The Collegiate Way: Residential Colleges & the Renewal of University Life  ‹›


Cornelia Strong College

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Friday, 11 July 1997 | Summer News 1997, No. 1 | Newsletter No. 94


Greetings to All Strong College Members, New (The Class of 2001!) and Old

Summer greetings and salutations to all members and friends of Strong College! During school year (“term time” as we say) the Strong College Newsletter is distributed every week to all our members and to an assortment of friends of Strong College. During the Summer we send out one or two issues to keep people up to date on what’s been going on in the College while most people are away, and to welcome our new members.

We have an outstanding group of new students joining Strong College this coming year, along with our many loyal and dedicated returning members. The year ahead promises to be a magnificent one! Our membership consists of about 260 undergraduates and 25 Fellows. The resident members all live in Moore-Strong Hall, the headquarters of Strong College, and the non-resident members (the Fellows and a small number of students) come to Moore-Strong Hall regularly to participate in College activities and events.

Strong College in a Nutshell (Or, What is a residential college, anyway?)

The idea of a residential college in a large university is unfamiliar to many people. Here’s a bite-sized explanation of what Strong College and places like it are about: There are many advantages to attending a large university. Excellent libraries, a large and diverse faculty, and advanced research opportunities all make for a rich academic experience. But along with all these advantages may come some disadvantages as well. A student in a large institution can sometimes feel lost in the crowd: an anonymous number who doesn’t really have a home or belong to any community. To escape these disadvantages many people choose to attend small liberal arts colleges rather than big universities. In the friendly environment of a liberal arts college they receive excellent support and a strong sense of belonging, but they miss the many advantages that a large institution clearly can offer. It might seem that there is no solution to this dilemma, but in fact there is, and it is a solution that has been adopted at many other institutions, both public and private. That solution is to distribute the student body into smaller collegiate communities, each with an associated group of faculty. These collegiate communities may have their own curricula, but they need not, and indeed collegiate communities like Strong College, which have no curricular component at all, are easier to establish and maintain: what holds them together is a social bond and a tradition, developed through regular interaction in common rooms and libraries, and at any of a number of regular social functions. Cornelia Strong College is a community of this type, and it is lucky to have you!

Opportunities for Service

Strong College is not a cruise ship; it depends very much on the efforts of its members to enrich the College’s daily life. There are many opportunities for service in our community, and incoming members will learn more about them when they arrive. Just a few of them are: volunteering to work in the Library, helping out at the weekly College Tea, serving on the College Council to help plan social events and other College activities, joining in the conversation on Strong-L (see the next item), helping to develop the College grounds and gardens, helping to run the Blue Lemur Coffee Bar each week and the weekly Casino Night, curating the small but growing College coin and stamp collections, participating in the weekly Literary Hour (Flecker lives!), working to keep our building pleasant and attractive, entering the Croquet Tournament and the Buffalo Creek Regatta, adding your thoughts to one of the College’s commonplace books, giving tours for campus visitors, and of course (the most important of all) watching Star Trek with your fellow Strong College members every week.

Virtual Summer

Strong College folks with e-mail have been chatting the summer away on Strong-L, our e-mail discussion group. Why don’t you join them? Strong-L is open to all members of the College. There are about 80 Strong College students and faculty in the group so far, and we chat about a little of everything (current events, humor, Mars, you name it). Several of our incoming freshmen have already joined, and anyone who doesn’t yet have an e-mail address can get one in the Fall and join us then.

Advice to Freshmen

“Leave no stone unturned to insinuate your selves into the favour of the head, and senior-fellows of your respective colleges. Whenever you appear before them, conduct yourselves with all specious humility and demureness; convince them of the great veneration you have for their Persons, by speaking very low, and bowing to the ground at every word; wherever you meet them, jump out of the way with your caps in your hands, and give them the whole street to walk in, be it as broad as it will. Always seem afraid to look them in the face, and make them believe that their presence strikes you with a sort of awe and confusion.” (Nicholas Amhurst’s magazine, Oxford University, ca. 1721)

Points of Light

Doug Yorke is having a great time this summer working as an intern at an environmental organization in Washington, D.C. He is living in Arlington, Virginia, just a few yards from where Dr. O’Hara lived for two years while working at the Smithsonian Institution.

Dr. O’Hara spent a week in Sweden at the invitation of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He gave a talk at a symposium honoring the 25th anniversary of one of Sweden’s principal biological journals.

Mark Schumacher is contemplating a part-time career in professional boxing to supplement his librarian’s salary.

A mud-dauber wasp is building a nest just outside the north door to the College. Watch for her and her children when you come back in a few weeks.


The Strong College Poem-of-the-Week is posted on the bulletin board outside the College Office door during the year and is usually reprinted here. This week’s poem is “The Minstrel Boy” by Thomas Moore (1779–1852). Ask Dr. O’Hara to play Paul Robeson’s version of it for you:

The minstrel boy to the war has gone,
In the ranks of death ye shall find him;
His father’s sword he hath girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him;

“Land of Song!” cried the warrior bard,
“Tho’ all the world betray thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!”

The Minstrel fell but the foeman’s chains
Could not bring that proud soul under;
The harp he loved never spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder;

And said “No chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and bravery!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free
They ne’er shall sound in slavery!”

OFFICIAL DISCLAIMERS: Nothing here is official. Please don’t sue us. Objects in mirror are closer than they appear. May be harmful if swallowed. Fasten seat belts. Mind the gap. No caffeine. For external use only. Do not eat. Refrigerate after opening. Use only in a well-ventilated area. When I get tired of using English I just meow. Machine washable and dryer safe. Choking hazard. Product and colors may vary. This does not represent the official policy of the United States Government, the College Octopus, the Angolan Christmas Tree Mining Company, the King Biscuit Poetry Hour, Gerald Finzi, Rollo the Lemur©, Barbie of Borg™, the Varmint Masters Association, the fabled Lost City of the Lemurs™, Boris the spider, Selima the cat, or Tiney the hare, may they all rest in peace. It does represent the official policy of James Elroy Flecker. Eye irritant. Crayons not included. Do not inhale. Artwork is for illustration purposes only. If swallowed or lodged in ear or nose, promptly see doctor. Figures sold separately. Hold handrail. Read cautions on back. I’m a doctor, not a counterinsurgent. Rules subject to change. Elvis has left the building. Point away from people while opening. Endorsed by writers and professional hunters everywhere. Not a significant source of calories. Strawberry fields forever. Easy to clean vinyl lining. Will not craze most plastics. Easily slips beneath outerwear. Contains no squid. Shown actual size. Do not shake. When dry, brush lightly. Rubber ducky, you’re the one. The most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity. Vapors may cause flash fire. Second star to the right, and straight on till morning. If we succeed there will be many songs sung in our honor. The better our fantasies are, the better our realities can become. Think continually of those who were truly great. A decent boldness ever meets with friends. Risk—risk is our business; that’s what this starship is all about; that’s why we’re aboard her. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty! Resistance is futile. Assimilate this. Per aspera ad astra!

© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2021