share their experiences. They were also able to connect with people they had been collaborating with for 
the past three years. “Our talk was an attempt to excite users of Koha to try out CUFtS and Godot, to hopefully grow the user base and interest some developers in contributing to
its development. The greater the number of libraries using it, the more bugs will be reported and special features requested.”

This fall, ceramics professor Martina Lantin curated a show titled “Disaster, relief, and resilience,” featuring the work of more than 50 artists from across the United States and hosted by the Crimson Laurel Gallery in north Carolina. “The unique aspect of this show is that the artists and the gallery are donating some of the proceeds to benefit the Craft emergency relief Fund (CerF),” said Martina. Based here in Vermont (and employing alumna Carrie Cleveland ’02), CerF provides financial support for artists and craftspeople whose livelihoods have been affected by natural disaster or personal tragedy.

In October, Beverly Burkett (right) was a featured speaker at the international KOteSOL (Korean teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) conference in Seoul, South Korea. The degree chair for Marlboro’s master’s program in teSOL, Bev gave a presentation titled “Developing a personal theory of teaching practice: the role of reflection.” “The conference theme, Exploring the Road Less Traveled:
From Practice to Theory, really resonated with me because 
it aligned with our approach here at Marlboro,” said Bev. “We begin with experience and a focus on our practice and theorize from that. Of course, the title brought to mind Robert Frost’s poem 
‘The Road Not Taken,’ and, given his connection to the founding of Marlboro, that was an added attraction.”

In June, Spanish language and literature professor Rosario de Swanson presented a paper in Portugal, at the Universidad Fernando Pessoa. Her paper was part of a symposium on Mexican literature organized by CeiSAL, the European Council for Social research on Latin America. Titled “National Dystopias,” Rosario’s talk centered on the dramatic poems of Mexican feminist Rosario Castellanos.

“Marlboro’s a very interesting place,” said Sean Harrigan (right), Marlboro’s Classics Fellow for the academic year. “My classes are fun, and I enjoy the way tutorials bring me into contact with things I wouldn’t necessarily be reading or thinking about if left to my own devices.” Sean completed his doctorate degree in classics from Yale in May, and has taught both Greek and Latin. His research focus is on the poetry of Archaic Greece, specifically how it was performed. “The fact that our texts survive as ink on paper obscures the amazing reality that what we tend to call poetry is almost always better thought of as song. I’m especially interested 
in songs that were performed 
as part of religious ceremonies, where the words may tell us something about the rituals in which people were taking part.”

Or for the most up-to-date scoop, see:

Potash Phil











Alumni News

Class notes are listed by year and include both graduates and nongraduates; the latter are listed under the class with which they are associated.

THOMAS DOWNS writes, “Just turned 90. Still playing golf and drinking beer.”

“Same home in Wilmington for 53 years,” write BRUCE AND BARBARA COLE. “Life is still good. Kids and grandkids thriv- ing and scattered around the country. Higher education is evolving rapidly—1959 seems far away, but values remain on the Hill.”

JON POTTER reports that he came out with a book called LOL: Commedia dell’Arte: Ten Scenarios for Adventurous Actors, published by JAC: www.jacpub. com/Books/Potter_Commedia.htm.

SCOTT HAUSMANN writes, “Thanks
 so much for posting the notice about the Whetstone School in the most recent issue of Potash Hill. It makes me chuckle to see how clearly my career has come full circle back to my time at Marlboro. It feels as though everything I’ve ever done was in preparation for this endeavor, and I’ve never felt more connected to purpose my entire life. Somewhere in the workshops of the great beyond, Gib Taylor must be taking great delight in this. In a very real way it all started with him, down there in the Perrine Building, up on top of Potash Hill. I’m very grateful for all of that.”

Rachel Eugster ’77: Picture-book mommy

When Rachel Eugster’s son Samuel was in kindergarten, she invented all sorts of strategies to help make the transition of dropping him off easier. But he came up with the ultimate strategy when he expressed his wish that she were tiny enough to keep in his pocket.

“That is where the book begins, as I immediately knew one would,” said Rachel, referring to her picture book released this fall by Tundra Books/Random House. “The Pocket Mommy is a fantasy, if there is such a subgenre among picture books. It could even be viewed as a cautionary tale: ‘be careful what you wish for.’”

Rachel is a writer and editor who has contributed to many magazines and newspapers, including WalkingNew Age JournalContinental, and The Ottawa Citizen. She also wrote a series of books for children on food and nutrition, published by Franklin Watts.

“I do have a particular soft spot for some pieces I wrote for YES!, a science magazine for children, on topics including the reawakening of Mount St. Helens, how horses communicate with each other, and a mysterious episode of exploding toads in Germany.”

In addition to her writing, Rachel is active in the performing arts as an actor and music director. She is a member of an independent theater company in Ottawa called Bear & Co., and as the vocalist in a musical group called Dragon’s Tea Trio. Meanwhile, her son Samuel, the inspiration for The Pocket Mommy, is now a junior at the University of Toronto.

“I don’t drop him off daily at school anymore.”

In conjunction with her appearance at the Brattleboro Literary Festival in October, Sophie Cabot Black '80 visited campus for an intimate reading and Q&A session.The forthcoming edition of The Robert Frost Review will be publishing DAN TOOMEY’S article titled “Believing
In It: Robert Frost, Walter Hendricks, and the Creation of Marlboro College.” He says, “It’s a blending of the two Frost pieces I wrote some years ago for Potash Hill, but recalibrated for people perhaps more familiar with Frost and less familiar with Marlboro. It was peer-reviewed of course, and so I’m particularly pleased that Frost’s connection to Marlboro College is now (and will be in the future) better understood by both biographers and literary critics.”

TED LEVINE plays Lieutenant Hank Wade in the new cop drama The Bridge, which is airing Wednesdays on FX.


“Having served a year as the temporary spiritual leader of the Brattleboro Area Jewish Community, I have now signed
a contract to be a permanent spiritual leader (at least for the next two years),” writes KATE JUDD. “My cantorial orientation date looks like June of 2015. It’s been a year of much transition. My mother died in September 2012, and our house in Marlboro has been sold.”

XENIA WILLIAMS writes, “I’m spending the summer getting rid of most of my possessions and selling my house, in order to relocate in the fall to California for a new career as a grandma. My very cute and smart grandson, Calyin, is 6 years old.”

Sean Cole ’93: revisiting Walt Whitman

Sean Cole has been working in public radio since 1997. He’s produced and reported stories for This American LifeRadiolabMarketplace, and WBUR’s Inside Out Documentaries. But when Studio 360 asked him to produce a show on Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass for their “American Icons” series, Sean knew this story would be particularly special to him: the book had been an integral part of his Plan of Concentration. “All these years later, here I was delving into the same copy that I read in my cabin down the road from campus,” said Sean.

Sean visited campus for the first time in six years to record himself taking his Plan off the shelf and reading parts of it out loud. While he was doing that, his former Plan sponsor and literature professor T. Wilson snuck into the reading room and surprised him.

“My three-hour interview with T. was like the ultimate tutorial: limitless time, no imminent writing deadline hanging over my head, and nothing to grade at the end of it.” His editor liked the rapport between Sean and T. so much that he suggested their interaction should be the beginning of the piece.

“I remember telling Randy George ’93, back when we were at Marlboro together, that I wished I could be on Plan for my entire life. For better and for worse, I got my wish. I work crazily long hours trying to explain something that, often, I’m deeply interested in.”

Hear Sean’s story at

“I am thrilled to share that I have finally graduated from medical school, only about 20 years after I first got the idea while at Marlboro,” writes LAURA STURGILL. “My husband, William, and my two daughters, Clara (11) and Rory (9), and I arein the process of packing up, selling our little house in Marlboro, and moving to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where I will begin my three-year residency in family medicine.”

XAXAKWETET LITTLE TREE writes, “I quit First Student due to their continued bullying and abuse and went to drive for the Hartford Schools. Good move. As a New Hampshire certified school bus driver instructor I am working for Cardigan Mountain School. I have Le Garden contracts, and I am a Vermont forest pest first detector.”

Heather Bryce '04, Elizabeth Hallett '06, and Sunny Hitt '06 (pictured) all returned to campus in October to share some of their recent dance works in a performance called "Alumni in Motion." Photo by Susan DandoPARRiSH KNIGHT writes, “Still in the Metro DC area, living a pretty quiet and uneventful single life as a computer desktop support technician. I’ve been with a few different agencies in a few different roles, the most awesome of which was as the Apple engineer for the NASA Headquarters building. That was like being a rock star. I was very disappointed when I got laid off from there due to budget cuts, but my current position, as the help desk lead with the National Geodetic Survey, is a better place for me to be for various reasons, so I try to keep things in perspective.

“My big news right now is that I’m finally finishing my bachelor’s degree. I’m doing the distance-learning thing at Thomas Edison State College, a school that specializes in helping older students in circumstances like mine. If all goes according to plan, I’ll probably have my degree in April of 2014.

“My other big news is that I’m taking a two-week vacation in Ireland, which will be over by the time you read this. This has been a big dream of mine for many years, so I’m really looking forward to it. Would be happy to hear from anyone at all... look me up on Facebook, or drop me a line at”

Natalie Fishman writes of her son ELI FISHMAN, “Eli’s son, Collin, is growing by leaps and bounds. He’s already 7 months old.”

DENI BECHARD released a new book in October called Empty Hands, Open Arms: The Race to Save Bonobos in the Congo and Make Conservation Go Viral, published by Milkweed Editions and distributed by Publishers Group West. Find the video trailer at

Currently a psychiatrist working at the Brattleboro Retreat, NELS KLOSTER 
has helped launch a series of talk shows on mental health for airing at BCTV. “The first season, we focused on awareness of various mental health conditions and seeking help,” said Nels. “This season, we want to extend into more interesting territory and so are addressing facets of recovery. For example, last week we had a guest expert so we could discuss active engagement in living with illness. Tonight we are going to address spirituality. Next week we will again have a guest from the Women’s Freedom Center, to discuss domestic violence. I think it is safe to say this has become my most time-consuming hobby. It is certainly a very enjoyable way of performing a public service.”

Confusion in JSTOr

Marlboro was pleased to announce in the last issue of Potash Hill (Summer 2013) that it was able to provide graduates access to JSTOr, the journal database. Some confusion ensued, because the JSTOr you find on the Marlboro website, for the use of students, faculty, and staff, has a different urL than the alumni access site. Indeed, the two are not interchangeable, so if you are a graduate be sure to use the correct urL:

Kate Merrill '02 and Julie Rana '06 both joined the Marlboro community again as visiting faculty, Kate teaching photography and Julie teaching math.DAVID WHITTAKER writes, “Ann-Marie and I had our first son, Asa, in 2010. Our second son, Rowon, joined us in 2012. Big love to the whole Marlboro community.”

KRISTINE LEMAY CROTO published her first book, The Last Dance of Caitlyn Murphy, through KDP on Amazon:

KATE MERRILL’s work was part of a group show at the Camera Club of New York, from September 14 to November 2. Called “Swerve and Fracture,” the show featured four artists, including Kate, whose video and photographs craft a fantasy-tinged image of life with her husband in western Massachusetts and with her sister and nudist parents in rural Maine:

TYLER MARTIN received his MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh and currently works for a private company in Massachusetts that provides information services. He supervises a team of librarians who design and develop catalogs and institutional repositories. “Outside of work, I maintain a strong interest in film and a previously uncharacteristic passion for lounging at the beach,” writes Tyler.

MATT LYNCH writes, “I have been traveling in Turkey this summer, first on
a tour of spiritual sites and then amidst the protests in Taksim Square. I’d love to share a photograph or two from my experiences there with the Marlboro community at”

SONIA LOWE received her MAT in history from Salem State and is currently the lead history teacher at an urban middle school in the Boston area. She is also finishing her certification to teach English as a second language. Outside of work, Sonia loves going to new places (most recently China and Puerto Rico) and eating new things (most recently whale sashimi and morcilla). After being together since their time at Marlboro College, Sonia and TYLER MARTIN ’06 were married last July in a small secular outdoor ceremony. They had their honeymoon in Iceland and continue to call Salem, Massachusetts, home.

LILLIAN GRAHAM writes, “On October 14, 2013, I gave birth to
a beautiful baby boy, Silas Chase Graham. He has been a little constant joy in my life, bringing new inspiration to my life and art.”

Katherine Partington ’09

Katherine Partington was delighted to welcome this year’s new students to Marlboro, at Convocation in September, with tales of her own promising trajectory. She is currently artist residency coordinator at Vermont Performance Lab, a laboratory for creative research and community engagement founded and directed by fellow alumna Sara Coffey ’90. Here is a short excerpt from Katherine’s remarks:

I graduated at a very difficult time, when job prospects were bleak. My fellow graduates and I were pretty nervous—we didn’t know if we would find work or what Marlboro College had given us exactly. We wondered, “How will my education here transfer into the world? How will I make money?”

Well, now that it is four years later, it is my pleasure to let you know that what you learn at Marlboro College does translate into the pragmatic world, it does lead to a paying job, and it is more than likely that this paying job will be in a field that you are passionate about. I know this may sound like a lie, but actually this has been my experience, and it is an experience that I know many other Marlboro College graduates share.

I met Sara Coffey when I was a student and we began a conversation about dance that has continued to this day. When she hired me full time, Sara said (and I quote): “Katherine, I hired you because you went to Marlboro College. The way you think and engage with the world is exactly what VPL needs.”

After four years at The Huffington Post, MICHAEL MACHER is now the associate publisher at The Awl, an online independent publishing platform. One of Michael’s other projects is producing a web short for the television network ABC alongside videographer PATRICK KENNEDY and former student and web-short director JOHN THORSON.

Kenny Card '10 and Alexia Boggs '13 both joined the admissions team this year, sharing their passion about Marlboro with prospective students both on campus and on the road.JOHN “SPIKE” CARTER has introduced white-water kayaking into the curriculum
at The Sharon Academy, where he works, with the help of RANDY KNAGGS ’94, Marlboro director of outdoor programs. Spike says, “We have several students this year who are kinetic learners who are also interested in environmental studies. We
also have a river outside our front door that we wanted to take more advantage of. It’s a common misconception that small schools can’t compete with large schools when it comes to offering students opportunities.
In fact, our small size allows us to be resourceful and creative, putting together these types of opportunities that step outside of the traditional classroom.”

KEARA CASTALDO has been working in Manhattan as a litigation assistant at an intellectual property law firm, but this year started at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. There she will be receiving her master’s of public policy with a concentration in media literacy.

SOPHIA CLEARY is a performance artist based in New York City, and did a month- long residency at the Shandaken Project as one of their 2013 artists-in-residence.

An article in the November 3 Rutland Herald followed MORGAN INGALLS’ work with the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife and New York Department of Environmental Conservation to monitor little brown bats at Mount Aeolus Cave. Morgan, a graduate student in the resource management and conservation program at Antioch University New England, plans to place radio transponders on 500 bats and track their movements over the winter.

Parker Emmerson ’10: Musical collaborations online

When Parker Emmerson was about to leave high school, he was frustrated by the fact that his band would no longer be able to play together. This was right in the midst of the social media explosion, so they were inspired to create a website where musicians could collaborate as well as promote and distribute their music. Parker received a patent for his site,, last summer.

“We wanted to provide a framework, a global workspace, where musicians could create a song and select which version of that song would be published, exchanging tracks via the website until the song was complete,” said Parker. “We also saw how collectivism in the mainstream media was weeding out a lot of good musical talent in favor of a kind of vacuous, mob mentality that promoted less philosophical, esoteric thought and more emphasis on wealth, fame, and sex. We wanted to provide a playing field where all musicians could be heard and have their works distributed.”

When he is not acquiring patents, Parker is a manager in the catering department of Mediterranean Deli, Bakery, and Catering, the largest catering operation in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is also still producing art from the algebraic-geometric equations of the transformation of a circle’s folding into a cone, part of his Plan of Concentration that he has developed further and continues to write about. He has even adapted his mathematical artwork into advertisements for Mediterranean Deli, Bakery, and Catering. “My patent is 8487173, which is a prime number,” added Parker.

RYAN STRATTON is one of the featured VISTA members in the latest edition of Vermont Youth Tomorrow’s VYT Voices: docs/vyt_voices_summer_2013_

During Family Day in October, Aaron Kisicki '02 joined political theory professor Meg Mott for a session on "Property Rights in the Age of Surveillance." Other alumni on hand to present were Rebecca Mallary '11, Teta Hilsdon '87, Kenny Card '10, Cheryl Eaton '89, Morgan Ingalls '10, Becky Catarelli '04, Libby Garofalo '04, and Jay Snyder '04. Wendy Levy '97, cheese lady extraordinaire and owner of the Brattleboro Cheese Shop, invited participants to sample some of Vermont's finest.BRANDON WILLITS launched a new nonprofit and website called Words After War (, devoted to providing veterans with literary programs that allow them to share their stories. “I saw a need in the veteran service space fora nonprofit focused less on the therapy value of writing and more on the artistic value of writing,” he says in a recent article ( the-war/). “It’s less about how writing makes me feel better and more that it makes mea better human being.” In October, Words After War ran an essay contest to sponsor one veteran in the Brattleboro Literary Festival workshop by veteran writer David Abrams.

COOKIE HARRIST writes: “I am being published in a New England dance journal called Kinebago very soon. The article is based on my Plan research. Very exciting stuff!”

REBECCA GILDEA has a research position in the faculty and academic development office at Appalachian State University. “I am here as a graduate student to become a certified music therapist and come out on the other side with a master’s degree as well. I’m really happy so far with the area (so many mountains!) and the general atmosphere.

MIKE ULEN writes, “I am at Rønshoved Højskole on Flensborg Fjord in Denmark, where I have been a student since
August. Before the weather turned cold and rainy (it rains a lot, and when it isn’t raining it is often gray) I got to kayak around the fjord with a few Danes, a Hungarian, and a German—lots of fun, except for the capsizing practice in the cold and salty North Sea. I have learned a bit of Danish, gone on long walks in the Danish countryside (even in the rain), and spoken at length with my fellow students about the good and the bad of our respective countries. I’m not certain what is next, but I plan to stay here for a while longer.”

Elena Schaaf-Brandes '78 and daughter Olivia Schaaf '14 put their heads together with theater professor Brenda Foley to discuss a spring class trip to Berlin to explore collaborative performance. Elena has had a rich career in musical theater in Switzerland and Germany, and is currently teaching vocals on the faculty at the Universität der Künste Berlin.MADELYN HOLM writes, “I am working at Southern Maine Community College as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. I have been working with veteran populationson campus, creating volunteer placements in the community and on-campus, and have been assisting students in setting up an on-campus food pantry. Living in Portland and loving life. In addition, TRISTAN STAMM and I will have our work shown in an art exhibit at Space Gallery, along with seven other Maine-based artists, starting on November 9 and running until December 19.

“After graduating in May, I moved to the Greater Boston area,” NIKKI HAUG writes. “I now hold two paid internships.
One is an events internship with the Boston Athenaeum, a prestigious membership library. The other is a public relations/marketing internship with Primary Care Progress, a nonprofit advocating for better training for and incentive to become primary care doctors. Within the next three years, I hope to receive an MLIS from Simmons College.”

JESSE NESSER did a promotional
video for the Have Faith Haiti Mission,
an organization in Haiti where he has been working. See the results at com/watch?v=6hbvF4Ibdh0.

Former Faculty
Retired ceramics professor MICHAEL BOYLEN contributed to a photographic exhibit titled “Bread and Puppet: An Emergent Mosaic,” at the Plainfield Community Center Gallery, Vermont, in August and September. The exhibit featured recent prints of archival negatives showing scenes from the Bread and Puppet Domestic Resurrection Circus in the 1970s. Michael worked with Bread and Puppet from 1975 into the early ’80s, served on the board from 1976 to 1985, and continues
to follow the theater.

Retired president and itinerant Kipling scholar (page 25) TOM RAGLE announced that his book of poems, Take This Song: Poems in Pursuit of Meaning, was published by Small Pond Press last fall (ISBN 978-0-9725345-3-6). The book is of course available at the college bookstore and will also be on Amazon. Take This Song is published under Tom’s mysterious pen name, Lee Bramble, a “retired academic” and “general practitioner of English poetry from the 16th into the 20th century,” according to the cover.




Presidential and Other Praise
I have just finished the summer edition. First class! I especially enjoyed—if I can even separate out anything—the pieces on Robert MacArthur and Paul Nelson, but the poetry was good too, along with everything else.

—Tom Ragle, former president

So glad to see Potash Hill online. And very glad to see your name as editor, Philip!
—Margie Serkin, friend and neighbor

I think Potash Hill is one of the finest alumni/school-related mags out there, and I see several. I don’t know how you can get more alumni to write in about their lives...most grads or even non-grads have nothing but fond memories of the place and their friends there, many life-long as in my case. Still a great magazine.
—Gail Henry ’72

I appreciated receiving the summer issue of Potash Hill at home and enjoyed the stories a lot, especially the one about Robert MacArthur. Thanks for all of your hard work.
—Amer Latif, faculty member

Congratulations on the new issue! I always enjoy seeing Potash Hill in my mailbox. I’d love to contribute something at some point.

—Matt Lynch ’06

Small but Mighty Tribe
As I page through Potash Hill (Summer 2013), I am struck by the wonderful diversity of expression of our shared Marlboro values. Ghostly forces, the origins of genocide, and bicycle repair workshops...everywhere there is creativity. Rebecca Bartlett’s comment that Marlboro alumni are “not very affluent and with a wide streak of anti-materialism” just made me grin.

At a recent international conference of pediatric ophthalmologists, I presented
 a poster regarding medical mission work in the West Indies. Volunteer work cures the soul of many self-inflicted ills. It restores us each to a global, human perspective. While it takes from us materially, it gives something entirely more valuable. I thank you Marlboro, for I
 am most proud to be a member of our small but mighty tribe, a tribe who give of ourselves, and who (yes, Rebecca) do share a wide streak of anti-materialism.
—Ingrid Carlson ’82

Poetic Justice

I am writing to thank you for the generous (and gorgeous) inclusion 
of my poems in the Summer 2013 Potash Hill (“Your Battered Name”)— surprising and beautiful to me. Surprising because I did not imagine that the poems would appear like this, and beautiful because of your photograph, Dianna. A perfect image for where I live—actually and spiritually!

The whole magazine is beautiful of course. It always is, and I’m deeply grateful for the care you have shown me and my work. Good to read of Sophie’s new book as well (and of the others’). I am among the many fans of Potash Hill and continue to admire its written and visual elegance.
—Kimberly Cloutier Green ’78

Kimberly, skimming through Potash Hill I paused to read your poems. Magnificent. Period. You touched my heart. Thank you. It was bittersweet—I realized that had I not lived so long and fully, much of the beauty would never have resonated with me. You have lived and thought wide and deep. Your voice is clear.

I am reminded of the difference between Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea trilogy and Tehanu. When the fourth book came out, almost 20 years later,
 I was stunned. There was no way she could have written it earlier. And there was no way I could have understood it earlier. When I read it then, I mused that part of me was nostalgic for the spirit that couldn’t understand. The simple and pure faith of a little one who breaks a shoelace, looks up to the heavens, and says “Father, my shoelace is broken. May I have another?”
—Mark “Mordechai” Levin ’82

My Potash Hill arrived today, and I read most of the obituary section and most of the new books section; three cheers on the latter. It seems only fair that my new book of poetry, Steep Stony Road, receive equal attention. The book includes “River Goddess,” winner of the Dudley Review Poetry Prize from Harvard University.

Perhaps if there are not sufficient new books to fill out your new On the Shelf section in the next issue, you could add a few new acquisitions to the wonderful Rice-Aron Library.
—Daniel Picker ’82

(Sorry we missed your book in the New Alumni Books section. For our readers, here is the info: Steep Stony Road, by Daniel Picker. San Francisco: Viral Cat Press 2012. ISBN: 0615631673–ed.)


In Memoriam

Hope Drury Goddard, former trustee

A member of the board of trustees for 15 years, from 1971 to 1988, and an honorary trustee for many years after, Hope Drury Goddard died in June, in Providence, Rhode Island. Hope was born in Newport, in 1915, and lived her whole life in Rhode Island except for a year studying art and languages in Florence, Italy, and a year in New Orleans during World War II. She was married for 65 years to Robert H.I. Goddard of Providence, a businessman and philanthropist, described at his death
in 2003 as “a giant in the state’s volunteer community.” She was the mother of Marlboro alumnus Tom Goddard ’68, who also served as a Marlboro trustee for many years.

Hope was an artist, having attended Rhode Island School of Design, Brown University, and the University of Florence. Her paintings, typically of landscapes in the New England mountains, the West Indies, and Greece, were exhibited at the Providence Art Club and the Newport Art Association as well as in shows and galleries in Boston, New York, London, Paris, and elsewhere. She was a volunteer art teacher in the Providence public schools for several years.

She was also a philanthropist herself and served as trustee on the board of a number
 of educational and cultural institutions in Rhode Island, including the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, The Mary C. Wheeler School, Moses Brown School, Gordon School, and Meeting Street School. She was a founding member of Lippitt Hill Tutorial and the Public Education Fund
as well as the Grandparents’ Guild of the Children’s Museum of Rhode Island, now the Providence Children’s Museum. In her role as trustee of Marlboro, she helped launch a capital campaign to improve the art facilities at the college. Among other things, the generous support of her family led to the 1995 construction of Drury Gallery, named for Hope’s father and brother, William Holland Drury and William Holland Drury Jr.

An avid skier, Hope told her children that she would have been on the 1936
U.S. Olympic Ski Team had her father not disapproved. She had a lifelong love of
art, music, sailing, and gardens and was an enthusiastic speaker of Italian, which she learned while in Florence. She had the reputation among those who knew her of being able to remember the names, relationships, and life histories of anyone and everyone she had ever met. Hope leaves a daughter, three sons, ten grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

Keith Brown ’06
In September, Keith Nathan Brown died 
in his Brattleboro home, surrounded by his loving family. Keith was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, graduated from Shelton
High School, and received his bachelor’s degree from Marlboro College. His Plan of Concentration was in physics and philosophy of science, including a general overview of physics with a focus on microscopic physics and the philosophical issues inherent therein. He reported that some of his fondest memories from Marlboro were the peacocks, listening
to jazz in the record room, and “performing
as a smoke-exhaling dragon in the cabaret.”
In recent years Keith’s hybrid texts and visual poetry appeared in Word For/ Word, elimae, Unsaid, and elsewhere, and a book of his work, Embodied: A Psycho Soma in Poetry
and Prose, was published in April 2012. He
is survived by his parents and sister, as well 
as several aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Glenn Pike
Glenn J. Pike, formerly of Wilmington, died in August at the Vermont Veterans Home, surrounded by his family. Glenn worked at Marlboro as the outdoor maintenance staff person from 1971 to 1988. “He was a one- of-a-kind sort of person, and an important part of a Marlboro education for many of us, perhaps especially those of us who worked
on his crews,” said Dan Toomey ’79. Glenn graduated from Wilmington High School, and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He worked at Dunham’s Shoe Factory and Emerson’s Furniture, in Brattleboro, before joining the staff at Marlboro. “He made many friends among his work-study students, and could always be counted upon to come up with rational solutions to most problems,” said retired history professor Tim Little. Glenn enjoyed the outdoors and loved hunting and fishing, hiking Haystack Mountain, and time spent with family and friends. He is survived by his two children, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Franklin Reeve
Author, scholar, neighbor, and friend to Marlboro College, Franklin Reeve died in June, at the age of 84, after a long illness. Franklin was the husband of retired fac-
ulty member Laura Stevenson, had served
as outside examiner on many Plans of Concentration, and taught a course called The Artist and the Revolution in spring 1999. Franklin lived in Wilmington since 1995, and for a number of years he commuted twice weekly from Vermont to Wesleyan University, where he taught. Franklin published more than 30 books, including translations of Russian authors, as well as 10 books of poetry. He gave several readings of his work at Marlboro over the years. “In a final sense,” he wrote in an essay, “all writing, all painting, all music, and all art are only efforts to get closer to defining the one, ultimate place where we suppose we’ll know exactly who we are.” Besides Laura, Franklin’s survivors include four children by previous marriages, a brother and sister, and 18 grandchildren. 

Parting Shot

Randy Knaggs '94, director of the Outdoor Program, cuts a hole in the frozen fire pond in preparation for a "polar dip" event last winter. Photo by Devlo Media