Hail from the Chief On June 4, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson
delivered the Commencement address from the steps of Bunce Hall
to graduates, the campus community and thousands of guests.
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Khrushchev recounts clash between superpowers
ne of the big events of the Cold War happened here.” That’s how Dr. Sergei Khrushchev, son of the late Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, described the 1967 Summit between President Lyndon B. Johnson and Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin in his speech to a packed audience Feb. 19 in Boyd Recital Hall.
His appearance was part of the Hollybush Summit lecture series marking the event’s 40th anniversary.
Now an American citizen, Khrushchev said that while no actual accords grew out of the Summit, it provided an early step in face-to-face dialogue between leaders of the nuclear powers and helped lay the groundwork for diffusing distrust.
Recalling the most dramatic single event of the Cold War—the 1962 standoff between his father and President John F. Kennedy known as the Cuban Missile Crisis—Khrushchev said it might have been allayed, and possibly avoided, through such simple dialogue as occurred during the Hollybush Summit.
He said the impasse, in which Kennedy told the Soviet leader in the strongest possible language to cease construction of nuclear weapon sites in Cuba, boiled up out of distrust between the emerging superpowers and not from a clash of ideologies.
“The Soviet Union wanted to be recognized as an equal but the United States did not want to recognize them as equals,” he said.
Khrushchev said the missile crisis grew out of the botched 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion and a belief among many Soviets that the United States would again attempt to foster an overthrow of the Cuban government.
The crisis was resolved, he said, with a relatively simple but weighty agreement: “We will take the missiles out; you will not invade Cuba.”
A senior fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies, Khrushchev charmed the audience in a still-thick Russian accent with stories about his father and Kennedy and even recalled meeting Joseph Stalin once in Red Square.
Recalling his father’s removal from government less than one year after Kennedy’s assassination, Khrushchev noted: “It was the first time a leader of the Soviet Union was ousted without being executed, along with his family, so I was lucky too.”
Once banned, Rowan historian returns to China to teach
s a graduate student pursuing his Ph.D. in America, Rowan history professor Edward Wang was banned from his native China for criticizing the government following the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
Wang and three friends, who were all pursuing graduate degrees outside China, compiled a 900-page, two-volume account of the massacre that detailed the event, from its origins—a series of student protests—to its aftermath, including the slaying of hundreds, if not thousands, of activists. (The official government figure is 200-300 but other groups, including the Chinese Red Cross, estimate as many as 3,000 died.)
A U.S. citizen since 1996, Wang earned his doctorate at Syracuse University and has been a Rowan faculty member since 1992.
Though blacklisted by the Chinese government in 1989, his exile was lifted about ten years ago and he was recently invited back for a three-year visiting professorship. His contract requires him to teach several months each year at Bejing University, the most prestigious institution of higher education in China, and he completed the first phase of the contract in January.
“I want to help shape a different view of history than what the government wants to tell,” said Wang, an expert in East Asian history as well as historiography, the study of the writing of history.
Indeed, many Chinese students know nothing of the Tiananmen Square massacre because it is banned from government-sanctioned history books, Wang said.
While he has a fair amount of academic freedom in designing lectures, he cannot criticize the government or, especially, suggest changing it. Doing so could lead to his being questioned, or worse.
“China has changed a great deal but the government has stayed the same,” he said. “It’s not so much a communist government as a totalitarian one… If I went over and tried to start a party I’d be jailed and would never come back. On the other hand, if I’m just talking about academics, it is fine.”
Dean wins Engineer of the Year
hen the Delaware Valley Engineers Week Council named Dianne Dorland the 2008 Engineer of the Year, she felt the accolade was as much for the College of Engineering as for her as an individual.
“I think it’s such a strong recognition that Rowan University is on the right track, that our concepts for the engineering clinics are generating the interest and challenges that attract students and industries alike,” said Dorland, dean since 2000.
The Council, comprising engineers in various fields from throughout the Delaware Valley, feted Dorland at several events, including a banquet at Drexel University and a proclamation luncheon at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia, where Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter personally presented her with Engineers Week proclamations.
Engineers Week is celebrated nationwide in February to honor engineering accomplishments, and the Delaware Valley Engineers Week Council offers numerous programs sponsored by engineering and government organizations, as well as corporations and institutions of higher education. As part of her award, Dorland will head the Delaware Valley Engineers Week Council for the next year.
While the Council was saluting Dorland, the College of Engineering was busy marking Engineers Week in numerous other ways. Among the activities Rowan hosted were visits by students from Estell Manor Middle School and Atlantic County Institute of Technology engineering programs. The visitors toured Rowan Hall, got a glimpse of RU students and professors at work and participated in a Rube Goldberg competition. The week also saw career preparation and licensing programs for Rowan students; the dedication of the Tau Beta Pi monument; an Xbox racing competition; and a career fair attended by more than 600 professionals and students.
Education students get TLC benefits in Camden
ulfilling a course requirement last semester at an elementary school in Camden taught Jamie DiFiore plenty about teaching. But the experience also taught her something about herself.
“It definitely helped me to solidify my career choice,” said DiFiore, a sophomore education major. “I loved the teacher I was with. And her aide was just fantastic. I learned so much from both of them.”
By taking the course, Teaching in Learning Communities I, at Camden’s Sumner Elementary School, DiFiore was able to see firsthand how an effective teacher builds a strong community of classroom learners.
College of Education Dean Carol Sharp said that key lesson is best learned by immersing Rowan students in the school community.
“Our students have to know the reality of what schools are like today, and they have to know early in their academic careers,” Sharp said. She noted that the community-within-a-community, warts-and-all introduction students receive to the teaching profession through the on-site classes is priceless.
“They need the perspective of being in the classrooms. That shouldn’t happen for the first time their senior year.”
Sections of TLC I and II, first offered in cooperating South Jersey schools last fall, allow students to work in classrooms part of the day and then attend class with their professors on-site. That means students can immediately address issues and experiences that arise during the school day with their professors and classmates.
“Being rooted in the schools keeps it real,” says Professor Jodi Bornstein, who taught DiFiore’s class at Sumner. “We truly get to explore what it means to build a caring learning community.”
This spring, DiFiore, energized by her experience at Sumner, is taking TLC II in the Gateway School District, where she’s working with an eighth-grade math teacher.
“Since we’re on-site, we can see the students more. And the teachers can come in and talk about their classes,” she said. “It just gives us more opportunities to learn from them.”
Rowan partners with PBJ
or the past eight years, Margaret Van Brunt has been keeping an eye on up-and-coming local businesses. But the assistant dean of the College of Business isn’t hunting for a new job. Instead, she’s helping the Philadelphia Business Journal compile the annual “South Jersey 25” list of the fastest-growing firms in the region.
“The companies on the list represent the landscape of the business community in southern New Jersey,” she said. With Van Brunt’s help, Rowan remains a significant part of that landscape.
“We want to reach out to the business community,” Van Brunt said. “We want to be a resource to them, so we’re always looking for ways to [do that]. I think this provides a segue to that.
“The completed applications come to me,” said Van Brunt, “at which time I go through a verification process determining their eligibility. Those who are eligible are considered for the list. Each year the number of applications has grown.”
Van Brunt, a certified public accountant, supervises a team of business students who help her with data entry and basic research on the nominated companies. “The research piece is huge,” said Lyn Kremer, Business Journal publisher. “They take it so seriously and are so thorough. We have a lot of faith in what they do.”
Once Van Brunt pores through the data, she passes the results on to Kremer, who said she couldn’t be happier about the partnership with Rowan.
“They have a good reputation,” Kremer said of the College. “The business school has been growing. We have a lot of respect for that. They bring some marketing muscle to the project and have been great in helping us beat the bushes to find those small businesses.”