WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — You know fall's around the corner when the inevitable lists of the best schools start appearing. And, inevitably, the Williams College is on them.
This month, Williams' selection as one of the "New Ivies" by college-rater Unigo.com comes on the heel's of its top ranking as America's best college by Forbes Magazine.
The private liberal arts institution, and the second-oldest college in the state after Harvard, has been a perennial top-lister in various "best of" lists, including U.S. News and World Report's annual rankings. Forbes ranked Williams as No. 4 last year; this year, it popped to the top, beating out archrival Amherst at No. 3.
Forbes ranks colleges on academics and students' experiences and achievements. Unigo.com's rankings are similar and it gleans all of its information directly from students. The site offers information to help collegebound students choose the right school. The list of "The New Ivies" is among the site's "10 for 10" that includes ranking for the 10 safest, best party, most intellectual and sports.
The information culled from some 30,000 respondents placed Williams among the New Ivies with Duke and Johns Hopkins for its low student-instructor ratio, communal atmosphere and emphasis on academic experience over grades.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A Williams College junior was killed when he and other students in the college's Williams-Exeter Programme were caught in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps on Sunday.
According to a letter to the Williams community by President Adam Falk, 20-year-old Henry Lo of Franklin Square, N.Y., fell to his death and his classmate Amy Nolan of Williamstown, also a junior, suffered a blow to her head while hiking near Kandersteg, south of the capital Bern.
While walking yesterday, they were hit by an avalanche of snow, ice, and rocks. Henry Lo ’11 was swept to his death, and Amy Nolan ’11 suffered a blow to her head. Swiss rescuers responded quickly, retrieving Henry's body and taking Amy by helicopter to a hospital in Bern. We're told that she never lost consciousness. She was operated on yesterday, and the student who was allowed to visit her today reports that she was talking and smiling. Her parents, Cathy and Jim Nolan, professor of sociology, are now there with her.
There were five other Williams students and two Oxford University students in the party. No one else was injured and the rest of the students were taken back to Oxford, where the program is based. Lo was a math and religion major whom his classmates described as gregarious, hard working, competitive and fun loving.
"At this profoundly sad moment our hearts are first with Henry's family for their sudden and devastating loss," wrote Falk. "No plans have yet been set for any services."
The Swiss Avalanche Institute says an average two dozen people die each year in avalanches there.
Williams College abruptly canceled a return visit by the Congressional Black Caucus on Friday, just days after discovering its organizer was in hot water in Washington.
Visiting political science professor Bernard Moore turns out to be Ernest B. Moore, whose trail of fraud goes back nearly a quarter century. He admitted Tuesday in federal court of taking more than $800,000 over the past five years in credit card and student aid fraud. Moore had 90 (!) fake credit cards.
The Williams Record did a terrific job of digging into Moore's past here. Moore, who came across as a personable sort when we talked to him last year, apparently has real academic degrees - just under fake names.
Moore's been teaching in the political science and African Studies programs for two years and was instrumental in bringing the Congressional Black Caucus to Williams last year. The roundtable discussion packed Chapin Hall; Gov. Deval Patrick was there as well.
In an e-mail sent early Friday afternoon, the college's public affairs office said:
"The symposium with members of the Congressional Black Caucus scheduled for Monday, Nov. 16, has had to be postponed. The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the College will reschedule a similar event on campus in the near future."
Moore's been suspended indefinitely (his bio is still posted here) and faces up to 41 months in prison when he's sentenced in February.
Update 11/16/2009: The Ephblog has also been digging into Moore's past and the current situation at Williams, where posters say his names been removed from his office door but that the rules in the faculty handbook say he may still be getting paid under the current suspension.
One poster on the Ephblog also says pictures of Moore are scarce as hen's teeth. We've posted a portrait shot and here's one of him with Jim Brown taken recently by our eagle-eyed photographer Paul Guillotte:
Update 11/17/2009: Professor Moore was fired effective Monday, Nov. 16, according to a letter to the Williams community. Interim President William Wagner said their was no evidence Moore had serioulsy misused college resources.