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Monthly Archive for October, 2010

To view photos of Homecoming / Family Weekend 2010, visit one of our online galleries:




More photos will be posted in the November Wesleyan Connection.

A WESeminar will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sat., Oct. 23 in Memorial Chapel titled “Journalism and Social Change: A Conversation with Koeppel Journalism Fellows William Finnegan and Jane Eisner.” The presentation will be moderated by Anne Greene, director of Writing Programs.

William Finnegan

William Finnegan

William Finnegan, staff writer for The New Yorker, is the author of award-winning works of international journalism. He has written about immigration issues and politics in Europe and Mexico; racism and conflict in Southern Africa; and poverty among youth in the U.S.

Jane Eisner ’77, editor of the Forward, a weekly Jewish newspaper of major influence nationally and internationally. She has been a national and international reporter, columnist, and executive editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer and a leader in national discussions of media and democracy.

Jane Eisner '77

Jane Eisner '77

She also is the first woman to win Wesleyan’s McConaughy Award for her contributions to journalism and public life, and she is the first Koeppel Fellow in Journalism at Wesleyan.

The event is free and open to the public, and will also be webcast live.

This event is sponsored by the Koeppel Journalism Fellowship and Wesleyan Writing Programs.

Alberto Ibargüen '66, Knight Foundation President and CEO, Chairman of the Board of the Newseum, will deliver the 18th Annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium

Knight Foundation President and CEO, Chairman of the Board of The Newseum, and former publisher of The Miami Herald, Alberto Ibargüen ’66, is the featured speaker for the 18th annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium in Memorial Chapel on Oct. 23 at 4 p.m.

Ibargüen will explore the opportunities and challenges in today’s shifting information landscape. He will discuss an information paradox we are experiencing; specifically: We have more information available to us on any given day than most humans had in their lifetime during all of recorded history. Yet, for now, there is less information being produced that is local, reliable and civic. This trend endangers our democracy as it is premised on the free flow of reasonably reliable information.

The event is free and open to the public, but seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The event will also be webcast live.

The event is sponsored by The Wesleyan Black Alumni Council (BAC); The Alumni of Color (AOC) Network. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is at the forefront of journalism training and experiments to deliver on digital platforms the news and information communities must have to function well in a democracy.

Terry Huffington P'11, P'14, her family, and the Huffington Foundation have given Wesleyan $5 million to support a College of the Environment endowed chair and endowed scholarships.

Wesleyan has received gifts totaling $5 million from Terry Huffington, her family and the Huffington Foundation to fund an endowed faculty chair in the College of the Environment and endowed scholarships.

The Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair in the College of the Environment, created with a $3 million gift from the Foundation, will benefit the nascent College, devoted to the development of environmental knowledge and the exploration of innovative approaches to environmental problems.

A separate $2 million gift establishes endowed scholarships that will support Wesleyan’s need-blind financial aid program.

“Through these very generous gifts, Terry Huffington, her family and the Huffington Foundation have contributed to our highest priorities—curricular innovation and access to a Wesleyan education,” says Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth. “Their support helps Wesleyan maintain its leadership position in liberal arts education and secure its future with a stronger endowment. I am deeply grateful.”

Ms. Huffington P’11, P’14, of Houston, Texas, says that access to education has always been a family priority.

“I was brought up with the mantra that the most important thing you could do for people is to give them an opportunity to get an education. We welcome the opportunity to support Wesleyan’s efforts to enroll students regardless of their economic circumstances,” she says.

The first holder of the Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair will be Gary Yohe, a Wesleyan professor of economics renowned for his work on global climate issues. He is a senior member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that was awarded a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He is also a member of the standing Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change of the National Academy of Sciences.

Gary Yohe will hold the first Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair in the College of the Environment.

“We are delighted that Dr. Yohe is to be named to the Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair in the College of the Environment,” says Ms. Huffington. “It is a privilege to support a researcher and educator of his caliber in an area of study that is of such vital importance to our global community.”

The College of the Environment is an interdisciplinary initiative that draws faculty from 18 departments or programs at Wesleyan. Among its innovative features is a think tank, which brings together faculty, prominent scholars from other institutions, and students to produce scholarly works intended to influence thinking and action on environmental issues.

Ms. Huffington, a former geologist, has a long-standing interest in stewardship of energy supplies and achieving a decreased reliance on hydrocarbon fuels. Her interest led her to develop Elkstone Farm in Steamboat Springs, Colo., which features a permaculture greenhouse designed to grow organic produce year-round in a sustainable, energy-efficient manner.

During the Middlesex United Way Wesleyan Employee Campaign kick-off event Sept. 28, Wesleyan President Michael Roth was asked to break the ceremonial fortune cookie. Pictured at right are campaign co-chairs Mike Sciola, director of the Career Resource Center, and Shawn Hill, desktop support specialist and art workshops technology administrator. Roth, a tri-chair of the Middlesex United Way’s 75th campaign, read the campaign message, “Share Your Good Fortune: Wesleyan United Way Campaign 1935-2010.” Wesleyan hopes to raise $125,000 in the 2010-11 campaign.

President Michael S. Roth, tri-chair of the 75th anniversary Middlesex County United Way campaign, recalled the university’s first campaign on behalf of United Way (then the Community Chest) in his Oct. 11 letter to the Wesleyan community.

Noting that times were tough as the Great Depression lingered, he said, “The response at Wesleyan was remarkable. Every member of the Wesleyan faculty and staff stepped in and donated funds to help less fortunate neighbors meet their basic needs.

Co-chair Shawn Hill asked the audience to watch a 75th anniversary United Way video titled “Live, Share, Grow, Build.”

“As then, our neighbors today are struggling in tough times. And as then, through the United Way, we can help.”

Through the campaign, Wesleyan employees “can assist a homeless family seeking shelter. We can guide young people away from risky, self-destructive behavior. We can ensure that children are ready to learn when they start school. We can support neighbors (more…)

Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel will deliver a University Lecture titled 'Building an Ethical Society: The Death Penalty and Human Dignity,' Oct. 26, 7 p.m. in Memorial Chapel

Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, acclaimed author and speaker, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and University Professor at Boston University, will deliver a University Lecture titled “Building an Ethical Society: The Death Penalty and Human Dignity” on Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Chapel. Wiesel received an honorary doctor of humane letters from Wesleyan in 1979.

Wiesel’s efforts have earned him the United States Congressional Gold Medal (1985) and the Medal of Liberty Award (1986); the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1992); the rank of Grand-Croix in the French Legion of Honor (2001); an honorary Knighthood of the British Empire awarded by Her Majesty, the Queen (2006); and, in 1986, the Nobel Peace Prize. He has received more than 120 honorary degrees from institutions of higher learning in the United States, Europe and Israel.

His more than 50 books have won numerous awards, including the Prix Médicis for A Beggar in Jerusalem, the Prix Livre Inter for The Testament and the Grand Prize for Literature from the City of Paris for The Fifth Son. The first volume of Wiesel’s memoirs, All Rivers Run to the Sea, was published in New York (Knopf) in December, 1995. The second volume, And the Sea is Never Full, followed the first in November, 1999.  His latest novel, Un désir fou de danser, published in France in 2006, is soon to be published in English by Knopf.

The event is sponsored by the Rosenberg Family Fund for Jewish Student Life, the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, the Endowed Fund for Lectures in Ethics, Politics and Social Issues, Wesleyan Writing Programs, the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty, the Wesleyan Jewish Community, the Office of Diversity and Strategic Partnerships, Jewish and Israel Studies, Student Activities and Leadership Development (SALD), and the Office of Residential Life

Arrangements for Elie Wiesel were made through B’nai B’rith Lecture Bureau.

Jack Glenn ’11 created a double-pendulum program during a Science Across the Curriculum course, Composing, Performing and Listening to Experimental Music. The class was taught by faculty in music and mathematics and computer science.

Last fall, Stephen Devoto, associate professor of biology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, took on an unusual teaching engagement — to work with Peter Gottschalk, chair and professor of religion, in order to bring the science of evolution and animal development into Gottschalk’s course, “Religion, Science and Empire: Crucible of a Globalized World.”

“It was liberating to teach science in a different context than a typical science course with its attendant responsibility to cover a vast knowledge base, and to have students’ learning be driven by their interest in the intersection of science and religion,” Devoto says. “Students felt more comfortable learning about science in this type of environment.”

Religion, Science and Empire was one of four courses that received a 2009-10 Sciences Across the Curriculum (SaC) grant to support development of undergraduate courses that integrate Natural Sciences and Mathematics with Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities through cross-disciplinary collaboration between faculty. Initial funding for SaC was provided by the Mellon 23 Assembly, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Academic Affairs.

This year, SaC secured a grant from Wesleyan’s Fund for Innovation to support additional collaborative teaching experiments over the next few years, and faculty are invited to submit proposals for new courses or existing courses reconfigured to incorporate scientific content. (more…)

The Department of Physics hosted a reception Oct. 8 in the Walter Cady Lounge to honor Wade Hsu ’10 (pictured at left), who received the LeRoy Apker Award from the American Physical Society. Hsu was the only student from a Ph.D-granting institution in the country to receive the award. (Photos by Brian Stewart)

The American Physical Society awarded Chia Wei “Wade” Hsu ’10 with its prestigious LeRoy Apker Award for his achievements while at Wesleyan.

The American Physical Society awards the Apker Award to only one student from a Ph.D-granting institution each year. Reinhold Blümel, the Charlotte Agusta Ayres Professor of Physics, calls it a “mini-Nobel Prize.”

The award provides encouragement to young physicists who have demonstrated great potential for future scientific accomplishment.

“This means that Wade out-competed students from MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Princeton and CalTech,” says Wade’s former advisor Francis Starr, associate professor of physics. “He’s the best of the best.”

On Oct. 8, the Physics Department hosted a reception in his honor.

“The celebration that people in physics department threw for me was a total surprise. I did not expect an event with such a scale, with so many professors, grads, undergrads and cheese and wine,” he says. “I felt like crying that so many people came, and that they seemed to be even happier than me. It was great. And certainly I had never felted as honored as on that day.”

The Apker award came with a $5,000 award, (more…)

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This issue we ask “5 Questions” of Peter Gottschalk, chair and professor of religion and co-author, with Gabriel Greenberg ’04, of the book Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy (Rowman & Littlefield).

Q. How did you become interested in studying Islam?

A: My interest arose entirely by serendipity. While in college, I hadn’t any interest in studying Islam but, because I was planning on visiting my parents who had just moved to Saudi Arabia, I took an introductory course on Islam. Fortunately, John Esposito, one of the few American specialists in Islam at the time, taught the class. From Saudi, I continued on to my first trip to India, where I lived in an area with a mixed Hindu, Muslim, and Christian population. I didn’t go to India for the sake of learning about the local religions, but the similarities and differences among the religious practices there, and between the forms of Islam practiced in Saudi and India, piqued my interest. After my return to the U.S., following other career pursuits, the lure of understanding more about both Islamic and Hindu traditions grew until it finally overtook me, and I shifted my attention.

Peter Gottschalk, chair and professor of religion, is the co-author of the book Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy. The book aims to better publicize the existence of an accepted – and corrosive – social prejudice. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Q: Much of your scholarly work has been focused on Islam in the Asian subcontinent, but your book Islamophobia is decidedly focused on the Western World. How did this come about? 


A: Following the tragedies of 9/11, it wasn’t hard to guess that the prejudice that Muslims historically had faced in the United States would heighten. Of course, the hijackers religiously justified the violence they unleashed against their victims, but this clearly resulted from an entirely marginal interpretation of Islam held by a fraction of Muslims so small that they would be insignificant, (more…)

Judge Anthony Scirica ’62

Judge Anthony J. Scirica ’62, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, was one of two justices presented with the 28th Annual Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Awards on Sept. 13 in Washington, D.C.

The Devitt award, administered by the American Judicature Society, is given annually to honor judges “whose careers have been exemplary, measured by their significant contribution to the administration of justice, the advancement of the rule of law, and the improvement of our society as a whole.”

William D. Johnston, president of the society, noted in the press release that, “The award is considered the highest award that can be bestowed upon a member of the federal judic (more…)

Wesleyan’s Green Street Arts Center continues its Fall 2010 Sunday Salon Discussion Series with talks by J. Kehaulani Kauanui, associate professor of American studies and anthropology on Oct. 24, and Stephanie Weiner, associate professor of English, on Nov. 21.

The Sunday Salon Discussions are informal lectures by Wesleyan’s faculty. The Wesleyan and local communities are invited to attend. David Beveridge, the Joshua Boger University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics, professor of chemistry, hosts the event. Each salon includes opportunity for socializing as well as a reception with light refreshments.

J. Kehaulani Kauanui

On Oct. 24 from 2 to 3:30 p.m., J. Kehaulani Kauanui will address the outstanding Hawaiian independence claim and the persistent issue of sovereignty facing the Kanaka Maoli (indigenous Hawaiian) people.

She will also give a brief history of the U.S. government’s acquisition of Hawaii, and the spectrum of political activism relating to self-determination and nationhood. The talk is especially timely given legislation currently before the U.S. Senate, The Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act of 2010 (dubbed the “Akaka bill” after its sponsor Sen. Daniel Akaka), which has been proposed in one version or another since 2000 and remains hotly contested in both congress and the islands.

Kauanui is (more…)

Joseph Fins '82

Dr. Joseph J. Fins ’82, chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies. IOM membership is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

Announced Oct. 11, at the IOM’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Fins is among 65 new members and four foreign associates elected this year. “Each of these new members stands out as a professional whose research, knowledge, and skills have significantly advanced health and medicine and who has served as a model for others,” said IOM President Harvey V. Fineberg in a Cornell press release.

“I am grateful for this honor and for the opportunity to be joining an organization that has done so much for America’s health. (more…)

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