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Archive for May, 2010

Somewhere Archie Post and Albert Gutterson are smiling.

Under the leadership of Coach Matt Belfield and his assistants, the UVM men’s and women’s track and field teams have done an incredible job in recent years. Incredible because it’s been a long, long time since this track team had an oval to call its own. The track, pictured, had fallen into pretty bad shape for a black-top road and had dropped all pretense as a “rubberized running surface.” With the construction of the Moulton-Winder Field the track was put out of its misery a few years back. Note the bright green artificial surface in the photo—an abrupt dead-end on the back stretch.

But that’s about to change. UVM Athletics has raised the private dollars to build a new track and received final approval from the Board of Trustees this weekend to begin work. Shovels will be in the ground soon, says Athletic Director Bob Corran, and the surface should be ready for runners come the fall semester. The new facility will be south of the turf field with the straightaways running east-west.

The trackless Catamounts have put a number of school records in the books while training at a local high school and traveling for all their meets. It will be fun to see how much faster, higher, farther they can go with a home track advantage next spring.

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Thousands on the Green for a beautiful morning, graduates from all of UVM’s schools and colleges gathered today for Commencement 2010.

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Let’s hope the sun is still shining 72 hours from now. Today, workers are busy on the green making preparations for Commencement 2010. Grids for chairs are being chalked out, the brick work around the fountain is getting tucked up, grounds staff with weed whackers and lawnmowers are down to business, huge video screens are positioned on the green, and the stage in front of Waterman is being pieced together.

It promises to be an eventful commencement, the first time in many years that the university is holding a single ceremony for all of the schools and colleges. Guest speaker is Eric Shinseki, U.S. secretary for Veterans Affairs and former Army Chief of Staff during the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Congratulations to the Class of 2010!

Read more about the big day here: http://www.uvm.edu/~uvmpr/?Page=News&storyID=16669

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There are moments in each issue—hopefully many of them—when an editor gets a surge of excitement about the edition in progress, an eagerness to work through the several weeks of writing and edits and layouts and proofing and print production that remain and share a finished magazine with readers.

Reading Josh Brown’s feature story this morning that explores the mysterious white-nose syndrome devastating bat populations in Vermont and other eastern states was one of those moments. We’re fortunate to have a top-notch science writer like Josh on our staff. He always does a great job of making the science penetrable to a lay audience and  capturing the human dimension of research. Alumnus Scott Darling ’79, a longtime biologist for the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, is a key player in the work to understand white nose and Josh follows Scott and others into Vermont caves in the search for answers.

At one point in the story, Josh quotes Scott: “But right now this thing is just burning out of control, and it’s hard to get the public interested in bats.”

Thinking, hoping that Josh’s story will put a dent in some of that bat apathy , at least among our alumni readership, when VQ comes out early July.

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FINALS FOCUS

On a bright May 11 morning in the middle of finals week I asked a few undergrads to pause for a quick  “Student on the Street” interview. The question of the hour: You need to bear down and get some serious studying and writing done. Where do you go?

My thanks to Rebecca, Sam, Andrew, and Marie for not clutching your books a little tighter and walking a little faster. Your graciousness in fielding my question, no doubt, will be repaid with good fortune on all of your tests.

Andrew Simpson ’11, sociology major from New York, New York

“I head straight to the medical library. It’s sort of personal, really quiet. You get a cubicle and a cup of coffee and it’s the ideal place.”

Maria Tiberii ’10, psychology/sociology double major, from Wayland, Massachusetts

“I almost always go to Bailey/Howe. Lately the second floor has been swamped, so I’ll go to the third floor and try to get a table so I can spread everything out.”

Sam Patterson ’13, community & international development major, from Oak Park, Illinois

“I go to the Dana Medical Library. It seems to be the quietest and most studious environment.”

Rebecca Kisner ’12, social work major, from Northampton, New Hampshire

“The main undergraduate library. The second and third floors are the quietest. If I have my computer, I’ll find a table with an outlet. I usually listen to music when I’m studying, nothing with words, jazz like John Coltrane or Miles Davis.”

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It’s nice to know that in this era of electronic communication the campus bulletin board still has a place. As classes wrapped up this week and students got their focus on for finals, this bulletin board in Old Mill was papered about seven deep. Lectures to concerts to casting calls, there are few better places to get a better or quicker glimpse of everything going on around campus than the good old bulletin board.

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A small flock of thirteen sheep skillfully crafted of rusted barbed wire  graze the lawn in front of Williams Hall, home to UVM’s Art Department. They’re the work of UVM senior Tyler Buswell, the centerpiece of a senior project as an Honors College Student within his academic focus in Art and the Environmental Program. A sign by the flock explains that “Sheep Mania in Vermont” is “an examination of the 19th-century Vermont sheep raising industry and its implications on state agriculture, environment and people.” There’s also a bit of UVM history included, a look back on the days when sheep roamed the Green, something the student body of the time wasn’t too pleased about.

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