President's Blog

Archive for August 2009

And the Third Cat appears. . .

Our third cat, Kia, is generally seen only as a tail whisking away as she flees the room. She is the scarediest of scaredy cats.

But staff member Pat Trout has a way about her and managed to get this picture. You’ve now seen the entire Parker/Manasa menagerie — that is, until we have an opportunity to choose our next dog. When that happens you’ll be the first to know!

The Elusive Kia

The Elusive Kia

Learning On The Land 2009

Flat Students Visit Sweet Briar House

Flat Students Visit Sweet Briar House

On Monday, new students participated along with upperclasswomen and faculty and staff in Learning on the Land.

This is an imaginative program, intended to help new students explore our magnificent campus and learn about the ways the land is a resource for both academic and recreational programs.  Some students learned about butterfly migration in the gardens, some went geocaching in the woods, some studied the various plots and crops in the Community Garden, some got certified to take canoes into the lake by the Boathouse, and all of them enjoyed a good time.

They also all thought about sustainability and ways students can help the campus Think Pink Go Green. The environmental awareness and commitment among today’s students is impressive and inspiring!

One group made “Flat Me” cutouts in a reprise of the Flat Stanley project many of them remember from grade school. As you see above, several Flat Students passed by Sweet Briar House .  .  .

Welcome comments from one newbie to a lot of other newbies

Vixen at the Check PointOn the day that new students move in, Sweet Briar holds a brief welcome ceremony.  Dean Jonathan Green brings greetings from the faculty, Dean Ken Huus offers the profile of the class, and Dean Cheryl Steele moderates.

I offered the new students some thoughts on what I hope they have, and haven’t, brought to college with them. (The first thing I mentioned was common sense.) You can find the text of my remarks here.

More on the Class of 2013

Welcome 2013

Welcome 2013

Wonder what the most common name in the class of 2013 is?  What social causes they support, and what part time and summer jobs they’ve had? How many sisters and brothers they collectively have?

Check out Dean of Admission’s Ken Huus’ profile of the class for some fun facts.

Second “First Cat:” Ballou

It’s been pointed out that although there are three “first cats” now in residence at Sweet Briar House, only one, Bob, has been blogged.

So, here’s my water baby, Ballou.  He’s one of those cats who is fascinated by water — running water, dripping water, water in bathtubs, water in half-full glasses, rainwater running down windowpanes. . .

Ballou At The Sink

Ballou At The Sink

He’a also camera-shy.  This picture isn’t the greatest, but I knew the only way I would get a shot of him would be to catch him at the sink as he was “helping” me make coffee this morning.

Sweet Briar House is a wonderland for cats.  They love going out with me to read the paper on the second story porch above the front door.  If you pass by, look up occasionally, and you might catch a glimpse of them sunbathing on the railings.

2013 Arrives!

Welcome Vixens!

Welcome Vixens!

Saturday the class of 2013 and other new transfer and Turning Point students arrived on campus. I had a great time meeting them and their families — what a wonderfully talented and cheerful group of students! Their first year, and mine, are off to a great start. A bit later I’ll post the remarks I offered at the welcome ceremony.

For now, a couple of pictures, courtesy of Aaron Mahler.

Partying in the Dell

Partying in the Dell

Traditions Welcome

Traditions Welcome

ROSE awards 2009

j0429803Sweet Briar’s ROSE awards recognize members of staff who are nominated by their peers and endorsed by their supervisors.  Today I had the honor and pleasure of presenting ROSE awards to four outstanding individuals:

For excellence as a team member

Colleen Catalon: Coleen provides the administrative support for the Faculty Senate, the General Education and Instruction Committees, and faculty meetings. One faculty member said of Colleen: “Without her many things on campus would grind to a complete stop.  We are very fortunate to have such a well-organized, creative, and pleasant person in her position.“

Juanita Elliott: One of her peers wrote of Juanita: “As a lead housekeeper Juanita is responsible for filling in when someone is sick or on vacation. SWe appreciate her work and also value her personal contribution in making the Housekeeping Department a more pleasant and enjoyable place to work.

For excellence in service

Tom Shelton, Sr.: For more than 27 years Tom has been the superintendent of the carpenter shop. His nominator wrote: “Tom has a humble but yet a very determined approach to getting the job done.  With Tom’s leadership the campus is a much better place to learn, live, and work.”

Gloria Smith: Colleagues have said of Gloria that she is a “dedicated and hardworking person. She keeps up to date on what students want and keeps the Bookstore beautifully decorated. Gloria is truly dedicated to Sweet Briar College.”

Colleen, Juanita, Tom, and Gloria were recognized today for their outstanding service and teamwork.  But as I noted at the award ceremony, they represent the best of Sweet Briar and are actually typical, rather than unique. And so I’d like congratulate all members of staff on completing a busy summer in typically fine Sweet Briar style.

ROSE award photo

Me with 2009 ROSE Award winners

Me with 2009 ROSE Award winners

Colleen, Juanita, Me, Tom, and Gloria

All-Campus Workday, 2009

PodiumToday was my first Sweet Briar all-campus workday.  (Workday is an occasion for faculty and staff to gather and put the finishing touches on preparations for the new academic year.) It was an exciting day for me, as it was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to speak to the whole faculty and staff since my appointment as president and arrival on campus. With the faculty and staff assembled and the arrival of new students imminent, the campus felt full of that wonderful “back to school” energy, optimism, and enthusiasm. You know, that feeling people my age used to get on the day we bought new school supplies each fall. . .

In case you’re interested, I’ve posted the text of my remarks to the community.

A Birth Announcement

Sweet Briar biologist John Morrissey does fascinating research with chain catsharks. His lab in Guion contains a colony of catsharks — although the males and females are separate, the females continue to lay fertilized eggs for years after their last possible contact with a male.  Dr. Morrissey’s research attempts to determine exactly how this occurs.

Yesterday I visited the lab. A shark had just hatched and to my delight the baby was named in my honor! Initially the newborn was called “Jo Ellen,” but when  on further examination it turned out to be male, resourceful Professor Robin Davies suggested “Parker” as an alternative.  2

Parker’s mother deposited his egg on August 7, 2008. (I was astonished to learn that catshark eggs take a year to hatch.) Parker is small — most babies are 9 – 10 centimeters long, and he’s only 8.2 cm, and most of them weigh 2.5 – 3 grams to his 1.8.  But he has beautiful coloration!

This is Parker’s mother with a couple of egg sacks that will become his future siblings.