Campus News


Agilent Technologies Grants Microarray Kits

 Agilent Technologies Inc. has granted Rhodes microarray kits valued at $150,000 to be used by students in the study of human diseases.

“Microarrays have become a cornerstone technology for the study of genetic information and are playing an important role in the advancement of biomedical research,” said Prof. Gary Lindquester, chairman of the Rhodes Department of Biology. “When compared to large research universities, liberal arts colleges have relatively small laboratory and research budgets, but they graduate a disproportionately large number of the country’s future biomedical researchers, health administrators and policy-makers. Gifts such as this provide our future research and health professionals with experiences that will inform and excite them about the latest tools in molecular research.”

The Agilent microarrays will be used in problem-based exercises for genetics and molecular biology classes at Rhodes.

Commonly used in the research of cancer and other diseases, a microarray is based on a 1” x 3” glass slide printed with thousands of DNA probes, each of which corresponds to a unique gene. In any given type of cell, only 10 to 30 percent of genes are expressed, or active. Microarrays can be used to measure the activity of each expressed gene in a cell and compare the differences among diseased cells and their healthy counterparts.

Agilent Technologies Inc. is a global technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis.


Barr Wins State Art Commission Honor

 The Tennessee Arts Commission has awarded creative writing professor Tina Barr a fiscal year 2005 Individual Artist Fellowship of $5,000. The fellowship is one of two awarded this year in the category of Literary Fellowships. Poetry Fellowships are given in alternate years.

The grant requires an application that includes anonymously submitted poems and a project description. Rich Boyd, executive director of the commission, describes the award as “one of the highest honors that can come to a Tennessee Artist.” There are no restrictions placed on the expenditure of the award, which is to help the artist “continue creating and enriching the lives of all Tennesseans through [his or her] art.”


Bond Leads New Rhodes Division

Beverly Bond has been appointed vice president of the college’s newly-formed Division of External Programs. In her role, Bond is responsible for designing and implementing strategies for engaging external constituents in furthering the Rhodes Vision. She will lead programs in admissions and financial aid, alumni, communications, community and government relations, development and the Meeman Center for Lifelong Learning.
“Much progress has been achieved through the commitment of our faculty and staff,” President William E. Troutt said in announcing the reorganization to the Rhodes campus community.

    "Now we must look externally in new ways. The Division of External Programs will promote participation on the part of our current and future constituencies including alumni, parents, friends, prospective and current students and corporate and community partners. Activities will be focused on attracting and retaining students and sustaining their lifelong involvement with Rhodes. Building new community partnerships and enhancing existing ones will also be a priority. Beverly Bond brings broad experience and an appreciation of our values, and I am pleased that she has joined us."

Bond came to Rhodes from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, where she was vice president for advancement. Prior to that she had a 20-year career at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, ending as vice chancellor for alumni and development. She holds an M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

“Rhodes is well-suited to provide the very finest educational experience any small, private liberal arts college can offer,” she said. “The Rhodes Vision, particularly ‘translating academic study and personal concern into effective action’ is already being manifest in many powerful ways. It’s a privilege to participate in the important work of Rhodes College at this exciting time.”


Favazza Receives 17th Annual Diehl Award

Joseph Favazza , associate professor of religious studies, is the 2004 recipient of the Charles E. Diehl Society Award for Outstanding Faculty Service given during Opening Convocation Aug. 25. The Diehl Award recognizes a person who has performed consistent, significant work that reflects an abiding commitment to the Rhodes ideal of service.

Favazza , who holds a B.A. degree from Saint Meinrad College and J.B., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from The Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, joined Rhodes as an adjunct faculty member in January 1990 and was appointed as full-time assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies in 1993. His areas of expertise/research include historical theology, Catholic studies, religion and ritual. Favazza writes for an international audience of students on the topic of reconciliation.

Along with the college chaplain and professor emeritis Michael McLean, Favazza established a service-learning initiative within the college’s academic program.

Favazza also has taught in and served as director of the Search for Values in the Light of Western History and Religion program since 2000.

Also at the Rhodes Opening Convocation, Dr. Richard J. Light, the Walter H. Gale Professor of Education of the Kennedy School of Government and Graduate School of Education at Harvard, spoke on “How Students Can Make the Most of College.” The convocation marked the official opening of Rhodes’ 156th academic year.


French Honor Society Established

There have been French clubs at Rhodes through the years: Sans Souci, Le Club Français, Le Cercle Français. Today it’s called Le Club Café. There is also a French table in the refectory where students and faculty meet on Thursday evenings to dine and speak exclusively en français. And last spring, the college established a chapter of the national French honor society, Pi Delta Phi.

The Rhodes chapter, Nu Nu (mais oui) inducted 14 French majors and minors in April. The society honors its members for outstanding scholarship in the French language and literature. It also charges them to spread the word about the cultural contributions of the French-speaking world and encourage French cultural activities.

Sarah Crisler, assistant professor of French, is the Pi Delta Phi faculty adviser.


Getty Grants Target Campus Preservation

 Rhodes has received a $150,000 grant from the Getty Grant Program to study the adaptive reuse of several campus buildings and expand its listings in the National Register of Historic Places. Thirteen campus buildings are currently listed on the National Register. Getty has also funded the Council of Independent Colleges’ (CIC) Survey of Historic Architecture and Design. Rhodes is one of more than 360 campuses participating in the survey.

In announcing the $150,000 grant to Rhodes, Deborah Marrow, director of The Getty Grant Program, said, “Since a large portion of this nation’s distinguished architectural heritage is found on college and university campuses, it is extremely important to incorporate historic preservation into the campus master planning process. We are delighted by the results of this year’s Campus Heritage initiative, and pleased that it includes the strong plan by Rhodes College to preserve its fine collegiate Gothic architecture.”

President Troutt explains that the architectural style and consistency are important for two reasons: as a symbol of educational values
and as an inspiration to students.

“Rhodes is a place where academic pursuit, integrity and service are symbiotic, and the beauty of the campus is integral to our students’ undergraduate experience. We are very grateful to the Getty for recognizing the special nature of Rhodes and for providing resources to help us maintain it.”

Since 2002, the Getty Grant Program has awarded more than $7 million to more than 50 colleges and universities in a nationwide effort to preserve historic buildings, sites and landscapes. The Campus Heritage Initiative has enabled educational institutions in 24 states to research and develop conservation plans to protect their campuses. Recipients include such colleges and universities as the University of Chicago, Bryn Mawr, Barnard and Scripps colleges and Brown and Columbia universities. Rhodes is one of 25 institutions to receive the prestigious award this year.

The CIC Survey of Historic Architecture and Design will establish the first national architecture and landscape database of independent college campuses and will include 3,600 images of historical significance to the participating institutions. The database eventually will be turned into a Web-based image archive tool and gallery.

The historic places Rhodes submitted to the survey include

  • the Rollow Avenue of Oaks (1925)
  • Berthold S. Kennedy Hall (1925)
  • Palmer Hall (1925)
  • Hugh M. Neely Hall (1927)
  • and Burrow Library (1951)
  • as well as the Diehl Master Plan (1923), the original master plan for the campus created by then-President Charles E. Diehl and architects Charles Klauder and Henry Hibbs.

Founded in 1956, the Council of Independent Colleges is an association of 530 independent colleges and universities as well as higher education affiliates and organizations that work together to strengthen college and university leadership, sustain high-quality education and enhance private higher education’s contributions to society.

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Research Institute, Getty Conservation Institute and the Getty Grant Program. The Getty Trust and programs are based at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.


Programs Listed in CIC Exchange

For people seeking ideas about service learning, community-based research and civic engagement, the Council of Independent Colleges’ (CIC) Effective Practices Exchange offers descriptions of successful initiatives undertaken on 47 campuses, including Rhodes. The exchange is a Web-based collection developed as part of CIC’s Engaging Communities and Campuses program.
Three Rhodes programs are prominently listed in the exchange:

Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies
The Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies brings together a select group of students and faculty for eight weeks of summer research on regional community topics.

Rhodes St. Jude Summer Plus research program
Through a partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Rhodes provides students with expanded summer opportunities for community-based research.

Rhodes Service Scholars
The four-year Rhodes Service Scholars program educates and empowers student leaders to develop and implement community-based programs that address specific community needs.


Remembering Professor Betty Ruffin

Betty Ruffin, professor emerita of theatre and media arts, died June 8, 2004.

A highly respected performer and director, Prof. Ruffin joined the faculty in 1970 and was chair of the Theatre and Media Arts Department for several years. She kept the theatrical fires alive during the “underground” years when the campus theatre (known as Theatre 6) was housed in the basement of Palmer Hall. She retired from Rhodes in 1989, having seen the Theatre Department move in 1982 into the newly-created McCoy Theatre.

“I was privileged to study with Prof. Ruffin and adored her for her gentility and grace, her understanding and patience and her vast knowledge and experience, ” said John Rone ’71, director of event planning at Rhodes and an acclaimed actor and director in Memphis theatre.

“She completely transformed the basement surroundings when she stood before her class,” he said. “She had a regal bearing and beautiful diction, and one could learn simply from observing her. Her scholarship in the areas of stagecraft, theatre history and the elements of acting prepared students like me for an appreciation of the theatre, whether as spectators or participants. Her compassionate concern for the welfare of her students, both in class and out, put her in the company of those professors who make one’s college years the experience of a lifetime.”

Prof. Ruffin often joined in the campus Renaissance Festivals in the 1970s and was frequently asked to reign over events in the costume of Queen Elizabeth I. It was perfect casting for a larger-than-life teacher and role model.

“A Toast to Betty Ruffin,” a tribute from alumni and friends, was held July 12 at McCoy Theatre.


Rhodes Welcomes Record Class

 “When Newsweek chose Rhodes as the college ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ on its list of ‘The Hot Schools of 2004,’ its words became prophetic for admissions,” says Dave Wottle, dean of admissions and financial aid. This fall, the college geared up for a record 491 new (transfer, exchange and first-year) students. Out of this total, 474 first-year students make up the class of 2008. Members of the class, who come from as far as Germany and as close as midtown Memphis, have standout academic credentials and leadership experiences.
More than 31,000 inquires were made, and 3,591 applications were received for the 2004-05 academic year.

“We are excited and encouraged about the interest shown,” says Wottle. “With a record number of students applying for admission and the largest class in Rhodes history enrolling this fall, there is obviously unprecedented interest in being a part of the Rhodes community.”

Rhodes challenges its students to translate learning beyond the classroom into service and leadership, and members of the class of 2008 already have demonstrated these abilities, with 140 serving as president of at least one high school club or organization, 102 as captain of a varsity athletic team, 26 as a publication editor, 47 as a president or vice president of the student government or senior class, and 16 as president or vice president of the National Honor Society.

The students accepted for the class of 2008 show impressive academic talent with a mean high school grade point average of 3.66 on a 4.0 scale; the middle 50% range of SAT-I scores of 1200-1340; and the middle 50% range of ACT scores of 25 to 30. Out of the 51 percent ranking in the top 10 percent of their high school class, 21 were valedictorians and 11, salutatorians. In addition, 20 were National Merit or National Achievement Finalists/ Semi-Finalists.

As part of the Rhodes Vision, the college strives to attract and retain a talented, diverse student body, and members of the class of 2008 come from 36 states and three countries (Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom). Minority students represent eight percent of the entering class.

“As we have continued to reach out to other parts of the country to tell the story of Rhodes, students have responded,” says Wottle. “There is so much good happening at the college that it makes our jobs of encouraging interest much easier.”

With the entering class, the total Rhodes enrollment is 1,633.


Stackman Named Dean of Students

Dr. William Stackman, former interim dean of students at Oberlin College, has been appointed dean of students at Rhodes. He has more than 20 years of experience in directing student activities, student and staff development, campus involvement and fiscal management. Stackman began his position in July. Dr. Bette Ackerman, who served as dean the last three years, has resumed her faculty position in the Department of Psychology.

Stackman, who was at Oberlin from 1997-2004, also has served as associate dean of students and dean for the class of 2006 there, which involved counseling students on academic, career and personal matters, facilitating interaction between students and their professors, recommending student scholarships and awards and advising the 2006 Class Council.

He also coordinated the establishment of Oberlin’s Women’s Resource Center and other initiatives at the college including a student leadership series, the annual student leadership program, a new student orientation program, a Dean on Call system and the Class Council. In addition, he coordinated various special events to enhance the spirit of community and taught a “Leadership: Theory and Practice” course in the sociology department.

Prior to joining the Oberlin administration, Stackman was director of the Student Union and Student Activities at Tufts University. He held similar positions at the University of Illinois, Urbana (1989-93), Temple University (1988-89) and Glenville State College (1983-88).

Stackman has a doctorate of education degree in administration, training and policy studies from Boston University; M.A. degree in education administration from West Virginia University; M.S. degree in recreation administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia; and a B.A. degree in education from the University of Kentucky.

Stackman and his wife Teri have two children, Laurel (8) and Reed (5).

“Rhodes is an outstanding liberal arts college that provides its students amazing educational opportunities,” said Stackman. “The students are dynamic, inspiring, caring, talented and fun.

“It’s very rewarding to be able to support students, see them change as a result of their experiences and be a part of their growth process. Helping to facilitate growth is very important to me, as is creating a sense of community on campus where all students feel welcome and where all of who they are is valued. I feel both honored and blessed to be a part of the Rhodes community.”


College Rankings

 Again in the top tier of U.S. News & World Report’s best U.S. liberal arts colleges, Rhodes this year tied for the spot with Gettysburg and Skidmore colleges.

Princeton Review rated Rhodes No. 20 in its "Class Discussions Encouraged" list.

Consumers Digest put Rhodes at 13 in its "Top 25 best Values for Private Colleges and Universities."