Howe to address fellow Transy graduates at Commencement

Erin Brock



This year’s 2012 student Commencement speaker, candidate for graduation Ashley Howe, smiles for the camera as she eagerly awaits graduating with her peers.

Another academic year at Transylvania University is coming to an end, and that means that graduation is just around the corner. And with any graduation ceremony come speakers—this year’s commencement speakers are alumna Bianca Spriggs and candidate for graduation Ashley Howe.

Spriggs and Howe will speak during the commencement ceremony, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 26.

“I had not ever considered submitting a speech for commencement until two individuals I really respect recommended that I write one. Writing my speech was challenging because I had to figure out what message I thought would be most applicable to our entire class,” Howe said. “I enjoyed the writing process, however, because I had to sit down and reflect on what I have gained over the past four years, which calmed a lot of the anxiety I have been having about graduate school.”

Candidate for graduation Anderson Salinas, the other finalist to speak at commencement, also wanted his speech to reflect his entire experience at Transy. “I always felt like we’ve always learned a lot outside of class but graduation doesn’t really recognize that. So I wanted to write something that gave a nod to all the things we learned when we weren’t in class.”

Howe and Salinas submitted their speeches several weeks ago, along with other seniors, and performed them in front of a group of peers. This group then rated each speech and the top two voted speeches passed on into the next round, where they performed their speech for members of the administration on Tuesday.

“Presenting for the Deans is a lot more intimidating than presenting for other seniors. They don’t stare you down but they’re a tougher audience,” Salinas said.

Both Howe, who will be attending the Washington and Lee University School of Law in the fall, and Salinas, who plans to take some time off and apply to law school in the fall, credit their friends with helping them prepare to deliver their speeches.

“My friends really have been supportive of me trying to speak. They ask me all the time if I’ve found out yet. They all wanted me to perform for them so they could give me some tips and also tried hard to be as ridiculous as possible so I could work on keeping my composure. They were a big help,” Salinas said.

“I was lucky to have been able to participate and to have received such great support from my friends, who patiently listened to each part of my speech about twenty times,” Howe said.

The week leading up to Commencement holds many activities for seniors as well, including a Senior Challenge picnic before a Lexington Legends baseball game and the senior toast.

Check out for a complete schedule of Senior Week, or Columns for more information about Commencement, including dress code and rain ticket information.




Brock embodies editor-in-chief lifestyle

Gary Deaton

Guest Columnist

THIS IS THE LAST ISSUE OF THE RAMBLER!  OK, so it’s not really the last issue

ever, but it is the end of an era, an important and crucial period in the long history of our campus newspaper; this is the final edition that will say “Erin Brock, Editor-in-Chief” (EIC).  It will not, however, be the last we will hear of Erin, nor the last time this moniker will apply to the way she lives her life.  Quality EICs are special people with superb talents and Erin Brock is that and so much more.

Candidate for graduation Erin Brock will attend Miami University, located in Oxford, Ohio, in the fall to begin work on her M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition.

First, EICs should be great writers.  Erin has proven in many contexts and for many purposes that she deserves this descriptor.  Perhaps most immediately relevant, the Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Association (KIPA) awarded her with the Top Sports Column Award for 2012.  The Southern States Communication Association (SSCA) also recognized Erin’s skills by selecting her WRC Senior Seminar paper, an in-depth analysis of the internal, external, and architectural rhetoric of a Muslim sect in West Chester, Ohio, for inclusion in their Undergraduate Honors Conference in San Antonio this spring.  Additionally, Business Lexington magazine was so impressed by Erin during her internship that they continue to hire her as a freelance writer.  In fact, the cover article in the May 25 edition will be Erin’s work.

Erin, like all good EICs, is not only focused on maximizing the present moment, but also always looking to the future.  In keeping with her optimistic outlook and opulent personality, Erin’s future forecast is sunny and bright!  In fall of 2012, Erin will begin her work toward an M.A. in Composition and Rhetoric at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio (after rejecting offers from Purdue, Carnegie-Mellon, and others).  Better yet, Miami is paying her to be there!  Erin will begin her teaching career during this graduate experience, instructing first-year composition students.  Eventually, Erin plans to earn a Ph.D. and become a faculty member at a liberal arts college (Public Service Announcement:  Hey, Transylvania!  Keep this in mind!).

EICs also need to be broadly educated and multiply interested.  While we hope all Transylvania students could be so described, these are particularly apt descriptors for Erin.  In May, Erin will receive degrees in both English and WRC.  She has worked as a Writing Center consultant (a role she will continue at Miami as part of the Howe Center for Writing Excellence).  She has done research with faculty members.  She has team-taught with Transy teachers as well.  Erin was also a four year member of the golf team, despite having not played the last two years of her time in high school. “I didn’t like my coach in high school, and I didn’t enjoy the company of the girls on the team, so it didn’t seem like a good investment of my time, but college golf has been the complete opposite; I love my teammates and Coach Turner has been great,” Erin said.

Apparently, Erin has also been good for both her teammates and her opponents as she was chosen to the Heartland College Athletic Conference All-Conference Sportsmanship Team this year.  Even in journalism, Erin has shown her diverse interests and talents, having been a copy editor, a multi award-winning design editor, an opinion editor in high school, and an editor-in-chief for both her high school paper, Voice, and The Rambler.

Finally, “Editor-in Chief” means you have to be the ideal combination of authority figure, empathic friend, public relations expert, master motivator, organizational guru, and communication expert.  The Rambler has certainly benefitted from the fact that Erin Brock is all of the above (as exemplified by the 30 KIPA awards they received this year, including 11 first-place awards for Erin and her colleagues).  More importantly, Transylvania has been tremendously bettered by the fact that Erin chose to make her first move from Lakota West High School in our direction.  Those of us who have been in Erin’s presence are humbler for it, those of us who shared a classroom with her are better educated because of it, and those of us who have really gotten to know her are much happier thanks to Erin.

So, no, this is not the end of The Rambler.  But no matter how much confidence we have in next year’s staff, we friends and fans of Erin Brock can be forgiven for despairing a little bit (for a time anyway).  But we can all take heart by remembering that, for Erin, “Editor-in-Chief” is not so much a title as a way of life.

Brock signs off: Lessons from TU

This is the seventh year I’ve worked on a student-run publication—and the last. I’ve done a lot of different things while I’ve been at Transylvania, but a core part of my life here has been dedicated to The Rambler. It will be hard to say goodbye to the life of a student journalist, but it will be somewhat of a relief to no longer have such responsibility on my plate all day, every day (Good luck, Jake!). So for the last column you all have to endure, I thought I’d share some of my kitschy wisdom with you.

Transy taught me who I am, and what I want in life. Have I sometimes felt like graduation couldn’t come fast enough? Yes, often. The past four years have put me through some incredibly awful times, but they have held some of the most amazing experiences, as well as provided me with an incredible support system of friends and mentors. Transy taught me how to deal with the highs and the lows in life by giving me the tools to cope with the bad, to appreciate the good and to have confidence in myself and my abilities. I know that the future holds both good and bad, and I’m OK with that—because Transy taught me that I am capable of battling whatever comes my way.

Good journalism isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would love The Rambler—and clearly, that hasn’t been the case during my time here. After spending hours every week helping to put together this publication, or scrambling to post a breaking story online, someone always has to spot a blemish. Sometimes, it really gets me down, but critics have just as much of a right to have their voices heard as we have a right to put our opinions on this page. Still, it would be nice if complaints were housed in logic and thought instead of half-cocked critiques, as is all too often the case. We put together this paper for this campus, and as long as we do the best we can with the  oh-so-limited resources of one journalism class, a quarter-credit practicum, and a part-time adviser, we’ve succeeded—30 statewide awards this year alone prove that. Hard work and doing the right thing do pay off; thank you, Terri McLean, for teaching me this important lesson.

A liberal arts education is attractive for many reasons, with which we are all familiar. Before I came to Transy, I was led to believe that such an education would leave me better prepared for a job in the “real world”—but that’s not always the case. It seems that experience is what companies want, and so an education that leaves you well-rounded is great, but just not enough. While we are led to believe that coming to a college like Transy (and paying nearly $30,000 in tuition alone) will put us miles ahead of the competition, we need to realize that the burden of securing internships and jobs in our desired fields falls on us; we can’t ride on the coattails of a Transy diploma in this day and age.

“It will look good on your resume” isn’t a sound enough reason to commit yourself to doing something. Transy students are notoriously over-involved, either because we feel like if we don’t do it, no one else will, or we want to pad our resumes, or we genuinely care about a couple of the causes we involve ourselves with. I’ve learned that committing time to a cause is only worth it if you will really enjoy it, because if you enjoy something, it shows, and you can utilize all sorts of skills with one organization rather than joining 20.

You can only eat so many chicken fingers from the Raf until you start to suffer from malnutrition. We all know that Transy cuisine isn’t the most exciting food we’ll ever eat, but it has gotten a lot better in the four years I’ve been here—with the exception of the nixing of the 1780’s cheese bread, which I still miss. I’ve often wished that we could use our Crimson Cards at restaurants around town like UK students can. But, then again, going to McDonald’s wouldn’t be the same as visiting Eugene in the Raf or talking to Rosie, Cortez and Vic in the 80.

Sometimes, authority figures don’t utilize their positions or behave in ways you agree with, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Throughout life, we will have to work with, befriend or even tolerate people of every temperament, background, mindset, etc. It’s a fact that you won’t agree with everyone and they won’t agree with you, and this is especially true for people who are socially or organizationally above you. It’s been said that you can do what’s right all the time, or you can be successful. It’s a hard choice, but sometimes you have to pick your battles.
Procrastination isn’t necessarily evil—actually, it’s like most things in life: good in moderation. I have written hundreds of pages of papers during my time here (actually, I’d rather not think about it) and I wouldn’t have survived without those random trips to Walmart for Cheetos at 3 a.m. or spending hours making Memes or playing Sushi Cat with my roommate trying to avoid that 10-page paper. These seemingly inconsequential nights are the ones I’ll remember best.

True friends are few and far between and that’s why you should NEVER take them for granted. Sometimes, people can be truly awful. But sometimes, they can surpass every expectation and hope imaginable, so when they do that, appreciate it.

Writing, Rhetoric and Communication is the most useful major at Transy because it is the epitome of a liberal arts education—it forces students to take information from different disciplines and integrate it into tangible products that encourage others to think outside of the box. Gary Deaton, Martha Gehringer and Dr. Scott Whiddon are incredible professors who truly care about their students and their futures. Without their support and encouragement, I wouldn’t have been accepted to three academic conferences, nor finished an extensive senior seminar project, nor done the good work of a writing center (with the immense help of Becky Mills), nor had a rewarding internship at Business Lexington, nor would I be attending a top-rated Master’s program in Rhetoric and Composition in the fall, and most importantly, I wouldn’t love and appreciate Transy’s academic culture. WRC deserves the respect of this campus and should be placed in a position where it can grow—and I think that’s a battle worth choosing.

Pollard steps down from administration

by Erin Brock

Vice President and Dean of the College Dr. William F. Pollard will step down from his position effective July 31, 2012. After taking a yearlong sabbatical, he plans to return to the college as a professor of English.

During his time at Transylvania, Pollard added 10 faculty positions, some minors and seven new majors, including art history, biochemistry, German studies, international affairs, music technology, philosophy, politics and economics (PPE), and writing, rhetoric and communication (WRC). He also organized a national faculty seminar on 21st-century liberal education and established the First Engagements project familiar to all first-year students.

“Bill has been a valued colleague from the very beginning of my presidency,” said President R. Owen Williams in a press release. “While I will miss working with him as dean, I am delighted he will remain at Transylvania as a senior member of the faculty.”

Before beginning his tenure at Transylvania, Pollard was provost, dean of the college and professor of English at Georgetown College, and then vice president, dean of the college and professor of English at Huntingdon College.

He has also held positions at the University of Evansville, Belmont College, Maryville College and Oxford University. Pollard received his bachelor’s degree from Centre College and his Master of Arts, Master of Divinity and doctorate from Duke University. He also did postdoctoral study at Keble College, Oxford University.

Pollard is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa national honorary societies, the American Conference of Academic Deans and the Association of Chief Academic Officers of the Southern States. He received the honor of the 2010 Chief Academic Officer Award given by the Council of Independent Colleges, which recognized his collaboration with other leaders at independent colleges and universities.

“I have enjoyed my tenure as dean of the college and I am proud of all that has been achieved working in concert with faculty and staff,” Pollard said. “But I am excited about returning to the classroom and look forward to becoming a medievalist again.”

English, medieval English literature and medieval theology are Pollard’s areas of specialization. He has published several papers and co-edited several books and publications.

Pollard’s time away from Transy will be spent working with late medieval English manuscripts.

Forensics earns honors at state tournament

by Erin Brock

The Transylvania University speech and debate team achieved great success this past weekend at the state tournament held at Berea College.

The forensics team brought home numerous honors, including third place overall in combined speech and debate in the state, only behind Western Kentucky University and Berea College, both institutions with much larger teams than Transy. The team also claimed second place among small schools in debate and can claim the title of Kentucky Small School Champion in Individual Events.

Team members earned high rankings in debate and individual events, including first place for junior Ian Smith as an open speaker and second place for first-year Taylor Deaton as a novice speaker.

“This is the only tournament where we compete head-to-head with Western Kentucky University, who are national champions for the last four years and state champions for more than a decade straight,” Director of Forensics Gary Deaton said. “They have full scholarships for speech and debate, a budget the size of a Division I sports team and compete almost every weekend. Despite that, our team of six debaters, five of whom did individual events, and the fact that we have the smallest budget of any of the four-year schools in attendance, we had tremendous success.”

Smith, who participated in six debates and then prepared 10 speeches with limited preparation time in the course of two days, described the tournament as “pretty intense,” leaving him “simply exhausted.”

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Campus-wide efforts increase diversity

by Erin Brock

If Transylvania University does, in fact, exist in a “bubble,” then that bubble might soon burst, thanks to a new focus on making the school more diverse.

“While we may not be where we want to be with the diversity of our campus in a whole range of things, or even our awareness of what diversity is on our campus, as a campus we have a commitment to it that has been renewed over the last year or so,” said Dr. Carole Barnsley, co-leader of Sexual Awareness and Gender Education (SAGE), adviser to T-Unity and assistant professor of religion.

A prime example of this commitment was the hiring of Eduardo Nino-Moreno as director of campus diversity and inclusion four months ago. Nino-Moreno’s background includes over 20 years of experience working for the United Nations, which has given him a deep perspective on issues of diversity. He has already become a strong voice for change at Transy. He said real diversity goes beyond the parameters of race and religion.

“Everybody is part of diversity. I am diversity, you are diversity, she is diversity, he is diversity. … All of us bring something different to the table,” Nino-Moreno said.

President R. Owen Williams echoed that belief.

“I think of diversity as touching the lives of as many different kinds of people as we can make happen on our campus, and including the lives and perspectives of as many as is possible,” Williams said. “I think of diversity as being about religious inclusion, racial inclusion, geographic inclusion, international inclusion.”

In fact, international, geographic, religious, racial and cultural diversity are all areas that are being addressed by multiple groups on campus as part of the diversity focus.

Williams noted that less than 1 percent of Transy’s student population is from outside of the country, while other colleges with enrollment similar to Transy range from 2 percent (Centre College) to 10 percent (Grinnell College).

While 70 percent of Transy students study abroad, Williams believes that those experiences don’t bring enough diversity to the campus.

“Obviously it’s great that our students get away and experience the world through their own first-hand travel and education experiences outside of the United States, … but it’s not enough,” Williams said. “I want people to have a daily, ongoing exposure to international perspectives and cultures.”

Currently, students who call Transy home hail from such countries as Germany, China, Korea and Taiwan.

“Some of the best liberal arts colleges in this country have students on their campuses from as many as 50 other countries, and it would be great if we had that … kind of diversity,” Williams said.

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Expansion of ‘Transy Bubble’ continues

by Erin Brock

Above, in red, is the newly acquired land. The black outline shows current campus property.

Several weeks ago, The Rambler reported in a Web exclusive that Transylvania University was in the process of acquiring several properties off West Fourth Street.

This development came after approximately a yearlong focused search for “primarily vacant land,” according to Vice President for Finance and Business Marc Mathews.

The plots of land, located at 523, 551 and 555 W. Fourth St., will receive closure by the end of December. This acquisition adds approximately 10 acres to Transy’s possessions, increasing the size of the 48-acre campus by 20 percent.

“There’s just a lot of things working that make that the ideal spot,” Mathews said. “Nothing’s ideal, because it’s got something on it, it’s got things in the middle of it. … It’s going to take some creativity and imagination.”

While the land’s expected use is for a recreational complex, the location’s exact future will not be known until after June, when the strategic plan and the campus master plan will both be finalized.

The firm that will undertake the campus plan will be decided on in the near future.

“(This firm) helps us draw the vision for what the campus would look like 30-50 years from now,” said Mathews. “Once we confirm that (an athletic and recreational facility) is the use for it, we would hire a planner to specifically design that space.”

Mathews noted that the plan for expansion has been generalized, but that reallocating the current fields, John R. Hall Athletic Field and Thomas Field, would allow for development of other facilities in that valuable downtown space.

“The exciting thing is we have land,” Director of Athletics Jack Ebel said. “It’s also exciting that we can begin to think about, and dream about, what it could be. … With the land they’ve purchased, I can’t envision anything other than athletics. … I see it having a significant impact on the recruiting for the entire campus, because it will be a recreational opportunity. What I would envision is that we’ll be having some athletic teams practicing there, but there will be, just like … in the Beck Center, intramurals going on, club sports, etc.”

According to Ebel, the construction of the Beck Center caused an increase in enrollment, and he suggested that this could happen as a result of this land’s development.

“We need a place for kids to go and throw a Frisbee, just two people, with nobody practicing or anything, just having fun, without running into the volleyball court in Back Circle,” Ebel said.

While Transy has accumulated small portions of land slowly through the years, the restrictions of growth in an urban area have prevented any large land acquisitions.

Mathews stated that Transy’s previous strategy towards growth was to accumulate “bits and pieces” of property, including about 100 more properties in the blocks between Fourth and Fifth Streets and Broadway and North Upper Street during recent years, something first discussed in the Jan. 20, 2011, issue of The Rambler.

The confining nature of an urban setting encouraged Transy to look into several modes of expansion, including purchasing land away from campus and casually approaching the Lexington Legends for potential use of their field.

“We really just opened our mind to any possibility, … but the real goal was to come up with land that was proximate to campus,” Mathews said. “We couldn’t pin our hopes on any one plan, so we had multiple. … We just can’t limit what Transylvania’s going to be by saying we’re only these few blocks of land.”

Mathews believes that this land acquisition has the potential to bring a different feel to Transy’s campus.

“I think over time, we’ll continue to creep down Fourth (Street) and we’ll grow up this way, and there won’t be much gap between Transy’s campus. It will only get better, and I think people will think that’s a short distance after a while,” said Mathews. “I do think with the expansion and renovation of Jefferson (Street) and all of the businesses, and apartments and things down there, if we can kind of claim that in this, it will make the whole campus broader, just by association.”

Ebel agrees that the acquisition can alter the feel of campus.

“This may be a bigger transformative event because we have been so cramped with outdoor facilities,” said Ebel. “I think we can actually look at this as something that could change the whole character of the campus for recreation and athletics.”

Several opportunities related to the development of the land have been brought up, including the potential expansion of the Colt Trolley routes and the possibility of the Legacy Trail adjoining the land and expanding through campus. This is currently a 12-mile walking and biking trail that runs from the east end of downtown to the Kentucky Horse Park.

“We can’t even envision everything that could take place there,” Ebel said.

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