The Faculty Files

Suddenly it’s autumn. The faculty are back on campus after fruitful summers, whether on stage or in Stockholm, glued to a laptop or packing their own kids off to college. The energy that comes standard with all fall semesters, including the invigorating crispness of the air, inspired Drew Magazine to throw this neighborly, over-the-backyard-fence question to the College of Liberal Arts faculty: What’s new with you?

Edited by Amy Vames

A Mother’s Tale

Preparing her mother’s diary for publication allowed Lillie Edwards to see her late mother as a college student in 1940s Alabama.

Lillie Johnson Edwards, a professor of African-American and African history, spent the past year on sabbatical working to publish the diary her mother kept from

One of the most delightful things about the diary, says Edwards, is hearing “the funny, teenager-ish way” her mother sounded. Photo by Bill Cardoni.

1937 to 1941, when Laverna Williams attended State Teachers College in Montgomery, Ala., a school descended from America’s first state-supported liberal arts college for blacks.

Edwards and her two older sisters always knew about their mother’s diary. But none had ever read it until their mother died in 1994. “That’s when we pulled the diary out,” Edwards says. “Fortunately, we found portions that were actually hilarious. Some about my father were so funny. We were in the midst of mourning, and falling out laughing.”

In 1940, Edwards says, her mother was still seven years away from marrying Allen Johnson, who she knew when both were growing up in Columbus, Ga. But already she had him nailed. In one passage, Edwards says, her mother wrote: “‘Allen is so good that sometimes it makes me sick.’ It’s a 19-year-old talking about a guy back home who is so sweet, so good.”

One summer during college, working as a tutor in rural Greenville, Ala., Williams wrote of the poverty she saw all around her, the children without shoes, the children who always went hungry. That there is little mention of segregation in those Jim Crow days is not surprising, Edwards says, given that a black college campus was some­thing of a secluded haven in which students, unlike working-class blacks, rarely mixed with whites in any setting.

Edwards is writing a lengthy introduction that will frame her mother’s diary within the context of the prevailing social and economic forces in Alabama in those years. “I want it to illuminate the life of an African-American college woman during the Depres­sion,” she says. “It says something about the aspirations of the black working class, particularly in the South.”

For years Edwards kept the 4-by-6-inch, 200-page diary with the green leather cover harbored in a safe-deposit box. On occasion she would read portions aloud at community events near her home in Montclair, N.J.

“The passages I’ve read really resonated with young women in particular,” she says. “But also my age mates would say that my mother’s life looked very much like their mothers’ or grandmothers’ or aunts.’”—Christopher Hann

Continuing Education

Doug Simon’s life, post Drew, involves teaching international relations—and keeping up with grandbabies.

Simon, here with granddaughter Abbey, will lecture on U.S. foreign policy at Homecoming Weekend, September 25. Photo by Bill Cardoni.

Retirement? What retirement? Since he stepped away from the workaday world in 2005, Professor Emeritus of Political Science Douglas W. Simon has hardly slowed down, delivering lectures, traveling extensively and happily indulging the grandkids.

An expert in international relations and foreign policy, Simon also maintains his ties to Drew, serving on the Alumni College Com­mittee board, conducting seminars at Homecoming and lecturing to Drew’s alumni chapter in Washington, D.C. Earlier this year Congressional Quarterly Press published a new edition of The Challenge of Politics: An Introduction to Political Science, a textbook Simon co-wrote with two Drew colleagues, former Associate Political Science Professor Joseph Romance and the late Neal Riemer, a professor of political philosophy. The book had five earlier editions, beginning in 1986. “It’s had a long life,” Simon says. “We’re all pretty proud of that.”

Simon and his wife, Susan, a retired high school math teacher, have traveled throughout Europe, he says, becoming especially fond of riverboat cruises. One took them to Holland and Belgium. Another, down the Danube, stopped in a half-dozen countries. The Simons had planned to move back to the West Coast when they retired—he grew up in Berkeley, Calif.—but those plans were derailed. Simon’s first grandchild, Riley, was born the year he retired, and the second, Abbey, in January. And they live just 20 minutes away. “We’re not going back to the West Coast,” he says. “We’re staying here.”—Christopher Hann

Consciousness of Stream

Catherine Riihimaki’s research is all about flow.

Riihimaki’s work this summer in Glacier National Park helped fill in data gaps for 24 Drew Magazine lakes in the northern Rockies. Photo courtesy Catherine Riihimaki.

Drew’s tree-lined campus may seem an unlikely place to study glaciers, but that’s because you don’t know Catherine Riihimaki, an assistant professor in the biology department and environmental studies and sustainability program.

The Connecticut-born geologist, whose Finnish name is pronounced “Ree-hee-mackie,” arrived at Drew in 2008, via Bryn Mawr College, the University of California at Santa Cruz and Williams College. She has a decade-plus record of studying water—frozen and otherwise—from Alaska to New Mexico in a quest to learn how it shapes landscapes through geological time. Research just this past summer put her in a boat in Montana’s Glacier National Park, taking samples of a lake bed to document glacial erosion.

“We’re looking back through time at things like climate change. We’re learning how and why climate changed in the past and what we can expect in the future,” says Riihimaki.

How do her glacial interests out West square with working in New Jersey? Besides the fact that she’s out in the field only about 15 percent of the time, “I love the liberal arts environment,” she says. “My research is asking big-picture questions and using lots of different tools to answer them. It’s the same with liberal arts. You are not specializing in a single track, but trying to get a diverse education. I’m a strong believer in that.”

The backpacker, marathoner, soccer player and guitarist also loves Drew’s setting near New York City and glacial features like Jockey Hollow, the Delaware Water Gap and the Great Swamp.

“Plus, here’s a funny little tidbit,” says Riihimaki. “The Drew campus sits exactly where the big ice sheet ended during the last ice age. Route 124 is the edge of what was glaciated. That’s an exciting feature I wasn’t expecting.”—Bill Haduch

Where Art Is at Home

Now retired, Phil Peek sinks deep into African culture and folklore.

Peek now has plenty of space for his art collection in his new home in New Hampshire. Photo by Bill Cardoni.

Upon retiring last year after nearly three decades at Drew, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology Philip Peek and his wife, Pat C’80, a longtime Drew staff member, built a house on Hermit Lake in Sanbornton, N.H. Pat grew up in New Hampshire, and their daughter, Megan, lives in Burlington, Vt.

“Thus, the choice,” Peek writes in a recent email. “Two granddaughters are a real draw.”

The Peeks met while both were in the Peace Corps in Nigeria in the 1960s, an experience that inspired their passion for African arts and crafts—pottery and basketry, textiles and carvings, masks and metal work and much more. They returned to Africa often, always adding to their collection, and from time to time at Drew Peek curated exhibits of their holdings. They even designed their new home with ample space to display the pieces, most prominently along the walls of a 30-foot-long gallery and atop the shelves that encircle the 16-by-24-foot great room. “It gives us history,” Peek says of the works. “It gives us the social customs of people. It’s data in one sense, but it’s also beautiful to look at.”

In retirement, Peek’s scholarship on African culture has hardly skipped a beat. Next spring Indiana University Press will publish a book Peek edited, Twins in Afri­can and Diaspora Cultures: Double Trouble, Twice Blessed, in which 15 essayists from America, Europe and Africa explore the two-sided traditions of twins in Africa, where they can be regarded as a gift from God or a threat to the social order.

For the Peeks, the travel bug still bites. Over the summer they traveled to Portugal, where Phil lectured on African divination and twins at the University of Lisbon, then to England, then to Amsterdam, where they met up with their son, Nathan, and their one-year-old grandson.

Peek says he misses teaching and interacting with students, something he did as much outside the classroom as in it. After all, Pat had worked in student activities and alumni relations, among other offices, and he’d led Drew International Sem­inars in Eritrea, Ghana and London. In 1974, in the backyard of their home in Madison, N.J., he and Pat played host to the inaugural FAP.

Anything about Drew he doesn’t miss? That’s easy: “I do not miss marking papers.”—Christopher Hann

She Keeps Moving

Dance instructor Cheryl Clark’s work leaps across theatrical disciplines.

Clark helped lead a workshop this summer at the Manhattan-based Movement Research, a lab for dance experimentation. Photo by Bill Cardoni.

Cheryl Clark’s work as a dance instructor and movement teacher allows her to interact with scores of Drew students—she oversees two dance concerts each school year—as well as a roster of private clients that includes the former Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Barbara Smith Conrad. In August, at Conrad’s invitation, Clark attended the New York City International Film Festival premiere of When I Rise, a documentary about Conrad, who in 1957, as a 17-year-old sophomore at the University of Texas, became an unwitting hero of the Civil Rights movement. An African American, Conrad won the female lead of an opera, but the university removed her from the cast because her love interest was a white student.

“I’ve been working with her on integrating the body into vocal techniques,” Clark says. “She and I have been collaborating together for many years. It’s one of the more personally satisfying aspects of my work.”

An adjunct instructor at Drew for nine years, Clark teaches contemporary dance, choreography and “Movement for the Musical Stage.” This year, she’ll also work with Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Andrew Elliott to present The Killing Game by Eugene Ionesco.

“One of the things I’ve been doing for a long time is helping actors create movement choices,” Clark says. “As much as I love dance, not many actors need to pir­ou­ette on stage. But they do need to know how their character walks or whether they gesture a lot.”—Christopher Hann

Scientific Method(ist)

In 2008, Drew gave Fenstermacher an Alumni Achievement in the Sciences award. Photo by Bill Cardoni.

Bob Fenstermacher C’63 isn’t letting retirement stop him from planning a thoughtful expansion of the Hall of Sciences.

He joined the Drew faculty as a physics instru­c­tor in the fall of 1968, when the Apollo program was preparing to rocket humans around the moon, and Drew’s Hall of Sciences building had just opened its doors for the first time. Forty-two years later in 2010, Professor of Physics and Robert Fisher Oxnam Professor of Science and Society Robert L. Fenstermacher has been lauded for making much happen behind those doors—and he’s not finished yet.

In May, “Dr. F” was celebrated for being the face of Drew physics for nearly a half century. (His 46 years on campus include his under­grad work at Drew before heading to Penn State for his Ph.D.) His accomplishments can fill pages, but here’s a quick summary: Founded the Drew Observatory. Served as founding director of the New Jersey Governor’s School in the Sciences. Taught countless students “How Things Work,” his beloved physics-for-nonscience-majors course. Enlightened the public during endless open houses and astronomy events. And that’s on top of just being an all-around great guy.

New to his retired status, Fenstermacher was recently found on a Saturday afternoon tinkering at the Drew Observatory. He seems amused that he’s now co-chairing the planning effort to expand the Hall of Sci­ences, noting that the lifetime of the building correlates exactly with his teaching lifetime at Drew. “It’s part of the capital campaign, and we’re moving along, meeting with architects, considering all the alternatives,” he says. “It’s a fair amount of work, about equal to a part-time job.” He hopes to teach “How Things Work” this academic year and explore the idea of teaching one or two classes while doing other things.

What makes him especially proud is the new Robert L. Fenstermacher Summer Research Fellowship, which will begin next year, supporting two student physics researchers. The gift, whose committee is chaired by David McIntyre C’86, has already surpassed $110,000 and continues to grow.—Bill Haduch


The Faculty A–Z

Senior pastor at the First Pres­by­terian Church in Irvington, N.J., Ebenezer Addo (Pan-African Studies) and his congregation hosted 10 students and two faculty  from Achimota Senior High School in Ghana this summer as part of an international exchange program. The group met with Jon­athan Levin, dean of the Col­lege of Liberal Arts, and admissions staff.

Christopher Apelian and Steve Surace (Mathematics and Com­puter Science) published Real and Complex Analysis (Chapman & Hall) last year. The textbook explores the connections and differences of both real analysis and complex analysis, topics usually presented separately. The authors got help from Madison, N.J., resident Akhil Mathew, who began taking mathematics courses at Drew while in middle school. He won third prize in the Intel Science Talent Search this year and entered Harvard this fall.

Lee Arnold. Photo by Shelley Kusnetz.

This summer, deep in the woods of New Hampshire, Lee Arnold (Art) had two luxurious weeks to work on his photography, animation and videos at the prestigious MacDowell Colony, the country’s oldest artists’ colony. Then in August, he began a second residency on Gov­er­nor’s Island, spon­sored by the Lower Man­hattan Cultural Council.

A Matter of Life and Death, Marc Boglioli’s examination of hunting in modern-day Vermont, was pub­­lished a year ago by the University of Massachusetts Press. During spring break this year, Boglioli (Anthropology) took students to eastern Kentucky to learn about mountaintop removal and the coal industry. “It was a great trip that will probably be made into a yearly civic engagement offering at Drew,” says Boglioli.

A former media executive at NBC, Scott Bonn (Sociology) started at Drew in 2007. His latest book, Mass Deception: Moral Panic and the Iraq War (Rutgers), argues that the Bush administration and the news media created a “public panic” to manipulate opinion surrounding the war.

Lisa Brenner. Photo by Shelley Kusnetz.

Lisa Brenner (Theatre Arts) wrote about her play Katrina: The K Word, which has been performed in colleges and universities in 12 states and Washington, D.C., in the March issue of Trans­for­ma­tions, a journal on pedagogy.

Got apps? Or at least an idea for one? Barry Burd (Mathematics and Computer Science) is offering a course on developing cell phone applications. The course teaches students how to create a new app for an iPhone, BlackBerry or Android.

Chris Ceraso (Theatre Arts) can easily lay claim to the title “star of stage and screen.” He appeared in Ibsen’s Master Builder with the Resonance Ensemble in New York City and in Law & Order’s final epi­sode, in which he played a public school supervisor who refused to let detectives talk to a teacher suspected of planting a bomb in a school. (His most memorable line: “Bombthreats are a serious matter, but union lawyers are more serious.”) Over the years, he appeared in five Law & Order episodes and is sad to see the series end. He also had his full-length play, Heaven Knows, presented by New York’s Ensemble Studio Theatre.

Nora Colton. Photo by Shelley Kusnetz.

Nora Colton (Economics) is on a year’s leave, heading up international partnerships and joint-degree programs at the Royal Docks Business School at the Univer­sity of East London. She is also awaiting the release of her new book, The Political Economy of Yemen (Palgrave-Macmillan), in October.

Elise DuBord (Spanish) gave birth to Ramona Marie on Jan. 13, 2010.

Leave it to Louis Hamilton (Religious Studies) to make a book about Italy’s Catholic churches of the high Middle Ages a com­pelling read. In his new book, A Sacred City: Consecrating Churches and Reforming Society in 11th-Century Italy (Manchester University Press), Hamilton examines the conflict between the papacy and the emperor of that era, wrought by rapid demographic expansion, urbanization and religious reforms. Pope Gregory VII and Germany’s Henry IV had locked horns over who would control the church, lead­ing to violence among the citizenry and even the destruction of churches.

George-Harold Jennings. Photo by Shelley Kusnetz.

George-Harold Jennings’ book Passages Beyond the Gate: A Jungian Approach to Understanding American Psychology was published in July by University Press of America. In it, Jennings (Psychology) argues that deeper exploration of spirituality is needed to more fully understand psychology.

Last spring, Minjoon Kouh (Physics) rolled out a new course called “Computational Neuroscience” to help students understand the brain as a computational organ as well as how to use computers to advance neuroscience.

Lydia Ledeen. Photo by Shelley Kusnetz.

When Lydia Ledeen (Music) was in second grade, she fell in love with Beethoven but was devastated by the fact that he had been nearly deaf and had considered suicide. So she vowed to him (or at least to his spirit) that she would always be his friend. Ledeen, who recently retired from Drew, made good on that promise, collecting cadenzas written for Beethoven’s piano concerti for the past 35 years. She has collected more than 100 cadenzas and hopes to find a publisher for the collection.

John Lenz (Classics) and Robert Ready (Donald R. and Winifred B. Baldwin Pro­fessor of Human­ities) spent nine days in Turkey in May to plan a future Drew International Seminar. Lenz and Ready have led two successful seminars to Greece and are intrigued by the similarities and differences between the two countries.

Well before the James Cameron blockbuster was released, Norman Lowrey (Music) was performing with a group called Avatar Orchestra Metaverse in the virtual realm of Second Life. Audiences in Canada, Europe and Japan have watched the performances by orchestra members, who play virtually, from locations all over the world. (Go to; click on Virtual Realities.)

In the two years since it was established, public health has quickly become a popular minor at Drew. Afeworki Mascio (Biology), one of the minor’s architects, said this fall’s group includes 60 students, plus several on a waiting list.

Maria Masucci. Photo by Shelley Kusnetz.

This past summer Maria Masucci (Anthropology) and four Drew students traveled to Ecuador to establish a NASA-sponsored community-technology initiative. The group helped a small village there build and equip a technology center to introduce local elementary pupils to computer technology.

Patrick McGuinn (Political Science) wrapped up a yearlong fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where he worked on a new book on federal education policy. Over the summer, he prepared a report for the American Enterprise Institute on President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top, a competitive school-reform grant program. And last January, he and his family welcomed their fourth daughter, Payton.

Rosemary McLaughlin (Theatre Arts) is working on a play set in the early 20th-century salons of intelligentsia like Mabel Dodge and those of Greenwich Village, where movers and shakers like Eugene O’Neill and Dorothy Day hung out. This fall, she’s teaching a new course, “Enter Laughing: Women, Men and Comedy.” “To get an A,” McLaughlin says, “students will have to make me laugh. A lot.”

Joanna Miller (Biology) published RNA Interference and Model Organ­isms (Jones & Bartlett) over the summer. Unlocking the secrets of ribonucleic acid (RNA) interference—when RNA silences gene expression, such as when a body fights a virus—may help researchers find new ways to fight such diseases as cancer and HIV.

In 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document crafted by an international group, including Eleanor Roosevelt, to reject the horrors of WWII. Hans Morsink (Political Science) painstakingly examines what the document’s drafters intended in his recent book, Inherent Human Rights: Philosophical Roots of the Univer­sal Declaration (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009).

Frank Occhiogrosso. Photo by Shelley Kusnetz.

Frank Occhiogrosso (English) has collected papers from a seminar he led at the International Shakespeare Conference in Stratford-upon-Avon into a book, Shakespeare Closely Read: The Written and Performance Texts (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press), due out soon.

Emanuele Occhipinti (French and Italian) led his fifth summer program in Venice this year. In addition to language and culture courses, the program includes an exchange with Italian university students, a mask-making workshop, a trip to Murano and a weekend in Florence.

Good thing for Drew there are so few trees in Dallas. Otherwise, Pfeiffer Professor of Religious Studies James Pain would not be marking his 56th year teaching here. Many years ago, Pain was offered a job at a school in Dallas. Pain seriously considered accepting the job, but upon returning to Drew after his interview, he noticed how beautiful the trees were and how he’d seen barely any trees in Dallas. So Pain turned down the offer and never looked back. Now 80, Pain keeps up a robust teaching schedule and continues to lead the weekly celebration of the Eucharist, something he’s done for the past 40 years or so. With a chuckle, he notes, “I’m a monument to inertia.”

Alan Rosan. Photo by Shelley Kusnetz.

Alan Rosan (Chemistry) is teaching a new course this fall: “Introduction to Green Materials, Pro­cesses and Alternatives.” The course focuses on the emerging imperative for design, production, use and evaluation of greener products and practices.

Ann Saltzman (Psychology) welcomed her first grandchild Sept. 17, 2009. Lena Ruby Wangerin lives in Queens with her mom and dad.

The American poet Elizabeth Bishop, long celebrated as a master of visually rich poetry, was just as concerned with the “surface” of a poem and what it can convey as a painter is with the surface of a canvas, says Peggy Samuels (English), author of Deep Skin: Elizabeth Bishop and Visual Art (Cornell University Press, 2010). Samuels argues that Bishop strove to emulate artists such as Paul Klee, Kurt Schwitters and Alexander Calder, who experimented with tactility and depth in their work. In other news, Samuels’ daughter, Ella, entered Pomona College this fall.

Psychology’s Robin Timmons’ daughter, Emily Hamilton C’04, was married July 31 in Red Wing, Minn. Laura Conger C’04 and Jen Dorenbosch C’04 were bridesmaids.

Carol Ueland (Russian) presented a paper at the VIII World Congress of the International Council for Central and East European Studies in Stockholm. Ueland traced how Russians who ended up in China after the Bolshevik Revolution saw themselves vis-à-vis the local Chinese population. When the center of the emigration was in Harbin, they saw themselves as Europeans. This sense of identity, however, became problematic when the Japanese invasion of Manchuria forced them to move to Shanghai, where they were often viewed as non-European by the local European population.

Who’s New?

Four full-time, tenure-track CLA faculty start at Drew this fall. Photos courtesy of faculty members.

Edward Baring

Department: History
Coming from: Princeton University Writing Program
Ph. D.: Harvard University

Grew up in: Wiltshire, England

Academic specialty: Intellectual history of Europe, particularly the impact of religion and empire on modern thought

Enthusiasm: Playing piano at home in secret

Anoop Mirpuri
Department: English
Coming from: University of Virginia, where he was a research fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies
Ph.D.: University of Washington-Seattle
Drew up in: Los Angeles
Academic specialty: 20th-century American literature and cultural studies
Obsession: Los Angeles sport teams, namely, the Dodgers and the Lakers

Giandomenico Sarolli
Department: Economics; will co-direct the Wall Street Semester
Coming from: Washing & Lee University, where he was a visiting professor
Ph.D.: University of Virgina
Grew up in: Yonkers, N.Y.
Academic specialty: Macroeconomics and financial markets
New skill: Because his family owns a vineyard near Milan, he has become an expert in winemaking, primarily pinot noir and cabernet

Rebecca Soderholm
Department: Art
Coming from: Yale University
M.F.A.: Yale University
Grew up in: Central Square, N.Y.
Artistic specialty: Primarily photographing people living in tough corners of the Northeast
Hidden talents: Scoring high in Pac-Man, winning office baby pools, chopping firewood

2 Responses to “The Faculty Files”

  1. Alan Ward says:

    I’m trying to track Joe Romance down. Is he still at Drew?

    Alan Ward

  2. I’m very happy that you said this post!

    -Yours truly

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