Monthly Archives: January 2009

NEA Grants Support Wesleyan Press, CFA

The Wesleyan University Press and the Center for the Arts have received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants in December 2008.

Wesleyan University Press received a $35,000 grant to help publish the work of the following poets: Kazim Ali, Rae Armantrout, Adrian Blevins, Kamau Brathwaite, Brenda Hillman, Ed Roberson, Afzal Ahmed Syed, Roberto Tejada and Tan Lin.

The Center for the Arts received $10,000 grant to help fund the “Breaking Ground Dance Series and DanceMasters Weekend.

Roth in Huffington Post on Service and Education

On the eve of President Barack Obama’s inauguration, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth has written a new blog entry on the Huffington Post that addresses the call to service Mr. Obama championed while on campus in May, during the latter parts of his campaign, and more recently as he worked through his transition from candidate to president. President Roth echoes these thoughts in his latest posting to his own blog as well.

The New Yorker Cites Lim on ‘The Speech’

The book, The Anti-Intellectual Presidency by Elvin Lim, assistant professor of government, is cited extensively in the January 12, 2009 issue of The New Yorker. The article, which discusses President-elect Obama’s upcoming inaugural speech and the overall dilution of presidential speech-writing, cites Lim’s work extensively, and includes these passages:

“Lim dates the institutionalization of the anti-intellectual Presidency to 1969, when Nixon established the Writing and Research Department, the first White House speechwriting office. There had been speechwriters before, but they were usually also policy advisers. With Nixon’s Administration was born a class of professionals whose sole job was to write the President’s speeches, and who have been rewarded, in the main, for the amount of applause their prose could generate. Of F.D.R.’s speeches, only about one a year was interrupted for applause (and no one  when he said that fear is all we have to fear). Bill Clinton’s last State of the Union address was interrupted a hundred and twenty times.”

and

“Lim interviewed forty-two current and former White House speechwriters. But much of his analysis rests on running inaugurals and other Presidential messages through something called the Flesch Readability Test, a formula involving the average number of words in a sentence and the average number of syllables per word. Flesch scores, when indexed to grade levels, rate the New York Times at college level; Newsweek at high school; and comic books at fifth grade. Between 1789 and 2005, the Flesch scores of Inaugural Addresses descended from a college reading level to about an eighth-grade one. Lim takes this to mean that Inaugural Addresses are getting stupider.”

The full article can be seen here (for New Yorker subscribers only).

Mangini ’94 Named Head Coach of Cleveland Browns

Eric Mangini ’94 was introduced as the new head coach of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. Mangini, who had finished the season as coach of the New York Jets was scooped up by the Browns just nine days after he left the Jets. Michael Arce of the Columbus Dispatch lauds Mangini’s roots here at Wesleyan and in Connecticut. More coverage, including clips from Mangini’s press conference and Mangini talking about his start in professional football can be found here.

Men Hand #5 Amherst Season’s First Basketball Loss

In dramatic fashion, the Wesleyan Men’s Basketball Team gave NESCAC rival and nationally-ranked #5 Amherst its first loss of the season with a buzzer-beating, last-second shot from 30 feet away by Jeremy Kaminer ’10. Channel 30 reported the news and offers a video highlight provided by Wesleyan’s Athletic Department. The January 6th win was the Men’s first against Amherst’s basketball team since 2001.

Bennet ’87 Nominated For U.S. Senate

Michael Bennet ’87 has been nominated by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter to replace Ken Salazar in The United States Senate. Currently the Public School Superintendent in Denver, Bennet has also served as deputy U.S. Attorney General under former President Bill Clinton. Salazar has been nominated by President-elect Obama to be Secretary of the Interior and Bennet would become Colorado’s junior senator once Salazar’s nomination is confirmed. More about Michael Bennett can be found in his official biography. Additional news coverage on Bennet’s nomination includes The Washington Post and The New York Times, among others.

Roth Discusses Maisel’s ‘Library of Dust’

Wesleyan University President Michael S. Roth comments in The Los Angeles Times on David Maisel’s new book, Library of Dust. The book, which The Times calls a ‘haunting memorial,’ contains series of photographic images that ‘depict canisters containing the cremated remains of the unclaimed dead from an Oregon psychiatric hospital.’ Some of the canisters date from the 19th Century and their exteriors have undergone tremendous change through chemical interactions and aging throughout the decades. President Roth also contributed an essay to the book.

Kuivila, Chernoff on ‘Feet to the Fire’ Project

Ron Kuivila, chair of music, and Barry Chernoff, professor of biology and Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, were featured on WNPR recently regarding a musical installation called “The Weather at Six” which is part of the Feet to the Fire project.  The Weather at Six uses the Wesleyan carillon for’ a sonic interpretation of the weather of the last 130 years and is designed to get people to think about global warming.’