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Lee Capristo, editor
The Mulberry Tree
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College News

SEAC is Public Health Hero

Polar Bear Splash
Three St. Mary’s student leaders accepted Public Health Hero Awards from the St. Mary’s County Health Department during National Public Health Week in April. They received honors on behalf of the 300-member SEAC (Student Environmental Action Coalition) for contributing to the betterment of public health through environmental activism on campus. Erin McDermott ’10, Bonnie Veblen ’09, and Shane Hall ’09 led the club in hosting several all-campus events that drew community and media attention to global warming, including the January Polar Bear Splash and a student-driven, nationwide effort to reduce waste and energy use. Members of SEAC were also instrumental in supporting the installation of a geothermal energy system in the College’s River Center.

 “Students today care deeply about sustainability, ecology and pollution, says Michael Cain, chair of the Political Science Department and acting director of the Center for the Study of Democracy. “Political parties need to respond to these students soon; otherwise, they may lose significant numbers of votes in the next presidential election. We may be seeing the beginning of the largest special movement among students since the 1960s.”

From HSMC to Smithsonian
Chief executive officer of Historic St. Mary’s City and adjunct history professor Martin Sullivan has been chosen to run the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. As CEO of the historic city since 1999, he oversaw museum research, interpretation and site preservation at HSMC, and helped coordinate programs in public history and museum studies at the College. Under his watch, the museum became accredited by the American Association of Museums, and many excellent exhibits and facilities were added. Before he was at St. Mary’s, he was director of museums in Phoenix and Albany, N.Y.Habitat Volunteers and their hosts

Habitat House from Scratch
The islands may have beckoned some during Spring Break, but 15 students along with Marc Hume ’96, assistant director of Residence Life, built a Habitat for Humanity house right from the foundation in Greenville, Georgia. The volunteer work was organized by Jen Slomski ’09 and Katie Painter ’09, our Habitat club leaders, with the Habitat for Humanity International Collegiate Challenge Office in Georgia. “It was really awesome, the work, the people, the family that we built the house for,” says Hume. “The community in Meriwether County, Georgia, is just amazing. They were welcoming, engaging, and really fun—it was a pleasure to spend our break down there helping their community."

 Students from Kabul
Two students in the entering Class of 2012 will be coming from Kabul, Afghanistan, as part of a program called the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women (IEAW). Najiba Yousufi and Mursal Asmati have both been to the United States, when they came as exchange students for a year of high school. They are interested in development, economics, education, and environment. Najiba is currently teaching English and Mursal works as an administrative assistant for a national development agency in Kabul.

Retired philosophy professor Henry Rosemont first brought the IEAW to the attention of Betul Basaran, assistant professor of Islamic studies. She, with help and support from Jennifer Cognard- Black, associate professor of English, worked a year to overcome all the logistics. In September the two students will come on full scholarship for their entire college education.

 All the IEAW students return home every summer to work for reconstruction and to help support their families. They commit to return to Afghanistan at the completion of their education, where we anticipate they will move into leadership roles, further reconstruction efforts, and assist in improving the place of women in their society. Currently the IEAW has 42 students in 17 colleges across the country.

Big-Ass Tent (BAT) Folds

The temporary facility arrived for the summer of 1998: a monstrous green “tent” with a white roof that could probably be seen from outer space. It was the type of structure that pro sports teams use for adjunct workout space. The College bought it to serve that purpose too, since the renovation and expansion of Somerset gymnasium would close that facility from 2002-2004. But in 1998, it was Charles Hall—then the campus center and the College’s only dining space—that needed to be shut down for renovation and expansion. So dining moved into the temporary facility, which was dubbed within two weeks by the students, he “Big-Ass Tent” or “BAT” for short.

Summer conference groups and sports camps were the first to dine in it during the summer of 1998. Bon Appétit, the new food service contractor who’d been on the job for less than a month, got handed a challenge that would earn them their stripes over the next 20 months. That first summer and school year, they were able to cook food in the shut-down Charles Hall but then had to truck it over to the BAT. The summer of 1999, the kitchen in the old Charles Hall was torn out and cooking had to be arranged off-site, at Spring Ridge Middle School. Once cooked, it was trucked three miles to campus. All campus diners put up with steam soaked, soggy French fries for the entire 20 months.

Diners also got to experience tropical storm Floyd in September of 1999. While the structure was rated to withstand hurricane force winds, no one really wanted to test that. It was an exciting day with winds blowing 50 mph-plus with gusts over 60 mph. The sides of the structure flapped in the gusts and the pendant lights swung back and forth. It was incredibly noisy with the wind and rain beating on the exterior fabric and the metal ribs creaking. “Everyone was scared to death, expecting the thing to take off at any moment like Dorothy’s house in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” recalls Kathy Grimes, assistant vice president of lifelong learning and professional programs, who was contract manager for Bon Appétit at the time. The new Campus Center opened on March 19, 2000, and the Great Room dining hall was a welcome relief to dining in the BAT. Eighteen months later, the BAT became the gym and remained the gym (including offices for the athletics staff) until the new Athletics and Recreation Center opened in January 2005. With its service completed, the BAT was disassembled in March and the frame was recycled.

On-campus Nightclub a Hit
In an effort to solve two problems at once, campus Residential Assistants, alumni and some interested students created The Nest this past semester, an on-campus nonalcoholic nightclub. “It’s a way to decrease alcohol consumption and have something to do on campus after 11 p.m.,” explains Ebby Aniyikaiye, an RA.

Organizers tried different nights (Friday/Saturday) and different locations (Daugherty-Palmer Commons/Upper Deck) and each time more than 250 people came to dance to the beat under bright disco lights. “The Nest is a really good alternative to house parties because a lot of times at parties there are too many people in too little space,” Annie Weisburger ’08 told The Point News. “Having The Nest is good for people who simply want to dance.” There are plans to continue The Nest. Aniyikaiye says they hope to buy DJ equipment and train students to run the music.

Why The Nest? “We call it The Nest so the seahawks can return to the nest, which includes alumni,” says Aniyikaiye.

The Point is the Best

The Point News Staff
The Point News was chosen Best College Newspaper for colleges and universities with 1,700-2,500 students by the American Scholastic Press Association. The award letter states, “You have an excellent school newspaper, which shows the talent of your editors, reporters, writers, photographers, layout designers, and advisors.” Congratulations to editor-in-chief Eric Schlein ’08 and his dedicated staff.

River Concert Series Celebrates 10 Years

The River Concert Series celebrates its 10th season this summer with the Chesapeake Orchestra and Jeffrey Silberschlag as music director. Concerts are 7 p.m. Friday evenings with fireworks over the river for the
grand finale of the July 4th concert. For details, visit The schedule:

June 13: Feeling My Inner Celt
Open Alumni Reunion weekend with Celtic music featuring José Cueto, violin, and alumnae Gwendolyn Degentesh, soprano, and Don Stapleson, saxophone. River Series Celtic Dancers provides a lively opening to the 10th season.

June 20: Rocky III
Van Cliburn award-winning pianist Jon Nakamatsu performs Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 3.” Also Mendelssohn’s “Symphony No. 4 The Italian” is performed in tribute to our Italy&USA Music Festival.

June 27: Kiss Me, Kate
Guest Conductor Larry Vote directs the Chesapeake Orchestra in Cole Porter’s delightful musical in  collaboration with Catherine Flye and the Interact Theater Company, starring Susan Bender, soprano as Kate. 

July 4: A Jazzy 4th
Acclaimed jazz vocalist and Wyle soloist Hilary Kole joins the Chesapeake Orchestra for an American musical
celebration. The world premiere of David Froom’s “Striking Silver” is introduced, plus fireworks!

July 11: Love’s a Hurtin’ Thing
Love is in the air when flutist Giuseppe Nova and award-winning pianist Brian Ganz perform works by Verdi
and Shostakovich. And there is more romance when Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” is performed by the
Chesapeake Orchestra.

July 18: Simple and Beautiful
Grammy-award winning soprano and St. Mary’s County Arts Council soloist Susan Narucki joins Jeffrey Silberschlag and the Chesapeake Orchestra for a magical evening of music. The program also includes Brahms’ Symphony No. 3. July 25: Song of the Earth The season’s grand finale features work by Jeffrey Mumford, award-winning Washington, D.C. composer. The program is highlighted with a performance
by award-winning tenor, Jason Collins, and rising star Olivia Vote, mezzo-soprano performing Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde."

Sailors Often Make the News

SMCM Sailors
Assistant Varsity Sailing Coach Bill Ward was named National Sailing Coach of the Year by the U.S. Sailing’s Olympic Sailing Committee and will be headed to Beijing for the Summer Olympics. “Bill Ward has raised our level of competitiveness,” says President Jane Margaret O’Brien. “We are so pleased that the U.S. Olympic Committee recognized both of our sailing coaches–Adam Werblow in ’99 and now Bill–for
their expertise.”

In other sailing news, the Seahawks were honored with a special resolution at a legislative session of the House of Delegates. They were presented with certificates by Maryland Speaker of the House Mike Busch and Delegate John Bohanan at the Annapolis State House. Sailors were recognized for their victory in the 2007
Intercollegiate Sloop Championships, winning the College’s first such prize since 1993. Women’s Sailing Team members were cited for their “exemplary performance and championship victory at the 2007 Intercollegiate Sailing Association National.” The College’s coed Sailing Team was presented certificates recognizing their victory in the National Championship for the Intercollegiate Sailing Association/APS Team Race at the U.S. Naval Academy, beating three Ivy League Schools.

BB Team

Big Send-Off for Cinderella Seahawks

Campus fans gave a spirited send-off to St. Mary’s men’s basketball team March 12 as it headed to St. Louis for its first-ever trip to the NCAA Division II Sectional Semi-Finals after winning the CAC Championship, the first time since 1991.The dream ended there, however, with Millsaps College winning 82-73. The Seahawks, led by Coach Chris Harney ’97, finished the 2007-08 season with a school record 19 wins since the College first joined NCAA Division II.

Journalist Brokaw Speaks with Students

Professor Cain shows Tom Brokaw around campus
Legendary journalist Tom Brokaw came to the campus in March to talk with students and give the annual Bradlee Lecture. Former NBC anchor Brokaw encouraged students “to take our hands off the keyboard, put our boots on the ground, get our hands in the dirt and spend nights in scary places from time to time.”

He and Benjamin C. Bradlee, illustrious editor of The Washington Post, were questioned during the forum by Professor Michael Cain, director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, and Professor Chuck olden, associate professor of history, and student editors of the College’s Point News, Eric Schlein ’08 and Mariel Saez ’10. Before the forum, he met with students from Holden’s U.S. and World War II history class. The class read Brokaw’s recent book on World War II, The Greatest Generation, and asked him questions about it.

The Bradlee Lecture Series honors the legacy of Ben Bradlee, vice president at large of the Washington Post Co. and vice chairman of the College’s board of trustees. He is also past chairman of the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission. Prior speakers in the series have included journalists Bob Woodward, Tony Kornheiser and David Broder.

Frogs and Princes

Selkmann, rear right, watches his uncle meet Prince Charles in Tobago
Gordon Michael Selkmann ’10 brushed with royalty this spring when he went to Tobago to help his uncle, Dave Hardy, study the diversity of guppies and mud minnows for the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum.
HRH The Prince of Wales and Camilla, the uchess of Cornwall, came to Bon Accord to visit the Buccoo Reef Trust’s Tobago Marine Research Centre. “I had even spent the morning before I met Prince Charles in the
mud of a swampy mangrove catching fish,” says Michael.

Michael bonded with his uncle, who has been studying the island ecology of Tobago for 40 years, as a child collecting frogs, snakes, and small fish species from throughout the island. This trip, he caught and categorized fish, did all the camera work and some sketch work. Yes, meeting the prince was a highlight of the trip, he
says, but just as important was gathering evidence that species continue to disappear because of human impact.

Some of the College's Teaching Lions Are Retiring This Year

Michael S. Glaser
English Professor and Maryland Poet Laureate Michael Glaser joined the St. Mary’s faculty in 1970 and has made his mark on the campus ever since. Born in Illinois, Glaser graduated from Denison University and received his master’s and doctorate degrees from Kent State University. has served as head of the Division of Arts and Letters and chair of the English Department, co-founded and directs the bi-annual Literary Festival and the annual Voices reading series at St. Mary’s, and was awarded the Homer Dodge Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Columbia Merit Award from the Poetry Committee of the Greater Washington, D.C. area for his service to poetry.

The much-published author also has served as a Maryland State Arts Council poet-in-the-schools for more than 20 years, is a speaker with the Humanities Council, and in August 2004 was named Maryland’s Poet Laureate. Glaser, father of five children and six grandchildren, and his wife, Kathleen, will stay in St. Mary’s City; he will continue roaming the state spreading his love for poetry as poet laureate. And of course he will be at his desk writing poems. “I want to see how good I can be.”

Recently, a gala, “One Wild and Precious Life” brought students, faculty and friends together to honor Glaser. Some wrote their own poems for the occasion, like Professor of Psychology Laraine Glidden: “You were young, you were daring, a cool potentate.” Other accolades: “Thank you for opening the door to the whole best part of my
life,” said former student Laura Orem on being introduced to writing poetry. “The great thing about Michael is that he puts us in the present,” said Professor Michael Ellis-Tolaydo. “How lucky we are to have been hugged by Glaser,”
said former staffer Dan Laskin.

Ho N. Nguyen

Ho Nguyen has been teaching economics at St. Mary’s since 1979. Among notable awards: the Norton Dodge Award for Service; a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship to South Korea, Bulgaria and Romania; a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Vietnam. On campus, he has served as head of the Division of History and Social Science, and was a founding member and major supporter of the Asian Studies and Nitze Scholars programs. Born in Vietnam, about 60 kilometers from Hanoi, his family moved around in his childhood. “My childhood took place during a war—it was a scary time,” he says. He later moved overseas, graduated from the University of California-Santa Cruz, and lived in Europe and Canada, where he went to graduate school.

He still carries the emotional wounds of growing up in war. He finally was able to visit Washington’s Vietnam War Memorial in 2001 when he made it part of the leadership seminar for Nitze scholars. And to show the commonalities of humans, he brought St. Mary’s students to the Vietnamese war memorials during a trip there.

He has taken groups of students around the world, from Thailand to The Gambia to Hong Kong and, of course, Vietnam. He may be officially retiring, but he plans to return to the St. Mary's program at Payap Uuniversity in Thailand this fall and will develop another study group tour to Vietnam for winter break. To be a good teacher and a good father, those are the most important jobs to him. Says Professor of Economics Donald Stabile: “Ho Nguyen has always been passionate about his dedication to his students in his teaching, advising, leading study tours, and sponsoring clubs.”

Teymour F. Darkhosh

A physics professor, Darkhosh has been with the College since 1988. Raised in Tehran, Iran, he came to the U.S. at age 19 and received his physics degrees from Columbia University and New York University. Before coming to St. Mary’s, he taught at William Paterson and Bryn Mawr colleges.

Here, he helped create the physics major and the Physics Seminar, and served as department chair from 1995-2001. “I would like my students to remember me as a passionate promoter of physics,” Darkhosh says. Describing this passion, Katsunori Mmita, fellow physics professor, says, “He once said that he would be happy
if he would reach just one student in class.”

Darkhosh plans to continue teaching part-time and work on pending research projects having to do with super-gravity and quantum gravity.

Katherine Socha
Katherine Socha, assistant professor of mathematics, was recently honored with a major award from the Math Association of America. The Henry L. Adler Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member recognizes teaching that has been extraordinarily successful with proven effectiveness beyond their own classrooms. She is only one of three teachers in the nation to receive this honor.

NYC Gallery Shows Johnson Art
St. Mary’s art professor Sue Johnson’s imaginative artwork, “Alice Redux,” was the focus of a new exhibit in the respected New York gallery Schroeder Romero/Winkleman Gallery Project Space in the spring. Johnson’s 20-foot-long panorama is an archival inkjet print with hand painting in acrylic on paper depicting Alice
grown up and finding her way through a dream world cluttered by the flotsam and jetsam of modern consumer culture.

2008 Faculty Promotions
The Academic Affairs Committee approved the following promotions:

Reappointment with promotion and tenure
José Ballesteros, associate professor of international languages & cultures (Spanish)
Laine Doggett, associate professor of international languages & cultures French)
Susan Goldstine, associate professor of mathematics
Angela Johnson, associate professor of educational studies
Cynthia Koenig, associate professor of psychology
Jordan Price, associate professor of biology
Simon Read, associate professor of computer science

Michael Cain, professor of political science
Benjamin Click, professor of English
Elizabeth Osborn, professor of sociology