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Winter 2002


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In Brief

New gifts total $1.5 million for scholarships

Attracting and retaining top-quality students is a key strategic goal for the University of Vermont — one that has received strong support in recent months in the form of two major gifts totaling more than $1.5 million.

A gift of $1,046,253 from Judith R. and James C. Pizzagalli ’66 will be used to fund merit scholarship awards to students pursuing an undergraduate bachelor’s degree program. “It’s one of our top priorities to attract quality students,” said James Pizzagalli, who as a member of the university’s Board of Trustees is closely involved in setting those priorities. Supporting merit scholarships, he said, is one of the more effective ways of encouraging and rewarding academic excellence. He also noted that the major fundraising campaign approved by the board in October was a factor in the decision to make the gift at this time. “Our university has done great things in the past,” he said. “We’re poised for excellence in the future, and we want to do what we can to help.”

UVM’s ability to attract top athletes who excel academically also got a tremendous boost this fall with a $500,000 donation from the Vermont Beta Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Inc. Trustees of the local SAE chapter designated the gift to establish The Vermont Beta Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Inc. Honor/Athletic Scholarship Fund. The fund will reward student athletes who are involved in the community and are outstanding students as well as exceptional athletes. It will also accept tax-deductible contributions from others interested in supporting UVM’s scholar-athletes.

The money to establish the fund came from the sale of the chapter house at 396 Main Street. “We hope that the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Inc. Honor/Athletic Scholarship Fund will make a positive difference in UVM athletics,” said Sandy Preston, president of the local SAE corporation. “This fund will be an outstanding legacy for our chapter of SAE.”

Scholarships have figured prominently in giving to the university in recent years. This year’s entering class included twenty-one top scholars from Vermont high schools — the first to receive UVM’s full-tuition Green and Gold Scholarships made possible by a bequest from the estate of the late Genevieve Patrick of Burlington. More than $4 million of the nearly $9 million bequest was designated to support the Green and Gold Scholarships, plus a number o f $1,000 Patrick Scholarships for Vermont students.

And in fall of 2000, the first five recipients of the Jonathan Levin Scholarships matriculated to the university. UVM parents Gerald and Barbara Levin created the scholarships to provide educational opportunities to students from urban areas who might not otherwise be able to attend, and to create a more diverse educational community. The fund was named in honor of their son, who taught English at the William Howard Taft High School in the Bronx.

“Gifts such as these directly support our efforts to attract excellent students to the University of Vermont,” says Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Don Honeman. “Scholarships, together with the extraordinary academic experience we can offer here, are a winning combination for us.”

What’s New

John Todd, research professor in the School of Natural Resources, is among thirty-five inventors featured in Inventing Modern America, a new publication from MIT Press. For a profile of Todd, see the Winter 2000 issue of Vermont Quarterly online: http://www.uvm.edu/~uvmpr/vq/.

Lauck Parke, longtime professor in the School of Business Administration, is UVM’s new vice provost for undergraduate education. Parke will focus on areas such as faculty advising, students’ first-year experience, and honors programs.

Rachel Johnson, acting dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has received the American Dietetic Association Foundation’s 2001 Award for Excellence in Research. UVM Cares, a post-September 11 fundraising campaign initiated by UVM student groups, collected $22,000 for aid agencies assisting victims.

Lyndon Carew, professor of animal science and food and nutritional sciences, has been selected 2001 Vermont Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. By rough estimate, Carew has taught introductory nutrition to more than 15,000 UVM students over the course of his 32-year career at the university.

Ethics seminar illuminates
Vermont Public Television will air

It sounds like an essay question from an ethics class somewhere in your past — “A mother who carries a gene that will lead to a fatal cardiac disorder in middle age considers whether to have her fetus tested for the disorder. Discuss.”

A scenario like that will make for lively and thought-provoking discussion in any setting. Throw the question before a panel of experts from a wide range of perspectives, give the reins to
a legendary moderator, and you’ve got a fascinating evening, a great television program, and a rousing start to UVM’s Fall Homecoming and Family Weekend.

“The Business and Ethics of Biotechnology,” a seminar conducted in the Socratic dialog format conceived by CBS News luminary Fred Friendly, was taped at Vermont Public Television’s Colchester studios on October 4. Arthur Miller, a Harvard Law School professor who has moderated many of the Friendly-style seminars and received Emmy Awards for his work, guided the evening’s discussion.

A number of UVM alumni, parents, friends, and faculty were among the panelists, including: John Abele, founder/chairman of Bos-ton Scientific Corporation; Charles Davis, president and chief executive officer of MMC Capital; Charles R. Ross, Jr., director of Sen. Patrick Leahy’s Burlington Office; Larry Feinberg, founder of Oracle Partners; Dr. Burton Sobel, chair of the UVM Department of Medicine; and Richard Tarrant, president and founder of IDX Systems Corporation.

The dilemma spawned a wide-ranging and spirited debate among the eleven panelists, who tackled such thorny issues as genetic privacy, when and how corporations are obligated to share information about a drug or device gone wrong, the judgment journalists must exercise in reporting on promising but unproven therapies, and the challenges consumers face in sorting through unfiltered information on the Internet about diseases and treatments. Look for the program to be broadcast on Vermont Public Television this winter. Tapes will also be available from the university’s Division of Continuing Education.

Remembering a Revolutionary

In October, the university paid homage to Bertha Terrill, its first female faculty member, with a ceremony and a portrait hanging in the Waterman Building’s Memorial Lounge. A native of Morrisville, Vermont, Terrill came to UVM in 1909 to teach a new program called Home Economics. She would build “home ec” from one course taught in a basement room in Morrill Hall — a former storage room from which she swept the plaster — to a comprehensive department known today as Family and Consumer Sciences Education.

Terrill also launched Extension courses, fostered research on nutrition, sanitation, and family life, and helped establish the study of household arts throughout Vermont. Always concerned with underprivileged populations, she helped to create what would later become the Sara M. Holbrook Community Center in Burlington.

“Ms. Terrill was a revolutionary in that she was changing the face of what the university taught and who got to teach it,” says Sharon Snow, director of the UVM Women’s Center.

Business class studies September 11 impacts

In the marketing shorthand known as “branding,” McDonald’s golden arches communicate fast, familiar food. But in other parts of the world, Arab and Islamic countries in particular, the arches may say “burger, fries, and Coke,” but shout “red, white, and blue.”

On a Monday afternoon this fall, Professor William Averyt began his Legal and Political Environment of Business class with a CNN online news story reporting riots in Pakistan projected on the screen behind him. The protests in Islamabad and Karachi included the vandalization of McDonald’s restaurants, a harbinger of the fact that the rules for global marketing are in for some serious reconsideration.

While a class of University of Vermont business students contemplates what to do when the golden arches turn into both liability and target, they are not alone. “I guarantee you that at McDonald’s at some strategic level in the corporation they’re talking about this issue this morning,” Averyt tells his class.

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, Averyt turned on this television as usual to check the stock futures; instead of financial reports, he saw black smoke billowing from the World Trade Center. The next day, Averyt told his students in the Legal and Political Environment of Business that they were welcome to attend a campus observance in the wake of the attacks or stay and discuss the tragedy and how it might impact the very issues the course is focused upon.

Averyt’s nimble syllabus juggling wasn’t about just one day, though, he re-structured aspects of the entire course to include time for discussion of the myriad economic and political issues that have rippled from the terrorist attacks on the United States. Given that many of Averyt’s students aspire to leadership roles in American industry, the issues that are emerging now are likely ones that will shape these business majors’ professional lives.

“This course is all about the broad political, social, and economic forces pushing into the government machinery and changing the way our political leadership operates and makes laws,” Averyt says. “On a very dramatic scale, we’re able to see this unfold and consider the issues as they’re happening.”

Get your UVM news

Can’t wait to hear the latest at UVM? The university launched a new online weekly, the view, this fall. Campus news, profiles, and events are on the menu — everything you need to keep up on your alma mater. Log on to www.uvm.edu/theview. To subscribe (we’ll send you an e-mail reminder when each issue comes out) send an e-mail to listserv@ list.uvm.edu with no subject line. In the body of the message,
type: sub theviewtoo your name.

Also, thousands of alumni have joined the mailing list for Dateline UVM, timely e-mail updates with news of the university and notable achievements of the UVM community. Go to http://alumni.uvm.edu/signup to get on board.

UVM is on television too. A new public affairs program, Beyond the Green, debuted on Vermont Public Television in November. The half-hour broadcast examines UVM research and programs in areas that are critical to Vermont's future, such as health care, education, and the environment. For more information, email BeyondTheGreen@ uvm.edu.

Future Alumnus
Bill Tickner, Class of 2003
Activism drives student leader

Semester break 1999-2000, and Bill Tickner was living the 19-year-old guy’s dream. Fraternity, season pass to Stowe, tons of free time, girlfriend, snowboard — sort of a Mountain Dew commercial come to life.

“I was seemingly having a great time,” he recalls. “But I realized this was as happy as I would ever be living the way I was. The time had come to redirect my life.”

The fact that the trappings of the undergraduate good life didn’t bring a deeper happiness, Tickner says, was because he was harboring an internal conflict, the rift in identity faced by a gay person living a closeted existence.

“Nothing bothers me more than someone putting a limit on me,” Tickner says. In fact, the UVM sophomore was putting serious limits on who he was, a realization that convinced him that it was time to come out.

Evidence of Tickner’s energy and force of will is clear from the flurry of activity that led up to and immediately followed his decision to come out. Within the space of a week, he helped lead the final steps of a UVM Student Government Association drive to deliver a unanimous resolution to Vermont legislators in support of the then-under-consideration civil union laws. He came out to his student government friends and colleagues, his fraternity brothers, and his family in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. Then Tickner withdrew from school, loaded his snow and surf boards into his Honda Accord, and set-off on a cross-country trip to spread the word about gay rights by delivering speeches and talking with student groups at other colleges and universities.

It would be easy to see hitting the road as a quick escape from turmoil brought about by his revelation. Talk to Tickner a while, and it becomes clear that it was more an embrace of a new identity than escape from an old one. Friends and family were accepting and supportive. In particular, Tickner was astounded and touched, by the reaction of his Fiji brothers. “You’re not leaving,” one brother told him. “You’re still a member of this fraternity.”

Tickner would spend the next three months on the road, logging 24,000 miles and visiting some forty colleges and universities with his gay rights message. Determined to be self-sufficient, the trusty Accord was his home on the road. Back seats folded down, he slept with his feet in the trunk. “It was warm. I had a stereo. What more do you need?” he says with a smile.

This year back at UVM, Tickner balances coursework in sociology (business minor), serving on the executive committee of his fraternity, working as a teaching assistant in Sociology I, and leading the Student Government Association as president. Building campus diversity and creating a safe climate for all remains a key concern for Tickner. He notes that it bothers him when friends tell him that with his Joe College pursuits he’s such a “normal” gay person and therefore acceptable.

“Difference makes us stronger as a community,” he says. “This would be a real boring campus if everyone was the same. I think we’re doing well at UVM, but I prefer not to compare us to other places. Zero discrimination should be the standard at the University of Vermont. We’re moving forward on that, but we’re not there and until we are, I’m not going to rest.”

The Question

Gregory Gause, associate professor of political science and an expert on international politics and the Middle East, contributed a chapter to How Did This Happen?, published in November by Public Affairs Books. The volume features analyses on terrorism, international security, and global economics in the wake of September 11.

VQ: President Bush has been very careful to draw distinctions between terrorism and Islam. Is that message getting through?

Professor Gause: Tough to say right now. I hope it’s getting through, and I think in the end it will get through. It is certainly absolutely necessary for our own domestic politics, our own Arab- and Muslim-American population. I think if we didn’t say that, the assumption among many people in the Muslim world would be very negative. Will it work? I don’t know. But it’s worth doing, because if we don’t, we cede that field to those who are against us, who want everyone to believe we are anti-Muslim.

In the end of course, the real intellectual war, and the political conflict, is not between us and bin Laden or us and Afghanistan. It’s within the Muslim world. What way do they want to go? Where should they look for political models? How can Islam relate to politics and economics in the 21st century? To the extent that we in the West can, we ought to be trying to support people who give answers to those questions which are more compatible with our interests and values.

Fast as a hornet

Japanese marathoner Naoko Takahashi has credited her endurance to drinking the stomach secretions of larval grubs of giant killer hornets, known as Mandarina japonica. OK… This fall, when Takahashi became the first woman to run a marathon in under 2 hours, 20 minutes, media coverage of the milestone inevitably focused on her unusual breakfast of champions.

Takahashi and her trainers, no doubt, are impressed by the hornets’ ability to fly 60 miles a day at speeds up to 20 miles an hour.

In search of another perspective, The New York Times turned to UVM biologist Bernd Heinrich’s recent book Racing the Antelope: What Animals Can Teach Us About Running and Life. Heinrich says the bug brew likely has a high sugar content and is rich in amino acids, but suggests that other less exotic formulas, such as flat cola or even beer, would also do the trick. “As to the wasps’ speed and endurance,” Heinrich writes, “bees do even better and they burn more honey.”


“Money and power result in a corrosion of the political system. You can’t have power and raise money. Everybody has got a pocket full of checks and is running up Pennsylvania Avenue so fast it will make your head swim. “

James Carville, political consultant and strategist for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, delivering the keynote address at the 2001 George D. Aiken Lecture Series, “Money and Politics.”


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