On Wisconsin http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com For UW-Madison Alumni and Friends Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:31:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Badger Sports Ticker: Fall 2014 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/departments/sports/badger-sports-ticker-fall-2014/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=badger-sports-ticker-fall-2014 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/departments/sports/badger-sports-ticker-fall-2014/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 14:29:37 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=12961
  • With an average of 17,104 fans packing the Kohl Center per game, the UW ranked second highest in home attendance among Big Ten men’s basketball teams last season. Indiana University came in first.
  • When the Southeast Recreational Facility (SERF) is renovated, it will include a new swimming pool for competition. The 50-meter pool — with a diving tower and well, and surrounded by some 1,500 seats for spectators — will open in 2019. The facility will be able to host Badger swimming and diving events, as well as high school meets.
  • Some 107 Badger athletes qualified for Academic All-Big Ten honors during spring term. The women’s track and field team led the way with 32 honorees. Women’s rowing came in second with 17.
  • In June, the UW’s La Bahn Arena hosted the first Blake Geoffrion Hockey Classic. Geoffrion is the only Badger ever to win the Hobey Baker Award, collegiate ice hockey’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. He helped organize the event — a charity game featuring former Wisconsin players — to raise funds for the university’s Health Burn Center.
  • In May, the UW’s athletic department joined in the nationwide You Can Play project, which is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect, and safety for all athletes, regardless of sexual orientation. The department produced a video that features several student-athletes and coaches expressing their support for athletes. It can be seen at www.youtube.com/user/WisconsinAthletics.
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    Fulsome Prison Blues http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/fulsome-prison-blues/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fulsome-prison-blues http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/fulsome-prison-blues/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 04:08:51 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=12558 Goffman_Alice_-final

    Alice Goffman spent six years living in a poor Philadelphia neighborhood among young black men who were dodging the law. The experience cemented her doctorate, formed the basis for a book, and has made her a prominent voice in the discussion of incarceration in America.

    Now entering her third year on the UW’s sociology faculty, Alice Goffman is a sudden — and surprised — celebrity. When she was an undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania, she began a senior thesis project: an ethnographic study of young black men in a neighborhood she called “Sixth Street,” a poor area in Philadelphia where a majority of teenage and twenty-something males were either incarcerated, on probation or parole, or facing an outstanding warrant. That project grew into the basis for her doctoral dissertation and then into a book, On the Run, published by the University of Chicago Press this year.

    A close examination of a small group of families and friends, On the Run sheds light on the effects of America’s war on drugs and war on crime. Currently, one of every 107 adult Americans is in jail or prison — some 2.2 million people. Another 4.8 million are on probation or parole. This rate of incarceration has hit African-Americans especially hard, and about 60 percent of black men who don’t finish high school will spend time in prison before they reach their mid-thirties.

    Goffman’s book has established her as a leading voice on the issue of police and corrections policy. It’s led to speaking tours and the opportunity to write editorials for the New York Times. It will be published in paperback this coming spring.

    Here, Goffman shares her thoughts on crime, justice, and life as an urban ethnographer.

    Why On the Run Matters

    The urban ethnography I was reading as an undergrad, as a grad student — in those accounts, the police were a non- presence. They were corrupt, and they were racist, and they were not great, but there were only a couple of them, and they had a very laissez-faire attitude toward people of color. That’s a totally different world from what I saw in Philadelphia.

    By the 2000s, you get the neighborhood that I was in. Police cameras had been placed on the major streets. I saw the police stop people, make arrests, run through houses, pressure girlfriends and others to provide information, question people in the street, stop and search people, run people’s names for warrants — almost every day, with a few exceptions, in the first couple of years of fieldwork. We need to know what was happening in poor communities of color in the wake of the massive intervention of the criminal justice apparatus into everyday life.

    On Celebrity

    I’ve been surprised by the level of interest from people outside of sociology, and I think it’s a reflection of the times and this little moment where people are angry about inequality in general.

    I was always really clear [with the people of Sixth Street] that the book would not be a commercial success and that only sociologists would read it. It would be completely impenetrable to everybody else — an academic book. Probably no one would even buy the book. I didn’t even think sociologists would read it, because I’ve been talking about the project for so long, I assumed everybody knew about this material already and wouldn’t need to buy the book. I’m kind of in shock at the level of interest. So there’s been this learning curve of trying to figure out how to talk about the book to people outside the field.

    I’ve learned that with reporters, there’s no backstage. I’m being incredibly cautious. I’ve now seen a number of articles come out where I’m just like, “Oh, God, that was just something I said, not to be in the article.”

    On Writing

    [The quality of the narrative] was partly due to Reggie [one of her subjects] telling me that I was making his life boring. He would read sections of the book and say, “My life is really interesting, Alice. How can you make it so boring on the page? You really have a talent for making things boring.” And I’d say, “Oh, it’s an academic book. We use all these terms and big words.” But he was right. He was totally right. I remember doing a lot of editing based on that comment: “Please don’t make my life so boring.”

    On Anonymity

    It’s so funny, all these concerns you have when you’re an author writing about people who are living on the wrong side of the law. Your first concern is, “Please let no further arrests or days in prison come down on the people that are in this book because I have written it.” That’s your first concern. Could it be used against them in a court of law? So I’ve destroyed the field notes. I’d written over a thousand pages. It’s not like I was going to write another book about this, right?

    A secondary concern is that people go on and have lives that are very different from the ones they lead in their twenties. Any one of us, if there was a book about what we did in our twenties, we would be totally embarrassed by the things that we say and do. Mike [one of her subjects] is now working at a warehouse, a totally legal job, and does not want to be associated with this world at all. He remembers his twenties as this fateful and crazy time. But he’s at a very different place in his life now.


    On Reactions from the General Public

    One question [people ask is], “But these guys are breaking the law — they’re all breaking the law. Don’t they deserve what they get?” We tend to think about justice in a very narrow way. We think about innocence versus guilt. We think about victims versus perpetrators. I think we need to think more broadly about justice. [For example,] justice in access to legal jobs: in a community where young men try twenty, fifty, a hundred times to get a low-level part-time job and get denied — and then who work in the drug trade rather than live off their female relatives, who are also poor — what does guilt mean?

    On Racial Disparity

    The guys I went to college with — white men, many of them from very upper-middle-class backgrounds — they were doing tons of drugs in their frat parties. And there’s rape on college campuses, as we’re hearing more and more lately. There’s drunk driving. There are fights. But none of those guys were charged with aggravated assault or rape or possession of narcotics or selling narcotics or drunk driving. They didn’t emerge from college with felony convictions. And they’re just a few blocks away from the people I was writing about in Philadelphia. There are people I know at this university who are using drugs. I think it would be very unlikely that they would be arrested.

    Black and White

    I’m very grateful to be part of the conversation [about racial disparity]. I’m also cognizant that — Michelle Alexander [author of The New Jim Crow ] and her work notwithstanding — many scholars of color have been writing about these issues for a long time and have not gotten the same level of recognition that a white woman gets, talking about the same things. So I have an ambivalence about that.

    About Wisconsin

    Wisconsin is this hallowed place to do sociology. Wisconsin’s the top department in the country. I’m shocked that they hired me. I still don’t feel good enough. Every day I walk through the halls, and I can’t believe that I’m here. It’s just a great place to be a young sociologist. [The department is] extremely nurturing and serious, and the training here for graduate students is very serious. The reason I knew this was a really great place was Mitch Duneier, my adviser [in graduate school at Princeton] — he had been an assistant professor here. And he had always said that this is the best place to be an assistant professor in the discipline. And Devah Pager [PhD’02] was a grad student there, and she also said this was the best place to be. It was really on the strength of their advice that I came.

    A Sad Day

    There are a couple of people who are not in [the book] because they died. They died too early in the writing, so they never got included as core characters. At a funeral [in Sixth Street], the only pictures you have to put in a program are the pictures you took at the last funeral. You know, you need pictures of a person’s life to put in a funeral program — pictures of the person who died. And where do those pictures come from? They come from pictures of that person from other funerals. The day that I realized that was a sad day.


    It’s been exciting to be in this moment of reform. I really feel like, just in the past few years, we’ve really seen big changes in the way people are thinking about incarceration and policing. And we’ve seen modest decreases in incarceration across the country for the past four years — very small, and not in every state, but after forty years of growth, it’s very encouraging.

    There’s been some really interesting movement from criminal justice professionals, from the Department of Justice, from states, from police chiefs and corrections officers across the country that are really interested in reform and who think there are too many people in prison — it’s too costly.

    I don’t want to be too optimistic, but I am optimistic compared to where we were two years ago, when we thought there was never going to be any political movement here. n

    Interview conducted, edited, and condensed by John Allen, senior editor of On Wisconsin.

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    Bookshelf: Fall 2014 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/departments/bookshelf/bookshelf-fall-2014/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bookshelf-fall-2014 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/departments/bookshelf/bookshelf-fall-2014/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 04:08:50 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=12702 OnWisc_book

    With forewords by Sidney Poitier and Elmore Leonard, you know that I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History (University of Wisconsin Press) by Walter Mirisch ’42 is going to be quite a read. If you’re a movie buff — and even if you aren’t — you know Mirisch’s work. His company has produced some of the film world’s most enduring classics, including West Side Story, The Apartment, Some Like It Hot, In the Heat of the Night, The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Pink Panther, Fiddler on the Roof, Irma La Douce, and so many others. That work has led to eighty-seven Academy Award nominations, twenty-eight Oscars, and numerous other major industry awards. In Mirisch’s moving, candid, star-filled memoir — illustrated with rare photos from his personal collection — he tells a lifetime’s worth of astounding stories about how movies get made and shares his hard-won insight with gentle humor.


    Right from the start, you have to love a book called Some Dead Genius (Niaux-Noir Books). And then you love the cover. And then you love the wit of the author, Lenny Kleinfeld ’69 of Los Angeles, who calls this sequel to his work Shooters and Chasers a “(very) black comedy crime fiction.” He’s been raking in the kudos for his funny, thrilling, and well-crafted mystery, which follows two Chicago homicide detectives as they investigate the murder of a famous painter and unearth a seven-year-long trail of very talented corpses. Kleinfeld began his career as a playwright and columnist, and his work has appeared in many national publications. (And, he’s married to National Public Radio correspondent Ina Jaffe ’72. NPR fans, swoon now!)

    teaching students to write

    Even — or perhaps especially — in our increasingly digital world, writing is important, and teaching young people to write well is crucial. Randy Hanson ’71 of DeForest, Wisconsin, addresses this in Teaching Students to Write and Think Well: Strategies for Using Writing as a Tool for Teaching in All Curricular Areas (CreateSpace). He provides a big-picture view of how writing produces better thinkers, practical strategies for nurturing good writers, research-based explanations of why these strategies work, and ideas for offering efficient, quality feedback to writers.


    Take flight through the solar system with the Cheshire cat moon and all of his cosmic friends in the whimsical The Cheshire Cat Moon — a blend of rich vocabulary, charming illustrations, science, and fun by author BJ (Elizabeth) Ermenc ’75 of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Milwaukee’s HenschelHAUS Publishing, founded by Kira Henschel ’77, published the work in collaboration with Ermenc’s firm, Castle Course.


    Jack Hart PhD’75 has a long list of accomplishments and awards as a writing coach, university professor, former managing editor of the Oregonian, and nonfiction author. It’s his third book, a fiction work called Skookum Summer: A Novel of the Pacific Northwest (University of Washington Press), that’s come to our attention now. The work is set in 1981, when a dejected prodigal son returns to a dying, Washington-state mill town that’s “beset by meth and murder.” Hart is pleased to live in a more uplifting place — on an island near Gig Harbor, Washington.


    Stuart Rojstaczer ’77’s comic and bittersweet debut novel, The Mathematician’s Shiva (Penguin Books), begins with the death of a UW professor who’s a famous, Polish émigré mathematician. Her family wants to grieve in peace, but a ragtag group of mathematicians crashes her shiva — the formal mourning period observed in Judaism — looking for clues to the deceased’s rumored solution to a famous math problem. The result, says the author, is “delightful chaos,” as well as a fresh take on the tensions among generations that inhabit most families. Rojstaczer — a consultant on water issues and a former Duke University professor of geophysics — lives in Stanford, California, but most of his novel takes place in Madison.


    Ann Wertz Garvin MS’90, PhD’97 has been teaching about health and nutrition as a UW-Whitewater professor and publishing in the area of exercise and mental health since graduation. Then she started writing fiction, won accolades for it, and became a creative-writing instructor in the MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University as well. Berkley Penguin published her first book, On Maggie’s Watch, in 2010, and now it’s published The Dog Year, which author Jacquelyn Mitchard sums up as “the story of a woman who had everything, lost everything, and now wants to shoplift the rest. … It is hilarious, until it’s poignant, until it’s heartbreaking.”


    Looking at a photo of For the Love of Letterpress: A Printing Handbook for Instructors & Students (Bloomsbury) makes lovers of paper want to run their fingers across its subtly textured cover and find out what delights dwell inside — and there are many. The book blends beautiful, innovative, and carefully selected images of letterpress printing with easy how-tos. It’s the work of Martha Chiplis MFA’91 and Cathie Ruggie Saunders MA’75, MFA’76, who make it clear why a fifteenth-century printing technology still appeals to a twenty-first-century digital society. Chiplis lives in Berwyn, Illinois. Saunders, of River Forest, Illinois, is the proprietor of The Hosanna Press. Both authors teach at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


    Recent events in war-torn Syria have inspired Lilas Taha MS’92 of Sugar Land, Texas, to write Shadows of Damascus (Soul Mate Publishing), which centers on the promise that an American soldier serving in Iraq makes to a Syrian man who saves his life in battle. What transpires unexpectedly five years later involves more danger, intrigue, emotional upheaval, and hidden love. Lilas was born in Kuwait, has deep roots in the Middle East, and says that she received exceptional support from the UW community when she was a student.


    The intense but redemptive book In Warm Blood: Prison and Privilege, Hurt and Heart (HenschelHAUS Publishing) is based on letters written by and to Judith Gwinn Adrian PhD’93, a professor at Madison’s Edgewood College, and DarRen Morris, the fourteenth of eighteen children who was born into poverty with a hearing disability and mental illness, and who is serving a one-hundred-year prison term. His story is interwoven with that of Adrian’s father, who was born to a wealthy family, and who served only three months of his fifteen-year prison sentence. Says one reviewer, “It plumbs the depths, even with brave humor, of our correctional system and all the … unrealized potential that results from our blindness and numbness and disinterest in knowing.”


    Wisconsin’s first public school teacher was a Stockbridge Indian who taught white children and the youth of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians in a log building near present-day Kaukauna in 1828. (Imagine the state at that pioneering time!) Her story comes alive in Karyn Kandler Saemann ’93’s Electa Quinney: Stockbridge Teacher (Wisconsin Historical Society Press), and UW-Milwaukee’s Electa Quinney Institute for American Indian Education honors her today. Saemann is a freelance writer, editor, and reviewer. She and her spouse, Eric Saemann ’92, are enrolled members of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and live in Deerfield.


    Scott Helman ’97 and Jenna Russell are both Boston Globe reporters, making them the ideal co-authors to write a story you already know — that of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing — but in a fresh, comprehensive way. Long Mile Home: Boston under Attack, the City’s Courageous Recovery, and the Epic Hunt for Justice (Dutton Adult) chronicles the lives of five people who were caught up in the attack and provides a behind-the-scenes look at the major American city, public officials, everyday people, distance-running community, and perpetrators who were affected by the bombing and its aftermath.


    Madisonian Forrest Aguirre MA’99’s award-winning short fiction has appeared in more than sixty magazines and anthologies, and now he’s published his first novel, Heraclix and Pomp: A Novel of the Fabricated and the Fey (Underland Press). In this fantastic tale, Heraclix was dead but has now been reanimated, and Pomp was nearly murdered by an evil necromancer but is now immortal. As the pair travel through Europe (with a side trip to hell), they struggle to understand who and what they now are, and they run into that necromancer once again — this time seeking his own immortality.


    From the founders of the food website The Heavy Table comes Lake Superior Flavors: A Field Guide to Food and Drink along the Circle Tour (University of Minnesota Press), a “celebration of food culture around the shores of the greatest of the Great Lakes.” Author James Norton ’99 and photographer Becca (Rebecca) Dilley ’02 hit the high-traffic tourist spots and cultural institutions, as well as the lesser-known gems and farmers’ markets; meet food producers and artisans; explore the culinary history and current food culture of four distinct regions; and even try foraging from the land and lake.


    If you love reading about plucky characters, redemption, healing, second chances, and the transformative power of sisterhood, then Susan Gloss JD’04’s debut novel, Vintage (William Morrow) just may be the one you recommend as the next read for your book club. Centered on a fictional vintage-clothing shop in Madison, three women who are experiencing their own brands of pain inhabit, transform, and rescue the store — and each other. Gloss is a Madison attorney, a blogger at GlossingOverIt.com, and the proprietor of her own vintage shop on Etsy called Cleverly Curated.


    Emma Straub MFA’08 has been raking in rave reviews as a rising literary star, and her latest book has only added to the buzz that surrounds her first works, Other People We Married and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures. That latest is The Vacationers (Riverhead Books), “a deftly observed novel about the secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of a family’s two-week stay in Mallorca, Spain.” Straub, of Brooklyn, New York, has published fiction and nonfiction in prominent publications and is a staff writer for Rookie, an online publication for teenaged girls.

    it can happen here“A successful, right-wing revolution has never happened in America,” writes New Yorker Claire Sacks Sprague ’46, MA’47, PhD’55, “but it does happen in three daring fictions. Call them speculative, counter factual, or just plain ahistorical,” these novels are the subject of her most recent book, It Can Happen Here: Jack London, Sinclair Lewis, Philip Roth (CreateSpace) — works that “share an unsettling vision of malignant realities beneath American democratic rhetoric.” Now a professor emerita of English at Brooklyn College, CUNY, Sprague has also taught at Reed College, NYU, and elsewhere, and she has published on writers as diverse as Doris Lessing and Van Wyck Brooks. For many years, Sprague produced a radio program in Provincetown, Massachusetts, on gender issues.

    ThurstonianClinical psychologist John Thurston ’49, MA’50 taught psychology at UW-Eau Claire for thirty years and completed considerable longitudinal research in nursing education and juvenile delinquency during that time. He retired in 1986 as a professor emeritus, has traveled extensively, and began recreational writing in 1990. His latest work — of many — is The Thurstonian Theory (Dog Ear Publishing), in which he asserts that chance deserves equal billing with nature and nurture as major determinants of human behavior; it’s impossible to fully understand oneself; the notions of choice, personal responsibility, and control over one’s conduct are illusions; and more.

    lines-pulled from createspace.com:3811172“I taught high school English until four years ago,” writes Marlene Arbetter Mitchel ’53 of Wilmette, Illinois, “and now in my retirement, I discovered that I am a poet! … I feel like I am in a second life!” Her book of poems, called Lines (CreateSpace), is the latest in a series of writing experiences that began early: upon entering the UW in 1949, Mitchel was among the first students to participate in a new major called home economics and journalism, and she was also a staffer for the Daily Cardinal and the Ag Journal.

    One reviewer has called Gordon Grigsby MA’54, PhD’60 an “essential Mid-Western poet, a hard-scrabbled farmer of words, a steel-worker tending to the furnaces of an imagination that flares in darkness” — essence that runs throughout Grigsby’s third book of poetry, Dawn Night Fall. His house on a river in Mount Air, Ohio, serves as his portal to the natural world, history, travel, and complex human experiences. The managing editor at Evening Street Press, which published the work, is Barbara Bergmann ’66, PhD’73 of Columbus, Ohio.

    walking corpsesInformed by recent bioarchaeological research, Walking Corpses: Leprosy in Byzantium and the Medieval West (Cornell University Press) offers the first account of medieval leprosy that integrates the history of East and West, challenges a number of misconceptions and myths about medieval attitudes, and includes three key Greek texts regarding what is today known as Hansen’s disease, one of which had never been translated into English before. Co-author John Nesbitt MA’62, PhD’73 has retired as a research fellow at Dumbarton Oaks and lives in Washington, D.C.

    Return to VenjanMary Johnson Corcoran MS’66 and her cousin Luana Vaupotic have written Return to Venjan: The Search for Our Swedish Roots (Lulu). It tells the story of their ancestors in Sweden, details Corcoran’s trip to Sweden’s Venjan parish in 2007 to participate in its four-hundredth anniversary and to learn more about her heritage, and offers a detailed genealogy, which earned the book a review in Swedish American Genealogist.

    Slavery, Race, and Conquest in the Tropics: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Future of Latin America (Cambridge University Press) by Robert May MA’66, PhD’69 was recognized as one of six finalists — out of 114 entries — for the 2014 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize and was honored at an April ceremony that also honored Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. May’s work challenges the way in which historians interpret the causes of the American Civil War, suggesting the possibility that the expansion of slavery southward toward Latin America and the Caribbean — rather than westward — provoked passionate controversy. May is a history professor at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

    Blood HonorTwo new e-books, published by Perfect Bound Marketing, are the work of Dianne Post ’69, JD’78. Blood & Honor: A Mother’s Heritage, A Daughter’s Revenge, set in Wisconsin, depicts how “three generations of women battle prejudice and war in their own way and ultimately show what a family is made of.” And Twisted Justice: Victim or Perpetrator? tells what happens when “a miscarriage of justice turns the tables on the perpetrator with an unexpected intertwining of lives, reality, and freedom.” Post has focused her career as an attorney on eradicating the inequality of women and now writes fictional narratives about women.

    mau mau's childrenIn Mau Mau’s Children: The Making of Kenya’s Postcolonial Elite (University of Wisconsin Press), David Sandgren MA’69, PhD’76 reconnects with the students he taught in 1963 in a rural Kenyan school for boys and provides a collective biography of the nation’s first postcolonial elite, stretching from their childhood in the 1940s to the peak of their careers in the 1990s. His interviews reveal the trauma of growing up during the Mau Mau Rebellion, the nature of Kenyan nationalism, generational conflicts, and more. Sandgren is a professor of history at Concordia College-Moorhead in Minnesota.

    the sabermetric revolutionIn case you’re a little unclear on the definition of sabermetrics, it’s the term for the empirical analysis of baseball — especially the statistics that measure in-game activity. In The Sabermetric Revolution: Assessing the Growth of Analytics in Baseball (University of Pennsylvania Press), co-author Andrew Zimbalist ’69 traces the rapid growth of sabermetrics, explores how much of it is fad and fact, and offers an accessible primer on the real math behind “moneyball.” Zimbalist is the Woods Professor of Economics at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts; a media commentator; a sports-industry consultant and economist; and was the subject of a Spring 2013 On Wisconsin feature story.

    TennisIf tennis is your racket, Terry Geurkink ’70, MD’78 has a book for you: Tennis Training Games and Tips for Ambitious Coaches, Players, and Parents (Sugar River Press). That title sums up the book, but not the author: he’s a semi-retired emergency-medicine physician and a long-time high school tennis coach who lives in Belleville, Wisconsin.

    9781491723067_COVER.inddWhat do Mormons believe? Warren Mueller ’73, MS’75 explores this question and many more in Truth Seeker: Mormon Scriptures & the Bible: An Interpretation of Another Testament of Jesus Christ (iUniverse) by providing insights into the denomination and how it compares to and contrasts with other belief systems. In addition to writing, Mueller, of Edwardsville, Illinois, manages a group of environmental scientists and engineers at a utility company.

    language contact in the early colonial pacificLinguists, social scientists, and historians of Oceania may find much to interest them in Language Contact in the Early Colonial Pacific: Maritime Polynesian Pidgin before Pidgin English (Cambridge University Press), a historical-sociolinguistic study by Emanuel Drechsel MA’74, MA’76, PhD’79. He’s a senior faculty member of interdisciplinary studies at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

    eat smart in denmarkThe co-author of a new culinary guide to Danish cuisine is Carol “Orange” Ehrlich Schroeder MA’74 — a familiar name to Madtown locals who have visited Orange Street Imports, a gift and gourmet shop on Monroe Street that Schroeder has owned for several decades with her husband. Her work, Eat Smart in Denmark, is the latest edition of the Eat Smart guides, published by Joan Baier Peterson ’61, MS’72, PhD’75 and her Madison-based Ginkgo Press. Researching the book allowed Schroeder to travel to Denmark with her daughter, Katrina, to explore the past and present of Danish edibles.

    motivating and retaining online studentsWith online learning now operating as a formidable force in the educational system, the third book that Rosemary Freeman Lehman MA’77, PhD’91 and Simone Conceição PhD’01 have co-authored comes at an excellent time. Motivating and Retaining Online Students: Research-Based Strategies that Work (Jossey-Bass Publishers) addresses the high dropout rate associated with online learning, provides strategies to reduce it, supports faculty as they design new strategies, and allows for student diversity and learner differences. Lehman was a lead instructional designer for the UW-Extension for more than two decades and is now an online instructor and partner in eInterface. Conceição is a UW-Milwaukee professor of education and the coordinator of its Adult and Continuing Education Leadership program.

    desperate measuresWhen a wormhole opens up on the outskirts of the Terran solar system, the local security council wishes to explore it, fortify itself against a possible alien invasion, and, ultimately, deal with the blob-like natives that they do find there in Kathleen Nelson ’81’s fifth novel, the sci-fi Desperate Measures (Dragon Moon Press). Nelson, of Santa Clara, California, has also written The Human Thing, Daughter of Dragons, The Dragon Reborn, and Fish Stories.

    judgment of the eldersIf you’re “a noble fae and knight of Whiteleaf,” as the main character in Gregg Schwartzkopf MA’81’s fantasy book Judgment of the Elders (Smashwords) is, here’s some advice: do not go sneaking into the Realm of Mortals to party with the humans. That’s because when you’re found out, the Elder Council will turn you into a teenage girl who goes to a Catholic school in Long Island, New York. As the author says, “Complications ensue.” Schwartzkopf, of Brooklyn, New York, is a vocational rehabilitation specialist for an insurance company.

    kashiTerin Tashi Miller ’84 of Maplewood, New Jersey, has been a prolific writer throughout his globetrotting life, with his “Hemingwayesque” work appearing in guidebooks, international magazines, and prominent newspapers. He published two novels in 2013 — a novel set in India called Kashi (Author’s Empire India) and a Texas thriller called Sympathy for the Devil (White & MacLean), which earned an Honorable Mention at the 2014 Great Southwest Book Festival — and you should expect quite a few more in the near future. When he’s not writing, Miller is a high achiever in other ways: in 2012, he earned certification as a fourth-degree black-belt master instructor from the World Taekwondo Federation.

    luciferin at duskOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATwo recent paranormal suspense e-book novels have come from the mind of Deborah Ellis ’92, who writes as D.R. Ellis. Luciferin ~ At Dusk follows a woman, her nephew, and his dog as their summer sojourn in the country is marked by a shocking discovery, disturbing visits from both the living and the dead, and evil lurking in the background. Ellis’s Residents at Silver Maple Sanitarium finds a couple purchasing a shuttered, rural-Wisconsin hospital that’s alive with ghosts. The psychic female owner and others become pawns in a supernatural drama and victims of a former patient who begins a brutal psychic attack. According to reader reviews, Ellis, of Morriston, Florida, produces some really scary stuff.

    south korea's riseIn South Korea’s Rise: Economic Development, Power, and Foreign Relations (Cambridge University Press), Terence Roehrig PhD’95 proposes a new theoretical framework to understand how South Korea’s phenomenal ascent and increase in economic prosperity can bring about changes in foreign policy. He’s a professor of national security affairs and the director of the Asia-Pacific Studies Group at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

    out of the pocketBlythe Boge Stanfel ’96’s novel, Out of the Pocket (Library Tales Publishing), is a young-adult work of historical fiction that presents the Iraq War through the eyes of a high school football player, Mercer, whose father is an army major stationed in Iraq. Readers who have parents away at war will relate to the main character, but they can also view war through the typical Iraqi teenager who corresponds with Mercer as his father’s translator. Stanfel, a university instructor who lives in Clive, Iowa, loves to bring literature and writing to life for her students.

    william james, sciences of mind, and anti-imperial discoursea guide to building education partnershipsTwo alumni/faculty authors in the UW’s School of Education have published recent works. Bernadette Baker PhD’97, a faculty member in curriculum and instruction, has written William James, Sciences of Mind, and Anti-Imperial Discourse (Cambridge University Press), which has earned an American Educational Research Association Outstanding Book Award for Curriculum History. And, Matt Hora PhD’12, an assistant scientist at the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research, has co-authored A Guide to Building Education Partnerships: Navigating Diverse Cultural Contexts to Turn Challenge into Promise (Stylus Publishing).

    nation of outlaws, state of violenceMeredith Terretta MA’00, PhD’04 has written the first extensive history to consider the global and local influences that shaped nationalism within the French and British Cameroons and beyond. Called Nation of Outlaws, State of Violence: Nationalism, Grassfields Tradition, and State-Building in Cameroon (Ohio University Press), it traces the connection between local and transregional politics in the age of Africa’s decolonization and the early decades of the Cold War. Terretta is an associate professor of history at the University of Ottawa.

    the german prosecution service copyDo the members of the German prosecution service — acclaimed as “the most objective prosecutors in the world” — provide an antidote to American prosecutors’ conviction mentality? Has the introduction of charge bargaining opened the door to subjectivity on their part? These are among the questions that Shawn Marie Boyne MA’02, PhD’07 explores in The German Prosecution Service: Guardians of the Law? (Springer), which takes readers behind closed doors, where prosecutors discuss case decisions and unveil the realities of their practice. Boyne is a professor of law and chair of the Global Crisis Leadership Forum at Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.

    UnspeakableRoughly 1.7 million people died in Cambodia from disease, starvation, and execution during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of fewer than four years during the late 1970s. The regime’s brutality has come to be symbolized by the heartbreaking mug shots of prisoners taken at the Tuol Sleng prison. In Archiving the Unspeakable: Silence, Memory, and the Photographic Record in Cambodia (University of Wisconsin Press), Michelle Caswell PhD’12 traces these photographic records through the lens of archival studies, detailing how they’ve become “agents of silence and witnessing, human rights, and injustice.” Caswell is an assistant professor of archival studies at UCLA and an affiliated faculty member with its Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

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    Badger Sports Greats http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/badger-sports-greats/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=badger-sports-greats http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/badger-sports-greats/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 04:08:50 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=12677 A senior librarian at UW-Madison, Raymond Hamel MA’85 is also a puzzle and trivia master. He’s had more than 2,300 crosswords published. To find the answers, click the puzzle graphic. Download a PDF of the puzzle and its solution here.


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    Potomac Fever http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/departments/letters/potomac-fever/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=potomac-fever http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/departments/letters/potomac-fever/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 04:08:50 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=12660 My daughter participated in the [Washington D.C. Semester in International Affairs] program last year, resulting in her catching “Potomac fever” [Classroom, Summer 2014]. She has since graduated, packed her bags, and moved to D.C., and is now in search of employment to pursue her dream of making a difference.

    John LaTour

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    Note-Worthy http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/departments/news_notes/note-worthy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=note-worthy http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/departments/news_notes/note-worthy/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 04:08:50 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=12630 Early_Music_Fest14_9036

    Now in its fifteenth year, the Madison Early Music Festival teaches participants to party like their ancestors did in the fifteenth century. Photo: Bryce Richter.

    Festival attendees get a Handel on historical music.

    Dulcians, Dante, and dancing masters are the makings for a day at court in medieval Italy — or a summer afternoon at the UW Humanities building.

    In July, the Madison Early Music Festival celebrated its fifteenth anniversary with a week of events dedicated to influences on Italian music from 1300 to 1600. Early music is defined more or less as music performed before 1750, but the festival focuses on a different composer, region, or theme each year. It’s distinct from other national early-music events in that it balances concert performances with a range of educational components.

    The program was launched in 2000 after Chelcy Bowles, a professor of music and director of continuing education, discovered a shared passion for early music with fellow music professor Paul Rowe and continuing studies lecturer Cheryl Bensman-Rowe. Bowles, who is also a historical harpist, became the festival’s director, and Rowe and Bensman-Rowe serve as co-artistic directors.

    Participants learn how to play historical instruments — such as the harpsichord, lute, sackbut, and viola da gamba — in workshops with world-renowned musicians. They also attend lectures by scholars who specialize in the political, geographical, social, and cultural contexts of the period, and special events, which this year included a Renaissance costume ball and a Handel aria competition.

    “We really want people to not only enjoy historically informed performance as an audience member, but to understand where it came from and be able to take it and teach others,” Bowles says.

    Early music has grown in popularity in recent years. The field offers a challenge for those attempting to re-create songs composed before the era of standardized notation and played on instruments that are often difficult to keep in tune.

    “A lot of [early] music is quite improvisational within a style, just like jazz, though I would say there are probably fewer rules than with jazz,” Bowles says. “The music could go absolutely anywhere. It’s fascinating because it’s unpredictable.”

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    Wish you were here … http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/departments/scene/wish-you-were-here/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wish-you-were-here http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/departments/scene/wish-you-were-here/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 04:08:50 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=12603 Terrace_sunset14_4577_18L

    Union Terrace, June 14, 2014, 9 p.m.

    71 degrees

    Wish you were here.

    Photo by Jeff Miller

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    Student Football Tickets http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/departments/traditions/student-football-tickets/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=student-football-tickets http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/departments/traditions/student-football-tickets/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 04:08:50 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=12592 tix

    Courtesy of UW-Madison Archives

    Long before Badger football season gets underway — during a few tense hours in June — certain lucky students make the equivalent of a touchdown pass by securing season-ticket packages.

    Others are destined to be on the outside of Camp Randall, looking in.

    Just ask Valerie Grayson x’15, who thrice failed to get her hands on tickets. The first year, 2010, she was oblivious to the fleeting timetable, with tickets selling out within thirty-six minutes. The second year, Grayson armed herself with two computers at 7:30 a.m. — when sales began — but overflow demand prevented her from being redirected through the dreaded “please wait” web page in time. The third year, she trekked to Union South, where she could secure top-notch Wi-Fi and spy on competitors. The result was familiar. And she cried.

    Grayson finally secured her place within the fourteen-thousand-seat student section in year four. “I was so excited. I started listening to ‘Jump Around,’ ” she says.

    June hasn’t always been the signature month for student football enthusiasts. Carrianne Basler ’91 remembers recruiting friends from her residence hall to purchase tickets in person during registration week in August 1986. The demand was far less, but the atmosphere of the games was still a draw. “You knew the team was awful,” she says, “but you went because it was fun.”

    The process for obtaining student tickets has gone through many changes in the past two decades. Following the 1993 crowd-surge incident at Camp Randall, the UW temporarily switched from general admission to reserved student seating. In 2005, a voucher-exchange program was moved from midweek — when some students skipped classes and camped out to land the best tickets — to game days. In 2008, the UW briefly experimented with a weighted lottery system, in which seniors had four times the chance of getting tickets as incoming freshmen. Now, students of all class standings race online to purchase a seven-game voucher package and then exchange the vouchers for tickets in any of the six reserved student sections each game day.

    Another change? The price. Students now pay $168 (plus a $20 processing fee) for the package. In 1957, the UW raised the price of the Student Athletic Activity Handbook — which allowed access to football games and all other Division of Intercollegiate Athletics events — from $8.50 to $9.00.

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    Behind the Screens http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/behind-the-screens/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=behind-the-screens http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/behind-the-screens/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 04:08:50 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=12578 opener-art

    istock. Photo illustration: Earl Madden.

    What did it take to launch a massive open online course? An energetic professor, technical expertise, and hours upon hours of raw video footage.

    UW–Madison anthropology professor John Hawks was on location during summer 2013 in Gibraltar, Spain, recording a video lecture for his then-upcoming massive open online course (MOOC) when he received some unwanted attention.

    “Filming a #MOOC lecture on the top of the Rock of Gibraltar, and Barbary macaques raid my camera bag. On video. #greatestclassever,” he posted on his Twitter account, @johnhawks.

    The curious primates were a fitting addition to Hawks’s course, Human Evolution: Past and Future, one of four MOOCs prepared by UW–Madison faculty and offered through the Coursera online platform during the past year. He was already developing an online version of his popular introductory anthropology class through the Division of Continuing Studies when the UW decided to make its foray into the MOOC market.

    The UW ventured into MOOC territory as part of a campus Educational Innovation initiative and an extension of the Wisconsin Idea, former president Charles Van Hise’s vision to spread the university’s reach beyond the confines of campus. Intrigued by the possibilities offered by the emerging online format, Hawks agreed to lead one of the initial offerings.

    Some MOOCs are essentially digital archives, conventional lecture courses that are recorded and distributed online. But Hawks has a long-standing interest in using digital tools for research and learning — he’s active on Twitter and has blogged at johnhawks.net since 2004 — and he immediately decided to push the medium to see what was possible.

    “We wanted to add things that would be distinctive and use the advantages of the online format,” he says. “We’re taking the students out of the classroom, but we could bring them to the field.”

    He assembled a portable video kit and carried it everywhere, recording interviews with experts and lectures at field sites all around the world. He caught colleagues at conferences and at digs, in labs and over beers, and he talked to them about what they do and why, what they’ve learned, and what it means. He sent small cameras into the field with UW students to capture the unique feel of an archaeological site — a mixture of tedium and toil punctuated by flashes of discovery.

    Then, working with a team from the academic technology group of the university’s Division of Information Technology (DoIT), he edited dozens of hours of footage into eight units of five- to twenty-minute video segments that were posted on the Coursera site each week from mid-January through mid-March this year.

    The videos produced for the MOOC often captured Professor John Hawks at historic field sites, where he served as a tour guide of sorts for his students, giving them unprecedented access to archaeological locations around the world. Courtesy of Division of Information Technology.

    The weeks follow the arc of our evolution, from the earliest human-like ancestors through Neanderthals and the rise of complex cultures to modern-day people. “John kept saying, ‘This is the story of us,’ ” says Kari Jordahl, lead instructional designer for the course. “He wanted it to be very much your story — you and where you come in time, that personal connection.”

    The response was overwhelming. Two days after the course launched, nearly 10,000 students — I was one of them —had logged more than 31,000 views of the week-one videos and posted almost 4,000 comments in the discussion forums.

    In the sea of students, those forums served as a source of community, say graduate teaching assistants Sarah Traynor PhDx’15 and Alia Gurtov MS’13, PhDx’15, with posts ranging from the serious to the lighthearted. “They made a forum called The Pub, and people would go in and chat, [writing], ‘Welcome to the course, grab a beer, and sit down and talk!’ ” says Traynor.

    Watching the videos is less like watching documentaries and more like sitting in on real conversations between people who happen to be world-class experts and professional colleagues. Their talks dig into the very roots of the human race.

    Of course, what you see on the screen is only part of the story. The entire MOOC team — Hawks, Traynor, Gurtov, three instructional designers, and four video producers — worked behind the scenes to incorporate maps, photos, glossary terms, readings, and other background information into each week’s material to give learners the context they needed to follow along.

    “I want to give people the fly-on-the-wall, this-is-how-the-experts-are-talking-about-this experience,” Hawks says. “But that means I have to do a lot of work preparing them to be the fly.”

    And what a wall it is. With Hawks as the omnipresent guide, the videos transport viewers to cathedral-like Spanish caverns once home to Neanderthals, into private artifact collections, and to historic field sites such as the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa and Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, where some of the earliest ancestral species were discovered early in the twentieth century.

    Interactive maps played key roles in Hawks’s MOOC. At the start of each week’s video, a map showed students locations that would be covered, providing valuable context for the lesson to come. Courtesy of Division of Information Technology.

    These travels are even more momentous than most MOOC students probably realized. Access is a huge issue in archaeology, Hawks explains. Dig sites are restricted and artifacts are scarce, delicate, and often held in small collections with limited accessibility, either by design (to protect ownership) or simply due to lack of resources for promotion and support. Even photos can be hard to obtain.

    That lack of access limits both the work that can be done with the materials and who can do it, he says. He viewed the MOOC as an opportunity to create an unprecedented set of resources accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. The course content will continue to be available outside the MOOC through a Creative Commons license (a public copyright license that allows distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work).

    “I want material out there that people can use,” he says. “[This course] is just transformative in terms of what we can have for the public.”

    For the students, his main goal was to create an experience closer to active science than a classroom. “We’re really trying to tweak people’s expectations about what a class is,” he says.

    Through interviews, he takes viewers into the hearts and minds of top researchers in the field, revealing the passion, ingenuity, teamwork, and sometimes extreme physicality demanded by this work. It makes the process of archaeology very human, while showing that the field itself is still evolving.

    One segment features South African paleontologist Lee Berger giving a detailed tour of an ancestral species that he discovered only six years ago. Another takes viewers behind the scenes of the Rising Star Expedition, a team formed to excavate an exciting new collection of fossils discovered deep in a South African cave just last October.

    Hawks included “past and future” in his course title to emphasize that human evolution is ongoing and that we are very much a part of it. Weekly activities included asking participants to collect information such as foot measurements and tooth impressions to engage students in creating a unique dataset of the diversity of modern people.

    While reaping the benefits of the online part of the MOOC, however, the team faced challenges posed by the open aspect.

    “One of the really important things when you build an online course is figuring out who is your audience, and what do they know and what do they need to know,” says Jordahl, who has been designing online courses for more than twenty years.

    With a MOOC, she says, “We really can’t know the audience. We know they’re probably going to be from sixteen to eighty-six [years old]; they could be anywhere in the world; and some speak English and some don’t. … To me, that was the biggest challenge.”

    A follow-up survey by Coursera confirmed Jordahl’s assumptions. In sum, 41,652 people registered from 137 countries, and 20,316 actively participated in some aspect of the course. Only 30 percent of the survey respondents were from the United States. The average age was 40, and 71 percent held a bachelor’s degree or higher. Just 64 percent were native English speakers.

    Despite the uncertainty with the course’s target audience, Hawks seems to have hit his mark. UW academic evaluator Josh Morrill’s job was to evaluate participant surveys from throughout the course. “The responses were uniformly and overwhelmingly positive,” he says.

    And it seems that MOOCs are fulfilling the Wisconsin Idea’s goal to reach into new territory: fewer than 10 percent of the survey respondents had any prior affiliation with the UW. What’s more, people seemed to connect with this class on an unusually personal level.

    “I think in this Hawks MOOC, participants related to him in the way you relate to your favorite TV show. People talked about John as if they knew him,” Morrill says. “People indicated they would wait every Tuesday until new information was posted. They were so sad that it was being taken ‘off the air’ when the MOOC ended.”

    At the end of the course, 1,707 students requested a certificate of completion. Many MOOC critics point to low completion rates as a sign that participants do not value the experience. But Morrill says that this strict definition does not account for qualitative value in a setting driven by internal, not external, motivations. It also discounts the experiences of the thousands who participate without requesting documentation, he adds.

    Gurtov agrees: “[Students are] there because they genuinely want to learn the information. This is a pure learning experience, and we get to ride along.”

    In the official data, I probably looked like an under-engaged student. I watched only a few videos each week, and I missed an entire unit when life got in the way. I rarely visited the discussion forums, and despite the best of intentions, did not dig into the additional resources.

    Yet, I enjoyed the experience greatly. Though I skipped the forums, I found community in a small group of UW staff taking the course. Several months later, I recall few facts, but I retain my sense of discovery and awe. The study of human evolution is more real to me now — I’ve seen the people, the places they work, and their diligence and joy.

    The end of the course feels like a launching point, giving me a mental framework into which I hope to fit future learning experiences. I don’t yet know what those will be; as of press time, no decision had been made on whether Hawks’s course or the other first-round MOOCs will be repeated, but a second round of six new courses will begin in 2015.

    Jill Sakai PhD’06, communications director for the UW’s Office of Sustainability and a freelance writer, will never outgrow being a student.

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    The Kick that Captivated a Country http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/the-kick-that-captivated-a-country/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-kick-that-captivated-a-country http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/the-kick-that-captivated-a-country/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 04:08:50 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=12566 The Opening Kickoff explores how UW legend Pat O'Dea "put the foot in football" and gained long-overdue respect for the Wisconsin team during the early days of intercollegiate athletics.]]> hi-res-odeaa-B-&-W-CX_1

    University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives S10603

    With one historic play, Badger football legend Pat O’Dea put Midwestern college teams on a footing with their Ivy League peers.

    Pat O’Dea, who played football at Wisconsin between 1896 and 1899, was the most celebrated gridiron hero the university had ever known. In his book The Opening Kickoff, Dave Revsine, the lead studio host at the Big Ten Network, has used the story of O’Dea to take a look at the early history of college football. The life of O’Dea, who was called the “Kangaroo Kicker,” took some secretive turns after college that involved an indictment for embezzlement, an undercover job, and a new identity, and Revsine spent many hours in the UW–Madison Archives, poring over old issues of the Daily Cardinal and other sources to set the record straight. The Opening Kickoff, which is excerpted here, was released in July by Lyons Press.

    The bespectacled man stared out at the adoring throng — five thousand fans braving the chilly Midwestern November night, all there to see him. An enormous bonfire raged in front of him, its flames leaping four stories into the air. All around him, people craned their necks just to catch a glimpse of his creased face, of his graying hair, of his fedora hat. He was, after all, a legend. For decades, young boys growing up in Wisconsin had known the name of this Australian immigrant before they knew the president’s. Yet, they had never expected to get this chance — the chance to lay eyes on the greatest hero their state had ever known. There was a simple reason for that. They had thought he was dead.

    But Pat O’Dea was very much alive. He was sixty-two years old, carrying the same 170 pounds on his six-foot-one-and-one-half-inch frame that he had thirty-five years earlier, in the late 1890s, when crowds like this one had last cheered him — a football player described as “the closest thing to a Paul Bunyan that the game has produced.”

    That had all been so long ago, though, before he’d made a mess of his life. Before the disintegrated marriage. Before his failure first as a coach and then as a businessman. Before the indictment. Before he ran away from it all, changing his name and slinking off in shame. Somewhere he had a daughter whom he had never met. Did she know of his fame? Perhaps she was out there now, among the adoring masses.

    The last time O’Dea had set foot in this town, in his beloved Madison, he had taken the cheers for granted — seen them as a birthright. But it had been ages since he’d been in the spotlight. And now, the player who Walter Camp, the father of the modern game, once said “put the foot in football as no man ever has or as no man probably ever will again,” was back in front of the reverent masses.

    O’Dea’s eyes began to moisten as the memories flooded back to him.

    And then he spoke. His words were not profound. He had told himself he wouldn’t reveal much. The fans knew his legend. But they did not know his secrets. Besides, when it came to O’Dea’s life, it was hard to separate the myth from the reality. His silence on the most important matters simply added more mystique to an already fantastic story.

    “They told me the Wisconsin spirit had changed,” he said into the microphone from his perch on the balcony outside the old library building. “But I want to tell you that you have the same Wisconsin spirit we knew and loved years ago.”

    And then, as he had so many times before, O’Dea heard the cheers.


    Pat O’Dea, right, prepares to kick a football held by fellow gridiron great Red Grange at Camp Randall stadium before the 1957 Homecoming game against Illinois. Courtesy of Dave Vitale.

    Wisconsin’s Pat O’Dea stood alone, twelve yards behind his center, Roy Chamberlain, and sixty yards away from the goal post. It was a seemingly ordinary moment very early in a seemingly ordinary football game — Thanksgiving Day, 1898. O’Dea’s Badgers were at Sheppard Field in Evanston, Illinois, taking on Northwestern.

    The Wisconsin captain called out the signals. “Nine, ten,” the Australian yelled. “Nine, ten.” His teammates looked at him incredulously. Unbeknownst to the Northwestern players and the three thousand or so fans looking on, Pat O’Dea was attempting to make history.

    A speech from coach Phil King, less than an hour earlier, had brought O’Dea to this moment. King was in his third year leading the Badgers. His initial seasons had been remarkable successes, as Wisconsin had captured the first two championships of the newly formed Western Conference, the precursor of the modern-day Big Ten.

    In O’Dea, Wisconsin boasted one of the Midwest’s first true superstars. The lanky twenty-six-year-old didn’t necessarily look the part of a rugged football player. He was strikingly handsome. His pleasant and expressive face was topped by a generous helping of seemingly never-ruffled light brown hair. It was O’Dea’s legs that really stood out, though, described by one contemporary as “abnormally long and wonderfully developed.”

    Those legs were his weapon of choice. In a short period of time, they had earned him remarkable fame. He drew headlines everywhere he went — the most celebrated kicker in the country at a time when, due to the nature of the rules, the kicker could literally take over the game. With O’Dea booting and the Badgers winning, Wisconsin games were always a big deal. Always, that is, until this one.

    The Badgers were coming off a devastating defeat, having fallen 6–0 twelve days before to the University of Chicago Maroons, their most bitter rival. As a result, the Maroons had stolen the headlines during the course of the week as Thanksgiving Day had drawn nearer. They were scheduled to host Michigan at Marshall Field on their Hyde Park campus at exactly the same time the Badgers and Purple were squaring off in Evanston. Since neither team had lost to another Western Conference foe all season, the Michigan-Chicago game was now the battle for the championship. The contest between the Badgers and a middling Northwestern team was, in many ways, meaningless.


    In his book, Dave Revsine makes the case that college football dealt with the same issues in Pat O’Dea’s era as it does now, differing mainly in scope.

    As he had stood before the team in the cramped dressing room wedged under the grandstand at Sheppard Field, King couldn’t help but notice the ambivalence. Sensing his players needed some inspiration, King delivered a short, unconventional speech. “Gentlemen,” he told them, “score in the first two minutes, and tonight, we’ll celebrate with all the champagne you can drink.”

    The cheer that went up from the players was quickly replaced by mild panic. Two minutes? As powerful as the Badgers were, two minutes wasn’t a whole lot of time — particularly in an era when the forward pass was still illegal and results like that 6–0 final against Chicago were commonplace. Still, the team charged onto the field with a newfound sense of purpose.

    O’Dea went through his warm-ups, which in and of themselves were worth the price of admission. He boomed jaw-dropping punts and converted remarkable dropkicks, routinely splitting the uprights from distances others could only dream of. In a time when field goals were worth five points — one more than touchdowns — and teams often punted on first down, kicker was the single most glamorous position on the field, and the handsome, exotic, and talented O’Dea was redefining the position. He was the best kicker in the West, and fans in that part of the country believed he was superior to any player in football.

    Of course, they couldn’t say for sure. Games between Eastern and Western teams were virtually unheard of, so most of them had never seen the players from traditional powerhouses such as Yale, Harvard, and Princeton — the schools that had invented the game about thirty years earlier. Those colleges were the gold standard. The West was an afterthought.

    A total of 187 players had been named “All-Americans” since the first selections were made back in 1889. All 187 had been from the East.

    Wisconsin won the coin toss, so the Purple kicked off to O’Dea, who caught the ball at his own 10-yard line and ran it back to the 20. Then, in an effort to improve their field position, O’Dea and the Badgers chose to punt the ball right back to Northwestern, hoping to pin their opponents deep in their own territory.

    O’Dea’s kicking style was an unusual one. When he made contact with the ball, he did so with both feet off of the ground — appearing almost to jump at the pigskin. He did this on both punts and dropkicks, a now-obsolete form of kicking in which a player would bounce the ball off the grass and kick it on its way back up. Though placekicks played a minor role in the game, dropkicks were the typical way to convert a goal.

    O’Dea unleashed a phenomenal punt, one that spun high in the air before landing 50 yards down the 110-yard field, at Northwestern’s 35-yard line. The home team kicked it right back, but the punt was a poor one, giving the Badgers the ball near midfield. In light of the improved field position, Wisconsin chose to hang on to the ball and try to move it toward the Purple goal, hoping to gain the requisite five yards in three downs.

    The Badgers tried two halfback runs, neither of which netted any yardage. The game was nearly two minutes old. O’Dea dropped a dozen yards behind the line and barked out the shocking “nine, ten” signal.

    “Slam” Anderson didn’t believe what he had heard. As one of the two ends for the Badgers, his duties changed significantly depending on O’Dea’s signal call. On a punt, Anderson’s job was to race down the field as fast as he could in an effort to tackle the opponent’s return man. On a dropkick, Anderson would stay in, blocking the opponent’s rusher in order to give O’Dea time to get his boot off. Yes, he knew that O’Dea had called out a signal for a dropkick — but he also knew that it was a preposterous notion. The Aussie was sixty yards from the goal. No one in the history of the game had ever converted a dropkick from farther than fifty-five yards out.

    Convinced that O’Dea had simply misspoken, Anderson sprinted down the gridiron at the snap. That decision nearly doomed the play to failure. When the Aussie caught the ball, he almost immediately had a Northwestern rusher in his face, in prime position to block the kick. It was the man Anderson had neglected to block. O’Dea avoided him with a quick sidestep move, let the ball bounce, and simultaneous with it hitting the ground made perfect contact with his right foot, resulting in a mighty dropkick.


    The 1934 Homecoming program commemorated O’Dea’s appearance at the celebration — his first visit back to campus in 35 years.

    The ball flew more than half the length of the field on an awe-inspiring arc, seemingly on a collision course with the grandstand behind the north goalpost. It sailed squarely between the posts and over a fence that lined the field, landing easily ten yards beyond the goal line, just in front of the stands. O’Dea had booted it at least 210 feet. In a game where lengthy kicks were celebrated the way long runs or passes are today, this was the single most remarkable football play anyone in attendance had ever witnessed.

    The initial reaction was one of stunned silence. That bewilderment soon turned to an orgy of sound. Wisconsin fans hugged one another and threw their hats into the air. The game umpire, Everts Wrenn, himself somewhat astonished, signaled a goal. The only person in Evanston who didn’t seem fazed by the achievement was O’Dea himself, who, perhaps eager to get on with the now-assured champagne feast, called on his team to assemble at midfield for the ensuing kickoff.

    The early 5–0 lead quickly ballooned as the Badgers went on to win 47–0. O’Dea’s record-breaking kick was the story. The Milwaukee Sentinel led its entire paper with a bold front-page headline in the left-most column blaring: O’DEA KICKS A 60-YARD GOAL. Just to the right was the story deemed the second most important of the day, announcing that the Spanish cabinet had authorized the signing of the peace treaty that would end the Spanish-American War.

    The Chicago Tribune described O’Dea’s performance as “miraculous,” continuing: “Everyone figured O’Dea would work havoc with the chances of the home team, but that he would do such phenomenal punting and dropkicking as that which electrified the crowd was beyond the wildest dreams of his most ardent supporters.” The Duluth News Tribune put it more succinctly, saying simply, “Pat O’Dea is king.” Though there was certainly plenty of newspaper ink spilled regarding Michigan’s 12–11 win over Stagg’s Maroons, O’Dea’s kick made headlines nationwide and gained the attention of the Eastern establishment. At the end of the 1898 season, the Aussie was one of the first Westerners ever named to the All-American team. The legend of “The Kangaroo Kicker” was born.

    From the book The Opening Kickoff by Dave Revsine. Copyright © 2014 by Dave Revsine Used by permission of Globe Pequot Press, www.globepequot.com.

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