ALS Challenge - Vice President of Enrollment, Kevin Dyerly

1 month ago · 0 notes

Athlete & Artist

As wish-fulfillment stories go, Nick Brown ’06 has a whopper.

A high school quarterback from California’s Central Valley who came to the University of Redlands to play football, Brown is also a lifelong fan of the San Francisco ’49ers—and a talented artist.

Now, at the tender age of 32, Brown is seeing a group of 12 of his oil paintings and two sculptural pieces displayed at the new 68,500-seat Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, one of only 23 artists and four photographers to be so honored.

“It’s beyond surreal,” said Brown, who quarterbacked the Bulldogs for a year and a half until an injury sidelined him. And to think it all started with a chance roommate assignment at Redlands.

“In his first year at Redlands, Nick became good friends with his roommate, Dave Scherer,” said Brown’s mother, Cindy. “They came from opposite backgrounds but would come to find out they had a lot more in common than they thought. They both had a deep appreciation for the arts and started to collaborate designing custom skateboards.”

After graduation, Brown and Scherer launched Miramar Longboards, which survived for five years before Brown decided to try his hand at being a freelance artist and painter. Though family and friends advised him “just to get a regular job,” Brown stuck to his guns—or his brushes.

“It just wasn’t in Nick’s being to go in that direction,” Cindy Brown said. “He never gave up pursuing his passion.” Scherer’s parents, Nelson and Dawn, threw some work Brown’s way building exhibits at the Millard Sheets Gallery in Pomona, which they managed. There he met Tony Sheets, son of the late artist Millard Sheets and an renowned artist and sculptor in his own right.

“Tony has taught me so much about my art, business and life and how to merge the three,” Brown said. “I can’t thank him enough for his belief in me.”

Brown was eventually given his own booth at the gallery. People purchased his original pieces and commissioned specific works. Sheets ultimately asked Brown to assist him in the restoration of his father’s Tournament of Roses mural, now hung in the gymnasium at Pasadena City College.

In the summer of 2012, Samantha Wendell, an artist working with Sports and The Arts, was passing through the Sheets gallery and saw Brown’s work. Sports and The Arts provides artwork and commissions artists to create original pieces for professional sporting venues. Wendell referred Brown to the president of Sports and The Arts, Tracie Speca-Ventura. Brown interviewed and presented his portfolio, and out of 300 applicants was one of 23 artists commissioned to create original works for Levis Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, the professional football team Brown grew up cheering for. The exhibition opened August 1.

“Nick is such a wonderful spirit. He radiates positive energy,” Speca-Ventura said. “The thing that I enjoy about Nick so much is that he is like an actor who has filmed a movie that has not come out yet, but you know it will be an Oscar-winning performance. He’s really solid, really talented, and he is just about to hit it big.”

1 month ago · 0 notes

Tuesday at Redlands

1 month ago · 11 notes

Grad Receives International Recognition

Recent Redlands graduate, Kyle Hnedak, has won second prize for his orchestral composition “Basmati” in the 2014 edition of Concorso 2 Agosto, a composition competition held in Bologna, Italy. Hnedak’s score competed against 180 entries from professional musicians from around the world. An international panel of musicians judged the scores and awarded three top prizes.

The Concorso 2 Agosto competition and ensuing concert is an annual event started in 1994 to memorialize the 85 people murdered by the brutal terrorist attack on August 2, 1980 in Bologna.

Originally from Poway, California, Hnedak will receive a prize of €2500 and his work will receive its world premiere on August 2, 2014 in the Piazza Maggiore in Bologna where the orchestra of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna will perform his composition “Basmati.”

“Kyle is the kind of student teachers would like to clone— hard working, dependable, interested and focused. He writes music so quickly because he puts so much time into his work. He wrote “Basmati” in a little over a month, which is extraordinarily fast for a large orchestra work,” said Assistant Professor of Music Composition, Anthony Suter. Hnedak, a 2014 graduate of the University of Redlands School of Music, received his B.M. in Music Composition under the instruction of Suter.

“Kyle is a fantastic musician with a natural ear for what he’s doing, and when those natural talents are combined with a work ethic like his, special things happen. As teacher, it is such an immense joy to see him get the recognition he so richly deserves, and I look forward to following his career as a composer for years to come,” said Suter, previous award winner of the Concorso 2 Agosto in 2003.

Previous awards for Hnedak include: “The Founder’s Award for Creativity” in last fall’s Project Accessible Hollywood: Alma Mater – awarded by Christopher Coppola–and the Sigma Alpha Iota “Outstanding Composer Award” for the University of Redlands in 2013 and 2014.

1 month ago · 1 note

Zev Stampfer ‘16 Interns on Capitol Hill

Zev Stampfer ‘16 and Danny O’Brien ‘86

Zev Stampfer ’16 has been interning at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for several weeks now, and still gets a thrill every time he enters the U.S. Capitol.

“I think, ‘I’m doing this. I’m working at the Capitol building,’” he said. “It doesn’t get old. It’s a truly extraordinary and humbling experience to be able to contribute to the process. Making a difference, even if it’s a really small one like working on the first draft of a memo that might eventually go to the chairman, has been fantastic.”

The Portland, Oregon native received his first taste of Washington during May Term, when he enrolled in the course taught by Prof. Greg Thorson and Prof. Graeme Auton. He recently transferred into Johnston and is studying international relations with components of economics and philosophy, focused on the Middle East.

Stampfer wasn’t familiar with the class, which introduces students to the extensive Redlands alumni base and gives them a taste of careers that are available, but signed up because “Washington, D.C. was obviously on my radar as a place I was interested in looking into and exploring what it’s like to live and work here.”

Not long after, Stampfer was offered the internship with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and applied for and received a Tinker Scholar Support award through Redlands that helped with expenses. 

"This is a really extraordinary opportunity for anyone,” he said. “It’s fantastic. Generally, Hill internships, while amazing and eye-opening to the way Washington works, typically aren’t full of sensitive work. There’s a lot of answering phones and making copies. The nice thing about interning for a committee, especially on the Senate side, is we do a lot of sensitive work, and I’ve been working with a senior staffer on the committee for energy and the environment.”

He has been researching everything from developing lighting off the grid for developing countries to the United States’ potential for exporting liquefied natural gas.

“It’s all new to me, but an extraordinary learning experience,” he said.

He has also enjoyed getting to experience events and activities that only Washington can offer.

“One of the cool things about D.C. is there’s always things to do,” he said. “One afternoon, my staffer told me with a wink to pay attention to the World Cup, since it is in our jurisdiction. I went to the House office building to an event put on by the Dutch embassy, and had Dutch food and drinks. It was quite an experience. There are lots of fun opportunities while working on the Hill, too.”

Stampfer is in the same office as Danny O’Brien ’86, the chief of staff to Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) and staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. O’Brien invited the interns to a lunch meeting early in the session, and Stampfer met him during May Term as well.

“It is really fantastic having another Bulldog in the office,” he said. “I know that he’s there and he’s got my back. There’s definitely a sense of camaraderie between Redlands alums in D.C., coming from a small school on the west coast to a city full of Ivy Leaguers. A message that was passed on during May Term is that Redlands is not only adequate, but it does surpass a lot of what people are able to get out of their college experience. We should never feel intimidated if we’re in a room full of guys from Harvard, because Redlands is just as good if not better.”

Stampfer feels that both his studies and extracurricular activities at Redlands helped him prepare for Washington.

“A big factor has been my involvement in Greek Life and Johnston,” he said. “There is a lot of interaction with other people, being able to not just charm them but also work with people through disputes and compromises. You have to be a part of a team. I definitely found those experiences within my fraternity.”

Stampfer’s internship is over July 3, and he will return to Redlands later this summer to start his junior year. He is already looking forward to what’s ahead.

“Once I graduate, I would love to get a paying job in D.C., a fellowship at the state department, or some sort of work at the state department or something in the private sector dealing with international relations,” he said.

He would also like to go to Israel, a country he has already visited and where his family has roots, and study Hebrew and Arabic while receiving private sector experience.

“I’m a bit of an idealist, and love my country and the democratic process dearly,” he said. “The reality is in America, we take a lot of that for granted. In the Middle East people are passionate about it, because the political stakes are so high and conflicts are so intense and complex. There’s a combination of hope and dreams for a better life and really serious hard problems and challenges. There’s a lot of misunderstanding of that region, and it is my duty as an American citizen and as a human being to do my best to understand it and help people no matter where they are.”

2 months ago · 0 notes

A warm summer morning at the UoR

3 months ago · 4 notes

Brian Silva ‘00

As executive director of Marriage Equality USA, Brian Silva ’00 has been at the forefront of the fight for equal rights.

“It’s very exciting, and humbling to remember so many people who have come before,” he said. “We have had such a string of successes, but there were years of not being protected, and some people aren’t around anymore to see the fruits of their labor.”

Silva worked in emergency and disaster management in New York City when Proposition 8 came up on the ballot in California in 2008.

“Being from California, I cared a lot about it,” he said. “When the proposition passed it made me viscerally angry, that I was told by my home I was not worthy of equal protection.”

Silva began volunteering for Marriage Equality New York before becoming executive director of the national group. There are both small and big victories, but “there’s still work to be done.”

“We need to remember that things only change if folks stand up,” he said. “It’s not enough to want change, you have to get up and do something.”

Silva was a government major while at Redlands, and kept busy by participating in student government, newspaper, and theater. He came to Redlands from Pleasanton, California, and wasn’t sure what he wanted to do when he arrived.

“You don’t always know where you are going to end up,” he said. “Try things out – classes, clubs, study abroad. Do something you ordinarily wouldn’t do. Everyone at Redlands is supportive and kind, and I’ve kept in touch with so many people. I’ve seen many advocate, and that’s an extension of what I fell in love with at Redlands.”

Silva returned to Redlands for Homecoming 2014, and taught a mini-course with Dr. Art Svenson titled, “Marriage Equality, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution.”

“The goal is always to make people engaged and think about the topic,” Silva said. “You want them to walk away learning something new.”

As more people join the dialogue on marriage equality, Silva is hopeful that soon it will no longer be an issue.

“I am really looking forward to the day when everyone can marry who they love,” he said.

3 months ago · 0 notes

Anh Le ‘16 Wins Prestigious Boren Award

When Anh Le ’16 chose the University of Redlands, she knew it was a school where she would grow academically and personally.

She was right.

Anh’s first two years at Redlands have been filled with academic distinction, international service, and research. In June, Anh will travel to Beijing, China as the University’s first-ever recipient of the Boren Scholarship Award for International Study.

“I want to see the world,” Anh said of her pursuit to earn a B.S. degree in global business, which emphasizes not only business, but language, history, politics, national cultures and quantitative skills. It is one of the University’s most challenging degrees, according to Prof. Jack Osborn, her advisor in the program and for the Boren award.

The Boren Scholarship is the next logical step in Anh’s global career trajectory.

Vietnam-born Anh has lived with her mother in what she described as a “highly immigrant population” of Rosemead, California since they immigrated to the United States in 2001.

She saw Redlands as an opportunity to experience “a change and a challenge,” and was drawn to the award-winning Global Business program because it offered flexibility to pursue a variety of global government and business careers.

Anh—who is fluent in both Vietnamese and English—received her first award as a rising sophomore. She traveled to Vietnam in 2013 as a University of Redlands Hanson Summer Service Scholar to work with marginalized children.

“I was able to experience the actual city of Ho Chi Minh and was much more independent than when I visited family there. I rode public transportation, and I had never done that before.

“I lived with other volunteers in a dorm—a lot of people who were volunteering from around the world—and learned about their cultures.”

Anh said she always intended to study for one year abroad in China as part of her academic career at Redlands. Once approved, she applied for the Boren Scholarship.

“When I started to research it, I saw I was a fit because of my desire to study abroad long-term and to learn the Mandarin language.”

The Boren award application process was more demanding and rigorous than Anh anticipated, but she said she is grateful for it.

“Through the research I had to do, I was able to learn about what I am getting myself into. Before, I had only looked at what I liked about working in different countries. This research allowed me to look at everything, and to identify how I need to better myself to do this job.” 

Anh credits Prof. Osborn and Adjunct Prof. Ted Pearson for helping her through the process and said without them, the award would not have been possible for her.

“It might sound generic, but it is true. The faculty are here for you. They get to know you on a personal level so they can best advise you.”

Prof. Osborn guided Anh through the application process and formed the committee that evaluated her as an applicant for the Boren award.

“If you demonstrate to Prof. Osborn that you are willing to put in the effort, he will put in as much effort or more to help you reach your goals.”

Anh will spend the 2014 summer in Beijing mastering the Mandarin language on her Schroeder Summer Language Scholarship. She will then study through the academic year in Beijing as a Boren Scholar.

She will also continue her commitment to service. At Redlands, Anh was involved in Rotaract—the University arm of Rotary International—and worked on fundraising for individuals in developing countries who need surgeries, wheelchairs and other resources. During her time in China, Anh will volunteer at the Migrant Youth Foundation.

“Because volunteering here and in Vietnam was so amazing for me, I want to experience some of that again in China. What I hope to take from China is what I took from Vietnam—a broader perspective of the culture and the ability to compare the cultures of China, Vietnam and the U.S.”

The Boren Scholarships fund study abroad in areas of the world critical to U.S. interests that are underrepresented in study abroad. This merit-based, competitive award is the highest given to a sophomore-year student by the U.S. Department of Defense. About 868 students applied for the scholarship which was ultimately awarded to 165 sophomores.

David L. Boren is the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program (NSEP) and the Boren Awards for International Study, including the Boren Scholarship for undergraduate students and Boren Fellowship for graduate students. The awards are funded by the NSEP.

“The undergraduate Boren is a prestigious reward because it focuses on the most difficult languages which are of national interest to our country, and is an open merit-based process competitive with all universities and colleges,” Osborn said. “Anh is the first University of Redlands student to win this award, and it brings additional credit to our Global Business program.”

Osborn said the NSEP is highly selective.

“Anh had a combination of positive attributes including that her continued pursuit of learning the Mandarin language, funded by the Boren award, would be her third language,” Osborn said. Her intensive language study, combined with her service work and pursuit of a challenging degree were clear evidence to the selection committee, he said.

Learn more about the Boren Award for International Study.

Learn more about the University of Redlands Global Business program.

3 months ago · 0 notes

Fulbright Scholars 2014

Two Redlands graduates described as “outstanding in their respective fields” were named Fulbright Scholars this spring, bringing the total to 17 awards for University students since 2008.

Kyle Van de Bittner

Kyle Van de Bittner ’14 came to Redlands after having the “best sort of feeling” during his visit when he realized campus was about 60 minutes from the beach and from the mountains. He has been active in the University’s Outdoor Programs, leading journey trips for other students. He also thought he would pursue his hobby of woodworking here, but said science took over. An organic chemistry course sparked his interest, and Kyle changed to double major in biochemistry and molecular biology.

In February 2015, Kyle’s Fulbright will take him to work with biology and chemistry programs at Canterbury University in New Zealand, where he plans to pursue his PhD degree in biochemical toxicology. “I’ll be conducting research on the presence of an anti-inflammatory drug in surface waters and fish tissue and I’ll be designing a program for testing that,” he said.

Kyle may eventually pursue a medical degree, work as a surgeon and someday establish schools and health posts in developing countries. “I love the whole idea of a new experience, and seeing what is out there in the world.”

“Kyle is a devoted outdoors man, with a love for nature and our environment,” said Professor Jack Osborn, Hunsaker Chair of Management who mentors Fulbright candidates at Redlands. “His successful pursuit of a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology places him at the pinnacle of undergraduate degrees centered on addressing issues with our world’s environment. It is my understanding that his Fulbright proposal—to assess the presence of the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac in surface waters and fish tissue—has not been performed before in New Zealand and will add valuable information to the literature on this subject.”

Kailey DeBoi

Kailey DeBoi ’14, a double-major in global business and German with a minor in mathematics, received the Fulbright Teaching Assistant award to Germany in the state of Baden Wurttemberg.

Through intensive study in Berlin on a University of Redlands Schroeder Summer Language Scholarship in the summer of 2012, Kailey mastered the German language and completed the C1-level German language proficiency exam from the Goethe Institute—a requirement to pursue work or graduate study in Germany.

“I started to feel like part of the culture,” she said of her time in Germany. “I would be excited to take what I have learned back into the classroom in Germany.”

Though she had initially had difficulty choosing between the majors biology and global business, Kailey said what she enjoyed was complex problem solving, and she found that global business offered her that, and a challenge.

“Kailey consistently challenged herself academically,” Osborn said. “Working with the Target Corporation to solve a case study organizational problem, she led a team of undergraduates and was evaluated by Target Corporation management. She held internships in Germany, including one with the Volksbank. Kailey also received job offers from Bosch-Siemens and Boeing Defense, Space and Intelligence, which are a testimony to her exceptional career path profile.”

Kailey has humbly declined the Fulbright opportunity and instead accepted an alternate offer with Boeing Corporation, which was the focus of her senior capstone. She will spend the next two years rotating through six positions within the enterprise. She said it is difficult to know where her career will take her, but plans now to pursue management in a private corporation.

The University of Redlands won its first undergraduate Fulbright awards in 2008 and since then, including Kyle and Kailey, a total of 17 awards, allowing Redlands students to serve as ambassadors for the United States across the globe.

“It is a true privilege to see our graduates awarded the opportunity to conduct research in Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Germany and New Zealand; and teaching in Guatemala, Germany, Norway, Spain , and Taiwan,” Osborn said. “As this is the highest award that the U.S. State Department awards a graduating senior, we are very fortunate to have such outstanding students. Each year it is a joy to meet the applicants and to learn of their interests, public service and academic accomplishments.”

3 months ago · 0 notes

Michael Howen ‘14

After attending an open house at the Temecula regional campus, Michael Howen ’14 knew the University of Redlands was the right school for him.

“I felt that the School of Business had relevant applications to all areas of work I may find myself in in the future,” he said. “I started using skills I learned in class right away.”

Howen, a native of Oakland, California, enlisted in the United States Army in 2004 at the age of 19, and plans on finishing his final year of service by the fall of this year.

“I entered the U.S. Army as a paratrooper to contribute to the effort overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “Military service is a family tradition and I count myself fortunate to be a part of an organization that has done so much for me.”

Howen says that it wasn’t until he started courses that he really committed himself to finishing, and is proud to now have his bachelor’s degree in management from the School of Business.

“There are several online colleges and larger institutions that target military members to solicit their services, but Redlands maintains a reputation for good reason: quality staff members, a rich history, and a solid business program,” he said. “I wanted to graduate from an institution with a reputation of quality. I truly enjoyed my time at Redlands and want to thank all my professors for their contributions and the staff for helping me stay with school despite frequent military assignments. That help made the difference.”

Now living on the East Coast and assigned to a unit providing support for operations overseas, Howen plans on attending graduate school, focusing on human resources so he can eventually become an HR business partner.

“I want to continue a lifelong learning process that was encouraged from my time at Redlands,” he said. “I feel like I never really stop learning. I’d like to tell those people on the fence about going back to school, military or not, to make the commitment. Start small, one class at a time, and you will find the time if you stay committed and don’t lose sight of your dream. High school experiences years ago are not a predictor of success in the future. Don’t be intimidated.”

Howen has experienced the life-changing benefits of a degree, and wants other military members to do the same.

“A college degree not only signifies accomplishment, but it represents so much more; a learning process that shouldn’t end after high school,” he said. “Soldiers can learn more about themselves, develop more skills to tackle challenges at work and at home, and are better prepared to give back to the community, one of the principle reasons we enlist. As a military leader, a college degree helps to lead more effectively, make better decisions, and more closely understand one’s junior soldiers. Junior soldiers deserve that level of leadership from their NCOs.”

3 months ago · 0 notes

Big Buddies

The Big Buddies service program at the University of Redlands provides positive role models for area children, and a chance for students to give back to the community.

Big Buddies is split between two sections–Little Buddies for children six to 10-years-old, and Middle Buddies for kids in sixth- to eighth- grades. They are paired up with University of Redlands students, who become mentors and earn volunteering credit. Most of the children end up in another mentoring organization, CHAMPS, once they enter high school.

According to Talia Poidmore ’14, co-director of Little Buddies, the program originally started for divorced families in Redlands, with seven kids participating. Now, it has grown to involve dozens of students, and the aim is to teach social skills, educate and support the children, and get them excited about higher education.

“This program has flourished,” she said. “These kids know and grow up around the campus, and the point is to get them accustomed to coming to campus and seeing what a college student does. It sets that goal for them.”

The children come to the University of Redlands on Monday nights for homework help and activities, and there is a different theme each month.

“We had one month where we talked about bullying, and taught them what it means to be bullied, and what goes into helping a friend who is being bullied,” Poidmore said. “We brought in groups from around campus to talk about that. Another popular theme is science. We bring in the Biology Club and Chemistry Club, and it’s a fun experience with kids. We took them to Gregory Hall, and they worked with professors who volunteered their time. They took cheek swabs and looked at them under the microscope, and were able to touch banana slugs. It was fun stuff they normally wouldn’t get to do in school at their age.”

Redlands students who want to participate in Big Buddies make a yearlong commitment. Applications are available in the fall in the Community Service Learning office, and students go through an intensive interview process and application review before they are accepted and trained.

“The training ranges from going through different scenarios – for example, two mentees are fighting and one of them hits, what do you do?” Poidmore said. “Or, you overhear one talking about drinking beer over the past weekend, what do you do? It’s about getting them to respond appropriately, and recognizing when it is time to notify one of the directors or the parents. We take this very seriously.”

Jessica Medvec ’13, coordinator of children’s programs in the Community Service Learning office, was also a member of Big Buddies, joining as a junior at Redlands.

“I never imagined how far it would take me,” she said. “It’s been a really important part of my own personal career development later in life. After my first year as a mentor, I was encouraged to apply to be a student director. I never saw myself as someone who would go after one of those leadership positions, and after I was selected it gave me so much confidence, and I was able to learn from the other students in the program.”

Having been part of Big Buddies helps Medvec in her new role as one of the organization’s advisors.

“When I applied for the position and found out I had been selected, I was shocked and through the roof with excitement,” she said. “While it’s nice to get a fresh look at things, I think having the experience I did really makes me feel closer to the students, and I would absolutely stick my neck out for any of these programs and anything they need.”

Medvec believes that it’s important for Redlands students to understand the power of Big Buddies.

“Freshmen and sophomores sometimes don’t have much of a concept of what goes on outside of campus,” she said. “Through Big Buddies, you really get that outside perspective of what it’s like for these kids. We expect a lot out of our mentors, and it’s almost like they get a professional experience; they receive training, are expected to be on time, and to follow through with policies. The expectations we do have are above and beyond many other groups.”

Being part of Big Buddies during her college years made an impact on Poidmore.

“It’s definitely changed me,” Poidmore said. “A lot of people who come to Redlands come from families that are very privileged, myself included, and we never imaged learning so much from these dynamics. You work with the kids and learn about their situations, and see how much they want to succeed.”

3 months ago · 0 notes

Humanities Awards

Ashley Daltrey, James Macnee and Sabrina Jonkhoff are the first recipients of the Outstanding Essay in the Humanities award.

The prize for Outstanding Essay in the Humanities was conferred for the first time during Honors Convocation 2014 to three graduating seniors at the University.

Candidates were invited to submit their thesis, capstone, or senior project for consideration to the award committee which looked for a project that “touches deeply on the central concerns of the humanities and reflects substantial research, analytical, or interpretive work.”

In the letter from the Humanities Advisory Board, awardees were congratulated on their dedication to the projects and contributions to the humanities at the University of Redlands.

“This prize is meant to honor students who have shown a high level of professionalism while engaging with scholarship in the field, undertaken bold and innovative research and sophisticated analysis in new areas, and shown exceptional grasp of methodological and theoretical issues in the field.”

Sabrina Jonkhoff ‘14 received the award for her honors thesis, “Whatever Floats Your Boat: Transformations, Violations, and Coercions of Bodies at Sea, 1700-1800.” Committee members said Sabrina impressed them with her research on the history of women at sea, which included cross-dressed pirates, passenger women and slave women.

Dr. Matthew Raffety worked extensively with Sabrina on her project.

“In its fusing of two complex historiographies: one about the shifting conceptions of Early Modern gender and the other of the rise of a new “Atlantic” world of goods, ideas, and empires …, her work accomplishes something both quite original and deeply engaged with the existing scholarly conversations.”

Sabrina graduated with a double major in history and women’s and gender studies and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

She said, “…in a time where the humanities seems ever under-fire in a world dominated by the growth of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), it not only special, but important, to be recognized for significant work in the humanities.”

James Macnee ’14 received the award for his honors thesis in religious studies, “Three Buddhas: An Analysis of Namthars in the Kagyu Lineage.” The committee remarked particularly on James’ treatment of primary texts in the Buddhist tradition, his connections between texts across historical periods, and his original argument in the area of religious studies.

For his senior thesis, James focused on three sacred biographies of great saints from the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. His project investigates the hagiographies of Naropa, Marpa, and Milarepa.

“Studying with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu Tibetan Buddhist lineage, Jimmy observed the living importance of the life stories of the spiritual masters of the lineage,” said Dr. Karen Derris, who advised James on the project.

“Surrounded by paintings of these figures and hearing stories from their sacred biographies interwoven with present day teachings, Jimmy insightfully understood the central importance of individual genius within a tradition that very much emphasizes connections to community. His honors project took up this productive paradox through close textual analysis of three spiritual biographies of the founders of the Karma Kagyu lineage. His original arguments raise new insights on intertextual analysis for the field of Tibetan studies in particular and for the study of religious biographies in religious studies more broadly.”

When James isn’t working academically, he is busy with community service through his fraternity Chi Rho Psi.

“My senior project is the culmination of my academic career,” James said, “and an extension the work I have done most my life. To receive recognition for this work is extremely flattering and is a very fortunate form of closure to my undergraduate life.”

Ashley Daltrey ’14 received the award for her honors thesis in French, “Une Marche Vers Le Bien: Les Misérables et L’idée du progress,” which roughly translates as “A march towards the good: Les Miserables and the idea of progress.” The board noted that Ashley’s rereading of passages often overlooked by scholars of Victor Hugo makes a compelling contribution to undergraduate research. And, her ability to compose the paper in French, a second language, was equally impressive. Associate Professor Frank Bright advised Ashley on her project. “Her study, written in French, argued that the work’s narratorial digressions play a central role in the novel’s depiction of personal and historical progress.”

Ashley graduated as a double major in French and international relations. She is a Proudian scholar and member of the history honors society Phi Alpha Theta. When she isn’t studying, Ashley volunteers at an equestrian therapy center for mentally and physically disabled kids.

She said, “It is exciting that a paper in a foreign language is able to get this kind of recognition, and I hope it encourages students in the future to also write in their second language.”

3 months ago · 0 notes

Patrick Manyika ‘12 ‘14

Patrick Manyika ‘12 ‘14

Growing up in a refugee camp in Rwanda, Patrick Manyika ‘12 ‘14 never dreamed he would one day leave and move thousands of miles away to go to school. In fact, he didn’t even know a place called the United States existed.

"They would send food and it would drop from the sky," Manyika, 33, said. "I could read that it said ‘USAID.’ There were no TVs, no electricity. Our classes took place under acacia trees." 

Living in the Akagera National Park, where seeing leopards and elephants was the norm, Manyika learned the way of the land. 

"You had to be careful not to hit a giraffe," he said. "You learn survival skills as a child, like how to climb up trees fast, and to stay away from buffalos." 

When he was 14, life changed dramatically for Manyika. The genocide in Rwanda began on April 7, 1994, and more than 1 million people were killed over the course of 100 days. Manyika was attacked with a machete, but survived, as did his family. Twenty years later, reconciliation and rebuilding continue in Rwanda.

"The country has changed completely," Manyika said. "Right now Rwanda is safer than some areas here, the GDP has been growing dramatically at seven percent annually, institutions are in place, and doing business in Rwanda is easy. It’s a beautiful country."

Once he hit adulthood, Manyika began to attend university until he suspended his studies to work. He wanted to do something that helped others, and was hired by Partners in Health, an organization that gives vaccinations and runs clinics and hospitals. Realizing that he wanted to learn more about how to write business plans, Manyika decided to check out the University of Redlands while on a trip to Southern California. He applied, was accepted, and arrived in the fall of 2009.

It was a definite culture shock.

"I had visited the U.S. in 2006 and 2008, and visiting and living are two completely different things," he said. "When I came to visit people were taking care of me, and when I came here on my own I had to prepare food and do things myself. It was really hard. I didn’t even know how to use a gas cooker. I knew nothing." 

He was unsure of how to cope with a climate so different from Rwanda’s, and also how to prepare food without any familiar ingredients. One day, he needed to get across town, and started walking on the 10 freeway. 

"People were giving me funny looks, so I figured it was fishy," he said. "I told the manager at my apartment and she said, ‘That’s illegal, and that’s crazy. You could be arrested.’" 

The classroom was different as well, but in a good way. 

"It was a great experience and a big challenge, because I came from a French speaking nation in Africa," he said. "The education systems are different, and if you look at the first paper I wrote and the last one, you will see a huge difference. Critical thinking wasn’t something I did before, so it was really hard for me. I had tutors during the first semester, and my GPA grew from 2.2 to 3.7 at the end of the program." 

Wanting to continue his studies, Manyika enrolled in the MBA program, with the hopes of becoming an information systems analyst in rural Africa. 

"Such skills are scarce," he said. "I could work anywhere, but want to work with nonprofit organizations, helping underdeveloped communities. This is a big thing; having a master’s from the U.S., nobody I know has achieved such a level." 

Manyika’s not finished with school, as he now has his sights on a master’s in GIS. But before he heads back to class, he is going home to Rwanda for the first time in three years. A filmmaker has been following him for several years, and plans on shooting more footage for a documentary on Manyika that should be released later in 2014.

"I met him when he came from Silicon Valley to a TED conference in Africa," Manyika said. "Now he’s a producer and director. He was interested in my story because he said, ‘I know where you came from, and I know where you’re at. Maybe it could inspire other people that anything is possible.’" 

Having a filmmaker document his life has given Manyika valuable insight into the person he has become. 

"It’s made me realize how far I have gone," he said. "It’s been a long journey, and there has been self-reflection. I like to share not only my story, but also the story of my society."

5 months ago · 2 notes

Alumni Founders Weekend 2014

It’s time for University of Redlands alumni to come home once again.

Alumni Founders Weekend 2014 is set for May 16, 17, and 18, with activities and events happening all across campus. From a picnic party at the Alumni House to Salzburg, K-DAWG, Greek and Outdoor Program socials, there’s something for every Bulldog.

“It’s a welcome home weekend,” Dena Gilbert, associate director for Alumni Relations, said. “We want people to enjoy their Redlands family. It’s going to be fun and there will be great people attending.”

This year, reunions will be held for the Classes of 1954, 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1979/1980, 1989, 1994, and 1999. Alton Robertson ’54 is organizing the reunion for his class, and hopes to see a minimum of 60 of his fellow classmates attend.

“With minimal effort, I recruited 20 volunteer callers and gave them each a list of class members to be in touch with,” he said. “We have been in touch with virtually all 181 members on the class roster. We found six or seven who are deceased, but we have also found five or six persons who were not on the roster.”

Right now, 36 members of the Class of 2014 are registered to attend the reunion. Robertson hopes to see a minimum of 60 classmates at the event, and 60 percent participate in the class gift.

“We exceeded 50 percent for our 50th reunion in 2004,” he said. “Even though we are a class of ‘teachers, preachers, and social workers,’ to date 68 members of the class, over 40 percent, have already contributed over $75,000.”

Alumni Founders Weekend kicks off on May 16, when reunion class warm-ups will be held in the evening at locations around Redlands. On May 17, the fun starts bright and early at 11:30 a.m. with the Och Tamale! Toast to the Classes. All class reunions and Redlands’ newest graduates are invited to the Alumni House for a special toast. Reunion lunches will start at noon, and so will the Gazolly Gazump Garden Party Picnic on the Green. Held at the Alumni House Lawn, all alumni and their families are invited to an al fresco picnic with music provided by Hobo Jazz.

“We want as many people as possible, from all walks of life to attend this gathering,” Gilbert said.

Two more picnics will take place from noon to 2 p.m. – the School of Business Picnic at the Alumni House Lawn and the Warrior Luncheon at the Alumni House. For those who miss the invigorating classes at Redlands, the Our House Faculty Showcase is a must; from 2 to 4 p.m. in Hall of Letters, professors will share their latest works and accomplishments. From 4 to 6 p.m., the Wang Tang Watering Hole will be open on the Alumni House Lawn, and several community socials – including Greeks, K-DAWG, Outdoor Programs, and Salzburg – will take place.

The fun doesn’t stop once the sun goes down. Starting at 8 p.m. the Alumni House will transform into the Joozy Woozy Late Night Lounge, featuring craft cocktails created by storytelling bartenders and music from Renee Rojanaro ’00 and her band After Dark. On May 18, several reunion brunches will occur at various locations in town, and everyone is invited to finish the weekend off with breakfast at the Commons.

“It’s all about creating memories,” Amber De Massimo, assistant director for Alumni Relations, said. “Planning everything is really rewarding, and the enthusiasm we see from the people who truly love the University is amazing.”

For more information, including pricing, or to register, please click here.

5 months ago · 1 note

Redlands Student Spends Spring Break Aiding Colorado Relief

Mission Viejo native travels to Boulder to help the victims of last year’s devastating floods.

By Brooke Edwards Staggs, Staff Writer for the Orange County Register

MISSION VIEJO – College spring break is meant for making memories, and that proved true for Ryan Beaulac.

The Mission Viejo native spent his vacation traveling with 25 other University of Redlands students to Boulder, Colo., to help families affected by September’s historic floods.

“I felt I was ready for it. I had an open mind,” said Beaulac, 19, a sophomore studying accounting. “As for the damage, I wasn’t expecting it to be that bad.”

More than 17 inches of rain fell near Boulder in September, including one day with more than 9 inches. The flooding that resulted claimed eight lives, destroyed hundreds of miles of road, wiped out about 1,800 homes and damaged nearly 20,000 more, according to the Colorado Office of Emergency Management.

The devastation pushed Colorado to the top of the list as a candidate for the University of Redlands’ spring break outreach program.

Each year since a team went to help in 2006 with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the university has invited students to spend their spring break volunteering in communities that have suffered natural disasters or have a particular need. It’s called Spring Break Plunge, with the university picking up half the tab during trips to places such as Joplin, Mo., after the 2011 tornado, and New York after Hurricane Sandy.

While the long-term impact of those disasters seemed to still be getting a lot of press, Erin Sanborn, associate director of community service learning at the University of Redlands, felt the Colorado flooding had been overlooked.

“In Colorado, the disaster area was huge and there just wasn’t much in the news about it,” she said.

Sanborn connected with Community Collaborations International, a nonprofit organization that already had a team working on the ground in Colorado. Together, they planned an opportunity for University of Redlands students to join in on the recovery effort.

Beaulac is a member of groups that perform community services such as playing sports with disabled children, writing letters to military service members and clearing trails in wilderness conservation areas. When he heard about Spring Break Plunge, he jumped at the chance.

“I actually love doing community service,” said Beaulac, a graduate of Capistrano Valley High School, “and to help out a community that’s been affected by the flood I thought would be really fun and eye-opening for me rather than sitting and watching TV.”

Before they left, students met to get background on the disaster area and to create a mission statement about what they hoped to accomplish. They also received basic training in appropriate skills, ranging from how to drill a hole to hanging drywall.

“We never really know what we’re going to be doing until we wake up that morning and they send us out to the job,” Sanborn said.

On past trips, students have helped rebuild homes, but Colorado is “still at the debris-clearing state,” Sanborn said.

Beaulac and his teammates spent a week removing chunks of fallen trees and mucking out homes, removing insulation where mold had taken root. It was physical work, Beaulac said, leaving them exhausted at the end of each day.

“It didn’t seem like you were doing much sometimes,” Beaulac said. “But then you realize every stick or tree you pick up, that’s one less stick or tree a community member has to (pick up) .”

Some students go in with huge expectations about changing the world, Sanborn said. When they’re asked to help pick up a pile of sticks, it helps them realize the scope of the recovery effort, with a group of dedicated people making a difference by doing a series of small, monotonous tasks.

“It’s not about doing this incredibly glorious work,” Sanborn said. “It’s about doing what is asked of you.”

Beaulac joined a Facebook group for the organization still working on the Colorado recovery effort, so he can stay updated on their progress. He plans to apply for another Spring Break Plunge trip next year, no matter where it takes him.

“It’s very eye-opening for me to see that there’s always people that are going to need help, especially in natural disaster situations,” Beaulac said. “It makes me want to work harder and try to reach out more when a natural disaster happens because, after seeing that and their faces when volunteers came, it was just so heartwarming.”

Contact the writer: 949-454-7343 or bstaggs@ocregister.com

5 months ago · 0 notes