Men's college basketball video

For The Temple News, the college newspaper for which I work, I filmed yesterday’s men’s basketball game between Temple University and crosstown Big 5 rival St. Joseph’s.  A friend and colleague, Sean Blanda, edited it. The quality is less than stellar because of some technicalities – this was our paper’s first foray into adding video to our Web site – but check it out. Temple lost on a buzzer beater.

The professor and the sexpert

hill_m.jpgTemple University’s resident public intellectual, Marc Lamont Hill, who can be seen a whole lot answering the tough and less tough questions on cable news has a (relatively) widely read blog.The reason your sex life sucks? Because you aren’t reading it.

Hill, either the most well known academic this school boasts or the prof who dabbles in pop culture so much that this school hides him, offers his Web site as a forum for Timaree, a former college sex columnist and current Widener University grad student. It is typical shock fare, but sometimes it gets too good to not mention.

Like one from last week, about a question I didn’t entirely understand on a type of intercourse I thought I knew everything about. Yeah, I know, you really ought to check it out here. But, trust me, it’s (verbally?) graphic.

Campus unknown named next dean of Japan campus

By Christopher Wink | Jan. 22, 2008 | The Temple News

Bruce Stronach was named the next dean of Temple University-Japan on Jan. 10, to replace the retiring dean, Kirk R. Patterson. Stronach will officially join TUJ on Feb. 1 but will not assume the role of dean until April 1.

An interim dean has not been named.

Currently, Stronach, a campus outsider with an academic career that spans three decades and two continents, is transitioning from his term as president of Yokohama City University, where he has been since 2004.

“I am very happy to have been selected as dean,” wrote Stronach in an email from Japan. “I am very much looking forward to working with everyone on the Temple team in Philadelphia, Tokyo, and elsewhere around the world.”

Stronach is accomplished, having been the first foreign president of a Japanese public university when he was first hired as president of YCU, a mid-sized school of 4,500 in a city of 3.5 million some 20 miles south of Tokyo.

Prior to that appointment, Stronach had been acting president at Becker College in Worcester, M.A. since 2003 and its chief operating officer before then since 1998. From 1990 to 1997, he held faculty and administrative positions at the Graduate School of International Relations at the International University of Japan in Niigata, eventually serving as the school’s dean beginning in 1994. Stronach also has held faculty appointments at Merrimack College in North Andover, M.A, and at Keio University in Tokyo.

Indeed, Stronach, 57, is the accomplished academic to his former competition, 37-year-old attorney Matthew J. Wilson, TUJ’s current chief legal counsel and the only other candidate to be named a finalist by the university’s search advisory committee.

Wilson had been a frequent de facto acting dean when Patterson was away on leave, most recently in the interim between Patterson’s TUJ departure Dec. 17 and Stronach’s appointment, according to some at the campus. However, some university sources said Wilson’s exact role was unclear.

No official announcement regarding an interim dean was named between Patterson’s official exit Dec. 31 and Stronach’s official entrance Feb. 1. TUJ’s semester began on Jan. 14, according to Stephanie Gillin, chief of staff to University Provost Lisa Staiano-Coico, who, with President Ann Weaver Hart, made the final decision on Patterson’s successor.

There had been some question to the delay in the decision to nominate Stronach, a longtime friend of Patterson’s. Official comment on the timing of the announcement has not been made.

“I am just beginning to absorb all the pressures of the transition and to bring myself up to speed on matters pertaining to both the home campus and the Tokyo campus,” wrote Stronach in the same email from Saturday.

He has not spoken to what, if anything, his friendship with Patterson, who was not active in the selection of his replacement, might mean for his plans and goals.

Patterson, who served from 2002 to 2007 and announced his retirement on Aug. 27, will likely be remembered for a tenure highlighted by unprecedented growth, though marred with late coming criticism of his leadership style, which some suggested was too controlling. Sources, including TUJ administrators and faculty, who afforded this characterization would not speak on the record but additionally praised the fiscal successes Patterson led.

“My successor will inherit an institution that is very optimistic,” wrote Patterson in an email from early December. “TUJ is becoming a first in the world model for international education.”

The man Stronach beat out, Wilson, had a leading role in the Patterson administration. He noted during interviews on Main Campus in November that his direct experience with TUJ was a prize advantage in his quest to become dean.

“I won’t have an on-the-job learning period,” he said while on Main Campus in November.

Despite watching an outside leapfrog him for the chief spot he coveted, Wilson intoned his intentions to stay on with his role at the branch campus.

“I am excited that Dr. Bruce Stronach has agreed to join the Temple family,” he wrote in an email to The Temple News from Tokyo on the day of the announcement. “[I] look forward to working with him in my capacities as Associate Dean and General Counsel.”

Wilson, who is narrow, blonde and noted for his boyish features, rapidly ascended through administrative ranks during a four and a half year TUJ career.

Wilson was taken on as a professor of law at TUJ in April 2003 and began what has been a startling ascension. Just two months later he was named the law program’s director. Then, a little over a year later, he was installed both as TUJ’s chief legal counsel and associate dean. Those positions, which he still holds, were coupled with a semester as director of TUJ’s undergraduate program last spring. If he had been appointed, he would have been the youngest dean in that campus’s history.

But he wasn’t and, where Wilson’s rise through Temple administrative ranks has been heralded, Stronach’s youth was less direct. His first attempt at college failed.

“You should be committed to your education because I wasn’t,” he told The Temple News in a November interview on Main Campus.

Young Stronach grew up on a small farm in Massachusetts and first left home for Boston College in the late 1960s. The football player who got caught up in the anti-war movement struggled to find a desire for academics, so he left in 1970. The next three years of his life were spent working as a truck driver and in various manufacturing capacities.

“The first half of my life was spent in factories, on trucks,” he said in the same interview. “So, I think I have a pretty good idea what the real world is like.”

Stronach has two daughters, one of whom currently attends Wake Forest University, another is a student at a high school outside of Boston.

In speaking with The Temple News, Stronach expressed an interest in further developing TUJ’s image as a permanent fixture of higher education in Japan and working on partnerships with other Japanese universities.

“I want TUJ to become more of a Japanese institution,” he said in November, while still just a candidate for the position. “Not just the extension campus of Temple University.”

Still, he admitted not knowing much about the daily operations of TUJ.

“I don’t know all that much about TUJ,” he said. “But I think that is more of an asset than a deficit.”


The Temple News originally misreported when Stronach will officially become dean. He will join TUJ on Feb. 1, but won’t become dean until April 1 as changed on Jan. 23 at 6:21 p.m.

This story was prepared for the 1/22/2008 edition of The Temple News. See it here. This is a follow-up in continued coverage of this story. See the original on this Web site here.

A publishing meeting

banner2_top.gifToday, I briefly met with a representative from Temple University Press, set up by a professor-friend of mine.

I had forwarded two query letters to the rep, one on a collection of writing I had done while in Japan, another regarding my desire to compare the lives of a handful of North Philadelphia residents whom I had come to know through my coverage of the community for The Temple News.

He was kind and offered a great deal of insight into the publishing a world, a place I have long wanted to visit but never understood how to arrive. That said, I have no reason to believe the publisher was a place to shop my two ideas for published work.

He did suggest I write a full chapter of my suggested Japan manuscript and have him give it a read. It can only be considered a small step in the direction of a career in writing.

Nearby Francisville is led by a man with a past

By Christopher Wink | Sept. 25, 2007 | The Temple News

In June 1968, two months after his death, the Francisville community of North Philadelphia named what they boast to be the world’s first monument for Martin Lutherwink-christopher.jpg King, Jr.

In June 1968, Fred Sneed, who now works for Temple University’s facilities management, was a member of the Morocco’s, a dangerous part of a growing gang community in Philadelphia.

It has made all the difference.


Sneed was born in South Philadelphia in early 1954. He lived with his grandmother, either five or 5 million miles away from his mother in North Philadelphia, depending on whether you were trying to get there by car or by hope. He started young, giving a gun to a friend who killed a rival not long after Franciscville’s monument to peace went up. A boy needs to be with his mother, they said. So, Sneed moved north and transferred to Ben Franklin. He ran with a fast crowd based around 18th and Ridge.

Continue reading Nearby Francisville is led by a man with a past

Boxing legend and son fight different type of foe

By Christopher Wink | Oct. 16, 2007 | The Temple News

Marvis Frazier has always had to live up to expectations.

He was the boxing son of a boxing legend. Names carry a lot of weight. Sometimes even enough to crush a heavyweight boxer with big hands and big plans. It might have been nothing more than God and a humble self-awareness that has allowed him to thrive in a different mission.wink-christopher.jpg wink.jpgwink.jpg


“Joe Frazier’s name means something to people,” Marvis said of his father and former heavyweight champion.

Indeed, it is a name everyone knows, though perhaps not everyone can place. Joe Frazier once formed what is easily one of the greatest rivalries in the history of sport. The three bouts Frazier had with Muhammad Ali in the 1970s are regularly touted as some of the finest in boxing history.

He may be the most perfect face of Philadelphia. He is legendary and historic and immortalized. He is stubborn. He is criticized. He is tormented by ghosts.

Continue reading Boxing legend and son fight different type of foe

A week in Italy and its cities

Friday, March 2 to March 10, 2007

I spent about a week in a few Italian cities, unfortunately, my luggage was lost, so I was without my camera for most of the trip.  I flew in and out from Rome, was based in Florence and made day trips to Pisa, Sienna and Venice.

Here are some photos I took from Venice, in addition to others pilfered to fill in the gaps.