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.”

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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.

Allegheny College Celebrates 460 Students and Two Distinguished Leaders; PBS Chief Executive Paula Kerger Delivers Commencement Address

Allegheny College today honored 460 graduates and presented two distinguished leaders with honorary degrees at its Commencement ceremonies on the lawn outside of historic Bentley Hall.

Paula Kerger, president and chief executive officer of PBS, who was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters at the ceremony, delivered the commencement address in the College’s 202nd year.

Kerger urged graduates to trust their intuition. “Wherever your adventure takes you, I encourage you to find your inner voice – the one that whispers to you about what you were put on this earth to do. The voice that is innately and inherently yours, not an imitation of someone else. And once you find it, never let it go.

“During your time at Allegheny, you’ve proven that you’re smart and creative and resilient, and you’ve been given the tools needed to succeed in life and career. That brings me to my ‘ask:’ I ask that you use those tools not just for the advancement of your professional career, but also for the betterment of your community and your country,” said Kerger. (more…)

Baccalaureate

Allegheny Community Celebrates the Class of 2017 at Baccalaureate Ceremony

The Allegheny College community gathered with the class of 2017 and their families to reflect on the achievements of graduating seniors — and celebrate their futures —at the Baccalaureate ceremony on Friday, May 12.

Clad in academic regalia, Allegheny trustees, faculty members and the graduating class processed into the College’s Raymond P. Shafer Auditorium to open Baccalaureate, the first of the official Commencement Weekend ceremonies. The Commencement ceremony, where degrees are conferred, takes place on Saturday, May 13, at 2 p.m.
(more…)

Allegheny College Senior Receives Prestigious Award to Study Swahili in Tanzania

Allegheny College senior Melissa Mattwig has received a prestigious Boren Award and will be a part of the African Flagship Languages Initiative (AFLI) beginning in the summer of 2017.

As a Boren Scholar, she has been selected to study Swahili in Tanzania for a year and will receive a $20,000 scholarship for her studies. Mattwig is a double major in biology and environmental science, and a double minor in French and Spanish.  (more…)

College, Community Celebrate Student Research, Achievements

Allegheny College and the Meadville community came together Tuesday to celebrate student research and accomplishments across the sciences and humanities, an event that showcased Allegheny’s commitment to undergraduate research, hands-on experiences outside the classroom, and the programs that help make both possible.

The college’s first-ever Celebration Day was an opportunity for students to receive recognition beyond a good grade or fulfilling the requirements of a class, said Allegheny junior Stella Goodworth, one of the students who helped organize the day.

“For (students) to see not only does the institution appreciate you but we all appreciate each other for the hard work we each do mutually, that’s more inspiring than getting an A on something,” said Goodworth, a psychology major from Frewsburg, New York. (more…)

Leja’s ‘Care Van’ Pitch Wins Big Idea Competition

Liana Leja, an Allegheny College senior majoring in biology, won first prize and $5,000 in Allegheny’s 11th Annual Big Idea Competition, a contest sponsored by the college’s Center for Business and Economics and modeled after ABC’s popular “Shark Tank” show.

Leja’s big idea: a mobile health care van, called the “Care Van,” that would operate in conjunction with Meadville Medical Center to provide basic health care to a mostly rural, underserved population.

Leja with Entrepreneur in Residence Chris Allison, co-director of Allegheny’s Center for Business and Economics. Photo by Sarah Holt.

Greg Bras, a senior economics major from Saegertown also earned an honorable mention in the competition for his work on additive manufacturing.

See full coverage in The Meadville Tribune here.

 

Celebration Day to Highlight Student Research, Accomplishments

Allegheny College will welcome students, their families and friends, staff, faculty and the public to a daylong celebration of student research and achievement on Tuesday, May 2.

The College’s first-ever Celebration Day, created by and for students, will include sessions at various locations across campus spotlighting hands-on student research across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, as well as a panel focusing on the positive social, economic and environmental effects that have resulted from the work of the Community Wellness Initiative to increase food security in Meadville.

The aim of Celebration Day is “to recognize the hard work our students have done all year,” said Aimee Knupsky, chair of the Psychology Department and director of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities.

“We have really awesome students who do really cool stuff and we want to have a moment where we pause and recognize that,” Knupsky said.

The day also serves to show students who have not yet participated in research projects or other activities that those opportunities are available, and to highlight the strength of an Allegheny education, she said. (more…)

Allegheny Honors Students and Organizations for Outstanding Leadership

Allegheny College on Tuesday, April 18, honored dozens of students and student-operated organizations for their leadership on the campus and in the Meadville community during the past academic year.

Students and groups were nominated for the Annual Leadership Awards and Cornerstone Awards by community and campus sponsors and were chosen by selection committees that include faculty and staff. Awards were presented by Allegheny President James H. Mullen, Jr. and members of the College’s administration.

“The leadership in this room has made a significant impact on this campus, in the Meadville community and beyond,” Mullen said. “It is truly inspiring to hear about everything our students accomplish while balancing school, work and life.”

The students honored for their leadership and a brief description of their accomplishments and awards follows: (more…)

Allegheny, Grove City Students Pitch Their Big Ideas

The  Center for Business and Economics at Allegheny College will hold its 11th Annual Big Idea Competition on April 28-29 in Quigley Hall. The contest emulates the experiences seen on the popular CNBC broadcast, “Shark Tank”. The public is welcome to attend the final round of presentations on Saturday, April 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Students will present entrepreneurial concepts with the chance to receive funding through cash prizes. The ideas must fit into one of four areas: For-profit Business, Not-for-profit Social Venture, Research Project, or Community Engagement Initiative. Students work in teams and design 20-minute presentations for their ideas, which they present at the competition.

(more…)