Wesleyan in the News

In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni.

Recent Wesleyan News

  1. The New York Times: “Anthony Braxton Composes Together Past, Present and Future”

Anthony Braxton, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, Emeritus, is profiled. Among other ongoing projects, Braxton has spent much of the past four years working on his newest opera, “Trillium L,” which, he says, “is a five-day opera”—if it is ever performed.

2. Los Angeles Review of Books: “That Bit of Philosophy in All of Us”

Tushar Irani, associate professor of philosophy, associate professor of letters, is interviewed about his book, Plato on the Value of Philosophy: The Art of Argument in the Gorgias and Phaedrus.

3. The Guardian“The Blake-Wadsworth Gallery of Reborn Dolls”

This original short story by Amy Bloom, the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing and professor of the practice, English, follows a woman coping with her elderly mother’s memory loss.

4. Chicago Tribune: “Pegasus 32nd Young Playwrights Fest: Themes of Identity Connect the 3 Plays by This Year’s New Writers”

“Good Strong Coffee,” a play written by Luna MacWilliams ’22, was selected for the Pegasus Theatre Chicago’s 32nd Young Playwrights Festival. MacWilliams tells the Chicago Tribune that the play is based on her own experiences growing up in Chicago’s Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods. “It’s a striving and beautiful community and there are struggles that people go through.”

5. Pacifica Radio’s “Letters and Politics”: “Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely”

Andrew Curran, the William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities, is interviewed about his new book on 18th-century philosopher Denis Diderot. Curran’s book has also been listed in The New York Times’ “New & Noteworthy” section and named a best book of early 2019 by Kirkus, among other recognition it has received. Curran is also professor of French and chair of Romance Languages & Literatures.

6. Detroit Jewish News: “Motor City Music: A Detroiter Looks Back”

Mark Slobin, the Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music, Emeritus, is interviewed about his new book, Motor City Music: A Detroiter Looks Back, which is part memoir, part musical history of Detroit in the 1940s-60s.

Recent Alumni News

1. NPR.org—The Push to Break Up the Boys’ Club at the Fed

“Federal Reserve Board Gov. Lael Brainard [’83] says a growing body of research suggests that diversity leads to better decision-making,” writes NPR business reporter Lily Jamali, who quotes Brainard and former Fed leader Janet Yellen, among others. 

2. Connecticut Magazine40 Under 40: The Class of 2019

The 40 profiles include those of community activist Alicia Strong ’18 and Melissa McCaw ’01:

Strong, “the youngest person nationally to be named the executive director of the Connecticut chapter of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations),” will enter graduate school next year. In the meantime “she started a social media marketing firm to help small businesses in New Britain. Next, she will help empower young Muslim women and work with New Britain’s Board of Education to tackle wealth and racial disparity in the schools.”

Connecticut state budget chief McCaw, selected by Gov. Ned Lamont, is “the state’s first African-American woman secretary of the office of policy and management … [with] 17 years of budgeting and financial analysis and planning experience.” She holds a master’s of public administration, public finance, and budgeting from the University of Connecticut.

3. The Odyssey—Turning a Red District Blue in Staten Island: Max Rose’s [’08] Victory was Unexpected in Ruby Red Staten Island

“Of New York City’s five boroughs, only Staten Island tends to favor Republican candidates. Yet Max Rose, a registered Democrat who supports gun violence prevention and the expansion of healthcare, defeated Republican incumbent Dan Donovan for this year’s Congressional seat.” The article offers a brief biography as well as an assessment of how Rose was able to appeal to a broad range of voters.

4. Biscayne TimesIdea Man: Alberto Ibargüen [’66, P’97, Hon. ’11], the Knight Foundation, and the Future of Change

Writer John Dorschner describes Knight Foundation’s Ibargüen as “on a mission—to build communities, nourish the arts, spur innovation, and save American journalism.” Examples of his leadership include “contribut[ing] $30 million in Knight money to help keep the impressive collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts in town by buying the museum and creating a fund that could be used only to pay city pensions.”

5. Total Packers—NFL Coaches: The Cream Has Risen To the Top;

Sportswriter Rob Born profiles Bill Belichick ’75, P’07, Hon. ’05 and three other coaches—Sean Payton, Sean McVay, and Andy Reid—dubbing Belichick the “dean” of the coaches in this exploration of their effective techniques.

6. Reuters—Special Report: After a Child’s Dire Diagnosis, Hope and Uncertainty at the Frontiers of Medicine

“As U.S. health editor for Reuters News for several years, I had worked on articles chronicling the promise and disappointments of so-called precision medicine. I knew to question claims about new drugs that ‘melted away’ tumors,” writes Michele Gershberg ’95, in this first-person account of her son’s dire illness and the efforts to find him effective treatment authorized for pediatric use.

“The professional was now personal, so I and my equally skeptical husband set out to learn as much as we could about the options for Natan.”