Jen Bryant '82 included an excerpt from an interview with Gettysburg College that originally appeared in the Winter 2013 alumni magazine in a May 2 post on her blog, Electric Moccasin.
From Electric Moccasin:
Today’s Electric Moccasin features an interview excerpt which originally appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of Gettysburg, the alumni magazine for Gettysburg College, Jen Bryant’s alma mater.
You’ve written professionally for over 20 years. How has the digital age changed what you do?
The biggest impact has been in how I spend my time. With the advent of social networking — blogs, Facebook, Twitter — it’s become imperative for writers to stay connected with readers. We all do a lot more marketing and promotion now than we did even five years ago. On the other hand, the writing process hasn’t changed that much: although now anyone with a computer can write a “book” and call themselves an “author,” good literature still takes a long time to create. Art suffers if you try to fast-forward and cut corners.
Prof. Birkner was interviewed about his new book, James Buchanan and the Coming of the Civil War, in an April 30 post on Our War blog.
From Our War:
In a few days, I’ll post a professional appraisal of Pierce’s inability to hold his tongue during the war. For today’s post, I turned to my friend Michael Birkner, a Gettysburg College historian, for a peek at Buchanan, his fellow Pennsylvanian.
With John W. Quist, a historian at Shippensburg University, Birkner has just co-edited a book of essays on various aspects of the Buchanan presidency. The title is James Buchanan and the Coming of the Civil War. For anyone interested in the political crisis that led to the war, this is an excellent primer – and good reading, too.
One of my favorite chapters is an edited transcript of a 2008 panel discussion moderated by Quist and including two sages of 1850s American politics, William W. Freehling and Michael F. Holt. The discussion is not only crisp and enlightening; it's also funny.
Just one example: To a question about the prospects of slavery expansion into the western territories, Holt ends his answer with this observation: “If you draw the 36-degree, 30-minute line and extend it to the Pacific Ocean, as Buchanan wanted to do in the 1840s, it would hit the Pacific Ocean at the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Course.”
Michael Birkner wrote the book’s epilogue, “Buchanan’s Civil War.” I asked him this question about it:
In your essay on Buchanan’s life during the Civil War, you identify his main preoccupation as shoring up and burnishing his reputation as president. What might he have done differently to stave off the war, and how effective a case did he make in his own defense on this issue?
Here is Michael’s answer:
In sitting for interviews recently in connection with the opening of his presidential library, George W. Bush was repeatedly asked how he thought history would judge him, especially on his Iraq policy. Bush’s response was characteristic of the man: he wasn’t going to second-guess himself. He would let the historians sort things out. He was not worried about it.
Political science prof. Shirley Anne Warshaw commented on vacancies in President Obama's cabinet in an April 29 piece on NPR.
HORSLEY: Obama has since nominated women as secretary of the Interior, budget director, and EPA administrator, and he's tapped a Latino to serve as secretary of Labor. White House spokesman Jay Carney said today Obama believes diversity in his Cabinet is important to good decision-making.
Presidential scholar Shirley Anne Warshaw of Gettysburg College says, it's a balancing act for any president.
SHIRLEY ANNE WASHAW: The Cabinet, as Bill Clinton said, has to look like America. But to look like America, you don't want to go too far out of your comfort zone. You need people that you trust. You don't have to know them that well, but people that you trust.
HORSLEY: Obama spoke warmly today about his friendship with outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican congressman from the president's home state of Illinois. He praised LaHood for overse eing major road and rail repairs, and for his public campaign against distracted driving.
When LaHood's turn to speak came, he joked that White House staffers had allowed him all of one minute to say goodbye. The former congressman actually spoke for about seven minutes. But Warshaw says Cabinet members have been largely muzzled during the Obama administration because so much domestic policy is set by the White House itself.
WASHAW: This Cabinet, more than any Cabinet in many, many administrations, has not handled the public role that other Cabinets have, particularly to deflect issues away from the president. About the only time you see them talking publicly is when they're speaking before a congressional committee.
Gettysburg College was mentioned in an April 29 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article on how local organizations are preparing for high numbers of tourists in Gettysburg this summer.
From the Post-Gazette:
As two of the principals planning the 150th anniversary of one of the most important events in American history -- the Civil War battle fought in July 1863 outside this town -- they've been working for more than three years to develop programs and attractions expected to draw 4 million visitors and spenders this summer.
That job has been hectic enough, but then two weeks ago came the bombings in Boston.
Security for visitors has always been a priority for the event planners but now is even more so, with new meetings with police agencies and the public coming up, said Mr. Flowers, president of the Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Others involved in the celebration include the Gettysburg Foundation, a nonprofit group that works with the National Park Service; Gettysburg College; Main Street Gettysburg, a group of businesses; and the new Seminary Ridge Museum, which opens July 1 on a ridge where much of the first-day fighting occurred.
John Cowin '68 recounted his experience helping the wounded at the April 15 Boston marathon bombings in an April 17 Orlando Sentinel article.
From the Sentinel:
Instincts took over for Dr. John Cowin, a prominent Lake County orthopedic surgeon, when he heard the bombs go off at the Boston Marathon — he immediately jumped over a barricade and rushed to help the wounded, including one of the three spectators who died.
"It looked like Iraq after an IED [improvised explosive device]," the 65-year-old Cowin recalled Wednesday. "There were people without limbs everywhere."
He and his wife, Anna Cowin, a former state senator and Lake schools superintendent, had been standing near the finish line waiting for their daughter, Lynda Nijensohn, to complete her third Boston Marathon when they heard the first blast down the street. John Cowin said terrified spectators bolted toward them, so he pushed his wife toward the barricade to prevent her from getting stampeded. That's when the second bomb went off across the two-lane street from where they were waiting. John Cowin hurried to help the wounded, his wife following closely behind.
"Immediately I chased after him," said Anna Cowin, 66. "I wasn't going to leave him alone — for one. And two, I knew some stuff [first aid] and thought I could help him."
She tended to people with minor injuries and helped load them onto ambulances, while her husband ran to help those with more severe wounds sustained in the blasts, which killed three people and wounded at least 170.
Kevin McGeehan '97 was announced as the head basketball coach at Div. I Campbell University in North Carolina in an April 11 article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
From the Times-Dispatch:
University of Richmond coach Chris Mooney is losing his wing man. Spiders associate head coach Kevin McGeehan will be named the head coach at Campbell today.
McGeehan, 39, has worked on Mooney staffs for all but four years since 1995.
That association includes the past eight seasons at Richmond, one season at Air Force, and time at Division III Beaver College (now Arcadia University) and at Lansdale High, which is near Philadelphia.
“I’m incredibly happy for Kevin and his family,” Mooney said. “It’s well deserved. Campbell is getting a great, great coach. For us, hopefully this is kind of what happens when you’ve had success.
“People are able to go out and recognize other opportunities, and take advantage of them.”
Darren Glass, a math professor at Gettysburg College, recently wrote an article on two influential mathematicians from the 1930s at Gettysburg. The article was featured in the May 2013 notices of the American Mathematical Society.
As of 2012, sixty-one people had held the office of president of the American Mathematical Society. Of these fifty-nine men and two women, ten received undergraduate degrees from Harvard. Another five received their undergraduate degrees from Columbia University. Five schools have had three alumni apiece go on to serve as AMS president, and none of the schools on this list would surprise anyone—Princeton, Yale, Cambridge, Texas, and Chicago have all been centers of mathematics at various times. Three more schools have had two alumni each become AMS president: MIT, Wesleyan University, and Gettysburg College. Yes, there have been more Gettysburg College alumni to serve as AMS president than many schools whose math programs are far more renowned.