Florence Reed

Environmental Activist Visits Campus

Florence Reed, an international environmental activist, visited Hood College Feb. 29-March 4 to advocate for sustainable farming and share her experiences with farmers in Central America.

Reed is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and president and founder of Sustainable Harvest International, a nonprofit that provides farming families in Central America with the training and tools to preserve the planet’s tropical forests while helping them overcome poverty.

She visited classrooms throughout the week and gave a community talk March 1. Her lecture, entitled “Organic Farming to Feed the World,” provided an overview of how common farming practices are contributing to environmental and social decay, including poverty, hunger, malnutrition, illness, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and climate change. Reed also discussed the importance of a global shift to sustainable farming practices and success stories from amongst the 2,000 Central-American farms that have participated in Sustainable Harvest’s extension program. She talked about long-term, integrative approaches that link ecosystem health, human health, societal health and a healthy planet. She concluded her talk with suggestions on how people can take action on these issues, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Reed became a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow because Roger Bowen’s wife heard her give a Pecha Kucha presentation in Maine and suggested he consider her as a fellow. Roger Bowen is the program director of the visiting fellows. He thought Reed was a good fit and asked her to spend time on college campuses sharing information about the work that Sustainable Harvest International does and why they do it.

The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program is part of the Council of Independent Colleges. It brings prominent artists, diplomats, journalists, business leaders and other nonacademic professionals to campuses across the U.S. for substantive dialogue with students and faculty members. Through a weeklong residential program of classes, seminars, workshops, lectures and informal discussions, the fellows create better understanding and new connections between the academic and nonacademic worlds. There are 115 fellows around the U.S.; Reed was the first to visit Hood.

Reed lives in Surry, Maine, with her husband, Bruce Maanum, and their son, Clay, in a home they built with primarily local materials. They grow much of their own food and are close to reaching their goal of being fossil fuel independent.

For more information on Sustainable Harvest International, visit www.sustainableharvest.org.

Watch an interview of Florence Reed below.

Majora Carter

Martin Luther King Jr. Honored with Day of Speakers, Events

A full day of events honored and celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 18.

Majora Carter and Sonia Sanchez headlined the day as the featured speakers. There was also a “Wright for Rights” campaign, and several documentaries were shown about the Civil Rights Movement.

Carter is an urban revitalization strategy consultant, real estate developer and Peabody Award winning broadcaster. She is responsible for the creation and successful implementation of numerous green-infrastructure projects, policies and job training and placement systems. Carter has continually set new standards of excellence with projects in her South Bronx community, while expanding her reach through philanthropic pursuits and business interests that have all pointed toward greater self-esteem and economic potential for low-income people everywhere.

Her list of awards and honorary degrees includes accolades from groups as diverse as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, John Podesta’s Center for American Progress, Goldman Sachs and a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship. Carter is a board member of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Andrew Goodman Foundation.

Her talk, “Department of Home(town) Security,” was sponsored by the Hanson Lecture Series. She spoke to a packed auditorium of students, faculty, staff and community members about growing up in a poor neighborhood and how she came to transform her own community and many others by thinking outside the box.

Sanchez is a poet, playwright and activist who was one of the most important writers of the Black Arts Movement. She is a national and international lecturer on Black culture and literature, women’s liberation, peace and racial justice. She has lectured at more than 500 universities and colleges in the United States and has traveled extensively, reading her poetry in Africa, Australia, the Caribbean, Canada, Cuba, England, Europe, Nicaragua, Norway and the People’s Republic of China.

Among the honors she has received are the Robert Creeley Award, the Frost Medal, the Community Service Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the Lucretia Mott Award, the Outstanding Arts Award from the Pennsylvania Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Peace and Freedom Award from Women International League for Peace and Freedom, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Humanities, a National Endowment for the Arts Award and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.

Her lecture, “Push-ups for Peace: Remembering Brother Martin,” was sponsored by the Office of the Provost, and she held a book signing following the talk. She performed several of her poems and shared with the audience stories of her family and students, and the struggle for peace.

The “Write for Rights” campaign, co-sponsored by Rev. Beth O’Malley and Amnesty International, helped Hood community members write letters to support prisoners of conscience around the world. This is an annual, global campaign led by AI involving hundreds of thousands of people writing letters and sending them to government officials.

The special program not only ignited discussion among Hood students, faculty, staff and the greater community about Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, the speakers also challenged everyone to think creatively, be kind and always do our part to fulfill King’s dream.

Watch Sonia Sanchez read a poem she wrote for Martin Luther King Jr.

Watch an interview with Sonia Sanchez.

Watch an interview with Majora Carter.

Hood College MSL

Hood Delegation Wins Awards

Hood College’s delegation of the Maryland Student Legislature won the most outstanding delegation for the third time in six years at the 26th Annual Session May 1-3 in Annapolis, Md.

Kristen Geatz, Tyler Graham and Caitlin Battey stood out for Hood, each winning individual awards. Geatz, Hood’s delegation chairwoman, earned the William Troy Simmons award for distinguished career of service. She has held leadership roles in Hood’s delegation for three consecutive years, one as vice chair and two as chair. Graham received the award for most outstanding act, and Battey received the award for most outstanding senator. The MSL board of directors selects the recipient for the distinguished career of service award; student peers vote on the other awards.

Hood students Sharifa Clark, Helena Hammond, Samuel Kebede, Melissa Lopez, Brice McAndrew, Ayomide Sekiteri, Elliot Tombs, Emma Ward, Derrick Wood and Dylan Wood also participated in the events.

The MSL is a nonprofit that allows college and university students opportunities to experience Maryland state government and legislative processes and gather to write and debate public policy. Each year during its annual session, members experience the legislative process of the actual House of Delegates and senate chambers.

The MSL includes delegations from Frederick Community College; Hood College; McDaniel College; Mount St. Mary’s University; St. Mary’s College of Maryland; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; University of Maryland, College Park; and Washington College.

Photo of the Hood delegation: From left—Brice McAndrew, Ayomide Sekiteri, Kristen Geatz, Elliot Tombs, Samuel Kebede, Melissa Lopez, Tyler Graham, Helena Hammond, Sharifa Clark, Emma Ward, Dylan Wood, Derrick Wood.

Commencement 2015

Commencement 2015

Hood’s undergraduate and graduate Commencement ceremonies took place May 16. The morning’s 118th undergraduate ceremony saw 352 students earn bachelor’s degrees in front of the College’s largest-ever undergraduate Commencement audience. The afternoon’s 42nd graduate ceremony included 239 graduates.

These Commencement exercises were President Ronald J. Volpe’s 14th and final at Hood. He received an honorary degree at the undergraduate ceremony and the status of president emeritus at the graduate ceremony. President Volpe has awarded 6,705 academic degrees at Hood.

Frederick Mayor Randy McClement, the undergraduate ceremony speaker, received an honorary degree. Currently serving his second term as mayor, McClement has been an active member of the Frederick community for more than a decade. He has served on a number of boards and commissions that have given him an impressive breadth and depth of knowledge about the city of Frederick.

Thomas Geisbert, a 1988 Hood graduate whose recent research into the Ebola virus has earned him international notoriety, was the graduate ceremony speaker and also received an honorary degree. Geisbert is a professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and the Galveston National Laboratory. He earned his doctorate in molecular pathobiology from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., and he was one of the Ebola fighters named collectively as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2014.

Members of the undergraduate Class of 2015 hailed from 16 states, the District of Columbia and six countries. One hundred twenty-nine completed internships. Many will continue their education, while others will begin their careers.

Paula Miller Dennis, a nursing major from Hagerstown, Md., and Alisha Marie Dunkle, an early childhood education major from Watertown, N.Y., were awarded the Hood College Academic Achievement Prize for the highest academic records in the Class of 2015.

Senior Class President Jada Burton asked that the 2015 class “please continue to take care of each other” and recognized that Hood students made lifelong friends and learned important life lessons in addition to their academics.

During the undergraduate ceremony, President Volpe awarded presidential excellence awards to Purnima Bhatt, Gary Gillard and Al Weinberg, who all retired after a combined 91 years of service.

During the graduate ceremony, Tony Miller, a social studies teacher at Linganore High, was presented with the annual Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teacher Award. Given jointly by Hood and Frederick County Public Schools, the award acknowledged his passion for teaching in the classroom as well as on the field as a lacrosse, softball and field hockey coach. Miller has taught at Linganore High since 1979. He earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary social studies from Shepherd College in 1979 and completed his master’s degree in secondary education curriculum and instruction at Hood in 1987. He has also earned 30 credits beyond his master’s degree at Hood.

For full Commencement coverage, visit Hood’s Commencement webpage. Congratulations to the Class of 2015!

Pictured: Class of 2015 graduates Meg DePanise and Zari DeMesme


A Day With Wil Haygood

Hood’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act continued March 19 when journalist and author Wil Haygood spent the day on campus. Haygood was catapulted into fame last year when a film based on his book, The Butler, was released. The critically acclaimed movie earned Critics Choice, People’s Choice and Screen Actors Guild award nominations, among others.

Haygood spent time in the classroom, meeting with student organization groups and dining with key faculty, students and staff before delivering an outstanding lecture before a very enthusiastic crowd. He spoke with humor and passion about his inspiration for The Butler, his connections and the process that led to its publication, and a bit about the perks of hanging around celebrities on the movie set.

He had wonderful things to say about College and the Hood community, and seemed genuinely honored to be a part of this celebration. Haygood is welcome to make a return visit any time!


Celebrating 50 Years of Civil Rights Legislation

Hood College launched its celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act with a lecture Jan. 29 by U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, representative for Maryland’s 7th congressional district. The prominent and long-serving congressman spoke passionately about growing up in Baltimore during a time when the nation was struggling to eliminate segregation and its manifestations. He credited his teachers, librarians, parents, grandfather and other mentors for believing in him and inspiring him to “Realize the Dream.” Throughout his career he has worked to pay it forward by empowering the people he represents to be the best they can be.

The yearlong celebration of the landmark legislation includes films, discussions, workshops and lectures by noted public figures.



The campus was alive with students, alumni and families during Hood’s first Homecoming/Fall Family Weekend event Oct. 4-6. It was great to see so many alumni and families on campus and the weather couldn’t have been better.

There were a ton of activities—it was so hard to choose! Friday opened with campus tours, and a selection of mini-classes led by Professors Flora, Latkovski, Gurzick and Farrell. A happy hour, dinner and skit/comedy show followed, and later that night students kicked back with a taco bar, DJ and other activities.

Saturday events included College volunteer and update sessions, a homecoming festival and tailgate on the quad, men’s and women’s soccer games, an evening performance showcase and dessert reception. Many families and alumni headed to downtown Frederick for First Saturday, a monthly event where stores stay open late, bands showcase their talents and kid- and family-friendly activities—including a free photo booth hosted by Hood College—kept everyone entertained!

For anyone eager to wake up early, the cross country team hosted a 5K run Sunday morning, followed by a brunch in Coblentz Dining Hall.

Whew! Quite a lot to pack into one weekend, but everyone enjoyed themselves. We’re already starting to plan for next year!

Homecoming photos are posted on SmugMug. Enjoy!

Pictured: Jayteh Teh ’13, along with and other alumni, families and students, attended a soccer game during Homecoming weekend. 


It’s Show Time!

The Hood College Student Musical Theatre is gearing up for another successful year. Late this fall, cast members will be busy preparing for the company’s spring production, Seussical. Based on a number of books by beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, the musical comedy not only appeals to children but also to adults who listened to the stories as children and, in turn, read them to their own children. In November, the troupe will reach out to the Frederick community with open auditions to fill the children’s roles. Sounds like a lot of fun, hard work and a great experience for kids in grades 4 through 7!

Be sure to save March 27-30, when the play hits the stage in the College’s Brodbeck Music Hall. Meanwhile, check out their blog at hcsmtseuss.org.

Pictured: Hood student Garrett Cline as The Cat in the Hat


Many Voices, Many Countries

A mélange of international languages will greet everyone who walks into the Whitaker Campus Center this week and next. Young students from more than 20 countries around the world have gathered for the annual UNESCO Center for Peace International Model UN Conference. During their two-week stay, students will participate in workshops that will provide them with real-world experiences in team building, cultural diversity and conflict resolution; take field trips to Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York City and Ellis and Liberty islands; and listen to guest speakers who will talk about a variety of global topics.

Part of their experience will be to research and participate in a United Nations simulation and serve as representatives of some of the countries that make up the UN. They will research, debate and write resolutions on issues that affect people throughout the world.

What an amazing opportunity for these students. Hood College is honored to host such a worthwhile endeavor.

Pictured: Pavani Vyncke from Belgium and Ambika Keveley from France.


Take Us Out to the Ball Games!

It won’t be long before Blazer fans will be rooting for Hood’s newest varsity team—baseball!

Hood College President Ron Volpe announced today that the College is preparing to field its first ever baseball team, which will bring the total number of varsity athletic team offerings at Hood to 21.

President Volpe and athletic director Tom Dickman enthusiastically rolled out the new venture to a crowd of nearly 50 local leaders, College administrators and staff and media representatives during a special luncheon in the campus athletic center. Supporters dined on traditional ballpark fare—hot dogs, burgers, cheese fries, popcorn, peanuts, soft pretzels and Cracker Jacks.

Dickman said he anticipates that the first games will take place during a nontraditional fall 2014 season and continue with an NCAA Division III varsity schedule in spring 2015.

Now the search begins for the program’s head coach, who will spend the fall and spring recruiting student-athletes for the newly formed team. Soon you’ll hear the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd cheering on the latest Blazer home run batter!