National Media Focused on College's Expanded Access in 2015
This year the national media highlighted the college’s focus on expanding access and equalizing experiences on campus in several major articles. Outlets featuring these Hamilton policies and programs included The Chronicle of Higher Education, Huffington Post and the Hechinger Report. The college also received broad national media attention most recently with the announcement of its incoming president, David Wippman, via an Associated Press news story.
In a Hechinger Report interview with President Joan Stewart published in March titled “Can a small, rural college that eliminated merit aid survive — and thrive? Hamilton College president makes the case,” Stewart discussed the importance of the endowment and fund-raising in enabling the college to maintain its focus on expanding access. A May Chronicle of Higher Education story titled “At Hamilton College, Top Administrators Were Themselves First-Generation Students” examined challenges first-generation students face and how Hamilton’s programs – including First-Year-Forward, SEAS and the universal orientation program – address them. Hamilton’s need-blind admission policy was the centerpiece of a December Huffington Post article titled “How One Top College Ended A Policy That Weeded Out Poor Students.” The article included comments from Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Monica Inzer, Stewart and students. Kicking off the new year, a January 2016 Huffington Post article titled The Year of Liberal Arts Colleges -- 6 Predictions for 2016 also referenced Hamilton's need-blind policy.
The announcement of David Wippman as Hamilton’s incoming 20th president received broad local media coverage as well as national attention as a result of an Associated Press wire story that appeared in venues from San Francisco to Maine. Politico Pro also mentioned the announcement in its online newsletter.
Faculty expert comments, letters to the editor, and opinion submissions added to college media attention. News outlets perennially seek Hamilton faculty expert input on political issues. As the election cycle has gained momentum, Philip Klinkner, the James S. Sherman Professor of Government, has been quoted in The New Yorker, the National Journal, Vox, The Atlantic, Chicago Tribune, and the Christian Science Monitor on issues related to various races and strategies. Tavis Smiley, the eponymous late night talk show host, interviewed Klinkner for a segment on civil rights broadcast on PBS last summer.
The economy is another major area for which media seek faculty expert opinion. Ann Owen, Henry Platt Bristol Professor of Economics, was featured numerous times on American Public Media’s Marketplace*, which is heard on hundreds of public radio stations across the country. She explained possible Federal Reserve decisions and their probable effects on the economy. Owen’s comments on the Fed for a Reuters wire story appeared in publications around the world.
Walcott-Bartlett Professor of Ethics and Christian Evidences Doran Larson’s recently published collection of essays written by prisoners, Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America, was lauded in the Los Angeles Review of Books as “an important work” in an October review. In an earlier April broadcast on Public Radio International’s To the Point, Larson discussed prisoner education on a segment titled “Should we let more prisoners take college classes?” An August Chronicle of Higher Education article included Larson’s views on the value of education for prisoners.
Other faculty whose comments were read or heard by a national audience included Frank Anechiarico ’71, the Maynard-Knox Professor of Government and Law, who contributed to an NPR’s All Things Considered story about the newly conceived Museum of Political Corruption in Albany.
Professor of Sociology Dennis Gilbert’s comments appeared in a New York Times article about the middle class as well as in that publication’s letters section in response to another article about class distinctions. He was also quoted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution about the middle class and by Politico about his experiences with Bernie Sanders, a candidate in the Democratic presidential race who taught briefly at the college.
Maurice Isserman, the Publius Virgilius Rogers Professor of American History, discussed mountain climbing in a Bloomberg News article and reviewed Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence in The New York Times Sunday Book Review in May.
Daniel Chambliss, the Eugene M. Tobin Distinguished Professor of Sociology, discussed the key ingredients of a college experience that keep students engaged and motivated on the Academic Minute, a nationally syndicated public radio program, in May. He was also quoted in a Chronicle of Higher Education article titled “Students’ College Choices Aren’t Totally Rational” in the same month.
Associate Visiting Professor of Religious Studies S. Brent Plate and Assistant Professor of Photography Rob Knight published a letter to the editor in The Wall Street Journal (available to subscribers only) about their research on the transition of sacred spaces in January. Plate published “The Religion of Oliver Sacks” in the Huffington Post and was quoted extensively in The Atlantic in “The Death of an Underdog in American Art” about legacy of the Museum of Biblical Arts.
Administrators participating in media stories included Vice President of Admission and Financial Aid Monica Inzer who was presented, along with moderator and former Chronicle of Higher Education Executive Editor Jeff Selingo, in a Chronicle webinar titled "Navigating the New Admissions Landscape." Inzer was also quoted by the Chronicle in an article titled “Getting inside the head of an applicant” in which she discussed the role of data in making decisions.
President Stewart added her voice to those critical of the U.S. Treasury Department’s decision to change Alexander Hamilton’s position on the $10 bill. Her letter to the editor in The New York Times noted that “Alexander Hamilton’s rise to eminence exemplifies exactly the ideals that this immigrant nation has always espoused … he went on to become one of the men most influential to the independence and formation of the new Republic.”
National Public Radio’s Here & Now news show featured a portion of an interview with Dean of Students Nancy Thompson on August 21 in a segment titled “There Are 3 Ways to Get a College Roommate. Which Is Best?” during which Thompson discussed Hamilton’s residential life philosophy.
Vice President of the Library and Information Technology Services David Smallen along with President Stewart were quoted extensively in an InsideHigherEd feature about the merger of Hamilton’s library and ITS departments.
Director of Outdoor Leadership Andrew Jillings spoke to USA Today about what it took to prepare for the 46-peak weekend during which 150 students climbed in the Adirondacks.
A letter by Senior Director of Media Relations Vige Barrie about a Levitt Youth Poll was included in The New York Times in January.
Financial Times’ Fundfire (no link available) and Chief Investment Officer highlighted the hiring of Anne Dinneen as the college’s chief investment officer.
The Wellin Museum of Art was mentioned and featured in multiple arts publications throughout the year. Among the more prominent pieces were the museum’s selection by national award-winning art blog Hyperallergic as having one of the top 10 exhibitions in the nation this year as well as The Art Newspaper’s interview with exhibiting artists Karen Hampton and Renee Stout (no link available).
Throughout the year there appear stories about alumni in which Hamilton is mentioned. Perhaps the most dramatic was a feature article that occupied the entire front page of The Wall Street Journal’s Weekend Review section in May titled “Operation Lost in Translation.” The lengthy piece, available online to subscribers only, chronicled 2004 alumnus Matt Zeller’s efforts to get U.S. Army Afghan and Iraqi translators, endangered in their own countries, to this country via his non-profit organization No One Left Behind.
Finally, on a much lighter note, a New York Times feature article titled “Butterflies in Your Stomach” spotlighted Club Ento, a campus organization whose goals are “to increase awareness of and access to edible insects and their benefits and to lower both the intellectual and physical barriers to entomophagy (the consumption of insects).” The article included a Sean Smith ’15 photograph.
*These are links to additional Marketplace interviews with Professor Ann Owen: