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On My Nightstand


BY REED PERKINS, PhD


Here’s the thing, a good book for me is pretty simple: it takes me to someplace new—maybe that’s geographical, intellectual or imaginary. All are good. So, what books are actually on my nightstand?


Te book at the top of the


stack right now is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s an exploration of the human social, political and economic journey during the past 10,000 years. Seeing the threaded arcs of our story helps me understand our current quirks and riddles. Under that is Indigenous


Literatures from Micronesia (editors: Evelyn Flores and Emelihter Kihleng). I’ve taken Queens students to Micronesia since 2001, so this collection will always be on my reading list. Tese writings reflect hope and humor despite palpable grit and uncertainty. For pure escapist fun, I grab the bottom of the stack: Te Best of Roald Dahl. Dahl has been an inspiration ever since


my first reading of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He has a darkly bright way of capturing the absurdity and comedy of human foibles. I was thrilled to find this volume of Dahl’s short stories in a back-alley bookstore in Quito, Ecuador. It’s probably bootleg, but I love it. Finally, I’ve ordered


Courageous Conversations About Race by Glenn E. Singleton. In that book, we are reminded that in any difficult conversation, we need to be prepared to accept each other’s truths, deal with our fears and to expect discomfort. I can’t wait to read it.


—Reed Perkins, PhD, is the Carolyn G. and Sam H. McMahon Professor of Environmental Science, and Chair of the Department of Environmental Science and


Chemistry. He joined Queens in 1998, and was named North Carolina Professor of the Year in 2007.


Remember When OUTDOOR CONCERTS IN THE QUAD


Photo courtesy of Everett Library, Queens University Archives


During the 1970s through the 1990s, Queens had a tradition of hosting lawn concerts in the academic quad. These concerts would cap off special weekends such as orientation in late August, Octoberfest in early fall and May Day in the spring. Lesley Bynum Swartz ’87 remembers stages being set up


for bands such as IBM, Cruis-O-Matics, The Spongetones and Radio One. “You could hear the music throughout the entire campus,” said Swartz, adding that there was typically a casual dance or party on Friday night, a formal dance on Saturday night and then a lawn concert on Sunday afternoon. “It was a well-attended event because you couldn’t avoid it.” As Queens had an all-women student body during


this time, weekend guests and dates might hang around on Sundays, but most of them were gone by then, leaving Queens students to enjoy an afternoon of music together before beginning a new week of classes. It also wasn’t unusual for a Queens student or two to end up on stage singing with the band. As a bonus, an event-themed T-shirt was often available to commemorate the fun. “Even though it was a planned event, it always felt


informal and casual,” said Swartz. “People would leave the library for a break and stay a little longer than they had planned. It always turned out to be a great time with friends.”


—Adelaide Anderson Davis ’61


A FITTING TRIBUTE TO MISS BETTY


On February 15, alumni, faculty, staff and family members filled Miss Betty’s Marketplace in the Trexler Student Center to celebrate its namesake, Miss Betty Davis. The event was a surprise for the beloved Queens employee, who has worked at the university for six decades. When Miss Betty turned the corner into her marketplace Saturday afternoon during Homecoming, she was greeted by cheers from


PHOTOS 5


family members who had traveled from Ohio and alumni she hadn’t seen in decades. Alumna Amanda McGrath ’06 and Miss


Betty’s son, Maurice Sadler ’96, beamed as they shared stories of how Miss Betty’s love had impacted their lives. They also expressed how much Miss Betty deserves this honor. It was a fitting tribute to one of Queens’ most treasured individuals.


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