Stories and updates from around campus

McCann Explores the Power of Storytelling

Colum McCann in English class

Students in Sarah Sawyer’s Writers’ Workshop English class have good taste in literature. When acclaimed Irish-born writer Colum McCann visited last week, he asked them to name their favorite books. They listed an impressive array of titles, from J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby; from Sherman Alexie’s Flight to Homer’s Odyssey.

“You’re reading in healthy, agile ways,” McCann said. “That’s good.” Continue reading

“World’s Strongest Gay” Speaks about Living Authentically

Williston’s Head Athletic Trainer Rob Kearney stands out in a crowd. He sports a lizard-like Mohawk haircut and a bright pink tie. He exudes confidence and strength. And that’s because he’s strong. He’s one of the world’s strongest men, having appeared on televised “World’s Strongest Man” competitions and having pulled busses and airplanes and having deadlifted 925 pounds. Here’s his WSM profile.

During an all-school assembly on Oct. 18, Kearney told the Williston community his story with insight and good humor. In high school, he was an athlete and a weight-lifter. He was in a band. He was a really good cheerleader (he was even recruited by Division I schools for his cheerleading abilities). He dated girls. It seemed the perfect high school existence. But something was not right. Continue reading

Williston Breaks Ground on New Dormitory

The girls cross-country team and several students joined trustees and administrators for the ground breaking.

The Williston Northampton School broke ground on October 6 on a building project that will transform its Easthampton campus. The new dormitory and faculty housing are the cornerstone of a Residential Quadrangle that will be home to students and faculty. The quad will be located across Park Street from the main campus, just behind the Phillips Stevens Chapel.

During a ceremony attended by the school’s Board of Trustees, Chairman John Hazen White ’76, Head of School Robert W. Hill III, and students and faculty, the school broke ground on the state-of-the-art, 40-bed residence hall with four attached faculty homes. The new building will open onto a renovated green that will serve as an outdoor gathering space, replacing the parking lot to the rear of the chapel. The building is scheduled to open in time for the start of school in September 2018. Continue reading

20th Writers’ Workshop Series Brings Impressive Slate of Authors to Campus

Madeleine Blais

Celebrating its 20th year, the Writers’ Workshop Series continues with a slate of authors who write in a variety of genres. Our first visitor to campus will be Madeleine Blais P’00, ’04, one of the founders of the series, and a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist and University of Massachusetts professor.  She is the author of “The Heart is an Instrument,” a collection of journalism, and “In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle,” chosen as a finalist in the category of general nonfiction by the National Book Critics’ Circle and cited by ESPN as one of the top 100 sports books of the 20th century. Her essays have been widely published. She joins us on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Dodge Room of the Reed Campus Center.

Timothy Donnelly

Arriving on campus on Nov. 6, Timothy Donnelly is the author of two books of poetry, “Twenty-seven Props for a Production of Eine Lebenszeit,” and “The Cloud Corporation.” Donnelly’s poems have been published in anthologies such as “Joyful Noise: An Anthology of American Spiritual Poetry,” as well as magazines and journals including Harper’s, jubilat, The Nation, and The Paris Review. Donnelly is an assistant professor and director of undergraduate creative writing at Columbia University. He is also the poetry editor for Boston Review. His talk will be held at 7 p.m. in the Grubbs Gallery of the Reed Campus Center.

Colum McCann, photo by Dustin Aksland

Colum McCann is the author of six novels and three collections of stories. Born and raised in Dublin, he has been the recipient of many international honors, including the National Book Award for “Let the Great World Spin,” and an Oscar nomination. His work has been published in more than 35 languages. He is the cofounder of the nonprofit global story exchange organization Narrative 4, and he teaches in the MFA program at Hunter College. He will be on campus for two days, working with students and teaching classes, starting Nov. 10. He will not give a public appearance.

Nic Stone

 After graduating from Spelman College, Nic Stone mentored teens and lived in Israel before returning to the U.S. to write full time. Having grown up among people with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work. She is the author of the forthcoming Dear Martin (Crown Books for Young Readers), which received 4.62 stars out of five on Goodreads. Stone will present at 7 p.m. on Jan. 23 in the Dodge Room of Reed Campus Center.

Convocation Marks the Start of Williston’s 177th Year

On a cool evening on September 15, students, faculty, and guests gathered on the quad to formally kick off Williston’s 177th year.

Keynote speaker Dr. Beverly Tatum, a former trustee and parent of Williston graduates from the classes of 2000 and 2004, initiated a conversation about the uncomfortable history of race in this country that she argued must be faced and fixed. The author of the much-studied and recently rereleased book, “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race,” Dr. Tatum also has led Spelman College, a historically Black women’s college in Atlanta, and Mount Holyoke College. The text of her speech is here. Continue reading

Stories and updates from around campus