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Monthly Archive for May, 2010

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper '74 '80 M.A., delivers the 178th Commencement Address. (Photo by Bill Burkhart)

Address by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper ’74 ’80 M.A,, on the 178th Commencement at Wesleyan University, May 23, 2010:

Well, first I want to thank Wesleyan for inviting me. I want to thank President Michael Roth. Rarely do you see an individual, in his third year, who is the right person at the right time for the right institution. This is one of the great universities in America, and we have a great, great president. Board Chair Joshua Boger and University Marshall Suzanne O’Connell, and certainly all the family and friends who’ve supported these students through their college careers.

This is the single most important honor I have ever received. It says a lot about this institution and all of you.

Certainly, if anyone had polled my class 35 years ago, I would have been unanimously selected as the last person to ever receive an honorary degree or give a commencement address at Wesleyan. Actually, it’s not my first time in consideration for an honor at Wesleyan – the geology faculty once voted to give me tenure – (more…)

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth delivers the President's Remarks.

Address by Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth ’77 on the 178th Commencement at Wesleyan University, May 23, 2010:

Members of the board of trustees, members of the faculty and staff, distinguished guests, new recipients of graduate degrees and the mighty class of 2010, I am honored to present some brief remarks on the occasion of this commencement.

It is thrilling for me to stand here before you in such distinguished company. I am joined today by the very honorable Mayor John Hickenlooper, who has an undergraduate and a graduate degree from Wes. This gives me an occasion to remind all of us how lucky we are to have graduate programs on campus to enrich the educational experience for everyone. John’s administration in Denver has demonstrated idealistic passion and practical effectiveness, whether in public education, health care or on environmental issues. His team has attacked intransigent social problems like homelessness and unemployment, while also stimulating the growth of major cultural organizations and the civic pride that goes along with them. At a time when many politicians have retreated from the very idea of the public sphere, John Hickenlooper has reminded the citizens of Denver, and of Colorado more generally, that one of the joys of the modern polity is a robust and creative common life. His demonstration of authentic political engagement on behalf of the common good reminds me of the extraordinary work done by members of this class of 2010 in promoting opportunity through education from Middletown to Kenya.

Promoting opportunity through education has been a significant part of the life of my colleague and honoree Ruth Simmons. As president of Smith College and now of Brown University, (more…)

Latasha Alcindor '10 delivered the Senior Class Welcome. (Photo by Nick Russell '09)

Latasha Alcindor ’10, delivered the following Senior Class Welcome at Wesleyan’s 178th Commencement Ceremonies on May 23, 2010:

Today is the first day of my presentation.
Today is the first day of your presentation.
Today is the first day of our presentation. (more…)

“Senior Voices” Address by Jonna Humphries ’10, delivered at Memorial Chapel during the 178th Wesleyan University Commencement:

How I Have Changed Because of My Experience at Wesleyan.

When I was younger, perhaps around 10 years old, my Mom would always ask my brothers and I at the end of a school day “What did you learn?” We’d give her responses filled with details on topics ranging from what happened on the playground between so-and-so to a full recap on the letter in cursive we’d learn to master that day. We did this until one day, my older brother Alexander, completely changed the dynamics of these after-school discussions. My mother asked, with innocence and inquisition, “What did you learn?” (more…)

“Senior Voices” Address by Rebecca Lee ’10, delivered at Memorial Chapel during the 178th Wesleyan University Commencement:

I would like to talk today about communities.

The village I grew up in, on the outskirts of Cambridge, England, was an international community composed of families affiliated with the university. The children of these expatriate families, including myself, led a blissful childhood, playing street hockey and holding water fights in our neighborhood. At the end of each day the families gathered for a potluck dinner of cuisines from all (more…)

“Senior Voices” Address by Satrio Wicaksono ‘10 as delivered at Memorial Chapel on the morning of Wesleyan University’s 178th Commencement ceremonies, May 23, 2010:

It all started more than four years ago, when a big red envelope sent via FedEx arrived at my boarding school, a modern madrasah, in the suburbs of Jakarta, Indonesia. Inside the envelope was a congratulatory note from the Dean of Admissions at Wesleyan University, saying that I had been selected to receive the Freeman Asian Scholarship to attend Wesleyan.

The Freeman Foundation decided to send a group of incoming Freeman Scholars, myself included, to attend the English (more…)

The first-floor lounge of the Center for African American Studies will be renovated thanks to a $50,000 gift from Michelle ’84 and Kurt ’87 Lyn P’12 of Houston, Texas.

Their gift honors the 40th anniversary of the establishment of CAAS and is intended to make the lounge a more attractive venue for the entire campus community.

Ashraf Rushdy, professor and chair of the African American Studies Program, professor of English, expressed deep gratitude to the Lyn family for their generosity.

“The money will be used to make the lounge even more welcoming (more…)

Family and friends reunite during Reunion & Commencement Weekend May 20-23 at Wesleyan.

More than 5,000 alumni, family and friends of the university are expected to attend Reunion & Commencement Weekend on campus. The traditional series of events begins Thursday, May 20 and culminates with Commencement on Sunday, May 23.

“We have several new and exciting events this year including a benefit concert by Santigold (Santi White ’97) on Friday under the Andrus tent, and a MoConathon concert on Saturday featuring three student bands, celebrating McConaughy Hall,” says Deana Hutson, director of events and R&C weekend. “We’ll have numerous WESeminars featuring alumni, parents, faculty and students on topics that appeal to anyone.”

The Class of 1960’s 50th Reunion gathering and the Senior Class Semiformal will kick-off R&C Weekend on May 20. Campus guests who haven’t resistered online, may do so in person at the Usdan University Center.

Events on May 21 include campus tours, senior projects in film studies, (more…)

Francis Starr, associate professor of physics, co-authored a grant proposal, which was recently funded by the NSF to support growth of the computer facilities for the university’s Scientific Computing and Informatics Center.

A $298,736 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will allow Wesleyan to remain competitive in numerical modeling research and education on an international level.

Francis Starr, associate professor of physics, David Beveridge, the Joshua Boger University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics, and Michael Weir, professor of biology, director of the Hughes Program in the Life Sciences, received the grant for a project titled “Major Research Instrumentation – Recovery and Reinvestment program (MRI-R2): Acquisition of Shared Cluster and Database Computing Facilities at Wesleyan University.”

The grant, awarded over three years beginning May 1, will fund growth of the computer facilities for the university’s Scientific Computing and Informatics Center (SCIC), including expansion of the university’s high-performance computer cluster and a new genomics database server.

Wesleyan currently runs 36 Dell computer nodes for the academic computing cluster known as “Swallowtail.” Each machine is capable of processing eight jobs simultaneously, for a total of 288 jobs. Another 129 computer nodes called “Sharptail,” recently donated by Blue Sky Studios, are capable of processing two jobs simultaneously each, for a total of 258 jobs.

“With the NSF grant, we anticipate roughly doubling our capacity,” Starr says. “Think of it as setting up a virtual laboratory in the computer where we can perform experiments that might be challenging (more…)

Daniela Ivanova ’10, pictured at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, will return to Europe next fall to study European politics and society at the University of Oxford. She is a recipient of the Weidenfeld Scholarship and Leadership Programme.

Ten years from now, Daniela Ivanova ’10 envisions herself working as an advisor to a European commissioner or member of the Bulgarian government. Her next step in the quest will take place at the University of Oxford, in England.

Ivanova is a recipient of a Weidenfeld Scholarship and Leadership Programme for 2010-11. Awarded by the London-based Institute for Strategic, the scholarship will allow Bulgaria native Ivanova to pursue her career goal by supporting her studies on European politics and society at Oxford.

“Daniela came straight to Wesleyan from a high school in a remote Bulgarian provincial town,” says Peter Rutland, the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government and co-chair of the College of Social Studies. “Her excellent performance in the College of Social Studies, and her fluency in French and German, made her an ideal candidate for the Weidenfeld scholarship, which is aimed to train the next generation of East European leaders,”

Weidenfeld Scholars, who are supported by British philanthropist and publisher Sir George Weidenfeld, are selected for their intellectual distinction and exceptional leadership potential. The Leadership Programme provides the Scholars with the knowledge, skills and networks to contribute effectively to public life in their countries of origin and to build lasting professional linkages across cultures and continents.

Past Weidenfeld Scholarship (more…)

Anne Peters, assistant professor of government. (Photo by Claire Seo-In Choi)

Anne Mariel Peters, assistant professor of government, has been selected as a 2010-2011 Academic Fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) in Washington, D.C. As an FDD fellow, Peters will participate in an intensive course on terrorism and counterterrorism at the University of Tel Aviv from May 30 to June 9. The course examines terrorism from a variety of political, academic, and law enforcement perspectives. It also includes site visits to Israeli security installations and border zones, as well as meetings with Israeli, Jordanian, Turkish and Indian officials.

Peters’ expertise is in the political economies of the Middle East. She is interested in how international resource transfers, such as foreign aid, natural resource revenues, and worker remittances, affect the strength of state institutions, the pace and scope of economic reforms, and authoritarian durability. Her book manuscript, titled Special Relationships, Dollars, and Development, considers how the size and composition of authoritarian regime coalitions in Egypt, Jordan, South Korea, and Taiwan determined whether or not US foreign aid was used for long-term economic development or short-term patronage.

Although her courses substantially address Middle Eastern political economies, Peters aims to provide students with broad exposure to other key issues in the region. This includes units on violent and nonviolent social movements, terrorism, and counterterrorism.

“When I teach courses on the comparative politics (more…)

The Shining Hope Kibera Clinic will become an integral piece of our innovative model changing the realities of women in Kibera through the integrated links between girls education and services unavailable elsewhere.

Shining Hope for Communities, a student-founded non-profit organization, has been named the winner of the 2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition.

The award is based on a world-wide competition among college students who create projects that can “make the world a better place.”

Shining Hope for Communities founded The Kibera School for Girls in 2009 in the Kenyan slum of Kibera, and is creating the Johanna Justin Jinich Memorial Clinic and a community center this year at the same site. Initial funding for the Kibera School for Girls was provided by the Davis 100 Projects for Peace program. The Dell award includes $50,000.

The group has also received a $50,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation and a $1,000 award from the MTV People’s Choice Awards this year.

Shining Hope for Communities includes Executive Director and Kibera native Kennedy Odede ’12, (more…)

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