SummerMagazine_2014_final - page 4-5

summer 2014 | St. Lawrence University Magazine 3
On Campus
2 summer 2014 | St. Lawrence University Magazine
ince last summer, countless daily
observers walking near the center
of the St. Lawrence campus have
taken in the complex stages of building
a new residence hall as forms and details
change slightly each day. They stop and
admire the steep elegance of the stone
masonry, the roof pitch complementing
the geometry of other buildings, and the
windows looking like ink drying on a
new page, about to reveal a story.
What exactly do they think we are
constructing? Just another building?
In essence, the work being observed
during our seasons of construction is
not really about the building, in the end,
because the building becomes a surrogate
for a larger theory of our distinctive kind
of education at St. Lawrence. Surely, as
architects learn right from the first day in
design school, form speaks to function,
function to form. The tipping point
between these design terms, however,
is decided if one follows or dominates
the other, thus losing the main point of
balance. John Ruskin, one of the first great
English critics of art and architecture,
puts it simply, “We require from buildings
two kinds of goodness: first, the doing
their practical duty well; then that they be
graceful and pleasing in doing it.”
So, what are we building and what is
the theory behind our design? Here is
my answer: We are building friendship.
That’s it. That’s all. The practical duty of
our new residence hall is to create a space
for what is arguably the most intense
and memorable part of the St. Lawrence
experience. While not a measure of
a student’s record or good standing,
having and being a roommate remains
the single-most common and central
feature of life at St. Lawrence. No longer
is there one course or one book that every
student will forever know in a lifelong
intellectual solidarity. The days of seniors
taking Moral Philosophy from the college
president are from a long yesteryear ago.
But every student, no exceptions, will
share with all other students the power
of producing friendships, often starting
with the space occupied by roommates.
Most students entering liberal arts
colleges today have never shared a room
at home, never had a roommate, except
for sleepovers or summer camp. This
part of the college experience is often
tricky ground to cross when students
first arrive. And yet, to my utter delight,
I hear repeatedly from students at St.
Lawrence that they have had the same
roommates for more than one year. It is
often typical of them to form ritualized
common habits, such as sharing dinner
together every night at precisely the same
time. They become part of each other’s
families, connecting with parents and
siblings other than their own, absorbing
unfamiliar stories and customs.
What do roommates teach other?
Naturally, if they are in different majors
and live in the same room, there is the
added benefit of learning a little something
extra in the unfinished conversation of the
liberal arts life, more than an individual
can learn alone. Despite differences, there
is always the unplanned academic cross-
pollination in a double or triple. It is a
quiet, immeasurable process, but I am
convinced it’s present and effective.
In Residence
a word from the president
ST. LAWRENCE
University Magazine
Vol. LXIII | Number 3 | 2014
Another View on Climate
I cannot let Andrew Nevin’s letter (Spring 2014) go
unchallenged.
With regard to the issue of global warming, Mr. Nevin
asserts that “the geologic record does not support
the hijacked science and cause-and-effect arguments
promoted by a small group at the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).” On the contrary,
these arguments are neither “hijacked” nor are they
advanced by a small group. More than 1,200 scientists,
from over 100 countries, contributed to the latest IPCC
report. Its conclusions are based on a vast body of peer-
reviewed publications, many of them relying on the
geologic record.
It is incorrect that “variations in surface temperatures and
atmospheric CO2 concentrations are clearly independent
of each other.” Actually, the correlation coefficient over
the 125-year post-industrial era is strong (more than
0.9). Ice core records from Greenland and Antarctica
show clear correlations over 100,000 years. For a recent
statistical analysis that the recent warming cannot be due
to natural climatic variability, see “Scaling fluctuation
analysis and statistical hypothesis testing of anthropogenic
warming,” S. Lovejoy,
Climate Dynamics
(2014).
It is also mistaken to attribute recent warming to solar
activity. In the last 35 years, global temperatures have
continued to increase while the sun has a slight cooling
trend.
Dr. Nevin belongs to a small but vocal group of skeptics,
many with ties to the resource extraction industries,
who have chosen to ignore an extensive body of science
that concludes that anthropogenic carbon dioxide is
causing the earth’s atmosphere and oceans to warm at a
rate uncharacteristic of natural fluctuations. It’s getting
warmer, and we’re doing it.
—Brian P. Watson | Associate Professor of Physics
‘Joy and Gratitude’
It was a warm September day when I got off the “Canton
Creeper” train, to be greeted as a freshman by Dr. Max
Kapp, who was about to be named dean of the Theologi-
cal School. The days whizzed by and soon I was in the
midst of Rush Week for the fraternities. I was invited to
be a pledge of Beta Theta Pi.
During my sophomore year I roomed in the old Beta
House on the third floor in what was called “Temperance
S
—William L. Fox '75
Editor-in-Chief
Neal S. Burdick ’72
Assistant Editor
Meg Bernier ’07, M ’09
News Editor
Ryan Deuel
Class Notes Editor
Sharon Henry
Photographer
Tara Freeman
Art Director
Alex Rhea
Associate
Art Director
Susan LaVean
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Act,Title IXandSection504coordinator,315-229-5656.Acompletepolicy
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Hall.” My roommates were Buddy Garlock, Billy Plimp-
ton, Tony Folino, Roger Green and a guy named Daniel
Sterling Day. That summer, Dan and Roger traveled to
California to work as loggers. They returned full of stories.
So this letter is to celebrate Dan’s life; he died last autumn.
Dan was filled with energy and verve. His smile was a joy.
His ability to tease and to make fun was beyond measure.
When I returned for my junior year, Dan didn’t show. I
learned that he had joined the military for a two-year
stint. He returned to campus during my first post-gradu-
ate year in the Theological School.
Dan went on to earn his degree in business administration
and to attend the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dart-
mouth College. His future was filled with honors as an
extremely successful banker. But for those of us who knew
him well, he was a “mensch.” He taught me to scuba dive.
We skied together. And he raised a wonderful family who
made him continually proud.
It’s been said that nothing is more relevant than remember-
ing the past with joy and gratitude. I’ll echo that sentiment
as I remember times when Dan and I sat by a waterfall
with a nearby campfire and discussed our ideas about God.
I know he continued that dialog with life at his cabin on
Lake Winnipesaukee. I will surely miss my roommate.
—The Rev. Jan Vickery Knost ’56 | Charlestown, Rhode Island
The Critical Difference
I started playing golf while a student at St. Lawrence.
With the exception of a few graduate school summers,
I play two or three times a week. Given that I graduated
in 1969, that is a lot of golf.
The course I play today “staffs up” in season with students
from the local university who are majoring in something
called professional golf management. They aspire to be
club pros. I am sorry. That is not higher education. It is
vocational education.
St. Lawrence is lucky to be led by a president who recog-
nizes the difference (
St. Lawrence
Magazine, Spring 2014).
In that same issue, the argument for broad-based liberal
education is effectively made in the article on my classmate
John Hess, [who] is very successful in business (private
equity) and has helped launch a charity that supports
multiple sclerosis research, the homeless and a children’s
hospital.
—Arnold Tilden | State College, Pennsylvania
Letters
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