News Pulse

ISSUE DATE: February 22, 1999


What's New

Awards, Honors and Recognition


Alumni in the News


In Memoriam

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What's New?


Martin Luther King Jr. Educational Center
"The primary purpose of the Martin Luther King Jr. Educational Center will be to provide more structured and formal academic support to students involved in the Scholar's Mentorship Program," said Nat Chioke Williams (Black Studies), the Center's first director. It will feature a computer lab, a study lounge, classroom space and a TV/VCR for educational audio-visual materials. Future plans include a summer internship program, a community service program, a lecture series, additional computers, and a resource library that will include Graduate Record Exam preparatory software for students interested in attending graduate school.

The Scholar's Mentorship Program, currently serving 211 student proteges, 30 peer and 50 faculty and staff mentors, was developed by the Minority Recruitment Program Task Force in 1989-90 to encourage high academic achievement and to create a support network to facilitate the retention and persistence of generally admitted African-American, Asian, Latino and Native American students. "The Center gives this — one of the College's most extensive mentorship programs — a home, a concrete legitimate space from which we can develop even more programs and become more institutionalized," said Williams.

The opening of the MLK Jr. Educational Center will be marked by a reception held in College Hall F-43 from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, February 25. Because of limited space, it is by invitation, so please call Williams at x2762 by Wednesday, February 24, if interested in attending. Those who want more information or to become involved with the Scholar's Mentorship Program should call the program director, Margaret Wade-Lewis (Black Studies), at x2760.

How about a coke?

How about a coke?"In a unique example of cooperation among business owners, college representatives and political officials, a contract has been unanimously agreed upon which commits bar owners to avoid specials and advertising that promote high-risk drinking...and I believe that if the spirit of this contract is maintained, it will have a positive impact on more students and community members than we will ever know," said Ray Schwarz (Student Affairs). He and Robin Cohen (Student Development) gathered with local tavern/restaurant representatives and town and village officials at Town Hall on February 8 to formally announce the birth of the Tavern Owners Agreement. Cohen said she learned at a national meeting on alcohol, violence and drug prevention in higher education that only two such agreements have been established in the country. New Paltz's is modeled after that of SUNY Albany and its neighboring colleges; and another was developed by San Diego area universities. "If we join together and look at things a different way, it can create a paradigm shift to change a culture," Cohen said. Tavern owners have contracted specifically "to promote the responsible and lawful consumption of alcoholic beverages and appropriate as well as civic customer behavior upon leaving [an] establishment." They have agreed to emphasize the necessity of being 21 years of age or older to consume alcoholic beverages, direct employees to diligently require proof of age from patrons, avoid terminology in advertising which promotes the irresponsible use of alcohol, increase promotion of non-alcoholic beverages, refuse service of alcoholic beverages to the visibly intoxicated and those otherwise demonstrating irresponsible drinking, and to post a statement reminding patrons to "Kindly be considerate of our neighbors." Among those phrases you will no longer find on flourescent flyers on your windshield or posted elsewhere: All U Can Drink All Night, Quarter Shots, Drink Free Till... and Wet T-Shirt Night. Additionally, Mary McMickle, STOP DWI coordinator of Ulster County has agreed to provide "tips" programs for servers and for tavern owners and managers.

That human touch

That human touch - Humanizing the Humanities Building Phase I of the interior refurbishment project of the one-year-old President's Task Force on Humanizing Humanities has been completed, treating students, faculty and staff occupying the building this semester to new paint, lighting, carpeting, lounge areas, framed posters and an assortment of student artwork. Task Force coordinator Peter D. G. Brown (Foreign Languages) is thankful for the team effort this project received from the other Task Force members, David Smith and Arnie Bernardini (both Physical Plant), Debra Miller (Records & Registration), Wayne Lempka (Dorsky Museum) and Myra Mimlitsch-Gray (Art). "The reaction to the changes are very positive, and I hope that the changes will have an effect on other buildings," said President Roger Bowen. Phase II, which calls for improvements to stairwells and the lounge which connects Humanities to the Lecture Center, will begin this June. Phase III, projected to begin in a few years, entails new windows and central air-conditioning. The Task Force has also created an Adopt-A-Classroom Program which designates two classrooms in the building to each of 14 departments to ensure that the humanizing continues and that classrooms are kept visually appealing and void of advertisements. The Task Force welcomes new donations of artwork by faculty, staff and students to further enhance the building's interior.


Awards, Honors, and Recognition

Dean Jerry Benjamin (Liberal Arts & Sciences) will be an associate editor of The Encyclopedia of New York State, to be published by Syracuse University Press. According to Project Director Robert Mandel, "Associate editors will provide crucial support for [the encyclopedia] and will be the intellectual heart of this project [whose] advice and cousel will be critical in insuring that the encyclopedia will be both inclusive and broad-based, accurate in its myriad details and reflecting the broad themes of New York State history." The 1,500 page volume will include approximately 3,000 entries written by hundreds of expert contributors, as well as maps, charts, tables and photographs, on every county and many cities and towns, significant people and events, art and architecture, diverse populations, labor history and the state's role in religious and social movements. This project begins in May, but since The Encyclopedia of New York City, with which Benjamin was also involved, took a decade to produce, he was disinclined to venture a publication date.

Peri Rainbow (Women's Studies) and Ulster County Mental Health colleague Pat Gilchrist will be recognized at an awards brunch of the Hudson Valley Abuse Awareness & Recovery Fund Inc. on Sunday, February 21 at Hillside Manor Restaurant in Kingston. Rainbow and Gilchrist created a treatment manual for mental health professionals titled "The Trauma Safety Drop-In Group: A Clinical Model of Group Treatment for Survivors of Trauma."



...According to the Office of Institutional Research, final enrollment figures for spring '99 are estimated to be about 7,300, an increase of about 100 from last spring.

...As usual (seven years and counting), New Paltz is leading SUNY in applications for the fall. But this year, said Vice President for Enrollment Management David Eaton, we are "way out in front of all the SUNYs at this time, leading by a margin that we've never experienced before." We generally overtake our closest competitor, Geneseo, in April or May, but this year we have already done so, having received 7.5 percent more applications than last year at this time.

...EOP freshman applications (1,857 to date) for fall '99 are up 12.6 percent from last year.

..."The Cabinet is slowly, deliberately and methodically dealing with the fine report given to them by the Strategic Planning Committee," said President Roger Bowen.

...The College Foundation completed fiscal 1998 with gifts totaling $1,160,582, a 23 percent increase from last year.

...1998 unrestricted gifts to the alumni Annual Fund totaled $128,447, a 12 percent increase from the prior year. The pledge fulfillment rate for the 1998 Phonathon was more than 79 percent, with total gifts from alumni at $158,516.

...The Hudson Valley Forum raised $47,335 in membership and guest fees in 1998.

...Faculty/Staff donations hit an all-time high in 1998 of $35,639, including gifts of art. Cash contributions increased by 20 percent and the general participation rate by 10 percent.

...Ending the year with $16,717, the Friends of the Sojourner Truth Library again met and surpassed its annual goal (1998 goal was set at $14,000). Book sales from used books donations were a highlight of 1998, bringing in $4,055.

...Having trouble accessing the 1999-2000 Executive Budget at the Web address provided in last week's budget update? Try


Alumni in the news

Sylvia Silberger (Math/1992) received her doctoral degree in mathematics from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut working in symbolic dynamics in a directorship under Professor Ethan Coven. She also co-authored a paper which has been published as a technical report of the University of California, Davis, a result of collaboration with colleagues including Fields Medal winner William Thurston. Silberger is currently an assistant professor of mathematics at Hofstra University in Hempstead. She graduated with honors from New Paltz and was the recipient of a Gerson Robison Award for Excellence in Mathematics.


In Memoriam

Bill Finn, sculptor, teacher and former dean of the School of Fine & Performing Arts, died Tuesday, February 16 of cancer. Finn began serving as dean in 1977, a position he held until 1988, and subsequently taught art classes until his retirement in 1992. He attended the University of Toronto and earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design. His professional activities were numerous; and his sculpture has been exhibited at the Rhode Island Arts Festival, Boston Arts Festival, Simmons College and Betty V.K. Parsons Gallery, to name a few, and belongs to the permanent collection of the Massachusetts Department of Natural Resources. Finn published two books, The Dragger and Fishermen on Georges Bank, and contributed text and photos to several national and regional publications. A memorial service will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 28 in the Nadia and Max Shepard Recital Hall. In lieu of flowers, Finn's family has requested that monetary contributions in his name be made to The College at New Paltz Foundation for the William Finn Memorial Scholarship Fund or to Hospice of Ulster County in Kingston. Finn's friends and former colleagues Bill Connors (Librarian Emeritus) and Kurt Matzdorf (Professor Emeritus of Gold and Silversmithing) knew him as " a good friend — an intelligent man and an intelligent artist," and "a very competent man and a very good dean."


Items may be submitted for publication in News Pulse by contacting writer/editor Nancy Pizio (x3187) at the Office of Public Affairs, Division of Advancement. E-mail is preferred, sent to: with hard copy faxed to 3345. We appreciate your patience as items are included as expeditiously as possible. Past issues are now available online!