Monday, January 30, 2012

Timeline is right on time

If you're like me, you might have been reluctant to jump on board with Facebook's new Timeline. Maybe you still haven't applied it and don't see a good reason to take the plunge. The privacy issues have been off-putting for many folks, but for me, it's much less thought provoking. I'm just sick of change. Facebook wears me out with it. Just when I establish some habits associated with knowing where to look and click, they pull the rug out from under me. So I rebelled against Timeline. Until last night.

Last night is when I read a great blog post about what other institutions of higher ed, as well as some corporate marketers (Volkswagen, for one), are doing to fill up that nice billboard of space that frames the profile pic and spans across the top of the screen. This "cover photo," as it's been coined, is the most striking visual characteristic of the new Timeline, and it's prime real estate. Colleges and corporations alike are trying to capitalize on this space by making cover art available to anyone who wants it, so Facebook account holders can—if they so choose—do some marketing for them. If you think about it, this is probably a hard sell to most vehicle owners. I don't know what Volkswagen would have to do for me before I'd agree to advertise for them with my social media accounts. But colleges and universities are different. Graduates generally feel good about their alma mater. Likewise, current students are generally proud of where they attend. We really hope that's the case at Union College and want to offer students, fans and alumni an opportunity to use cover photos that illustrate that school pride.

So here they are, at least the few that I've created so far. I'm unveiling them here and will be busy trying to come up with an easy way for you to access them. But until we get them on the Web and have them available for download, you can certainly drop me an email and I'll shoot a Timeline Cover Photo your way. Just so you know, the "Class of..." images are available in whatever class year you need.

Stay social, everyone!

Missy Reid, '91

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bring on the Hellcats

This should be a fun concert. I'm personally looking forward to it. Read the release below for details.--Missy Reid

The Hellcats of West Point are scheduled to perform at Union College in early February, bringing their high-energy, patriotic brand of music to Conway Boatman Chapel.

On Friday, Feb. 3, the Hellcats Bugle Corps, an ensemble from the West Point Band of The United States Military Academy in New York, will take stage at 7 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public.

Patriotic classics are expected to make up the bulk of their repertoire.

For more than 220 years, the group has played a role in the rich musical tradition associated with The United States Military Academy. From sounding Reveille to playing the traditional West Point gridiron songs for the annual Army vs. Navy football game, this group has served many functions and has delighted diverse crowds.

Union College is among an impressive list of venues and audiences the Hellcats have visited. In 2002, the group performed with the New York Pops Orchestra in Carnegie Hall and for the Fourth of July with the Boston Pops Orchestra. They have also performed at Disney World and the Pentagon, while members have been featured on television programs such as The Today Show, Fox and Friends, 60 Minutes and Dateline NBC.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Read a flip book and avoid paper cuts

Until now, we've never published Union Alumni Magazine in any format other than a printed version and a scrollable pdf for our web site. This flip book isn't exactly cutting edge (they've been around for awhile), but it's something new for us and our readers. We hope you enjoy it. Read it here, or download it and read it later. Promoting it will be the tough part, especially considering we can't promote it in the magazine until late June. Oh, well. That gives us plenty of time to figure out the complexities.


And the survey says...

The Union College Alumni Magazine comes out but twice a year, so it's a savored piece of reading for most of our least we'd like to think so. But to know for certain, we occasionally survey our readership to see what their opinions are. This helps us make good editorial decisions, those that are based on what readers want and not what Union staff members want.

And believe me—we pay attention. The last time the survey was issued was in 2009. Results showed us that our readers were interested in alumni in their professions. Consequently, we developed the "Union People" section which profiles two alums in their careers. Also noted was that our readers like content associated with Union's history and traditions. So the "At Last" section was born, which highlights meaningful events and iconic parts of Union's landscape.

The survey link was emailed out yesterday and we've already heard back from many respondents. As editor, I've been chomping at the bit to see some data. In truth, I've checked the results already three times today, which is ridiculously premature. But I'm anxious to get started with strategies to continue our momentum for improvement. So please, if you received a link for the survey, please help us out and complete it. It only takes about 15 minutes.

If you received the magazine but didn't get the link for the survey, please let me know. Hey, that's my job!

Missy Reid, '91
Editor, Union Alumni Magazine

Cell: 606-215-0031

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

He's a rock star

Phillip A. Sharp is a Union College alum. He's also a Nobel Prize winner. And an MIT institute professor. He's a total rock star.

We aren't just saying that because Geoffrey Beene and GQ teamed up in 2010 and named him a Rock Star of Science in their campaign to show the public how cool and important scientific research is. We're saying it because he just established two $6,000 scholarships, renewable for up to four years, awarded to seniors of Pendleton County High School (another alma mater). A main goal in this investment? To encourage students to study math, science and engineering.

He made science cool in 2010. Now he's making it affordable. Kudos.

To read Sharp's Rock Stars of Science bio and view the photos (he posed with rock band Heart for the magazine spread), click on the link below. We think you'll agree that it's very cool.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Who could forget the Titans?

Coach Herman Boone, portrayed by Denzel Washington in the blockbuster hit Remember the Titans, will be on the Union College campus next week during our annual spring convocation service. But students aren't the only ones who will benefit from this inspirational speaker. We've heard from high school coaches and students, family and friends of faculty and staff, civic leaders and many others who want to be a part of this event. Interest is sparked to such a level, we're afraid our chapel won't hold the entire crowd. And our response? It starts at 9:30. See you then! But we may see you in Robsion Arena instead of Conway Boatman so we can accommodate more people. (Stay tuned for the final decision regarding venue.)

Below is a media release issued last week regarding the program. 

Jan. 6, 2011—Coach Herman Boone, who quickly gained national notoriety following the success of the film Remember the Titans, will be keynote speaker at Union College’s upcoming annual Spring Convocation. 

Boone’s story of coaching football in a newly integrated school in the early 1970s was chronicled in the 2000 box office hit, which starred Academy Award-winner Denzel Washington. On Jan. 19, he will bring messages associated with this experience to the Union College community. The event is at 9:30 a.m. in Conway Boatman Chapel. Although seating will be limited, the public is invited to attend at no charge.

Now retired from coaching, Boone continues to motivate and inspire audiences like Union College students, who vow as part of their freshman induction ceremony to uphold the values that Boone speaks about. Debbie D’Anna, dean of student life, expects Boone’s speech to make a profound impact on the student body, while reinforcing their acceptance of the college’s core values.

Boone will bring lessons in diversity, respect, teamwork, community involvement and the importance of character. He will also offer commentary about his experiences associated with Remember the Titans.

Boone’s famous story occurred in Alexandria, Va., in 1971, when three area schools integrated to form T.C. Williams High School. It was from this union that the Titan football team was created. Racial strain added to the stress of combining teams that had formerly been rivals. Tensions quickly escalated when Boone was named head coach, passing over the local favorite who remained on the staff as an assistant coach. Boone’s appointment angered many people, who viewed the decision as a gesture of goodwill to the black community rather than being based on merit.

Remarkably, the two coaches were able to put aside their prejudices, and in doing so unified their players to form a team whose common vision was to respect each other and win football games.  At the same time, through the game of football, the coaches were able to help their small Virginian community put aside intolerance and join together to support their children.  The Titans became one of the best teams in Virginia, compiling a 13-0 record. They went on to win the state championship.

Union College is a four-year liberal arts institution related to the United Methodist Church.

Dr. Rebecca Pettys of Union College started a fund more than two decades ago to replace the seats in Rector Little Theatre. The project is now coming to fruition, just months before her retirement and in time for her final production. Here, Mama P, as she is affectionately known, briefly describes the project. You'll also catch a rare glimpse of the inside of Rector Little Theatre without seats.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Grand Opening Set for Stivers Aquatic and Wellness Center

A state-of-the-art wellness center in Barbourville is set to celebrate its grand opening in mid-December.

Officials and administrators for Phase I of the Stivers Aquatic and Wellness Center will welcome the public to the facility on Monday, Dec. 19 at 2:00 p.m.

The center is named for Kentucky Sen. Robert Stivers, who was instrumental in securing funding for the first phase of the center. Sen. Stivers is scheduled to speak at the grand opening, as well as U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers and Gov. Steve Beshear.

Phase I of the Stivers Center is approximately 39,000 square feet and houses a 50-meter competition/recreational pool, a large warm water therapy pool, exercise room, two party/meeting rooms, locker rooms and office space. The second phase will house a multipurpose gymnasium with an elevated walking track.

The Stivers Center is the product of a 12-year effort, begun when a group of civic minded individuals came together to form Knox Partners, a consortium consisting of Union College, KCEOC Community Action Partnership, the City of Barbourville and Knox County Fiscal Court.