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Class Notes

Photo by Ann Card

From the KSC Arboretum
by Jeff Garland

Invasion of the Plants

"Helen walked slowly down Appian Way, her glasses tilted on the end of her nose as she perused a sheaf of papers. Suddenly a slimy, viney tentacle reached out and ..."

Did you think this was a B-movie script with a horrible creature snatching our esteemed president? Thankfully, it's not, but it leads me to attempt a short discourse on the New Hampshire prohibited plant species on our campus.

The state's invasive plant list has 27 plants, and Keene State is home to about half of them. The definition of an invasive plant is one that "causes adverse environmental and economic effect to agriculture, forests, wetland, wildlife, and other natural resources of the state."

The most prominent plants in the KSC landscape are the Norway maple and the Euonymous or burning bush. Can you imagine the Quad without its stately Norways, the library without the stunning burning bush hedge on the west side?

State law prohibits selling or planting any new specimens of these plants. Nurseries no longer carry them. It is amazing to me that landscape staples of the last 50 years are persona non grata today.

Alas, it's their own fault. Most invasive plants are such prolific seed producers that the propagation process becomes too easy. Wind, birds, and their own expertise allow them to pop up in all sorts of unwanted places. Today it's hard to find a hedge or foundation planting without Norway maple seedlings in it.

The Japanese knotweed tries to engulf Grafton House every year despite our best efforts. The purple loosestrife rampant down by the athletics fields is controlled only by a joint effort of the College and the USDA.

Several of our invasive species are found along the Ashuelot River, including honeysuckle, multiflora rose, autumn olive, and other thugs that hide among more accepted vegetation.

We also harbor a Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus), and I feel quite wicked every time I pass it.

As the campus arborist, I pledge not to plant any invasive species at Keene State College. On the other hand, I'll do my best to preserve the health of most of the ones we have.

Jeff Garland, KSC arborist, is a New Hampshire Certified Arborist.

Safety Studies Alum Becomes a SPY

This local hero - though not the 007 kind - has done a lot to make his world a safer place. Eric J. Clouthier '00, who earned a B.S. in safety studies with a minor in management here at KSC, recently received the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Region VIII Safety Professional of the Year (SPY) Award for his ongoing contributions to his chapter and the Society and his commitment to protecting people, property, and the environment. Region VIII represents ASSE chapters in New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Eric lives in North Hampton, New Hampshire, and is a safety engineer at Harvey Building Products in Londonderry. He manages safety, health, and environmental functions for the company's 38 locations throughout the region. Eric also serves as a mentor for safety studies students at KSC and has helped establish a Rho Sigma Kappa Safety Science Honor Society at Keene State.

"My time at Keene certainly gave me a great foundation," Eric said. "I got excellent training at KSC, and I've kept in touch with several of my professors. They've always been there to help their former - and current - students. The safety studies program also introduced me to a lot of the networking opportunities that helped me establish my career. I got actively involved on the student executive board of the ASSE when I was on campus and developed some great relationships that helped me get where I am now at Harvey.

"I keep in touch with a couple of KSC students throughout the year and help mentor them," Eric said. "Vikki Stoessel, a senior in the program now, interned for me two summers ago. She still bounces ideas off of me. I try to keep the connection going with Keene, particularly when companies start to expand and are looking to hire. I've already got a relationship with students who I think would be a good fit for the new position."

- By Mark Reynolds

And the Winner Is ... Catie Bisson!

Catie Bisson photo by Ann Card

A music education major recently became the first recipient of the Class of 1958's Teacher Education Scholarship. Besides handling a full course load here, achieving a 3.8 GPA, working to pay for her own education, and participating in many music organizations, KSC senior Catie Bisson, of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, volunteers generously to help her neighbors and her country.

"I began playing the piano at age seven and the saxophone in the sixth grade," Catie said. "I have played in district bands, studied at Thayer Symphony School of Music, and performed in many groups. When I was 16, I was diagnosed with epilepsy. That's when I turned my attention to music and helping others, rather than focusing on the physical sports I could no longer be a part of."

As part of her work-study job through the Advancement Office, Catie calls alumni to keep them connected to KSC. Maybe you've talked to her already. As Genny Alexander, KSC's director of annual giving, pointed out, "Catie is always polite and engaging with the alumni she speaks to, and she is very conscientious."

Catie is on the faculty at the Brattleboro Music Center, and she's the vice president of the KSC chapter of the Music Educators National Conference (MENC). She's also an active member of the KSC Concert Band, Jazz Band, and Saxophone Ensemble.

As a participant in an international exchange program, Catie has studied literature in Florence, Italy, and traveled throughout Europe. Every year, she participates in KSC's Alternative Spring Break, where she volunteers to travel to various areas around the United States and help where there is a need. She's participated in several leadership-training opportunities and has put what she's learned to good use when she returned early to campus to help incoming freshmen get well oriented to begin their college careers.

"Catie is always willing to learn," said Craig Sylvern, assistant professor of music. "Some students always ask, 'Why do I have to do this?' Catie's not like that. She demands a lot of herself, and she's willing to give anything I ask her a try. I wish all my students were like that."

- by Mark Reynolds

Huntress Hall Pediment Clock Restored

Gift of the Class of 1932
Huntress Hall photo by Chris Justice

In 1932, as the Great Depression deepened and jobs for new graduates of Keene Normal School were hard to find, the graduating class, 174 strong, contributed to a beautiful gift for the institution.

They pooled their money to buy a 30-inch-diameter clock to fit in the window of the Huntress Hall pediment. The clock marked the hours on Fiske Quad for decades.

During the recent restoration of the building, workmen found the original round window in the attic and reinstalled it while the clock was refurbished. Its original electric mechanism was restored and the etched-glass clock face was repainted.

This fall, the clock and its custom-built case were restored to prominence in Huntress Hall, helping to preserve the history and charm of the venerable residence hall.

Priscilla Holmes Roberts, Marjorie Parkington Soucy, Patricia Cogwell

Would you like to ride with this man?
How fast can you go?
Ken Goebel

Meet Ken Goebel. Weekends, you'll catch him (if you can) bike racing or climbing Mount Monadnock.

In his day job, he's the director of Development here at Keene State College. He puts the same zest into raising money for the College that he puts into his personal goals. He knows it is all about commitment, focus, and keeping your eye on the prize.

Thank you, alumni, for your generosity to Keene State in the past year. We can't reach our goals without you!

Ken has put together the 2009 honor roll of donors to Keene State, and he'd like you to race to your computer to check it out.

"All In" An Update on the
Alumni Center Campaign

Photo: Alumni Center rendering

The "All In" campaign to raise private support from alumni for our new Alumni Center is in full swing. As we head toward our first reunion celebration in the Center next June, we are making good progress toward the $1 million goal.

Several special KSC groups and reunion classes have pooled their gifts to create named rooms in the building. Individuals have also honored loved ones and families whose ties to the College run deep. The class of 1958 was the first group to step up when they named the Class of 1958 Alumni Reception Gallery Fireplace, and at this writing, individuals have already named the director's office and the alumni lounge. Many naming opportunities still exist.

Because the College is seeking gifts from all alumni in this "All In" campaign, all donors of $100 and up will be recognized on the donor recognition wall in the new Center. Truly, our new Alumni Center will be by and for all alumni. All donations are payable over a three-year pledge period.

Please visit to monitor our progress and check out the construction photos, or call the Development Office, 603-358-2378.

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