Inaugural events precede Battles installation ceremony

Several inaugural events took place in the week leading up to President Denise Battles’ installation ceremony on Thursday Oct. 22. A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on Friday Oct. 16 in the new College Stadium. The event included addresses from Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation Mike Mooney, Vice President for Student and Campus Life Robert Bonfiglio and Battles, as well as the actual ribbon cutting.

The inaugural events continued with the Geneseo CARES Day of Service, which involved students volunteering in various ways in the Geneseo community on the morning of Saturday Oct. 17.

Battles spoke to the volunteers at the beginning of the event. “People are going to appreciate [Geneseo students] being out there ... and the many other contributions [they will] be making,” she said.

“One of President Battles’ values is service, so she wanted to have a service component to her inauguration events,” Coordinator of Student Leadership, Volunteerism and Service Samantha Hebel said. “So this was coordinated kind of during that time.”

According to Hebel, student volunteers worked on “a wide variety of projects” this year, including cleaning up Temple Hill Cemetery, Highland Park and Kelsey Field.

“I’m out here today because I love service,” senior Nathalie Kalumbwe said. “When I saw there was a Geneseo CARES thing I was really interested ... service is one of the things that’s very important to Geneseo.”

Distinguished teaching professor of physics and astronomy Kurt Fletcher and a number of other faculty members put together a faculty speakers’ corner on Wednesday Oct. 21 in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom consisting of several short lectures on a variety of topics.

The first session included, among several presentations, visiting lecturer of sociology and political science Joanna Kirk’s presentation on violence against women and the culture that helps supply it.

Assistant professor of philosophy Heidi Savage also presented on where rap stood in relation to art. “[The topic] is a personal interest I thought I could examine in a philosophical context,” Savage said. “A lot of philosophy is about aesthetics and how things appear.”

“It’s very interesting to see people take their disciplines and extend it into something new,” Battles said. “It shows how curious and integrative our faculty is.”

The second session included a presentation from lecturer in political science and international relations Jeremy Grace on “Migration, War and Climate Change” and another from professor and chair of English Paul Schacht about why Henry David Thoreau would love the Internet.

“It’s really nice to see teachers talk in a more intimate environment like this,” senior Cayley Hallahan said.

“These are the things that professors are really excited about—not just things that they have on the syllabus and have to teach,” senior Noah Chauvin added.

Geneseo Recognizing Excellence, Achievement and Talent Day coordinator Patty Hamilton-Rodgers ‘85 organized a condensed version of G.R.E.A.T. Day—also on Wednesday Oct. 21 in the Ballroom—to introduce Battles to G.R.E.A.T. Day presenters and performers and announce the speaker for this April’s 10th Annual G.R.E.A.T. Day. One G.R.E.A.T. Hour brought together scientific poster presentations, film screenings and dance performance.

“They wanted to have some part of G.R.E.A.T. Day reflected in the inaugural activities,” Hamilton-Rodgers said.

The event opened with a viewing of posters that were selected at April 2015’s G.R.E.A.T. Day. Following was an address by Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Carol Long and a viewing of a video entitled “The Tidal Self,” which was done as a collaboration between the English and music departments.

The event culminated in the announcement of the G.R.E.A.T. Day speaker for 2016: Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J., an astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory.

“[One G.R.E.A.T. Hour] is a real testament to who you are, your drive, your ambition, your initiative, and it also demonstrates so very well the kind of institution that we are ... in terms of faculty and staff working with students bringing out your hidden and not-so-hidden talents,” Battles said.

Assoc. News editor Maya Lucyshyn, Assoc. photo editor Ash Dean, Asst. News editor Annie Renaud and Asst. News editor Malachy Dempsey contributed reporting to this article.

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