Bates in the News: November 18, 2022 | news

A selection of recent mentions of Bates and Bates people in the news.

Ralph Sylvester ’50

Lewiston and Auburn mark Veterans Day – Lewiston diary of the sun

The Lewisston diary of the sun led its Veterans Day coverage with the story of World War II Army veteran Ralph Sylvester ’50, who is now 98 years old.

As staff writer Steve Sherlock wrote, “Perhaps among the hundreds who attended Friday’s solemn ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park, none watched more Veterans Day services than Ralph Sylvester of Auburn.”

Shortly after the Bobcat Dens reopened at 8am on August 17, Ralph Sylvester '50 arrives for breakfast, a routine that has resumed after being interrupted by the March 2020 closure of the den due to the pandemic.  (H.Jay Burns/Bates College)
A regular Bobcat Den, Ralph Sylvester ’50, arrives for breakfast on August 17, 2021, a routine restarted after being interrupted by the March 2020 closure of the den due to the pandemic. (H.Jay Burns/Bates College)

Sylvester fought on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day and in the Battle of the Bulge. As a private in the 295th Combat Engineers, he “built bridges across the Elbe which enabled American and British armies from the West and Soviet forces from the East to link up for the first time towards the end of the war in 1945.

The 98-year-old WWII veteran was at Omaha Beach on D-Day, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and building bridges across the Elbe that allowed American and British armies from the West and Soviet Union forces from the East to reunite towards the end of the war 1945 to connect for the first time.

“Today brings back many memories of all the others who were killed,” Sylvester told the newspaper. “About 20 percent of our company was killed during the Battle of the Bulge, where 3,500 anti-tank mines were unknown to us.”

Edmund Muskie ’36

Pollution is still flowing through the Clean Water Act loophole – E&E News

Among the many stories mentioning the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Clean Water Act, on 10/18/1972, E&E News took an in-depth look at the difficult decisions Sen. Ed Muskie ’36 and other lawmakers had to make as they drafted the landmark legislation.

One decision was not to try to address so-called “non-point source pollution”, which refers to pollutants such as pesticides, oil and fertilizers entering waterways from land.

When drafting legislation in the early 1970s, legislators simply could not find the right “vehicle” to tackle non-point source pollution, which today remains largely unregulated.

“It’s an area where there are still conceptual issues and some kind of draft issues and just general regulatory issues,” recalled Tom Jorling, then adviser to the Republican minority on the Senate Public Works Committee.

“I still haven’t seen anyone recommend anything that would work,” he added. “It’s not so much that it wasn’t made in ’72; it’s honest to say it couldn’t be done right in 2022.”


Mana Abdi, OIE staff

The Lewiston woman makes history as one of the first two Somali Americans elected to the Maine legislature –

Mana Abdi, the program coordinator in Bates’ Office of Intercultural Education, is one of two Somali-Americans elected to the Maine legislature this year, the first in the state’s history.

Her victory is a sign that the legislature is becoming more representative of the people it serves, Abdi told Lewiston diary of the sunand it brings Maine “one step closer” to a better future for all.

“Lewiston deserves secure, affordable, available housing and good jobs,” Abdi said. “I will be a strong and relentless voice for our community in Augusta.”

Read the stories:


Daniel Hoffman ’85

My late wife Kim taught me how to honor our loved ones by focusing on something that will last – FoxNews

In an opinion piece for Fox News, Daniel Hoffman ’85, a former CIA station chief and Fox News contributor, writes about the legacy of his late wife, Kim Hoffman, who died of cancer in 2021. Her son Jerron Hoffman has dedicated himself to helping children in hospital with cancer.

Daniel Hoffman '85 and his son Jerron stuffing "Joy glasses" for the Jessie Rees Foundation.  Photo courtesy of Daniel Hoffman
Daniel Hoffman ’85 and his son Jerron fill “Joy Jars” during a fundraiser for the Jessie Rees Foundation, a childhood cancer nonprofit. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Hoffmann)

“I realized that families who were battling cancer or grieving the loss of loved ones that cancer stole had so much in common,” Hoffman writes. “Cancer is the common ground between us from which we draw strength from each other.”

Beverly Johnson, Faculty of Earth and Climate Sciences

Study Shows Gulf of Maine Cooling for 900 Years, Then Warming Rapidly Since Late 19th Century – ScienceMag

The waters off the Gulf of Maine are warming rapidly. New research, co-authored by Beverly Johnson, a professor of earth and climate sciences, shows the recent warming is reversing a 900-year cooling and is being accompanied by shifts in ocean currents.

The results were published in the open access journal Communication Earth & Environment and reported ScienceMag.

Arctica islandica shells, such as those collected by Nina Whitney, a research assistant professor in the marine and coastal sciences program at Western Washington University and the study's lead author, are one of the shell species the team collected while exploring the Gulf of Maine .  Photo courtesy of Nina Whitney
Arctica islandica shells, such as those collected by Nina Whitney, a research assistant professor in the marine and coastal sciences program at Western Washington University and the study’s lead author, are one of the shell species the team collected while exploring the Gulf of Maine . (Photo courtesy of Nina Whitney)

The results? During the late 19th century, coinciding with the emerging Industrial Revolution, the Gulf of Maine began to warm and receive more water from the Gulf Stream, with greenhouse gas emissions being a major driver. At current rates, the water in the Gulf of Maine could rise 4 degrees Celsius every 100 years.


Jonathan Adler ’00

Psychology in Theater with PSPR Editor Jonathan Adler — Society for Personality and Social Psychology

In 2019, Olin College of Engineering psychology professor Jonathan Adler ’00 was looking for a way to tell lesser-known stories about the AIDS pandemic in the United States

Jonathan Adler '00, center, stands with the cast of his play, "Reverse Transcription".  Photo courtesy of Jonathan Adler.
Jonathan Adler ’00, center in dark blue shirt, stands with the cast of his play, Reverse Transcription. (Stan Barough Photography)

As part of a team at Olin that received a Mellon Foundation grant to integrate art and STEM, he teamed up with Boston University’s Jim Petosa to write a play. Reverse Transcriptionjuxtaposing the stories of gay men during the AIDS and COVID pandemics in the United States. It premiered on The Atlantic Theater Co.’s Stage 2 Off-Broadway last summer and is produced by PTP/NYC.

“For me, psychological issues and theater cannot be separated,” he told the newsletter of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. (Adler is editor of SPSP Journal.) “As in all stories, all plays have characters trying to do something, so there are always psychological themes to explore.”

Adler believes “one of the greatest tragedies” of COVID is that society has failed to embrace the psychological lessons learned during the AIDS pandemic. “The gay community came together in the ’80s and ’90s,” but during COVID, the pandemic “ultimately became a force of polarization, not interdependence.”


Whitney Blanchard Soule ’90

Meet Whitney Soule, leader of the team that decides whether you join Penn – The Philadelphia investigator
Whitney Soule '90.  Photo courtesy of Whitney Soule
Whitney Soule ’90, Vice Provost and Dean of Admissions, University of Pennsylvania. (Photo courtesy of Whitney Soule)

The Vice Provost and Dean of Admissions from the University of Pennsylvania spoke The Philadelphia investigator about her career in college admissions, which began at Bates.

She had been a tour guide at Bates, and right after she graduated, the office had an unexpected opening and “needed someone right away. I was hired for nine months and 30 years later I’m here and still working in Admissions! I love it because the work is people-centric, mission-focused, and complex.”


Noah Petro ’01

What the moon can tell us about the earth axios
Noah Petro '01.  Photo courtesy of Noah Petro
Noah Petro ’01, a project scientist for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. (Photo courtesy of Noah Petro)

A project scientist for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission currently orbiting the moon, Noah Petro ’01 said axios that he regards the moon as “the eighth continent of the earth”.

The Nov. 16 launch of Artemis 1, the first in a series of missions to establish a long-term human presence on the Moon, is a step toward understanding the history of our own home planet a little better, he says.

The Apollo missions sent people “to these really wonderful places,” Petro said. “All six landing sites are really amazing. But we never came back.”

“Part of the area that the Artemis missions will explore is at the edge of this huge basin,” Petro said. “We don’t know how old it is. Therefore, for me, understanding the age of this crater becomes a very important point in the history of the Earth and the history of the Moon.”

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