The Norway spruce, Picea abies, is a very large pyramidal evergreen that doesn't mind a little icy weather. Keene State has a trio of 60-foot Norway spruces that dominate the eastern corner of the Oya Hill area of campus. Each Christmas, Rockefeller Center in New York erects a huge Norway spruce and decorates it.
In February, our own towering Norway spruces will be the backdrop to the KSC Winter Carnival, their old, familiar presence providing a windbreak for a skating rink, snow scupltures, and a roaring bonfire.
With assistance from Bud Windsor, assistant director of grounds, we introduce a specimen from the Arboretum and Gardens of Keene State College in each issue of Keene State Today. Some of these plantings are Memorial/Recognition Trees, which have been purchased and maintained with funds from alumni and friends.
ALS Strikes Distinguished Teacher Steve Smith
"Dr. Steve Smith, who taught education at Keene State from 1972 to 1996, learned last year that his episodes of slurred speech were the first signs of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. As the disease has progressed, he now has difficulty speaking, swallowing, and breathing, and he is losing dexterity and strength in his hands and legs.
There is no known cause of ALS, and no cure. Eighty percent of patients die within two to four years of diagnosis, with total paralysis the fate of those living much longer.
Winner of the Alumni Distinguished Teacher Award in 1977, Dr. Smith taught the Introduction to Teaching course sequence, courses in the graduate counselor program, and internship seminars. "He had a profound impact on a number of students, colleagues, and programs during his 25 years here," said David Hill, dean of professional studies. "We remember him most for his quick (if quirky) wit, his willingness to assist students, and his insights into the change process."
Dr. Smith's friends are raising money for home modifications, a van and wheelchair, communications technologies, and other needs, including medication not covered by insurance. To learn more, visit the web site at www.StephenHurricaneSmithFund.org
"I was just so happy to cross the finish line!" said Jennifer Lindabury Roccabruna '95 after completing her first Ironman Triathlon at Lake Placid, N.Y., on July 27, 2002. The race consisted of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run, and she did it all in 15 hours and 11 minutes.
Jen started seriously training for the triathlon a year ahead. She had completed a few marathons, so she knew what to expect on the marathon part of the race. A four-year swimmer at KSC, she says, "I never anticipated that all my swimming at KSC would pay off and give me the passion to train for Iron Distance Triathlons. Thanks, KSC athletics!"
A physical education teacher in Pittsfield, Mass., Jen also recently completed her master's degree in special education. Her thesis presentation was "Childhood Obesity: A Growing Problem with our Youth." She looked at her school population, specifically grades 1 through 5, and examined eating habits, exercise habits, parenting behaviors, and the students' body mass index as compared to national statistics.
Will she do a triathlon again? "Right after the race, I said there was no way I would consider doing it ever again. However, something happens and time passes, your body recovers, and you only remember feeling like a rock star and entering the finish chute as if you are being honored at the Grammys! It's a larger-than-life feeling." That sounds like a yes.
Where in the World
John Curran '91 catches up on class notes in Southwest Asia (he is not allowed to be more specific), where he was deployed to a remote site as a member of the 118th Civil Engineering Squadron, Tennessee Air National Guard.
In Memoriam -
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