Small School Becomes a Colossus of Rhodes

Compiled by Beth Ann Krier.

There are only 32 Rhodes Scholars chosen each year, so it was quite a distinction when one of them (Paul Schulz, an economics major) was chosen from a college rather than a university, and a small one (800 students) at that. But this year, Claremont McKenna College has not one but three students who have won scholarships to Oxford University--and all of them are from Arizona.

Michele Walsh, a psychology major who completed Claremont's four-year program in three years, won one of 30 Marshall Scholar-ships granted nationally to study at Oxford. And Laura May, a sophomore, is one of 53 Truman Scholars who also will be studying at the British university.

"There were only two California institutions that had Rhodes Scholars this year--Claremont McKenna and Stanford," said Robert Daseler, director of public affairs for Claremont McKenna College. "And there were only nine institutions in the United States that had both Rhodes and Marshall Scholars this year: Cornell University, Duke University, Harvard University, Michigan State University, Princeton University, Stanford University, Wesleyan University, Yale University and Claremont McKenna College, the smallest and youngest institution on that list."

High Flying Aerobie

Meanwhile, a Stanford University instructor who teaches the engineering of sensors has invented what the university bills as "the longest flying thrown object."

Alan Adler, a Silicon Valley consultant and inventor, has come up with "the Aerobie," an object that resembles two small Hula Hoops, stacked one atop the other and attached a few inches apart.

The Aerobie holds the world's record for distance flight by a thrown, heavier-than-air object. It has been sailed 1,046 feet, 11 inches (by Scott Zimmerman at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 12) or roughly the distance of three football fields. The Guinness Book of World Records is expected to list the accomplishment as the record in its next edition.

Though the average person cannot be expected to throw an Aerobie as far as Zimmerman did, Adler maintains that the typical thrower can throw the Aerobie three times farther than a Frisbee. But even though he's just gone into business to market the Aerobie through his own firm, Superflight Inc. of Palo Alto, Adler says he isn't really thinking about competing with the Frisbee.

"I don't like to look at it that way myself," he said. "It's not my intention to threaten the Frisbee. It's my intention to create a new market. The Frisbee is an institution."

Once Upon a Telephone

Too bleary-eyed to read the kids a bedtime story? Have all the storybooks mysteriously vanished? Or do you simply need a break from any duties you can possibly escape today?

Hold on, a surrogate storyteller is now as close as your telephone. By dialing (213) 976-3131 (for which your phone will be charged 55 cents plus any applicable tolls), your child can hear a one-minute story. The stories are changed twice a day, with a 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. program produced especially for 3- to 6-year-olds and the second program designed for 6-year-olds on up.

The programs, produced by Gayle Mills for San Francisco's Megaphone Co., sometimes include appearances by Mills' 10-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son playing various characters.

"I write many of the stories myself," said Mills, who also performs them. "In a minute it's difficult to get into a complex story line. What I often try to do is take themes I've come across in fairy tales and translate them into other stories, the theme, for instance, of a very small person dealing with a very large world. That theme is from Thumbelina."

A credentialed high school English teacher, Mills spent a number of years as a substitute teacher in the San Rafael School District, where her husband is a high school English department chairman and teacher. Recently, however, since she began producing the "Children's Story" telephone service, Mills has only had time to work as a "guest teacher" for a high school English honors class. As she described the students' assignment, "I had them write radio scripts."

The "Children's Story" is available in seven cities in addition to Los Angeles: San Francisco, Sacramento, Atlanta, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Seattle and Birmingham.

A True Story

Those Were the Days Dept.: Recently, True Boardman, a Los Angeles City College graduate of 1932, was listed among "Distinguished Alumni" by the California Assn. of Community Colleges. A writer for radio, television and film, Boardman is currently the chairman of the documentary committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

While at LACC, Boardman was president of his class in 1931 and 1932 and as a member of the college's forensic team, he had the distinction of having won every forensics contest he entered.

But his days at LACC may be best remembered for a distinction of an entirely different nature. In 1931, when Boardman and three other debaters on the forensics team were sent to a national debate contest in Parsons, Kan., they decided to save the college some money by buying a car to drive back in instead of returning by train.

They purchased a used car (a 1916 Dodge touring car) for $35, a sum less than train or bus expenses would have cost the four. They then drove the car back to Los Angeles from Kansas. As Boardman recalled, "We had quite a few adventures on the road. We arrived in a New Mexico town at 4 one morning, discovered a building on fire and called the fire department to put it out. Although the roads weren't too bad, we changed tires or patched them up three times. We drove day and night for five days."

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