The Rubenstein School of
Environment and Natural Resources
a lot in a new name. With a landmark gift of $15 million, the
Steve and Beverly Rubenstein family affirms UVMs place as
a leader in the study of the environment and provides a dramatic
centerpiece to the public launch of The Campaign for the University
When it comes to environmental stewardship,
Steve Rubenstein 61 has seen some of the worst mankind can do.
His 40-year career in real estate has been centered on purchasing and
rehabilitating degraded factories and warehouses and putting them back
One site that Rubenstein Properties renovated turned out to have been
used for pesticide manufacture in 1929 and had the highest arsenic levels
in the soil of any site in the United States. Far more than rust and
rot, hes encountered some of the most environmentally egregious
industrial practices the last century could dish up and worked through
the challenge of clean-up.
Through a long relationship with UVMs School of Natural Resources
as a member of the schools Board of Advisors, he has also seen
some of the best practices in teaching and research on environmental
issues. Those two parts of Rubensteins world came together for
him, his wife Beverly, and family when their landmark gift to the University
of Vermont was announced at Homecoming Weekend, which coincided with
the public launch of UVMs $250 million Campaign for the University
of Vermont. (See story on page 40.) The $15 million in support will
result in renaming the School of Natural Resources now known
as the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.
Being a named school brings both added resources and a higher profile
on a national level, says Dean Don DeHayes. Steve Rubenstein has long
championed the thought that UVMs faculty, programs, and location
make Vermont uniquely suited to wear the mantle of The Environmental
University. Speaking at a press conference announcing the gift,
Rubenstein said that his support is motivated by the hope that through
research and education, UVM can be a national leader in finding ways
to remedy damage to the environment and develop future leaders who will
stop such from happening in the first place.
In many cases, those challenges are best met through interdisciplinary
research and teaching. DeHayes notes a number of collaborative efforts
between the school he leads and faculty in areas such as agriculture,
nursing, business, medicine, and engineering. In the same spirit, 25
percent of the Rubenstein gift will benefit students in environmentally
focused majors throughout the University with the remainder going specifically
to the Rubenstein School.
The new support will build upon a UVM strength that was recently cited
in a National Research Council study into the graying of the nations
environmental leadership and a fast-approaching shortage of well-qualified
professionals to fill those roles. DeHayes proudly notes that UVMs
School of Natural Resources was lauded as one of the top two programs
in the country for producing the kind of interdisciplinary thinkers
that are needed in this world.
That work promises to be enhanced in the future as the Rubenstein gift
is realized in ways that range from student scholarships to faculty
enrichment. It cant be too soon for the Rubenstein Schools
namesake who, when considering the part environmental education can
play in the classroom pursuit of students and faculty across disciplines,
says The environment should be the number one thing in
all of their minds.
"This may be the first generation
of children that doesnt live as long as their parents."
Nutritionist and College of Agriculture and
Life Sciences Dean Rachel Johnson commenting on childhood obesity at
the 2003 Aiken Lectures, Agriculture? Advertising? Industry? Who
Chooses the Food You Eat?
The Dean & Dan Show
Usually Dan Rather is the one asking questions,
but when the veteran CBS newsman and presidential candidate Howard Dean
stepped onto the fifth floor terrace of UVMs Waterman Building
on October 2, Rather exclaimed at the beauty of the view and asked Where
are we now?
The former Vermont governor gave Rather a quick lesson in local geography,
orienting him to the stunning landscape of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks
beyond. The exchange was one of a number of UVM moments that sharp-eyed
alums may have caught in the Dr. Dean profile, which aired
on 60 Minutes II on October 22.
Dean and Rather started their day at the Oasis Diner, a downtown Burlington
institution where pancakes and politics have been menu staples for decades.
David Lines 91 manages the family business these days. And alert
grads of the Environmental Program might have spotted UVM Professor
Emeritus Carl Reidel, who was sitting with his son and grandson in the
booth behind Dean.
Next stop was up the hill at the Waterman Building, where UVM administrators
had agreed to allow the CBS crew to tape the Dean-Rather interview in
President Daniel Fogels office. The production crew approached
UVM in search of an alternate location when Dean declined doing the
interview in his own home. Word is they wanted something with a New
England feel and were drawn by the wood-paneling and Fogels
Its doubtful that many alums would recognize the interior of the
presidents office; the inside of Nectars is another story.
The legendary Phish nursery and french fry emporium showed
up in a segment about Deans grassroots volunteer Meet-ups.
Another alumni connection, Sally and Damon Brink 92 have owned
Nectars for the past year.
Throughout the day, Rather sightings arguably created more buzz than
seeing the five-term governor, a familiar face around town. The CBS
News anchorman told a UVM reporter that hes been to Vermont many
times over the years and noted some parallels with his native Texas.
I feel a kinship with people in Vermont because they are so fiercely
independent-minded, Rather said. Texans and Vermonters dont
share much, but they do share a desire for independence. If you want
to see a Texans neck swell and his face get red, tell them where
to line up for what. Vermonters have a similar independent spirit, and
I love that about them.
UVM junior John Pigott describes his life as
a serious challenge in time management. When hes not
cramming for an organic chemistry exam, hes busy with his work-study
job on campus, or out riding four days a week with the UVM Equestrian
Theres an ethic behind the hectic schedule. I like to try
everything and in everything that I do try, I give the best that I can,
he says. Last May that meant no less than winning Americas most
prestigious award for intercollegiate equestrian competitors, the Cacchione
Cup, at the national championships held in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
on the top step of the podium is familiar territory for Pigott and his
UVM Equestrian teammates. Coached by Madeleine Austin at Imajica, her
farm in Williston, the club team of 30-some undergraduates regularly
wins regional titles and is a perennial contender at nationals. Pigott,
who is co-captain of this years team, also keeps up a year-round
schedule competing on his own.
I actually didnt come to UVM thinking that I would ride,
Pigott says. I came here because of the strong reputation of the
animal sciences program. I joined the UVM team after some convincing,
and its been a great decision. This is such a successful team,
and Ive learned a lot.
Inspired by the veterinarians hes watched care for horses, the
chemistry/animal sciences double major, plans to head to vet school
after graduation next year. But first he wants to take the opportunity
to test himself competing internationally in Europe.
In the meantime, he contemplates what hed do with a spare moment.
I guess Id just like to sit down for a minute, he
says, and let it all sink in.
Carly Baldwin 05
Susan Hasazi, professor of educational leadership
and special education, directs the new National Institute on Leadership,
Disability and Students Placed at Risk. It is a University of Vermont-led,
national effort involving seven universities including UVM, working
to develop methods to better prepare K-12 educational leaders for addressing
issues of students with disabilities and those placed at risk of failure
in school. The institute is funded by a $1 million gift to the UVM College
of Education and Social Services from an anonymous donor.
Q. Could you define students placed
A. When we think about children and youth
who are placed at academic risk, most often these students are poor,
new arrivals from other countries with limited English, or they have
disabilities. In some urban areas, between 30 and 40 percent of students
are experiencing significant academic challenges. In Vermont, we would
generally see about 20 percent of students at some kind of academic
risk of failure.
Q. Do you think that educational leaders
have been addressing the needs of students placed at risk?
A. Yes, I think that principals and superintendents
are deeply concerned about these students and want to do whats
best for them. While some of these leaders have acquired the necessary
skills and knowledge to promote the use of best instructional practices
for students experiencing academic challenges, some dont have
the background knowledge. Many leadership preparation programs across
the country will acknowledge that principals dont have all the
skills and knowledge they need to ensure that students placed at risk
are successful. Leaders need to know more about how to implement positive
support systems for students with behavioral challenges, systemic approaches
for identifying students who are not succeeding in the early grades,
and effective intervention programs for enhancing literacy skills. The
literature suggests that leaders who have those skills can make a huge
difference in the culture of the school, the attitude of teachers related
to these students, and the achievement levels of the students themselves.
Q. Do you see this institute growing from
Vermonts progressive tradition on special education issues?
A. Yes, in Vermont weve had a commitment
to all students for almost 30 years, and according to the national data,
we have consistently educated the highest percentage of children with
disabilities in general education classrooms. I think from our own experience,
weve learned that when school leaders view themselves as instructional
leaders and acquire the necessary skills, all students benefit.
Learning for the Long Run
The bingo board is dark in Rutlands Godnick
Adult Center on this warm September afternoon, but the room bustles
with local senior citizens and the excitement of a new show in town.
As the large room fills and extra folding chairs are set up, Jean Davies
of Pittsford, Vermont looks around and says shes seeing people
she hasnt seen in 40 years, making note of the smiles on
faces all over the place.
The occasion is a talk by popular New England humorist/storyteller Willem
Lange, the premiere lecture for the Rutland chapter of The Osher Lifelong
Learning Institute an effort funded by the San Francisco-based
Osher Foundation, administered by UVM, and implemented with considerable
input from local community members. As Deborah Worthley 66, who
directs the Vermont program through the Universitys Division of
Continuing Education, tells the group: Osher is for people who
want to learn just for the joy of it. Thats what this is all about.
Theres one more thing that it is about individuals over
age 50, people like Rutlands Thelma Perkins 73 who could
be Exhibit A for lifelong learning done well. Perkins would be UVM Class
of 1950 if family hadnt come along before her degree. Twenty-three
years later, though, she earned a diploma and that 73 after her
name. She and her husband Bob 50 were eager to get involved as
steering committee members when they first heard about Osher.
Jean Hinson 57 is another like-minded UVM alum who was eager to
get involved with Osher. The curiosity that led her to take a UVM summer
geography class focusing on Islam because it is so important
to understand right now, and I know so little is the same
spirit that guides the Osher lectures.
The program will widen to Brattleboro, Springfield, and Montpelier in
2004. Eventually a statewide network is envisioned as the University
builds on the original Osher grant of $100,000 received in January 2003.
On September 23, it was clear from the crowd in Rutland that the Osher
Institute is filling an important niche. Taking the podium, Willem Lange
quipped: Holy Toledo! I didnt think there were this many
old people in the entire state of Vermont.
English professor and poet Major Jackson
is among the ten recipients of the 2003 Whiting Writers Award,
given to emerging writers of exceptional talent and promise.
It was another top-ten finish for UVM faculty
when Derk Pereboom, professor and chair of philosophy, had his
paper Robust Nonreductive Materialism selected as one of
the years ten best pieces of philosophical writing by the Philosophers
Harold Leitenberg, professor emeritus and founder of the clinical
Ph.D. program in psychology, received the 2003 Outstanding Contribution
by an Individual for Educational/Training Activities award from the
Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy.
UVMs fall 2003 undergraduate enrollment
of 8,004 represents the highest total since 1991. The increase of 403
students is the largest one-year increase in the past 30 years.
Former Vermont governor Madeleine May Kunin G67 is sharing
lessons of her career in politics and diplomacy through a joint academic
appointment as a distinguished visiting professor of political science
at the University of Vermont and St. Michaels College. The three-term
governor, who served the state from 1985 to 1991, will teach at both
institutions, will be a guest lecturer in several academic disciplines
and will be available to work with students individually. During the
spring 2004 semester, she will teach a course at UVM that is tentatively
titled Doing Good.
Dr. Geoffrey Tabin, associate professor of surgery, and his
work with the Himalayan Cataract Project were featured on a National
Geographic Ultimate Explorer documentary that aired
on MSNBC in September.
For more on these stories and other UVM news:
Small State, Big Book
Eclectic bits of Vermontiana our contributions
to the practice of nudism, that several lakes are home to the elusive
fur-bearing trout, the Green Mountain colonial tradition of freezing
elderly people in the winter and thawing them in the spring in
addition to better-known facts about the nations fourteenth state,
form the heart of the recently published Vermont Encyclopedia.
The University Press of New England reference is the culmination of
five years of work by UVM emeriti professors Sam Hand and Ralph Harry
Orth, and their Johnston State College emeritus colleague John Duffy
the help of 140 contributors, primarily experts in their respective
fields, Hand, Orth, and Duffy have produced the only modern day encyclopedia
on Vermont, and the first in more than 70 years.
The 1,050 entries include all of the traditional figures and events
one would associate with Vermont such as Ira Allen, George Aiken, Calvin
Coolidge, and the history of the founding of the state in 1777. But
the book also includes more recent icons such as Phish, Howard Dean,
and Ben & Jerrys.
With the diverse talents of Orth, a professor of English, Duffy, a professor
of humanities and English, and Hand, a UVM scholar who was dubbed the
Dean of Vermont Historians by the Rutland Herald,
many of the entries fell within their respective expertise. In the end,
Orth says the three friends of 30 years were pleased with the final
product, which involved the significant challenge of defining the significant
while sorting through thousands of potential entries.
We had no secretary, no fact checker, no nothing, Orth says.
Luckily were all retired, so we had time to do it ourselves.
In the end, he adds, the work was its own reward. It was a lot
of fun and we all learned a lot. Were teachers and we believe
that learning never ends.
Green Graduation in 2004
On Sunday, May 23, there will be a strong sense
of both history and place at UVMs 200th commencement when the
University graduation ceremony is held on the Green for the first time
in decades. Coinciding with reclaiming the Green as graduations
homebase, the University has begun work to refurbish the area to something
more closely approximating its historic character.
You cant restore a landscape, but what were doing
is taking a fresh look at the Green that is guided by its historical
uses and the design of a classic New England town green, says
Linda Seavey 70, director of Campus Planning Services.
In the post-elm era (starting late 1960s), the landscape of the Green
has developed without a long-term plan and has become much more densely
planted with smaller trees and shrubs. The long vistas and public spaces
of a historic New England green have largely been lost.
Work began in September, centering on the area directly in front of
the Waterman Building, where Commencement 2004 will be held. Seventeen
small trees were removed and several larger trees had lower limbs removed
to open up sight lines.
Mark Starrett, an associate professor of plant and soil science who
participated in meetings regarding the project, says that the crabapple
trees removed all were affected by foliar diseases. He adds, Many
of the shrubs in question have been deemed invasive species by the state
of Vermont. The Green is the Universitys front door, and its
not a good thing to have a cluster of invasive shrubs right at the welcome
Thomas Visser, associate professor of historic preservation, participated
in many of the meetings involved in developing the landscaping plans,
and is confident that they honor the Greens symbolic and historic
The preservationist calls the plan an opportunity to begin to refurbish
the Green. Im very excited, he says. This will
reopen some once sunny spaces in the midst of the trees and also offer
new vistas of the beautiful historic buildings across the Green.
Starrett suggests another hope for the Greens future. My
goal is to see some elms put back on the Green, he says. There
are now disease-resistant elms, so why not bring some of them back?
Not as a monoculture, but as a reminder of the past.
next time youre in Gutterson Fieldhouse, take a moment to remember
the man to whom the building owes its name. Albert Lovejoy Gutterson,
UVM Class of 1912, leapt to an Olympic record (7.60 meters) and a gold
medal in the long jump at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm. The great
Jim Thorpe won gold in the pentathlon and decathlon at those same Games,
but finished well behind the UVM alumnus from Springfield, Vermont in
what was then known as the running broad jump. Guttersons
gold medal and track spikes are among the treasures of UVMs Athletic
Hall of Fame.
Into the Woods
The epiphany that moment when all is
clear and nothing will ever be the same is among the Holy Grails
of college life. For Jane Dobisz 80 that insight came when she
cracked open Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, an assigned reading
in a UVM religion course with Professor Robert Gussner. Angels with
herald trumpets and shafts of light didnt pour down from the heavens,
but more than 20 years later, Dobisz still recalls where she was (walking
down Main Street) and the lines that struck her (If you want to
know if tea is hot or cold, you have to drink it yourself.)
The clarity in Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki-roshis words resonated
as what Id been looking for all of my life and reassured
Dobisz that I wasnt alone, all-important to a young
adult. So began a life of Zen practice that would lead to becoming a
Zen Master and guiding teacher at the Cambridge Zen Center in Massachusetts.
Dobisz documents another formative period of spiritual growth in her
new book, The Wisdom of Solitude: A Zen Retreat in the Woods,
In the winter of 1984, Dobisz emulated the ancients with
a 100-day retreat. In a bare-bones cabin in the New England woods, she
followed a strict regimen of sitting and walking meditation, chanting,
work sessions chopping wood, or preparing simple meals. Solitude
documents the not-so-simple process of what happens when a person of
our times dares to get my mind and body in the same place at the
The book is rich with humility and humor Dobisz finds lessons
in Zen and life in everything from the frozen rock-solid contents of
her chamber pot to the temptations in a package of Lorna Doones. And
she distills it down into the Zen nuggets that are so easy to understand,
but often so hard to implement. Joy comes from appreciation,
she writes. Appreciation comes from paying attention. Paying attention
is the practice of Zen.
The author knows as well as anyone the challenge of paying attention
in a busy life. Even Zen masters need day jobs and Dobisz balances her
practice, teaching, and writing with being a mother, wife, and senior
financial advisor. That cabin in the woods can seem very far away when
youre in traffic on I-95, a reality that is the subject of Dobiszs
next book. Tentatively titled Living It, Dobisz hopes the book
will help people put Zen practice into the real world.
But dont expect a spiritual inoculation against the trials of
modern life, Dobisz cautions. If there is one misperception of Zen,
she says, it is that those who practice will be forever balanced. Dobisz
is quick to tell you that she gets derailed as much now
as she did 20 years ago, but adds, now Im just more comfortable
with my imperfections.
Check It Out
The X President
by Philip Baruth, Bantam Books
Imagine the world fifty years in the future and chances are Bill Clinton
isnt in the picture. Not so in English Professor Philip Baruths
new novel, where BC is a 109-year-old ex-president sequestered
in his Arkansas compound, outwitting decrepitude with his
state-of-the-art titanium body-walker and reconstructed
ceramic hand, the nations poster boy for raging against
the dying of the light. With America on the brink of defeat in
a world war that traces its roots to the Clinton Administration
lets not spoil it. Publishers Weekly wrote that readers
who thought Primary Colors was too tame will appreciate this
wacky speculative fantasy.
A Group of One's Own:
Nurturing the Woman Writer
by Laurel Lloyd Earnshaw 84,
Karen Desrosiers, Charlene Pollano,
Deborah Regan, Susan Wereska
Story Line Press
When it comes to a publication on womens writing groups, one could
do worse than having Gloria Steinem pitching for you; Ms. Magazines
founder calls the book a powerful and practical guide. Alumna
Laurel Lloyd Earnshaw and friends share experience drawn from eight
years of mutual support and creativity within their southern New Hampshire
writers group. With advice on everything from finding fellow writers
to finding an agent, the book could serve well as a surrogate literary
circle until a novice writer finds that group of her own kindred spirits.