Tidbits

By Shakera Grant MFA '16, Illustrations by Vaughn Fender, Photos by Charles Gauthier, Dana Maxson, and Quyen Nguyen

Card image NEH Summer Seminar

NEH Summer Seminar

Rethinking Black Freedom Studies from the Jim Crow North to the Jim Crow West was one of the topics for the 2015 summer seminar program presented and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. According to the NEH, “A burgeoning scholarship on freedom movements outside of the South has reframed our understandings of the Black Freedom Struggle in the United States.” Held over two weeks in June on campus and at Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the seminar was organized and led by SLC’s Komozi Woodard and CUNY's Jeanne Theoharis. Woodard, who teaches history, public policy, and Africana studies, served on the board of directors of the Urban History Association. “The history of civil rights has focused on the Jim Crow South and has excluded the Jim Crow North and West,” Woodard says. “We don’t know the black political struggle from New York, Cleveland, San Francisco, and so forth, particularly the women who have been excluded.”

Poetry Grand Slam

Naming Sarah Lawrence’s poetry program a “heavy-hitter,” The Writer lauded the conference system and listed Vijay Seshadri, Matthea Harvey, and Myla Goldberg as a few of the impressive faculty members teaching in the program. The magazine also noted that Sarah Lawrence hosts the largest free student-run poetry festival in New York.

2015 Guggenheim Fellow

Writing faculty member Cathy Park Hong has been named a poetry fellow for the 91st John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships. Hong is one of 175 distinguished scholars, artists, and scientists who were awarded the prestigious fellowship. She also has received a Fulbright grant, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship.

Card image A Laugh Riot

A Laugh Riot

Feral Christine, Sarah Lawrence’s lampoon comedy team, took home first prize at the eighth annual College Improv Tournament in Chicago, beating 130 other teams to become national champions. The win comes after Feral Christine battled its way to the top of the Big Apple Regional Championships. Not bad for the comedy team’s first time in the competition.

SLC Champions Children

Sarah Lawrence is one of two recipients of the 2015 Champions for Children Award presented last spring by the Child Care Council of Westchester. The council recognized the College for providing quality early care and education through the Early Childhood Center and the Child Development Institute, and for preparing master’s degree students for child-centered careers through the Art of Teaching Program and Child Development Program. Both graduate programs are rooted in “deep observation of how children learn,” says Judith Babbitts MA '76, dean of graduate and professional studies. “Graduates of these programs understand how to guide a child’s development with sensitivity to the cultural and individual differences children bring to exploring the world around them.”

Card image Thank You for Not Smoking

Thank You for Not Smoking

Sarah Lawrence became a smoke-free campus on August 1. The new policy, which prohibits smoking on all property owned or managed by the College, extends to students, faculty, staff, and visitors. “We spent the last 18 months educating the campus about the new policy, and the campus community has been very supportive,” says Mary Hartnett, director of medical services. “Our goal is to have a healthy, clean, and smoke-free environment.”

A Novel Winner

Writing Center Director Carol Zoref '76, MFA '97 recently received the Novel Award from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs for Barren Island. The association recognized authors in four categories: short fiction, novels, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Paul Harding, author of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Tinkers, judged the novel entries. Barren Island will be published by New Issues Press in 2016.

Card image Grads Galore

Grads Galore

The spring 2015 commencement season marked a first for the College—two separate graduation celebrations. A graduate hooding and commencement ceremony was followed the next day by the 87th undergraduate commencement. Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, addressed the 169 master’s candidates, while noted philosopher, cultural theorist, and novelist Kwame Anthony Appiah delivered his keynote speech to the 346 bachelor’s candidates. We extend our best wishes to all the newly minted graduates, and we welcome them to the Sarah Lawrence alumni community.

Card image Ready For Our Close-up

Ready For Our Close-up

Variety recently praised Sarah Lawrence’s filmmaking, screenwriting, and media arts program as one of the 40 stellar programs around the world prepping future showbiz pros. The trusted provider of entertainment industry news cited the “intimate seminar and workshop environments, an expansive and comprehensive program that incorporates screenwriting and media arts, and one-on-one mentorship with faculty advisers.”

Card image A Different Kind of Spring Break

A Different Kind of Spring Break

Forget Fort Lauderdale or Cancun. Last spring break, a group of Sarah Lawrence students traveled to the James River State Park in Virginia, where they hiked two miles each day to perform five to seven hours of trail maintenance in support of the ongoing work of the American Hiking Society. Another group went to Mechanicsville, Virginia, where they helped build affordable houses in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. And 10 visual arts students flew to Sri Lanka to help restore Buddhist temples using no machinery, just the traditional means by which they were created. The temple restoration trip was led by Kris Philipps, Mary Griggs Burke Chair in Art and Art History, and Visual Arts Services Manager Janine Ryan.

Card image Welcome Home, Gryphons!

Welcome Home, Gryphons!

The Sarah Lawrence men's and women’s soccer teams have a new home field advantage. Starting this fall, the teams will play their home games at Tibbetts Brook Park and Fleming Field in Yonkers. In July, President Karen R. Lawrence and Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano announced the new arrangement, which is part of a continuing effort to bolster ties between the College and Yonkers. To mark the homecoming, the Gryphons and the City of Yonkers hosted a free soccer clinic at Fleming Field for Yonkers kids ages 6 to 9. Gryphon Juan Sucre '16 recalled, “We had different activities to develop their technical skills. … The kids were even high-fiving each other as if they had been a part of a team forever. It was great working with Yonkers youth.”

Card image The New Deans On the Block

The New Deans On the Block

Kanwal Singh assumed her new role as dean of the college on August 1. Singh earned her master’s and PhD in theoretical physics at the University of California at Berkeley and her bachelor’s degree in physics at the University of Maryland at College Park. “I have been a member of the physics faculty here since 2003,” Singh says. “Sarah Lawrence is an incredibly special place that creates intellectual and creative opportunities for students that can’t be matched elsewhere.”

Cameron Afzal, a religion faculty member for 23 years, was appointed associate dean of the college. Afzal earned his BA at Grinnell College, his MA at McGill University, his Master of Divinity at Yale University, and his PhD at Columbia University.

Allen Green, the former dean of studies and student life, has been appointed to a new role as dean of equity and inclusion. In his new role, he will continue to serve as chief diversity officer, chair of a College diversity committee, and Title IX coordinator. He will also ensure compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and other equal opportunity laws. Green has been with Sarah Lawrence since 1999. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Black studies and political science from Luther College, a master’s in African history from the University of Dar es Salaam, and a PhD in African history from UCLA.

Daniel Amado Trujillo joined the College as dean of studies and student life. Trujillo earned his BA, with a concentration in philosophy, from the University of Redlands and his MA and PhD in counseling psychology, with a focus on college counseling and student affairs administration, from the University of Missouri-Columbia.