C of I Newsletter

2011. 11. 18

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College of Idaho's Robert Dayley named Idaho Professor of the Year

College of Idaho professor Robert Dayley is the winner of the 2011 Idaho Professor of the Year award, announced Nov. 17 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Dayley, who teaches political economy and specializes in Asian studies, is the fourth C of I professor in six years to receive the award, which recognizes the state’s top educator based on scholarly achievement, innovative teaching, community and professional service, and recommendations from colleagues, alumni and students.

“It’s very humbling,” Dayley said. “It’s a real honor. I consider myself a very typical teacher at The College of Idaho, so I think the award really speaks to the quality of instruction we have here.”

Dayley is in his 11th year at C of I and is one of the primary architects of the College’s innovative PEAK curriculum, launched in 2010. He teaches international political economy classes and topics courses about a variety of Asian nations. He also advises the College’s award-winning Model United Nations team as well as international students in the Davis United World College Scholars program. Dayley’s primary area of expertise is Southeast Asia – he co-authors a highly praised college text on the region. Twice a recipient of Fulbright grants to Thailand, Dayley took four C of I students to study the Thai tangerine industry this past summer thanks to an ASIANetwork Freeman Student-Faculty Research Grant. A video documenting the group’s findings is available on the C of I YouTube channel.

“I enjoy the relationship I get to have with my students,” Dayley said. “My job is to read books and talk about them with young people. I get to take my students with me to Asia and show them globalization in action. Helping students discover new interests is exciting and satisfying…I can’t believe I get paid to do this.”

College of Idaho alumna Molly Bruins ’04 said her classes with Dayley left her with both a desire to change the world and an honest sense of how difficult that task might be.

“Rob is a phenomenal teacher,” Bruins said. “He cares passionately about his subject matter and has a very genuine empathy for individuals around the world who are affected by the actions of international policymakers. I always had the sense that he was a student alongside us, exploring and analyzing problems that in many cases are very intractable, rather than a dogmatic 'expert' who already had all the answers.”

In addition to being highly regarded as a teacher, Dayley helped shape the C of I’s PEAK curriculum, which enables students to graduate with a major and three minors in four years. Those majors and minors span the four knowledge “peaks” of the humanities and fine arts, social sciences and history, natural sciences and mathematics, and professional studies and enhancements.

“Professor Dayley is a very worthy Idaho Professor of the Year,” said C of I President Marv Henberg. “His dedication to preparing students, his innovation in the classroom and his role in bringing to life our distinctive PEAK curriculum show how much he cares about his students and the quality of the education they receive at The College of Idaho.”

C of I professors Rochelle Johnson (2010), Kerry Hunter (2008) and Jim Angresano (2006) also have received the Idaho Professor of the Year Award in recent years. Dayley and the 2011 winners from each of the other 49 states will be recognized at an awards ceremony this weekend in Washington, D.C.

Estate gift to fund new library at The College of Idaho

A new library serving as an intellectual commons for The College of Idaho will be built with an estate gift that is one of the most significant in the history of Idaho’s oldest private college.

The gift was made by Deborah Cruzen Murray, a former trustee of the College, and her husband Glenn Richard Murray, Jr.

C of I President Marv Henberg said planning has begun for the future library, to be named the Cruzen-Murray Library, with the goal of creating a modern facility that promotes learning in all respects.

“To fully achieve its potential, a library must be a welcoming place for the many ways in which teaching and learning occur,” Henberg said. “We will be designing a library that may be best characterized as a hearth, a warm place that invites inquiry and dialogue.”

In addition to space for traditional library holdings of books and journals, Henberg said he anticipates the Cruzen-Murray Library will include study spaces for individuals and groups, multimedia instructional rooms, public spaces for events such as poetry readings and lectures, exhibitions and a cafe.

Debbie Murray, who grew up in Idaho, has been very generous to the C of I both financially and with her time said Michael Vandervelden, vice president for college relations.

“She’s a very special person with a real passion for the College,” Vandervelden said. “Among her many contributions were providing for the interior redecoration of Blatchley Hall, built in 1910 and now on the National Register of Historic Places, and purchasing performance attire for the College’s choir.”

No timetable has been set for construction of Cruzen-Murray Library, and the project will commence after the estate is realized. Planning the building and its landscaping will be a committee chaired by Professor of History Steven Maughan and composed of librarians, faculty, students and other College staff.

“While libraries have undergone a tremendous evolution in recent years, they retain a critical role bringing members of the College together to learn and share knowledge,” Henberg said. “One of the primary strengths of The College of Idaho is our community of learning. As a small college, it is easy for our students to converse with their professors outside the classroom, as well as to engage in dialogue with classmates of diverse backgrounds and perspectives. These are the types of interactions the Cruzen-Murray Library will foster.”

Cruzen-Murray Library will be built at the entrance to the College at the intersection of 21st Street and Cleveland Boulevard.

“This location is the public gateway to campus and I am confident Cruzen-Murray Library will be a jewel for both the College and for the entire community,” Henberg said.

Murray’s estate gift comes several months after the public announcement of the College’s Advance The Legacy comprehensive campaign. Advance The Legacy seeks to raise $175 million by the College’s 125th anniversary in 2016. To learn more, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu/campaign. Or, to make a gift to the College, click here.

Judaic Studies endowment fund tops $1 million

The College of Idaho has received $250,000 from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation in support of the College’s effort to create an endowed chair in Judaic Studies. The gift continues the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation’s long-standing support of the College’s mission of preparing students who thrive and also boosts the school’s effort to create the first endowed Judaic Studies chair in the Intermountain West.

“We are ever grateful for the continued support of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation,” C of I President Marv Henberg said. “Our priority is to make sure our students have access to the finest education possible, and creating this endowed chair will open many new avenues for learning and culture.”

With this gift, C of I has raised $1,052,886 toward the Chair in Judaic Studies endowment goal of $2.3 million. Last December, the College received a $500,000 matching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support the chair. The recent gift by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is eligible for an NEH match.

The endowed chair in Judaic Studies is the dream of C of I history professor Howard Berger, a 28-year veteran of the College. The goal of the chair is to promote greater understanding of Jewish traditions, culture and philosophy in Idaho and the West. Berger teaches Jewish history courses, hosts an annual Passover Seder and involves the campus in other Jewish traditions throughout the school year. In his honor the College has established the Howard Berger Lecture Series, which brings Jewish dignitaries and public figures to campus to speak about contemporary Jewish issues.

Daring to succeed: Matt Ramsey '95 performs, trains in Blue Man Group

Accepting a dare to audition for The College of Idaho’s production of “Twelfth Night” turned into one of the best decisions of Matt Ramsey’s life.

But it didn’t seem like that on opening night.

“I still vividly remember standing back stage in the wings before going on, I had no idea what I was about to say,” the 1995 C of I graduate said. “That was one of the top two most nervous, anxious moments of my entire life, but it was also pretty exhilarating.”

Being on stage had hooked Ramsey.

“I think it’s very fortunate that I was at the C of I in a small theater department where I could receive the personal attention I got,” he said. “If I was in a big theater department I wouldn’t have gotten cast because I’m sure I was terrible that first play.”

Yet that role as Duke Orsino in “Twelfth Night” started Ramsey on a path that today has him in what many would consider a dream role - performer and associate director of live productions for the Blue Man Group in New York City.

Since first joining the Blue Man Group in 2000, Ramsey has performed on Comedy Central and the “Jay Leno Show,” thrown out the first pitch at a Chicago Cubs game, participated in a photo shoot on top of Sears Tower and performed at the reopening of the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.

“This role has taken me to places I never would have expected to go – it’s literally taken me around the world and places that were just amazing to me,” Ramsey said.

Becoming a Blue Man

After graduating and starting his professional acting career with the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Ramsey’s opportunity to join the Blue Man Group came, naturally, out of the blue.

While in New York City for auditions before starting a graduate program in acting, he heard about the ensemble for the first time and decided to send in his resume and photos.

“Before I left New York I got a call from Blue Man Group saying they were interested in having me come in for an audition,” Ramsey said. “I had to tell them I was going to graduate school but they told me to keep in touch and we’ll see you in three years.”

Ramsey didn’t give it much more thought until three years later, when he returned to New York for another round of auditions and saw a Blue Man Group business card.

“I figured I’d give them a call and before I could say anything more than my name the cast director said ‘Matt Ramsey! I’m looking at your resume right now!’ “Ramsey said, and within a week of auditioning, he was hired.

After completing Blue Man training, Ramsey joined the cast in Boston and performed there for two years. After a brief break for a part in a production of “Marty,” Ramsey started substituting for actors in the Blue Man Group’s New York cast when they were on vacation or there was and injury, and soon was doing that so often he joined the cast full-time.

In 2007, Ramsey was asked to help train other Blue Men and began working with one of the original creators as a performer-trainer. The special gig gave Ramsey an opportunity to direct casts in various cities to ensure the quality and aesthetic of the show was maintained. After a period performing with the Blue Man cast in Chicago, Ramsey returned to New York in the summer of 2011 as an associate director of live productions in charge of training new Blue Men while still performing himself twice a week.

“I really, really love doing this role,” Ramsey said. “Even after 10 years it’s a fun, complex character who I’m always learning more about.”

Hero, innocent, trickster

Being a Blue Man comes with a couple requirements - actors must fit within certain height and weight requirements and be able to learn the show’s music. The real challenge is learning how to embody the essence of the character and act like a Blue Man.

“The character is a collection of archetypes,” Ramsey said. “He is a hero, he is an innocent and he is a clown, a trickster.”

“He’s a hero because he’s able and willing to move forward without knowing. A Blue Man must be bold and able to take action despite the uncertainty of a situation,” Ramsey said. “Yet he’s also innocent. There’s no ego involved, and a Blue Man experiences things for the first time, as a child would, with no judgment.”

For example, when a Blue Man encounters a prop, he doesn’t know what it is or what to do with it. Yet that doesn’t prevent him from trying to use it. The results are hilarious to the audience, yet the Blue Man doesn’t recognize how funny the situation is.

“Embodying this quality of unique heroic innocence is what’s really fun about getting to make this character work,” Ramsey said.

Being able to help new Blue Men learn the character - a two to three month, full-time job - is perhaps even more fulfilling.

“I think everyone who is a teacher and responsible for teaching someone something new finds that it’s really satisfying when you see that person succeed,” Ramsey said. “I try to instill in each trainee a value for the character. Once they’ve completed the training and passed their final test we send them off to a city to be part of a cast and they’re kind of on their own. It’s up to them to continue to learn the character and be wise with the role.”

Ramsey believes the characteristics that make a good Blue Man also make a good person.

“The qualities of the character, like the absence of ego, is something we could all use as people, and that’s something I can apply in my own life,” he said. “I see playing the Blue Man as work on myself as well and that’s a big part of why I’ve enjoyed the character for so long.”

Ramsey credits his experiences at The College of Idaho for helping him achieve success as a professional actor. From his role as Count Orsino to acting classes with a dozen or fewer students to a music professor who pulled him aside and encouraged him to be a vocal performance major, those experiences were invaluable.

“Thank goodness I wound up at The College of Idaho where I could thrive and I wouldn’t be drowned out,” Ramsey said.

C of I freshman examines women's rights in film

A documentary film created by College of Idaho freshman Julia Levy recently was named one of 15 preliminary winners in the nationwide filmmaking contest, Project VoiceScape. Levy’s film, The Fifth Star, examines women’s suffrage in her native Washington state as well as modern female involvement in politics. Levy was awarded a $2,000 grant to complete her project, and she was honored along with her fellow winners during an Oct. 6 ceremony in Washington, D.C.

“I was shocked I won the grant,” Levy said. “There were around 250 applications, so I felt thrilled to be selected.”

Project VoiceScape is a contest designed for middle school- to high school-aged students. Partnered with Adobe Youth Voices, PBS and POV (Point of View), contestants are asked to use digital media to create stories about issues important to them.

The Fifth Star includes clips from Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, showing how involved women are in modern politics, as well as pictures from the suffrage movement, illustrating the difficulties that women experienced in gaining the right to vote as well as their commitment to securing it. Interviews throughout the film show the importance and pride American women place on their rights to vote and run for office.

Levy plans to study either political economy or anthropology at C of I. Though she has not yet decided on a career path, she is interested in working with a non-profit organization.

“When you do non-profit work, you get a warm, fuzzy feeling,” Levy said. “There’s nothing better than feeling good about the work you are doing.”

Levy already has experience in the non-profit sector through her work with Reel Grrls, an organization based in Seattle that encourages young women to realize their potential through media production. Levy’s involvement led to the Project VoiceScape opportunity, which was introduced by one of her Reel Grrls mentors in Seattle.

To learn more about Project VoiceScape – as well as view all 15 of the winning films – visit www.pbs.org/pov/voicescape.


Fall 2011

Upcoming Alumni Events

Fall 2011

Upcoming Athletic Events

November 18

C of I Cultural Dinner featuring authentic Mexican food, 6 p.m., Simplot South Dining Room

November 18

Washington, D.C. Alumni and Friends Event, 6 p.m., National League of Cities

November 22

Public lecture by guest professor Dr. Charles Yates: 'The Japanese Esthetic of Alienation: Seeing What We Wish Was There,' 1 p.m., Boone Hall room 101

December 1

C of I Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble fall concert, 7:30 p.m., Langroise Recital Hall

December 2

C of I Sinfonia Concert, 7:30 p.m., Langroise Recital Hall

Through December 2

College of Idaho Student Art Show, second floor of Langroise Center for Performing and Fine Arts

December 3

C of I Piano Studio Recital, 7:30 p.m., Langroise Recital Hall

December 4

C of I Feast of Carols, 4 p.m., Jewett Auditorium. Reception to follow in Langroise Foyer

December 5

C of I Chamber Music Concert, 7:30 p.m., Langroise Recital Hall

December 6

Caldwell Fine Arts presents Eugene Ballet's 'Nutcracker,' 7:30 p.m., Jewett Auditorium. Also featuring 'Nutcracker Jr.' at 10 a.m., Clara's Tea Party at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Through December 16

Pagans, Pigeons, and the Architectural Index: New work by Benjamin Love, Rosenthal Gallery of Art (Blatchley Hall)

December 18

Alumni and Friends Holiday Casino Party, 2 p.m., Beside Bardenay (Downtown Boise)


Congratulations to legendary C of I athlete R.C. Owens '58, who recently was inducted into the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame. Owens also was featured by the Sacramento Bee for his famous invention of the "Alley-Oop."

The College of Idaho community recently sustained two big losses as alumnus Patrick Takasugi '71 and longtime staff member DC Cuttlers passed away. Takasugi was a veteran Idaho lawmaker and State Representative, while Cuttlers worked in the College's maintenance and operations office for many years. The College extends its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of both of these great individuals.

C of I senior Whitney Brigham has been named the Cascade Collegiate Conference Volleyball Player of the Year. Brigham, a three-time All-CCC selection, was joined on the All-CCC first-team by teammates Kelsey Soos, Kylie Nawahine and Torrey Hulsey, as reported by Oregonlive.com.

Check out hundreds of new photos, including albums from the fall student art show, the Langroise Holiday Arts Fair, the Coyote men's baskeball game versus NNU and more on the C of I Flickr page.

College of Idaho professor Robert Dayley's selection as the Carnegie Foundation's 2011 Idaho Professor of the Year received some nice coverage in the local media, including a front-page story in the Idaho Statesman and an article on KBOI Channel 2 News' Caldwell web page.

Keep up with Coyote Athletics! Get updated scores and news on the C of I website, become a fan of the Coyote Athletics Facebook page, or email sports information director Mike Safford to subscribe to Yote Notes.

The College of Idaho chapter of Circle K International is running a fundraiser to help the Canyon County Community Clinic, which provides medical care for those living under the poverty line. Please donate your empty/used printer, copier or fax cartridges and old cell phones so the clinic may recycle them for money. Your donation may provide a patient with life-saving medication! Collection boxes are placed in each C of I residence hall and Terteling Library. The fundraiser ends Nov. 30. Thanks for your support!

The C of I student newspaper, the Coyote, is holding a survey to determine the winners of the first annual C of I Oscars. Vote for your favorite students, professors and staff members in various categories and find out who the winners are in the January issue of the Coyote. Send questions and suggestions to editor Danielle Blenker at [email protected].