Monthly Archives: October 2009

John Andrus ’33 Turns 100

John Andrus '33 celebrated his 100th birthday Sept. 19 in Wayzata, Minn. Andrus received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Wesleyan at his 50th Class Reunion in 1983. As an undergraduate, Andrus was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, the Paint and Powder Club, and the Inter-fraternity Council. He majored in English and English literature.

Long-time Wesleyan supporter John Andrus '33 celebrated his 100th birthday Sept. 19 in Wayzata, Minn. Andrus, who donated several prints to the Davison Art Collection, received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Wesleyan at his 50th Class Reunion in 1983. As an undergraduate, Andrus was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, the Paint and Powder Club, and the Inter-fraternity Council. He majored in English and English literature. Andrus's granddaughter, Megan Haynes Kelly ’06, attended the celebration.

John Andus gets a birthday hug from Edith Thorpe, a co-director of the Surdna Foundation.  The Surdna Foundation, founded by the Andrus family, was created in memory of John Andrus's grandfather, John E. Andrus '1862. The John E. Andrus Center for Public Affairs, otherwise known as the Public Affairs Center or simply the PAC, is funded by the Surdna Foundation.

John Andrus gets a birthday hug from Edith Thorpe, a co-director of the Surdna Foundation in New York, N.Y. The Surdna Foundation, founded by the Andrus family, was created in memory of John Andrus's grandfather, John E. Andrus '1862. The John E. Andrus Center for Public Affairs, otherwise known as the Public Affairs Center or simply the PAC, is funded by the Surdna Foundation. John Andrus is chairman emeritus of the foundation, which provides support for the care of the sick and elderly, medical research, and higher education.

(Photos courtesy of Megan Kelly ’06)

Mergendoller ’11 Challenges Facebook’s Alcohol Advertising Policies

Jacob Mergendoller '11 discovered that Facebook profiles may contain a great deal of alcohol content and are accessible by anyone, regardless of age.

Jacob Mergendoller '11 discovered that Facebook profiles may contain a great deal of alcohol content and are accessible by anyone, regardless of age.

Jacob Mergendoller ’11 is changing the way Facebook markets alcohol on the social networking site.

In a research article titled “Alcohol Promotion on Facebook,” published in The Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice, Mergendoller and co-authors Sarah Mart and Michele Simon explain how the social networking site Facebook changed its advertising policies and regulations from not offering online advertising to soliciting paid advertisements for products and services including alcohol products.

“There are a number of loopholes in Facebook’s enforcement of their own alcohol advertising policy,” Mergendoller says. “There are some age restrictions on the alcohol content on Facebook (meaning inaccessible to minors), but there is also a strong presence of alcohol advertisements in different forms which can be accessed by anyone.”

For the report, Mergendoller explored the prevalence of alcohol-related content found in popular aspects of Facebook profiles and identified aspects of Facebook that contain a great deal of alcohol content and are accessible by anyone, regardless of age.

Psychology major Mergendoller wrote the article during a summer internship at the Marin Institute, an organization which fights to protect the public

Gil-Ordóñez’s DVD Featured in Classical Music Magazine

thecityAngel Gil-Ordóñez, director of private lessons, chamber music and ensembles, adjunct professor of music and Wesleyan Orchestra and Wesleyan Concert Choir music director, is mentioned in the October 2009 issue of Gramophone, the world’s leading classical music magazine.

Gil-Ordóñez directed the Washington D.C.-based Post-Classical Ensemble, which performed a newly-recorded soundtrack to Aaron Copland’s 1939 documentary film, The City.

The article says, “In what can only be called a spectacular improvement from the original monaural recording (which is included on the DVD as an extra), the newly performed score showcases every aspect of Copland’s Americana style, from majestic splendor accompanying wide-angle shots to an almost minimalist pulse of customers eating at busy lunch counters, to heart-rending looks at the urban poor. It was this masterful treatment that led to Copland’s successful run in Hollywood in films such as Our Town and The Red Pony. Anyone who is a fan of that music will surely not want to miss the full soundtrack of The City.”

The City, released by Naxos, is online at http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=2.110231.

Grad student Bennum Honored by Petroleum Geologists

Earth and environmental sciences graduate student George Bennum ’08 received an honorable mention for his student research poster titled “3D Modeling of Synsedimentary Faults in the Capitan Reef, Guadalupe Mountains, NM/TX” at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists “Rocky Mountain Rendezvous of Geoscience Students and Employers.” Phil Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, is Bennum’s advisor.

Blakemore ’65 Speaks on Psychologies of Global Warming

Bill Blakemore '65, an ABC News Correspondent, will speak on "The Many Psychologies of Global Warming," during a talk at 8 p.m. Nov. 3 in Memorial Chapel.

Bill Blakemore '65, an ABC News Correspondent, will speak on "The Many Psychologies of Global Warming," during a talk at 8 p.m. Nov. 3 in Memorial Chapel.

Four weeks before the nations meet in Copenhagen to try to avert the catastrophes that global warming may bring, ABC News Correspondent William Blakemore ’65 will identify many surprising psychological factors at play as people in all walks of life deal with the latest “hard news” on climate.

Blakemore will speak on “The Many Psychologies of Global Warming,” during a talk at 8 p.m. Nov. 3 in Memorial Chapel.

He’ll explore new definitions of sanity that may pertain, and give examples displaying different “psychologies, as well as manmade global warming’s place in “the long history of narcissistic insults to humanity itself.”

Two new time-line graphs of rapid and dangerous climate change will give fresh global context to the psychological challenges and experiences he has observed in the five years since he began focusing on global warming for ABC News.

Computer modelers trying to project the speed and severity of global warming’s advance often say that “the biggest unknown” in their equations is not data about ice or atmosphere, carbon or clouds, but “what the humans will do.” This talk probes that field and many states of mind already engaged.

The talk is sponsored by the Wasch Center for Retired Faculty, Department of Psychology, and the Robert Schumann Lecture Series in the Environmental Studies Program.

A follow-up discussion will be held at 4 p.m. Nov. 4 in the Wasch Center on Lawn Ave.

Freshwater Resources Topic of Where On Earth Are We Going Symposium

Patrick Osborne

Patrick Osborne, executive director of the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, will speak on climate change during the Where on Earth Are We Going symposium Nov. 7.

During the last 50 years, humans have degraded rivers and lakes through excessive water abstraction, pollution and by over-harvesting aquatic organisms. River flow has been impeded by dams, and floodplains have been converted for agriculture and urban areas.

The human population has doubled to nearly 7 billion and, per capita water availability has declined on all continents. During the past 50 years, global climate change has further impacted water resources.

On Nov. 7, three climate experts will speak on “Global Environmental Change And Freshwater Resources: Hope For The Best Or Change To Prepare For The Worst?” during the annual Where On Earth Are We Going? Symposium. The event is sponsored by the Robert Schumann Lecture Series in the Environmental Studies Program.

At 9 a.m., Patrick L. Osborne, executive director of the Harris World Ecology Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, will look at ways climate change and global warming have altered river and lake function and the water resources on which humans rely. He has 30 years experience in tropical ecology research, education and environmental consultancy and was the head of the biology department at the University of Papua New Guinea and deputy director of the Water Research Center at the University of Western Sydney in Australia.

At 10:15 a.m., Frank H. McCormick, program manager of Air, Water and Aquatic Environments at the Rocky Mountain Research Station,

5 Questions with…Mary Alice Haddad

Mary Alice Haddad says that the election of the Democratic Party of Japan, and more particularly the relegation of the long-dominant Liberal Democratic Party to opposition status, promises to shake up long-standing political patterns in that country.

Mary Alice Haddad says that the election of the Democratic Party of Japan, and more particularly the relegation of the long-dominant Liberal Democratic Party to opposition status, promises to shake up long-standing political patterns in that country. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

The candidate for issue’s “5 Questions with…” is Mary Alice Haddad, assistant professor of government, assistant professor of East Asian studies. She provides some insight into the recent, dramatic change in the Japanese government.

Q: What are your primary areas of study and research?

MAH: My primary area of research has been on civil society and democracy with a focus on Japan. I am beginning a new research project on environmental politics in East Asia. I am particularly interested in the ways that local politics around environmental issues can lead toward greater citizen participation in democratic as well as nondemocratic countries.

Q: How did you become interested in these areas?

MAH: I have been fascinated by the differences in the ways that Japanese and Americans experience democracy in different ways in their local communities and what that means for our broader understandings of democracy and democratic development.

Q: How significant are the recent changes in the Japanese government?

MAH: Extremely significant. Japanese politics has been undergoing profound transformation over the past two decades, and the election of the

Nussenbaum ’12 Takes the Hot Seat on Millionaire

Max Nussenbaum '12 was a contestant on the Oct. 7-8 episodes of  <em>Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?</em>  He answered nine of the 15 questions correctly and walked away with $15,000.

Max Nussenbaum '12 was a contestant on the Oct. 7-8 episodes of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? He answered nine of the 15 questions correctly and walked away with $15,000.

Under beaming spotlights and surrounded by video cameras and an audience holding their breath in anticipation, Max Nussenbaum ’12 pondered a single question: “What is the one-word title of the 2009 book whose subtitle is “A History of the Propitious Esculent“?

A. Nitrogen, B. Penicillin, C. Potato or D. Gold.

“Obviously I have no idea … I feel like it would be something kind of funny, like a potato. That would be a clever title to a book,” said Nussenbaum during a recent episode of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

After using two “lifelines” on the popular television quiz show, Nussenbaum, of Newtown, Mass., went with his gut: “C. Potato. Final answer.”

“He got it right! Max took a big chance, a big, big chance. He’s is the top dog right now,” shouted show host Meredith Vieira. “You’re a gambler and boy did it pay off.”

YouTube Preview ImageTrivia buff Nussenbaum, an undeclared major exploring degree options in English and government, received $15,000 in total prize money from answering nine of the 15 questions correctly. His show was taped on Sept. 6 and aired Oct. 7 and 8.

Nussenbaum confidently buzzed through the game’s first four questions on Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Wacky Wafers alarm clocks, the expression “kit and caboodle,” and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium. He won $5,000 after using the ask-the-audience lifeline, on

Östör, Sousa ’03 Screen Films Oct. 29

The 35-minute film, Songs of a Sorrowful Man, will be screened at 5 p.m. Oct. 29 in the Powell Family Cinema inside the Center for Film Studies.

The 35-minute film, Songs of a Sorrowful Man, will be screened at 5 p.m. Oct. 29 in the Powell Family Cinema inside the Center for Film Studies.

A film directed by Ákos Östör, professor of anthropology, emeritus, and edited by film major Joe Sousa ’03, explores the life of a painter, composer and singer living in West Bengal, India.

The 35-minute film, Songs of a Sorrowful Man, was screened Oct. 29 in the Powell Family Cinema inside the Center for Film Studies.

The “sorrowful man,” Dukhushyam Chitrakar is a charismatic figure who encourages women to take up the traditional craft of scroll painting and musical composition pursued almost exclusively by men before.

In a series of edited sequences, the film chronicles Dukhushyam’s vision of the decline and rebirth of his art; his tolerant Sufi Muslim spirituality; his engagement with Hindus, Muslims and the modern world; his encyclopedic knowledge of changing musical and painting histories and techniques; the influence of his beliefs on his way of life, and his teachings for future generations of painters and singers in his community.

Joe Sousa '03 and Matt Sienkiewicz '03 directed and produced <em>Live: from Bethlehem</em>.

Joe Sousa '03 and Matt Sienkiewicz '03 directed and produced Live: from Bethlehem.

Another film, directed and produced by Sousa and Matt Sienkiewicz ’03 producer/director was shown after Songs of a Sorrowful Man. Live: from Bethlehem, is a feature documentary and online video source that tells the story of how journalists from the Ma’an Network have declared independence from hate-filled propaganda and are revolutionizing media in the Palestinian Territories.

The film chronicles the struggles, failures and triumphs of the network, the only major independent news source in the Palestinian Territories. Following the lives of the station’s reporters, producers and photographers, the documentary provides an in-depth, balanced look into the challenges of making news in one of the world’s most combative regions.

Östör and Sousa discussed their films following the screenings.

Bruce Directs Bill of Rights in Historic Pequot Chapel

Neely Bruce, professor of music, directed The Mitchell College Singers & Friends Oct. 20 in New London, Conn. The Mitchell College Singers performed The Bill of Rights: Ten Amendments in Eight Motets, one of the more notable musical works created within Connecticut in the past decade. This unique program was presented in New London’s historic Pequot Chapel. Prior to the concert, Bruce spoke on “Why I Set the Bill of Rights to Music,” and led a recitation of the Preamble to the Bill of Rights.

This was the fourth complete performance of The Bill of Rights. The song’s premiere was at Wesleyan in 2005. More information on Bruce and the Bill of Rights event are posted in the Oct. 8 edition of the Wesleyan Connection, online here.

Kottos, Ng ’08 Authors of Paper on Ultra-Cold Atoms

Tsampikos Kottos, assistant professor of physics, and physics and mathematics major Gim Seng Ng ’08 are co-authors of “Avalanches of Bose-Einstein condensates in leaking optical lattices,” published in New Journal of Physics, 11, 073045 in 2009. The paper is about novel properties of Bose-Einstein condensates (ultra-cold atoms) in open systems. This project constituted a large part of Ng’s senior honors thesis in physics.

Wesleyan University Press Publication Nominated for a National Book Award

Wesleyan University Press published the award-winning book.

Wesleyan University Press published the award-winning book.

A book published by Wesleyan University Press is a 2009 National Book Award Finalist in the poetry category.

Versed, by Rae Armantrout, offers readers an expanded view of the arc of the author’s writing. The poems in the first section, “Versed,” play with vice and versa, the perversity of human consciousness. They flirt with error and delusion, skating on a thin ice that inevitably cracks. In the second section, “Dark Matter,” the invisible and unknowable are confronted directly as Armantrout’s experience with cancer marks these poems with a new austerity shot through with her signature wit and stark unsentimental thinking.

Together, the poems of Versed part us from our assumptions about reality, revealing the gaps and fissures in our emotional and linguistic constructs, showing us ourselves where we are most exposed.

Rae Armantrout is a professor of writing and literature at the University of California, San Diego.