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Haverford Spring/Summer 2013 : Page 6

main lines This portrait of RJ Rushmore ’14 was painted on a building by street artist Elbowtoe. Street Art Authority This is why documenting the guerrilla art form on the internet has become crucial. RJ Rushmore, whose website Vandalog tracks the latest develop-ments in street art, understands both the vitality and inherent shortcomings of the Net. By addressing them, he has treet art, more than many other made Vandalog one of the most impor-forms of visual communica-tant art sites out there. “You can never tion, is at the mercy of location replicate the experience of walking and timing. You can never real-around the corner and unexpectedly ly know when someone will paint over seeing something an artist has done a revolutionary work of art before any-there for the first time,” he admits, one has ever had the chance to see it. “but I don’t think street art would have The May issue of PAPER magazine featured this piece on RJ (Michael) Rushmore ’14 , who has turned his Vandalog website, which he runs from his dorm room, into an important chronicle of street art around the world. gotten so big without the internet.” What has made Rushmore, who runs the site from his Haverford College dorm room, such a player in his field, courted by artists and institutions alike, is a depth sadly lacking from most websites. Starting it back in 2008 when he was still a high school student in London, Rushmore realized “there were plenty of fan sites out there, but there was no real discussion of what was going on. I want-ed to provide access so that a kid who has never been to New York could have an idea of what was going on, but I also 6 HaverfordMagazine PHOTO: ELBOWTOE S

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Street Art Authority

The May issue of PAPER magazine featured this piece on RJ (Michael) Rushmore ’14, who has turned his Vandalog website, which he runs from his dorm room, into an important chronicle of street art around the world.

Street art, more than many other forms of visual communication, is at the mercy of location and timing. You can never really know when someone will paint over a revolutionary work of art before anyone has ever had the chance to see it.

This is why documenting the guerrilla art form on the internet has become crucial. RJ Rushmore, whose website Vandalog tracks the latest developments in street art, understands both the vitality and inherent shortcomings of the Net. By addressing them, he has made Vandalog one of the most important art sites out there. “You can never replicate the experience of walking around the corner and unexpectedly seeing something an artist has done there for the first time,” he admits, “but I don’t think street art would have gotten so big without the internet.”

What has made Rushmore, who runs the site from his Haverford College dorm room, such a player in his field, courted by artists and institutions alike, is a depth sadly lacking from most websites. Starting it back in 2008 when he was still a high school student in London, Rushmore realized “there were plenty of fan sites out there, but there was no real discussion of what was going on. I want- ed to provide access so that a kid who has never been to New York could have an idea of what was going on, but I also wanted to offer a more critical look at the art and culture.” While his decision to cast a critical gaze—that is sometimes less that laudatory—rather than simply post pictures and crib from press releases, has earned Rushmore plenty of haters. Vandalog enjoys a unique status in the street art community: a few thousand hits a day, a shared ad net- work with the broadly based art site Hyperallergic, more than half a dozen writers from across the world (including New York, Los Angeles, London, South America and Australia), in-depth interviews with the artists themselves and “enough ads to pay for beer.” Because the void of genuine reporting, insight and analysis seems endemic to so much of the Web these days, we can only hope that there are a few more out there smart enough to follow RJ’s example. —Carlo McCormick

In a visit to campus coordinated by Rushmore in May, Newark, N.J., street artist LNY painted the mural “Apex Predator” (above) on a wall of James House, the student space for art and crafts. Working with the board of James House, and with the support of funding from the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities’ Student Arts Fund, Rushmore has helped bring two other murals to the exterior of James House. In 2011, the Baltimore-based street artist Gaia rendered a striking black bird on one of the end walls of the building, and in 2012 Labrona and Troy Lovegates collaborated on a mural for the James House façade that features a series of colorful, linked figures.


“You might want to own a dog, but I wouldn’t get a dog to prevent a heart attack.” —New York Times science writer Gina Kolata, commenting on the credibility of observational studies, like those claiming that owning a dog can be linked to heart attack prevention.

Kolata, the author of such books as Rethinking Thin and Clone: the Road to Dolly and the Path Ahead, spoke at Haverford on May 17 on science literacy and what aspects of “scientific thinking” every educated person needs to know. Her conclusions: Beware of anecdotal evidence, beware of observational studies and always get an independent second opinion. Kolata’s talk was sponsored by The Howard Hughes Medical Institute Program, the Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center and the Distinguished Visitors Program.


ON VIEW in the Marshall Fine Arts Center’s Atrium Gallery (through Oct. 6) are 40 compelling images from the Fogel Collection of fine art photography. Part of Special Collections, the Fogel holdings span two centuries and were made possible through the generous support of alumni Michael (’58) and Rafael (’93) Fogel.

Welcoming a New Dean of First-Year Students

Michael Martinez, formerly associate dean at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, will succeed Raisa Williams as Dean of First- Year Students starting July 1.

At Bates, Martinez was involved in first year orientation, supervised dormitories and student-life programming, played a role in academic advising and helped coordinate academic support services. He was particularly focused on supporting and promoting greater academic success among first-generation and underrepresented students at Bates.

Prior to joining the administration at Bates, Martinez, who graduated with degrees in philosophy and religion from Princeton University, worked as a reporter for his hometown newspaper in Wichita Falls, Texas, before being recruited to serve as the first full-time college advisor for the Academic Success Program (ASP), the successor organization to the initiative that had helped prepare him to become the first in his family to attend college. He was appointed ASP’s director of operations in 2007 and executive director in 2008,overseeing an operation that served 3000 high school students.

“My own transition to college was a difficult one, and I get true professional and personal fulfillment out of helping students find happiness and success during their first year,” says Martinez. “But whether their transition to college is difficult or easy, the first year is for all students about exploring the world, their identity, and figuring out for themselves what it means to be a Ford and a citizen of the larger world. The first year of college is often one of the most pivotal, defining, and redefining experiences in an individual’s life. It is an honor to play even a small role in that experience.”

Martinez inherits a strong foundation from Raisa Williams, the first person to hold the position of first-year dean, and looks forward to continuing the process of developing Haverford’s academic support system for first-year students of all backgrounds.

“I am so excited to share my own first year at Haverford with the Class of 2017,” he says. “We will explore this amazing place together, and it should be a great adventure for all of us.”

April Fooling in the KINSC

Every April Fools day the Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center undergoes a startling transformation as students from the different departments bedeck their parts of the science complex with themed decorations. This year, the annual tradition was embraced with gusto (and some very impressively crafted props), as the Psychology Department became The Magic Psych Bus (instead of the The Magic School Bus); Zubrow Commons was transformed with homemade question-mark boxes and giant toothy plants into a screenshot of the Super Mario Brothers video game; and a Wizard of Oz theme brought a tornado to the Rotunda.

A Foodie in Chicago

When food journalist/ connoisseur Heather Sperling ’05 left New York four years ago and became editor of the Chicago edition of Tasting Table, an online daily for food enthusiasts, she fell in love with the creative energy of Chicago’s artists and chefs. But Sperling felt they lacked a proper platform to show off their wares.

Late last year, she and two journalist partners launched Fête Chicago, a series of curated pop-up markets and events featuring the city’s talent. Fête debuted in December with a holiday market— described by Martha Stewart Living as “a nighttime celebration honoring Chicago’s stellar food and design artisans”— whose goal was to “let shoppers who care about the people behind the products mingle with the artisans themselves.”

That first Fête drew nearly 700 attendees and led to a long weekend in April of more events, kicking off with a Thursday night market that saw crowds lined up around the block of a West Loop loft space before the doors opened. The days following, at sites throughout the city, featured a food storytelling night, talks with designers about the creative process, conversations with chefs, and a studio tour of a local designer who does tableware for Chicago restaurants.

With an admission price of $5 (including a free local craft beer or cider) or $15 (including cocktails from locally produced spirits), the markets are accessible; talks are similarly priced and include samples of a specialty food or drink being discussed.

“At its core, the markets are a place for commercial exchange, much like a farmers’ market,” explains Sperling, who’s been passionate about food since she was a child and checked out cookbooks from her local library in Bethesda, Md. “But the thing that makes Fête special is that it’s about more than commerce. It’s about getting a firsthand look and direct interaction with some of the city’s most creative, passionate and driven people and learning about what they do.”

Sperling discovers the best and most unusual in Chicago’s food culture through her work at Tasting Table. “I’ve written about everyone involved in Fête at some point or another. It’s mine and my partners’ personal connections that make the events successful.”

A favorite from the April nighttime market included burnt-honey ice cream from Dana Cree, pastry chef of Chicago’s famed Blackbird restaurant. The hand-packed pints were so well received that Cree is launching her own ice-cream line—just the kind of growth Fête hopes to foster.

Other vendors included local wine, beer and spirit producers, small-batch fruit-preserve makers, ceramic, jewelry and dinnerware artists, and a variety of pop-up restaurants serving everything from empanadas and ramen to duck pastrami and doughnuts.

Next up is Fall Fête, which Sperling and her partners want to expand to more venues and a fuller schedule. “We’re toying with including dinners that bring together designers and chefs, film screenings with exciting food components, and more focused conversations between innovators, a la The New Yorker Festival,” Sperling says. “I’m passionate about and inspired by Chicago’s innovative, creative chefs, designers and artisans, and Fête is a way of shining a light on them.” For more information: — Anne E. Stein

In the “Shark Tank”

Ryan Frankel ’06 and business partner Kunal Sarda swam with the sharks on May 17 in the season finale of ABC’s Shark Tank television series. The episode’s airing capped a highly productive year for Frankel and VerbalizeIt (, his human-based translation company formerly known as PalmLing (see the Spring/ Summer 2012 issue).

Launched in February 2012, VerbalizeIt provides two-way live conversations with translators who can ask questions, recognize slang and interpret tone of voice. The company relies on crowd sourcing to recruit multilingual individuals around the world, who work whenever they are available.VerbalizeIt’s translator corps has grown from 1,300 to more than 7,500, providing translation in 10 languages.

Frankel and Sarda actually filmed their Shark Tank episode in Los Angeles in July 2012, not long after Frankel graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with an M.B.A. In the end, 60 minutes of filming was whittled down to eight minutes of airtime, during which five “Sharks” grilled the VerbalizeIt partners about their business model.

Frankel and Sarda navigated the questions and suspenseful negotiations with poker-faced aplomb, ultimately accepting a deal from educational-software developer Kevin O’Leary Over offers from Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and HDNet, and tech guru Robert Herjavec. (FUBU clothing company founder Daymond John and real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran decided to pass.)

But the reality of reality television is never quite what it seems. After weighing the terms of O’Leary’s deal against other investment options, Frankel and Sarda declined his offer. Instead, VerbalizeIt banked on TechStars, a selective start-up accelerator program that also accepted Frankel and Sarda in 2012. At the end of the summerlong program, the two secured an initial round of $1.5 million in private equity financing and relocated the business to New York City.

Since filming, VerbalizeIt has partnered with Skype, Rosetta Stone and Inspirato—deals that represent a shift in focus over the past year. Originally intended to provide telephonebased translation services for international travelers, VerbalizeIt now also helps corporate customers “make sure language is never a barrier to business,” says Frankel. For example, the company can help create bilingual call centers, translate documents and subtitle videos.

Going on Shark Tank did pay off in other ways, however. After the show aired, VerbalizeIt was flooded with inquiries from new customers and potential translators, says Frankel. —Samantha Drake


MOVING OUT, RECYCLED: During move-out period, the unwanted stuff Haverford students toss into the dumpsters has amounted in the past to as much as 50 tons. Finding a way to prevent some of that material from going into a landfill became the mission this term of the Move Out Recycling Committee. The informal group, made up of students and staff, found the solution in a partnership with Goodwill Industries, which brought its trucks and workers to campus for six visits over two weeks in May. The first week, students voluntarily donated 11,360 pounds of stuff. The second week, Goodwill worked with Haverford’s housekeeping staff as they cleaned out vacated dorm rooms and collected an additional 13,560 pounds. That’s a total of about 25,000 pounds of donation-worthy material (including furniture, clothing and domestic items), much of which will go on sale at Goodwill stores in the area to raise money for the organization’s programs.

AIDING BIKE RIDERS: Doing routine bike maintenance has become a whole lot easier for campus cyclists, thanks to the Dero Fixit bike station that was installed at the Foundry, near the Douglas B. Gardner ’83 Integrated Athletic Center and the Fine Arts Center. The station has tools to add air to tires, adjust brakes and more, and even has a Quick Read code on the front that can be scanned with a smart phone to get detailed instructions on tool use and bike repair.

Credit for bringing the bike station to campus goes to William Leeser ’15 and campus bike club member Edward Gracia ’13, who worked together to secure funding through Students’ Council and the Greening Haverford Fund. The pair was aided by Claudia Kent, assistant director of facilities management, sustainability and grounds, who coordinated the installation and designed a custom sign for the spot.

BRIGHT IDEA FOR FOUNDERS: The 60-watt incandescent lightbulbs in Founders Great Hall’s eight large chandeliers have been replaced with 12-watt dimmable LED bulbs. The new bulbs (96 in number) will save 4,608 watts per hour, compared with the old incandescent bulbs. The College will not only save about $1,100 annually using the lower-wattage bulbs, but will also save on maintenance. While the old bulbs needed to be replaced several times each year (a task that requires scaffolding to reach the chandeliers), the LED bulbs have 25 times the lifespan of the incandescent bulbs and could go eight years without being replaced.

No, that’s not a circus tent rising west of the ball fields, though for many the arrival of the U.S. Open at Merion Golf & Country Club felt like the circus had indeed come to town. One of the sport’s most prestigious events, the Open hasn’t been at Merion (located across Haverford Road) since 1981. Lack of space to accommodate the Open’s many sponsor tents was a principal reason. Enter the College, which offered to lease acreage for 12 of the gigantic temporary structures, which were built during second semester and will be removed—and the grassy fields restored— by August. The Open is operated by the USGA (not the PGA), a not for- profit organization dedicated to promoting golf. This year’s event was projected to generate more than $100 million for the local economy, and officials have said that it could not have happened without the College’s cooperation.

Classics to Cosmology

It was big news for cosmology—and front-page news in The New York Times—when the European Space Agency released the first significant batch of data from the Planck space telescope, which has been surveying the sky since its launch in 2009. That data, issued in March, included an image of the cosmic microwave background, or CMB, which is the radiation left over from the Big Bang. The most detailed map ever created of the CMB, it is already challenging previous ideas about the age of the universe, the rate at which it is expanding, and what it is made of.

Avidly awaiting the big reveal here on campus were Professor Emeritus of Astronomy Bruce Partridge and Ben Walter ’13, who may be the sole undergraduate to have played a role in the Planck research.

Partridge, who has been studying the cosmic microwave background for more than 40 years and helped write the original Planck proposal back in the 1990s, first hired Walter in the summer of his freshman year. His job: to assist Partridge in a close reading of papers written by members of the Planck Scientific Collaboration. (In conjunction with the public announcement about the findings thus far, the Planck project also issued more than two dozen papers that describe the new data.)

Partridge, who is a member of Planck’s education and public outreach team, describes Walter as his “co-editor,” working to make sure that all of the papers follow a certain style and format, as well as correcting language errors by scientists whose first language is not English. “But he’s not just a copy editor,” says Partridge, who was present in French Guiana in May 2009 for the launch of Planck. “Ben has also been doing some of the data analysis.” Among the results of that work: Scientists have been able to use measurements made by Planck to recalibrate ground-based radio telescopes, as reported by Walter and Partridge at the first Planck science meeting, held in the Netherlands.

What’s most remarkable, perhaps, is that Walter was never an astronomy student. He wasn’t looking toward a career in science at all. He was a classics major.

“It was a chance to do something different, and it’s been great to learn more about astronomy, which is a topic that has always fascinated me,” says Walter, who grew up just down the road from Haverford in Wayne, Pa. “It’s also been great to see the process of science up close. I think it can be really opaque if you are not doing it.”

Walter, who has been accepted to a master’s program in classics at Oxford University, will travel to the University of Ferrara, near Bologna, this summer where he will assist Italian astronomers publishing papers on the Planck data by doing much the same sort of editing work he has been doing with Partridge. “It will be a lot more efficient for me to be there with them,” says Walter. “If I’m not sure about a particular scientific concept in a sentence, it’s better to talk to the person to see how you can rewrite it and express things more clearly.” —Eils Lotozo


THE HAVERFORD ARBORETUM has revamped and updated its campus tree tour. The self-guided tour now has both a new printed pamphlet and a handy online virtual tour that can direct visitors to 36 highlighted trees out of the many on our sprawling 200-acre campus. See for yourself at

Board News

Haverford’s Board of Managers will welcome four new members and one associate member on July 1.

Joining the board are:

Jennifer Perkins ’82, a partner with the law firm of Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C., specializing in real estate law; Amy Taylor Brooks ’92, an attorney in the Education Law Department at Philadelphia area firm Wisler Pearlstine; Skip Herman ’75, managing partner with Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP in Chicago; and Henry Ritchotte ’85, chief operating officer of Deutsche Securities Inc.’s Global Markets Division Worldwide. Ritchotte, who is based in London, is also chair of Haverford’s International Council.

Also beginning July 1, Will Moss ’05, a software engineer at Bump Technologies in Mountain View, Calif., will become an associate member of the board. Created in the spring of 2011, the associate member positions are aimed at encouraging and developing young alumni as future leaders in Haverford governance.

We thank the following Haverford alumni, who have completed their terms on the board, for their service to the College:

Chris Dunne ’70:Dunne, also a member of the Haverford College Corporation, is senior associate director of institutional partnerships with the Harvard School of Public Health. Previously, he was a partner with the law firm of Cooper Morrison & Dunne and with the law firm of Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen in Philadelphia. Dunne served on the board’s Educational Affairs, Institutional Advancement and Property committees, as well as the Bryn Mawr/Haverford Joint Council.

Jennifer Boal ’85: Boal is a magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. She previously spent two decades with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Boal, who is also a member of the Corporation, served on the Investments and Social Responsibility Committee and the Property Committee, as well as the Bryn Mawr/ Haverford Joint Council.

Jim Friedman ’67: Friedman is co-founder and chairman of Ryan Associates, an employee-owned construction company with offices in New York and San Francisco and on the Big Island of Hawaii, which specializes in architecturally sophisticated projects. He served on the board’s Educational Affairs, Institutional Advancement and Property committees.

Pete Abramenko ’83: Abramenko, who lives in Ridgewood, N. J., is president of Nationwide Planning Associates, Inc., a brokerdealer headquartered in northern New Jersey. Previously, he was a managing director with Sigma Capital Advisors. He served on the Finance, Investment, and Nominations and Governance committees.

Brian Bejile ’04 completed his term as an associate member of the board. Bejile works in finance at Citigroup in New York.


Spotlighting the rare and marvelous holdings of Quaker & Special Collections IN THE COLLECTION

William Penn’s 1687 publication of The Excellent Privilege of Liberty & Property was the first American printing of his translation of the Magna Carta, and Haverford’s copy is the only surviving complete example. In addition to the text of the Magna Carta, Penn’s pamphlet includes a summary of his charter for the Colony of Pennsylvania as well as the text of the second Frame of Government of Pennsylvania (approved in 1683), and serves to express his views on the political and civil rights of his colonists as English citizens.

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