Alumni Necrology

Patty Ann Coleman K'76

Patty Ann Coleman K'76, associate professor emerita at the University of Maine, who gained recognition for her achievements in the field of social work and as an advocate for the disabled, was born on September 11, 1953, in Concord, MA. Her father was John R. Coleman, president of Haverford College who famously took a ­sabbatical to engage in blue-collar work, and who wrote a widely noted book about it. Her mother was Mary Irwin Coleman Murray, an artist. Having learned at the family dinner table that "you have to get out in the community and make things happen," Patty Coleman led Democrat George McGovern's presidential campaign in heavily Republican Delaware County while still a teenager in 1972.

Having concluded her ­secondary education at Friends Select School in Philadelphia, Patty Coleman entered Kirkland College from Haverford, PA, in the spring of 1973. She concentrated in psychology and sociology, and was graduated in 1976. While at Kirkland she "came out" regarding her homosexual orientation and formed a lesbian counseling group that met secretly for a while off-campus and later became more visible and vocal on the Hill. She also led an effort to add sexual orientation to Kirkland's official anti-discrimination policy, a proposal that was not acted upon at that time.

After leaving the Hill, Patty Coleman worked as a counselor at a clinic in Philadelphia. She subsequently began studies at the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research at Byrn Mawr College, where she earned her M.S.S. degree in 1980 and her Ph.D. in 1989, both in social work. Meanwhile, she remained actively engaged in advocacy organizations in the Philadelphia community and was president of Women Organized Against Rape.

From 1984 to 1989, Patty Coleman was an instructor and later assistant professor in the social work program at La Salle University in Philadelphia. There she became acting director of the program as well as director of the program in women's studies. In 1989, she joined the faculty of the School of Social Work at the University of Maine. Within two years, largely as a result of her efforts, its recently established master's program won national accreditation. As co-chair of the University's equal opportunity advisory committee, she also helped lead efforts to expand ­initiatives in that area.

Patty Coleman, who became widely known and admired as a role model within the state's ­community of social workers, many of whom were her former students, also gained recognition for her advocacy on behalf of ­persons with disabilities. Having been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 29, she knew from personal experience of their need for the public's understanding, and she regularly spoke to groups throughout the state in efforts to promote that understanding. She also served for two years as consultant to the national President's Committee on Employ­ment of People with Disabilities.

Honored in 1998 for her ­professional achievements by the Maine chapter of the National Association of Social Workers as its Social Worker of the Year, Patty Coleman retired that year from Maine's faculty, her physical condition no longer manageable because of M.S. Dubbed by the Association as "a gentle warrior for social justice," she left a legacy of activism among her former students, having taught them the value of commitment to social causes and collective action in furthering them.

Patty A. Coleman, who had endured the ravages of M.S. for more than 26 years, died on November 2, 2008, while hospitalized in Bangor, ME, of cardiac arrest. In addition to her parents, she is survived by her life partner, Ann Blumer, and two brothers and a sister, John M., Stephen W., and Nancy J. Coleman.
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Michael Julien Van Audenhove '79

Michael Julien Van Audenhove '79, who had settled in Switzerland, where he became a well known cartoonist, was born in Raleigh, NC, on May 20, 1957. The eldest child of immigrant ­parents from Belgium, Jacques C., a textile chemist and corporate executive, and Elise Sidonie Van Audenhove, he grew up in a home where Flemish was spoken. Adding to his youthful cosmo­politan experiences, he often traveled to Europe with his family to visit relatives. When "Mike" Van Audenhove was 10 years old, his family moved to Switzerland, his father having been transferred there by his company. Young Mike attended an international school, Institut-Montana, in Zugerberg. With students drawn from many countries, it further familiarized him with various ­cultures and national mores.

Mike Van Audenhove, who had "gorged" himself on Marvel comics and Peanuts as a boy living in the U.S., began to draw cartoons at the age of 12. His ambition was to become a comic illustrator. After enrolling at Hamilton from Cham, Switzerland, in 1975, he drew cartoons for The Spectator and also became the arts editor of the student publication Daily Planet. In addition, he played intramural volleyball and served as president of the Coop.

After his graduation cum laude in 1979 with a double major in studio art and economics, Mike Van Audenhove, motivated by "homesickness," returned to Switzerland, where he took a series of "dead end" jobs, including baker, roofer, and carpenter. During those years as an "outsider" viewing the Swiss from inside, he was able to observe the quirks and foibles that they could not see in themselves. His cartoons began to appear in print in 1988. In 1996, he launched a weekly cartoon series in the Zürich Tages-Anzeiger that chronicled the foibles of its citizenry. It was called "Zürich by Mike." His satirical sendups of Zürich society quickly gained a cult following among the locals in Switzerland's largest city, and his cartoons have been collected in several anthologies.

Michael J. Van Audenhove died in the southern Swiss village of Cavigliano on March 8, 2009, following a stroke. With his passing, the Tages-Anzeiger noted that "Switzerland loses a great comic artist and for those who knew him, a great and generous man." The College has no information on survivors.
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Arthur Paul Comolli III '79

Arthur Paul Comolli III '79, a building superintendent, was born on September 2, 1957, in Syracuse, NY. The son of Arthur P., an insurance executive, and ­Patricia Sinnett Comolli, a lecturer on art history, he grew up in ­Radnor, PA, outside of Philadelphia, where his family had relocated when he was a year old. An avid soccer player and co-captain of the ski and tennis teams while at Radnor High School, Arthur Comolli, known as "Slim," came to College Hill following his graduation from Radnor in 1975. He continued to play soccer at Hamilton and, majoring in biology, was graduated in 1979.

The College lost contact with Arthur Comolli after he left the Hill. According to his newspaper obituary, he eventually moved to Oregon and took up residence in Bend. There he worked for Land­systems Nursery and as a lift operator at the Mt. Bachelor ski area. A versatile athlete, he ran track, skied competitively, and enjoyed sailing. He also enjoyed hiking in the back country with his dogs. Most of all, as mentioned in the obituary, he loved books and talking philosophy over an ever-present cup of coffee with friends, who were drawn to him by his generosity and wry sense of humor.

Arthur P. Comolli had just recently moved to Enterprise, OR, in the northeastern corner of that state, and was superintendent of EM&M Apartments there when he died on November 23, 2008. He is survived by two sisters, Priscilla Fitzsimmons and Susan Davis, as well as nephews and nieces.
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Contact Information

Stacey Himmelberger

Editor, Hamilton Alumni Review
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
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