Monthly Archives: May 2010

Dave Fisher ’62, Co-Founder of The Highwaymen, Dies

Dave Fisher, ’62, one of the five founding members of the folk group “The Highwaymen” died Friday, May 7. As a freshman, Fisher, who had sung in a doo-wop group in high school, joined with four other Wesleyan freshman – Bob Burnett ’62, Steve Butts ’62, Chan Daniels ’62 and Steve Trott ’62 – to form The Highwaymen. The group went on to become internationally successful in the 1960s, producing a #1 record as undergraduates in 1961. The Highwaymen saw a resurgence in their careers in the 1990s which continued up to the present, releasing their most recent CD, “The Cambridge Tapes,” to critical acclaim in 2009.

R&C Weekend: WESeminars, Belichick, MoConathon, Commencement

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,

NSF Grant Improves Numerical Modeling Capacity at Wesleyan

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

Weidenfeld Scholarship Sends Ivanova ’10 to Oxford

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

Peters’ Fellowship Appointment Focuses on Terrorism

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

Student Non-Profit Wins Dell Award; Presenting WESeminar

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,

5 Questions with . . . Laurie Nussdorfer

Laurie Nussdorfer is a professor of history, letters and medieval studies at Wesleyan. She says popes who reigned as rulers and bishops of Rome between 1550 and 1650 helped preserve notarial records.

For this issue, we queried Laurie Nussdorfer, professor of history, letters and medieval studies and author of Brokers of Public Trust: Notaries in Early Modern Rome (published by The Johns Hopkins University Press in 2009). She supplied her answers in writing, of course.

Q:  How did the idea for the book begin?

A: Daniel Rosenberg ’88 wrote a senior honors thesis in the History Department about the historiography of literacy (how historians had interpreted and investigated the ability of people to read in the past). I was one of the readers of this fascinating thesis, and it occurred to me that one could ask similar questions about how people had learned to use writing, even if they couldn’t write themselves, in the past. I work on the city and people of Rome in the period between 1500 and 1700 so naturally

167 Students Receive Scholarships, Fellowships, Prizes

Wesleyan President Michael Roth congratulated the recipients of the 2010 Academic Scholarships, Fellowships and Prizes May 5. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett Drake)

The Deans’ Office honored recipients of the ‘10 Academic Scholarships, Fellowships and Prizes during a ceremony May 5 in Daniel Family Commons.

This year, 167 students received scholarships, fellowships, prizes and awards; Forty-seven students received multiple prizes, with four students receiving four or five. One employee received a prize, as did two Graduate Liberal Studies Program students.

The deans and several faculty gathered at the reception to honor the students who represent the highest ideals of Wesleyan University – intellectual curiosity, academic excellence, creative expression, leadership and service.

Softball Gives Wesleyan its Third-Ever NESCAC Tourney Title

Wesleyan softball joins the 2005 men's soccer team and 2009 men's lacrosse team as NESCAC titlists. The Cardinals take on Kean University in the NCAA first-round game May 14. (Photo by Brian Katten)

The softball team claimed a NESCAC tournament title and automatic bid to the NCAA championship May 14. Recovering from a disappointing 5-2 loss to Bowdoin in a potential title game, the Cardinals came back to trounce Bowdoin 10-1.

Wesleyan softball, coached by Jen Lane, adjunct associate professor of physical education, joins the 2005 men’s soccer team and 2009 men’s lacrosse team as NESCAC titlists. The Cardinals will play Kean University of New Jersey in the NCAA first-round game May 14 at Rhode Island College (R.I.C.).

NSF Grant Funds Cluster, Database Facilities

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 a grant from the National Science Foundation for a project titled “MRI-R2: Acquisition of Shared Cluster and Database Computing Facilities at Wesleyan University.” The grant, worth $298,736, will be awarded over three years beginning May 1, 2010. The grant was awarded as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Olin Library Houses 900 Volumes of King Arthur Material

Olin Library welcomes one of the country’s largest King Arthur collections to Wesleyan’s Special Collections and Archives department.

The Nathan Comfort Starr Collection of Arthuriana is one of Wesleyan’s great hidden treasures. It comprises of more than 900 volumes related to the legends of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table.

The Friends of the Wesleyan Library funded a three-month, full-time librarian to catalog the collection. Rare book cataloger Samantha Klein began the task in January 2010, and finished in March.

The collection was the 1981 bequest of Nathan Comfort Starr,