I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!
Beth Ferringo DeWolfe '83
October 20, 2016
Caption: This photograph is the first (and only?) underwater Jan-Plan group shot. Nazca, Peru, January 1983. Tony is on the far right (that's me on the far left).
Three plus decades after Colgate I'm still figuring out what I am --- I'm a college professor who loves the role of student as much as teacher; I'm a historian who in a time machine would debate go to the past or to the future?; I'm an author who while writing one book is already thinking out the next research project and the one after that. I have an interdisciplinary Colgate degree (Prehistoric Studies) and an interdisciplinary PhD (American/New England Studies); I see the world through many lenses--and this all began my sophomore year in Archaeoastronomy, the course that blew my mind.
On a Jan-Plan trip to Mexico, ca. 1981, there were two Beths in the group. Beth A., at five foot 5 or so, Tony christened Big Beth; Me, at five foot nothin', Little Beth. Little Beth became Lil Beth which by my senior year, I was simply Lil. With graduation approaching, Tony asked a visiting art historian (whose class I had taken) if he intended to go to graduation to watch, among other students, Beth graduate. Beth who? the art historian replied. Beth Ferrigno, Tony answered. Miss Ferrigno? You mean Lil? I thought her name was Lily!
Tony turned a student into a scholar and a curious person into a life-long learner. He taught me--astronomy, how to use a transit, who the Maya were-- and we learned together; our 3-person seminar on Maya hieroglyphic writing was the high point of my Colgate education. In inviting me to study with him, to be his research assistant, to write an honors thesis, he gave me confidence in my own abilities. In travelling to Mexico and Peru and with his unqualified support for a Watson Fellowship, he gifted me with the world. Each semester on the first day of classes, I borrow a page from Tony's book of teaching. Just as Tony did in his classes, in mine I enter the classroom and greet my new students with a pile of books that I place on the table before them. It's a warning about work load, it's an invitation to learn, it's a challenge to grow, and it's a promise that education is a shared endeavor. (That, and I can --how shall I say it?-- express disdain via Mayan hieroglyphic writing. You'd be amazed how cathartic it is to use a few select glyphs to let one's feelings fly!)
What can I say but Thank You: I am truly, deeply, and eternally grateful for the winding path I've followed that began the day I walked into your classroom. All the very best to you and Lorraine in the years and adventures to come!