Recent News from UMass
Theres something to be said for
it socially, says UMass psychology professor Robert S. Feldman. His research,
recently featured on Good Morning America and elsewhere, indicates that
the more socially competent kids and teenagers turn out to
be the most talented liars. Children are taught at an early age
to be polite and say something nice in social situations, Feldman
notes. Even if its not the absolute truth.
If you passed by the FAC on February 9th and wondered if that series of syncopated sighs emanating from the University Gallery was some sort of performance art, heres what you missed. The collective oohs and ahs were coming from the standing-room-only crowd and were in response to painting after dazzling painting in a slide lecture by Scott Prior 71. The lecture, a chatty ramble through 30 years of the artists work, was held in conjunction with Light on the Familiar: The Paintings of Scott Prior, a retrospective of Priors paintings shown at the gallery this winter. The exhibition catalogue was written by curator, Rachel Rosenfeld Lafo G74, of the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, where the show was organized and first opened. Barbeque in Winter, reproduced here, shows both Priors remarkable ability to render tangible the intangible elements of light and atmosphere and his drive to capture and make timeless the moment in time.
Briana Scurry 95C is a household name literally. Households across the land are now seeing the UMass soccer star on that yardstick of sports achievement, the Wheaties cereal box. (Other national sports icons so honored have been Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, and Mary Lou Retton.) Scurrys competitive scowl appears on boxes commemorating the U.S. teams victory in last summers Womens World Cup championship, which she secured with her game-winning save . . . . After breakfast with Briana, slip your new, free, UMass Athletic Fund CD-ROM into your computer, for sound, music, action, and information about womens soccer and the other twenty-eight varsity athletic programs. The interactive disc lets you click on interviews with coaches, action video clips, or background on the fund and its support of athletic and academic excellence at UMass. The CD was produced for contributors and season ticket holders, but is FREE while supplies last to readers calling athletic development at 413.545.4290.
Say amen: Pioneering black actor and musician Jester Hairston 29C died in Los Angeles in January at age ninety-eight. A veteran of Amos n Andy on both radio and TV, Hairston in his early career encountered Hollywood racism at its most puerile: his earliest credits are for the roles of Native Boy and Witch Doctor. The on-screen lot of the black actor at the time was to be in a picture half-naked, said Hairston at UMass in 1992. Off-screen, he was choral director for Lost Horizons and other films, and wrote the song Amen for Lilies of the Field. (He also dubbed the voice of Sidney Poitier singing it.) His later acting credits include In the Heat of the Night, Finians Rainbow, Lady Sings the Blues, and the 80s TV sitcom Amen. His last was for Being John Malkovich in 1999.
Cyberwhacks: Students move from Lizzie Borden Took An Axe Did She or Didnt She? to a much more thoughtful understanding of time and place, says Elizabeth Terhune 98G, who helped develop a UMass history course showcased in a PBS broadcast last fall. UMass students use virtual archives to comb through late nineteenth-century maps, photographs, census records, and trial transcripts of the Lizzie Borden axe-murder trial in Fall River. Other courses built around the use of original documents have exhumed the Black Sox scandal of 1919 and the Salem witch trials.
U.S. kids just naturally hyper? You might think so from the infrequency with which English children are prescribed Ritalin. But Ph.D. candidate in anthropology Ken Jacobson finds that the symptoms that in America define AD/HD Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder are defined as normal in England. Either English children have dramatically different genes than American children, or the English are defining the expression of those genes differently, says Jacobson. He suggests that AD/HD is a culturally defined disorder.
Gross: You can imagine what a piece of cheese pizza can do to a book. But sticky-notes? Eraser? Disasters, Donuts and Dastardly Deeds, a recent exhibit in the Du Bois Library, took this gummy subject as its text. The library invites proposals for exhibitions in the librarys lobby; for guidelines call Linda Seidman, 545.2780.
Dreaming dot com: Students with hustle and business ideas theyre itching to try have a chance to win a $10,000 prize. Alumni whod enjoy teaming up with that kind of student have a chance to mentor and network. A UMass-based program called Entreclub is underway this spring, bringing students, alumni, and area college faculty together for a series of practical seminars on the skills needed to start a business. Student teams will write business plans for a final competition to be judged in May by venture capitalists and alumni. Students are joining up and mentors are signing on, says UMass director of economic development Jaymie Chernoff, who directs inquiries to www.entreclub.com.