They’ve Got Game

With their senior gift, Drew’s newest graduates give the university community a way to build bonds. The Class of 2013 plans to bestow on Drew something that its members remember as pivotal to their own college experience: fun and games. Renovations to what was then the University Center, now the Ehinger Center, led to pitching the building’s aging game tables, such as a battered Ping-Pong set. Their absence was sorely felt. Christine Felix ’13, co-chair of the senior gift committee, says the group wanted to fill that gaming void. “A lot of the people on the committee remembered back to their freshman year sitting around the Ping-Pong table,” Felix says. “That was a great place to make friends.” To date the class has raised $10,696. Combined with a $7,500 match from trustee emerita Nancy Schaenen, the class will have more than $18,000 to purchase games for the C’80 Pub, the Space and the 1867 Lounge. Felix says the class hopes to purchase PacMan, pinball and Ping-Pong games, among others. “This year has been quite a good year,” says Schaenen, who was instrumental in launching the senior gift program at Drew in 1983. She has partially matched every class gift over […]

A Word from President Bull

We recently launched Drew2017, a process through which we will put our ambitious strategic plan into action with an eye to achieving institutional sustainability. We have already taken steps to consolidate administrative units and have embarked on the process of prioritizing academic offerings. This work is essential to Drew’s future success and, in the near term, it affects our transition planning. The board shares my belief that developing a blueprint for institutional sustainability will help attract the strongest presidential candidates for Drew. With Drew2017 underway, we are now ready to move ahead with a presidential search. The board of trustees has selected Vice Chair Bill Freeman ’74 to head the presidential search committee. The committee, comprised of representatives from the extended Drew community, will publicly launch a national search toward the end of the summer. We anticipate being in a position to select three to four finalists by the end of 2013. This puts us on track to appoint a new president before the end of the 2014 academic year. At the same time, two members of the president’s cabinet have been offered prestigious appointments that build on their significant contributions to our academic life. Jonathan Levin, dean of the […]

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Drew 2017

Drew will turn 150 in just a few years. As we look forward to celebrating this momentous milestone, we’re also busy planning for the university’s future beyond its sesquicentennial anniversary in 2017. I write to let you know about the work now underway by our faculty, students, staff, trustees, and alumni organizations. The university’s Board of Trustees recently endorsed a campus-wide initiative—aptly named Drew 2017. It flows from our strategic plan, which was adopted last spring, and aims to implement fully the vision set forth in that document. We are guided by that plan’s four overarching goals: Create a more vibrant intellectual community. Enhance students’ global, social, and professional engagement. Strengthen our identity and better position the university. Ensure institutional and financial sustainability. Our core values are at the heart of the Drew 2017 initiative, as we seek to prioritize the many academic undertakings outlined in goals one and two, and do it in a way that meets the standard of goal four—financial sustainability. Those core values have already guided us in our work on the third goal—our identity. Last August we debuted a new website for prospective undergraduates under the banner “We deliver full-impact learning.” (Work is now underway […]

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The Advocate

Irene Lawson Sterling ’69, grew up in Branchville, a rural corner of New Jersey where, she says, “There were more cows than people.” But a course in urban ministry at the Drew Theological School, taught by the late theologian Nelle K. Morton, took Sterling into the streets of Paterson and changed her life forever. Sterling adopted Paterson as her hometown and never left, spending more than four decades there working for social change while raising a daughter with her husband, Howard Sterling T’91. For the past 20 years, as director of the nonprofit Paterson Education Fund, Sterling has been a tireless advocate for the city’s children. Now 66, she plans to retire this fall, though she has no desire to step away from the city’s civic life. “My husband and I are both very interested in nurturing local institutions,” she says. Sterling says she plans to return to the arts, something she pursued in her 20s. After she and her husband moved to Paterson in 1969, they started a street theater ministry funded by the United Methodist Church. They also founded a regional children’s theater, and Irene produced and co-wrote plays. She says she might revive a play she wrote […]

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Tragedy (and Triumph) in DoYo

On Sunday, May 5, Drew achieved a milestone: the very first opera production in our Concert Hall. Students, faculty, staff and community participants in the Choral & Vocal Studies program performed Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, the tragic love story of the Queen of Carthage and the legendary founder of ancient Rome. This production seems to me a reflection, on many levels, of the university. As a liberal arts institution, we intentionally look at our world through multiple lenses – in this case, music, theater, dance, art, literature and history – in service of a deeper way of learning and a richer interdisciplinary experience. As a community, we came together with shared purpose – each bringing their unique aspirations and promise – and unintentionally created a celebration of Drew itself. –D. Jason Bishop, Director, Choral and Vocal Studies

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Upon Reflection

“It wasn’t until years after I graduated that I really came to appreciate what an incredible place Drew is,” reflects Rob Potanovich ’97. Looking back, he is especially grateful for the small, highly interactive classes that are the norm at Drew. “You couldn’t hide in that situation. You were expected to participate in discussions and make presentations. That has been invaluable for me in the business world, where I need to develop, share and defend my ideas every day.” Potanovich’s wife, Susan Applegate Potanovich ’97, also traces her career beginnings back to Drew. As an economics and math double-major, she was able to secure an internship position at Exxon—at that time located just down the road in Florham Park. She was offered a full-time position after graduation that put her on a path to her current position in the energy industry. Today, the Potanoviches are among Drew’s most loyal supporters as members of the Dendros Society, which recognizes alumni, faculty, staff and friends who have contributed, at any level, to Drew for at least five years in a row. In the Potanoviches’ case, it has been every year for the last 10 years. Each year that the Potanoviches made their […]

A Word From Christopher J. Anderson

Methodist Librarian and Coordinator of Special Collections, Drew University Library In September 1982 several large moving trucks arrived at Drew University from Lake Junaluska, N.C. They brought a special delivery for the recently constructed United Methodist Archives and History Center: several hundred boxes of objects and records related to the history of Methodism dating to the 18th century—books, archival records, shelving, paintings, furniture and ephemera. The international archive of the United Methodist Church had arrived on campus only after several years of negotiations between Drew representatives and the General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH). These discussions began at the 1978 GCAH annual meeting. Drew had sent a team to North Carolina that included President Paul Hardin, Dean James Kirby of the Theological School and Dr. Kenneth E. Rowe, Methodist librarian and professor of church history at the Theological School. Dr. Rowe, a member of the GCAH for several years, was instrumental in laying the groundwork for collaboration between Drew and the GCAH. According to the GCAH meeting record from that year, their presentation was a success. The Drew team returned to campus to organize a fundraiser and to draw up architectural plans for the new center. The following year […]

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Civics Lesson

On May 18, the first class of Civic Scholars will graduate from Drew. These pioneering undergraduates started the academic year following the fall 2008 launch of Drew’s Center for Civic Engagement. Along the way they have held internships at nonprofits and government agencies, each contributed 100 hours of community service per semester, participated in leadership development programs and taken community-based learning classes that connect civic engagement with their academic majors. “Civic Scholars log an unbelievable number of collective hours of service, from Morristown to Newark and beyond,” says Jonathan Levin, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “Their work connects Drew to a wide range of community partners and, most importantly, makes a difference in people’s lives every day,” he says. These highly motivated students received support from the Patrick J. Grant Investors Bank Civic Leadership Scholarship. According to Rodger Herrigel, executive director of the Investors Bank Foundation, the scholarship reflects the values of the bank. “The gift was made in memory of the bank’s former president and chairman of the board, who was dedicated to community service,” explains Herrigel. “What is more, the scholarship is helping students from the community whose work then directly benefits the community. We were […]

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99, 98 and Counting

On the night of February 9, Facebook and Twitter accounts were lit up with posts that the Class of 2013 had started something new at Drew: they were marking 98 nights until graduation day. The traditional “99 Nights” celebration, originally scheduled for February 8, had to be postponed by one day because a blizzard shut down campus. In spite of the re-scheduling, Storm Wyche ’13, a member of the “99 Nights” organizing committee, was pleased with the results: “The most successful thing about the night was the turn out, hands down,” she says. Another student planner, Christine Felix ’13, was impressed by everyone’s enthusiasm. “So many people wore their 2013 senior shirts and stayed the whole night,” she says. The latter being notable since they ran out of wine and beer, according to Student Government President, Janelle Hoffman ’13. To the casual observer, “99 Nights” may seem like nothing more than an excuse for revelry. But the event has been a long-standing rite of passage for graduating seniors at Drew, so maybe there is more to it. Photos of Class of 1983’s 100 Nights Party Hannah Dezen ’13, one of those who attended the party, observed that “knowing we are […]

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The Tenacious Litigator

J.B. Harris ’81 took on big tobacco for a minister who’d lost a lung to cancer—and won. There’s nothing quite like sinking your teeth into the neck of an opponent and not letting go, says J.B. Harris ’81. The defense team for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company learned that last year, when Harris, a personal injury attorney in Miami, represented Emmon Smith, a tall, septuagenarian reverend who started smoking at age 13 and by high school was addicted. In 1991 Smith lost a lung due to cancer and was from then on plagued with health problems. As part of a nine-member trial team, Harris argued that the cigarette maker had marketed to African Americans like Smith, and for decades “engaged in a campaign that was nothing short of the final solution, in my opinion,” Harris said. The verdict returned in Smith’s favor for $27 million in damages, the largest award in the history of Jackson County, Fla., where Smith lived. The small, scrappy group of Miami lawyers defeated the large, moneyed defense of the cigarette maker. “We were the team that was expected to lose,” Harris says, “and we came in there and rang their bell.” This is his mission […]

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