Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spring Pause is what they are calling it here

On Friday we had the first day of what is a three-class day Spring Break for Coker College. Hard to call it spring with the cooler temperatures we have been enjoying this winter. It is up to 55 today and that would be a good Spring day for upstate NY but a bit on the cool side for Hartsville, SC. We got Friday off, will get Monday off and Tuesday with classes resuming again on Wednesday. Will it be enough time to catch up; that is my big question? One good thing is that we finished phone interviews with potential new communication professors last week and will be able to do reference checks during this short break.

But, not everyone gets a break. The baseball team had a three game series with Pieffer College this weekend. Both the basketball teams finished the regular season on Saturday afternoon. The golf team is readying for a tournament this weekend and the beginning of the week. The Coker Chamber Singers were performing in NYC over this break. Professor Jean Grosser took a number of art students and art-interested students to NYC for immersion in art. But this is our Spring Break, so let's ENJOY!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Coker College Chamber Singers in NYC snow

Will Carswell, director of choral activities at Coker College, sent back a quick update on the trip, which was mentioned in this blog on Thursday. Here is his note so you can see what is happening. Do you think the students will be talking about the Carnegie Deli performance for pretty much the rest of their lives -- talk about a college memory:

FROM WILL CARSWELL: We arrived in the city with over a foot of new snow (adding to the foot from the day before!). We have since seen about 18" fall --but it has not slowed us down! Yesterday we sang at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church and an impromptu concert at Carnegie Deli, of all places. The owner came out and talked with the students then pretty much stopped the business in order that all the customers listen to us sing. It was pretty amazing. We are going to have a 8 X 10 photo of the choir with the owner (Sandy Levine) placed on the wall with all the other 'famous' people. We have toured Carnegie Hall where the students were treated to surprise rehearsal by composer Philip Glass (who performed a concert at Carnegie last night as a fundraiser for the Tibet House here in NY). We are heading to the former World Trade Center site and Chinatown this morning. Tonight we have a 3 hour dinner cruise (singing involved) around the harbor with dinner, dancing, and entertainment. Tomorrow we sing at the 11:00 am service at The Riverside Church (church of the Rockafellers) on the upper east side followed by a private reception/concert at the home of Jack and Anne Linville (great supporters of the college) who have a beautiful home on Central Park West. Okay, got to run.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Night Student Finishes last class at Coker College

Captain John McLeod just turned in his final exam in Communication 101 about five minutes ago and that was his last classroom act as an undergraduate. Tonight he finished his requirements for a Coker College degree. John is the Patrol Captain for the Darlington County Sheriff's Department and he has been attending Coker's night program to get his degree in Criminology. Just before we started the exam this evening the class gave him a round of applause for this accomplishment. Most of the night students are what we term "non traditional" in that in addition to pursuing a college degree most of them have families, have full-time jobs and usually a lot of other things going on. But, these night students come to Coker because of the need for a degree. The really interesting thing is that when they leave Coker, many of them take with them a major surprise -- they have found out how much fun learning has been and can be. I was hoping we have a little video here so you can hear that message directly from Captain McLeod but he finished the exam and is probably doing some of his own celebrating. We asked him what he thought as he started this last exam and his words were something like --"It has really passed by fast!" Congratulations to Captain McLeod.

Coker Chamber Singers heading to NYC

There was quite a bit of unusual activity on the Coker campus this morning (2-25-10) as lots of students were heading toward the parking lot with good size suit cases and heavy coats and jackets. Today is the day before the beginning of a very abbreviated Spring Break at Coker but it is still unusual for students to be moving quite that quickly before 8 a.m.

The students were all members of the Coker Chamber Singers who are heading to an action-packed Spring Break in New York City where they will be performing at several churches and in a couple of more private Chamber events. The students are excited and their flight leaves Charlotte later today. As I wished Will Carswell, the Director of Choral Activities, a great break he mentioned that NYC is getting some more winter so he knows there is an adventure in store. Adam Johnson, a senior communication major, said he would be blogging about the trip so maybe we can share some of the adventure with the Coker Chamber Singers.

And, the Singers will not be the only Coker students in NYC for the next few days. Jean Grosser, chair of the Coker Art Department, is taking a group of students on what is almost an annual tour of art museums and other venues in the city where she grew up. And, last night at the Coker Basketball game Dr. Robert Wyatt, Coker's president, said he was going to be attending at least one of the performances in New York at the home of one of the college's great supporters.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sporting Kind of Night At Coker College

The Coker College Conference Championship-winning soccer team was presented the Championship Banner during half time of the Coker/Pieffer basketball game on February 24.

Henna Koponen Sets Scoring Record

In the last home game of her four-years as a Coker College basketball player Henna Koponen of Finland set the Coker College Women's all-time scoring record as she had 1462 points going into the second half.
Henna wears #14.

Coker College competes at the Division II Level in the Conference Carolinas. The Cobra women were saying good bye this evening to seniors Lotta Aaltonen of Rauman, Finland, Henna Koponen of Vantta, Finland, Keisha Beavers of Williamstown, New Jersey, A.G. Stanciauskaite of Silute, Lithuania and Heidi Reinstra of Brockville, Ontario, Canada.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Yesterday, 5 inches of snow; today we have softball at Coker College

Coker opened its softball season with a one-run win against Wingate University in the opening game and were in a tight game toward the end of the second game on Sunday afternoon (Valentine's Day) at the Coker College Softball field.

The temperatures were in the high 40s but the fans seemed ready for some softball.

Phone-A-Thon for Coker College termed Success

The Coker College Phone-A-Thon last week was a major success, recording one of the largest Phone-A-Thon totals. The success of the phone-a-thon is good news for Coker and we hope it is a bellwether for giving to Coker and to colleges.

The other day, right after the last blog about the Phone-A-Thon, my eye caught a headline on page 11 in the CHRONICLE OF PHILANTHROPY of the Feb. 11 edition: "Giving to Private College Dropped Last Year. Survey Finds." The Voluntary Support of Education survey, conducted by the Council for Aid to Education, found that donations fro July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009 dropped nearly 12%, "the steepest decline in the survey's 50-year history." This horrible year followed what was the highest total ever recorded in 2007/08 according to Kathryn Masterson, the article's author.

The increased giving in this year's Phone-A-Thon is good news for Coker. Coker is not unlike other colleges in depending on alumni contributions to help build areas like the annual scholarship funds. The Chronicle article noted that there has been a drop in alumni participation that is troubling for colleges, "because alumni are their largest source of contributions, making up a quarter of total giving." I have no idea what the proportions are for Coker but as a faculty member, it was good to hear of the increased giving from this year's Phone-A-Thon. As the students said when ending a positive call -- Thank you so much for your giving to Coker College.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Coker College Dance Concert Spring 2010

"Looking Back - Moving Forward is the theme of the Faculty and Guest Artist Dance Concert at Coker College that is being held Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. The first performance was on Thursday night at 8 p.m. and it was superior.

Two of the seniors in the concert asked me to serve as the non-dance faculty member for their thesis committee, giving me more than a casual interest in the concert. I am not a person who knows a great deal about contemporary dance and that would be at best an overstatement. That said, this is a concert that appears to be a showcase of contemporary dance choreography. Two of the pieces are by Angela Gallo and Erin Leigh, Coker dance faculty; two are by guest choreographers, Juli Mulvihill and Eric Blair.

Three of the pieces are the Senior Thesis choreography by Tabitha Quick -- "Unfolding Shadows Revealing Expectations;" Kaitlin Owens, "Branded Originality;" and Ashleigh Seccareccio, "Broken Bonds of Fate."

The video in this blog shows a very short clip of the warm-up routine the dancers in this concert are using to get ready for the concert. From some minimal exposure to dance concerts in the past, dancers take their warming up as a CRUCIAL function of getting ready for the performance.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Thank you so much for your contribution to Coker College

For the Wes Daniels and Lynn Blackmon of the Coker Development and Alumni offices some of the sweetest sounds they are hearing this week come from students thanking alumni for their contributions to the annual Scholarship Found through the Phone-A-Thon.

Wes Daniels said the 2010 Phone-A-Thon is a four-day event with 12 students busily dialing numbers for about three hours a night. The first two days of the event the students had raised about $6,000 even in this tough economy.

From a faculty person's perspective it was interesting to see the operation in action. It was also interesting to watch and listen to the students as they made these calls. There was a high level of energy, even after a no, or a "wrong number." And, the students on the phone sounded very energized when someone on the other end thanked them for calling and renewed their pledge.

Hope you get a feeling for some of this energy in the video from the Tuesday night calling, which is taking place from the college's new library and technology center.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Coker has opened its baseball season in 2010 with a 3-1 record as of today. On Saturday they won a hard fought double header from Chowan College. In the photo above Brian Luchsinger, first baseman from Farmingville, NY is being greeted at the plate after knocking a home run over the left field fence.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Coker College Given Chance by Golf News/Golfweek | Golfweek Spring Invitational preview

The Spring Invitational preview of a Division II Tourney down in Orlando February 7 through February 9. Coker College gets a mention in the article and also is given a chance for a win. If you follow college golf you will want to connect to this link.

Golf News | Golfweek | Golfweek Spring Invitational preview

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

We are in the Cow Days of Coker

Just a few minutes ago I ran into Dr. Fred Edinger, a geology professor at Coker, who in a previous life was working in Student Activities at Coker. He was one of the people who can take credit for the C-O-W Day events that Coker celebrates in the early days of February every year.

He said there was a group of Coker people discussing how to make things more exciting at Coker during mid-winter days of 1976. They were engaging in the brainstorming process of getting a lot of ideas on the wall. It happened to be a year like 2010, when the Winter Olympics were in Innsbruck, Austria. Someone suggested getting Innsbruck to give the Winter Games to Coker. Nope.

But, in typical brainstorming success, the idea came to create an Olympics of Winter at Coker -- hence the name Coker Olympics of Winter -- COW Days. This is COW week and lots of silly and fun things are the schedule with the COW Day games pitting class vs class on Saturday.

The video is the tall, wind driven Cow who is welcoming all to campus this Coker Olympics of Winter week.

This blog from Coker College Art Professor Jean Grosser is interesting

Professor Jean Grosser is chair of the Coker College Art Department and is also a sculptor. She has a few of her pieces featured in this blog and I believe you will agree her work has both impact and interest.

COKER COLLEGE: Bow Thai Kitchen

COKER COLLEGE: Bow Thai Kitchen

This is a really great story because these two former Coker students are defying the odds as they not only opened the restaurant, they are finding it crowded on many nights, despite a down economy. Sometimes I kid Donnie because I am fond of saying that Communication is a door-opening major and becoming a restaurant owner is certainly a door opening profession. Donnie is also a writer (don't remember if he doubled as an English major or minor) and that just demonstrates how all the classes he took helped point toward his career. I am not writing quite as much about Peet because she was not in communication and I only saw her Coker career from afar.

Both Peet and Donnie have several Coker friends helping them with the restaurant and I am guessing that as we begin to get spring visitors coming back for baseball, softball, golf, and basketball, the Bow Thai will become a destination for Coker grads over the next couple of months.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Coker College names Terrance Hayes Poet Laurete

Nationally acclaimed poet Terrance Hayes has been named the first Poet Laureate of Coker College. Hayes is a 1994 Coker graduate.

“We are honored that a writer of Terrance’s caliber will serve as his alma mater’s first poet laureate,” said Coker College President Dr. Robert Wyatt. “As one of our most distinguished graduates, it’s a pleasure to officially recognize Terrance’s success and lift him up as an example of what is right about Coker College.”

Full News Release:

The above notice comes from James Jolly in the Coker Marketing and Communication office.