Fall Course Sampling: Monkeys, Movies and Maternity

Observing monkeys, watching classic films, and exploring the wonders of childbirth are just a few of the unique activities students are taking part in this fall. Animal Behavior, Contemporary Film, and Born in the USA- Multiple Perspectives on Childbirth, are three courses that guarantee a semester like never before.

Nursing students work in a classroom/lab

Animal Behavior, a biology course taught by Professor LaPlante, gives students an introduction to studying the behavior of animals. But this isn’t a lecture-style course. Students take part in a semester-long research project at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, Mass., observing a variety of animals including bears, monkeys, and flamingos.

Although the course isn’t a walk in the park, it is guaranteed to be a weekly walk in the zoo.

Another course offered this fall is Contemporary Film with Professor Hoffman. This course explores American and foreign films during the post World War II era. Film clips are shown in class while students view full-length films outside of class. A few examples of the films included in the course are: “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Bonnie and Clyde,” “The Hurt Locker,” and “12 Years a Slave”.

Sounds like a perfect excuse to curl up on the couch in front of the TV and still learn a lot.

Born in the USA- Multiple Perspectives on Childbirth, a nursing elective with “Dr. Deb” McCarter-Spaulding, is one of the most fascinating classes being taught this fall. Besides the unique title, the course is special because this is the first time a nursing elective is open to majors other than nursing. The goal of the course is to study the miracle of childbirth through a variety of different lenses.

According to McCarter-Spaulding, the class addresses childbirth through the lenses of “history, sociology, anthropology, health policy, politics, gender studies, epidemiology, media/communications, theology and art–even a little bit of music.”

The course gives students the chance to study one of the most common life events in a new, fun way.

There will be just as incredible of a course lineup to look for in the spring, including Professor LaPlante’s Tropical Biology, which includes a trip to Belize in summer 2015!

Events Abound As Academic Year Concludes

With fewer than fifteen days of classes remaining in the semester, and spring weather finally arriving on the Hilltop, students will find their calendars full of academic commitments and plenty of fun over the next few weeks.

Below, we have highlighted some of the important academic calendar dates, along with those campus social events that you won't want to miss.

Stay tuned for additional announcements from Campus Activities Board, Student Activities & Leadership Programs and other campus offices!

Weekend of April 11-13

Friday, April 11

Spring concert posterAdmitted Student Open House (8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.)
The Office of Admission will be holding the annual Admitted Student Open House. To date, we have almost 400 admitted students and 950 total guests registered to attend.

Saturday, April 12

Mind over Major: Academic Conference (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
Mind Over Major is an on-campus, interdisciplinary conference recognizing excellent work by students in all disciplines. The theme for this year is humans and nature.

Dance Showcase (3 p.m.)
4th Annual Spring Showcase at the Dana Center. Tickets are only $5 each. Enter to win AWESOME prizes in our raffle baskets! Flowers will be available for purchase for only $5! There will also be a 50/50 raffle

Blue-White Spring Football Game (4 p.m.)
The annual Blue-White Spring Game will take place at Grappone Stadium, concluding the spring practice schedule that kicked off April 2.

Spring Choir Concert (7:30 p.m.)
The Saint Anselm College student choir performs its annual spring concert in the Abbey Church. The program features a collection of music from the choir's repertoire of sacred song. The concert is the night before Passion Sunday so the program reflects the emotions of the liturgical year. The music begins prayerful and calming including cries for mercy and forgiveness, for guidance and vision.

Sunday, April 13

Pajama Run 5k (2 p.m.)
The Pajama Program is non profit organization who donates pajamas to children in need. Receiving organizations include foster homes, orphans, and at risk youth. The program seeks pajama donations and distributes them throughout the United States. We ask that you donate a pair of pajamas, and run the race in pajamas in honor of the cause!

Monday, April 14: National 9/11 Flag

Campus viewing and reception (3:30 – 4:30 p.m.)
The National 9/11 Flag will be on public display in Sullivan Arena from April 10-14, and we plan to welcome many visitors from the local area. Dr. DiSalvo invites the campus community to a special viewing and reception for the campus community. Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B., will deliver a prayer and a blessing as the community comes together to experience this irreplaceable national relic.

Easter Recess: April 17 – 21

Easter Recess begins on Wednesday, April 16 at 5:30 p.m. Classes resume on Tuesday, April 22.

Upon returning to the Hilltop, there are just six days of classes remaining in the semester.

Wednesday, April 23

Shakepeare's Birthday (all day)
We will be celebrating Shakespeare's 450th Birthday on the Saint Anselm campus for the 26th time. This time we will be tossing out sonnets, making scenes and serving cake on a brand new quad on the lower campus. Please join us!

Thursday, April 24

SNL "Weekend Update" host, Colin Jost (8:30 p.m.)
Campus Activities Board presents the head writer of Saturday Night Live and "Weekend Update" co-anchor Colin Jost! This event is free for those with a Saint Anselm College ID and will be held in Sullivan Arena.

Weekend of April 25 – 27: "Spring Weekend"

Friday, April 25

Campus Activities Board Spring Concert (doors open, 7 p.m.)
Timeflies will perform as the headline act at the 2014 Spring Concert. The concert will take place on the campus of Saint Anselm College in the Thomas F. Sullivan Arena. Clinton Sparks will perform as the opening act.

Saturday, April 26

Nursing Pinning (10 a.m.)
Recipients, friends and family are invited to attend this special event where senior nursing majors receive their Saint Anselm College nurse's pin. The ceremony celebrates the seniors' completion of the highly respected and rigorous nursing program.

Floralia (1 p.m.)
The Floralia, a celebration of spring, begins with the pompa (chariot parade) and chariot races. The Pentathlon follows, where 4 person teams field individuals in discus, javelin, long jump and 200m, wrapping up with the team relay. There are male and female divisions. Medals will be awarded to the winners. Next a mythological skit leads off the big event: a Roman Banquet featuring a PIG ROAST and tasty accompaniments from authentic Roman recipes (salad, pompeian style bread, cheese, deviled eggs, beans, pear butter, etc.)

Senior Formal (doors open, 6 p.m.)
The Class of 2014 gathers for an evening of fun, food and dance on the Hilltop as the academic year nears an end.

Tuesday, April 29: Last Day of Classes

Portraits Along The Way: A Tribute to the Humanities Program
Exploring big questions about the human spirit is the basis of the educational experience at Saint Anselm College. Anselmians have shared this experience through “Portraits of Human Greatness” since 1979.

On April 29, 2014, the college marks the transition from “Portraits of Human Greatness” to Conversatio, a new freshman humanities program that fosters intellectual community in the Roman Catholic and Benedictine liberal arts tradition.

A reception will follow each event on the new green space on lower campus.

Portraits Along the Way: A Tribute to the Humanities Program

“About the Humanities: Does the Study of the Past Have a Future?”
Dr. Duane Bruce, retired Associate Dean of the College
12 p.m. in Dana Center for the Humanities

“The Story of Five Green Things and 14,000 More”
Tribute by Dr. Gary Bouchard, professor of English
4 p.m. in Dana Center for the Humanities

Party Your Classes Off (2 – 6 p.m.)
Campus Activities Board presents the annual celebration as the academic year concludes. Enjoy inflatables, food, give-a-ways, music, dance and more

Russel Dickerson (4 p.m.)
Country artist Russell Dickerson will rock the quad with his unique take on country music, beginning at 4 p.m. during Party Your Classes Off.

Wednesday, April 30: Reading Day

Chariots of Fire (12 p.m.)
Saint Anselm's fastest and shortest footrace. At the first bell of noon, start running. Fast. You have until the bell rings a twelfth time to complete the 200-meter course around the quad.

  • Geisel Library hours: 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.

Thursday, May 1 – Thursday, May 8: Final Exams

Eurochoir: Bratislava and Prague

On Monday, the choir left Budapest for Bratislava, the capital city of Solvakia. On the way we stopped at Pannonhalma Abbey, a Benedictine Archabbey in the hills of northwest Hungary near the border of Austria and Slovkia. The abbey has strong ties to Saint Anselm College, as it is the original abbey of the monks that founded Woodside Priory and most recently it is where Abbot Matthew spent a year after his retirement. The abbey runs an all-boys school and we were able to tour the school and abbey, guided by some of the students. The students and monks spoke very highly of Abbot Matthew and his visit and it was a great connection for our students.

Following our tour, the choir performed an informal concert in the main church which was attended by approximately 200 students, faculty, staff, and monks. After our visit to Pannonhalma, we continued on to Bratislava where, after a quick orientation walk, the students had the evening free  to explore the city on their own.

On Tuesday, the choir left Bratislava after a quick one night stay and headed for Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic. Along the way we stopped at Brno, a small town on the Czech and Slovakian border. The students had a few hours to walk around and see the old city center and enjoy lunch on their own. Upon our arrival in Prague we had a quick orientation walk and then everyone had the evening free to immerse themselves in the city.

On Wednesday, we will visit the Prague castle, the churches of Prague, and then have a private Ash Wednesday Service with Fr. Bede followed by a formal full-length concert at Emauzy Monastery.

-Bobby Aldrich '01

Merry Christmas

From all of us at Saint Anselm College, we wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas. "The Hallelujah Chorus" in this video is courtesy of the Saint Anselm College Choir.

New York City Museum Tour

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Elizabeth Sawyer '16

On Saturday, November 9, approximately 140 staff members and students headed to New York City for the "Museum Bus Trip of 2013,” sponsored by the Saint Anselm College humanities program and the Multicultural Center.

The first stop, and the main attraction, was the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of world’s largest art museums, located on 5th Avenue right in New York City. There, several staff members and professors lead students around on personalized tours, during which students were able to learn and listen to facts straight from Saint Anselm College professors. In the American wing, replicas of rooms found in the houses of elite, historical members of the United States, as well as paintings of our founding fathers proved to be an intriguing site for the students, while walking by the sculptures of ancient Egyptian pharaohs in the Egyptian Art wing provided a unique experience.

After the tours, students were able to venture off to nearby attractions to take in all that New York City has to offer thanks to an app that was designed specifically for this trip. Students were able to check-in on their cell phones and stay connected to others on the trip. In addition, the app provided maps, information about the city, and schedule information so that the students were able to have the best experience possible.

Photo by Meagan Cox '15

With their free time, many students ventured off on their own adventures, from a walk through Central Park to a visit to the Disney Store in Times Square. Students had an exciting day as they shopped at large, world-famous stores located in the city. “New York is great because you get to experience so many different things in one day” noted trip-goer, Lindsey Nicewicz ’16. The day was a fun, successful, and enlightening one for all in attendance.

Sophomore Women’s Summit

During freshman year it seems you have everything figured out. You’re a chemistry major, maybe a minor in Spanish or theater. You figured out how to manage the workload and you’re going to be a chemist/Spanish soap opera actor. Then you get to sophomore year, and panic sets in. The work gets harder, and now that you’re one year closer to being on your own, you’re starting to wonder if you even like chemistry.

That’s when Father Mathias steps in. This past Monday, he organized the Sophomore Women’s Summit billed as an informal Q&A session about a woman’s job prospects after graduating from Saint A’s. It featured a successful group of alumni women: Kate Rogers Coppins ‘92, division director of the Boston Beer Company; Kathleen McGonigle ‘96, Boston Public Schools teacher; Becky Damon ‘11, Catholic TV network programmer; Susan Connelly ‘92, senior director of Darden Restaurants State and Local Government Relations; and Ashley Pratte ‘11, executive director of Cornerstone (a family values advocacy group). These women met a table of young sophomore women to give them advice and encouragement.

First, they discussed the importance of a liberal arts education, specifically the one Saint Anselm provided to them.

“Saint Anselm taught me to be independent and to challenge beliefs,” Coppins said, “even if I didn’t like humanities, it taught me to defend a position with conviction.” Others added that a liberal arts education gave them a broad range of subject knowledge and made them generally well-rounded, which became very appealing to employers. Pratt emphasized how learning to communicate, a skill almost specified to a liberal arts education, helped even the shyest person succeed.

“Take public speaking, even if you think you’re already a good speaker, you’ll get a lot out of that class,” Pratt advised. She explained that often men who are competing with women don’t see them as a formidable opponent or partner, until they speak.”

When it came to planning for the future, the board laughed and shared stories of their own experience. Coppins, who graduated summa cum laude, began as a biology major, but graduated with a major in business. Connelly majored in English and was certain she’d be an English teacher. Both women assured the girls that if they wanted to change their plans now it was ok, and that while grades were important, remind yourself that the school’s rigorous academics mean that every now and then you’ll fail.

“If you want a self esteem boost, go to grad school,” McGonigle laughed, “because you’ve already done work at that level.”

When the students expressed frustration in going from the top of their class in high school to struggling in some of their favorite subjects, the board sympathized, but ensured them it was for the best.

“You’ll feel like you’re letting everyone down because of the pressure, the grades and the cost, but Saint A’s is about failing in a safe environment so that you can succeed in a not-so-safe one,” McGonigle added.

The board encouraged the women to make all kinds of connections (including alumni) while still in college and use them.

“Our alumni population is very committed. We want you to network, maybe we can’t get you a job, but we can help you navigate the field and tell you what you need to stand out,” Connelly said. She asked for a list of alumni with jobs relating to English her senior year and called or wrote to them asking for advice.

“When I was miserable in my first job, I called my old professor and he emailed me a link to an alumni asking for a job and they gave me an interview on the spot,” Damon recalled. “Don’t ever be afraid to ask.”

“All jobs require experience now,” Pratt said, “so working through school or before grad school can be a great choice.”

Their final word was on social media.

“Please understand that everything you have on social media your employer will find, any company can and will find it, and the background checks are very extensive.” Coppins warned.

They warned to never post anything derogatory and to stay away from personal comments if you acted as a public figure as well.

“Be smart about your friends, too,” Connelly recommended, “if you’re friends with people who are constantly making bad decisions it might reflect on you.”

As the students gathered their things, they agreed in relief that they had been really concerned about their grades and how they’ll do in the workforce.

“I’m proud of myself,” Michelle Robinson ’16, said, “it’s hard work here, and I feel better about how I’m doing now.”

Sandy Wadlington Woodblock Printing Demonstration

New England-based artist Sandy Wadlington held court in the Chapel Art Center today as a large crowd of students, staff, faculty and alumni gathered around her workstation to watch the process of turning a riverside Portsmouth, New Hampshire scene into a woodblock print. The process, she says, is an involved one that often changes along the way. For the Portsmouth print, she says it has taken her about 30 days to complete from the time she initially photographed the scene to the time the print was finished. That process includes an initial pastel drawing from a photograph and then carving the nine individual blocks, one for each color.

Artist in residence demonstrationWadlington answered questions from the crowd as she patiently added water-based paints to the carved blocks, gently placed her rice paper prints onto the blocks, then rubbed a baren made of bamboo and cardboard over the rice paper to ink the color into the print.

"The process of creating these things is the fun part for me," she told the audience. "When I first saw Japanese printmaking using these traditional techniques, I was drawn into it. And I like the water based part of it."

Fr. Iain MacLellan, O.S.B., director of the Chapel Art Center, told the audience that woodblock printing is a medium that isn't well known but allows for the intricacies of response to be included in the process of making it. "It's a malleable process that creates a completely different realm of possibilities. It's a journey for the artist and it's constantly being changed along the way."

The demonstration was a part of the Chapel Art Center's "Conversations in Art" program which aims to bring individuals closer to art and to show what it takes to bring an exhibition to fruition. Wadlington's exhibit, "Reflections of the Day" is currently on display in the gallery through December 7.

Composing the Inaugural Fanfare

The inauguration of Dr. Steven R. DiSalvo as the tenth president of Saint Anselm College was a college wide event that included everyone in the college community. One unique aspect to the event was the official fanfare titled "Vers L'Avenir" (Toward the Future), composed by Assistant Professor of Fine Arts Dr. Francis Kayali. In late July of this year, he was invited to compose a brass fanfare for the inauguration and spent one month putting it together with the help of friends from the University of Southern Maine. Below is his first-hand account.

It was the last week of July, soon after my family arrived in New Hampshire from California. We were exploring Manchester, when I got a call from Prof. Parr, my colleague in the Fine Arts Department. He told me that Fr. Augustine was looking for someone to compose a brass fanfare for the inauguration of Saint Anselm’s new president. Was I interested?

I’ve always been fond of the brass sound, so I was very excited about the opportunity and quickly gathered the bits of information I needed to get started on this piece: the desired length, character (“bold and presidential!”), and, of course, the performance date (less than three months away).

There was about a month to go until the beginning of classes and I decided to have the project completed by then. Throughout the month of August, this would be my one and only project.

To prime my ears, I listened to a few tracks of brass quintet music on Spotify and on YouTube. After that, I jumped in. I improvised for a few minutes at the piano and proceeded to sketch the opening section of the fanfare.

I tend to work on pieces in a linear fashion. It’s certainly not imperative to work this way, but I find that it tends to be easier, particularly when time is of the essence. I wanted music that would have an energetic drive, music that would be festive, with the open and bold harmonies we associate with fanfares. I rarely set out to emulate a particular composer, but familiar voices or sounds do often emerge. To me, this piece has echoes of Gabrieli, Janacek, Ravel, Stravinsky, Ewazen, and Sonny Rollins, among others.

I soon started thinking of ways to include material that would be more directly associated with St Anselm. Most colleges have a school song and, I thought, St Anselm must be no exception. It wasn’t difficult to find mention of a school song, as its lyrics are included on the school’s Wikipedia article. However, there was no source for the melody. Fortunately, someone had recently uploaded a video of the choir singing the anthem. I transcribed it and started weaving some of its motives into the fanfare.

When I completed the first draft of the piece in mid-August, I decided it was time to find a brass quintet to play it through. This is when I thought of Scott Vaillancourt, the leader of the brass ensemble at my undergraduate college. I sent him a message asking for advice in locating players and he offered to have his brass quintet, the Norumbega Ensemble, play through my piece. I drove up to the University of Southern Maine campus in Gorham. They very generously devoted all of their time that night to rehearsing the piece. I came back with the recording of a run-through, which I sent to Fr. Augustine for review.

The next day, I received Fr. Augustine’s enthusiastic response. Apparently, he even played the recording on his iPad for other members of his office! He only recommended one revision: to make the quote of the school song a little more easy to discern so that the audience would be sure not to miss it. (In the first version, the melody was integrated in a somewhat veiled way.) After completing a second draft, which incorporated Fr. Augustine’s suggestion along with the performers’ technical advice, I travelled to Maine one more time to finalize performance details with the quintet.

The members of the Norumbega Ensemble are an easy-going crew. Yet, when it comes to matters of performance, they are among the most meticulous musicians I have worked with. They analyzed every aspect of the piece, carefully working out every parameter, adjusting the dynamics, tweaking the sound color, experimenting with different moods and tempo changes. At one point, they even asked me to sing the Saint Anselm Anthem for them so that they could ensure that their phrasing conformed to that of the words. I drove back to Manchester that night confident that the fanfare was in good hands.

Six weeks later, I slipped into my academic regalia and marched onto the quad with the other professors. Hearing my piece played live induced its own special form of stage fright. Nothing was expected of me: I got to sit in the audience, hidden amongst the crowd. However, everything about the performance was out of my control.

I tried to remind myself that my work was over now, that performing the piece was someone else’s job, and that I was no longer responsible for the outcome… But that doesn’t ring true. Wasn’t it my job to make sure that I composed a piece that worked? And what if something came up to throw everything off? Would the performers be fatigued after sitting out in the cold for an hour and a half? Would it start to rain? Would the wind blow off a page of someone’s music?

No, that at least would not happen. The players brought with them dozens of wooden clothespins and fastened the music to the stands. It would take a hurricane for those pages to fly off.

Still, more thoughts raced through my mind as I waited for the moment when the fanfare would be played.

We listened to Dr. DiSalvo’s impassioned presidential address and all rose for a standing ovation. Then, as the first notes of the fanfare sounded, we sat and a more reflective mood seemed to fall upon the audience. A breeze passed over the trees and I started relaxing and taking in the view of Alumni Hall, the trees, and the New Hampshire autumn. I hadn’t listened to the piece in more than a month and I was rediscovering it myself, noticing details along the way: an inflection, a ritenuto, a syncopation, a chord. I found myself enjoying the ride. Nothing fell apart. No pages flew away. The piece just… worked.

The final notes sounded and my colleagues congratulated me warmly. Throughout the evening, faculty and guests came up to me to share their impressions. By then, the quintet players had packed their instruments and were already halfway back to Maine.

As Prof. Asbury once remarked, some creative artists, by virtue of their craft, are required to work alone. Painters and composers usually fall into this category. However, I think that this particular project may prove to have a different effect. In the course of just a few weeks, I met a group of wonderful and dedicated musicians, and thanks to the performance, I feel more closely connected not only to Saint Anselm lore, but to the Saint Anselm community as whole.

Class Presidents Get to Work

Dr. Steven DiSalvo is not the only new president in town… or on campus.

Robert Merritt, a psychology major from Salem, N.H., was elected president of the Class of 2017 on Sept. 27. He arrived with four years of experience in student government at Salem High School, where he was president of the National Honor Society and the marching band. He speaks Spanish, plays intramural basketball, and just may be the only marimba player at Saint Anselm College.

Robert’s first order of business is raising money for class activities. He’s planning events that will raise funds without much overhead, so the class will not start the year taking out loans. He chose Saint Anselm because every single person he passed on his college tour said, “Hi, how are you?” And he chose psychology because he became fascinated by the subject during his senior year.

Robert’s fellow class presidents are Nolan Varee ’16, David McKillop ’15, and Guy Sergi  ’14.

Class presidents with Dr. DiSalvo

Nolan Varee is a politics major from Pennsylvania who was drawn to Saint Anselm by the reputation of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. He says he googled “small liberal arts college in New England with a good politics program” and “Saint Anselm came right up.” He’s an NHIOP student ambassador, and active in student political organizations on campus and in the state.  He is minoring in economics and says his favorite thing about the college is the food…. but he really loves his professors, too.

David McKillop is in his third year as president of the Class of 2015. He is politics major with a minor in philosophy, and he is an Orientation Leader and a member of the King Edward Society. He spends his free time thinking about Aristotle, Plato and Socrates, and how their ideas on morality and justice are relevant in today’s society—and going to CAB events and hockey games.

Guy Sergi is a politics major, an RA (resident assistant), a student ambassador at the NHIOP, and a member of the Mock Trial Association. He spent last summer as an intern at a law firm on Capitol Hill. You can spot him leading tours around campus, on his job with the Office of Admission.

Unsung Heroes Day

The Student Government Association (SGA) recently honored three departments at the college for their service and dedication to the Saint Anselm community. These "Unsung Heroes" included all staff members of Physical Plant, Safety and Security, and Dining Services. SGA President Lyndsay Robinson '14 and Chair of the Room and Board Committee Karen Ejiofor '16 honored all three departments with a catered lunch.

"We really appreciate all of your hard work," said Ejoifor as she addressed the departments in the North Lounge of the Cushing Center. "This is our way of showing you how much we appreciate the work you do for us on a daily basis."

Dining Services at Saint Anselm College

In addition, SGA presented Dining Services with a banner that honored them for recently being ranked 12th in the nation for food by The Princeton Review.

Each staff member will also receive a t-shirt that lists the top 10 reasons why these three departments in particular are so loved by students. Those reasons are:

  1. Campo because they give us cookies!
  2. Dining Services because they make awesome food!
  3. Physical Plant because they keep our home beautiful!
  4. Campo because they give us rides – no matter what!
  5. Dining Services because they listen to our stomachs' requests!
  6. Physical Plant because they fix our problems!
  7. Campo because they are our security blanket!
  8. Dining Services because they make us smile!
  9. Physical Plant because they clear the snow!
  10. All of them because they are our Anselmian Heroes!

Robinson said that the idea behind Unsung Heroes stemmed from the winter storm Nemo in February of 2013 which brought heavy snowfall and damaging winds to our area. Despite the difficult weather conditions, staff members from all three departments came together shoveling snow, cooking food, and keeping our campus community safe. "We wanted to do something for them where they didn't have to do any of the work," she said.