Kenyon in the News 2006
Kathryn VanArendonk, Class of 2007, was quoted in the December 17 edition of Variety. In the first week of February, Nielsen Media Research will begin measuring college audiences, but Nielsen won't be measuring televisions in common areas where dozens of Kenyon students often gather to watch shows such as Grey's Anatomy. "That's a problem, because it isn't representative of who is watching the show and how freakishly devoted their fan base is," VanArendonk is quoted as saying.
Biology professor Joan Slonczewski was quoted in the December 12 edition of the Lakeland, Florida, Ledger in a story about people who have excessive cleanliness habits. Slonczewski cautioned that too much handwashing can be counterproductive. "Hand-washing is fine--in moderation," she is quoted as saying. "There are some very general studies suggesting people who have been raised in overly clean environments are more likely to have asthma or multiple sclerosis. I think the correlations are mainly statistical, but there is some suggestion that too little exposure to germs, to potential pathogens, leads to failure to develop a strong immune system."
The December issue of O: The Oprah Magazine ran an excerpt from the 2005 Commencement address given at Kenyon by writer David Foster Wallace and mentioned the College in the introduction. Oprah says the 2005 address, titled "The Capital T Truth," suggests the choice of a lifetime is one we get to make over and over-deciding what has meaning, who we are to each other, and who's really in our way.
Kenyon's Food for Thought program was featured in the November/December issue ofOur Ohio magazine. Titled "The Ties that Bind," the piece focused on the College's efforts to build a strong relationship with the community and help preserve farmland through the farm-to-cafeteria program. Professor of Sociology Howard Sacks was featured for his award-winning projects that span more than a decade. "(You) don't have to live here too long to see agriculture is central to defining the character of this community, " Sacks was quoted as saying. "You can't sustain agriculture without community support."
The Sunday, November 6, Education Life supplement of theNew York Times included a feature called "Trendspotting," which highlighted the popularity of "slacklining" and mentioned Kenyon. Slacklining practitioner Ryan Volsen, Class of 2009, was shown, in a photo taken by Emily Zeller, Class of 2008. Slacklining involves "teetering a few feet above the ground on inch-wide lines strung loosely between trees," explained the Times. "Just standing is the first trick, then anything goes." The sport began in the late 1970s among rock climbers.
Kenyon was mentioned in the November 3 Columbus Dispatch in a story about the seventh annual Ohio Farmland Preservation Summit. The Dispatch reported that Kenyon buys food from local growers to serve in the dining halls, as part of the Food for Thought initiative.
Professor of Psychology and eating disorders expert Michael Levine was quoted in the October 31 Washington Post in a story about a Stanford University study that suggests programs designed to prevent adolescent eating disorders may be succeeding. Researchers reported that an eight-week Internet-based program called "Student Bodies" reduced the development of eating disorders in women at high risk. "This study is a very significant piece of research because it demonstrates that one can transfer what's known about risk factors into a program that can be applied at very low cost," Levine was quoted as saying. "And it gives every indication of being able to reduce important risk factors."
An excerpt from President S. Georgia Nugent's Opening Convocation remarks this year was published in the October issue of University Business, a magazine for senior administrators. Editor Tim Goral used his column to quote from the welcoming speeches of several college presidents as they imparted wisdom and advice to new students. "Many of you," said Nugent, "may have had the experience of sitting on a plane about to take off, when the steward says, 'If Columbus is not in your travel plans, you should get off this airplane . . . ' Well, Kenyon is kind of like that. If civil engineering or hotel management or marketing is in your (immediate) travel plans, you should probably get off this plane; that's not where we're headed here. We don't offer tickets to a job. We offer roadmaps for plotting a life."
The September 26 USA Today quoted Professor of Psychology Sarah Murnen in a front-page story that questions whether thin models warp girls' body image. "The promotion of the thin, sexy ideal in our culture has created a situation where the majority of girls and women don't like their bodies," Murnen is quoted as saying. "And body dissatisfaction can lead girls to participate in very unhealthy behaviors to control weight gain." Murnen has researched body image for more than 15 years.
President S. Georgia Nugent was quoted in the September 26 edition of Inside Higher Ed. The story reported on a new study of four-year colleges and universities that suggested young professors care more about climate, the nature of their work, and tenure systems than they do about compensation. Inisde Higher Ed calls the message encouraging for colleges that may not be able to compete with the wealthiest in regard to salaries. Nugent reports that Kenyon has made a commitment to having faculty salaries in the top quintile nationally. In addition, the College made time between Christmas and New Year's Day a paid holiday for employees, started a child care facility, and has added funds for faculty research and international travel. "If faculty were people who really care primarily about money," Nugent is quoted as saying, "they wouldn't be in this business."
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jennifer Britz was quoted in the September 24 Columbus Dispatch in a story about Harvard and Princeton's decision to drop early admissions. Those institutions "have the power to shift the whole framework," Britz is quoted as saying. "They will still get great kids. For other schools, not necessarily Kenyon, there are risks involved."
Kenyon was mentioned in the September 21 New York Times. An op-ed by Rodney LaBrecque, head of Wilbraham & Monson Academy, calls for returning Advanced Placement courses to their original purpose, which was not college admission, but as the name says, advanced placement. LaBrecque sites Kenyon as leading the way in Advanced Placement in the 1950s by following up on a Ford Foundation study. Kenyon developed courses and tests through which college-bound students could accelerate their studies by doing sophisticated work in high school.
The October issue of CosmoGIRL! lists Kenyon as one of its 50 Best Colleges. The schools were selected based on data from the Princeton Review, CosmoGIRL! survey responses, and the perspectives of college experts.
The Sunday, September 17, Columbus Dispatch mentioned the Kenyon appearance of author David Goodwillie, Class of 1994, who read from his memoir Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time. The book chronicles his life in New York during the Internet boom of the 1990s and drifting toward a career as an author. He first thought of writing while at Kenyon: "You have all of these great names from the past-John Crowe Ransom, E.L. Doctorow, Randall Jarrell," Goodwillie is quoted as saying. "That history is all around you."
James Michael Playwright in Residence Wendy MacLeod was featured in the September 13 Columbus Dispatch. MacLeod's monologue Snake Oil will be included in the Contemporary American Theater Company's October shorts festival in Columbus. Theater critic Michael Grossberg called MacLeod and playwright Eric Coble the "best-known playwrights nationally" in the festival's lineup.
For the second consecutive year, Kenyon was ranked number thirty-two in U.S. News & World Report's annual listing of the nation's best liberal-arts colleges. Williams College took the top spot, followed by Amherst at number two and Swarthmore at number three. Oberlin's listing was number twenty-two, Denison University's forty-eight. The rankings were released on August 18.
The August 21 cover story in Time magazine, titled "Who Needs Harvard," mentioned Kenyon. "Forget the Ivy League," proclaimed Time. "The new rules of the game say the best fit is what matters." Kenyon was praised for the personal notes it includes in student acceptance letters. The big schools can't do that--"and it's making a difference," Sharon Merrow Cuseo, dean of Los Angeles' Harvard-Westlake Academy, was quoted as saying. "I think of my students as cynical consumers of college propaganda, but they love that personal touch. They come in and say, 'Jeez, look at this note they wrote me. It's good to be wanted."
Kenyon was described as one of the 25 "New Ivies" in The 2007 Kaplan/Newsweek 'How to Get Into College Guide.' The article counted Kenyon among a list of "world-class schools" featuring "great academics and first-rate faculties," appealing to students looking beyond Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. The Kaplan/Newsweek guide released its listing on August 13.
Kenyon was mentioned in the August 4 Wall Street Journal in the "Gift of the Week" feature. Dan E. Patterson, Class of 1974, and Gail Thoma Patterson were recognized for their $1.5 million gift to the Kenyon Athletic Center. The money helped to build the College's 12,500-square-foot weight and fitness room. The gift was given on behalf of the Rev. Richard I. James, a longtime friend of Dan Patterson and a 1974 graduate of Kenyon.
The Washington Post mentioned Kenyon in an August 3 story about volunteers in New Orleans who are helping gut houses ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Writer Ken Ringle gave a first-person account of the time he spent with about 20 hard-core volunteer veterans. "They are black and white, male and female, from all over the country," wrote Ringle. "Most are students or recent graduates of Grinnell College in Iowa, Kenyon College in Ohio or Ohio Wesleyan University. Very few are churchy or outwardly religious; even fewer are Episcopalians. But these young and veteran gutters are superb team leaders, gentle and empathetic with homeowners, firm but politely patient should some of the older volunteers patronize them and try to take over."
Vice President for Library and Information Services Daniel Temple was quoted in the August 2 edition of Inside Higher Ed. The story looked at colleges seeking to create meaningful work-study programs that will contribute to future career success for students. Some educators, including Temple, believe offering competitive, higher-paying work-study jobs may allow colleges to save some dollars in terms of hiring new employees. "I believe that higher education can be made more cost effective through new ideas," Temple was quoted as saying. "Anything that allows tuition not to be raised is a good thing."
A special section on higher education in the July 30 New York Times identified Kenyon as one of America's "hidden gems." A dozen higher education experts and counselors compiled the list of twenty colleges that are called "alternatives to the usual suspects." The Times praised Kenyon for its excellent tradition in the humanities, creative writing, and theater.
Political science professor David Rowe was quoted in a July 26 story from Newhouse News Service about the literal threat of "World War Three." The story stated that there is no consensus on what makes a world war. The term "generally is used to indicate a war--as in World Wars I and II--in which all of the major powers in the international system go to war with one another as a way to resolve their conflicts and to establish a new hierarchy of power," Rowe was quoted as saying.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jennifer Britz was quoted in the July 7 Chronicle of Higher Education. The story took a light-hearted look at amusing admissions tales and pushy parents. "This year I wanted to put 'No Parents Allowed' on the front door to my office," Britz was quoted as saying. One mother, she says, tried to dictate what the dean should write in an e-mail message to encourage her son to attend Kenyon. "She was feeding me lines like a ventriloquist," Britz recalled. The Chronicle reported that the dean e-mailed the young man, but used her own words. He eventually enrolled.
Associate Director of Admissions Erica Carroll was quoted in the July 5 New York Times in a story about college tour guides who must "master diplomacy and deal with reality." Most colleges, Kenyon included, realize that the campus tour has the biggest impact on whether a student will apply. As the public face of the institution, tour guides often face tough questions from parents and students alike. At Kenyon, prospective students and their parents often ask questions about the rural location. "They've driven for hours through cornfields, and it's a little intimidating," Carroll was quoted as saying. "Our tour guides talk about how much is happening on campus, all the lectures and concerts, and how our students focus on the idea that they make their own fun."
Television stations around the country mentioned John Kerry's appearance as Kenyon's 2006 Commencement speaker. CNN Headline News called Kerry's visit to the College the "perfect sync of politics and place." The comment referred to the closely contested 2004 presidential election where Kenyon students waited as long as eleven hours to cast their votes. The CNN story was picked up by television stations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Fort Myers, Florida; Jackson, Tennessee; Columbus, Ohio; and Hartford, Connecticut. Many newspapers, including the Columbus Dispatch, also made note of Kerry's appearance.
A column by John Tierney in the May 30 New York Times mentioned research conducted by Kenyon economists Kathy Krynski and David Harrington. Tierney used their research, conducted with Maya Federman of Pitzer College, to support his theory that immigrants are not stealing jobs from Americans, particularly among manicurists in California. "The Vietnamese didn't so much displace Americans as gradually replace them," Krynski was quoted as saying. "Some Americans stayed in the business in upscale salons, and others probably went into other occupations offering higher wages, like being a hairdresser."
The May 22 New York Times mentioned Kenyon in a review of two books about musician Bob Dylan. One of the books, an anthology called Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews, includes a piece from the Collegian written by Jay Cocks '66. "The book finds the rising star visiting Kenyon College in 1964," wrote reviewer Janet Maslin, "in a precociously good school newspaper account written by the future film critic and screenwriter Jay Cocks."
The two vacation-time trips by Kenyon volunteers to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina were the subject of a front-page article in the April edition of Young D.C., a newspaper written by and about teens in the Washington, D.C., area. The article recounted the volunteers' experiences gutting damaged homes in New Orleans during both winter break and spring break, and included photos taken by Matt Huber '08. Both Huber and Joseph Murphy, librarian and technology consultant, were quoted. Murphy noted that the homeowners, many of them strikingly generous even as they welcomed the volunteers' help, needed to tell their stories. "We gave them contact," Murphy was quoted as saying, "and reminded them of people out there who are still worried about New Orleans and about them."
Kenyon's Food for Thought program was mentioned in the May 8 Dayton Daily News in a story about colleges that buy food locally. The story noted that about 15 percent of the food served at Kenyon is locally grown. The College hopes to double that amount within two years. "In many cases, you're getting higher quality food," Howard Sacks, director of Kenyon's Rural Life Center, was quoted as saying. "It may cost a little more, but you're getting a better product."
Professor of American Studies Peter Rutkoff was the focus of story a story in the April 13 Mansfield News Journal. The newspaper covered his talk at the Mansfield/Richmond Public Library in conjunction with the exhibit "Discover Greatness! An Illustrated History of Negro Leagues Baseball." "African-American baseball is an artifact of American history," Rutkoff was quoted as saying. He went to note that the story of the Negro Leagues is an oral history that can't be found in the history books.
The April 13 online edition of Time magazine mentioned Kenyon in a story about the popularity of stand-up comedy troupes on college campuses. Time reported that thorny social and political issues are tackled by some campus groups, but not by Two Drink Minimum, a stand-up troupe formed at Kenyon three years ago. "Being on a liberal campus, it would be far too easy to do a Bush bash," Davy Andrews '06, the co-president of Two Drink Minimum, is quoted as saying. "We've taken shots at authority, but being funny is our first concern."
Kenyon was featured in an April 18 story in the Dayton Daily News about the current surge in college applications that has forced many top-tier schools to take as few as one in three who apply. The News reports that Kenyon is Ohio's most selective college this year. "The past several years, our applications have just gone up and up," Director of Public Affairs Shawn Presley is quoted as saying. "We had a record-breaking number of applications this year."
The April issue of Currents, the newsletter published by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, quoted Director of Parent Giving Shawn Dailey in a story about colleges gaining ground in the area of online giving. A 2004 annual fund e-mail solicitation dramatically increased Kenyon's rate of online giving. "I think we have been successful because our alumni started to see that we were putting time and thought into them," Dailey is quoted as saying. "They were beginning to see e-mails that were about their relationship with Kenyon instead of just being about the institution itself."
Psychology professor Linda Smolak was quoted in the March 27 edition of Prevention.com in a story about ways that parents can help thwart unhealthy body images in children. "Studies routinely find that about 40 percent of elementary school girls and 25 percent of elementary school boys are dissatisfied with their bodies," Smolak is quoted as saying.
The April 7 Chronicle of Higher Education included a sidebar quoting Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jennifer Britz. She was one of three experts invited to weigh in on the increasing gap between rich and poor colleges. The Chronicle says the nation's small liberal-arts colleges face varying challenges. Some are wealthy, catering largely to students from privileged families. Others serve economically diverse student populations but struggle to gain ground financially. "Tending to enrollment issues has to be the highest priority for institutions with limited resources," Britz is quoted as saying. "The first step has to be identifying academic distinctiveness and enhancing perceived value."
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jennifer Britz was quoted in the April 3 Plain Dealer in a story about the angst high school students experience in April as colleges mail out acceptance notifications. Britz told the Plain Dealer that she eschews the "bumper sticker" mentality that forces some students and parents to shoot only for top-tier schools. "More important than where you go is how you dig in once you get there," Britz is quoted as saying. "Your success is up to you, not the institution."
The March 15 Tampa Tribune quoted economics professor David Harrington in a story about the growing number of funeral homes run by corporate chains. Harrington said chains economize on labor and transportation by centralizing body preparation and moving employees and hearses to satellite locations on an as-needed basis. Mom-and-pop operations are having a hard time competing. "I don't think these funeral homes can really survive because they won't be in an industry in which the average family spends $6,500 on a funeral," he is quoted as saying.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jennifer Britz was quoted in the Sunday, March 5, New York Times in a story about high schools that no longer provide a class ranking for students applying to college. While many colleges are exasperated by the trend and are coming up with their own ways to recreate an applicant's class rank, Kenyon is not among them. "I think it kind of frees us in some ways; it enables us to take the kids who are a joy to teach," Britz is quoted as saying. "It allows you to tailor your admission process to what your institution strives for."
Economics professor David Harrington was quoted in the March 2 Baltimore Sun in a story about a Maryland state law that limits funeral home ownership to licensed funeral directors. According to Harrington, a funeral in Maryland costs, on average, $784 more than the average funeral in the nine states that have relatively unregulated funeral industries. Harrington says costs in Maryland are higher because of the ownership restriction and because of other regulations, such as requiring funeral homes to be full-service.
In February, the Columbus Dispatch ran two stories about drama professor Jon Tazewell's portrayal of legendary actor-singer-activist Paul Robeson in a one-man play produced by the Red Herring Theater Ensemble. On February 9, a front-page preview in the "Weekender" section traced Tazewell's long-time interest in Robeson and his dream of both portraying Robeson and singing some of the songs for which he is celebrated. The story quoted Tazewell discussing Robeson's career and his dedication as an artist to "the political struggle against discrimination." On February 11, the Dispatch ran a review that praised Tazewell for "a triumphant performance." Reviewer Michael Grossberg called special attention to Tazewell's "vibrating baritone." When the Kenyon professor "delivers a majestic and moving rendition of 'Old Man River,'" he wrote, "the audience can almost close its eyes and imagine Robeson onstage."
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jennifer Britz was quoted in the January issue of Los Angeles Family in a story about the rising cost of higher education and how to pay for it. According to the story, some students are concerned that informing colleges of their financial situation will hurt their chances of admission. "Some schools are entirely need-blind, and some do take into account ability to pay," Britz is quoted as saying. "We are primarily need-blind, but for the last five or ten percent of our decisions, we do have to [consider] abililty to pay."
A piece by economics professor David Harrington appeared in the Februray 1 Baltimore Sun. Harrington and his co-author, Thomas Firey, note that funeral costs in Maryland are more expensive than they need to be. Harrington reports that morticians are using state regulations to gouge consumers. Harrington and his wife, economics professor Kathy Krynski, are experts on the funeral services market.
Kenyon was mentioned in the February 6 edition of USA Today in a story about college athletes who suffer from depression. The story quotes Jennifer Carter, Class of 1993, who is director of sports psychology at Ohio State University. USA Today mentions that Carter was an All-American swimmer on Kenyon's championship swim team from 1991 to 1993.
Wendy MacLeod, associate professor of drama and James Michael Playwright-in-Residence, was mentioned in the January 12 New York Times in a feature story about Bradford Louryk and his one-man play Christine Jorgensen Reveals. Louryk, a member of the marketing department at Playwrights Horizons, has enlisted MacLeod as one several writers to work on his latest project, Version Mary.