Potash Hill

Magnanimity Cum Laude

Flushed with Pride

When the Marlboro Gardens dorm (pictured right) was scheduled for renovation to house student interest groups, alumni parents Jim and Joyce Lande had one very basic question: “What about plumbing?” The parents of Josh Lande ’08, Jim and Joyce were pleased to learn that the renovation would indeed include bathrooms, and supported the effort with a generous contribution. Remarkably, it is the third bathroom upgrade on campus they have cheerfully sponsored over the years.

“When we went up for Josh’s graduation, he lamented that the school was spending money on stuff that looked good, instead of plumbing,” says Jim, referring to a fancy new door in the campus center. “He described plumbing as a continuing problem.” When the college renovated Howland in 2011, Jim and Joyce eagerly offered to help fund bathroom improvements (Marlboro Record, Fall 2011).

“The school was very nice to put up a plaque in the renovated bathroom in honor of my son,” says Jim, a retired economist who now likes to “fool with anything that makes noise or a mess.” Last year he and Joyce helped support renovations to the bathroom in the campus center, commemorated with another plaque. “One good thing leads to another, and we have now been able to support three projects that include an element of bathroom renovation.”

Josh Lande studied physics and computer science at Marlboro, with a Plan of Concentration that included the creation of software to analyze X-ray diffraction data. According to his parents, Josh applied to Marlboro because he wanted to be responsible for his own education. He went on to get his doctorate in astrophysics from Stanford, and now works as a data scientist at Twitter.

Incidentally, Josh’s grandfather was Ellsworth Mason, who taught English literature at Marlboro in the early 1950s. These were very lean years for the college, and Ellsworth once wrote a letter describing some of the hardships (Potash Hill, Summer 2001). But he added, “The students I had at Marlboro were better than those I had taught for two years at Williams. Just as bright and more motivated.” He did not mention the plumbing, but his family is confident that Ellsworth, who died in 2013, would approve of the renovations.