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Monthly Archive for June, 2009

Ray Mason, boiler tender, looks over Wesleyan's new cogeneration unit housed inside Central Power Plant. CoGen went into operation in February and creates electricity, heat and steam for campus buildings.

Ray Mason, boiler tender, looks over Wesleyan’s new cogeneration unit housed inside Central Power Plant. The “CoGen” system went into operation in February and creates electricity, heat and steam for campus buildings.

It’s one mean, green machine and it’s saving Wesleyan up to $5,000 a day in energy costs.

Wesleyan’s new Cogeneration system – or CoGen, – uses natural gas to simultaneously generate electricity, heat and steam for university use. It began operation in February after an 18-month installation process.

“Buying electricity from the grid is expensive and non-efficient,” says Peter Staye, associate director of utilities management. “With CoGen, we are generating 81 percent of our own power. It should pay for itself in five years.”

CoGen operates similar to a vehicle with an extreme super-duty engine. The natural-gas fired, turbo-charged, four-stroke engine runs on 16 cylinders. Each cylinder is 5.8 liters. (A 2009 Ford F-150 has eight cylinders with a 4.6 liter engine.)

Made by General Electric in Austria, the 22,000-pound Jenbacher gas engine runs at 1,500 revolutions per minute. It powers a generator, which ultimately creates 2,398 kilowatts of electricity.

Staye offered a comparison of two recent electric bills side by side. In February 2008, Wesleyan consumed 1,558,687 kilowatt hours. In February 2009, with CoGen in operation, the usage dropped to 359,584 hours. Monthly electric bills have dropped from the $180,000 range to under $50,000.

“By generating our own power, we’re saving Wesleyan up to $5,000 a day in electricity costs,” Staye says.

This will be especially useful in the summer when Wesleyan uses an average of 65,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a day to power 90 buildings on campus.

CoGen not only generates electricity, but uses its “wasted” 800-degree heat to make steam and hot water for university use. High Rise residence hall and the Central Power Plant are heated with the thermal energy from the engines cooling system during the winter months and the campus steam loop receives 3,000 pounds of steam per hour year round from the energy in the engine’s exhaust.

CoGen generates 81 percent of Wesleyan's electricity needs. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

CoGen generates 81 percent of Wesleyan’s electricity needs. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

“Conventional power plants emit the heat created as a by-product in to the environment. We’re using a waste product from the engine to make our own steam,” Staye says.

Gary Yohe, the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics, is an expert on the potential damage of global climate change. He applauds Wesleyan for installing a cogeneration system.

“Wasting energy is never good for the planet so when CoGen works out, it’s good for the bottom line and great for the planet,” Yohe says. ”When you burn a ton of fossil fuel, you can waste 75 percent of the energy it makes. If but you have the ability to only waste 50 percent, that is reducing the carbon footprint by a third, and that is substantial.”

Like any vehicle engine, CoGen’s exhaust is toxic. It contains carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide. To reduce emissions from the engine’s combustion, the exhaust is mixed with a non-hazardous solution of urea, rich in ammonia. The mixture then enters a chamber full of honeycomb-patterned platinum plates and serves as a selective catalytic reactor.

As the exhaust passes through the reactor, a chemical reaction occurs that causes the emissions to break down.

“The nitrogen in the ammonia combines with nitrogen oxides in the exhaust and the resulting gas, now much cleaner, is a combination of nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor and carbon dioxide,” Staye explains. “The process works much the same way as a car’s catalytic converter, but on a much larger scale and with greater precision.”

Wesleyan is producing half of the permitted emissions allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“We’re still making Co2 but the rest of the exhaust stream is very clean,” Staye says.

CoGen cost $4.5 million to install, however a grant from the Connecticut Department of Public Utility supported $1.6 million of the bill. In return, Wesleyan runs the system 24/7 and has agreed to run CoGen from noon to 8 p.m. June 1 through Sept. 31 and Dec. 1 through Jan. 31 to help reduce loads on the regional electrical grid. CoGen’s annual maintenance bill runs about $250,000.

The Wesleyan University Board of Trustees affirmed the following appointments to the faculty, effective July 1, 2009:

Promotion with tenure:

Yuriy Kordonskiy

Yuriy Kordonskiy

Yuriy Kordonskiy, associate professor of theater, was appointed assistant professor at Wesleyan in 2002.

Previously he was visiting assistant professor at George Washington University. He has served as head of directing in the Theatermakers program at the O’Neill Theater Center, and was visiting artist at Columbia University in Spring 2007.

He teaches acting and directing, and has performed and directed internationally. His recent directed productions include Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, Galin’s Sorry, and Gogol’s The Marriage.

He holds an M.S. from Odessa State University, Ukraine, an M.F.A. in acting, and an additional M.F.A. in directing, both from the State Academy of Theatre Arts, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Timothy Ku

Timothy Ku

Timothy Ku, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, was appointed assistant professor at Wesleyan in 2003. Before coming to Wesleyan, he was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan. He has received grants from the Keck Geology Consortium and the Connecticut Institute for Water Resources.

His research area is biogeochemistry. As a low-temperature geochemist, he applies chemical methods, particularly the examination of the elemental and isotopic composition of gases, waters, and sediments, to better understand the biogeochemical process. His research is based in the field as well as the laboratory, with a primary interest in sedimentary geochemistry across soil, groundwater, lakes and coastal marine sediment. He has authored or co-authored several papers. His work is revising the field’s understanding of ion cycling in oceans and, more broadly, of oceanic sediments in the geological record.

He earned his B.S. cum laude in geology from the University of Rochester; his M.S. and Ph.D. are in geology from the University of Michigan.

Katherine Kuenzli

Katherine Kuenzli

Katherine Kuenzli, associate professor of art history, was appointed assistant professor at Wesleyan in 2002. She has worked in the department of prints at the Museum of Modern Art, at the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, and in the department of prints, photographs and drawings at the Yale University Art Gallery.

She specializes in modern European art history of the 19th and 20th centuries, concentrating on the Nabis, a group of French Symbolist painters most active and influential from 1890 to 1905, which included artists such as Maurice Denis, Édouard Villard, Pierre Bonnard and Paul Ranson. Her book, The Nabis and Intimate Modernism: Painting and the Decorative at the Fin-de-Siècle, is forthcoming from Ashgate, and her current project, Dionysian Modernism, 1900–1914, is a book-length study of how classicism became a vital and unorthodox idiom for modernist artists working in Germany in the first decades of the 20th century.

She earned her B.A. in the history of art cum laude with distinction in the major from Yale University; her M.A. and Ph.D. are in the history of art from the University of California, Berkeley.

Robert Lane

Robert Lane

Robert Lane, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, was appointed assistant professor at Wesleyan in 2002. Previously he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington’s Department of Molecular Biotechnology and at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s human biology division in Seattle. He has received a National Institute of Health training grant postdoctoral award, and an NIH grant to study pheromone receptor genomic evolution and gene regulation.

His research specializes in the evolutionary development and regulation of olfactory and vomeronasal (pheromone sensitive) receptors in mammals. In particular, he addresses the question of how differentiation occurs in the expression and regulation of large numbers of possible receptors and how this influences speciation in evolution. He is co-author of several peer-reviewed research articles.

He earned his B.A. in biology at Colgate University, and his Ph.D. in molecular biology at the California Institute of Technology.

Tenured appointments:
Ruth Nisse, associate professor of English, was previously associate professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and has taught at Duke University and Stanford University. She has been awarded the National Humanities Center Fellowship, the Stanford Humanities Center Fellowship, and the Huntington Library Fellowship, among many other honors.

Ruth Nisse

Ruth Nisse

Her teaching and research specializes in medieval literature, especially theater and exegesis, with a focus on relations among Jews, Muslims and Christians in the Middle Ages. She is author of Jacob’s Shipwreck: Diaspora in the Postbiblical Literature of the Jewish and Christian Middle Ages (forthcoming from Notre Dame University Press) and Defining Acts: Drama and the Politics of Interpretation in Late Medieval England (Notre Dame University Press, 2005).

She earned her B.A. magna cum laude from Columbia University, and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Michael S. Roth '78

Michael S. Roth '78

Michael Roth ’78, University Professor, became Wesleyan’s 16th president in 2007. Formerly, he was president of California College of the Arts, associate director of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, and Director of European Studies at Claremont Graduate University. He was also H.B. Professor of Humanities at Scripps College, where he founded and directed the Scripps College Humanities Institute.

Roth describes his scholarly interests as centered on “how people make sense of the past.” He has edited many volumes in intellectual and cultural history and is the author of four books: Psycho-Analysis as History: Negation and Freedom in Freud (Cornell University Press, 1987, 1995); Knowing and History: Appropriations of Hegel in Twentieth Century France (Cornell, 1988); The Ironist’s Cage: Trauma, Memory and the Construction of History (Columbia University Press, 1995), and Irresistible Decay: Ruins Reclaimed, with Clare Lyons and Charles Merewether (Getty Research Institute, 1997). His current book, Living with the Past, is in preparation for Columbia University Press.

He earned his B.A. from Wesleyan University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University.

The annual plant, Polygonum cespitosum, is becoming invasive in North America.

The annual plant, Polygonum cespitosum, is becoming invasive in North America.

For the next two years, researcher Silvia Matesanz of Segovia, Spain will be collaborating with Chair and Professor of Biology Sonia Sultan in her plant evolutionary ecology lab at Wesleyan. Matesanz was awarded the prestigious Marie Curie International Post-doctoral Fellowship from the European Commission. Matesanz, Sultan and biology BA/MA student Timothy Horgan-Kobelski ’09 will be studying an introduced annual plant called Polygonum cespitosum that is becoming invasive in North America.

The scientists are particularly interested in understanding the evolutionary dynamics of the plant’s spread. Sultan and her research group will provide Matesanz with evolutionary expertise, which will enhance her previous Ph.D. training in plant ecophysiology, or the physiological responses of plants to the environment.

A successful non-native plant such as Polygonum cespitosum can displace native species from areas into which it spreads, altering the functional properties of the local ecosystem and reducing biodiversity. A species with this kind of impact is considered to be invasive. Sultan and Matesanz wish to determine what characteristics of this species allow it to thrive in novel environments. Polygonum cespitosum was introduced to the United States from Asia at the beginning of the 20th century and has only recently become invasive.

Sonia Sultan

Sonia Sultan

“Many plants and animals are introduced into new regions but only a very small proportion of these become invasive,” Sultan said. “People are interested to know what it is about certain species that allow them to spread so successfully.”

Sultan said that most biologists agree that “individual plasticity” or flexibility is a common property among invasive species. For example, “a certain seed might develop into a functioning shade plant in the shade and a sun plant in the sun.” Sultan’s lab has been studying how New England Polygonum plants are rapidly evolving greater developmental plasticity for different habitats.

Matesanz stated that she was looking forward to focusing on the evolutionary aspects of plants, because she hadn’t explored that avenue of research as much during her PhD program at the Center of Environmental Sciences in Madrid.

“One purpose of these fellowships is for young scientists trained in Europe to increase their expertise by taking on project that use different approaches,” Sultan said.

Silvia Matesanz was awarded the prestigious Marie Curie International Post-doctoral Fellowship from the European Commission to conduct research at Wesleyan.

Silvia Matesanz was awarded the prestigious Marie Curie International Post-doctoral Fellowship from the European Commission to conduct research at Wesleyan.

Matesanz added, “I wanted to broaden my breadth of discipline. I wanted to come to a very top-notch lab and start doing different things. And, also, improve my English language.”

Sultan explained that the collaborative project is interdisciplinary because it uses Matesanz’s “expertise in understanding plant physiology combined with my expertise in thinking about the evolutionary process. So she brings a strength that I don’t have and we give her a strength that she doesn’t have yet,” she said.

The joint research project will involve greenhouse experiments, field studies, and microsatellite genetic analyses. The scientists will try to determine how the plants are evolving in New England by testing how plants from local populations of Polygonum develop and function in different controlled environments. By growing inbred plants of various genetic lines in contrasting conditions, Sultan and Matesanz can examine how plants with a given genetic makeup can respond to different environments.

“[Polygonum cespitosum’s] typical habitat in New England, which is similar to their habitat in their native Asian region, is shady paths and forests and also along shaded roadsides. Yet, we’re beginning to see them in open sites. They seem to be increasing their ecological range,” Sultan said.

Sultan and Matesanz expect to learn more about how the plants are evolving to tolerate sunny environments. In addition they will use molecular markers that reveal genetic differences at specific DNA sequences to track the spread and differentiation of the species in New England.

The team aim to publish several papers about their experiments and attend the Ecological Society of America conference to present their results.

Matesanz’s work in Sultan’s lab is part of the two-year outgoing phase of her fellowship. For the third year of her fellowship, she will return to Spain to complete the project in collaboration with her former PhD advisor, Fernando Valladares, at the Terrestrial Ecology group in Spain’s Institute of Natural Resources in Madrid.

Sultan said that another advantage of the Marie Curie International Post-doctoral Fellowship is that it encourages collaboration between labs in other countries.

More than 730 students received a Bachelor of Arts degree May 24. (Photo by Bill Burkhart)

More than 730 students received a Bachelor of Arts degree May 24. (Photo by Bill Burkhart)

Novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anna Quindlen P’07 did not apologize for her generation leaving the Class of 2009 with a failed economy, poor job market and uncertain housing market. Instead she charged the graduates with the opportunity to remold the nation and its spirit.

“On behalf of your elders and the entire country, I was expected to say I was sorry,” Quindlen said. “I’m not going to do that. I think, perhaps more than any generation in memory, all of you have an unparalleled opportunity to remake this nation so that it is stronger, smarter and makes more sense.”

Quindlen, a journalist and best-selling author who, until recently, wrote the “Last Word” column on the back page of Newsweek, shared her thoughts with more than 10,000 people during Wesleyan University’s 177th commencement ceremony May 24 on the Middletown, Conn. campus.

“If you become the first generation of Americans who genuinely see race and ethnicity as attributes, not stereotypes, will you not have done better? If you become the first generation of Americans with the clear understanding that gay men and lesbians are entitled to be full citizens of this country, will you not have done better? If you become the first generation of Americans who accord women full equality instead of grudging acceptance, will you not have done better,” Quindlen asked during her commencement address.

During the ceremony, 732 students received a Bachelor of Arts; 61 received a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies; two received a Certificate of Advanced Study; 31 received a Master of Arts; and 16 received a Doctor of Philosophy. Ten other students will receive a Bachelor of Arts upon completion.

In addition, Lisa Dierker, professor of psychology, and John Kirn, professor of biology, were conferred the honorary degree of Master of Arts ad eundem gradum. This degree is awarded to members of the faculty who are not graduates of Wesleyan at the bachelor’s level and who have attained the rank of full professor.

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth ’78 focused his remarks on the importance of public service and the influence of Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10, who was killed by a gunman May 6 while working in a café off campus.

In remembrance of Justin-Jinich, Roth asked the Wesleyan community to share their ideas and energy in the areas of health care, gun control and violence against women. Justin-Jinich had worked to improve pre-natal services for poor women.

“Around the country, violence against women remains a sad and frightening fact of life. The status quo is unacceptable,” Roth said. “Too often rape goes unpunished; too often stalking is belittled until it explodes as it did here two weeks ago, “These are crimes of violence, and we need you to help us find ways of giving women the protection of law …Now we alumni are counting on you to join us in helping to shape our culture, so that it will not be shaped by forces of oppression and violence.”

Roth also encouraged the graduates to continue with the extraordinary efforts they initiated as students at Wesleyan.

“I have no doubt that over the years you will often find that the status quo is unacceptable, and that you will then join with others to do something about it,” Roth said. “When this happens, you will feel the power and promise of your education. And we, your Wesleyan family, are proud of how you keep your education alive by making it effective in the world.”

Ravid Chowdhury ’09, president of the Wesleyan Senior Class, said he is exhilarated to join a proud tradition of Wesleyan alumni who stay true to their values of social justice and civic responsibility. He applauded students in the Class of 2009 for beginning an ecotourism company to spread environmental awareness, for starting a prison program dedicated to breaking institutional barriers and for founding a non-profit organization to promote diabetes awareness.

“Wesleyan students have heart. We are not afraid to speak out. If anyone is prepared to face this [world's] mess and create a new way forward it is us,” Chowdhury said. “We came to this school four years ago with a bundle of ideals, beliefs and hopes. That Wesleyan state of mind has developed further in our time here together.”

Quindlen, whose son, Christopher Krovatin ’07, also is a novelist, became an official member of Wesleyan’s class of 2009 when she received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the university.

Azim Premji P ’99 received a Doctor of Humane Letters during the ceremony.

Azim Premji P ’99 received a Doctor of Humane Letters during the ceremony.

Jennifer J. Alexander ’88 and Mark Masselli, and Azim Premji P ’99 also were awarded degrees of Doctor of Humane Letters during the ceremony.

Alexander and Masselli were honored for being “tremendous supporters” of the Middletown and Wesleyan communities. Premji, who was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time Magazine, was honored for establishing an organization dedicated to providing quality primary education for children in India.

Molecular biologist Dr. Laurence H. Kedes ’59 and former director of the Center for Disease Control Dr. David J. Sencer ’46 each received an honorary Bachelor of Arts degree.

The Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Douglas C. Foyle, the Douglas J. and Midge Bowen Bennet Associate Professor of Government; Irina M. Russu, professor of chemistry; and John Seamon, professor of psychology, professor of neuroscience and behavior.

Roth concluded his speech citing examples of students making contributions to the larger community around us.

“Wes students have been making a positive difference,” he said. “As scholars and artists, as scientists and as writers, you set an example – you take a stand against complacency, against the acceptance of the way things are as if that is the way they have to be.”

How Movies and TV Get Made."

Joss Whedon '87, Academy Award-nominated and Hugo Award-winning writer, a director, an executive producer, was the keynote speaker at the 2009 Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns. The three-day seminar focused on "Defining American Culture: How Movies and TV Get Made."

Whedon spoke to members of the audience following his talk May 30. He was the writer, director, and executive producer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly. His latest creative project is the new TV series Dollhouse.

Whedon spoke to members of the audience following his talk May 30. He was the writer, director, and executive producer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly. His latest creative project is the new TV series Dollhouse.

Pictured in center, Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, curator of the Wesleyan Cinema Archives, chair of the Film Studies Department, was the Shasha Seminar's facilitator.

Pictured in center, Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, curator of the Wesleyan Cinema Archives, chair of the Film Studies Department, was the Shasha Seminar's facilitator.

Wheadon and Basinger spoke to Shasha Seminar attendees and Wesleyan students at a pre-address dinner May 30. (Photos by Bill Burkhart, university photographer)

Whedon and Basinger spoke to Shasha Seminar attendees and Wesleyan students at a pre-address dinner May 30. (Photos by Bill Burkhart, university photographer)

Other presenters at the Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns included author Mark Harris; Mark I. Bomback ’93, screenwriter, whose credits include Race to Witch Mountain, Live Free or Die Hard, and Deception; Miguel Arteta, film and television director of Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl, Six Feet Under and Youth in Revolt.

Also Liz Garcia ’99, producer, editor and writer of Cold Case; Evan Katz ’83, screenwriter and the executive producer of the television series 24; David Kendall ’79, director of several television series, including Jonas, Hannah Montana and Growing Pains; Dan Shotz ’99, producer, editor and writer, Jericho, and the new show Harper’s Island; Matthew Greenfield ’90, vice president of production, Fox Searchlight Pictures; Dylan Leiner ’93, executive vice president, acquisitions and production, Sony Pictures Classics; Jason Zolov ’94, market researcher at Home Box Office and Jeffrey S. Lane ’76, five-time Emmy Award-winner and television writer of Mad About You and Cagney and Lacy.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, right, presented Chair of the Board of Trustees Jim Dresser '63 with a homeplate during a ceremony May 21 in Daniel Family Commons, commemorating the dedication of  Wesleyan's baseball field as "Dresser Diamond." Pictured at left is former Wesleyan President Doug Bennet.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, right, presented Chair of the Board of Trustees Jim Dresser '63 with a home plate during a ceremony May 21 in Daniel Family Commons, commemorating the dedication of Wesleyan's baseball field as "Dresser Diamond." Pictured at left is former Wesleyan President Doug Bennet '59.

(more…)

Douglas Foyle, Irina Russu and John Seamon were honored with the 2009 Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching May 24.

The Binswanger Prize was inaugurated in 1993 as an institutional recognition of outstanding faculty members. Prize recipients are chosen by a selection committee of emeriti and current faculty members and members of the Alumni Association’s Executive Committee.

Douglas Foyle

Douglas Foyle

Douglas Foyle, the Douglas J. and Midge Bowen Bennet Associate Professor of Government, joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1998, after serving as a postdoctoral fellow in international relations at the Mershon Center for the Study of International Security at Ohio State University. He holds a Ph.D., as well as a master’s degree, in political science from Duke University. He earned an A.B. in political science from Stanford University.

Professor Foyle’s research interests include elections and foreign policy, public opinion and foreign policy, and national security affairs. He has taught a wide range of government courses from Introduction to International Politics and United States Foreign Policy to International Security in a Changing World and Foreign Policy at the Movies.

Professor Foyle is the author of Counting the Public In: Presidents, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy, as well as a book manuscript in progress titled Politics Beyond the Water’s Edge: The Electoral Incentive and American Foreign Policy Decision Making. He also is the author of numerous book chapters and articles, appearing in such publications (more…)

A new 1,500-ton centrifugal chiller in the Central Power Plant uses half the electricity as the one it replaced. The chiller replacement is one reason that Association of Energy Engineers awarded Wesleyan the 2009 Region I Energy Project of the Year Award.

A new 1,500-ton centrifugal chiller in the Central Power Plant uses half the electricity as the one it replaced. The chiller replacement is one reason that Association of Energy Engineers awarded Wesleyan the 2009 Region I Energy Project of the Year Award.

Peter Staye, associate director of utilities, points to the ceiling of the Bacon Field House. About 140 high-tech light fixtures span the width of the dome-roofed gymnasium.

“These are special lights for high ceilings,” he says. “There’s 24 fewer fixtures here than there used to be, and it’s just as bright. If we used florescent fixtures, we’d need 240 of them.”

The new, 350-watt, high-intensity discharge bulbs have replaced the older, 400-watt bulbs, and use 373,000 fewer kilowatt hours per year. They’re also programmed to turn on in zones, and change luminosity throughout the day based on a newly-installed ambient light sensor.

The field house lighting project is one reason Wesleyan was awarded the Association of Energy Engineers 2009 Region I Energy Project of the Year Award. The award will be presented Nov. 3 in Washington D.C.

Wesleyan’s Energy Conservation Project Phase I plan also includes lighting fixture replacements and sensor additions in the Freeman Athletic Center’s basketball court, (more…)

Patti Klecha-Porter, head coach of field hockey, assistant women's squash coach, director of the Wesleyan Adult Fitness Program, will be umpiring during the World Cup women's lacrosse championships in Prague, Czech Republic. (Photo by Bill Welsh)

Patti Klecha-Porter, head coach of field hockey, assistant women's squash coach, director of the Wesleyan Adult Fitness Program, will be umpiring during the World Cup women's lacrosse championships in Prague, Czech Republic. (Photo by Bill Welsh)

By Brian Katten, sports information director

Q: We understand that you will be umpiring during the World Cup women’s lacrosse championships in Prague, Czech Republic in June. How did this opportunity come about?

A: The World Cup is every four years. I have been at the last two World Cups representing the U.S. as an umpire in 2001 and 2005. U.S. umpires must apply and are ranked within our country. The number-one ranked umpire is an automatic umpire for the World Cup. This year, that’s me. Each country submits their candidates. A committee of IFL (International Federation Lacrosse) makes the final decision.

Q: How long have you been umpiring women’s lacrosse? Where and how did your interest start?

A: After playing collegiate field hockey and lacrosse (at Ithaca College) I joined a lacrosse club called Hampshire. We played on Sundays and umpired our own games. I have been umpiring since 1985, received my district rating (college umpiring) in 1987, my national rating in 1991 and my International rating in 1997.

Q: You have done numerous NCAA tournament games, including this year’s NCAA Division III championship between Franklin & Marshall and Salisbury. Can you identify some of your more memorable experiences as an umpire?

A: I have been very fortunate to umpire some incredible games. The most memorable games have been the contests that are played so tightly. Everything is there – speed, power, quickness, precision passing, tight defense, and the match up of players is right on. These games leave everyone on an incredible emotion after the contest. I have seen them at all levels, high school, college and international.

Q: You were a very successful two-sport athlete at Ithaca College, you have been head coach of field hockey at Wesleyan since 1985 and you umpire women’s lacrosse. Can you describe how you derive satisfaction from the different venues?

A: I love to compete. As a coach I can see the hard work players put in at practice to compete as a whole. There success is due to the effort and concentration it takes to win. I thrive on improvement from our players and see them use their skills under pressure wisely. My role as a coach is to prepare our team for the contest, make practice more difficult than a game, rehearse special plays. On game day, I like to play to our teams strengths and find our opponents weakness. Nothing is better then calling a corner play and the team executes it to perfection. I also want our players to respect the game, play with passion and play all out.

When I umpire I appreciate the athlete who is strong, balanced, skilled and respectful of the rules. When I umpire I enjoy the run, the ability to anticipate where the pass is going next, where I can go to get in the best position to call the game. Just like coaching I analyze every game and go over it to improve for the next game.

I hold a level II field hockey rating (collegiate) and push our players to be knowledgeable about the rules. In both areas I push our athletes to consider coaching and umpiring!

Q: You also coordinate local umpiring of girls high-school lacrosse, don’t you? Please tell us about your activity in that area?

A: I am the Chair for the CWLOA and I am in charge of the umpires in Connecticut. I teach new umpires, refresh veteran umpires and then train advance umpires for collegiate level. I serve as the rule interpreter for Conn.

Q: You have three children and a husband who works in the West Hartford school district. Tell us a little about them. Do they ever get to make these international excursions with you?

A: I can not thank my family enough. I have been so fortunate to be able to umpire in the off season. Sometimes we have taken a family trip in which I am dropped off to umpire for the day, the family meets up with me later, and off we go to a night event. In Canada the family went to the zoo all day, I umpired and then we went to the Toronto Blue Jays game at night.

Our oldest Nathan is attending Ithaca College, majoring in physics and is into Triathlalons. Andrew a junior in high school and plays baseball. Our daughter Logan is an eighth grader. She enjoys softball. My husband Scott is the music director at Conard High School and has taken several tours with his jazz band. We share tour ideas, and fundraising. We all look forward to the summer for family time.

Q: With so much going on in your life around athletics, do you have time for any hobbies? If so, what attracts your attention?

A: I do enjoy gardening and bass fishing. Growing up on a dairy farm that still is in operation today I tend to still see if I can throw the bales of hay, pick fruit and milk! The country life recharges me every visit.

The Green Street Arts Center on Fox 61 News.

The Green Street Arts Center on Fox 61 News.

Fox 61 News featured Green Street’s AfterSchool Program within the segment “Fox Focus” with Susan Christensen. The newscast was broadcast May 18. The piece featured the Green Street students’ and teaching artists’ work. The report is online here.

Diane Kischell will miss playing with the children at NPS.

Diane Kischell will miss playing with the children at NPS.

For 25 years, Diane Kischell has cared for the children of dozens of Wesleyan employees and Middletown community members.

This month, Kischell, director and head teacher at the Wesleyan-affiliated Neighborhood Preschool (NPS), is retiring. She started at NPS in 1983.

“Diane’s teaching, mentorship and commitment have guided the Neighborhood Preschool, fostering a school where children can be themselves and where they develop a firm foundation of self-esteem and communication skills that sustain them as they grow,” says Suzanna Tamminen, director of Wesleyan University Press and mother of Hugh Barrett NPS ’07, Fiona Barrett NPS ’08 and Silas Barrett NPS ’12.

Ana Perez-Girones, adjunct professor of romance languages and literatures, left her daughter, Hanna Westby NPS ’06, in Kischell’s care for four years. Perez-Girones admired that Kischell would sit on the floor with the children, making herself approachable, while providing direction.

“What I loved about Diane’s approach to the kids was that it was so no-nonsense. She was direct, firm but not harsh, and she talked to the children as respectable people, young but smart,” Perez-Girones says. “Hanna was truly happy and secure there, and that place felt like home. If only every kid could go to daycare at a place like NPS, and with someone like Diane.”

Tamminen says she and fellow parents have relied on Kischell’s good nature, deep knowledge and steadfast practicality. Through her teaching and her extraordinary leadership at NPS, Kischell has made a profound difference in the lives of many families in the local community.

Kischell looks forward to spending more time with her own family, especially her new grandson, and to exploring new hobbies. Her favorite activity has been and remains playing with children.

Jody Viswanathan, library assistant in World Music Archives, put her child, Kerey NPS ’92 in the care of Kischell in 1989. They’ve remained close friends ever since. Viswanathan admires Kischell as both a gifted teacher and as a specialist in early childhood development.

“Beneath that wonderful, unassuming, unaffected person who gets right down on the floor with the kids is a tremendously insightful,intuitive, well-trained, well-read, incredibly astute person,” Viswanathan says. “There’s only one Diane — and being the one and only, she’s an unbelievably hard act to follow.”

A potluck retirement party will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, June 12 at 115 High Street. Letters also can be written to Diane c/o NPS, 115 High Street, Middletown, CT 06457.

Willard Walker

Willard Walker

Willard B. Walker, professor of anthropology emeritus, died May 23 in Skowhegan, Maine. He was 82 years old.

Walker was one of the mainstays of the Anthropology Department for more than two decades. He came to Wesleyan in 1966 as an assistant professor, where he and Dave McAllester established anthropology as a department. A specialist in Native American languages and cultures, Walker taught courses on the ethnography of the southwest, the southeast, and the northeast and he also single-handedly maintained a curricular focus on linguistic anthropology.

His research interests ranged from Zuni phonology and semantics to the cryptographic use of Choctaw, Comanche and Navajo by the U.S. military in World War II. He was a dedicated fieldworker whose projects had applied as well as theoretical aspects. He was particularly interested in native literacy movements and their reception in different communities. He compared the embrace of literacy in the native language among Cherokee to the notable resistance such movements encountered among the Zuni and the Pasamoquoddy of Maine.

In the latter case, he participated in designing the writing system and taught native literacy classes, which proved highly popular and yet singularly ineffective; specifically, he found that while the Pasamoquoddy enjoyed seeing their language graphically represented, they mistrusted native literacy as a constraint on oral creativity and thus a threat to the vitality of their cultural heritage.

After Walker retired from Wesleyan in 1989, he and his wife Perch moved to Canaan, Maine, where he continued to do research and to write, while also tending his beloved trees.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent in Walker’s memory to the Canaan Public Library Building Fund, P.O. Box 28, Canaan, ME 04924 or to the Somerset Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 453, Skowhegan, ME 04976.

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