Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sam and Macklemore - an amazing story

On Thursday, the Student Association presented the College's Spring Concert - so many people worked hard to bring this concert here - the E-Board and especially Eric Jaukkuri and Caitlin-Shea Vantine who were co-secretaries of programming looked at several options and they chose Macklemore to perform.  I saw him on Saturday Night Live and the Conin O'Brien show and while I can't understand most of ANY rappers' lyrics, I did read up on him and found him to be a great choice for SMC - he had performed at Higher Ground in So. Burlington and it was an immediate sellout so I knew he would be popular here.  He has such a strong tolerance, acceptance of others and anti-drug message that his sometimes "rich" language doesn't really bother me.  We sold 2,000 tickets on campus and an additional 1,000 off campus so our goal of a sellout was reached. 
What I didn't know, is what an amazing human being he is.  One of my students, Justin Salls, who is in my Sports Psychology course asked if he could speak with me outside of the classroom on Thursday afternoon right before class.  This is unusual because most students just speak with me IN class - Justin is a great student and has added a lot to my class so I, of course agreed.  When we stepped outside he told me that his roommate and best friend had just been diagnosed with leukemia THIS WEEK and since he is now in the hospital BUT had really, really wanted to go to the concert Thursday night some of his friends had tried to arrange for Macklemore to go to the hospital to see Sam.  Justin told me that IF that was possible he was supposed to be there when this happened - he asked if it was alright with me IF he got the text message during class and had to leave - NOW, YOU have to realize that this IS the type of student we have here at SMC.  I so appreciated the respect he showed to me and the class by asking permission - AND, of course I "gave him permission."  He didn't get the text message during class BUT later on he sent me the picture from above of his friend Sam and Macklemore at the hospital.  The concert was amazing and while again, I couldn't understand many of his lyrics, he did ask for a moment of silence for folks to send good vibes to SAM. the backstory of why Macklemore visited Sam is in the attached article.

These types of stories continue to give me hope for our world AND for our young people.  Thank you Eric and Caitlin, Grace Kelly(Director of Student Activities)  and Mark Litchfield Director of Special Events) , and all of our community for the great work you do. 

Today is our annual Spring Fling named P-Day - Sam's friends have asked folks to write SAM STRONG on their T-shirts to send a great message to Sam as he battles with this difficult diagnosis.  I have asked Justin to make sure that Sam knows how much support he has and that I send him MY thoughts and prayers too.  SAM STRONG.................

We finish the academic year on Wednesday so please hope for snow and cold winds through finals - just joking, although I often comment at this time of year that as the temperatures rise, the grade point averages fall :(  

Take care, be well and in addition to keeping Sam in YOUR thoughts and prayers, as I always do, I ask for your thoughts and prayers for all of the members of our military and our veterans.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Honors Research Presentations

Yesterday afternoon the Psychology Department hosted our annual Honors Research Presentations.  Three of our senior psychology majors presented the research they have been working on for the past year.  Professor Ari Kirshenbaum is shown next to Michael Fay whose study is entitled "Acetylcholine, Nicotine and Depression:  What Rats Can Teach Us About Resolving Tobacco Withdrawal" - Megan Olsen and Natalie Zimmer both worked with Professor Melissa VanderKaay Tomasulo on their research - Megan's is entitled "Cigarette Use and Stress- Induced Cardiovascular Reactivity:" The Influence of Environmental Enrichment in Early Childhood" and Natalie's title is "Coping Styles and Stress- Induced Cardiovascular Reactivity Among Habitual, Intermittent, and Non-Smokers" - it is always so rewarding to watch these honors presentations and everyone there was impressed with the research our students had done.  We also inducted 17 new members into Psi Chi which is the International Honor Society of Psychology - congratulations to all of the new  - Inductees.  Today is the College-wide Symposium and many of our senior psychology majors presented their posters which depict either their senior research, or their Practicum Site Presentations.  With over 250 accepted students AND their parents on campus today PLUS so many people who wanted to see the results of student work this place is packed with energy and enthusiasm.  I am heading over to the lacrosse game in a few minutes to watch our men's lax team as they hopefully continue their amazing streak of wins - GO PURPLE KNIGHTS.
Classes are almost over with for this academic year and hopefully everyone will successfully complete their final projects/reports/assignments - Please take good care everyone and, as always, please keep all of the members of our military, our veterans and their families in your thoughts and prayers AND today, please also keep those hurt or wounded in the Boston Marathon tragedy AND those killed in your thoughts and prayers AND our gratitude to all of the police, firefighters, first responders and those who worked so hard to keep everyone safe during the past several days in Boston cannot be expressed enough - it has been a frightening several days BUT as anyone who knows anything about Boston well knows - BOSTON STRONG is NOT just a catch-phrase......