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Admissions office dedicated

In February 7, Bryn Mawr College dedicated the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid in memory of Louise Horwood Alden Cohen ’44 and Dr. Jonathan Cohen of Cambridge, MA. and Deer Isle, ME. Louise Cohen died April 26, 2004, in Deer Isle, leaving a $3.3 million bequest to the College.

Louise Cohen was an active member in the College’s New England Alumnae Council and served on its Regional Scholarship Committee. In her professional life, she worked in admissions at Radcliffe College and Harvard University. Her husband, Dr. Cohen, was an orthopedic surgeon in the Boston area.

Representing the donors were Eliza Alden of Exton, PA and her husband Larry Barton, president of the American College in Bryn Mawr. Alden is the daughter of Louise Cohen and the stepdaughter of Jonathan Cohen. She is campus director of Strayer University’s Delaware Valley campus. Also participating in the dedication were President of the College Nancy J. Vickers; Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jennifer Rickard; and President Emeritus Mary Patterson McPherson, Ph.D. ’69.

From left: President of the College Nancy J. Vickers; Eliza Alden; and President Emeritus Mary Patterson McPherson, Ph.D. ’69; dedicate the College’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid in memory of Louise and Jonathan Cohen, pictured in photograph.

 

2005 Convocation speaker

Anne Garrels, an award-winning foreign correspondent for National Public Radio, will be the 2005 Convocation speaker on Saturday, May 14.

 

Caught along in the web

The Educational Technology Center continues to guide the College community along the ever-widening circle of the web. In a recent TGIF roundtable hosted by the Center, Outreach and Information Technology Librarian Susan Turkel and Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science Geoffrey Towell led an informal “Search and Research” discussion on Google’s new Google Scholar. Introduced last November, Google Scholar is a subset of the Google database that is organized by citation rather than hyperlink. It is created by search “spiders” crawling the free internet and saving copies of what they find in huge databases.

What does this mean for students and other researchers? Google Scholar’s charm is also its failing, according to Towell, if only for one main reason: “The Internet is big,” says Towell. “Really big. Google can find about 37 billion pages, but it’s estimated that there are another 500 times that that Google can’t find. There were 160 million indexed pages 10 years ago and today there are some eight billion.” So while Google Scholar is good for quickly getting an overview of what’s out there on a topic, it affords only a shallow glimpse, rather than the deep, focused research possible via the library’s numerous scholarly databases. Also, says Towell, “about 50 percent of the words on the Internet occur only once. Consider the ramifications of proper names, and misspellings of proper names. If you don’t know rare words, you simply won’t be able to find instances of them.” He adds that “because Google Scholar is not exhaustive and is not organized, you could find one paper from a journal and miss another relevant one in the same journal because it’s not actually searching the journal, it’s searching posted web pages for certain words.”

And access to those web pages, Turkel points out, is limited by Google Scholar to freebies. “Google Scholar cannot crawl behind the firewalls of, for example, subscription services,” subscriptions the library pays for in order to provide the kind of depth and thoroughness of reference materials any serious scholar needs. Turkel recommends that students visit the library reference desk as they begin their information gathering. With a little assistance, they can conduct thorough and focused searches, and retrieve results that Google can’t match.

Google has also launched a digitalization project, which joins three others already underway: Project Gutenberg, Universal Library (a.k.a. the Million Book Project) and Making of America.

Finding new ways to use the considerable convenience of web communication, the Educational Technology Center has debuted its very own “podcast.” Modeled on call-in radio shows, the ETC team members have dubbed themselves Click (Senior Instructional Technologist Laura Blankenship), Double-Click (Director of the Language Learning Center Ben Johnston), and Right-Click (Application Developer Mike Zarro). They accept questions from the campus community via e-mail, then have a lively discussion audible to visitors. Listeners can also download the broadcasts to their mp3 devices. Recent questions included how to e-mail from a home computer using Comcast and Eudora, how to make one’s web pages findable by Google, how to create icons (“favacons”) for website addresses, and how to conquer the spyware beast. “We’re very excited by this experiment,” says Blankenship, “and we hope that not only will it be fun, but informative.”

 

Obituaries

John H. M. Salmon, 1925-2005

Internationally acclaimed scholar John H.M. Salmon, Marjorie Walter Goodhart Professor Emeritus of History, died February 9 at his home in Villanova, PA after struggling for months against cancer.

Known as “Jock” to longtime friends, Salmon was born December 2, 1925 in Thames, New Zealand. He graduated from New Zealand’s military academy as a commissioned army officer and served in the Allied Powers Occupation Forces following World War II, based in Japan. At Victoria University in New Zealand, Salmon received his B.A. degree in 1950 and his M.A. degree with First Class Honours. He received his M. Litt. degree in 1957 at Cambridge University, England, while teaching part time as an approved lecturer in history, and earned his doctorate (Lit.D.) in history from Victoria University in 1970.

From 1960 into 1965, he served in Australia as foundation professor of history and head of department at the University of New South Wales. Returning to New Zealand, he became first professor of history and dean of humanities at Waikato University, until departing for the United States in 1969 to join the Bryn Mawr College faculty. He became a U.S. citizen in 1974.

At Bryn Mawr College, he taught the history of the Renaissance and Early Modern Europe from 1969 to 1991. In 1971, he became the Marjorie Walter Goodhart Professor of History. Salmon won high respect from his students, both graduate and undergraduate, for the depths of his knowledge and teaching skills. Throughout his career, he published dozens of significant essays in scholarly journals, continuing to publish long after he retired in 1991.

Among the books Salmon wrote, translated, or edited were: The French Religious Wars in English Political Thought (1959); A History of Goldmining in New Zealand (1963); Cardinal De Retz: the Anatomy of a Conspirator (1969); Francogallia by Francois Hotman (1972); Society in Crisis: France in the Sixteenth Century (1975); Renaissance and Revolt (1987); Precept, Example, and Truth: Degory Wheare and the Ars Historica (1997); The French Romantics and the Renaissance (1997); Ideas and Contexts in France and England from the Renaissance to the Romantics (2000); and a novel, The Muskets of Gascony (2000).

Salmon was a member of The American Historical Association, the Cambridge Historical Society, the Renaissance Society of America, the Royal Historical Society, the Societe d’Historie Moderne et Contemporaine, the Society for French Historical Studies (U.S.A.), the Society for Sixteenth-Century Studies, and the Society for the Study of French History (U.K.).

Salmon is survived by his brother Harry M. H. Salmon of Turangi, New Zealand. Salmon’s marriages to Judith Edwards and Coral Lansbury ended in divorce. His third wife, Janet C. Oppenheim ’70, died in 1994. Surviving from his first marriage are three sons, Michael H., Andrew, and John Salmon, a daughter, Amanda Jane, and four grandchildren. Also surviving is his stepdaughter, Ashley K. Minihan of New York City.

A private ceremony was held by the family. A memorial service was held at the College on April 24.

Read a tribute to John Salmon.


Ingrid Muan, Class of 1985

Artist, Art Historian, Curator

Our friend and classmate Ingrid Muan died on January 28 2005, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, apparently of sepsis following a mistreated dog bite. She was 40 and seven months pregnant with her first child, a daughter she had already named Lili. The baby also died. She is survived by her mother and her brother.

Some of us had not been in touch with Ingrid since college; others had communicated with her as recently as a week before her death.  Recognizing the geographic impossibility of reuniting her friends and family in one place, Robert S. Boynton, HC ’85, established a website for us to post our remembrances.  www.IngridMuan.com has become a celebration of Ingrid’s remarkable contributions and resolute spirit as much as a place to go to simply remember her. We have drawn on many of the website’s posts for this article.

Ingrid Muan grew up in State College, Pennsylvania, the daughter of a scientist and a teacher, and came to Bryn Mawr in fall 1981. Initially, she’d considered double-majoring in chemistry and art history, with intentions of going into art restoration, but ultimately she dropped the chem and picked up studio art at Haverford.

Even at 17, Ingrid’s intellect and quiet, acerbic wit were well established, but those potentially fearsome talents were balanced by her grace, and the unshakeable calm at her center helped all of us on the Rhoads freshman corridor navigate that first year’s rocky moments with impunity. Her self-imposed disciplines—getting up early to study, going on long runs in the afternoon—never got in the way of a good long talk, preferably one of those consumingly important Life Discussions that always seemed to take place sometime around 1 a.m., in the hallway, the night before a paper was due.

Ingrid seemed to juggle her double major with ease, working late into the night at the Haverford art studio or in the shadowy depths of the A&A Library at Bryn Mawr. While we were begging for extensions on our papers, she was holding exhibits of her work at Comfort Gallery. While most of us were groping for some kind of understanding of our own minds, Ingrid was throwing out ideas and opinions like a seasoned academic, with a confidence that struck her fellow majors as mature beyond our years. Her heated debates with Mr. Levine made our senior seminar the most entertaining night of the week.

“She was a very striking person,” wrote history of art professor David Cast on the website a few days after her death. “Intelligent, strong and moral, and this made her immediately memorable to all of us here. She came to see me about two or three years ago and we talked about her life since Haverford, learning Cambodian at Cornell, her work at Columbia. She gave me a book on Cambodian art that she had written which I gave to the library, and can stand as a small token of her memory here.”

After graduation, Ingrid taught at Haverford, and then got an MFA in studio art at the University of California, Davis. Her fellow graduate student Chris Daubert wrote about meeting Ingrid there, and seeing one of her first projects. “Down along the creek, all the local species of birds were lovingly recreated, perfectly to scale and perched in the trees, out of the trash and sticks that she had found along the trail,” Daubert said. “As part of her thesis exhibition, she presented a long line of miniature captioned drawings, arranged in alphabetical order from ‘accordion’ to ‘wimple.’ It was fairly obvious that she had made perfect copies of illustrations from a large dictionary. What wasn’t so obvious at first was that all of the illustrations contained images of women, wearing, playing or standing next to the object described by the word. It was a fascinating example of how women were seen in the theoretically objective world of a late 20th-century dictionary.  Her ability to see the underlying structures hidden in plain sight took my breath away.”

But it was a trip to Hong Kong in the late 90s that set the direction for the last ten years of her life. She became fascinated by Asia, telling one friend she knew “almost nothing about that part of the world.” In subsequent summers she traveled to Indonesia, Vietnam and finally to Cambodia, which captured her completely.

Ingrid got a Ph.D. in modern art history from Columbia; her thesis told the story of the founding of Phnom Penh’s university, which at first trained students to make only traditional objects. She was far more excited by what artists were doing with their experiences right then, not by the government’s attempts to freeze the past. “I was interested in what modern art history might look like in a place like Cambodia, which is so often consigned to a glorious architectural past,” she told the Bryn Mawr Bulletin in the summer of 2001. “No one seemed to think that art was also made in Cambodia during the 20th century.”

Ingrid moved full time to Cambodia in 1997, putting her charm and intelligence to work immediately. She and her partner Ly Daravuth founded Reyum, a center for contemporary Cambodian art, in a storefront across the street from the Royal University of Fine Arts. It eventually grew to include galleries, visiting artists and lecturers, and of course, classes for all ages, because wherever Ingrid went, she could not help but teach. “Ingrid was attracted to Cambodia by the plight of the people and the country. She was extremely idealistic,” said her brother, Michael Muan. She and Ly Daravuth worked tirelessly, organizing exhibits, traveling to seminars on museum studies, and publishing catalogs and essays (some of which are available on amazon.com).

Ingrid eventually settled in a house on the banks of the Mekong, where she delighted in long hikes with her dogs along the river and up into the hills. She also entertained a steady stream of visitors with legendary hospitality, immersing them as she’d immersed herself in the city’s daily life, organizing dinner parties and meetings to join her many circles. The friendships she generated there (and everywhere) have taken on a life of their own.

Ingrid studied Khmer at the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI) in 1996, and became friends with her teacher Frank Smith. They saw each other from time to time in Phnom Penh. “We always had such great talks about Cambodia and Cambodians,” he wrote in a note after her death. “Because we both knew each other’s heart was in the right place, we could say things to each other (such as vent our frustrations) that others might have taken the wrong way.  She would always give me copies of her amazing and beautiful exhibition catalogs—really rich cultural resources in their own right—from her various exhibits, which I promptly would turn into Khmer teaching materials. [She was] such an amazing, selfless, totally unique person.”

It’s a measure of how much Ingrid meant to her adopted country that several Cambodian papers published obituaries and memorials after her death. Writing in The Cambodia Daily, an English-language newspaper, Michelle Vachon described Ingrid as a “quiet and gentle woman who, in her passion to preserve Cambodia's traditions and revive the arts, became a friend to countless artists and researchers.”

Vann Molyvann, an architect who designed the country's landmarks in the 1960s, said to The Cambodia Daily: "She had a deep love for those young Cambodians who had only known misery and to whom she opened a whole new world.” Her friends and colleagues have said that they are devoted to carrying on her work and keeping Reyum, which meant so much to her, alive and thriving.

Ingrid was given a ritual funeral on the banks of the Mekong, and cremated. The real depth and extent of Ingrid’s work is only beginning to be measured, though. A week after her death, in early February, a memorial was held at the Asia Society in New York City. Friends from many parts of Ingrid’s life were there to remember and celebrate her life; her dedication to her work, her creativity and wit, the transformative effect she had had on their lives.

“A friend of mine always says that we truly achieve immortality if we live on in others’ memories,” Frank Smith said. “I don't think Ingrid has anything to worry about.”

Laura Meislin, Janet Ozzard, Judith Weinstein, Class of 1985

 

Return to Summer 2005 highlights

 

 

 

 

 
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