PSS Spring '09 - The Houghton House Renaissance


Is it our beautiful campus nestled on the shores of Seneca Lake? Our commitment to an interdisciplinary curriculum that leads to a lifetime of intellectual agility? Is it our remarkable alums whose accomplishments astound?

Can it be found on the athletic fields? That feeling in the pit of your stomach before the big game? Cheering on your favorite team?

Is it our dedicated staff? Or our gifted faculty scholars who pour their hearts into the classroom? The remarkable abroad programs? Is it our commitment to service?

Why do we come back, year after year, decade after decade, to revisit the past and forge a new future…

Because we're highly receptive to Bold, Brilliant ideas

A few things devised, inspired, invented or produced by HWS grads, professors, presidents and students: the silicon transistor, Super Glue, bone marrow transplant protocols, the exploration of Mars, the C.I.A., Cornell University, the U.S. Weather Bureau, Blue Oyster Cult, the Iron Brigade, the lyric essay, U.S. currency, Saga, the giant sauropod dinosaur Paralititan stromeri, "The Cosby Show," "The Color Purple" and "Slaughterhouse Five."


After graduating with a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, Matt Lamanna '97 became the assistant curator of vertebrate paleontology at Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Matt Lamanna '97

"When I was a kid, triceratops was my favorite dinosaur. Now I prefer the ones that I get to discover."

Paleontologist Matt Lamanna has traveled the world uncovering ancient fossils and long dead species. In the Sahara Dessert, his team uncovered one of the largest animals ever to walk the earth - the giant sauropod dinosaur Paralititan stromeri. The discovery of this longnecked plant eater, with a length of 80-plus feet and weighing in at nearly 50 tons, was hailed as one of the most significant paleontological finds of recent history.


The Late Professor of English Deborah Tall

"I'm basically a poet. But I am very interested in experimental nonfiction."

In 1993, the late Professor of English Deborah Tall and John D'Agata '95 created what is now known as the lyric essay. Not quite a poem and not quite an essay, the lyric essay combines elements of both genres and completely revolutionized creative nonfiction writing. The pair co-edited the Colleges' national literary journal, The Seneca Review, which became known for pioneering literature. Currently helmed by Tall's husband, Professor of English David Weiss, the journal continues to publish some of the world's most innovative and experimental writing.

Super Glue

Harry Coover '41


"Everything I was working with stuck to everything else. It was just a big pain."

While attempting to make clear plastic gun sights and investigating heat resistant polymers, Harry Coover '41 twice discovered the unique adhesive that's now known as Super Glue. Used as a human tissue adhesive, the discovery transformed medicine and is today used in a variety of procedures, including sutureless surgeries and repairing soft organs. All told, Coover holds 460 patents and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002, joining the ranks of inventors like Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.



Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.