Emeritus Faculty Association #110 October 2005
Friday, October 7, Javits Seminar Room, Melville Library E2340, 10.30 am.
Wolf Schafer, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Global History (CGH), will discuss the rapidly developing interdisciplinary field of Global Studies. After distinguishing Global History from the older discipline of World History, he will describe some of the Center's activities including a Berlin conference on ":The New America", which he will co-direct two weeks before our meeting. In addition, he will also discuss plans to develop an interdisciplinary Stony Brook Institute for Global Studies (SBIGS). For more about the Center and the conference, go to the CGH website: click here
Bio: Wolf Schafer came to Stony Brook in 1989. He earned a Master's degree in History and Philosophy at the University of Munich and a Doctorate in History from the University of Bremen. He also studied at the universities of Marburg, Bonn, and London (King's College). He held a number of academic appointments in West Germany from Assistant Professor to Professor, including a decade as Senior Researcher at the Max Planck Institute in Starnburg. In the 80's, he was a visiting scholar at Boston University's Center for the Philosophy and History of Science , Harvard's Center for European Studies and Department of History, and MIT's Program in Science and Technology. He is author, co-author, editor or co-editor of seven books and sixty articles or chapters on social history and history of science and technology, as well as global history.
As if to illustrate the "dynamo" metaphor, Alan began by describing the last three and a half hours of the previous day just as he was about to leave the office. First came a phone call from a person in the Chemistry Department wanting to arrange a benefit concert for an accident victim. A 40 minute conversation ensued. Then a person from the Music Department entered the office with the message that the Emerson String Quarter had offered to give a benefit concert for hurricane victims-- another extensive conversation. Then another unexpected person came through the door, this time an eager young man who wants to do a film focused on the Stony Brook campus. (Alan notes that these days no one seems to make appointments.) Finally on his way out the door Alan was stopped by his marketing director who was having problems with a new computer program, and then by another staff member with the news that a film scheduled to be shown on Saturday evening had not yet arrived. Alan then called the distributor, telling him that he would never do business with him again unless the film arrived on time for the Saturday showing. At 9:30 he left for home. (The film arrived Friday morning.) Alan began taking us Ňbehind the scenes at the Staller CenterÓ by describing the process of scheduling music, dance, and theater programs. Some music contracts may be scheduled as far as two or three years in advance, while theater programs may not be firmly scheduled until a few weeks before publication of the season brochure. Alan has had dealings with some 200-300 different agents, but there are only 25 or 30 agents which experience has shown can always be relied on to fulfill their promises, and thus with whom Alan works closely. In turn, the Staller Center has gained a reputation for reliability for its keeping commitments. Sometimes Alan works directly with the artist, an example being the violinist Midori, who will be here again this season, this time performing in the small recital hall (helped in part by a fee reduction of 20%). The relative small size of the Staller concert hall and recital hall is one of the factors that limits what the Center is able to pay visiting artists. In contrast, the Tilles Center in Nassau County not only has a larger hall but also is located in more affluent community, and thus it is able to attract artists who demand high fees. Within the financial limits, then, Alan works closely with the Music Department in selecting artists, as well as the scheduling student recitals.
Eighty percent of the CenterŐs salaries are paid for by the state, the other 20% from the other three sources of revenue. These are: box office 50%; rentals 10%; and fund raising 40%. The major expenses are $300,000 for music and other programs, $100,000 marketing, and $100,000 for printed brochures. Twenty to thirty thousand is given to the music and other university departments. This year box office receipts will cover an impressive 80% of the programsŐ costs, an achievement explained in part by new audiences that have been introduced to the Center by the film programs. A common question asked by patrons of the summer film festival, seeing the CenterŐs wall displays: "Do you do other things here other than show films?"
The summer film festival features 40 first-run movies that have been previewed by Alan and his staff, with Alan often visiting other festivals throughout the country. Since its beginnings a few years go the festival has doubled in size, requiring more and more work by the staff who, in addition to preparation, must serve as host and hostesses to the patrons. Thus the staff is pretty well exhausted just as the fall semester is about to begin. A question Alan now has to face is the fact that increasingly movies are on video, not films, thus requiring the purchase of new equipment and a change of name to "film and video festival."
By way of summary, Alan explained that he, his staff, and his advisory committees are constantly looking for ways to assure the continued vitality of the Center in its mission, which is education and entertainment for a diverse audience of students, staff, and community. The Center is not a "community arts center" but rather a center for a diverse community of students, staff, and surrounding residents, which means that programs must serve a variety of tastes. The only criterion is that whatever the presentation, it must be of the highest quality. The frequent recitals by the university's own music faculty and students assure that the audience for classical music is richly served.
A Home away from Home for Emeriti
Over the summer, space in the Melville Library has been renovated to serve as an office/lounge for emeriti. Hopefully it will eventually contain a computer terminal, coffee maker, etc. Further details will be announced at the September meeting, or keep an eye on this space.
Karl Harzell, Stony Brook's Chief Academic Officer during the interregnum of the early sixties, recently celebrated his 100th Birthday. He and his second wife divide the year between Shelter Island and Florida. Although he has given up tennis, he still plays golf!
Senior Citizen Law Day - Saturday, October 8th, 2005
Free Educational Seminars designed to assist families in senior life planning.
Assemblyman Steve Englebright, the Long Island State Veterans Home and the Suffolk County Bar Association are pleased to present Senior Citizen Law Day on Saturday, October 8th, 2005 from 9 AM to 3 PM. This special community event will take place at the Student Activities Center of Stony Brook University. Throughout the day, elder law attorneys and health care professionals will provide objective and reliable informational sessions on important topics such as: Asset Protection, Medicare Part D, Identity Theft, Wills/Trust, Selecting a Nursing Home, and many more. this special event is being offered to the public free of charge. Space for this special event is limited, therefore registration is recommended. To register, please call 751-3094.
This is the time of year when some of our members will be selling their houses and moving to other climes. Right now the housing market is in a bubble which may not last, so it is a good time. But be aware that some title search companies have added a required "Patriot Search" to their repetoire. Although this will add between $70 and $400 to your obligations at closing, surely you will be able to sleep more soundly knowing of the diligence of our title companies and that any bad guy contemplating a suicide bombing will now be limited to rentals for his (presumably temporary) accommodations.
Some of you perhaps, like us, had good friends in the area ravaged by Katrina and have not been able to make contact with them since. Our hearts and hopes go out to them. For those who would like to contribute to the recovery note that there are many swindler sites on the internet including some that are fake lookalikes of legitimate charities like the Red Cross (see for example the article in the NY Times on Thurs Sept 8:
The following two sites which monitor legitimate charities and provide correct links to them are highly recommended by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):
A Home away from Home for Emeriti, ctd
The Emeritus space on the 4th floor Melville library has by now been freshly painted and newly carpeted. It should be furnished and ready to use by our next meeting
Some of you perhaps, like us, had good friends in the area ravaged by Katrina. For those who would like to contribute to the recovery note that there are many swindler sites on the internet including some that are fake lookalikes of legitimate charities like the Red Cross (see for example the article in the NY Times on Thurs Sept 8: www.nytimes.com/2005/09/08/technology/08fraud.ready.html The following two sites monitor the efficiencies of legitimate charities and provide correct links to them: charity navigator network for good charitf = "http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm/bay/content.view/catid/68/cpid/310.htm"> /html>>= "http://www.networkforgood.org/topics/animal_environ/hurricanes/">network for good