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Sugar Maple photo by Ann Card

From the KSC Arboretum
by Jeff Garland

Sugar Maple
Acer saccharum

The sugar maple is the quintessential New England tree, revered for its beauty and utility - the star of the tourist industry, the source of sweet syrup, sought after for furniture, flooring, and firewood. Landscape architects re-gard the sugar maple as a bulwark of their designs. Even baseball bat makers are turning to it, because the ball jumps off the maple bat faster than the standard ash bat.

The sugar maple matures at a slow to medium rate. It can grow to 100 feet tall with a spread two-thirds its height. Insignificant flowers appear in the spring, followed by winged seedpods called samara, which are spread by wind and birds. Maples are usually healthy and stalwart, but they will succumb to people pressures: soil compaction, root cutting, overuse of salt in winter.

At Keene State, large sugar maples are found in several places, including the Owl's Nest area, Grafton House, and above the Putnam Theatre. Our most prominent sugar maple is at the Appian Way end of Fiske Quad. It is a beautifully symmetrical tree, 18 inches in diameter and about 50 feet tall. The tree gazes directly at newly renovated Fiske Hall, oversees the ongoing transformation of Huntress Hall, and looks approvingly at scholars in the library.

When I take schoolchildren on campus tours, I pause at this sugar maple and observe that I can see six species of maples within 40 yards of where we are standing. I point out the sugar, silver, amur, red, and two kinds of Norway maple and comment on their health and vigor. I give credit to other members of our grounds crew for their faithful watering, aeration, and composting. Sometimes I end my soliloquy by observing that this is a perfect example of the mantra of sustainability we've all embraced at the College. I wait for applause at this point. But my audience of second graders is usually more interested in a squirrel with a slice of pizza in its mouth than in my speech.

KSC's Jeff Garland is a New Hampshire Certified Arborist.


Dale Van Cor '78 photo by Mark Corliss

"I Have an Awful Lot of Ideas"

Dale Van Cor '78 burns barrels of midnight oil designing and patenting new industrial gears.

by Lara Skinner

College classes and student organizations are usually enough to get the gears turning inside students' heads. For Dale Van Cor '78, when his brain is engaged, it's often literal gears that he is thinking about. Dale has dedi-cated more than 12,000 hours to developing and earning patents on conical gear transmissions that use a new design of teeth to mesh gears. His Dale transmissions, VCT1 and VCT2, are patented industrial gears meant for bulldozers and other machines.

Dale explains the transmissions this way. If a bulldozer pushes a pile of scrap metal, the pile of metal is relatively light at first. As the bulldozer continues to push, the amount of metal in front of the machine in-creases, so the weight of the load also increases. As the load increases, the engine has to work harder. The VCT1 is designed to automatically increase in rpms (revolutions per minute) and change gears as the load in-creases. The VCT2 uses the same speed-changing concept, but is designed to use industry standard gears.

Marketing his specific conical gear transmission to companies is challenging. "Gears have been around 1,000 years or more," Dale said. "So going to Detroit and telling them I have a new gear is like telling a doctor that I've found a new organ in the human body."

Dale started his student career at Keene State College working toward a degree in mathematics and physics, and after two years switched to management and psychology. Easily bored, he packed his school schedule with up to 21 credits a semester. Even then, he thought about gears and industrial design. He says he also loved hanging out with friends on the porch of Owl's Nest 6, his campus home for four years.

In 1984, he started his own software company, DuVan Software Corporation, and designed 57 turnkey systems for 28 companies before he closed the firm in 1999. In 1987, he met his wife, Wanda, whom he calls his primary supporter, and they had three children. Over the years he has kept in touch with Ron Tourgee, who taught Fortran language, and probability and statistics. The two work together on the development of Dale's ideas. Through their friendship, Dale had the opportunity to teach an introduction to computers course at Keene State in 2000.

Life isn't all work for Dale, but his intensity carries over to other endeavors. In 2005, he became the Scout master for his son's troop in Winchester. He encouraged the boys to be active in fund-raising for the troop so they could enjoy as many activities as possible. One year the Scouts made Christmas wreaths from scratch and managed to raise $8,900 with their holiday sales.

Gears continue to preoccupy Dale. He is also working on a thread design based on the wave and cone shapes of the gears in his transmissions. It's heady stuff, and his hours of dedication make one wonder, when does he sleep?

He doesn't answer that question directly.

"I have an awful lot of ideas," he said.

Dale explains the technical details of his work on his website.


Shawn Huckins's painting hangs in the entry area to the administrative offices on the third floor of the Student Center. Photo by Ann Card.

Taking That First Step
by Mike Ward

Shawn Huckins '08 creates a painting inspired by a Habitat trip to Guatemala.

Shawn Huckins earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art at Keene State College in 2008 with magna cum laude honors. He left KSC with a great education, a solid body of work, and an even greater appreciation of the world around him.

In 2006, Shawn was a member of the Keene State College Habitat for Humanity Global Village team that went to the small village of Rabinal, Guatemala, and worked with the local Habitat affiliate and two fami-lies to build their own cinderblock homes. It made quite an impression on him.

"The people have close to nothing but are happy," Shawn said. "Yes, they need food and shelter but they seem perfectly happy without iPods, Xboxes, or a Mercedes. You learn to appreciate what you have and what you need - not want. I learned that what makes people happy are the relationships they develop."

Paul Striffolino, assistant vice president for student development, who participated in a similar Global Village trip in 2007, contacted Shawn last year to see if he would paint a colorful Guatemalan scene for the ad-ministrative offices in the Student Center. Shawn immediately agreed. The large 4x3-foot acrylic painting de-picts a famous archway in the colonial capital of Guatemala. The vibrant colors and unique architectural de-signs, characteristic of Central America, convey the sense of adventure that team members experience on a trip.

"The painting represents one of my steps into a new kind of world that I could not have imagined simply by reading a book or viewing a picture," said Shawn. "It's all about taking that first step - the step into volun-teerism, the step into another culture, the step into a world that doesn't closely resemble ours."

Although Shawn created the painting primarily as an autobiographical reflection, he hopes it will have a much broader attraction. "I hope that a student who sees this painting and has never participated in community service or an international trip will step outside their own comfort zone and get involved in the world beyond Keene State. It all begins with that first step!"

About artist Shawn Huckins: Shawn's work has appeared in the 19th National and International Juried Exhibi-tion, Viridian Artists Contemporary Art Gallery, New York City; Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts 97th An-nual Juried Exhibition, Mystic Arts Center, Mystic, Conn.; Emerging Artists 2008, Limner Gallery, Hudson, N.Y., and many other exhibitions. He won the Award for Excellence in the 2007 Ridgefield Guild of Artists 30th Annual Exhibition, the New Haven Paint and Clay Club Prize, the Thorne-Sagendorph Student Exhibition People's Choice Award (2006), and the People's Choice award in the Thorne's Biennial Regional Juror's Choice show (2007). His work is held in private collections. He lives and paints in Connecticut.


Let the Circle Be Golden

by Lara Skinner
photos by Ann Card

Golden Circle Society photo by Ann Card

It's not impossible to have a complete conversation during a meeting of the Golden Circle Society, but it is certainly unusual.

When alumni of Keene Normal School and Keene Teachers College get together, there are a lot of simultaneous conversations, such as when Roland Stoodley '56 and Lila Murphy '52 ran into each other. Roland was talking with someone else when a woman asked if there was any cream for the coffee at his end of the table. When he turned around he was greeted by a gasp and, "Roland Stoodley!"

Golden Circle Society photo by Ann Card

"Well, I'll be damned," he replied, putting his first conversation on hold as he and Lila embraced and began catching up on the news of life since the last time they met.

One day a year, usually in June, the Cat 'n' Fiddle restaurant in Concord hosts one of the many summer meetings of the Golden Circle Society. The Society is a social group created for alumni who graduated from Keene State College at least 50 years ago, when it was still Keene Teachers College. Alumni of Keene State won't be eligible to become members of the Golden Circle Society until 2013.

Reunion weekend is the traditional time to bring alumni together, and that's actually where the Society got its start. At the 1986 Reunion, F. Marion Wood '26 organized a special alumni gathering during the class meeting time. She called it the Golden Circle after an employee recognition program that existed at IBM.

Golden Circle Society photo by Ann Card

Golden Circle meetings were primarily held during Reunion for many years. But after Norma Walker '51, who was serving on the alumni board in 1996, organized a small alumni event at the Havenwood Heritage Heights Retirement Community in Concord, it soon became clear to her that there was a desire for something more. Barbara (Auderer) Goodrich (CK) attended that event and suggested that Norma organize an alumni lunch at the Cat 'n' Fiddle. Walker got an enthusiastic response.

Norma took over as the Golden Circle coordinator in 1997. She has many three-ring binders that are full of photographs and meeting records. Her attention to the details is a result of her many years of teaching, she said. Her desire to make each Golden Circle gathering into a memorable event for alumni is more of a personal mission. At every meeting she hands out awards - for carpooling, for the alumnus with the earliest graduation date, for service to the community. Alumni who have just reached the 50-year graduation mark are given med-als hung on a red, white, and blue ribbon.

Golden Circle Society photo by Ann Card

Alumni love to share their stories. There are tales of curfew and sneaking out after the doors were locked. Norma shared a letter from alumnus Paul Corrette '36, who recalled playing his saxophone at Saturday night socials. As long at Paul had his sax case with him when he left, the housefather wouldn't question him when he came home after the 9:30 p.m. curfew. Needless to say, Paul took his empty sax case with him on many a night.

Stories shared at the Golden Circle luncheon barely scratch the surface of the accomplishments and events that have filled the lives of alumni since graduation. Roland recently accepted a position on the alumni board, and he helped to establish the New Hampshire Community Technical College in Claremont, among other things. In 1990, Lorna Niemela Letourneau '57 founded Victory High School in Jaffrey to serve students who have had troubles learning in the traditional school environment.

Golden Circle gatherings make it seem like a very small world at times. As Norma puts it, "This is why our hearts are at Keene."
2009 Golden Circle Society Meetings

  • June 17 Concord - Makris Restaurant (new location)

  • July 22 Meredith - Hart's Turkey Farm

  • Aug. 12 Keene/Swanzey - College Camp

  • Sept. 15 Kittery, Maine - Warren's Lobster House

  • Sept. 24 Westmoreland - Stuart & John's Pancake House

  • Oct. 6 Concord - Havenwood/Heritage Heights (residents only)

  • Oct. 29 Rindge - Lilly's on the Pond


Invitations will be mailed to all New Hampshire Golden Circle members three weeks before reservations are due. If you do not receive a mailing, please contact Pauline Dionne at either 603-358-2106 or 800-572-1909, option #6 (Alumni Relations).

Online registration and prepayment will be available April 1, 2009, at alumni@keene.edu. Prompt reservations, with nonrefundable payment, are necessary for an accurate count to restaurants.

For more information on Golden Circle, call Norma Walker, 603-357-4089.



From the class of '89 (left to right): Janice (Shaw) Cavanagh, Diane (Tait) Regan, Joyce (Smith)Snow, Margaret (Ebling) DiPalma, Peggy Rydberg, and Stephanie (Moravick) Carter at a get-together in Boston.


Where in the World

Photo by Carol Kaufman

When Sports Information's Stuart Kaufman visited Disney World last winter, he was amazed to find Goofy and Max reading Keene State Today.

Our favorite captions from a contest in KSC Newsline are: "Dunno, Max...after looking at the KSC Sizzler, maybe this is the SECOND-happiest place on earth!" (Michael J.), and "I wonder if they need a new mascot?" (Kyle B.).