Books, Blackboards, and Bullets: School Shootings and Violence in America

February, 2009

books_pubsProfessor of Education and Special Education Marcel Lebrun’s latest book, intended as a resource for educators and parents, focuses on key issues for identifying school shooters. Lebrun explains the factors that increase the likelihood of student violence, introduces different perspectives that may be effective in working with troubled students, and provides strategies for dealing with difficult or violent youths that empower educators to help prevent school shootings. Books, Blackboards, and Bullets also provides checklists and assessment tools for evaluating possible dangers and a list of resources educators can use in their daily work.

That’s Kool

February, 2009

kool_pubsThat’s Kool is the seventh solo album from Rik Pfenninger, professor of music and coordinator of jazz studies and music technology. A blend of hip, sophisticated grooves and melodies, the CD features tracks that have received airplay on The Weather Channel.

The Power of Service

February, 2009

by Matthew Cheney


Jessica Chrisholm, Photo courtesy of John Anderson.

Jessica Chisholm ’09 knows that service work can benefit communities, build new relationships among people from diverse backgrounds, and look good on a résumé, but that’s not why she spends her free time volunteering. “Community service is what I do for fun,” she says.

Chisholm already had years of service in her background when she transferred to PSU as a sophomore biology major. Growing up in Lexington, MA, she had spent much of her free time volunteering both at an assisted living home for seniors and with the Best Buddies program, where she worked with disabled students and helped with the Special Olympics.

When she arrived on campus, Chisholm discovered PSU Volunteers, a student organization that helps create volunteer programs and promotes service at the University. Read More

The Artist as Teacher

February, 2009

by Betsy Cheney ’89, ’99G, photos by John Anderson

Susan Tucker with student

In the dusty industrial-looking pottery studio tucked into a back corner of the Draper & Maynard Building, pottery wheels whirred, and students and faculty slapped and kneaded bulk clay to ready it for “Bowl-a-palooza”—a six-hour bowl-making marathon for Empty Bowls, an event that raises funds to help fight hunger.

Leading the effort—which ultimately produced just over 100 bowls—was Professor of Ceramics Susan Tucker, who, elbow-deep in clay herself, talked about discovering her dual passions of ceramics and teaching, and her thoughts on her upcoming retirement after 26 years teaching ceramics at PSU. Read More

Faculty Forum: Trent Boggess

February, 2009

Business Department Chair and Professor of Economics Trent Boggess talked to Plymouth Magazine last fall about his passion for the Ford Model T and his take on the state of the automobile industry  and the U.S. Economy Read More

Deconstructing Hamlet

February, 2009

hamlet4Just what went into bringing Shakespeare's quintessential drama to life?

Read More

A Championship Season

February, 2009

by Christopher M. Williams


The fall season was abundant with triumphs and honors for a variety of Panther sports, including field hockey and men’s soccer. But the stories behind the recent achievements of the women’s volleyball team and PSU football demonstrate that there’s more to being a champion than winning a game.A mere four years ago, the future of Panther football was uncertain. After suffering numerous devastating losses, the team found itself without a home conference and playing an independent schedule. Since then, under the guidance of head coach Paul Castonia, the team has made a dramatic turnaround that culminated in qualifying for the NCAA Division III Tournament after a 13-year absence.“The expectations were higher this season because of what we did last year,” says Castonia, referring to the team’s strong 2007 season. “We didn’t sneak up on anyone this season, and teams were gunning for us.”And though the team was ultimately defeated by SUNY Cortland in the first round of the NCAA tournament, there was no shortage of accolades for the players and Castonia. Ten players were named to the New England Football Conference All-Star team. Panther running back Jeff Mack, a senior, was named to the New England Football Writers’ All-New England Team for Divisions II/III for the second consecutive year. Mack also ranked in the top 10 in the nation in rushing, running for a school record of 1,779 yards—surpassing PSU Hall of Fame running back Joe Dudek’s single season rushing record of 1,615 yards—and 20 touchdowns. And Castonia was named New England Coach of the Year for Divisions II/III, as voted by the New England Football Writers’ Association, making him the first Plymouth State coach to win the award.

Unlike Panther football, women’s volleyball has enjoyed a consistent record of strong performance for nearly a decade, earning six straight post-season berths (five ECAC and one NCAA), enjoying numerous seasons of 20-plus wins, winning two conference regular season co-championships, and earning a conference tournament championship. However, the fall 2008 season proved to be a struggle for the team. “Although we worked hard each and every day in practice, the hard work was not paying off in matches,” recalls head coach Moira Long. “I had so much confidence in our players’ abilities, but I think they struggled a bit with confidence in themselves and maybe in each other.”

The biggest disappointment came when the team, which was the preseason pick to finish third in the conference, finished fifth.

But the story was far from over for women’s volleyball. Rather than succumb to defeat, the team found a new drive and determination to not let their chance at victory slip away.  “We came into practice doing all the things we had talked about all season,” says Long. “Our defense was great, our blocking was incredible, and our offense clicked on all cylinders. With that, our confidence increased, and we truly believed in ourselves and each other.”

The team’s renewed confidence and cohesion ultimately led them to the 2008 ECAC Division III New England Volleyball Championship, where their stunning victory over top-seeded Colby-Sawyer College earned them their first ECAC championship. And junior Eliza Badeau, a top hitter and blocker for the team, was named to the 2008 Little East Conference All-Star Team—for the third consecutive season.

“The team I saw in the last week of the season was really the team I expected to see all season,” Long notes. “How many teams get to win the last match of their season and be called champions? It has a great ring to it.”

From the Alumni Relations Director

February, 2009

Plymouth State has an incredible alumni community.  From our most recent graduates to our most senior of alumni, you are touching the lives of people throughout New Hampshire and beyond through your community service, your careers, your generosity, and more.

Fortunately for Plymouth State, you also support your alma mater by volunteering, lending your talents to various University endeavors, participating in the numerous events and activities the PSUAA hosts, making gifts to the University priorities that you care about most—the list goes on. Read More

Alumni Profile: Derek Sheeler ’97

February, 2009

by Rhiannon Hutchinson


With a passport about as thick as War and Peace, Derek Sheeler gives new meaning to the term jetsetter. “I spend 35 to 40 percent of my time traveling to speak with the executives of companies and policy makers,” says Sheeler, the chief investment officer of Legatum Capital, an investment company based in Dubai. “You can’t just read the newspaper and think that you know what’s happening.”

Armed with what he learns in his meetings with global movers and shakers, Sheeler chooses which opportunities are the best investments. Legatum then puts its capital behind those investments, creating new jobs and incomes that help developing countries grow and prosper. Read More

A Gift of Thanks

February, 2009

Jon Gilbert Fox photo.

Theresa Koehler ’91 graduated from Plymouth State with a degree in accounting,  a quality education, and—thanks to her parents—no college debt.

Now Theresa is honoring her parents’ generosity and commitment to education by establishing a scholarship fund in their names.  Read More