Ford Chapel Instrument Chimes in With New Sounds on Allegheny Campus

Junior music major Jacob Sutter drops his coat and backpack in a pew in the balcony of Ford Memorial Chapel on a chilly December morning and fires up the small keyboard in front of him. Soon the strains of the “Bell Tree Peal” are resounding across the Allegheny College campus.

That’s followed by “Be Thou My Vision,” “Scarborough Fair,” “Ode to Joy,” “Sweet and Low,” “Imagine,” “O Come O Come Emmanuel” and, of course, “Alma Mater Beatissima.”

The 100-year-old Crawford Chimes, a 14-note set of Deagan tower chimes in Ford Chapel, were refurbished in the fall of 2018, and now the sounds of music ring across campus several days a week, thanks to Sutter, who also plays the piano during religious services at the chapel.

Sutter, who is a computer science minor from Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania, has the task of playing the Crawford Chimes. “I usually play for about 15 minutes,” he says. He blends traditional hymns with modern popular music. The keys on the keyboard correspond to the 14 chimes in the belfry.

Not to be confused, the music coming from the Crawford Chimes is a sonorous complement to the Bentley Hall Carillon that sounds on the hour.

In October, Bill Pugh, a technician from Tennessee, came to Allegheny to service the chimes, which were installed in Ford Chapel in September 1918, a gift from alumni to mark the 25th year of William Crawford’s presidency. “I last serviced this historic instrument in 1997. Oh, how time flies! At that time, I reconnected the keyboard because the wires had been cut accidentally. I was unable to service all 14 strikers due to pigeon debris in the chime loft,” Pugh says.

College Chaplain Jane Ellen Nickell said Pugh was a little reluctant to return to the tower this year, but a pre-visit inspection showed there was not a mess in the tower, which cleared the way for Pugh’s work.

Pugh shares some history about the Deagan company and the chimes: “The J.C. Deagan Company of Chicago was known as the world’s finest manufacturer of tuned percussions. Tower chimes were their biggest product, and some 440 instruments were built between 1917 and 1958. They ranged in size from one to 97 chimes — a library in Minnesota and a state park in Florida, respectively. The Ford Chapel instrument is the oldest surviving system and is 100 years old. I do hope that Allegheny celebrates this milestone.”

“They are the oldest intact in the country since most have been removed or updated to electronic systems,” says Nickell. “We will be playing them several times a week and on special occasions, like our Christmas Service, Commencement, and Reunion Weekend. If Jacob doesn’t stay during the summer, I will find another student or play them myself.”

Photo Caption: The Crawford Chimes as they look from inside the Ford Chapel tower looking toward Pelletier Library (Photo by Jane Ellen Nickell)

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Clay Dawson stood under a giant American flag hanging from the plant’s rafters and studied his lines.

A few steps away, Allegheny College senior Shu Yi Tang flipped through sheets of paper that laid out the entire video shoot in detail: what scenes would be filmed and when, where and how they would be shot, and the people involved in each.

Lily Loreno, a senior at Allegheny, framed the opening scene with her hands, her fingers forming a square in front of her face. Sophomore Margaret West wheeled the camera into place.

“Every single second (of the video) has to be exactly perfect,” West, a 20-year-old communication arts major, said later.

The Allegheny trio had an important client to impress: Acutec Precision Aerospace Inc., a Meadville-based company that makes parts of the braking system used on Southwest Airlines jets, among other products, had tapped the group to create a commercial that would re-introduce the company to the community after a rebranding and, ultimately, encourage more prospective employees to walk through Acutec’s doors. Dawson, project manager for new product integration, would be one of the stars.

Acutec President and CEO Elisabeth Smith had worked with Allegheny students before and felt confident West, Loreno and Tang would bring the breadth of a liberal arts education to bear on the project.

“Who we look for (to work with) are people who think,” Smith said. “Allegheny students know how to think.”

The Acutec project is just one part of a larger multidisciplinary effort, still in the pilot stage, to create a student-run media agency at Allegheny that would connect students with local businesses and nonprofit organizations that need media, marketing and advertising services.

Vice President of College Relations Susan Salton proposed the idea of a student-run media agency when she came to Allegheny in 2015. Intrigued, Assistant Professor of Communication Arts/Theatre Julie Wilson started talking about the possibility with other faculty partners in and across departments.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to showcase the creative talents of our students and serve the community in a real, tangible way at the same time,” Salton said. “Our students gain experience working with clients in professional settings, applying what they’ve learned in the classroom to the benefit of our region.”


Allegheny @ Acutec

The Acutec project started as a college-wide competition among groups of students interested in vying for the company’s business. Interdisciplinary groups of three students each pitched a storyboard and tagline. Tang, West and Loreno’s winning tagline? “It all starts here,” a nod to the region’s manufacturing roots and Acutec’s essential role in the supply chain creating individual parts that, pieced together, make the whole.

Once selected, the students were mentored to handle all the pre-planning and contract logistics. They hired a makeup artist and another person to help with some technical aspects of the shoot, scouted the Acutec’s Meadville and Saegertown plants, and shot the video over the course of several days

Tang relished the opportunity to put what she’d learned in her advertising and video production classes into practice.

“You get to have a real-life experience and talk to a client and get to know people. Why not take part?” she said. “It’s a very valuable experience, something I can talk about.”

They all felt pressure to deliver a quality product. The heightened expectations that came with working for a client gave the group “an opportunity to rise to the occasion,” West said.

“When you’re (working for) someone else, when you’re taking their time and their money, you want it to be that much better,” Loreno said of the video.

After a late-night scramble to the finish, the commercial debuted at a companywide breakfast on Feb. 8.

It was a success, Smith said.

“People really enjoyed it,” she said. “In terms of working with students, (the experience) was excellent. They were very professional.”

Associate Professor of Communication Arts/Theatre Ishita Sinha Roy ran the Acutec storyboard competition and worked with the students, along with Assistant Professor of Art Byron Rich.

The Acutec project and the larger media agency effort are “a great way to respond to the critics that say that the liberal arts are impractical,” Rich said. “The ideas and critical thinking skills that we foster here can be put into practice in the business world.”

Working on the commercial “empowered students to bring their ideas to life” and allowed them to take ownership of a project from start to finish, Sinha Roy said. The commercial and other projects that will fall under the media agency umbrella also help foster and strengthen ties between the college and community — and that’s a good thing for all involved, Sinha Roy said.

When students work for and within the community and learn the stories of its people, “suddenly your neighborhood starts to become friendlier and more well-known in your mind,” she said.

The Acutec video is not the only project of the nascent media agency, though it might be the most visible. A group of communication arts students working under the direction of Professor of Communication Arts/Theatre Michael Keeley have also filmed videos for the Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Center. And students working with Wilson and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Janyl Jumadinova developed a website and pitched a logo for an online food hub that, when launched, will connect restaurants and food wholesalers with local farmers.

Wilson stressed that the agency is still in very early stages of development. But if it’s successful, she said, it could be a model for business incubation that leverages the resources of the college to help promote economic development.

Wilson said she doesn’t know of many other colleges or universities similar to Allegheny doing that important work.

“If we get this up and running soon, we’ll be pretty cutting edge.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Adjunct Professor of Computer Science John Wenskovitch presented “FluxE: Exploring Flux in Astrophysical Simulations” at the SIGGRAPH Asia Symposium on Visualization in Macao. This paper and the accompanying software were written in collaboration with Associate Professor of Physics Jamie Lombardi and Roger Hatfull ’16.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

The burgeoning farm-to-table movement is getting some help from some tech-savvy students at Allegheny College.

Working under the direction of Assistant Professor of Computer Science Janyl Jumadinova, two students — junior Maria Kim and sophomore Jesse Del Greco — are developing an “online food hub,” a website aimed at connecting the community with the region’s farmers. It’s one of the many ways Allegheny faculty and staff are working to educate the public about the availability and benefits of fresh, locally grown food.

Once launched, the still-unnamed site will allow users to search for sellers of specific produce within a selected geographic range. Buyers — limited to restaurants and other bulk purchasers, initially — will be able to place orders online and arrange for pickup or delivery, Jumadinova said. If successful, the hub could expand and offer online buying to the general public.

Every visitor will be able to search for local gardens and pick-your-own farms and learn about events and activities related to local foods and farming.

“The whole goal is to increase access to and availability of fresh, local food,” Jumadinova said.

The site’s searchable database includes nearly 30 participating farms, gardens and farm-to-table restaurants in Crawford County or Edinboro — and that’s just the start.

“Eventually we want to expand to markets as far away as Cleveland, for instance. That’s a big city and that’s a good market for (local) farmers,” Jumadinova said.  

As Jumadinova’s computer science students put the finishing touches on the site, communication arts students Madeleine Zimmermann and Madeline Becker are working to design a logo and branding with the help of the Assistant Professor of Communication Arts Julie Wilson. The site could launch as early as spring 2017. When complete, it will be an online space benefiting both farmers and consumers, Del Greco said.

“Farmers will be able to list the produce they have grown, and businesses will instantly be able to connect with the farmers and purchase the produce as needed,” Del Greco said.

The hub builds on many other ongoing efforts Kerstin Martin, director of Allegheny’s Community Wellness Initiative, is leading to increase access to, and availability of, locally grown food.

In 2015, the CWI built a community garden at the Meadville Area Recreation Complex featuring 30 raised beds that residents can rent each season on a sliding scale. Students from Meadville Area Middle School use the garden as part of their curriculum, planting crops and cooking with produce they’ve grown.

“I really see this as being integral to getting people excited about local food, getting kids to think about the implications of local food both for their health and the health of the environment. They’re going to be the consumers of tomorrow,” Martin said of the education component.

This year, Martin took her mission on the road.

Every Wednesday between August and October, she and a few students loaded up her car with the produce picked earlier that day from Allegheny’s Carr Hall garden and headed to Holland Towers, a senior living community in downtown Meadville. Once there, she’d spread out the bounty — tomatoes, kale, peppers — on a table for residents to buy.

The mobile market project drew between 15 and 20 people each week.

“For people who say transportation is a barrier to getting fresh food, this is bringing the food to their neighborhood,” Martin said.

Martin said she plans to continue the mobile market in 2017. The long-term plan is to add more selling sites and to sell food from local farmers, not the Carrden, giving farmers another venue and residents more produce options.

Emma Yates, a 21-year-old senior environmental science major who is doing an independent study on the food hub, said the effort helps educate people and builds a bridge between the campus and the community.

“It’s a really cool way to bring sustainability efforts and local farming to community members,” Yates said.

Holland Towers resident Robin Milstead visited the mobile market each of the six weeks it stopped at the apartment complex, building a friendship with Martin as she shopped for hot peppers and garlic and cherry tomatoes. Milstead doesn’t have a car, so usually relies on friends to give her a ride to the grocery store. Sometimes she takes the bus.

The mobile market makes it easier to eat healthier, she said.

“The produce is really good quality. I like it better than what you can buy at the store,” Milstead said. “I can’t wait until they come back next year.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Assistant Professor of Computer Science Janyl Jumadinova, Hanzhong Zheng ’17, and Almog Boanos ’17 have published their work “OWLS: Observational Wireless Life-enhancing System” in the Proceedings of the International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems as a short paper and in the Proceedings of the Autonomous Robots and Multirobot Systems Workshop as a long paper. In this work, they developed a system where multiple wearable sensors, software agents, robots, and health analysis technology have been integrated into a single personal therapy solution, and demonstrated its effectiveness and efficiency. Dr. Jumadinova and Hanzhong Zheng published an article titled “Using Boolean Networks for Consensus in Multi-Robot Environmental Monitoring Tasks” in the Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Electro/Information Technology. In this paper, they presented a novel approach to multi-robot environmental monitoring based on dynamical systems, in which a robotic team overcomes data misinterpretation and aggregation difficulties through an effort of collaboration between all members of the team.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Ceramics and Sculpture Technician Ian F. Thomas and Visiting Professor of Computer Science John Wenskovitch had an exhibition of their collaborative research titled “Resonance” in Kansas City, Missouri, coinciding with the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts conference.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Hanzhong Zheng ’17 and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Janyl Jumadinova published a research article in the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) Symposium titled “Monitoring the Well-Being of a Person Using a Robotic-Sensor Framework.” The paper describes an integrated intelligent system, consisting of multiple mobile robots and wearable sensors, that is able to monitor and report on the health and the general well-being of an individual. The work was conducted during an independent study and student/faculty summer collaborative research funded by the provost’s office. This spring Hanzhong and Dr. Jumadinova will present their work at the AAAI Symposium, Well-Being Computing: AI Meets Health and Happiness Science.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science John Wenskovitch, Debra Wolf from Chatham University, and Bonnie Anton from UPMC St. Margaret published an article — titled “Nurses’ Use of the Internet and Social Media: Does Age, Years of Experience, and Educational Level Make a Difference?” — in the peer-reviewed Journal of Nursing Education and Practice. The article summarizes a statistical analysis of a survey sent to nursing groups nationwide, looking at the safe and appropriate use of technology by nursing professionals.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Assistant Professor of Art Byron Rich and Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science John Wenskovitch will be showing their work at Stimulus/Call/Affect at Oakland University in October 2015. They will also be speaking at the symposium, discussing the commodification of violence and their interventionist work titled TWEET_SHOT 2.0.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Assistant Professor of Art Byron Rich and Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science John Wenskovitch will be showing their work at Stimulus/Call/Affect at Oakland University in October 2015. They will also be speaking at the symposium, discussing the commodification of violence and their interventionist work titled TWEET_SHOT 2.0.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research