The Arcadia Promise

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					The Arcadia Promise
Leigh Griggs tries on a traditional adornment while researching peace symbols in Maasailand, Tanzania.

Global Perspective

Discovering Peace Symbols in Tanzania
By Bridget Curtis ’08 rcadia’s new Nyerere Center for Peace Research located in Arusha, Tanzania, is off to a great start. Established through a partnership with the East African Community (EAC), which is the regional intergovernmental organization of the Republics of Kenya, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania, the Center opened in the fall and will have a grand opening this summer. According to Dr. Warren Haffar, Director of the graduate program in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, the Center focuses on projectbased student learning that supports EAC initiatives and “promises a personal and professional experience that is not to be missed.” Located in the EAC-donated Princess Margaret House, a culturally historic building at the foot of Mt. Meru in downtown Arusha, the Center already has proved to be a key resource for students looking for a hands-on experience in a real-life environment.


through an interview with a 98-year-old Maasai man that when a conflict between two men emerges, the elders instruct the two individuals to remove their blankets and lay them on the ground. “The men then exchange their blankets as an offering of new beginnings,” she records in her research. “Then they each wear a ring-type accessory, called “okready” in Maasai, made of cowhide, that wraps around the index finger and connects to a bracelet around the wrist.” The “okready” is then worn for eight days in order to symbolize the resolution of the conflict. Research on peace symbols is just the beginning of the projects students are conducting. Additional projects include cultural preservation and research on the Princess Margaret House, gender-related policy research and the role of civil society organizations. “Arusha offers an amazing learning opportunity for our students,” continues Haffar. “We get students out of the classroom and into the field to learn how international law, sustainable developments and human rights all work together to make a healthy society or generate a sick one prone to conflict.”

Just ask second-year student Leigh Griggs. Conducting research during her fall semester on traditional symbols of peace in East Africa, Griggs found that in the Maasai community, there are many symbols of peace including large shade trees, grass, milk and honey. Participating in a field trip to Maasailand, she learned

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Integrative Learning
Dr. Carlos Ortiz (left) and Brian Grossman ’08

Bridge Collapse Solved

By Alice Quigley, International Student
hen Brian Grossman ‘08 and Nick Fabien ‘07 began working on their senior thesis for mathematics, they thought that their analysis of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge disaster would be a straightforward case of differential equations. What the two undergraduate students soon discovered was that nothing in life, even in the math classroom, is ever as simple as it seems. The massively under-budgeted Tacoma Narrows Bridge, constructed in 1940, was higher and narrower than any bridge ever built. Doomed from the beginning, contemporary engineering experts called the plans for the suspension bridge “fundamentally unsound.” So, it was no big surprise when the bridge, which frequently moved in a three-to-four-foot high wave-like motion, collapsed shortly after its construction. Grossman and Fabien worked on applying theories published in 1999/2001 by Dr. P.J. McKenna of the University of Connecticut. However, they soon found


out something was amiss. “Something wasn’t right. We were going with what McKenna had published in his paper but we couldn’t produce the same results. Most of the time was spent trying to figure out what the problem was,” says Grossman. It was only when they found a “fix” for the previously “fixed” solution that they finally started getting results. Read the details at The students were helped and encouraged every step of the way by Dr. Carlos Ortiz, Associate Professor of Mathematics, who on assigning this project, demonstrated to the students how math can be taken out of the classroom and integrated into real life. With Ortiz’s help they were able to correct the published solution of the mystery of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse, learning that, in math, as in real life, nothing can be taken for granted—lessons that will guide them well, throughout their future studies in graduate school, and in their prospective careers.

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The Arcadia Promise

Personal Attention


A Registrar’s 38-Year Odyssey
By Eric Smith ’08M n 2001, Director Stanley Kubrick introduced the world to HAL, a gentle-sounding voice who didn’t decide to become a heroic supercomputer and save his crewmates until 2010. In 1969, President Edward Gates introduced the campus to Hal Stewart, a gentle mathematician who knew right away what type of Registrar he wanted to be.


“Registrars have been typically known as ogres on college campuses,” says Stewart. “Somehow, I never got the message!” Instead, he’s been an upholder of the Arcadia Promise of personal attention during his 38-year odyssey at Arcadia.

“My background in mathematics (and thus an interest in problem-solving) has helped to shape a life of service that has consistently sought solutions to many questions and problems raised by individual students, faculty and staff,” says Stewart. Stewart’s passion for solving problems helped many students through an array of trials and tribulations in the academic system. “A registrar needs to act consistently and in accordance with existing academic policy,” he explains. “With close attention to details, however, there is often opportunity to act within those constraints to the advantage of the individual student.” Stewart’s accomplishments here at Arcadia are indeed many. Not only did he pay close attention to the needs of students, but he also played an essential role in integrating computers (though none like HAL) into the record-keeping system during the last several decades. He also traveled to London and Ireland to help Arcadia’s study abroad programs. Officially retiring after 38 years of exceptional service to the University (and more importantly, its students) on Jan. 31, Stewart left the Arcadia campus a happy man. “Arcadia University has been a home, and the people have become a family to me,” he says. “It has been a great pleasure to be of service to this institution and its students.” Read more about his recollections at


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