Marist College Welcomes Home Former Red Foxes

Poughkeepsie, New York- The Marist College Campus Green was filled with people of all ages smiling, laughing, and catching up on Saturday, October 20th during an Alumni Weekend event.

 

Past Red Foxes filled the campus exploring the new buildings, talking with old professors, and sharing their favorite college memories with current students.  Every year Marist hosts an Alumni Weekend/Homecoming that welcomes back all graduates of Marist. Events that are held include a football game, barbecue, food and beverage vendors, class pictures, and much more.  

 

Current students were reminded about many changes; one being that Marist was once an all male school, as the last class of that era walked around with green baseball caps to show off which class they were.  

 

Many alum were excited to network with current students and offer advice and tips for their future.  Kelsey Donohue ‘13 offered advice from her own personal experience. Donohue spent a semester in Washington D.C. at American University through the semester program Marist offers.  Although skeptical about the possible outcomes of her semester away, she was thankful she accepted the opportunity and was overwhelmed with joy due to her achievements. “Take every opportunity Marist has to offer.  Apply for things out of reach even if they seem like a stretch. You are capable of making that reach and succeeding,” said Donohue.

 

So what exactly has changed at Marist?  Tom Spratt ‘68 said, “Donnelly Hall was our cafeteria.  There was also a bar in the basement of Champagnat Hall which is where I worked.” Many Alum stopped in the admissions office and reminisced about the time it was a dorm.   Some even mentioned Donnelly Hall was once where mixers with Mount Saint Mary College students were held. The boys would dress up in their best clothes and head to the Brown Derby on Friday nights; much different from the current Friday night outings most Marist students take part in.

 

Some Alum are also parents to current and prospective Red Foxes.  “Marist is a family place. It’s more than a community, it’s a family” said Grace Ritter ‘18, looking at her dad John Ritter ‘84, catching up with old classmates.  It is not rare for families to be filled with past, present, and future Red Foxes. The Marist instagram page is constantly filled with pictures of baby Red Foxes.

 

Current students were eager to hear from their friends who had just graduated.  They wanted to know what the “real world” and graduate school was like. They were all relieved to hear that the graduates were enjoying their jobs, new cities and homes, and the friends they had made.  It also gave them a sense of reassurance which was highly needed after midterms week which was the week before. Many recent alum expressed their excitement for their new lives but also sorely missed their time on campus.

 

Many students also were interested in networking and speaking with older alum.  They had their resumes ready incase an internship opportunity appeared. William Clooman ‘68 shared his story of being the first President of the Alum Association Search Committee and worked on the board when former President Murray was hired.

 

Alum were excited to post their pictures on social media and share their annual Red Fox memories with the rest of the world.  Captions of posts included “the boys are back in town,” “Marist forever and ever,” and “always and forever a red fox.”

 

Current students strolled around campus smiling at how happy all the alum seemed to be.  “It comforts me knowing that even after we graduate, we will still be just as excited to be here on campus.  Marist is more than a college, it’s our home,” said Lindsay Barton ‘20.

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Historic Graveyard Tour returns at St. James’ Church

It was 8 p.m. on a Friday evening and the weather was chilly at 40 degrees. The 200-year old graveyard at St. James’ filled up with an eager crowd holding lanterns. People of all ages attended, dressed in their winter gear. The tour was about to begin.

St. James’ Church in Hyde Park kicked off their 9th season with their annual Historic Graveyard Tour. Originally a run up for the bi-centennial church celebration in 2011, the tour has remained a popular event for many years. In fact, 200 people turned out for the first tour that the crowd had to be split into three groups. “My family and I look forward to the tour every year. I’m always amazed by the production. It’s definitely one of the biggest highlights for the church,” said parishioner Stephanie Carson.

The tour consisted of approximately eight actors stationed in different parts of the cemetery. Each of the actors played characters who were buried at St. James’ Church. Around half of the actors are parishioners, and half are not. Every year has non-coincidentally turned into a different theme for the tour. One year the theme was slavery, while another year the tour concentrated on disabilities. This year, the focus was on those who were connected to the First World War. The script is written by a committee of parish volunteers who plan months in advance for the momentous parish event.

The crowd followed the dark path of the graveyard, led by a host for the hour. Each actor described their character’s background and major roles they took on in life. Dressed in costume of the era, characters ranged from Red Cross personnel, soldiers, lieutenants and even chefs to President Roosevelt.

The host for the evening, Russell Urban-Mead led the crowd in an animated voice and took the group to each stationed actor. A family affair–Urban Mead’s wife, Wendy was the director of the tour this year. Smiling, he sat in a church pew before the start of the 8:00 p.m. tour, enthusiastic for the evening. “It’s an exciting time for our parish where everyone comes together to work on the tour. There is a lot of history that many people do not even know about, just in front of our eyes in the 200-year old cemetery,” Urban-Mead admits.

The Rev. Chuck Kramer has been at St. James’ Church for 21 years. He made his debut appearance as an actor in this year’s tour. Kramer played Ogden Livingston Mills, U.S Secretary of the Treasury during Herbert Hoover’s presidency. Kramer was the first actor for the evening, and passionately depicted the spirit of Mills with his gestures and keen storytelling.

Recounting the intention of the tour, Kramer sat in his office, filled with books, sacred embellishments and bright colors. “There are three goals of the tour. One is to entertain. One is to inform and one is to inspire,” Kramer said.

Partakers of the St. James’ Historic Graveyard Tour can expect to be educated on major roles individuals played during World War I. It is a night to learn about the lives of the souls who rest in the church’s cemetery.

Kramer is proud of the impact the tour has left on people for the past eight years as well as the light it sheds on history. “The tour makes people come alive in a way that tugs at   the heart and has people thinking ‘wow.’ It engages both the funny bone and the heart,” Kramer said.

The tour runs for three weeks in October on Friday and Saturday night’s starting at 7:00, 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 and proceeds go to the on-going ministry and outreach of the church.

(from left to right) Pete Bedrossian, playing the role of (William) Gerald Morgan.

Andrew William Gordineer, 21, playing the role of William T. White.

Reverend Chuck Kramer in his parish office at St. James’ Church.

 

 

Alzheimer’s Walk Held At Walkway

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On Saturday, the Dutchess County chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association held their annual walk on Poughkeepsie’s Walkway Over the Hudson.

The walk starts over on the Highland side of the Walkway and then is a total of two miles, but you can either walk for a longer or shorter distance.  

For an overcast day, the walk had many volunteers and many walkers show up for the cause. Sue Serino, a New York State Senator, and Karen Smythe, a candidate for the New York State Senate were among the many participants at the walk. Music was played by 92.9, a local radio station, to get the walkers ready for the two-mile walk ahead of them.

David Sobel, the President and CEO of the Hudson Valley chapter, was also in attendance. Sobel is in charge of overseeing both the Dutchess and Ulster County walks. “My job is to make sure that we work year-round to get teams together,” Sobel said. “We try to make sure they do as much fundraising as possible.”

For fundraising, each walker sets up their own page on the Alzheimer’s Association website and then can post the link to their page on their social media platforms or email the page to friends and family where they can make donations. If a walker raises more than 500 dollars, they are part of the Champions Club. People can register for the walk on the same day, and no donation is necessary to walk.

Shortly before the walk started, emcee of the event shared with the crown that over $16,000 had been raised by the participant of the walk.

Sobel also shared that the walk would not be possible without the efforts of its many volunteers.

“We host a kickoff event and have monthly meetings for our volunteers,” Sobel said. “We also send them out into their communities to meet people affected by this disease.”

Many of the volunteers have their own connections to the disease and volunteer as a way to spread awareness about the disease throughout their communities.

After the walkers check in and get their wristbands which enables them to participate in the walk, they can go pick out a flower. Each color flower represents a different connection to the Alzheimer’s disease. Purple meant that you knew someone who has died from the disease and orange meant that you had the disease yourself. Either before or after the walk, people placed their flowers in stacks of hay.

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Local vendors such as Simple Gourmet and local police and fire stations donated food and drink to the cause for the walkers to enjoy either before or after the walk.

The Alzheimer’s Association is a national organization that helps raise awareness through its local chapters through its walks and their volunteers. The money that the walkers raise all go towards finding a cure for this disease.

 

 

“Frankenstein” Revived Through Storytelling and Visual Art

Despite the otherwise light atmosphere of the Marist College Art Gallery, its graphic contents can only be described as bleak, eerie, and haunting. Directly opposite the display’s unique mixture or grays and blacks are 10 chairs on which visitors can sit and contemplate the work; no matter which chair is sat in, however, the painting’s phantom acrylic eyes always seem to follow.

These paintings make up only one part of Professor Tommy Zurhellen’s “Frankenstein: Könfidential” exhibition, a project that combines traditional storytelling and visual art to recreate Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

“My first impression walking into the gallery was that of feeling tremendously cold,” Professor Zurhellen’s student Kevin Hudson, a senior, said. “The room was spacious, and the cool/monochrome color scheme of each of the paintings created this feeling. I believe Professor Zurhellen was creating a strong introduction through intense feelings of discomfort.”

Professor Zurhellen’s decision to pursue a recreation of the original Frankenstein was prompted by the 200th anniversary of its publication this year. Despite its age, the professor believes its central themes of creation and ethics are as timely as ever.

“[Frankenstein] is 200 years old yet the writing is still fresh and new,” he said. “It’s creepy and spooky and dark and weird, and it could have been written yesterday.”

Professor Zurhellen’s narrative is told in serial form and split into 24 episodes, mirroring the number of chapters found in the original work. Each week one installment is released, accompanied by a visual art graphic that pertains to the story’s timeline. The artwork was created by Hyeseung Marriage-Song, a New York-based artist the professor collaborated with for the project.

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The painting that accompanies Chapter 1: In the Cemetery

“Once people understand that it’s a celebration and recreation of the original story in a collaborative way, they get it,” Professor Zurhellen explained. “It takes a little bit of imagination to get the whole project, but once [people] do, they love it.”

Like the original work, Professor Zurhellen’s project centers around Victor Frankenstein and his vicious creation, but the similarities stop there. In “Frankenstein: Könfidential,” the doctor is a Jew living in Nazi-Germany during the final months of WWII.

The new narrative opens much like the original version, with American Capt. Robert Walton’s cryptic letter to his younger sister Margaret, which is provided as part of the exhibition, complete with rips, creases, coffee cup stains, and a US Army Examiner Stamp.

“The inclusion of this letter in the exhibit was really cool to see as it brought Zurhellen’s story to life among the accompanying artwork,” senior Sarah Howard said. “It looked like a real artifact that you would see in a historical exhibit in a museum.”

Many of the characters within “Frankenstein: Konfidential” are taken from Shelley’s original work, like Dr. Frankenstein’s childhood friend Henry Clerval, but are infused with Professor Zurhellen’s personal twists. Others, however, are entirely based on actual historical figures. One painting depicts the character “Lilo,” who was involved in the resistance movement against the Nazis during the war, and the story’s antagonist is based on real-life Gestapo agent Robert Mohr.

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From left to right: “Lilo,” “Ode to CDF,” (Below) Capt. Walton’s letters to his sister, “Henry Clerval”

“Adding that kind of historical flare [to the characters] helps make the story feel more authentic,” Professor Zurhellen explained.

“I think that Zurhellen is trying to reinvent the Frankenstein story in a new light and give it a newer and more current life,” Howard explained. “I got the sense from the exhibit that he wanted onlookers to question everything they previously knew about the original Frankenstein story, as well as dispel their concept of reality to really transport themselves into the world he has created.”

Since its grand opening on Sept. 27, the exhibit has garnered positive reviews from The ChronogramHudson Valley Magazine, and The Poughkeepsie Journal, among others. Much of the project’s success, Professor Zurhellen said, is owed to his collaboration with Marriage-Song.

“Trust in the power of collaboration [because] you’ll get something that normally by yourself you’d never get,” the professor said. “You get more than just your own work. It’s almost easy, because someone else is working just as hard [as you] and you create something no one else would ever think of. [This project] wouldn’t have happened unless these two powers came together and did something unique.”

In November the exhibit will appear at the Gowanus Industrial Arts Complex in Brooklyn, in front of a much larger audience. Once all 24 installments of “Frankenstein: Könfidential” are released, Professor Zurhellen plans on grouping the chapters together into a printable version.

 

 

 

 

Marist’s Ethical Fashion Initiative Club, Changing the World One Garment at a Time.

As of 2017 The Business of Fashion has ranked Marist Fashion Program as 38th globally in their annual ranking of fashion schools, but how much are these students learning about the ethical aspect of fashion.  In 2016, alumni Rebekkah Coclasure started her senior year of college with one goal in mind, to startup the Ethical Fashion Initiative Club.  By the end of her senior year she had succeeded, but has anyone stopped to wonder where are they now?  With that stood other looming questions, what have they done for ethical fashion and where are they headed for the future? Continue reading

Marist College Walks Over Hunger

 

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – One of Marist College’s signature annual campus events was once again a huge success.

On Wednesday, Nov. 8, Marist held its annual Hunger Walk in an effort to both raise awareness about the issue of hunger in the community, and raise money for several hunger relief organizations including Bread for the World and Dutchess Outreach. The event was organized primarily by Marist Campus Ministry and the Marist Honors Program. Those participating in the walk conglomerated for pictures on the Champagnat Green at approximately noon and the walk eventually commenced at about 12:30. Continue reading

Study Breaks, Re-imagined

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — After a long weekend of procrastinating, accompanied by a mound of work steadily accumulating, Sunday strolls along and it’s crunch time. A case could be made that this is simply adding to the procrastination, but, according to ScienceDaily, taking a break from work actually increases overall productivity. Though it’s a fairly unknown club on Marist College’s campus, the Red Ink Club holds a prominent place in the lives of students who attend.

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“Night on Broadway” Unites the Community

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The Marist Singers gather and sing a medley from Rent for the finale.

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — On November 4 and 5, Marist Singers held their 15th Annual “Night on Broadway” benefit concert for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BCEFA). As usual, this highly anticipated event was a success: tickets were sold out, over $6,000 in donations were made and performers received a standing ovation. Continue reading