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Oberlin in the News - Spring 2004

June 1--Oberlin Celebrates 171st Commencement Ceremony
Approximately 693 students received degrees from Oberlin during the College's 171st commencement ceremonies. The Lorain Morning Journal was on hand to cover the event, which included an address by Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court Margaret Marshall, who encouraged graduates to "do more with their lives" by using their education to make a difference.

May 31--High-Tech Scavenger Hunt Part of Oberlin's Commencement Weekend
The Go Game, part of this past weekend's commencement activities, attracted the attention of Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Barb Galbincea. The high-tech scavenger hunt was created by Finn Kelly '95 and Ian Fraser, who use the game as part of corporate team-building exercises and other leadership trainings.

May 29--Stull to Lead Conservatory in Oberlin
The Cleveland Plain Dealer recently announced that David Stull '89 will become the dean of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music on July 1. Stull succeeds Robert Dodson, who has accepted a position as provost at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Stull graduated from Oberlin College with a BMus in performance and a BA in English. He has served administratively at the Lawrence University Concervatory of Music, the Juilliard School, and the Aspen Music Festival.

May 23--Oberlin Leads List of Educational Opportunities in Northeast Ohio
Today's edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer listed Northeast Ohio as home to dozens of opportunities in higher education. Both Oberlin College and its Conservatory were included in the article, as were the Cleveland Institute of Art, Baldwin-Wallace College, Kent State University, Cleveland State University, the University of Akron, John Carroll University, Ursuline College, Notre Dame College, Hiram College, and Case Western University. In a separate article, the paper included the names of area colleges and universities that offer free programs for the public on a year-round basis.

May 21--Martin Weisskopf '64 Receives Presidential Rank Award
Martin Weisskopf '64, a project scientist for NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, is one of three NASA executives recently honored with a 2003 Presidential Rank Award. This award is one of the highest honors given to individuals who perform government service work. Weisskopf, who received his BA in physics from Oberlin and his doctorate from Brandeis University, has dedicated more than 25 years of his career to Chandra, the world's most powerful X-ray telescope.

May 19--Oberlin Grad Starts Farmers Market in Mukilteo, Washington
Today's Seattle Times featured an article about the growth of farmers markets within Washington state. Recent Oberlin College graduate Eden Trenor, a native of Mukilteo, Washington, is returning home to open one of these local markets. Trenor sees the venture not just as an opportunity to supply her neighbors with fresh produce, but as a way to build community. Mukilteo's market will open July 22.

May 15--Student's Fuel-Efficient Car Drives Local Papers Wild
Stephen (Sam) Merrett '05 attracted the attention of the Lorain Morning Journal and the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram in an unusual way--he drove his four-cylinder, 1998 VW Jetta with diesel injection 1, 900 miles on 50 gallons of filtered vegetable oil. Merrett, who is majoring in biology and environmental studies, is also involved in a community project to convert waste vegetable oil into biodiesel, a environmentally-friendly fuel that can be poured straight into a diesel vehicle without having to retrofit the engine.

May 13--Graduate's Love of Pay Phones Leads to an Article in the New York Times
Today's edition of the New York Times featured an interview with Mark Thomas '90, the brains behind the so-called "pay phone project." Thomas, a concert pianist who lives in Astoria, New York, has spent more than a decade collecting the numbers and locations of public pay phones worldwide and posting them to his web site. Originally, Thomas hoped the site would facilitate contact between strangers, but recently fans of the service have found innovative ways to use the posted information.

May 8--Baltimore Sun Quotes Film Scholar Geoffrey Pingree
Assistant Professor of English and Cinema Studies Geoffrey Pingree was interviewed by the Baltimore Sun after 50/50, a new "work-in-progress" by Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana, raised eyebrows at the Maryland Film Festival for blurring the lines between fiction and reality. Pingree suppported the producers' technique, saying, "Film, documentary or feature, is not the real world. It is a piece of plastic. It stands between us and an actual experience."

May 6--Two Recent Graduates Continue Research that Began at Oberlin
Martha Kaiser '02 and David Swanson '02 were featured in a recent edition of The Ring, the University of Victoria's community newspaper. Both Kaiser and Swanson are working with UVic cognitive neuroscientist (and former Oberlin professor) Jim Tanaka on a computer program to help autistic children recognize facial expressions. Kaiser and Swanson began their work with Tanaka as undergraduates at Oberlin, and followed him to Canada to continue their research.

May 5--Allen Memorial Art Museum Receives Grant
A recent article in Artdaily.com announced that Oberlin College's Allen Memorial Art Museum (AMAM) has received a grant of $30,000 from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation in support of the exhibition "The Splendor of Ruins in French Landscape Painting, 1630-1800." Thirty-eight paintings by 20 French artists, with four works from the AMAM and laons from 28 museums across the United States and Canada will be featured in the show, which runs March-May 2005.

May 5--Plain Dealer Interviews Oberlin College President Nancy S. Dye
Today's Plain Dealer included an article about Oberlin College President Nancy S. Dye's nine-day trip to Iran. Dye joined a small delegation, which was organized by the Washington, D.C. group Search for Common Ground, to promote the idea that higher education can help bridge the gap separating "estranged" countries. "Our goal was simply to begin a conversation about how we might re-establish a relationship between Iranian and American higher education," Dye said. "It was a remarkable experience."

May 2--Allen Memorial Art Museum Featured in Akron-Beacon Journal
The Akron-Beacon Journal recently ran a glowing review of three current installations at Oberlin College's Allen Memorial Art Museum, including "Queering the Museum," "Making the Body in Contemporary Sculpture," and "The Home Show: Spaces for Contemporary Life."

May 2--Retired Professor's Tennis Prowess Makes the News
Retired Oberlin College Professor William Renfrow's backhand earned him a spot in today's Akron-Beacon Journal. Renfrow, who is 90, recently competed in a national tennis tournament, winning his first match, but losing his second.

May 2--Oberlin Alumnus Called "The Edison of Heart Surgery"
An article in the Houston Chronicle trumpets Billy Cohn '82 as the "Edison of heart surgery." Considered a leader among the newest generation of heart surgeons, Cohn, 43, believes heart surgery can be done better--with less burden on the patient, less recovery time, and lower costs. A former surgeon at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Cohn has accepted a postion at Houston's Texas Heart Institute.

May 1--Plain Dealer Interviews New Director of Allen Memorial Art Museum
An article by Plain Dealer art critic Steven Litt announced Stephanie Wiles' appointment as director of the Allen Memorial Art Museum, effective July 1. Wiles, director of the Davidson Art Center at Wesleyan University, suceeds former Allen director Sharon Patton and is a specialist in 19th-century English and American print makers.

April 2004
April 25--Allen Memorial Art Museum Appoints New Director
Recent articles in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Artdaily.com announced that Stephanie Wiles has been named the John G.W. Cowles Director of the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College. Wiles, who currently serves as director of the Davison Art Center at Wesleyan University, will begin her tenure at the AMAM July 1.

April 24--Students Recognized by the Lorain County Rape Crisis Center
Oberlin College students Megan Huelsenbeck '04 and Melissa Threadgill '04 were publicly recognized by the Lorain County Rape Crisis Center for their fundraising efforts on behalf of the center. The Lorain Morning Journal reported that Huelsenbeck and Threadgill raised $2,500 for the center earlier this year through a poetry slam and a local production of The Vagina Monologues.

April 21--Professor Participates in Earth Day Activities
Professor of Environmental Studies David Orr recently participated in Penn State University's Earth Day activities. According to the college's web site, Orr's presentation was part of a day-long series of events planned by members of the student group EcoAction.

April 18--Oberlin's Icho Daiko Gets Help from a Pro
Today's Lorain Morning Journal featured an article about Oberlin's Icho Daiko, a Japanese Taiko drumming group run by Yukiko Ebara, a former member of the award-winning Portland Taiko. Members of Icho Daiko include Oberlin College students, graduates, and town residents, as well as an individual who travels from Akron to rehearse with the group.

April 18--Professors Examine Impact of Spanish Railway Bombings
Geoff Pingree, an assistant professor of English and cinema studies, and Lisa Abend, an assistant professor of history, recently collaborated on an article for the San Francisco Chronicle that examines how the March 11th railway bombings in Spain have affected the residents of the El Pozo neighborhood.

April 18--Oberlin College Students Fight Homelessness
Oberlin College students teamed up with local residents yesterday to participate in OhioPIRG's 20th annual Hunger Cleanup. According to the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram, the volunteers did community service projects to help raise funding for the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness.

April 13--AMAM Receives Grant for New Exhibition
An article posted today on Artdaily.com reports that Oberlin College's Allen Memorial Art Museum has received a grant of $3,000 from the Ohio Humanities Council in support of the exhibition "The Splendor and Ruins in French Landscape Painting, 1630-1800." The exhibition, which will offer new perspectives on the featured works and the contexts in which they were created, will take place at the museum between March and June 2005.

April 13--Leading Neuroscientist Honored for Innovative Research
A recent article posted on Tulsaworld.com reports that Robert Wurtz '58 has been selected as one of the three recipients of the Dan David Prize for innovative research. As one of the nation's leading researchers on cognitive neuroscience and a scientist at the National Eye Institute, Wurz has introduced methods for the study of the brain cells in the visual system while the system is being used to perform sophisticated visual and behavioral tasks. Wurz's work seeks to unravel the components in the brain that transform visual input from the eye into visual perception and eye movements.

April 13--Oberlin Students Question Team's Logo
The Tribe's opening-day game received plenty of press in Cleveland, including an article in the Lorain Morning Journal. Baseball fans flocked to Jacobs Field to cheer the team on, but so did a group of protestors demanding that the team mascot be changed. "We just wanted to let people know that it's a great team, but the logo needs to change," said Evelyn Lane, a student at Oberlin College who participated in the demonstration.

April 12--Alumnus Helps Government Fight Spammers
Don Blumenthal '73 is known around the office as "Mr. Spam," a title he's earned by the recent display of his cybersleuth skills. Blumenthal, the subject of an article in today's Dallas Morning News, is employed by the Federal Trade Commission to track down the people who rip off consumers on the Internet, including those who use spam e-mail.

April 11--Oberlin Alumnus Franz Wright Wins Pulitzer
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Oberlin alumnus Franz Wright '77 was the subject of a recent article in both the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. Wright shares a talent for fitting words together in unforgettable ways with his father, the poet James Wright, as well as his recent prize. They are the only father and son ever to win the Pulitzer for poetry.

April 4--The Columbus Dispatch Interviews Crittercam's Host
Marine biologist Mike Heithaus '95 was the subject of a recent article in the Columbus Dispatch. Heithaus is the host of National Geographic's newest television series, Crittercam. Heithaus works with other cast members to attach a small device--the crittercam--to featured animals, and uses the resulting footage to show viewers how the animals behave in their natural habitat.

April 4--Reporter Heralds Ritter as "Authentic Talent"
According to Sue Wilson, a reporter for Ireland's Sunday Herald, Josh Ritter '99 trumped his stunning first year in the spotlight with the release of his latest CD, Hello Starling. Ritter, who has toured with Joan Baez, Damien Rice, Counting Crows, and The Frames, was recently voted best international male singer (over Justin Timberlake) in the Hot Press readers' poll, and best international songwriter (over Jack White, Ryan Adams, Thom Yorke, and David Gray).

April 2--Economics Professor Co-authors Article with Federal Reserve Governor
A recent article in Market News International and online at Quicken.com reports that monetary policy actions can have a sizable impact on stock prices, provided that they are not anticipated. The paper was authored by Oberlin College's Danforth-Lewis Professor of Economics Kevin Kuttner and Federal Reserve Governor Benjamin Bernanke.

March 2004
March 26--Oberlin's Newest Steinway Meets with Rave Reviews
Renowned Chinese pianist Lang Lang inaugurated Oberlin College's 199th Steinway piano Wednesday night at Finney Chapel. Wilma Salisbury, a reporter with
Cleveland's Plain Dealer, gave Lang Lang a glowing review, writing that "this memorable recital proved that there is more to his artistry than power and speed."

March 21--Oberlin Professors Remembers Spain before March 11, 2004
Assistant Professor of History Lisa Abend was recently asked to pen an op-ed piece for the New York Times. Abend, who is on sabbatical in Madrid and studies the history of Spain's Andulusian region, was on hand to witness the March 11th bombings of Spain's rail system. Assistant Professor of English and Cinema Studies Geoff Pingree, who is also on sabbatical in Madrid, penned an op-ed piece for the Salt Lake City Tribune, in which he wrote about Spain's reaction to the bombings and the upcoming Spanish elections.

March 18--Recent Graduates Provide the Raw Story
According to the Cambridge Chronicle, John Byrne and Jesse Kanson-Benanav are giving the famous Drudge Report a run for its money with their new alternative web site, the Raw Story. Byrne and Kanson-Benanav, both recent Oberlin College alumni, worked together on the Oberlin Review and launched their web site to provide interesting and relevant news stories for the "left-leaning market."

March 19--Albert Herring Cast Receives Rave Reviews
Plain Dealer music critic Donald Rosenberg gave the Oberlin Opera Theater's production of Britten: Albert Herring two-thumbs up, complimenting the cast for their "sterling performances" and for each creating "distinctively uptight, mischievous, or affecting portraits" of Britten's comedic characters.

March 14--Lorain Morning Journal Focuses on Oberlin College
The Lorain Morning Journal recently ran two articles on Oberlin College. The first, based on an interview with President Nancy S. Dye, discussed the College's new science facilities, plans for student housing, the College's new athletics director, and improvements to the Allen Memorial Art Museum. The second article delved into the history of the College and discussed its unique role in higher education.

March 12--Obie Rockers Invade the Media
This week's OC Weekly featured an interview with Obie rock sensation Karen O. A member of the New York-based Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Karen talked about the band's trip to the Grammy's, and waxed nostalgic about their first gig with The White Stripes. Karen was also recently interviewed for The Mercury News, where answered questions about her stage antics and talked about being Asian American in the current rock scene.

March 11--Oberlin College Helps Fund New City Office
The Elyria Chronicle-Telegram recently reported that Oberlin College has agreed to help the city of Oberlin fund its new Economic and Housing Development Office. "The economic development of Oberlin is the cornerstone for us to improve our housing, the schools, the work force," said Al Moran, vice president of college relations. "We saw this as an opportunity to work with city government for something both the College and the city think will work for Oberlin."

March 9--Oberlin Professor Stuart Friebert Quoted in New York Times
Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing Stuart Friebert was quoted in a recent New York Times article regarding poet (and death-row inmate) Stephen Todd Booker.

March 8--Alumnus Participates in Opening of New Hospital Facilities in Hanoi
An article in today's Capital Times reported that Dr. Richard Love '66 proudly attended the opening of the IBCRF Kathy Duffey Fogarty Breast Cancer Research Unit at Hospital K in Hanoi. A member of the International Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Love has been conducting clinical studies with breast cancer patients in Vietnam since 1993 and campaigning tirelessly for the money to upgrade conditions at Hospital K.

March 7--Plain Dealer Encourages Clevelanders to Visit Oberlin
A recent article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Unusual Oberlin," encouraged Clevelanders to visit and discover Oberlin--the College and the town. The article included descriptions of Oberlin's shops, restaurants, and historic landmarks.

March 6--City of Oberlin Named One of America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations
Both the Lorain Morning Journal and the Cleveland Plain Dealer recently reported that Oberlin has been chosen as one of America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2004 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Oberlin was chosen from a field of 75 applicants from 31 states, including Puerto Rico. "We're so excited about this," says Pat Murphy, executive director of Oberlin Heritage Center/O.H.I.O. "The community has a strong historical and rich architectural heritage."

March 4--Oberlin Graduate Keeps the First Brothers of Flight in Line
One of the best-kept secrets behind the story of Orville and Wilbur Wright's first flight is the role played by their sister Kathrine Wright (Oberlin College 1898). That is, it was a secret, until the Cleveland Plain Dealer published an article about Kathrine and the small group of Ohio women who are determined to keep her legacy alive. "She is the best-kept secret in the world," says Bernice Kammiller, an aviation-history buff. "The French were convinced she was the brain behind the airplane. I'm not going to give up until a movie is made of her life."

March 2--Benjamin Jaffee '93 Featured on NPR's Morning Edition
This morning,  NPR's "Morning Edition" featured the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, co-directed by bassist Benjamin Jaffe '93, on the launch of the band's new record label, Preservation Hall Recordings. Ben and the Preservation Hall Hot Four, a subset of the big band, performed live in Studio 4A; Ben was also interviewed by NPR's Bob Edwards. For more information, and to hear audio clips of the interview and their recordings, visit NPR's web site.

March 2--Conservatory Alumni Shine in Local Quintet
Wilma Salisbury, a music critic for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, gave glowing reviews to this weekend's performance by Imani Winds, a group consisting of black and Latin heritage musicians whose aim is to "push the boundaries of a traditional wind quintet by bridging the European and African musical traditions, exploring repertoire from diverse cultural backgrounds, and reflecting upon their rich experience as classical musicians of color." Bassoonist Monica Ellis and oboist Toyin Spellman are graduates of the Oberlin College Conservatory.

February 2004
February 29--College Students Take on Politics with Mock Convention
Oberlin College students resurrected a lost tradition this past weekend by hosting the campus' first mock convention in more than 40 years. The convention included a candidate debate, in which Oberlin College professors portrayed each of the presidential candidates (including those who had already dropped out of the race), delivered opening and closing statements, and responded to questions that addressed current issues. After the debates, the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reported that the students elected Howard Dean (played by Professor of Mathematics Michael Henle) as their candidate of choice.

February 29--Professor's Latest Art Installation Earns Praise from Local Paper
Today's Lorain Morning Journal features an article on Associate Professor of Art and African American Studies Johnny Coleman, who uses room-size, open-air dioramas that encompass the senses to tell his soulful tales. "Station to Station," an installation art piece created by Coleman, is currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland.

February 27--Alumnus Delivers Lecture on the Future of Public Health
D.A. Henderson '50, who led the World Health Organization's 12-year campaign to eradicate smallpox, recently delivered a lecture to the faculty and students of Johns Hopkins University. According to the Johns Hopkins Newletter, Henderson offered listeners a rough timeline of his life and accomplishments, along with anecdotes and advice for the future of public health. Henderson currently serves as a professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

February 26--Still Making Headlines: Liz Phair '89
More than a year has passed since the release of Liz Phair's self-titled (and fourth) CD, but the singer is still making headlines. Recently, both the Seattle Times and the Las Vegas Mercury interviewed Phair (who graduated from Oberlin in 1989) about the initial commotion that surrounded the CD's release. "It was the Oberlin [College] way: make provocative art and start a collective discussion," she says. "I come from a politicized, undergrad background, and so [I'm] into that. If you've touched a nerve, then you've done your job."

February 23--New York Times Names Alumna "One of Eight to Watch"
In today's edition of the New York Times, Kate Fodor '93 is named one of "Eight to Watch, Onstage and Behind the Scenes." Fodor is the driving force behind "Hannah and Martin," a play that examines the relationship between the philosophers Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger. "Hannah and Martin" will open at the Manhattan Ensemble Theater on March 31.

February 22-Alumna Publishes Book About the Dating Game
The Seattle Times recently interviewed Norine Dworkin '88, co-author of You Know He's a Keeper, You Know He's a Loser: Happy Endings and Horror Stories from Real-Life Relationships. Dworlkin's book is a lighthearted look at relationships that provides tips, gleaned through anecdotes from women around the country, for helping sort out the good from the bad and the ugly. While the book isn't about bashing men, Dworkin concedes that it was easier to find "loser" tales than "keeper anecdotes."

February 23--Eric Orts '82 Receives Endowed Professorship
The University of Pennsylvania Almanac recently announced that Professor Eric Orts '82 has been named the Guardsmark Endowed Professor of the Wharton School. Orts is a full professor in the legal studies and management departments, and directs Wharton's Environmental Management Program.

February 23--Newly-Published Alumna Gets People's Attention
The current issue of People magazine features an article about Elisabeth Robinson '83. Robinson, who studied economics at Oberlin, is the author of The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters, a dark comedy that is loosely based on her sister's struggle with leukemia.

February 20--The Guardian Reviews Josh Ritter '99
Today's edition of The Guardian included a review of Josh Ritter's recent performance at the 100 Club (in London). The review's overwhelmingly favorable assessment of the evening compared the up-and-coming singer-songwriter to Norah Jones and called him "a pre-Raphaelite Nick Drake" with poetic substance.

February 20--Violin Professor Takes Center Stage
When Andrew Jennings isn't in the classroom, he's onstage. According to an article posted on Michigan Live.com, the violin teacher will take the soloist spotlight Saturday evening to perform Beethoven's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. Jennings, who teaches violin at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the University of Michigan, is also the concertmaster for the Flint Symphony Orchestra.

February 15--Conservatory Graduate Receives Praise in Pretoria
Ohio native Spencer Myer III, who graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2000, recently bested 33 pianists from around the world to win grand prize in the Unisa International Piano Competition, which took place in Pretoria, South Africa. Both the Lorain Morning Journal and the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram ran articles in praise of Myer, who is currently pursuing a doctor of musical arts degree at Stony Brook University in New York.

February 14--Professor of Environmental Studies Quoted in Asheville Citizen-Times
Professor of Environmental Studies David Orr was the topic of a recent editorial in the Asheville Citizen-Times. In the article, Orr—who is widely hailed as a pioneer in the field of environmental literacy within higher education—commented on the dangers of biotechnology. "I think biotechnology means many different things to many different people," he said. "There may be applications that are beneficial. It's not clear to me what those are at this point. I'm no expert in this. I think its promise, and its perils, are still unknown." Orr also received press in the Watauga Democrat, which covered another of his recently-delivered lectures.

February 12--U.S. Representative Dennis Kuchinich Speaks at Oberlin College
U.S. Representative Dennis Kuchinich spoke at Oberlin College in front of a crowd of approximately 1,200 people. During his speech, Kuchinich vowed that, as president, he would support same-sex marriages and try to garner world support to create an independent Palestinian nation, as well as encourage peace between Palestine and Israel. Kuchinich's visit to the campus was covered by local papers, including the Lorain Morning Journal and the Toledo Blade.

February 4--Community Bike Center Now Open for Business
Last May, Zachary Moser, Seth Capron, Benjy Mason, and Catherine Goodman '02 loaded up their belongings and headed to Houston, Texas, where they planned to open up a community bike center in the city's Third Ward. The center opened in October 2003, and has grown quickly--so quickly, in fact, that a recent edition of the Houston Chronicle ran a story about the four friends and their bike center.

February 4--Alumnus Dazzles Audiences with His Rendition of Beowulf
Benjamin Bagby '74 didn't plan on making Beowulf his career, but the vocal major has been entertaining audiences with the eleventh-century Scandinavian epic for many years. Bagby's most recent performance, in the epic's original Anglo-Saxon, took place at Synod Hall in Oakland, Pennsylvania, as part of the Pittsburgh Renaissance and Baroque Society's 2003-04 season. A review of the performance is now available online.

February 4--Oberlin's Director of Athletics Quoted in Scene Magazine
Cleveland's Scene Magazine recently featured an article about athletics at Oberlin. The article, "Revenge of the Jocks," featured quotes from the College's newly-hired director of athletics, Vin Lananna. "I don't think there are any delusions her about Oberlin being a powerhouse in athletics," he says, "but certainly it can be one where the student athletes have a positive experience."

February 1--Professor of Studio Art Participates in Local Exhibition
Today's Akron Beacon Journal featured an article about the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art's newest exhibition, Material Witnesses. The show features six installations, one of which was created by local artist and Oberlin College Professor of Studio Art Johnny Coleman.

    
   
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