The University of Vermont

ALUMNI CONNECTION

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photos by Evan Nisselson '91

TEAM CHILL REVISITED
Frisbee pals reunite to throw another day

One evening last November, the phone rings. My daughter Isabel, reading the caller ID phonetically, says, "Eric Desslorryer?"

"Get out!" I holler, like Elaine on Seinfeld, minus the shove. I hadn't seen Eric DesLauriers '89 in ten years, but the smiles in our voices melt that time in a moment. We had played three years together on the UVM Ultimate Frisbee team, dubbed Team Chill in 1986.

I'd played Ultimate before, but the UVM guys showed me how the game should be played. We practiced four days a week, indoors in winter, toured the Northeast on weekends, road-tripped to Florida one spring break, all in a quest to make nationals. We came close. My last two years, Team Chill fell one game short of qualifying, defeated in '86 by eventual champ UMass.

The year after I graduated, UVM finally qualified; I drove all the way from Utah to watch them play. Along with the Cynic, Team Chill wasn't just the best part of my life at UVM–it was my life.

More than two decades later, Eric had found an envelope on which he'd once scrawled "Never Throw Away." Inside were an '86 team picture and the verses I'd written for each player, then read at the season-ending celebration. Eric had scanned them into his computer and was gathering email addresses. His first note went to four people: Art Gluck '87, Scott Webb '84, Walter van der Schraaf '86, and me. Walt passed it to Mark Butler '86 that day.

As the team begins to reconnect via the Web, I float the idea of a reunion team at Potlatch, an annual coed tournament in Seattle. Eric jumps on board, then Walt, Arty, and Mark. Within a week I send Kimo Shotz '89 a note on Facebook about a UVM team at Potlatch. I sense this might happen when she replies, "Yes yes yes yes yes yes YES!!!!!!!"

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Over the July 4 weekend in Seattle, it happens–we're together again on a field for a game of ultimate. Many haven't played since college, others in ten years or more. The old skills are there, but our legs are as old as those skills. We play sloppily, overestimate speed, miss connections we once made instinctively. We drop our first game, 14-10. Win the second, 11-10, but lose the third, 15-12. We mull dropping the first letter, or the first word, from our name, Never Throw Away. We find some solace in how great we look in custom shirts.

The next day we go 0-3, none of them close. A few of us (OK, me) get frustrated, but we rise up to create some more great memories before responsibility settles in.

Playing his last point, Jamie Flicker '87 streaks long. I put a throw well in front of him, and he dives for the catch and score. We share a high-five and a huge hug, and then he's gone. Jamie tells me later he'll replay that catch for years to come.

Next game, Woo Jin Ho '91 spots five-foot Rebecca Kline '88 playing deep, ignored by the defense. Wooj fires a long throw. She backpedals for the catch, then falls on her back, legs in the air, and pops up with a grin that shouts "I'm gonna remember that forever!" She takes a victory lap down our sideline, then heads to the airport with Evan Nisselson '91.

In our last game Saturday, Rich First '90 hits John Spierling '89 for an encumbered goal a neutral spectator calls "the sickest thing I've ever seen."

Sunday, exhausted, we lose two close games to finish 1-7, an earthbound end to this stellar holiday. My spirits rise when I learn the team we beat went 5-1 their first two days. Team Chill, we are so red hot. Never throw away the fresh memories.

THE ROSTER
Ben "Boot" Adner '87, Mark "Mitch Chapman" Butler '86, Eric "Frenchy" DesLauriers '89, Rich "Oy" First '90, Jamie Flicker '87, Ken Forcier '85, Art "Cheeba" Gluck '87, Matt Goecker '88, Steve "Goody" Goodfriend '88, Woo Jin "Wooj" Ho '91, Tom Hollenbeck '89, Bob Kelly '06, Rebecca Kline '88, Rich "Roch" Mastoloni '86, Evan "Niss" Nisselson '91, Dan "DanO" Opton '88, Bill Penrose '86, Kimo Shotz '89, John "Chucker" Spierling '89, Pete Thomas '88, Walter van der Schraaf '86, Scott "Yeeoo" Webb '84 G'86, Giff Wigglesworth '86, Alan "ROTC" Wilson '08. Non-alumni: Dan DiCamillo, Deb Gutof (Walt's wife), Sarah Koznek, Sharon Yencharis, Stephanie Riggs.


[IN THE NEWS]

Sam Maron '08 was among five activists with Students for a Free Tibet who staged a highly visible protest during this summer's Olympic Games in China. The group unfurled a giant banner reading "Free Tibet" from an Olympic billboard in Beijing on August 15. After Chinese police arrived on the scene, the protestors were detained and soon deported from the country. Maron founded the UVM chapter of Students for a Free Tibet and led the Student Labor Action Project during his days on campus.

Three names familiar to Vermont basketball fans will guide the men's basketball program at Brown University this season. Jesse Agel '84 was named head coach this summer and, not long after, selected former Catamount great T.J. Sorrentine '05 (fabled for his dagger three-pointer in the NCAA Tournament upset of Syracuse) as an assistant. Kyle Cieplicki '08 will further the UVM Alumni Association in his role as volunteer assistant. Agel spent two years as an assistant to Brown's former head coach Craig Robinson.

Sharon Gutwin '79, founder of RehabGYM, is the 2008 Vermont Small Business Person of the Year. Gutwin put her twenty-five years of experience as a physical therapist to work in creating her innovative business, which not only helps clients overcome injuries, but offers guidance, programs, and facilities to promote on-going wellness. In the past five years, RehabGYM's staff has grown from four to twenty-five and now spans two facilities in Williston and Colchester.

San Diego to South Burlington, Rick Hubbard '63 rode his bicycle nearly four thousand miles during a two-month span last spring. The Burlington Free Press included a feature story on Hubbard's two-wheeled travels on June 4. At age sixty-six, the former attorney used the cross-country trek as a way to ring in his retirement.

Kristal Kostiew-Yush '04 took fifth in the hammer throw at the U.S. Olympic Trials, held in Eugene, Oregon, in July.


[DEVELOPMENT]


photo by Sally McCay

CHANGING LIVES IN THE LAB

Professor Emeritus Martin Kuehne and alumna Louise Foley '65 have kept in touch over the years. Louise had had the opportunity to undertake summer research in Dr. Kuehne's chemistry lab during her sophomore, junior, and senior years–an experience she says had a tremendous impact on her career.

So it came as no surprise to Professor Kuehne when he heard from Dr. Foley this spring suggesting that they share lunch when she planned to be on campus in June. What did come as a surprise, he says, was the news she shared upon that occasion. "I knew nothing about this in advance," he says. "So I was quite surprised when she explained to me 'here's what I've done.'"

What Dr. Foley had done was to establish the Martin E. Kuehne Organic Chemistry Fund to honor her former professor's many contributions to the educational experience at UVM and to the field of organic chemistry. The endowed fund will provide annual support to cover living expenses for an undergraduate chemistry major engaged in a summer research project in organic chemistry, and preferably in synthetic organic chemistry.

"At a time when women were given few opportunities, Professor Kuehne selected me to do summer research in his group and thus made it possible for me to discover my love of doing research in organic chemistry," she wrote in her description of the fund. "During my undergraduate research experience in Professor Kuehne's lab I learned from him how to read the literature, search the literature, and was shown the laboratory techniques that I used throughout my career as a synthetic organic chemist. In future years may other UVM alumni be able to acknowledge a similar impact on their lives because of the Martin E. Kuehne Summer Undergraduate Research in Organic Chemistry Award."

After graduating from UVM, Louise Foley went on to earn her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and pursued a distinguished career in pharmaceutical research with Hoffmann-LaRoche, taking time in mid-career to teach chemistry at the University of New Hampshire and Fordham University.

Professor Kuehne still does research in his laboratory in Cook Physical Science building, where over the years he has focused on anti-cancer and anti-addiction compounds. "We were funded by the National Institutes of Health for forty-two years continuously on one big project," he recalls. "In fact, it was one of the ten most long-lived research grants that they have ever given, they told me once."

Funding for summer research for undergraduate students has become more difficult to come by through the National Science Foundation in recent years, Dr. Kuehne says, "so the Department will make good use of this award." The research experience benefits students in a number of ways, he points out, including giving them a competitive advantage when the time comes to apply to graduate schools. "Louise told me the other day that until her last day working for Hoffmann-LaRoche she still used what she learned here."

$5 MILLION GIFT FOR A NEW UVM CENTER ON AGING

A $5 million gift from Burlington philanthropist Lois Howe McClure will support a new Center on Aging at the University of Vermont. President Daniel Mark Fogel and Vermont Governor James Douglas joined Mrs. McClure in announcing the new center in a ceremony at Englesby House on Thursday, July 10.

"Dealing with all aspects of aging is one of the greatest issues facing our state," said Mrs. McClure, who as a member of UVM's Aging-Related Activities Working Group contributed to the "White Paper on Aging" that articulated the vision for the new center. "For over two years I had the privilege of working with a group of people who are as dedicated to the needs of older Vermonters as I am. We developed a plan that is the foundation for the work that will happen with this gift," she said.

UVM College of Medicine faculty researcher and physician William Pendlebury, M.D., will serve as the first director of the Center on Aging.
The gift brings lifetime giving to UVM from Lois McClure and her late husband, J. Warren "Mac" McClure, to more than $8 million.


[PROFILES IN GIVING]


photo by Sally McCay

THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE

It was a matter of dealing with the art of the possible," says Marian Bickford of her years working for UVM's Office of Architectural Barrier Control–the first official University entity charged with making the campus more accessible to people with disabilities. "UVM was well ahead of many other universities in that regard. There were laws in place, but there wasn't much in the way of enforcement in the late '60s and early '70s."

Marian credits the man who hired her as his assistant director, Edwin C. Schneider, with setting the tone that made campus accessibility an important priority at UVM. Schneider was wheelchair bound and knew firsthand the difference that accessible facilities make to a diverse campus community. "He was a strong advocate for accessibility. He was way ahead of his time," she says. When Schneider died in 1977, Marian became director of the office, a post she held until her retirement in 1984 after eighteen years at UVM.

While today it's a given that all campus facilities need to be handicap accessible, in those early days the need to invest in accessible facilities wasn't always an easy sell. "Initially, there was a lot of resistance," she recalls, centered primarily on competing budgetary demands and concerns over architectural aesthetics. She points to the many improvements made during her tenure that are still in service today. "I have a photograph of me standing with (former UVM president) Lattie Coor and the ramp we installed at the front of Ira Allen Chapel."

Two of Marian's four children are UVM alums–Douglas Bickford '74 and Amelia "Amy" Bickford Tower '75. And, while her first loyalty is to her own alma mater, Pennsylvania State University–"I bleed blue and white for Penn State," she says–her connection to UVM remains strong as a former employee and parent of alums.

Marian has shown her support for UVM by establishing two charitable gift annuities that pay her an income for her lifetime and offer a tax reduction in the year of the gift. "I believe firmly in the value of a college education," she says of her motivation for giving. She chose to make the gift without restrictions.

"My job was all-campus and dealt with all programs, giving me an awareness that the needs are broad," she says. "Giving without restrictions provides the University the flexibility to put money where it's needed most."

The Office of Planned Giving
411 Main Street, Burlington, Vermont 05401
Voice: (802) 656-2010, Toll-free voice: (888) 458-8691

Website: alumni.uvm.edu/plannedgiving
Email: Becky Arnold at plannedgiving@uvm.edu


[ALUMNI FOCUS]

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photo by Sally McCay

SLICE OF THE SCYTHE

"Hand mowing can be good exercise whatever your age," Lucien Paquette writes in a press release for the Addison County Fair & Field Days annual mowing contest. And, of course, he should know. The retired UVM Extension agent mowed fields the old-fashioned way growing up on a Craftsbury dairy farm and still swings a blade that makes him a force in the "80 & Up" division of the fair's mowing contest. In August, just shy of his ninety-second birthday, Paquette won his division for the third straight year.

LUCIEN PAQUETTE '40
UVM:
Bachelor of science in agriculture, magna cum laude, in 1940; added a master's degree in Extension Education in 1965.
CAREER:
Began work with UVM Extension in 1940, retired in 1982. Most of the 1950s were spent as superintendent of the UVM Morgan Horse Farm in Weybridge.
FAMILY:
Together with his wife, Loretta, who passed away in 2002, he raised twelve children,
eight of whom are UVM alumni.
LEGACY:
Founded Addison County Fair and Field Days in 1948 and initiated the Hand Mowing competition in 1978. The fairground's exhibit building is named in Lucien Paquette's honor.
MOWING ADVICE:
"The scythe has to be sharp. Something like a bread knife, if it's dull you're going to squoosh the bread, you're not going to cut it."

 

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photo by Sally McCay

VERMONT'S MUSIC MAN

James Lockridge '91 was living in downtown Burlington and working as a graphic designer when he launched Big Heavy World in 1996. With a name borrowed from the lyrics of a song by the Burlington band Chin Ho!, Big Heavy World was conceived as a database of Vermont bands for the emerging medium of the Internet, and fueled by the volunteer efforts of high school and college students.

Over the past dozen years, though, Big Heavy World's activities have gone far beyond compiling band and club guides. The non-profit organization now runs a vast array of educational, community, archival, and marketing efforts, all aimed at promoting Vermont music, from punk to jug bands. It now boasts its own record label; a community radio station, WOMM-LP 105.9 FM, that was launched last fall; the Vermont Music Library & Shop, an archive and retail space on College Street that also serves as Big Heavy World's headquarters; a website that includes resources for Vermont musicians; and an ever-expanding lineup of programs and projects, such as the Vermont Jukebox Project, which brings Vermont-made music to the state's highway welcome centers, and the ongoing transformation of a former general store in Starksboro into the organization's new digitized archive. All of this is accomplished on an annual operating budget of about $100,000.
Lockridge makes a lot out of a little in part through the energies of his young volunteers–some of whom delight in calling him "J-Lo"–and through his gift for cultivating donors and engineering partnerships. Big Heavy World has received support from organizations as varied as Ben & Jerry's, the Vermont Department of Health, and Wal-Mart. "We're the only institution in the state devoted to creating a historic record of Vermont music as it occurs, and we're able to promote it well enough so that we can partner with organizations that usually operate on a much larger scale," says Lockridge of Big Heavy World's appeal.

These days, Lockridge's to-do list includes updating Big Heavy World's identity to match its encompassing vision of music in Vermont. "We're trying to lose this image we have as being loud, young, and devoted to a very narrow segment of the music community," he says. Among his strategies is a retooled website, slated to go live soon, that he hopes will make Big Heavy World more accessible to a wider range of potential users.

It's a tricky balance, though; Big Heavy World's mission still relies on its youthful volunteers, and Lockridge is reluctant to tone down the children's crusade in the hope of attracting more corporate dollars. "This is a youth-driven, youth-staffed effort, and for that not to be reflected in how we present ourselves to the world would be ridiculous," he says. "Our volunteers have really embraced our mission. They respect Vermont culture in its broadest sense, rural and urban, and that means embracing diversity in all kinds of music, from high school bands to adults performing religious music written two hundred years ago. I'm very proud to have accomplished what we have with no money, but I also feel responsible for what we've built, and being able to carry all that forward."

More information: bigheavyworld.com

–Scott Sutherland

JAMES LOCKRIDGE '91
DEGREE
Bachelor's in history, minor in art history.
INFLUENTIAL PROFESSORS
William Mierse, art, and Al Andrea, history
"They owned their subjects and commanded their classrooms. They both have my deepest respect and their classes are the core of my best academic experiences."
A UVM MEMORY
"Spring on the Green was always magical."
FAVORITE LOCAL BAND FROM UNDERGRADUATE DAYS
Black Hairy Tongue
VERMONT MUSICIANS WHO DESERVE A LISTEN
"Vermont's bands are diverse and solid so this could be a long list. Filtered to a few (of the many) standout individual musicians, I personally follow Maryse Smith, Ryan Power, Patrick Fitzsimmons. And I have to mention The Nightbirds and The Cush for being so gorgeously surreal."

 

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photo by Andrea Kane

ART IN MOTION

Dug North has spent six years learning a little-known trade. He creates automata, kinetic wooden sculptures combining magic, whimsy, and humor with the mechanical workings of early robots. Part of a small group of professional, contemporary automata makers in the United States, North's prolific blogging and website are quickly earning him a name as the go-to, stateside resource for all things automata.

Day-to-day automata pop up everywhere, from carousels to music boxes to mechanical window display dummies. But these aren't what introduced North to the medium. "Living in an urban apartment, I couldn't have a shop or make a lot of noise, and I was desperate to make things," he says. He started making robots and, while researching their autonomous behaviors, discovered London's "Cabaret Mechanical Theatre," perhaps the most vocal proponent of contemporary automata worldwide. North had already experimented with design, sculpture, animation, and woodworking. He was intrigued by combining these skills to create automata: "I not only felt that I could make one, I felt like I could come up with things that hadn't been done before."

He was right, and his timing was excellent. Despite origins in antiquity and enduring popularity as collectors' items in other countries, stateside collectors are only now discovering the automata fervor, in part due to high-profile auctions through Skinner of Boston and Theriault's of Annapolis. North acknowledges, "When I discovered [automata] in 2002, there was no information anywhere except CMT. Now more people are making them, more people are aware that others are collecting them–which is where collecting really comes from–and I can hardly keep up with all the automata activity."

While many automata are metal and/or motorized, North's specialty of hand-cranked, wooden sculptures presents certain challenges. "Woodworking is a reductive process; it's hard to build back up if you remove too much," North laughs. "It also expands and contracts, affecting fit and mechanical function." He gestures excitedly while describing the creative problem-solving behind each piece, the mechanics he's devised involving weights and Geneva Stops and pinwheels.

One Halloween-themed sculpture, intended to cast a scary shadow, depicts one man stabbing another. "The real genius of it is this rod. It makes the man's arm plunge faster than his body, giving him a more realistic stabbing motion." There's a grinding sound as he fires up another piece, a monster writhing in a cage, pulling at the chains on his wrists. "The hip motion is translated around a ball and socket joint, so it seems like there's a lot more going on than there is."

North grins at the animated sculptures he's created. "A big part of the joy in experiencing these things is turning the crank," he says. "That's the fun. You feel the machine moving, you're the viewer, and you're also the motivation. Some people just watch the figure move; others can't take their eyes off the gears."

More information: dugnorth.com.

–Andrea Kane '93

DUG NORTH '92
UVM STUDIES
Anthropology major; minor in history and studio art
INFLUENTIAL PROFESSORS
William Haviland, Marjory Power, Henry Steffens, Ed Owre
FIRST-YEAR RES HALL
Living/Learning Complex as part of the Integrated Humanities Program
CAMPUS HANGOUT
"I studied both art and anthropology in Williams Hall and had a job in the Archeology Lab on the top floor. I could get my huge UVM mug filled with coffee for fifty cents from one of the vans parked on the curb."
HIS COLLEGE BAND
The Chainsaws of Babylon

 

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photo by Suzanne Dechillo/The New York Times

OF POLITICS AND BURRITOS

Citizen journalism is evolving so rapidly that even a leading figure in the field is reluctant to fence in the genre with words. "I'd be hard-pressed to give you a fast and firm definition," admits Amanda Michel '02, who has spent the past year directing Off the Bus, the on-line Huffington Post's citizen journalism coverage of the 2008 presidential race.

Michel says she approached the challenge of such uncharted territory by setting two clear goals from the outset. "We wanted to really craft the genre of the citizen journalist: What is it that they can provide the public sphere that a traditional journalist can't?" she says. The "Huff Po's" second focus was to use the scale of the Internet to report on a large, geographically widespread story, such as the Obama campaign's nationwide canvassing effort, early in the primary season by amassing information gathered by many citizen journalists.

"You know that a reporter can only be in one place at one time, so there are a lot of things that happen in politics where the coverage underserves itself because of that natural fact," Michel says.

Working for Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign was Michel's first immersion into the power and potential of the Web. Starting as a volunteer, she eventually joined the campaign's Internet team and rose to a staff position as national director of the Generation Dean youth outreach effort.

A less likely foundation for Michel's current pursuit–a job at Burlington's New World Tortilla during a two-year break from school between junior and senior years. Working for fellow alum and friend Chris Hathaway '92, Michel learned a good deal more than how to wrap a burrito. "I got to see a business get put together form start to finish," she says. "That actually helped kick-start some of my entrepreneurial bent."

Michel sees commonalities between her experience at New World, with the Dean campaign, and on the frontiers of citizen journalism. "I was thrown into new situations and found that I really thrived," she says. "I like to be constantly challenged, and I like the challenges to not just be intellectual challenges, but human challenges as well."

The challenges and rewards at Off the Bus have included reporter Mayhill Fowler's breaking the story when Sen. Barack Obama, speaking at a private fundraiser in San Francisco, referred to some Pennsylvania voters as "bitter." Michel says the story took off within a half-hour–"kind of like holding a paper to the wind." Though it raised the publication's profile, it also brought stressful times, even threats, to Fowler and Michel, who both acknowledge that they are Obama supporters. (Michel notes that one of OTB's guiding ethics is to eschew the "false neutrality" of traditional media. The reporters reveal their biases.)

"It is very hard for citizen journalists, often times seen as traitors, committing acts of betrayal by being public with the information they have," Michel says. "It was certainly one of the more personally trying experiences."

Off the Bus's citizen journalist force was fast approaching ten thousand in early September, but what happens after the campaign? Michel says the question is open. "I'm curious to see how the model can be advanced and I have a few new ideas," she says. But after the long days and weekends required to get Off the Bus in gear and rolling, there's one thing clearly at the top of the post-November agenda: "Before anything else, I'll be taking a vacation."

–Thomas Weaver

AMANDA MICHEL '02
UVM STUDY
Philosophy major, Phi Beta Kappa graduate
TURNING POINT
Volunteering for the Howard Dean presidential campaign in 2004, Michel happened upon a book on the use of the Internet in presidential campaigns, read it at Muddy Waters coffee house, and her interest in the 'net as an organizing tool began to take root.
CAMPUS MEMORY
"Professor Mieder would occasionally bring in the best chocolate donuts ever to our German class. I remember his laughter."
PROFESSOR'S VIEW
"Amanda is proof that you can study the liberal arts–especially philosophy–and apply it. She has a logically precise mind and puts it to work on genuinely human problems." Richard Sugarman, professor of religion

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© 2008 The University of Vermont