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Lynn Richardson at work in the welding studio.

Fall 2015: The Elements

For this issue of Keene State Today, we thought we’d get down to essentials: the classical four elements of Western culture – air, earth, fire, and water. We’ve rounded up stories about Keene State alumni, students, and faculty that relate to each element.

In these pages, you’ll meet a recent graduate who paints en plein air, a professor who experienced the earthquake in Nepal, an alumnus whose burger recipes will have you firing up the grill, a group of students who spent their spring break volunteering with a nonprofit that makes water filters in the Dominican Republic, and more.

▾ Features ▾ Online Extras


Michael Staron ’14
December 11, 2015 –

When Michael Staron ’14 was accepted into the Juneau Icefield Research Program toward the end of his senior year at Keene State, he was enthusiastic about the adventures to come. He could have never predicted, though, what a positive and life-changing experience he was going to have.

“So few people...

Wine to Water
December 11, 2015 –

The 15 students and one staff member who traveled to the Dominican Republic over winter break last year learned quickly how critical drinking water is in a country where many people collect rainwater runoff in buckets or haul water from streams. “If it didn’t rain, we didn’t have water,” remembers...

Joel Feldman
December 11, 2015 –

“I consider it an art form. When you’re swimming very well it’s very much like a dance, feeling your body move through the water. There’s nothing quite like it.”

If anyone at Keene State College can describe the fluid motion of swimming, it’s Joel Feldmann.

A swimmer almost her entire...

Lynn Richardson
December 11, 2015 –

The small brick building that sits behind Mason Library usually looks quite innocuous. But pass by its windows at the right time of day and you’ll see sparks flying and smell molten metal as the sculpture class gets down to business, using extreme heat to create works of art.


Outdoor recreation
December 11, 2015 –

Getting people out and active in the back country is a great way to create more advocates for protecting the wilderness. But the more people who make use of such natural areas, particularly those participating in recreational activities, the bigger the impact on the environment.

“It’s a little bit of...

Environmental Studies Capstone Seminar
December 11, 2015 –

It’s entirely possible. Last year, four Keene State seniors, now brand-new alumni, undertook a study to see how effectively mushrooms can be used to clean up contaminated soil. Scientists have long studied the ways certain fungi can absorb heavy metal contaminants, so when Jacob Allen, Forest DeCoste, Nevada Mullen, and...

Environmental Studies Capstone Seminar
December 11, 2015 –

For several years, environmental studies students at Keene State, working with Associate Professor Nora Traviss, have been involved in monitoring the particulate matter from residential wood burning – stoves, fireplaces, outdoor furnaces – that causes periods of poor air quality in Keene during cold, calm nights. This year, two students...

Meghan Bergeron Jurors Selection Winner
December 11, 2015 –

A native of coastal Rye, New Hampshire, Meghan Bergeron ’15 first picked up a paintbrush as a kid to decorate rocks that she and her grandmother found in the ocean. She got into plein air painting – setting up an easel outdoors and conveying the landscape – during a class...

Online Extras

Smoke-Free Lungs, Smoke-Free Air

“We are focusing on helping people quit the habit, whatever that habit may be – smoking, chewing, e-cigarettes – by providing education and resources,” says Karen Crawford, assistant director of human resources at Keene State. “People can get support and be put in touch with the means needed to break the habit.”

Crawford, who coordinates Healthy KSC, a series of initiatives to promote wellness in the Keene State workplace, is helping to steer the College in a new and smoke-free direction. She helps faculty members and students alike.

Nicotine is one of the hardest habits to break, she says. And although smoking cessation products like nicotine gums and patches are a healthier alternative, these substitutes are often more expensive than cigarettes. Luckily for on-campus smokers who are serious about quitting, Healthy KSC will pay for the healthier alternative if the nicotine user is serious about quitting.

“We don’t want to put barriers in front of you; we want to assist you. The whole idea of Healthy KSC is that we want you to focus on yourself. A healthy employee is a happy employee,” says Crawford. “If you contact Healthy KSC because you’re a smoker and you want to quit, we don’t want to put blocks in front of you.”

One of Crawford’s many objectives is to help make Keene State a tobacco-free campus in the near future. She notes that eight of 10 students and faculty members are non-smokers. “We want people to feel comfortable walking on campus,” she says. “Everyone is entitled to free and fresh air.”

As it turns out, even many smokers in the college community would support a tobacco-free campus, says Crawford, who surveyed students, faculty, and staff. There are, of course, mixed feelings about the subject, and she notes that such policy won’t go into effect without the strong support of students and staff.

“What we have learned from other schools is we really have to educate everyone on the topic before anything goes into play,” Crawford says. “They have to know why it’s coming in. Right now our direction is to focus on education.”

And that’s exactly what Crawford is doing. She works to spread resources and awareness across the campus in hopes of a healthier campus for everyone. “We’re not only concerned about the smokers themselves, but also about the health and environment of the people around them.”

– Scott Steere

Be a Quitter

  • Find a healthy replacement! Instead of lighting up, munch on sunflower seeds, carrot sticks, or sugarless gum. Instead of heading to the smoking area, head around the block for a fresh-air break.
  • Avoid triggers. If beer and cigarettes are part of your routine, opt for another beverage. If you smoke when you play pool, take up ping-pong.
  • Cultivate nonsmoking friends, and encourage your smoking friends to quit. It’s easier not to smoke when the people around you don’t smoke.
  • Set goals for quitting, and reward yourself when you reach them. (Do something fun with all that money you’re saving!)

Sculpting with Fire

William Wrobel ’11 visited with Associate Professor of Art Lynn Richardson, who earned the 2015 Faculty Distinction in Research and Scholarship Award. Read his story about her welding classes on page 14 of Keene State Today, and peruse the slideshow for more images of her in the studio.

More Memories of Professor Charles Hapgood

In a couple of issues of Newsline, our e-newsletter for parents, alumni, and friends, we asked former students of Charles Hapgood, who is featured on page 8 of the magazine, to send us their memories. Here’s what they had to say:

Raymond E. Clarke ’61

Charles Hapgood was one of my favorite professors at Keene State College. I was one of his English students during my freshman year (1957–58). The following year I took his anthropology course. Mr. Hapgood was also the faculty advisor to my fraternity, Kappa Delta Phi.

I have favorable memories of Mr. Hapgood because he always had time for his students. He displayed a great sense of humor and a caring, respectful attitude toward his students. Although he was very knowledgeable, he was very tolerant of the opinions of others. Mr. Hapgood was one of the few professors on campus who forced us to “think outside the box” on essay tests, term papers, and in class discussions. On many occasions, long before the electronic age, he required primary resources. This kind of instruction forced his students to do in-depth research.

Mr. Hapgood’s facetious personality was uplifting, and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to be one of his former students.

Lewis (Lee) McMahon ’60

Yes, I also remember Charlie. He was indeed a favorite of mine, and many others. He was very approachable for the students. He had a great sense of humor, and enjoyed telling about his foibles.

We used to worry that as the absent-minded professor, he would go out walking at night with his attention concentrated on whatever he was contemplating at the moment, and wander dangerously into traffic. That wasn’t an unreasonable concern, as his life ultimately ended in just that way.

He was scorned by the scientific community for his theories on the “Earth’s Shifting Crust.” I hope that he knew during his lifetime that he was vindicated, and his theories had somewhat become conventional wisdom. I treasured my signed copy of his book, and apparently whomever I loaned it to does as well, as it never was returned.

On one occasion, Charlie took two other students and I to the Blue Hill Observatory, for some purpose that escapes me now. We found ourselves in Harvard Square during rush hour gridlock. Charlie in his inimitable manner said, “I’ll show you how to do this,” and he did. He simply went around Harvard Square the wrong way, without either colliding with the cars coming the other way, or running over anyone. Quite a remarkable feat.

I had the privilege of a continuing relationship with him after Keene Teachers College, as when I opened my law practice in Keene, he became a sometime client. He holds a special place in my memory bank.

Dwight Conant ’67

One day, Charlie sat at a table with me in the old student union. As I sipped my coffee, Charlie shared the most wonderful private insight. He told me one of his favorite times of the day was to sit in his outhouse, with the door open, and watch the birds. And he commented how special it is to use an outhouse instead of an inside toilet.

I do remember the tragic departure Charlie made from KSC. The administration forced him out because he was regarded as a highly disreputable character, intellectually. There may be a story about this in The Monadnock student publication at the time. I do know the student editor did a lot of research into Charlie’s departure as it was happening… . In my opinion, Charlie was a wonderful experience for the student body, and his intellectual curiosity was valued by many.

Charlie left Keene during some very trying times in the 1960s when students throughout the United States rebelled against authority. KSC was not immune to that. Many students at KSC regarded Charlie as one of their own, searching for truths in many different ways. We believed that college campuses were the right place to do this, and we accepted faculty who searched in many different ways. And we did not evaluate the right or wrong of these searches; instead, we learned that some searches worked and some did not (Ellwood Babbit?). Probably the administration at that time was more concerned at what was right and what was wrong. It is so nice to know Charlie is not forgotten and there are old stories living again and people who have fond memories of him.

Douglas W. Roberge ‘66

I remember Charles Hapgood fondly from my years at Keene State. We went to Salem, NH, one weekend on a field trip to look for fossils. We went to his quarters for wine and cheese on one occasion. He was very motivational. He often spoke of the defunct Harvard doctoral program concerning his theory of the earth’s shifting crusts, which was proven to be correct. He did have the last laugh.

Ernest Hebert ’69

Hapgood was one of my mentors back when I was a student at KSC, 1963–1969. He had a huge influence on me, both in my creative life as a writer and later as a teacher. In my teaching, I tried to show students the fun side of my personality: I got that from Charlie. He was full of ideas, and his demeanor – effervescent, enthusiastic, a romantic’s view of the world, daring, curious, and devoid of the cynicism one finds in academia; well, it rubbed off on me, inspired me, and helped form the writer I would later become.

I wrote the longest and most thoroughly researched paper of my college career for a Hapgood history class, 30-something pages on the First Congregational Church in Keene. The research I did for that paper awakened my interest in the Nathan Blake captivity that later would lead to my historical novel The Old American, which some people think is my best book. Charlie was a great lecturer, a very learned man, who would start with facts and stories that would lead to analysis and then … Whamo! Bam! Whoosh! He’d take you into the twilight zone.

[On Hapgood’s conflict with Pres. Zorn:] Zorn was trying to make Keene State into a respectable liberal arts institution. And Charlie did not fit the mold. I see the same struggle playing out at Dartmouth where I taught for 26 years. Scholars and creatives go about the pursuit of knowledge in different ways. Scholars formulate an idea and work it through in research, writing, and peer review. Creatives use writing, or whatever their medium is, to lead them to an idea. My feeling is: Expose students to both ways of thinking, and let them make up their minds which way works for them.

Basic Ketchup? Just a Point of Departure

If you liked the recipe from Richard Chudy ‘04 for Charred Green Chile Butter, you’ll love these home-made takes on ketchup, also from Chudy’s new cookbook, American Burger Revival.


Good ole’ Heinz ketchup was our first foray into the wonderful world of condiments—and we slurped it up as if it were its own food group. Once we got a taste of that tangy, sticky, sweet sauce, we couldn’t get enough. Growing up, we dumped it on everything from chicken nuggets to fish sticks.

Because of the enduring popularity of Heinz, homemade ketchup is a tricky subject. Heinz is reliably consistent and nearly impossible to replicate. (And who would be brazen enough to try?) But in the world of ketchup, it’s far from the only flavor out there. Basic ketchup is just the point of departure. So although we swear by Heinz, there is power in the homemade, and we’re going to explore some of those delicious possibilities here.

Umami Ketchup

Yield: About 4 cups
Start to finish: About 3 hours
Active time: 25 to 30 minutes

Roasted Romas, flavor-packed anchovies, black garlic, Worcestershire sauce? Yeah, we’re suckers for the savory. Put this ketchup on a perfectly charred burger and you have a one-way ticket to umami nirvana.

4 Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 small red onion, diced
4 anchovies packed in oil, minced into a paste
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 cloves black garlic, crushed (or substitute 2 cloves fresh garlic)
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup Worcestershire (our version or store-bought)
14-ounce can crushed tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Slice the Roma tomatoes lengthwise into 3 or 4 slices and lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Roast tomatoes in the oven for 30 minutes. Spoon any juices that have leaked out back onto the tomatoes.

Lower the heat to 325°F and continue roasting the tomatoes until they are completely soft and collapsed, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the anchovies, tomato paste, and black garlic, stirring to coat. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the remaining ingredients, including a pinch of salt and pepper, and bring the mixture to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour, adding the tomatoes when they are done roasting.

Cool slightly, then purée in a blender, adjusting the seasoning with salt, vinegar, and sugar as desired.

Storage notes: Ketchup will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Mignonette Ketchup

Yield: About 2 cups
Start to finish: 20 minutes

You can’t beat this: Start with the Umami Ketchup and add a traditional mignonette to up the acidity. Throw in whole oysters for brininess and depth, fish them out at the end, and slurp ‘em down. As they glide past your lips, they will leave a trail of this amazing ketchup in their wake.

2 cups Ketchup (use our Umami Ketchup or Heinz)
4 fresh oysters, scrubbed well, unshucked
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons shallot, minced (about 1 medium-sized shallot)
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Bring the Umami Ketchup to a simmer and add the oysters.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and add to the ketchup.

Simmer on low heat. Keep covered until the oysters begin to open, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the oysters, keeping any residual oyster liquid in the pot. (But don’t waste the little suckers! Cook’s treat: shuck the oysters and slurp away!)

Taste for seasoning and enjoy with your favorite burger.

Storage notes: This ketchup is best consumed within one to two days.

Links to More Information

Visit these sites to learn more about the Outdoor Recreational Leadership class:

Class Notes Links

Wes McNair ‘63 wins the prestigious PEN New England Award.

Richard Holmes ’68 named to the NH Humanities Council’s 40 over 40 list

Contact Keene State Today

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