Author Archive

Orientation Program Welcomes, Prepares New Students and Families

Amelia Rockwell just knew.

Driving away from campus after a daylong visit, she knew she’d found the right place, a place where a volunteer firefighter who also plays the oboe and swims competitively would fit right in.

“I think I’m going to go here,” Rockwell, an 18-year-old from Clarence Center, New York, remembered thinking as she left Allegheny.

Rockwell and other first-year and transfer students will soon return to campus for a slate of events aimed at making Allegheny’s newest Gators feel at home. The lineup for New Student Orientation, Aug. 26-28, includes a College Resources Fair, health and safety discussions, and an academic convocation and matriculation ceremony, among other events.

The three-day orientation follows the PLACES program, a transitional summer program in which incoming students connect with other new and currently enrolled students; become familiar with campus resources, including Student Leadership & Involvement and the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access & Social Justice (IDEAS) Center; and meet and talk with administrators, faculty, and staff. Twenty-eight students attended the four-day program, new this year.

“We strive to make sure all of our incoming students and their families feel welcomed, supported and ready to take on this new educational journey,” Vice President and Dean of Students Kimberly M. Scott said. “A large part of that is creating connections and introducing them to all the resources they’ll need to be successful.”

Some orientation events, including a panel discussion on Aug. 27 with parents, families and friends of current students, are aimed at parents and family members of incoming students. Others introduce new students and their family members to the broader Meadville community. Expanded bus tours and a Community Fair, a showcase for local business and nonprofits, help everyone get a good lay of the land.

“It’s helping students understand that this is their community,” said Gretchen Beck, associate dean of students and director of student leadership and involvement. “We want them to understand not only what Allegheny has to offer, but what your community has to offer.”

The whole schedule is constructed to help incoming students like Rockwell feel comfortable and prepared.

After four years of volunteer firefighting, the last two with Harris Hill Volunteer Fire Company in Clarence, New York, Rockwell has cultivated a talent for teamwork and the ability to be calm and patient in sometimes difficult or stressful circumstances, skills she hopes serves her well when classes begin on Aug. 29.

Asked what she’s looking forward to most as she embarks on this newest adventure, the answer comes quick.

“The whole college experience,” she said. “The classes, student life, pretty much everything. The whole college experience.”

For more information about New Student Orientation and the schedule of events for students and families, visit the Orientation website.

Students Tackle Issue of Lack of Women in Political Arena

Kelsey Evans left a weeklong seminar having learned a lot about Pennsylvania politics — and the lack of women in leadership roles in the political arena.

“The main takeaway from the week was that it is possible for anyone to run and work in government,” said Evans, an Allegheny College sophomore from New Kensington, Pennsylvania.  

Evans was one of three Allegheny students who recently attended The National Education for Women’s New Leadership Pennsylvania, a week-long “leadership and public policy institute designed to educate and empower young women for future political participation and leadership.” Throughout the week, participants discuss the role of women in politics and policymaking in Pennsylvania with the goal of addressing the underrepresentation of women in politics. (more…)

Eclipse Draws Gators’ Gaze Skyward

The sky grew darker, the temperature cooled, and Allegheny College students looked skyward.

“It’s amazing to see,” said Taylor Cook, 18, a first-year student from Mt. Orab, Ohio, who is planning to major in art and technology.

Meadville, Pennsylvania — like the rest of the state — wasn’t in the path of totality for Monday’s total solar eclipse, the first total solar eclipse in the contiguous United States since 1979.

But that didn’t matter to the roughly 100 students, faculty and staff who gathered on the lawn outside Allegheny’s Newton Observatory. Looking through special eclipse glasses, pinhole cameras and telescopes, they were treated to a partial eclipse that blocked out about 77 percent of the sun. (more…)

Princeton Review Names Allegheny Among Best in Nation

Allegheny College has once again been named one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education by The Princeton Review. The education services company features the college in “The Best 382 Colleges,” the 2018 edition of its flagship college guide.

Only about 15 percent of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges and two colleges outside the U.S. are highlighted in the book, which includes detailed profiles of the colleges. (more…)

Mullen Named to Leadership Posts in NCAC, GLCA

Allegheny College President James H. Mullen, Jr., has been named vice president of the North Coast Athletic Conference for the 2017–18 academic year and chair of the board of directors of the Great Lakes College Association.


Great-grandson of Former Allegheny President Finds History in Family Tree

John Kenneth Crawford has become a detective of sorts in retirement, piecing together the mystery of the generations that came before him.

A quest to map his family tree recently led Crawford and his wife, Linda, to Allegheny College to find more information about one illustrious relative: William Henry Crawford, Crawford’s great-grandfather and the 10th president of the College.

The Crawfords traveled from their home in Lewes, Delaware, to spend a day in the Merrick Archives scrolling through black-and-white photographs of the former president and searching through records. They also visited Greendale Cemetery in Meadville, where William Henry Crawford is buried. (more…)

Allegheny Featured in Annual ‘Fiske Guide to Colleges’

Allegheny College is featured in the 34th edition of the “Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018,” a reference book for prospective students and their families that describes life on campus at the country’s best colleges and universities.

The “Fiske Guide to Colleges” publishes detailed profiles, including interviews with students, for more than 300 four-year schools. The guide is fully updated and expanded every year, and, according to USA Today, is the most authoritative source of information for college-bound students and their parents. (more…)

Allegheny College Joins Growing Alliance of Colleges Working to Expand Access and Opportunity for 50,000 Talented Low- and Moderate-Income Students

Allegheny College is now part of an alliance of some of the nation’s most respected colleges and universities working to expand the number of academically talented low- and moderate-income students who have access to higher education.

Called the American Talent Initiative, the effort launched in December 2016 with the aim of educating an additional 50,000 high-achieving, low- and moderate-income students at the 270 colleges and universities with the highest graduation rates by 2025. Membership in the alliance is limited to institutions with six-year graduation rates above 70 percent; Allegheny is one of 38 new members of the 68-member group.

“We are delighted to join the American Talent Initiative,” Allegheny College President James H. Mullen, Jr., said. “Allegheny College has long been committed to inclusion and academic achievement so students of all backgrounds can excel. Our participation in ATI reaffirms our commitment to an attainable Allegheny education and ensures talented students can fulfill their potential.” (more…)

Chamber Choir Kicks off New Zealand Performance Tour

James Niblock, facing a momentous undertaking, thought of the stars.

“A week from now, you won’t recognize the constellations in the sky,” Niblock ’97, associate professor of music and director of choral activities at Allegheny College, wrote in an e-mail to his choir students.

An entirely different collection of stars shines in the Southern Hemisphere.

Today, after more than 18 months of planning, preparation and practice, 19 students from the Allegheny College Chamber Choir will depart for New Zealand in what will be the choir’s first international performance tour since 1980 and its first-ever tour to the South Pacific. The two-week trip will include performances in Auckland, Whitianga, Rotorua, Christchurch and Queenstown, along with plenty of sightseeing opportunities and an introduction to Māori culture.

For Morgan Hazzard, a 21-year-old biochemistry major from Lafayette, Colorado, the trip is the ultimate capstone to her college career. She was among the eight choir members who graduated on Saturday with the class of 2017.

“It will be the most incredible last experience I could have at Allegheny,” Hazzard said a few days before Commencement. “I couldn’t think of ending my senior year any other way. This is it. This is what we’ve been waiting for.”

The trip is breathtaking in both scope and purpose, involving more than 30 hours of air travel, including layovers (and that’s just one way); eight performances in five cities; and 27 pieces of music sung in eight different languages, including native Māori. It is one of the most logistically complex endeavors the choir has undertaken in recent memory, requiring extensive support from alumni and donors. There are also hundreds of people waiting on the other side, including partner choirs from other schools and organizations as well as host families who have agreed to house the students for parts of their stay.

The tour is the culmination of what began as decidedly smaller-scale discussion in November 2015. Then, Niblock was floating the idea of a California trip, maybe over spring break, or perhaps a European tour.

“By the time I said going to New Zealand was a possibility, everybody’s jaws just dropped to the floor,” said Niblock, who will lead the students along with pianist Douglas Jurs, assistant professor of music at Allegheny. Rounding out the entourage will be alumnus Jeffery L. Webb ’98, himself a collegiate choral director and avid singer.

“We’re not testing the boundaries of campus or the boundaries of Pennsylvania or how far we can take a coach bus,” Niblock said. “We’re testing the boundaries of what’s familiar. We’re going to a place where a European culture we understand very well exists side-by-side with a Polynesian culture most of us don’t know about. The ‘not familiar’ part meets a lot of musical and institutional goals.”


Chamber Choir New Zealand Tour – Allegheny College

John Knobel, a music major from Carlisle, Massachusetts, started singing in fourth grade. He joined the Allegheny choir as a first-year student and now plans to pursue a career as a choral conductor, a music teacher or a music therapist after graduation.

The New Zealand trip is a chance to grow and do what he loves while being an ambassador for Allegheny, said Knobel, 22.

“Anywhere we go, we always have Allegheny on our chest,” he said. “We’re all representing the college. The relationships we’re going to (build) with other schools and other choirs are very important to our education on an individual level, but also to the groups as a whole and to their improvement.”

He’s looking forward to staying with local families.

“I’ve stayed in a few different countries in hostels and you always meet different people and you always gain new perspectives on their lives and experiences,” Knobel said. “It’s always something you can grow from.”

Unlike Knobel, most of the students in the choir are not music majors. The 19 students traveling represent 26 different major and minor programs and nine different states. Ben Thomas, a tenor who joined the choir as a first-year student, graduated with a neuroscience degree on Saturday.

“In many ways it sums up Allegheny as a whole,” said Thomas, 22, of California, Pennsylvania. “There are only two or three music majors in the Chamber Choir and the rest of us are in different disciplines. We all get to take this trip halfway across the world to a place we’ve never been.

“It’s basically the textbook definition of ‘unusual combinations,’” he said, referring to Allegheny’s national reputation as a place where students are encouraged to explore their unusual combinations of interests and talents. Students often focus their energies and curiosities on courses of study that are not closely linked to their major.

Beyond the opportunity to travel abroad, the choir has helped forge deep friendships that will continue beyond college careers, Hazzard said.

“I could care less where we go,” she said. “I just want to be with this group of people.”

Read student blogs about the trip under “News & Events” on the Music Department website.

Students Perform Prince’s ‘Waterbearer’

Associate Professor of Black Studies and English Valerie Prince’s choreodrama “Waterbearer,” which uses lyrical prose to explore the labor of African-American women, was presented as a dramatic reading in Pittsburgh on August 24th at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Performed by Itzel Ayala ’18, Luka Crozier ’19, Robyn Katona ’19, and Nia Shuler ’18 and directed by Professor of Theatre Beth Watkins, the company was invited by the Larimer Consensus Group, the River Roots Community Arts Project, and the Metro Urban Institute, arts and advocacy organizations working on integrating green infrastructure into urban spaces.