25 yrs of non profit experience

Your last line  [referring to Founder’s response to Tantillo’s 3/29/07 email] email of could lead to a gem, on the difference between “insulation” and “isolation”, which apparently the Hill Maximum Powers either could not grasp (lazy) or chose not to take the time (indifferent, distracted).

I did vote for alternative Trustees last year and again this year. Hamilton is no longer in my will, the bequest a pittance compared to some alumni, but enough to endow organ upkeep in the Chapel in perpetuity.

I am CEO of 7 non-profits I have founded … with a combined bottom line of around $300 million, operating in 56 countries. Your founding documents the AHC relative to HC, especially as amended, should have been accepted, at least as I have come to understand non-profit governance models after 25 years in this business.

Ward Churchill did little to destroy my affections for Hamilton; my love affair with the Hill disappeared several years earlier. hitting bottom during G. Tobin’s presidency. Eloquent as he could be, Tobin once wrote about diversity and his goal of making Hamilton a welcoming place even for evangelical Christians.

Talk about trustees failing to hold fast to Founder’s Vision (Carver Board model)! How things have changed from when I was President of Canterbury Club (back when being an Episcopalian did not embrace gay marriages), we did a bunch of on-campus performance events to promote links between faith and the arts … and were roundly welcomed with full houses for addresses, music events and some great Charlatans work.

I am sorry to see AHC’s demise … but understand the costs of fighting such battles, including weaking your first love of academic researching and teaching. Such battles are enervating, devastating and usually overwhelming.

THANK YOU for fighting them for us.

Best from London,

Joel MacCollam ‘68
Posted on April 8, 2007 at 12:11PM by Registered Commenterhb | CommentsPost a Comment

Class of '78

Dear Peter & Ben,

Thank you for caring enough about the problems at Hamilton to run for office. I find it hard to believe that a compromise regarding the Alexander Hamilton Center could not be found. What a tremendous loss for the students! I think it might be time to hire a new president who is not a former professor. They seem to forget that the well being and growth of the institution is more important (and different) than the well being of the faculty.

Please know that your efforts to keep the administration accountable are helping (even if you don’t win the election).

My wife and I are both voting for you, and our son, who will be entering Hamilton this fall, is also rooting for you.

Greg Bunger ‘78 (ELS)

Posted on March 8, 2007 at 01:19PM by Registered Commenterhb | CommentsPost a Comment

Class of '62, '62, '57 & '82

Best of luck!

My husband Gary D. Mahood ‘62 voted for you both (Ben and Peter) as he did in the last trustees election, because he cares deeply about Hamilton, as do I, and deplores its dumbing down by the relentlessly trendy and worse. You both seem to have the best interests of the college at heart, unlike so many of the hand-picked, politically correct trustees I consider traitors to the college that nurtured them.

I was happy to read your account of Sid Wertimer; that good man personified the Hamilton we knew and valued.

Gar was Hamilton’s Chairman for Special Gifts on Long Island in the early 1990s, but resigned when the college started confiscating the fraternity houses and denying certain students the right of free assembly, while at the same time encouraging other special interest groups to room together in former fraternity houses and dorm floors.

The reality of this pernicious movement struck me when, on a 2004 visit to Hamilton, I viewed bulletin-board announcements advancing the agenda of LGBT(lesbian-gay-bisexual-transsexual) students who gathered in the former DKE house, from which the college had ejected its straight (if memory serves) population, forcing fraternity meetings off campus. Such hypocrisy.

At Hamilton today, some students are more equal under the First Amendment than others.

Gar was also disheartened by the dilution of a solid liberal arts curriculum with cobbled majors such as “Women’s Studies” — as if the Western Canon applies to men only, and women must retire in a huff from the challenges of the academic playing field. How insulting — not only to women, but also to parents who are forking over a sizeable sum in the expectation that Hamilton will turn their offspring into educated adults — and, finally, to alumni, whose own accomplishments are being cast into doubt by the adulteration of their alma mater’s credentials.

I’m standing in as family correspondent because Gar is concentrating his energy on battling a serious illness. If there is anything I can do to assist you in helping Hamilton reclaim its standards as a first-rate institution of higher learning, please let me know.

Best regards,

Jan Mahood

(spouse ‘62, cousin ‘62, parent ‘92, sister-in-law ‘57, aunt ‘82)

Posted on March 1, 2007 at 05:01PM by Registered Commenterhb | Comments Off

Class of '93

“Stewart has repeatedly rejected requests from the O-D for interviews in the months since plans for the center folded”. 

Mention of Vilsack withdrawal was posted to college site within 24 hours. Yet  no mention of the resignation of a 20 year trustee several days later. If the  college is getting advice from a p.r. firm, they should ask for their money back. “Stay silent and maybe no one will notice that you haven’t completed an academic year without a major embarrassment in the last decade” hasn’t worked as a communications strategy.

I remain convinced that significant changes are needed to get things back on track at Hamilton. Unfortunately, the resgination of a 20 year trustee with a  positive vision for Hamilton’s future isn’t going to help. I would encourage those who read this board to vote for change in the alumni trustee election,to get involved with the Alumni Council and to attend alumni meetings. The voices of a loyal opposition need to be heard.

B. McCormick commented on Founding Fatherless: Hamilton loses a great man:

Posted on February 25, 2007 at 12:07AM by Registered Commenterhb | CommentsPost a Comment

Class of '76

A bit late to this party, but wanted to thank hb for suggesting Opportunity International as a worthy organization, deserving of support (PWD’s snide reference to the article in Forbes notwithstanding). I have worked with them, and have nothing but respect for their achievements. Their efforts do far more for women, in my humble opinion, than does all the blather about race, gender, etc. coming out of college campuses these days

As a matter of fact, until Hamilton’s Board gets its act together, I think my contributions to OI will be expanded to the same extent that my monetary support for Hamilton shrinks.
February 21, 2007 at 12:33AM | Unregistered CommenterSteven Brooks
Posted on February 24, 2007 at 11:25AM by Registered Commenterhb | CommentsPost a Comment

Class of '46

Last fall I told you I would contact alumni in support of the Annual Fund Drive.
This was to happen as the campaign came to a close.
In light of recent events (Alexander Hamilton Center/Carl Menges resignation) I must rescind that offer.

Jim Judson class of 1946

Posted on February 23, 2007 at 07:44PM by Registered Commenterhb | CommentsPost a Comment

Class of '06

I am a 2006 graduate of Hamilton College and I completely support your efforts.  I experienced the deterioration of open intellectual thought at Hamilton and the disconnect between the Board and students.  Thanks for your efforts to change the way things have been recently and good luck.

Matt Colman ‘06

Posted on February 23, 2007 at 07:12PM by Registered Commenterhb | CommentsPost a Comment

Class of '52

  At the announcement of the Center, I was on cloud nine.  At its withdrawal I was sorely disappointed.  Now that I’ve had a chance to read all about the events behind the withdrawal, I am livid.  My Carissima has succombed to power politics.
    My small but loyal contributions to the Hamilton Fund have now ceased and shall remain ceased unless you come to your senses regarding the AHC.  How you can throw away the opportunity to gain national and international fame from the Center is beyond my comprehension, so say nothing about the value of an AHC on its own merits.
    I shall divert my annual gift for the college fund to the AHC wherever it becomes extant.  I still hope someone with back bone will make it be at Hamilton.
Carl Hoefer, ‘52
emailed to President’s office 
Posted on February 12, 2007 at 11:14AM by Registered Commenterhb | CommentsPost a Comment

On the demise of the AHC

I haven’t written … since Stewart capitulated to the Hamilton faculty, partly because of a heavy workload, and partly for being at a loss for words (almost unheard of for a[n]…attorney.

I’m still somewhat stunned by the administration’s roll-over. More than stunned, I’m pissed and embarrassed at Hamilton’s actions. For the first time in 28 years my Hamilton diploma is off the wall of my office. I’ve written Hamilton out of my will and trust agreement: I will write Joan Stewart a letter informing her that the $50,000 whole life policy I took out 25 years ago with Hamilton as it’s beneficiary, current cash value of nearly $100,000, is gone, cash taken out for my kids’ college funds at other institutions, and the policy beneficiary changed. A smaller, $10,000 bequethment will also be removed from my will. I have also emailed all Hamilton alums with whom I still have contact about the idiocy running amok on campus.

I don’t know what else I can do. The forces of illogic and narrow-mindedness overrunning our colleges these days, and for the past 15-20 years, is agonizing to witness. What it foretells for the future of “higher education” is not a pretty picture.

I continue to support … [the vision of AHC] and will do so in any way possible.

Thanks for your efforts on behalf of the Hamilton I knew and cherished.

Merry Christmas!

name withheld by request


Posted on December 28, 2006 at 09:40AM by Registered Commenterhb | CommentsPost a Comment

Goverance problems?

 December 4, 2006

Joan Hinde Stewart, Ph.D.

President, Hamilton College
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, New York 13323


Dear President Stewart:

I was disappointed to learn that the administration has withdrawn its support of the Alexander Hamilton Center for the Study of Western Civilization (the “Center”). From the outset, I assumed that the Center would require at least a degree of autonomy. As a scholarly undertaking, the Center has nothing to do with campus politics, but I nonetheless recognized that some faculty members might oppose the Center based simply on their own perception of politics.

Accordingly, I was encouraged to hear Dean Urgo describe the Center as an “exciting faculty initiative, one that will draw renewed attention … to … ongoing educational values.” You also correctly observed that Hamilton students would “benefit now and in future years from the [Center’s] programming and resources.”

Now, suddenly, the College has revoked its support, ostensibly for reasons of “institutional oversight.” Yet, the Center’s Director was to have been advised on programming and initiatives by an outside board of established scholars, and supervised by a nine-member board of overseers. Further, faculty demands for “oversight” of the Center are apparently of recent vintage, and have not been applied to a variety of past enterprises at Hamilton.

In its Charter, the Center explicitly committed itself to the promotion of “excellence in scholarship through the study of freedom, democracy and capitalism as these ideas were developed and institutionalized in the United States and within the larger tradition of Western culture.” It seems incongruous that such a mission could provoke controversy, especially at a liberal arts college. A scholarly enterprise as well conceived and supported as the Center would surely have enhanced Hamilton’s intellectual rigor and stature; unfortunately, the Center never had that opportunity.

Many loyal alumni were ready to contribute to the Center, and that enthusiasm would no doubt have energized support for other areas of Hamilton. Instead, this is the latest of several recent setbacks for Hamilton. Regrettably, there may well be “governance” problems on College Hill, but they do not reside with the Center.


John T. Refermat ‘91

Posted on December 6, 2006 at 09:39AM by Registered Commenterhb | CommentsPost a Comment

What a good idea...

From: Tad Travis
Sent: Monday, November 13, 2006 9:14 PM
To: Hunter Brown
Subject: The Alexander Hamilton Center and the Annual Fund

…FYI. Got an Annual Fund call this evening. Told them I’d be glad to increase my donation if a portion of it could be earmarked for the AH Center… Sophomore on the other end of the line said she hadn’t heard of the Center and neither had her boss. Curious. Said there was no talk of it on campus. Just when I was begining to doubt that she was really a Hamilton student, she did confirm that she had heard of Prof. Paquette. So I said I would make a provisional donation, dependent upon the disposition of the Center.

Please [keep] me informed on our progress.


Tad Travis ‘91


Posted here with permission.

Posted on November 14, 2006 at 12:10PM by Registered Commenterhb | CommentsPost a Comment

To the Trustees of Hamilton College and whomsoever else


4654 Turnpike Road
Delhi, New York 13753-1422

July 15, 2005

To the Trustees of Hamilton College
And whomsoever else it may concern:

Re: The state of the College

This letter is prompted by two recent communications, one of them from President Stewart and the other from Trustee William “Mac” Bristol. In her letter, President Stewart referred to “the difficult situation we encountered this year” which

Mr. Bristol described as “some very unpleasant events,” both showing themselves to be masters of understatement.

Stewart went to some length to describe the administrative actions she has taken to correct this situation. Bristol declared that the “conditions which permitted these horrors are now under tight control.” He went on to chide those of us who have withheld our contributions to the Annual Fund, declaring that “You who have not given and won’t give have delivered your message” and “have been heard.”

I am not convinced that these “unpleasant events” are merely the result of someone’s poor judgment, a lack of sufficient oversight, or both. I do not believe that they are isolated happenings the repetition of which can be prevented by an administrative fix. They are, I believe symptoms of a far deeper condition involving the very soul of the College: its having adopted a radical ideology which now functions as a de facto religious establishment.

That the College presents itself as a place of “free inquiry,” “free speech,” “free exchange of ideas” and the other standard values of classical liberalism does not mask the presence of an essentially illiberal radicalism. That radicalism is institutionally embodied in the Kirkland Project and permeates that portion of the College curriculum which used to be called “The Humanities.” So it is that notwithstanding the College’s presentation of itself as a place of free debate, the arena for that debate is badly tilted with some ideas having official preference.

For instance, the College catalogue describes the Kirkland Project as “a campus organization committed to intellectual inquiry and social justice.” However, it seems clear that “social justice” is already ideologically defined in terms of “race, gender and sexuality.” Anyone holding to a different, for instance a traditional, framework is at an immediate disadvantage. One suspects that such persons as Camille Paglia or Oriana Fallaci would be automatically ruled out as resident scholars.

It would be one thing if the Kirkland Project were simply a free association of like-minded radical students on a par with, say, Young Republicans, or any number of other political or religious groups. However, the College has seen fit to give it pre-eminence, endowing it with funding and preferred status.

To me, and I suspect, to others as well, the Kirkland Project appears to serve as a “training camp” for aspiring members of a revolutionary vanguard whose aim it is to dismantle and reconstruct Western culture and society. It is, I observe in passing, that the analytical tools employed in this undertaking are ones bequeathed by white European males. The thesis – Eurocentrism – lives on in the antithesis!

It looks very much as though the Kirkland Project is a place where students can “operationalize” what they learn theoretically in such courses as 385F, Seminar on Theory and Politics of Education, including “the formation of communities of resistance in the academy.” (Catalogue, p. 319) Look out, Hamilton! That’s a game at which any number can play. As Jonathan Edwards once observed, “A community whose law allows in advance for its own breaking, is dissolving itself.” (Quoted in America’s Theologians, p. 60)

The “race-class-gender-sexuality” formula recurs like a mantra throughout the Hamilton catalogue. I stopped counting at fifty. Only math, the “hard” sciences, and a few courses of a technical or skills-related nature seem to have escaped. In reading through the catalogue, my son exclaimed, “They want me to spend $40,000 a year so that my kids can imbibe this?”

From the time of my graduation until just a year ago I have promoted Hamilton as a place of excellence to countless young people and their parents. I have made a practice of giving my annual Hamilton Calendar to people who, I thought, might benefit from a Hamilton education and, by their presence, benefit the college as well.

No longer am I doing these things. Whether or not I resume them, along with my financial contribution, will depend on what the college does to correct its disastrous trajectory.

Sincerely yours,

Richard J. Niebanck

Class of 54

Posted on March 10, 2006 at 08:07AM by Registered Commenterhb | Comments2 Comments

An email from Gerry Sperber, '67

Date: 7/19/05 at 7:10PM 

Posted with permission:

an email to MJ Rosen, cc'd to JH Stewart, S Scott, R Tantillo, and J Hysell.................... ....

I was both surprised and disappointed to read in The Syracuse Post-Standard that Hamilton is "discouraging candidates for Trustee from the use of e-mail and web site links".  Vige Barrie's assertion that the College doesn't want "alumni to be overwhelmed by election e-mails" sounds a tad hollow to me.

I am not sure it was your intention to do so, but the rules you outline give one the impression that you are attempting to limit debate by candidates for Trustee of Hamilton College in order to tilt the election to candidates sanctioned by the Alumni Council.  If it was not your intention to limit avenues of communication, I strongly urge you to change the procedures.  It is not too late.

Many Alumni reading these restrictions will interpret them negatively.  People will ask why the college appears to fear open and unrestricted communication.  Why after touting freedom of speech is the College limiting speech for candidates to its own governing body?

Because of Hamilton's recent and unpleasant history, I submit that it would be very important to allow any alumni candidate unfettered access to the electorate and thereby a fair chance to be elected to the Board.

As it looks to the future, Hamilton needs to obtain the widest possible alumni representation.  The regulations, however, offer a definite "appearance" of bias by the College against those alumni that were not nominated by the Alumni Council.   I would think that Hamilton would want to encourage a lively debate by all voices, including dissenting ones, as they campaign for seats on its governing board. 

I do fear that these new regulations, if left to stand, will boomerang into more negative perceptions as Hamilton attempts, once again, to control damage caused by its own actions. Until the College tackles the problems that have been revealed in a fundamental way and ceases to rely on PR consultants to solve these issues, Hamilton College will continue to lack the confidence of all the alumni.  That is not a good thing.

May I suggest that there is still time for you to reconsider your decision and open up the process for the election of Trustees.

Gerry Sperber '67

Posted on July 19, 2005 at 11:16PM by Registered Commenterhb | CommentsPost a Comment

We too hope your voice will be heard

Date: 3/4/05 at 4:10PM 

here is my letter.  feel free to post.................... .................... 

Jan. 31, 2004

Dear Ms Joan Hinde-Stewart

I was very disappointed to learn about the latest controversy regarding Ward Churchill.

As you by now are quite aware many of us lost friends and acquaintances on September 11 so this issue is especially sensitive.  I have read your letter to the Hamilton community posted on the College's web-site and your response is inadequate.  It lacks rigor to simply wrap oneself in the 1st Amendment.  This is not a "free" speech issue, it is a "paid" speech issue. If Mr. Churchill is willing to pay his own airfare and visit the College to spew his hate in the middle of the Quad without remuneration he is free to do so.   For the College or any arm's length organization to pay him to do so is recklessly irresponsible.  His views are the worst kind of moral relativism and should not be tolerated in any intellectual forum.

My four years at Hamilton were the defining experience of my life. I stopped supporting the College during the Tobin era, but when Mr. Tobin was forced to leave I took the opportunity to start a new.  Your credentials were excellent and it was my personal decision to give you every benefit of the doubt in all issues including the Rosenberg controversy. The latest debacle has taught me that my support was premature.   I would like my 2004/2005 annual fund contribution returned to me,  I will not contribute to the latest capital campaign and I will not be attending my 20th Reunion in June.

Please understand that I do not take this action lightly.  In fact, it pains me to take this action against an institution I adore, but it is the only way that I can express the depth of my feelings and hope that my voice will be heard.


William Pratt '85



Posted on March 4, 2005 at 09:34PM by Registered Commenterhb | CommentsPost a Comment


Date: 2/5/05 at 2:25PM
[The following is an email sent by me on 2/1/05 to many Hamilton alums and copied to Ms. Stewart and Stuart Scott.  Also attached were copies of the both WSJ articles and excerpts from the web sites mentioned.]
-------------------- -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- -

Having lost friends, neighbors, and colleagues on 9/11 and having spent that entire day at 90 Broad Street, I confess to having well defined thoughts on the matter of Ward Churchill (see the article below). As a Hamilton alum, also I have grave concerns about the serial failures of governance that have lead Hamilton to so compromise its credibility, ethical fabric, and reputation.

First, I believe the issues of freedom of speech and academic inquiry are much abused in the matter of Churchill (and Rosenberg). No one is suggesting that Mr. Churchill does not have the right to say whatever he wishes. Hamilton, however, is not obligated to, nor should it, legitimize Mr. Churchill by lending the credibility of its good name and forum.  I believe Hamilton is not obligated to, nor should it, financially subsidize or otherwise support seditious, treasonous speech; those who advocate or practice violence not in self defense; or those who celebrate the mortality caused by an unprovoked attack on US civilians.

This is not an overly complex issue: the young boys who live on a nearby street understand it only too well. They lost their father that day.

Who at Hamilton argues that such as Susan Rosenberg and Ward Churchill are the highest & best use of the pedagogical opportunity & economic resources?  Who at Hamilton argues that the reputation of the school is undamaged?  And by what process did we get here?

Let's look at the governance and stewardship of Hamilton's good name over the last few years:

·     In 2001 visiting professor, Brigitte Boisselier, was allegedly forced to quit after it was revealed that she was a member of the Raelian cult, which evidently believes, among other things, that the human race is the result of cloning of aliens.

·     In 2002 Eugene Tobin resigned in disgrace after he allegedly admitted to plagiarism.  His severance package didn't get much publicity but maybe it should have: "This year’s (2002-2003) salary list topper, Eugene M. Tobin from Hamilton College in New York, earned $1.2 million for the 2002-2003 fiscal year, with $315,000 in salary, $827,354 in benefits and $21,059 in expenses, making him the only $1 million-plus president." I may not have the full facts here but I suspect serial plagiarism by a student would be otherwise rewarded. (<a href="/?gourl=http://www.ccchronicle.com/back_new/2004_fall/2004-11-22/campus.php?id=313" target="_blank" title="http://www.ccchronicle.com/back_new/2004_fall/2004-11-22/campus.php?id=313">http://www.ccchronic...22/campus.php?id=313</a>) 

·     In 2004 we have the Susan Rosenberg affair (SR indicted as an accessory to murder in 1981 and convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment having been caught unloading a cache of weapons--including 740 pounds of explosives--at a storage facility in Cherry Hill, N.J., in November 1984 - WSJ Dec 3 04).

·     And now Hamilton, via the Kirkland Project, contracted to pay honoraria, evidently recently waived, to Ward Churchill who lauds 'the "gallant sacrifices" of the "combat teams" that struck the Pentagon and World Trade Center, asserting that the people who worked there (“little Eichmanns…braying . . . into their cell phones") and died that day deserved what they got.' (WSJ below).

The broader issue is serial failure of administration and governance. Fundamental insults to the ethical fabric and reputational foundation of the institution are matters of fiduciary responsibility of the Trustees. They have been, it would seem, ineffective in safeguarding the institution.

I suggest it is time to demand significant changes in governance of the school to include in all likelihood significant changes to the composition of the Trustees and possibly Administration and faculty.  The cumulative insults to the credibility and ethical fabric of the institution will threaten its viability: its time for some changes.

I welcome your thoughts on how to constructively reform Hamilton. We will need some technical, legal, marketing resources as well as disciplined critical thought, and enthusiasm. We must also anticipate significant entrenched interests in opposition. 

Pending strategic reform I suggest the following:

·      withhold all funding of any contributions to the school (as initially proposed by McCormick in Kimball article WSJ 12/3/04)

·      suspend with notice any bequests which may have been made

·      alternatively, consider making the gifts contingent on certain governance standards to your satisfaction or to a revocable escrow or trusted account

·      contact your fellow alums to pass the word,

·     send your children to other, better managed, responsible schools, and

·     inform others of the problems and process of resolution

It is the hope that through this process we make a better institution and reverse some of the decay that has been so unnecessarily destructive.

For starters by cc of this email I request that Ms. Stewart provide me a copy of the By Laws of Hamilton College.

J. Hunter Brown, ‘76
20 Old Lantern Drive
Wilton, CT 06897
(o) 203 762 2065

Also in full support

Peter D. Brown, '73
8731 Sultana Dr.
Anchorage, AK  99516-2563

Posted on February 5, 2005 at 08:28PM by Registered Commenterhb | CommentsPost a Comment