“My father was a businessman—treasurer for the New England Electric System. His work sounded fascinating to me,” she recently recalled. “I was always interested in his descriptions of what he did and the various issues of his business day, as he recounted what happened and what he found to be of interest or frustrating.” [Read more...]
History is full of unheralded figures whose achievements rarely show up in a textbook or class lecture. For the past 15 years, Cynthia “Cyndy” Douglas Bittinger ’68, who teaches a Vermont history course, has worked to bring those figures into the spotlight.
At the Community College of Vermont, Bittinger has been researching and teaching about the contributions of lesser-known Vermonters—women, Native Americans, and African Americans, who unbeknownst to many have made an indelible mark on the Green Mountain State.
That research led to the publishing of her new book, Vermont Women, Native Americans & African Americans: Out of the Shadows of History (The History Press, 2012). It’s a “multicultural narrative” that she plans to assign in her college classes, but she also hopes middle and high schools use it, too. [Read more...]
The Upper Valley Haven of Vermont recently held a dedication ceremony for the Beverly Fowle Fiertz Community Center, also known as Bev’s House at the Haven. Beverly, a former Wheaton trustee, died in 2010. Her husband, Alden Fiertz, sponsored the naming of the house as a tribute to his wife of 56 years.
Located in White River Junction, Vt., Bev’s House is a busy activity center offering after- school and adult programs as well as legal services. The themes of community, social justice and expressive arts that were important to her are now at the center of the house, noted officials at the Haven, which provides temporary shelter, clothing, food and educational programming for homeless families and adults in need.
At the Aug. 5, 2012, dedication ceremony, Alden painted a vivid portrait of Beverly as “a strong, multidimensional woman who had wells of compassion for those in need, deep investment in her community and a willingness to take action.” And Jeff Shields, retired Vermont Law School president, spoke about Beverly’s ability to “do great things and do them at an accelerated pace.” [Read more...]
Since graduation, Joseph Donahue ’10 has been a Peace Corps volunteer in a rural Moroccan town called Ait Oumghar. “I had wanted to do the Peace Corps ever since learning about it in high school from a teacher who was a returned volunteer. When I graduated from Wheaton, I decided this would be the best time for me to do it.” He is working on various health- and youth-related projects, including teaching health and English classes and helping a women’s association write a grant to furnish a new workspace and support small-business training. “While the connection may not be outwardly apparent,” says Donahue, “I am constantly drawing from my experiences as a sociology major in my current work. The courses I took at Wheaton have enabled me to view things through a ‘sociological lens,’ which has proven invaluable while living in a foreign culture with different gender, race and ethnic dynamics. It has given me greater understanding of my current situation, and, as a result, more patience. Similarly, I frequently find myself using my sociological research skills (often subconsciously) to explore phenomena in my new community.” Donahue’s commitment ends in May 2013. “Immediately after the Peace Corps, I am not quite sure what I will do. This experience has opened me up to working and living abroad. However, I know that within a few years I want to continue my education and study clinical psychology.”