Campus News


Celebrating Black History Month

As part of the college’s Black History Month celebration, New York actor Charles Holt ’89 was invited to present his one-man show adapted from Richard Wright’s autobiography Black Boy, in which he portrays 20 characters, Feb. 23 in the Lynx Lair of the Bryan Campus Life Center.

Holt, who holds his B.A. in sociology, has performed on Broadway in the Lion King and has had television/film roles in Law and Order, Anne B. Real, Generation X and Autumn in New York.

His performance is an adaptation by Wynn Handman, founder of The American Place Theatre in New York and is a dramatization of a young Richard Wright growing up in the segregated South during the early 1900s. Black Boy, published in 1945, and has become a bestselling classic.

Holt, who also is a singer and motivational speaker, has performed Black Boy throughout the United States. He is originally from Nashville.

College Adopts a New Logo

It’s now on the cover of the magazine and will gradually appear throughout the Rhodes community. Following an intensive planning process, the college has changed its logo to a specially-modified Gothic script.

“As we work to achieve the goals of the Rhodes Vision and propel the college to the next level of recognized excellence, we need a mark that is easily recognizable and stands out from those of other institutions,” said Rhodes president William E. Troutt.

According to director of communications Daney Kepple, who conceived the idea of a new logo, it also symbolizes Rhodes’ collegiate Gothic architecture.

“We are one of the few, if not the only higher education institution in the country that has retained the style,” said dean of administrative services Allen Boone ’71.

The new mark also contains the shield portion of the Rhodes seal that was adopted by the Board of Trustees in 1924. In it are symbols of the college’s history: The shield drawn in the Rhodes colors of cardinal and black, bearing a St. Andrew’s cross, represents faith. The book in the center of the cross, originally conceived as a Bible, also connotes the college’s educational mission. The shield is divided into four parts, each of which represents a distinct period in the college’s history.

The bent right arm represents the college’s Masonic origin in 1848 at Clarksville, Tenn. The owl, the Greek symbol of wisdom, typifies the period from 1855-75 when the institution’s name was Stewart College. The burning bush, a Hebrew symbol that represents the presence of God, stands for the period from 1875-1925 when the institution was known as Southwestern Presbyterian University. The lotus flower, the Egyptian symbol of immortality, signifies the period beginning with the college’s move to Memphis and its reconstruction as Southwestern at Memphis, now Rhodes.

The new logo, which is reminiscent of the Gothic type employed by Southwestern Presbyterian University until 1921, is currently used on printed material and will be gradually phased into other areas.

Dorothy King Hall Celebrates Its 50th

Dorothy C. King Hall, the Colonial-style, red brick building next to Evergreen Presbyterian Church on University Street, is 50 years old this year. It was built in 1954 as the national headquarters of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. In 1986, when the Pikes built a new complex in suburban Memphis, Rhodes purchased the building and named it for a longtime friend and benefactor of the college.

The Meeman Center for Lifelong Learning’s Smith & Nephew Conference Center occupies the first floor, and College Advancement, the second.

It’s the 60th anniversary of the college’s continuing education program, which began in 1944 as the Memphis Adult Education Center at Southwestern. The name changed when the Meeman Center was established in 1970 with a grant from the Edward J. Meeman Foundation. Rhodes history professor Granville D. Davis served as executive director of the adult education program from 1954-61, and dean of continuing education from 1961-76.

Today, the Meeman Center offers a wide variety of liberal arts courses for continuing education credit, including such staples as “The Examined Life” (patterned after the “Search” course), Dunbar Abston’s “Lore of Literature” and Prof. Herb Smith’s ever-popular “The Art of Conscious Living.” There is Camp Meeman in the summer for adults as well as three institutes offered annually: the Institute for Executive Leadership, Institute on the Profession of Law and the American Cotton Shippers International Cotton Institute for industry executives from all over the world.

Gottlieb Receives Fulbright Scholar Award

Dr. Eric Gottlieb, an assistant professor of mathematics and computer science at Rhodes, has been named a Fulbright Scholar to teach and conduct research in Chile during the 2004-05 academic year, according to the U.S. State Department and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Its goal is to increase understanding between the United States and the 140 countries that participate in the program. Established in 1946 under legislation introduced by Arkansas Sen. J. William Fulbright, the program awards grants to students, scholars, administrators and professionals to study, teach, lecture or conduct research abroad. Gottlieb, who is one of 12 to receive the Fulbright award in Chile this year under the postdoctoral program, will be supported under a Science and Technology grant.

Gottlieb’s experience in Chile during the 2004-05 academic year will involve conducting research on symmetric functions with Dr. Luc Lapointe of Canada. He will also teach calculus courses at the Universidad de Talca. Although Spanish is not his first language, he says he speaks well enough to convey the necessary information to a Spanish-speaking audience. At Rhodes, he currently teaches a section of applied calculus in Spanish and has enrolled in Spanish classes as well.

A native of Miami, Gottlieb holds his B.S degree from Antioch College, M.S. from the University of Washington and Ph.D. from the University of Miami. In summer 1989, he did archaeological work in the Atacama Desert in Chile.

On the opportunity to return to Chile, he says, “It is a chance to see how teaching is done in a different setting and...a place where my kids could be immersed in Spanish and learn the language while they are young enough to absorb it.”

Gottlieb’s six-year-old twin boys, Gus and Sam, and his wife Rebecca Terrell will accompany him to Chile.

Gottlieb credits his mother, Marilyn Gottlieb-Roberts, and Rhodes colleague Michael LaRosa for assistance in crafting his proposal.

Gottlieb-Roberts is a Fulbright alumna who represented the United States in Nigeria 2000-01 and 2001-02. She currently teaches humanities at Miami Dade College. LaRosa, an associate professor in the Rhodes History Department, spent time in Colombia as a Fulbright Scholar.

Makeup, Lights, Digital Recording

For years, Prof. Elizabeth Vandiver glanced at the advertisement in The New York Times for The Teaching Company courses taught by America’s best professors. Never did she imagine that one day a Teaching Company recruiter would show up in her classical mythology class at Northwestern University to take in her lecture. That was in 1998 and today Vandiver, who is a visiting professor at Rhodes, has recorded more than 100 lectures for the company’s Great Courses series.

Teaching Company professors “have a passion for their subject that is contagious and the ability to inspire others to learn,” according to Lucinda Robb, the company’s director of recruiting. “We are extremely selective.”

More than 100 professors from 59 colleges are on The Teaching Company roster, including two from Rhodes—Vandiver and Mark Muesse, associate professor of religious studies. The Rhodes professors jointly have taught more Teaching Company courses than any other schools outside Ivy League institutions, except for Emory University and University of Texas, according to Robb.

Established in 1990, the Teaching Company sells college-level courses recorded on DVD, videotape, audio CD and audiotape. The non-credit courses include subjects on music, business, science, literature and religion. The length of most lectures is 30-45 minutes.
“What is marvelous is the American public’s hunger for knowledge and the level of courses offered,” says Vandiver. “It is not a program for which people get certification or college credit. They buy and listen to the tapes for their own satisfaction, and I think this is encouraging.”

At Rhodes, Vandiver, a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Greek and Roman Studies, teaches Latin and humanities courses. She holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in classics from the University of Texas at Austin and is the author of Heroes in Herodotus: The Interaction of Myth and History. Her courses for The Teaching Company are Aeneid of Virgil (12 lectures), Classical Mythology (24 lectures), Greek Tragedy (24 lectures), Herodotus: The Father of History (24 lectures), Iliad of Homer (12 lectures) and Odyssey of Homer (12 lectures).

In 2002 Mark Muesse learned that some Rhodes alumni had submitted his name to the company.

“There are certain names that keep coming up, and his was one of them,” says Robb.

Muesse, who has a Ph.D. from Harvard University and has published extensively on comparative religion and theology, has recorded 12 lectures for The Teaching Company’s Great World Religions: Hinduism course. In addition, he has been a visiting professor at the Tamilnadu Theological Seminary in Madurai, India and has traveled extensively throughout Asia. His lectures on Hinduism are also part of Great World Religions, second edition, a survey of the history and nature of the world’s major faiths.

Muesse recorded his lectures at the company’s offices in Chantilly, VA, in fall 2002. Vandiver says her taping is usually done in the summer with 24 lectures recorded over four days.

Vandiver and Muesse say the experience is well worth it. She has received letters and e-mails from fans, ranging from a U.S. senator to high school dropouts, who say they are educating themselves with the tapes. Both Vandiver and Muesse have been invited to tape lectures this year.

Memorial Service Held for Library Worker

A memorial mass in both Spanish and English was held in February for Francisco Javier Hernandez, the carpenter who died in a tragic accident while working on the construction of the Paul Barret Jr. Library.   Rhodes chaplain Billy Newton ’74 and Father David Knight conducted the service, assisted by associate professor of Spanish Eric Henager ’89 and Brandy Alexander ’04, both of whom translated Scripture and prayer, and Kristin Fox ’98, Rhodes’ part-time urban ministry coordinator, who assisted with communion.  

Nobel Recipient Speaks at Rhodes

Rigoberta Menchú Tum, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner, spoke on “Healing Communities Torn by Racism and Violence” at Rhodes in February. The lecture, co-sponsored by Rhodes and BRIDGES, was a part of BRIDGES’ PeaceJam program that teaches peacemaking skills to high school students from three surrounding states.

Menchú was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.

Remembering Prof. Devens

Carol Devens Green-Ramirez, a professor of history at Central Michigan University and Rhodes assistant professor of history from 1986-90, died in December 2003.

Her research and publications focused on U.S. women’s history and Native American history. She served as editor of the Michigan Historical Review from 1992-97. She and her husband Ben Ramirez-Shkwegnaabi, also a professor at Central Michigan, served as history and culture consultants to the tribes of the Great Lakes region. She had recently won a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for a manuscript on 19th-century Great Lakes Native American women.

At Rhodes, Green-Ramirez was instrumental in developing the women’s studies program, which became the first interdisciplinary minor at the college.

She also leaves a son Aric, a sophomore at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Rhodes Student Named Truman Scholar

Sunita Arora ’05, an international studies major from Metarie, LA, is one of 77 students selected to be a 2004 Truman Scholar. The scholarship provides generous financial support for graduate study in preparation for careers in government.

Arora, the first Truman Scholar from Rhodes since 1989, aspires to work in immigration law and immigration education policy initiatives and is currently looking at law schools.

In 1975, the Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress as a federal memorial to the 23rd president, Harry S. Truman. Each year, newly elected Truman Scholars gather for the Truman Scholars Leadership Week in Liberty, MO. The 2004 class of Truman Scholars will attend the program May 16-23 and will be recognized at a special ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence, MO.

The 2004 Truman Scholars were elected by 20 independent selection panels on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability and the likelihood of “making a difference.”

At Rhodes, Arora serves as Honor Council vice president, secretary-general of the Mid-South Model UN conference and teaching assistant for the Model UN class. In addition, she is a Rhodes Service Scholar and Kinney Coordinator for literacy and education. In 2002 and 2003, she participated in the Tex-Mex Border Ministry.

During the 2004-2005 academic year, Rhodes students have been awarded other prestigious awards including the Watson, Rhodes, Goldwater, American Society of Microbiology and the National Science Foundation awards. Rhodes faculty member Eric Gottlieb was named a Fulbright Scholar.