Thursday, September 29, 2011

From the Ground Up: GC Spaces and Places opening

As blog readers are well aware, last week, students in the curatorial studies course opened their exhibition "From the Ground Up: GC Spaces and Places." The photos attached show the students in costume during the event. Each student in the course contributed to the planning and execution of the exhibition and its opening, particularly through their interpretation of persons from GC’s past. See photos 2-4 above. In the second photo, visitors are looking closely at the historic portrait of Rockwood Giddings and the print after Esteria Butler Farnam's painting of the college. In the third photo, Shawn McPeek carried forth as Professor J. E. Farnam, professor of natural history. In the last photo, we see Ms. Jane Hope Oldham Fields seated on the couch and chatting with current and former GC students, including from the left: Shelby Riddell, Ryley Graden, Janet Mann (mom of Katie) and Katie Mann in costume as Janet Sanders (class of ’65); Portia Watson in costume as Katherine Pettus, one of 66 seniors in the class of 1930; and Dana Sabato in costume as a current student awaiting the opening of Rucker Village. Thanks to all who attended the event.

This past week's celebrations connect history with its people. These connections may be broad and shared -- such as the Homecoming exhibition and the tradition of the football game. But, they can also be very personal. For example, Earl Grey enjoyed a special treat over the weekend. First, she met Dr. Jim Heizer, who recorded the oral histories for the college's sesquicentennial over the years 1978-1980. See the photo above of Dr. Decker and Dr. Heizer at the Homecoming game. Also, Dr Decker met Bob, Dixie, and Barbara Mills -- children of former President Robert L. Mills. Dr. Mills was a courageous man who instilled confidence and hope in the college and brought compassion and humane care to the position of the presidency.

On Wednesday of this past week, the exhibition's theme of spaces and places was emphasized further with a second Fireside Chat withProfessor Jim McCormick, emeritus faculty of art, and his wife, Mary. GC alums and long-time supporters of the department, they shared ghost stories and GC mysteries on Wednesday afternoon. We're grateful for Prof. McCormick's time and for coming back to campus to talk with us about some of GC's mysteries and, most especially, for solving the mystery of the Pawling Puppy we've named Issy!

Indeed, Homecoming is a time of getting together on campus -- coming back to the spaces and places that foster our educational and professional growth. Just as students in my course work together to curate an exhibition devoted to the college's history, alums, faculty, and friends of the college visit and together look back on their histories. They return to campus and return to their "Belle of the Blue." It's an exciting time that we share as a community. I look forward to seeing everyone next year -- same time, same place!

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