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


Cornelia Strong College

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Friday, 3 September 1999 | Per aspera ad astra | Newsletter No. 155


The Spectacular Star Party!

The first Strong College Star Party this past week was a stellar success! Our wonderful telescope performed sparklingly thanks to the ministrations of Prof. Steve Danford. Hordes of people were there, and we saw wondrous things: the Andromeda galaxy, a globular cluster, a planetary nebula, Jupiter with its Galilean moons, and Saturn with its rings (this was perhaps the biggest hit of all). Cornelia Strong, who was the first person to teach astronomy on our campus many years ago, is surely smiling on us today. Star parties will take place on the first Wednesday night of each month at 10:00 p.m., weather permitting, so don’t miss all the rest of them during the year ahead. Any students with a serious interest in learning to use the telescope are welcome to talk to Dr. O’Hara, who will let them work with it at other times as well. We also have a camera and a set of photographic attachments for students who would like to learn to do astrophotography.

Senior Tutor’s Awards at Tea

The Senior Tutor’s Awards for Academic Achievement are given each semester to those undergraduates who received a grade point average of 3.75 or above for the previous term. This semester’s Senior Tutor’s Awards will be presented this week at Tea to a record 68 recipients! (All their names will appear next week.) Be sure to come to Tea to congratulate the winners (and to see who you should be studying with to win an award next semester)!

Croquet is Coming!

The Fifth Annual Strong College Croquet Tournament is coming on Sunday, September 19th, at 1:00 p.m. That is the University’s Family Weekend, so we hope all Strong College members will bring their families to campus and join the fun! Don’t know how to play croquet? No problem: we will teach you. Don’t want to play? No problem: there will be plenty of food and fun on the sidelines for all the spectators. The College Council will be planning the details of the Tournament in the next two weeks, so come to the Wednesday evening Council meeting to help out! The Croquet Tournament is one of the big events of the year—if you miss it, your grandchildren will never forgive you, so mark your calendar today!

Phone Home

Strong College’s astronomical enterprises continue computationally this semester also. We have just begun to participate in the University of California’s SETI@Home project which uses computers all around the world to analyze data from the Arecibo radio telescope. (If you saw the movie Contact, you’ve seen Arecibo.) This project is interesting not only for its astronomical potential, but as an exercise in the field of distributed computing, something all our computer science students should investigate. If you have a computer of your own, you can participate in the SETI@Home project and join the Strong College team! (We are already in the top 20% of all participants.) Just follow the link to the SETI@Home project on the Strong College website, and read the details.

Strong-L is for You!

Strong-L is the email chatting group for members of Strong College, and you should be on it, especially if you are one of our new members! There is a sign-up sheet on the door outside the College Office—just put your name and email address on the sheet and soon you will become one with the matrix.

Ad Astra

Our own Dr. Caldwell just donated an economics text and an entertaining treatise on imponderables to the Strong College Library. Thank you!

And speaking of Library donations, C.J. Heidel also just donated two books to the Library. Thank you again!

And speaking still more of Library donations, Ms. Cherry, our north housekeeper, donated a book to the Library that had belonged to her father, Ernest Burwell. A beautiful set of china that Mr. Burwell collected is also on display in the Senior Common Room. Thank you, Ms. Cherry!

On the College Office door you can see what we have now learned about the family history of Prof. Cornelia Strong, our namesake. Her parents were from South Carolina, and her father was a Presbyterian minister in the town of Walhalla, South Carolina. Her father, Rev. Hugh Strong, wrote a long poem about his college classmates who died in the Civil War, and we are in the process of making the poem available on the Strong College website. If you would like to help do more genealogical work on the family of Prof. Strong, just speak to Dr. O’Hara.


The Strong College Poem-of-the-Week appears in this space every week. This week’s poem, for all Strong College watchers of the skies, is from Kenneth Rexroth’s “On What Planet” (1940):

Uniformly over the whole countryside
The warm air flows imperceptibly seaward;
The autumn haze drifts in deep bands
Over the pale water;
White egrets stand in the blue marshes;
Tamalpais, Diablo, St. Helena
Float in the air.
Watching the spectacular sunset,
Climbing on the cliffs of Hunter’s Hill
We look out over fifty miles of sinuous
Interpenetration of mountains and sea.

All day I have been watching a new climber,
A young girl with ash blond hair
And gentle confident eyes.
She climbs slowly, precisely,
With unwasted grace.
While I am coiling the ropes,
She turns to me and says, quietly,
“It must be very beautiful, the sunset,
On Saturn, with the rings and all the moons.”


6 September (Monday), 9:00 p.m., Committee Room (230) — Monday Nights at the Lemurodeon! (Free movies!)

7 September (Tuesday), 4:30 p.m., Junior Common Room — College Tea! It’s the social event of the College week.

7 September (Tuesday), 5:45 p.m., Dinner at Spencers — After Tea, come join the Strong College crowd for dinner at Spencers. Freshmen without declining balance can get take-out at the Caf and bring it over to Spencers.

8 September (Wednesday), 8:00 p.m., Committee Room — Strong College Council meeting. Everyone is invited!

8 September (Wednesday), 9:00 p.m., Star Chamber (362) — Star Trek: Voyager! Join us in the Delta Quadrant.

9 September (Thursday), 9:00 p.m., Committee Room — Blue Lemur Coffee Bar! Come and get caffeinated!

10 September (Friday), 12:00 noon, Strong College section of the Caf — Fellows’ Lunch; students are welcome!

OFFICIAL DISCLAIMERS: Nothing here is official. Please don’t sue us. Warning, you may suffer physical and/or mental injury from participating in these activities. Face up, chip first. See, if I had children, they would probably try to overthrow my empire. Overexposure may result in nausea, headache, confusion, and instability. I thrive on menial labor. This does not represent the official policy of Horace the one-eyed squirrel, Aaarrg the one-eyed lemur, Jeremiah the one-eyed frog, or Louis the one-eyed koala. Some people just don’t appreciate genius. Must stay with clothes after 8:30 p.m. Edibility not known. From contented cows. Even my plastic plants die. Don’t let that quiet, fuzzy demeanor fool you. If this works out, you may be able to live in a glass ball on Mars. Promptly refrigerate unused portion. Color swirls are a natural occurrence. Not for Passover use. Stuffed with polyester fiber. I name almost everything. If you experience eye watering, headaches, or dizziness, increase fresh air or wear respiratory protection. The better our fantasies are, the better our realities can become. Second star to the right, and straight on till morning. If we succeed there will be many songs sung in our honor. A decent boldness ever meets with friends. Think continually of those who were truly great. Risk—risk is our business; that’s what this starship is all about; that’s why we’re aboard her. Per aspera ad astra!

© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2021