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Arboretum Feature

Class Notes


Our Wild College Life

by Jeff Garland

Wildlife photoRelax. This is not an exposé of the social life of college students. (But please keep reading anyway.) This is about college wildlife and its impressive adaptability and survival instincts, honed by years of coexistence with humans.

The Ashuelot River, which winds through a good part of the campus, attracts many different species, thanks to our smorgasbord of readily available food sources and habitat - dumpsters, compost heaps, litter (all those ice cream cones), fruit-bearing trees, gardens, manicured lawns, hedges, and the nooks and crannies of buildings.

Wildlife photoOur resident birds and animals also have the advantage of being protected on campus; their worst judicial consequence is to be live-trapped and released.

Squirrels are ubiquitous, and we seem to have a particularly large and hardy group. When we give tree tours to grade school classes, the squirrels are a definite distraction.

Try discussing the number of pine needles in each white-pine follicle while competing with two feisty squirrels fighting over one acorn!

Wildlife photoSkunks, raccoons, and opossums are other regulars on the scene. Luckily, they are nocturnal, so we don't have many conflicts.

Muskrats, beaver, snapping turtles, mink, otter, weasels, and ermine share the river and Brickyard Pond with several duck species and Canada geese.

We also have resident populations of cedar waxwings, pigeons, Cooper's hawks, and an occasional heron. And did I mention woodchucks and feral cats in decent numbers, too?

Wildlife photoThis build-up brings me to my favorite KSC animal: the rabbit. Our healthy herd of bunnies is centered behind Carle Hall and the Whitcomb building. Legend has it that a KSC student released his white and gray pet rabbits behind Carle Hall not long ago, and the pair mixed with local cottontails to create a burgeoning bunny bonanza.

Keene State bunnies come in pure white, gray, brown, gray and white, brown and white, and other permutations. When I arrive, usually before 6 a.m., I am regularly greeted by several rabbits feeding on the grass behind Carle or playing in the sand bin behind our pole barn. The open pole barn, with its food compost pile (replenished daily), is rabbit heaven.

Wildlife photoI knew rabbit mania had finally hit when members of our grounds crew started naming their favorite bunnies. Last summer, "Wally" was a particular favorite. This tiny white rabbit hung out in front of Whitcomb, dodging work vehicles and equipment. We finally had to relocate Wally to the far end of Joyce Field, hoping the College "victory garden" would entice him to stay put.

Even the most serious among us find it difficult to be grumpy when a tiny white rabbit hops alongside while we work. Please join us in protecting our rabbits so we can enjoy them for years to come.

Jeff Garland is the Keene State College arborist. And we thought he only loved trees!

The Classes of 1990 and 1991 William T. Lessard Memorial Scholarship Endowment

As a student leader on campus, William "Bill" T. Lessard '90 touched people's lives with his kindness and enthusiastic approach to life before his own life ended in 1995. In addition to receiving the Student Leader of the Year Award in 1989-90, Lessard served as a University System of New Hampshire trustee, as president of the Student Assembly, and as president of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

"Bill and I were friends, and he affected me in many ways. I miss him very much," said Michael Saulnier '91, who explained that Bill cared deeply about certain issues and led by example. "Delta Nu Psi was approved as a co-ed fraternity/sorority because Bill and I were discussing their plight before the Greek Council meeting one evening. Ours were the two pivotal votes in the Council approving their charter."

Established in 2002 as a way to remember the generosity and spirit of Lessard's friendship, The Classes of 1990 and 1991 William T. Lessard Memorial Scholarship Endowment seeks to provide modest financial support to as many Keene State College students as possible in order to assist with the purchase of educational books and supplies.

The endowment is growing and welcomes any and all donations. It is hoped that four students per year (one from each class) will be awarded an amount not to exceed $500.

"Bill's family, Maureen (Cicchese) Musseau '90, and I are very excited to see the scholarship develop into a reality, so people can hear Bill's story and remember him for the great influence and friend he was to all," explained Saulnier.

Help support the spirit of leadership, friendship, and generosity here at KSC with your contribution to the William T. Lessard Memorial Scholarship Endowment. To make a donation, contact the Advancement Office at 800-KSC-1909 or 603-358-2372 or e-mail You may also pledge online at

The Heart of the Matter
A former employee and her spouse establish the Eder Creative Writing Scholarship Endowment to benefit Keene State College students.

Keene State College and its English Department are delighted to announce the creation of the new Eder Creative Writing Scholarship Endowment, which underscores the importance of writing and the College's commitment to support writing across the curriculum. We are grateful to Doris and Donald Eder of Norwalk, Connecticut, for establishing this wonderful scholarship, which will benefit students for generations to come.

Doris Eder explained the history behind the generous gift. ""Twenty-nine years ago, I had the opportunity to work at Keene State College (1978-82), and, even though this was a relatively short time, Keene State has always held a special place in my heart. I have worked at many fine colleges and universities, yet none have impressed me in quite the way Keene State did. In the mid-1970s, a fellow professor mentioned to me how much he liked Keene State because it was possible to be creative there. When, in 1982, I received an offer to serve the College in the newly created position of Dean of Program Development and Graduate Studies, I found [the opportunity] irresistible. Of all the administrative positions I've ever held - inside academe or outside - this was the most creative, challenging, and satisfying. I'm proud of the array of new programs the faculty, administration, and I were able to initiate during the four years I was there. I loved working with President Redfern, Dean William Whybrew, Dick Gustafson, and the faculty.

""I have been dreaming and thinking about establishing a scholarship for about 15 years, and, in the fall of 1995, I initiated a conversation with Judy Kalich, who at that time was the director of Advancement. I wanted to do something to recognize superior writing because writing has been my first love throughout life. I remember being asked when I was six years old what I wanted to be; I promptly responded, 'a writer,' and I have never wavered in this. I admire creative writing more than journalism, but have always been very much concerned by the difficulties creative writers face in getting published and forging literary careers. So, the idea of trying to help them in some way has simmered in my consciousness for decades. My own cherished passion for research and writing has resulted in 200 publications. Since I began my editorial company a decade ago, I've written chiefly biographies - of writers, who else? - while also helping writers by editing their manuscripts and helping them find agents or publishers.

""My husband and I considered various planned giving instruments to fund the endowment, some of which would have delayed awarding the scholarship for some years. Judy Kalich described the full spectrum of opportunities for giving to KSC, advocating the simplest way. Finally, we settled on the IRA-giving opportunity provided by the Pension Protection Act of 2006, which enabled us to establish the endowment over a two-year period. Our desire was finally fulfilled in a timely manner.

""Mark Long, associate professor and department chair for English, was consulted throughout the process to ensure the endowment would prove a good fit with the department's goals and would be practicable and functional. He commented, 'The Eder Creative Writing Scholarship will challenge students in the English program to aspire to the vocation of writer. This extraordinary and generous scholarship award will help English Department faculty to continue working closely with students whose core ambition is to become writers. It will allow exceptional students with a passion for writing to develop as writers during their senior year.""

The English Department has a long-standing tradition of working closely with students who wish to become writers: the department's graduates include the poet Wesley McNair '63 and the novelist Ernest Hebert '69. The addition of this endowment will help the College raise the profile of the writing profession even higher and will facilitate the future careers of promising authors who attend Keene State College.

Doris Eder is engaged year-round in a mix of writing, editing, proofreading, fact-checking, research, and translation for her company, Eder Editorial Enterprises, begun in 1995. Donald G. Eder still teaches as a substitute in the Wilton, Connecticut, school system and tutors children and adults in foreign languages and ESL."

Outstanding Alums -
Ruth Seaver Kirk

Ruth Seaver Kirk photoAccording to her daughter Jane Kirk of Nelson, New Hampshire, Ruth Seaver Kirk, a classroom teacher who became a junior high school principal, is the only person to graduate from all three of the College's schools.

She graduated from Keene Normal School in 1917.

She earned a Bachelor of Education degree from Keene Teachers College in 1952.

She earned her Master of Education degree from Keene State College in 1972.

Kirk was recognized for many outstanding achievements along the way. In 1923, she was selected as New Hampshire's Outstanding Teacher of the Year. Beginning in 1939, she served four terms as a member of the Keene Board of Education and four terms on the State Board of Education (1939-59). In 1976, she received the Granite State Award from KSC and USNH. In 1979, she was awarded the KSC Alumni Achievement Award.

Kirk was the first female chair of the Keene School Board and the first KSC graduate to serve on the State Board of Education. She was also instrumental in establishing the Henry C. Morrison Scholarship Fund and in founding a chapter of the Kappa Delta Pi honorary educational society on campus. We salute her citizenship and service to the community and the state."

Thanks for the Memories

We turn the podium over to Judy Kalich, who retired this summer from her leadership position in the Advancement Office.

Judy Kalich photo by Mark CorlissDear Friends,

After 12 fantastic years at Keene State, the time has come to bid farewell. As of June 30, I officially retired and I am turning my focus to other activities and obligations. It has been a wonderful experience serving the College in advancement efforts and alumni relations. I leave with a deep sense of pride and gratitude for relationships established and projects completed.

At age 19, during my junior year at Penn State, I concluded that the best career choice for me was higher education administration. My undergraduate experience was so meaningful, I decided that I never wanted to leave the stimulating environment of higher education - and, fortunately, I have been able to spend 30 additional years in college with two superior institutions, Penn State and Keene State!

What memories will I take with me? Absolutely on the top of the list are the extraordinary people who helped Keene State become an even stronger and more attractive institution. I have often described the first 10 of those 12 years as the "Camelot" era, for under Dr. Y's presidency, it seemed that every goal set was accomplished and relationships with the internal and external communities improved to a level not enjoyed before.

Dr Helen Giles-Gee is building on those accomplishments and has initiated the era of "Great Expectations." I am confident Keene State will transform to yet another level of achievement.

Many evenings after work I would walk down Appian Way, listening to the tune of the carillon, seeing the campus in its beautiful nighttime grandeur, reflecting on the people who enabled the College to move forward and projects I was privileged to be part of. I thought about the initial project started during my first week of employment - to raise funds to complete Appian Way and to provide the College with a "front door."

You responded and the Appian Gateway was built. I contemplated the myriad smaller projects - the Phelps painting for the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, the aerial lift for the Theatre Department, the Safe Schools media collection, the Community Research Center, the Small Business Institute, and others, where you responded and goals were met.

Then I pondered the not one or two but the three major efforts to renovate multiple spaces in Butterfield Hall to give the Safety Studies program quality space and equipment fitting to the program's national stature. The College Camp renovation, the Kick-In Challenge for the Soccer Stadium, Bricks for Books, the Playing for Peace Scholarship program, the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies, service learning, endowments established, special class gift projects, and others occupied my thoughts. In every situation, you responded, and the campus grew stronger.

And then I paused at the magnificent Science Center and felt a rush of excitement as I remembered the fast-moving campaign to provide the campus with a world-class center. In all of these efforts and many more, your generosity provided moral and financial support. And as I entered my car, I would smile and think: I have been one lucky individual to be a part of Keene State College.

In closing, I bid farewell and thank you for your generous hearts, unfailing good will, and wonderful memories! I hope our paths will cross often.

Judy Kalich
Former Director of Advancement

Where in the World

Roberson in Tangier photo.Dr. George F. Roberson '86 (American Studies and Geography; Ph.D. U. Mass-Amherst '06 in Geosciences) catches up on the KSC news in Tangier, Morocco, during a ten-month Fulbright research grant. Tangier, on the northwestern tip of Africa, faces Europe across the Straits of Gibralter.

Roberson credits KSC professors Rydant, Havill, Bayr, Leinster, and Freedman for his professional inspiration.

There's more on Roberson's Fulbright project at

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