Faculty & Staff

Progress | June 2009

June 2009

By Larry Pena, student writer

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Photo: Lloyd near Mayrhoven, Austria.

His face takes on a faraway look, and I can hear the awe in his voice when he talks about hiking the Alps. "I love the fact that in the summer the hills are green," he says, and the way he says "green," slowly, reverently, suggests that emeralds can't compare with where he's been.

It's an annual pilgrimage for Lloyd Best, chair of the department of mathematics, physics, and computer science. By November he's bought his plane tickets ("frequent flier miles are a great asset to this process," he says) and booked hotel stays in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, or Northern Italy. And then comes the long wait until June, when he can slough off the burdens of academia and find himself lost among the most dramatic vistas of Europe.

Lloyd had never been much of a hiker, he says, before he had his first Alpine experience. "I would go out and enjoy hiking now and then, just as much as anybody else," he tells me in his office. Then came the summer when he and his wife, visiting some friends on a military base in Germany, took a day trip by car up into the mountains. Next it was a trip across Switzerland and down into Italy. That first taste had him hooked. "It was just like, 'Ok, I've just gotta come back,'" he says. "And every year since then I've found a way."

He usually sticks to a simple plan: Book a room in some Swiss or Austrian or German hamlet, spend a week or so exploring as many local trails on foot as possible, and then move on to another valley. He tries to stick to moderate trails that don't require special equipment or Olympic training, although he has occasionally found himself on a precarious crag after taking a wrong turn. And as often as possible he uses local transportation-like those long European mountain trains that run from village to village, and off-season ski lifts that run to the really prime high-altitude trails.

Lloyd spends some time getting to know the villages that serve as his staging areas-places with names like Lauterbrunnen, Mayrhofen, and Salzburg. He enjoys the adventure of trying to get around in a new place that speaks a different language. "I know a few words in German, but I'm afraid to use them because when I do people start speaking back to me as if I understand what they're saying," he chuckles. "This one time a two-hour hike turned into a six-hour hike because the, oh, twenty-letter word in German on the sign was different in one or two small letters, and I didn't notice."

But his favorite part of the adventure comes from a place untouched by the hands and words of men. "I just love being out in nature," he says, reverent again. "I love the scenery; I love the solitude and the peace. And the challenge, when you're going someplace that you haven't gone before and you have several miles to go, and there are lots of new surprises and adventures around the corners of the trail."

Lloyd is only weeks away from his next adventure. On June 25 he heads for his favorite mountain village in Austria, to hike again among the mountains that keep feeding is soul year after year. "Plan on going someday," he tells me, but at this point I don't need any convincing. I was sold when he said "green."

Colleagues & Departments

Biology
Brian Wong authored the article "Chinese Medicinal Herb Scutellaria barbata Modulates Apoptosis and Cell Survival in Murine and Human Prostate Cancer Cells and Tumor Development in TRAMP Mice," which was published in the Journal of Cancer Prevention in May. Biology major Dinh Nguyen was the second author.

Communication
Contract teacher Julie Ann Kodmur, a Napa Valley publicity and marketing consultant, is teaching Promotional Writing for the Media and brought in special speakers in April and May including author Jon Dodge, marketer and former fashion journalist Heidi Godoff, and (via Skype at the library) Wall Street Journal reporter Julia Flynn Siler. They've also had field trips and sessions with directors of marketing and communications at Meadowood and Napa Valley Vintners and with the owners of Woodhouse Chocolate.

English
Mei Ann Teo directed a special sneak preview of Bryonn Bain's one-man show LYRICS FROM LOCKDOWN in NYC at the Gallatin Theatre at NYU on May 4, and brought the show to San Francisco for a brief two-night sell-out run at the Climate Theater. She received a Theatre Bay Area CA$H Grant for her work on this project.

Music
Lynn Wheeler recently served as chair of two accreditation teams for the National Association of Schools of Music, evaluating music programs for the University of South Carolina at Aiken and Bethany College in Lyndsborg, Kansas. "During the visit to Bethany College it was great getting to work with a team member, Dr. Peter Cooper, from Southern Adventist University," Lynn reports.

Physics
Vola Andrianarijaona and some of our physics and biophysics major went to the Advanced Light Source located at UC Berkeley this quarter.

Psychology & Social Work
On May 2, Greg Schneider, alumnus Zach Dunn, and alumna Elisabeth Reeves teamed up to bring to life by way of readers' theater an historical dialogue among the founders of St. Helena Hospital: Dr. Merritt G. Kellogg (Greg), William A. Pratt (Zach),and Ellen G. White (Elisabeth). The occasion was the hospital's "Vineyard Mission Day," an event that welcomed the new SHHC CEO and that aimed to remind hospital personnel of the heritage and mission of their institution. "It was a pleasure to be of use to our colleagues at the hospital, and especially a pleasure for the Red Books veterans to work together again," says Greg.