PROFESSOR AND STUDENTS EMPOWER FAMILIES LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS
Professor Susan Taylor-Brown reaches out to people living with HIV/AIDS, rather than dying from it. The School of Social Work faculty member is involved in several research projects as well as a unique family camping experience for families affected by the disease." In 1986 I read a newspaper article about a judge who was deciding whether he should return a child who was HIV-positive to his family or keep him in foster care," Taylor-Brown says. "The judge felt the parents shouldn't have him because they were both HIV-positive. I became an advocate for returning the boy to his family and have been involved in the HIV field ever since."
Taylor-Brown focuses her research on the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and children, including helping families with affected parents make appropriate guardianship arrangements for their children. Two years ago her commitment grew even stronger when she became involved with actor Paul Newman's Double "H" Camp on Lake Luzerne, New York, after hearing about the camp from one of her students, Robyn Jones '97. The camp is one of several facilities serving children whose medical conditions prevent them from attending conventional camps.
Jones, now a graduate student at the University of Maryland, spent two summers at Camp Double "H", and thought Taylor-Brown's leadership and teaching skills would be assets to the program. In 1997, Jones helped Taylor-Brown organize a family camp weekend called Family Unity, during which family members affected by HIV/AIDS could be together. "We accommodate 75 people, with children ranging from newborns to teenagers," Taylor-Brown says. "It's an opportunity to not worry about anything for a weekend."
Taylor-Brown recruits social work alumni as well as undergraduate and graduate students to volunteer with Family Unity. "They are central to my doing this," she says. "They serve as staff and counselors, and get as much out of it as the families."
Elsbeth Ruder '00 also played an important role in getting Family Unity establisheddoing everything from coordinating student volunteers to writing the Family Unity newsletter. Her involvement proved to be a tremendous learning experience. "You learn facts and statistics in the classroom, but you don't fully comprehend those things until you come face to face with the issues," she says.
The impact Family Unity has on the families and on students motivates Taylor-Brown. "What keeps me going forward is seeing the potential people have and helping create environments in which they can blossom," she says. "I can't think of anything more rewarding."
CAROL NORTH SCHMUCKLER and WENDY S. LAUGHLIN
OUTGOING DIRECTOR WILL DEVOTE MORE TIME TO COMPOSITION AND THE CLASSROOM
Visitors to Dan Godfrey's office may notice the black piano by the door. But they would probably be surprised to learn that, as director of the School of Music, Godfrey rarely has a chance to tickle those ivories.
School of Music professor Dan Godfrey enjoys sharing his composing experiences with students.
This year, Godfrey has commissions to write three new compositions in addition to his administrative and teaching responsibilities at Crouse College. Months of juggling a full-time administrative schedule with the creative demands of writing music have taken their toll. "I often write into the wee hours of the morning, then get up at 6," Godfrey says. "It wears one out over time."
Reluctantly, Godfrey decided to step down as director this summer, so he can devote more time to composition. "For me, as a composer, this has been a banner year," he says. "But it takes time and mental space to take advantage of those opportunities."
Godfrey will resume a full teaching schedule this fall while completing his compositions. In October, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra will premiere a work he finished earlier this year, commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition. By December, Godfrey will complete his String Quartet No. 3, commissioned by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation at the Library of Congress. He will also wrap up a wind ensemble piece for the "Big Ten" University Band Directors Association. Godfrey says these commissions are particularly auspicious, because each one offers different challenges. "I wouldn't dream of not following through on any of these," he says.
Godfrey came to SU in 1983, first teaching and also chairing the composition department. He assumed directorship of the School of Music in 1997. He has a deep affection for the school and the close-knit music community it serves. "The school offers students a small, intensely focused program with the resources of a broadly varied university environment," Godfrey explains.
He says it is as important for music professors to be thoroughly involved in the performance and composition of music as in teaching. At the School of Music, recently renamed the Setnor School of Music, that spirit is shared by the faculty.
Godfrey looks forward to spending more time in class this fall and sharing his experiences as a composer with more students. "When I enter the classroom, I'm a musician again," he says with a gentle, if tired, smile.
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