Class of 2008
College administrators and student leaders greeted the class of 2008, second largest in Bryn Mawr’s history, on August 25. The 359 students come from 39 states and 27 countries and include two alumnae daughters. The Admissions Office received a record-breaking 1,926 applications this year—an increase of 10 percent over last year’s record-breaking total.
Assistant Dean Christopher MacDonald-Dennis came to Bryn Mawr at the end of July as first director of its Office of Intercultural Affairs, which was created last spring as part of a restructuring of the College’s efforts to ensure a diverse and inclusive community of students, faculty and staff. The office will concentrate on fostering intercultural exchange and understanding among students, while a new Diversity Leadership Group will focus on faculty and staff issues.
This restructuring of the College’s former Office of Institutional Diversity, which had primary responsibility for addressing faculty and staff diversity concerns, gives students a resource dedicated specifically to their concerns, said Dean of the Undergraduate College Karen M. Tidmarsh ’71.
MacDonald-Dennis, a doctoral candidate in social-justice education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has more than 10 years of experience in higher-education administration. He comes to Bryn Mawr from the University of Michigan, where he directed a service-learning program, advised student leaders, and taught in an intergroup-relations program.
Among his duties are developing and coordinating orientation and training programs, organizing key campus cultural events, guiding student cultural groups, directing several College programs to mentor and support students from underrepresented populations, and providing informal advising to all students interested in diversity issues.
He will divide his time between the Dean's Office in Taylor Hall and the Multicultural Center.
The four members of the Group are MacDonald-Dennis; Associate Chief Information Officer Florence Goff, who will serve as the College’s equal-opportunity officer; Professor of Sociology Mary Osirim, who will serve as the faculty diversity liaison; and co-Dean of the School of Social Work and Social Research Raymond Albert, who will serve as the staff issues liaison.
“The group’s charge is to provide strategic advice directly to me with the goal of making the campus community inclusive and supportive of all students, faculty and staff,” said President of the College Nancy J. Vickers in an e-mail announcement to the community.
The Group will meet with the president regularly. It will convene, along with the president, the President’s Diversity Council, a representative body of faculty, students and staff responsible for advising Vickers about encouraging a supportive climate for diversity on campus, and to monitor the effectiveness of the College’s diversity initiatives in four areas: recruitment and retention of faculty, staff, and students of color; attention to diversity in the curriculum; campus climate; and College programs that foster diversity.
Peaches Valdes ’99, the Admissions Office's Director of Multicultural Recruitment, will also serve as Assistant Director of Intercultural Affairs. “I think this arrangement makes a lot of sense,” she said. "It creates continuity between recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented groups, and I'm sure it will be personally very rewarding for me to see that the people I recruited are flourishing here at Bryn Mawr.”
Campus smoking ban extended
Smoking has been prohibited in College academic and administrative buildings since the 1990s; new restrictions in place this fall ban it from residence halls and at the main entrances to all buildings.
Until May, smoking was allowed in student rooms in only one dorm, Radnor, on its top two floors, but the heating and air circulation system carried smoke throughout the building. (This summer, Radnor got a thorough airing-out; all common areas, hallways and most student rooms were painted. The carpet was replaced in the common areas and hallways. The common rooms received new furniture and new lighting.)
“We have reached a point where, given the level of knowledge about the serious health risks entailed in exposure to second-hand smoke, we can no longer defend having a residence hall where all who live there, as well as all staff who must work there, are exposed to high levels,” wrote Dean of the Undergraduate College Karen M. Tidmarsh ’71 in a letter to students. “We must also move smoking away from the main entrances and windows of residence halls, since it still creates a problem for residents when they enter or leave the building or if their rooms are in close proximity to the designated entrances and windows.”
Individual counseling for students and smoking cessation programs for students, staff, and faculty are being offered. The issue is an emotionally charged one for many. A task force with representatives from faculty, staff, and students, both smokers and non-smokers, has been convened to discuss where on campus those who smoke may do so with the least harm to others.
Something new cooking at Haffner
Mawrters with a hankering for Indian food can now indulge in tandoori chicken and vegetable biryani without leaving campus: Haffner dining hall has been revamped to include Ahara, an ethnic cuisine “station” (one of four in the dining room). In development is an Asian/pan-Asian Noodle Bar for the spring, but this fall, students can dig in to aloo ghobi (potatoes and cauliflower) tinged yellow with tumeric and made fragrant with cinnamon and other traditional Indian spices. Warm and soft naan, a flat yeast bread sprinkled with poppy seeds accompanies the main entree, which changes daily. As well, Ahara offers the usual addictive Indian condiments: lemon pickle with its kerosene tang and hot afterglow; sweet and salty mango chutney; tomato kachumber and shredded carrot pickles. Rice and raita—a cool yogurt sauce—complete the meal.
“The menu items are made in small batches,” says Dining Services Director Bernadette Chung-Templeton, “to ensure freshness.” Another plus is that, according to Chung-Templeton, it is now easier to get authentic spices and ingredients since the dishes are offered consistently, on a daily basis, rather than intermittently.
Other stations in the Haffner dining hall are “On the Run” (a soup-sandwich-salad bar), “Farmer's Choice,” (vegan and vegetarian options), and “Classic Pizzas,” which serves pizzeria-style pizzas made of homemade fresh dough. Mawrters can mix and match their food choices, and top off the meal with homemade sweets from the dessert bar. And a smoothie bar ensures that students on the go have delicious fortification available all day long.
Has the response from students been positive? “Overall yes,” says Chung-Templeton. “By and large, most students are happy with the changes, and satisfied with the addition of more variety to their menu choices each day.” BMC’s award-winning Dining Services has also renovated its meal services schedule to include more flexibility and expanded hours, “to allow more students to juggle busy academic, work and social schedules without missing meals,” says Chung-Templeton.
Haffner now opens at 11 a.m. and serves continuously until 6:30 p.m. Rhoads remains open for dinner weekdays until 8 p.m. to accommodate time-pressed athletes and others who just prefer to dine later.
For more information about Dining Services, see the BMCDS web site.
Assistant Professor of History Michael Powell, a multitalented scholar of medieval history and culture who was recognized by colleagues and students as an outstanding teacher, died of multiple myeloma at his home on June 8. He was 42 years old.
“Michael was a brilliant scholar and a wonderful person,” said Associate Professor of History Sharon Ullman, who chairs the department. “This is an excruciating loss, and it leaves a hole in our hearts.”
Powell studied viola and piano during his youth in Atlanta and earned a B.A. in music and religion from Indiana University in 1985. In 1988, he received a Master of Music in choral conducting from the Yale School of Music and an M.A.R. in liturgics from the Yale Divinity School. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to France in 1988 and studied in Lyon. He served as director of liturgy and music for Visitation Church in Kansas City, Mo., from 1989-90. He received his Master of Arts and Ph.D. in history and medieval studies from Yale University in 1993 and 1998 respectively.
After two years as a guest professor at Sarah Lawrence College, Powell began teaching at Bryn Mawr in 1999. “It was an easy decision to hire him,” said Ullman. “He was an enormously engaging and accomplished individual with many talents. Michael’s work was remarkably creative—he was interdisciplinary in a field that has often been more hidebound. It offered a special complexity, bringing together all of his expertise in historical texts, music and theology in expansive and generous ways.”
Powell’s scholarly promise was matched by his classroom success. In 2003, Powell received the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award, signaling that his colleagues recognized him as a “well-prepared, highly motivated and generally inspiring teacher.” Several students dedicated their theses to him, Ullman reported.
Meredith Stoll ’04, an independent major in medieval studies whom Powell advised, described him as “an amazingly energetic and engaging professor who could find something constructive in every student's contribution to class. His classes were always lots of fun, but he had very high expectations, too. He was the most demanding professor I had, and he helped me improve my writing and reading skills more than anyone else.”
At Bryn Mawr, Powell brought an interdisciplinary approach to courses dealing with court culture, Christianity, the rise of urbanism, homosexuality and food in medieval Europe. “He encouraged students to stretch their limits beyond traditional boundaries,” said Stoll.
He was a fan of the New York Yankees and opera as well as an enthusiastic amateur chef. The latter vocation benefited students, whom he often entertained at his home.
Powell is survived by his partner, Todd Brown; his parents, Marjorie and Furney Powell; sisters Deborah Powell, Patricia Fawcett and Dorothea Faw; and a brother, David Powell. A memorial service was held at the College on October 22 in Goodhart Music Room.
Reginald Bruce Collier
Reginald Bruce Collier, a major patron of Bryn Mawr College, died September 15 in New York after a long illness. He was 77.
A native of Massachusetts, Collier attended Phillips Academy Andover for three years before serving in the Marine Corps during World War II. After the war, he enrolled in Haverford College and met his future wife, Lois Miller, at Bryn Mawr. The two graduated in 1950 and were married. Reginald Collier went on to obtain an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1952 and began a successful career in advertising, marketing and consumer research. From 1971 until his death, he was chairman of Research Systems Corporation (now RSC the Quality Measurement Company), a consumer research firm.
The Colliers have been longtime, generous benefactors of Bryn Mawr College. They funded the Lois and Reginald Collier Science Library, which opened in 1993, and Cambrian Row, several recently renovated houses on Roberts Road that together form a center for extracurricular student life.
Besides his wife, Collier leaves two children, Mark Collier and Brynn Collier Helms.
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