Cynthia Rockwell

Alumni Parents Join Their First-Year Students for Legacy Photo

Family Weekend at Wesleyan University, Oct. 29. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

As the football teams readied for play on Corwin Stadium on Saturday of Family Weekend, alumni parents joined their first-year students—along with President Michael Roth ’78 and the Wesleyan Cardinal—for the annual Legacy Photograph on Denison Terrace.

This year, the gathering included:

Family Weekend at Wesleyan University, Oct. 29. (Photo by John Van Vlack)Bottom row, from left: Alfredo Viegas ’90, P’20, Alessandra Viegas ’20, and Dora Viegas P’20;  Sarafina Fabris-Green ’20 and Laurie Green ’80 P’20; Miranda Nestor ’20 and Matthew Nestor ’87 P’20; Elizabeth Eagles ’19 and Kate Homrighausen Eagles ’82, P’19; Gillian Lubin ’20 and Brad Lubin ’87, P’20; Tom Policelli ’89, P’20 and Katherine Policelli ’20; Simone Roberts-Payne ’20, Jackie Roberts ’82 P’20.

Middle row, from left: President Michael Roth ’79; Lisabeth Weinstein-Gertner ’87, P’20 and Emelia Gertner ’20; Peter Sachner P’20, Peter Reilly Yurkovsky ’20, and Tricia Reilly ’83, P’20; Charlotte Sonnenblick Van Doren ’84 P’20, Henry Van Doren ’20, and Adam Van Doren P’20; Katharine L. McKenna ’79 P’20, Eliza McKenna ’20, and Mark Braunstein P’20; Emilio Jared Weber ’20 and David Weber ’86, P’20; Elaine Taylor-Klaus ’86,P’20, Sydney Taylor-Klaus ’20; Ryan Keeth ’20 and Dana Bresee Keeth ’79; Amanda Lea Farnam ’17, David Eggers ’82, P’17, and Suzanne Farman ’82, P’17.

Top row, from left: The Wesleyan Cardinal; Lynn Kelly Alberding ’89 P’20, Jack Alberding ’20, and Peter Alberding ’89, P’20;  Gregoire Vion P’20, Julien Vion ’20, and Peggy Macy ’85 P’20; Mark Leuchten ’82, P’19 and Emma Leuchten ’19; Julie Robinson P’20, Stephen Ferruolo ’20, and Stephen Ferruolo ’71, P’20; Shawn Burgess’88, P’20, Ellen Burgess ’88, P’20, and Ramsay Burgess ’20; Diane Kolyer ’82, P’20 and Jake Abraham ’20; Silvia Waltner P’20, Olivia Waltner ’20, and Alexander Waltner, the family of the late Nick Waltner ’86, P’20.

(Photos by John Van Vlack)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zweigenhaft ’67, Borgida ’71 Co-Edit Book on Psychological Science Collaborations

Collaborartions bookTwo alumni who did not know each other as undergraduates—but were both psychology majors and students of Professor of Psychology Karl Scheibe—have collaborated on editing a book examining academic collaborations.

The book, Collaboration in Psychological Science: Behind the Scenes, was published this fall by Worth Publishing, a division of MacMillan. The editors, Richie Zweigenhaft ’67, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Psychology at Guilford College, and Eugene Borgida ’71, Professor of psychology and law at the University of Minnesota and a Morse-Alumni Distinguished Professor of Psychology, dedicate the book to Professor Karl Scheibe, their undergraduate mentor, five years apart.

Separated by this age difference, the two did not meet on Middletown campus, but through Zweigenhaft’s mother, Irene, when Borgida showed up at her place of employment, American Institutes for Research (AIR), looking for a job. Seeing his résumé, and noting that Borgida attended Wesleyan and one of his references, Professor Karl Scheibe, was one of her son’s favorite professors, Irene took the young graduate under her wing and he was hired at AIR. The two Wesleyan graduates eventually met and developed a warm collegial friendship from their respective institutions.

The two began speaking of the importance of collaborations in research and noting an increased trend. In their introduction, the editors note,”[P]sychologists today engage in a good deal of collaboration, collaborative research is likely to generate the most frequently cited work in the field, and some scholars and some institutions very much encourage collaboration. Ironically, however, little has been written about the complicated behind-the scenes process of working with others to design research, to gather and analyze data, and to write reports, articles, or books…. With these issues and questions in mind, we encouraged those who wrote chapters for this volume to tell us how they came to collaborate and the nature of their interactions, while collaborating.” The result is a book of 21 essays, with contributors from Princeton, University of Michigan, the American Psychological Association, and the University of Kent, to name a few—and a section on interdisciplinary collaboration, with conclusion by the editors offering best practices.

The book is dedicated to both Irene Zweigenhaft and Professor of Psychology Emeritus, Karl Scheibe. Both Zweigenhaft and Borgida consider their Wesleyan experience a crucial factor in shaping their scholarship and interest in developing collaborations across academic disciplines.

“My undergraduate experience at Wesleyan very much emphasized interdisciplinarity,” says Zweigenhaft. ” In fact, although I was a psychology major, I wrote my honors thesis with Phil Pomper in the history department. It was a study of Hitler’s personality—the result of a conversation that Phil and I had after I wrote a paper about Lenin in a seminar on the Russian Revolution that I took with him. Karl Scheibe was on the thesis committee, and he, like Phil, encouraged me to think across traditional disciplinary lines.”

“From my perch,” says Borgida,” there is no question that my own deep affinity for interdisciplinary scholarship was activated and nurtured while at Wesleyan. And with such a view of research questions comes a commitment to collaboration across disciplinary boundaries and state lines in order to generate the most insight into the questions posed. To me, Wesleyan was then and is now all about interdisciplinarity and collaboration. So in a very basic way the book with Richie basks in the value of a Wes education.”

Schorr’s Flying Carpets Exhibition Explores Childhood Memories, Creative Process

Professor of Art David Schorr offered a WESeminar preview to the opening of his newest exhibition, "Flying Carpets," now in Wesleyan's Zilkha Gallery.

Professor of Art David Schorr offered a WESeminar preview to the opening of his newest exhibition, Flying Carpets, now in Wesleyan’s Zilkha Gallery. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell)

On Nov. 1, Professor of Art David Schorr’s Flying Carpets—New Paintings by David Schorr opened at Wesleyan’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery with a standing-room-only reception and gallery talk by the artist. This solo exhibition and the site-specific installation, Flying Carpets, revisits Schorr’s childhood days spent playing on his grandmother’s Persian rugs. A few days earlier, on Oct. 29, Schorr had previewed this opening in an WESeminar for Family Weekend.

In his remarks, Schorr shared the artists’ process through which the series came to be. “One of the questions my students ask is, ‘Where do ideas come from?’” he began. “And alas, I have no easy answer. I can say where an idea begins, but often like a working title which is discarded, my ideas are not born fully formed and as I try to give them form I am actually trying to understand what it really is I am trying to say…..

“What I do care most about from the start is whether the idea that I am chasing is a potent metaphor for my viewers. I don’t need to know that the images they are seeing what I am seeing. I do need some assurance that these images are stirring memories or thoughts or emotions in my viewers. And only then do my own doubts begin to abate and I can keep working on…”

Beginning with a conversation about childhood moments spent playing with toy vehicles on grandparents’ carpets—and the memories he saw that this triggered in his friends, Schorr traced the creative path, following the evolution of this series from the image of sturdy metal toys against the colors and patterns of the carpet, to the sense of play and abandoned boundaries that childhood imagination imbued in each.

Cubs GM Hoyer ’96 Celebrates World Series Win

Jed Hoyer ’96, Chicago Cubs Executive Vice President/General Manager with Director of Athletics Mike Whalen ’83 at the 2016 Athletics Hall of Fame dinner at Wesleyan during Homecoming Weekend.

Jed Hoyer ’96, Chicago Cubs executive vice president/general manager, with Mike Whalen ’83, Wesleyan director of athletics, are pictured here at the 2016 Athletics Hall of Fame dinner during Homecoming Weekend.

The Chicago Cubs—with Wesleyan’s Jed Hoyer ’96 at the helm as executive vice president/general manager—won the seventh game of the 2016 World Series on November 2 to claim the team’s first World Series title since 1908.

After trailing the Cleveland Indians three games to one in the best-of-seven series, the Cubs won the seventh and final game by a score of 8-7, in 10 innings. The title puts an end to the team’s 108-year drought—the longest in baseball history.

Hoyer is now a member of three World Series teams: the 2016 Cubs, 2007 Red Sox and 2004 Red Sox.

In a post-game interview with New York Post sports columnist Joel Sherman, Hoyer commented on these successes and the droughts that had dogged the teams beforehand. “’There are no curses,’ Hoyer said. ‘There never was. It is about having the best team. The Cubs are no different. When you have the best team, you can win and we won.’”

The Cubs, who finished the regular season with the best record in baseball (103-58, a .640 winning percentage), defeated the San Francisco Giants in the National League Division Series, 3-1, before capturing the National League pennant by defeating the L.A. Dodgers in the National League Championship Series, 4-2.

At Wesleyan, Hoyer, a history major, was a pitcher on the 1994 baseball team, coached by Wesleyan Head Coach Peter “Kosty” Kostacopoulos, that reached the final game of the Division III World Series, the first Cardinal athletic team to play in a NCAA Division III championship game. The team was elected to the Wesleyan Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010. Hoyer also received the Walter MacNaughten Award in 1995 for outstanding achievement and Wesleyan’s “Kosty Award” for those who best support the team. This year, Hoyer returned to campus on Oct. 21 when Coach Kosty was inducted into Wesleyan’s Athletics Hall of Fame—the night before the Cubs clinched their World Series berth.

Dwight L. Greene Symposium: Alumni Speak on Opportunities, Challenges in Higher Ed

The 24th Annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium, held in conjunction with Family Weekend, focused on “Opportunities and Challenges in Higher Ed." Speakers at the 2016 Dwight Greene were Al Green p’16, Tracy Gardner, moderator C. Andrew McGadney ’92, Assistant Professor of PhysicsRenee Sher ’11, and Marina Melendez ’83, MALS ’88. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

The 24th Annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium, held in conjunction with Family Weekend, focused on “Opportunities and Challenges in Higher Ed.” Speakers at the 2016 Dwight Greene were Allen Green P’19, Tracey Gardner ’96, moderator C. Andrew McGadney ’92, Renee Sher ’11, and Marina Melendez ’83, MALS ’88. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

The 24th Annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium, held on Oct. 29 during Family Weekend, featured a panel of alumni ranging over three decades, speaking about the opportunities and challenges in higher education. C. Andrew McGadney ’92, vice president and secretary at Colby College, moderated. Previously McGadney had served at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., where he was vice president for university advancement, He had begun his career in University Relations at Wesleyan, serving as a director of development. Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion/Title IX officer, welcomed the speakers and attendees.

The panel featured Tracey Gardner ’96, deputy chief of staff of the president’s office at New York University; Allen Green P’19, the dean of equity and inclusion at Sarah Lawrence College; Marina Melendez ’83, MALS ’88, associate dean at Connecticut College and former dean at Wesleyan; and Renee Sher ’07, assistant professor of physics at Wesleyan.

Director MacLowry ’86 on the Making of PBS Documentary, “The Battle of Chosin”

battlexm_film_landing-dateOn Tuesday, Nov. 1, “The Battle of Chosin,” a documentary produced and directed by Randall MacLowry ’86, aired nationwide as part of the PBS American Experience series. In the film, MacLowry told the story of this pivotal 1950 Korean War battle—the first major military clash of the Cold War—through the eyewitness accounts and archival footage of heroic survival despite freezing temperatures and bloody battle.

A film major as an undergraduate who counts Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies Jeanine Basinger as a seminal mentor, MacLowry is an award-winning filmmaker whose work spans more than 25 years. His previous film for American Experience was “The Mine Wars,” which premiered in January 2016. When the producers approached him for the Chosin project last year, he accepted with alacrity, despite a fast timeline.

“It’s exciting to tell history through the eyes of witnesses,” he says. “The veterans are now in their mid-80s to early 90s; we started right away contacting them, casting a wide net. We were thrilled to find out how much the stories still resonated with them.” The team contacted about a hundred veterans and interviewed two dozen in on-camera conversations, each lasting several hours.

Randall MacLowry ’86 produced and directed the latest documentary in the PBS American Experience series, The Battle of Chosin.

Randall MacLowry ’86 produced and directed the latest documentary in the PBS American Experience series, “The Battle of Chosin.” He is co-founder of The Film Posse and an award-winning director.

“The interviews were emotional,” he recalls. “Their memories are so vivid for a battle that happened more than 60 years ago, and the time of year we contacted them—late November—seemed to heighten this; it was right around the anniversary. A huge part of this battle was the cold; most have some form of frostbite. It’s a testament to these men: not only were they outnumbered by the Chinese but they survived grueling conditions.”

MacLowry’s work involved a great deal of research. “The other side of the documentary process is providing the viewer with material to visualizing it,” MacLowry explains, “and we found we had a surprisingly rich visual palate in terms of telling the story.” Working primarily from the national archives (“A hugely valuable resource”) he was also able to draw from other military sources, including the U.S. Marine archives at Quantico, as well as journalists’ photos and newsreels.

The story was also an international one. “This was the first time that the U.N. intervened in any sort of way, militarily,” he says. “It wasn’t just the United States forces, although those were the majority of the troops; it was a multinational force.” He was pleased they were able to include an interview with a South Korean veteran who was part of the South Korean Army, attached to the U.S. Marines as an interpreter who participated in this battle.

Initially not a documentarian, MacLowry said that after Wesleyan he “headed off to New York” planning to work in narrative films. After a year-long gig working on a 13-part series on American poets he found that the project “opened up my eyes to this kind of storytelling; I wanted to go down the editing path.”

He moved back to his hometown—Washington, D.C.—and began working with the late documentarian Charles Guggenheim. “Documentary film-making has been a constant learning experience for me; It’s the intersection of my film major and my exploration of a potential CSS major in my sophomore year.

“I’ve been blessed with several wonderful mentors,” he says. “From the start, being mentored by Jeanine Basinger and having her support—it really shaped my career. I feel honored to be part of the Wesleyan film community. And having Jessie Napier ’14 as our production assistant is an important part of continuing this Wesleyan experience.”

Jessie Napier ’14, who majored in film studies at Wesleyan, served as production assistant for "The Battle of Chosin."

Jessie Napier ’14, who majored in film studies at Wesleyan, served as production assistant for “The Battle of Chosin.”

Napier, also a Wesleyan film major, adds, “”The process of working on this film has really opened my eyes to the fascinating world of historical documentaries. There’s something extremely rewarding about digging through thousands of archival images and piecing together moments from more than 60 years ago. It’s a unique experience being able to immerse yourself in a specific moment in history. It was amazing to be part of a creative team committed to sharing the stories of these veterans who have lived through such a harrowing experience.”

“I feel it’s an important group of people whose story we’ve told,” MacLowry concurs. “So often called a ‘forgotten war,’ the Korean War actually shaped our national policies. When the Chinese entered the conflict full force, it shifted the American stance toward becoming the’ police of the world’—rightly or wrongly—dedicating much more money into defense build up, with military bases across the globe. America’s containment policy began with this war, in 1950.

“When I watch the film now, there are still several moments with the men, the emotions they share with us about their experiences, I still get choked up. We’re in a sense reliving it with them. There’s a real dignity in the way each man shares his story—an appreciation for what he did, of his survival despite the horrors of war that he endured. They feel proud of what they did, and also deeply aware of what they lost—on a personal level—by being engaged in the war. To be able to do right by them, that was my goal.”

Alumnae Speak to Students about Careers in Earth and Environmental Science

Three Wesleyan alumnae returned to campus Oct. 26 to speak to junior and senior earth and environmental science majors about “What to do with an E&ES Degree After Wes?”

The panel included Lori Oakes-Coyne ’92, senior recruiter for Environmental Resources Management, Inc. in Boston; Maria Osorio ‘92, assistant commissioner of operations for New York City; and Emma Kravet ’09, education director for the Connecticut Forest and Park Association.

Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Suzanne O’Connell organized the program to assist students in preparing for post-Commencement life. “Our alumni are incredibly loyal,” she notes, “And one way they help the department is by providing career information for our majors. This year our alumni career panel represented three different career paths, government, nonprofits and the consulting industry. We chose them in part because they had all taken jobs right out of college that has little relationship to what they are doing now. I think students are nervous about taking a job because it might not be the correct career path. These three wonderful alums show that you can have excellent career paths that are non-linear and end up with a dream job— you just need to get started somewhere.”

An earth science major, Oakes-Coyne studied geology and environmental science at Boston College after Wesleyan and began as a staff geologist at Hydro Environmental Technologies, Inc. Once she started managing projects, Oakes-Coyne learned about budgets and estimating the hours needed to complete a job. Having an environmental science degree with a MBA is a good combination, she noted. "It can be pretty awesome to be out in the field. Days start early and can go late, packaging the samples. It can be fast-paced, with lots of variety—and if you like that, you’ll like consulting. You’ll be taking a lot of notes in the field; it’s writing intensive, and writing is a critical tool.

An earth science major, Oakes-Coyne ’92 studied geology and environmental science at Boston College after Wesleyan and began as a staff geologist at Hydro Environmental Technologies, Inc. Once she started managing projects, Oakes-Coyne learned about budgets and estimating the hours needed to complete a job. Having an environmental science degree with a MBA is a good combination, she noted. “It can be pretty awesome to be out in the field. Days start early and can go late, packaging the samples. It can be fast-paced, with lots of variety—and if you like that, you’ll like consulting. You’ll be taking a lot of notes in the field; it’s writing intensive; writing is a critical tool.”

Shasha Seminar Sparks Dialogue on Universities’ Response to Mass Incarceration

Michael Romano ’94 delivered the keynote address at the Shasha Seminar Oct. 14 in Memorial Chapel.

Michael Romano ’94 delivered the keynote address at the Shasha Seminar Oct. 14 in Memorial Chapel.

The 13th Annual Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns, held Oct. 14-15, offered panels and discussions on “The Role of the University in the Era of Mass Incarceration.” Experts and activists from across the country, as well as members of the Wesleyan community, considered practical and philosophical responses to the current situation, placing it in a historical perspective that began with slavery. Additionally, Wesleyan’s Center for Prison Education (CPE) program alumni gave individual testimony to the imperative they placed on access to learning within the penal system.

Keynote speaker Michael Romano ’94, who teaches at Stanford Law School, is the co-founder and director of the Stanford Justice Advocacy Project. He also co-authored Proposition 36,  which overturned key sections of California’s “Three Strikes” law that had been enacted in 1994, causing the state’s prison population to balloon with many inmates sentenced to life terms for nonviolent crimes.

Mysterium Conference Draws Writers, Readers

Stickers in the form of "bloody" handprints welcomed campus guests to Mysterium, the conference for mystery writers and readers.

Plastic window stickers in the form of bloody handprints welcomed campus guests to Mysterium, the conference for mystery writers and readers.

Bloody handprints smeared the glass doors to Usdan, the clue to Mysterium attendees that they had arrived at the scene of their conference on Oct. 8. Red footprints led them to the sign-in table and the schedule, which boasted a cohort of award-winning mystery writers and those in publishing—including Wesleyan alumni.

Hosted by Amy Bloom ’75, the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing at Wesleyan, the day-long event opened with a keynote with Laura Lippman—a New York Times bestselling author of detective fiction including the Tess Monaghan series—and brought alumni, parents, as well as mystery writers and readers to campus for panel discussions, book signings, master classes and networking.

“A great mystery is a frigate,” said Bloom, introducing the conference and Lippman. “It takes you away. Great ones do it with extraordinary vision, extraordinary language. A mystery is the only literary form that lulls, compels, intrigues and gratifies you.” She praised Lippman for her capacity to illuminate characters—and to follow the thread of the story in a way that “never seems formulaic.”

Attorney Hasselman ’91 Represents Standing Rock Sioux Against Dakota Access Pipeline

Attorney Jan Hasselman ’91 is representing Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, speaks to members of the media outside U.S. District Court in Washington, DC., Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, as members of the tribe asked a federal judge to temporarily stop work on parts of the Dakota Access Pipeline to prevent the destruction of sacred and culturally significant sites near Lake Oahe. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Attorney Jan Hasselman ’91 is representing Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, speaks to members of the media outside U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Sept. 6 as members of the tribe asked a federal judge to temporarily stop work on parts of the Dakota Access Pipeline to prevent the destruction of sacred and culturally significant sites near Lake Oahe. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Jan Hasselman ’91, a staff attorney with Earthjustice’s Northwest office in Seattle, serves as counsel for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in their efforts to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

An article in The Atlantic “The Legal Case for Blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline,” asks “Did the U.S. government help destroy a major Sioux archeological site?

The article is one of several in the media that highlight the work of the legal team and the questions they raise. At this time, the issue ongoing.

Atlantic Associate Editor Robinson Meyer writes in his Sept. 9 article:

“As part of the ongoing trial, the legal team for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe submitted documents to the court last Friday that certified one of their main claims in the case: that the pipeline will pass through and likely destroy Native burial sites and sacred places.

“These documents provided some of the first evidence that state authorities had missed major archeological discoveries in the path of the pipeline. For instance, they described a large stone feature that depicted the constellation Iyokaptan Tanka (the Big Dipper)—a sign that a major leader, likely a highly respected Chief, was buried nearby.

“‘This is one of the most significant archeological finds in North Dakota in many years,” said Tim Mentz, a Standing Rock Sioux member and a longtime Native archeologist in the Great Plains. “[Dakota Access Pipeline] consultants would have had to literally walk directly over some of these features. However, reviewing DAPL’s survey work, it appears that they did not independently survey this area but relied on a 1985 survey.”

Hasselman, who has been affiliated with Earthjustice since 1998, is working with colleagues Associate Attorney Stephanie Tsosie and Managing Attorney Patti Goldman on this project. An Earthjustice case overview offers a summary so far, updates, concerns, and a “What’s at Stake” summary: “The Army Corps’ approval of the permit allows the oil company to dig the pipeline under the Missouri River just upstream of the reservation and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s drinking water supply. An oil spill at this site would constitute an existential threat to the Tribe’s culture and way of life.”

When Democracy Now reported on Sept. 7, on a federal judge ruling that construction on sacred tribal burial sites could continue. Hasselman was quoted as saying, “We’re disappointed with what happened here today. We provided evidence on Friday of sacred sites that were directly in the pipeline’s route. By Saturday morning, those sites had been destroyed. And we saw things happening out at Standing Rock—dogs being put on protesters—that haven’t been seen in America in 40, 50 years.”

Hasselman, who majored in history at Wesleyan, is a graduate of Boston College Law School, where he was was executive editor of the Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review. While at Earthjustice, he has successfully litigated a number of regional and national issues, including listings of salmon under the Endangered Species Act, stormwater pollution, coal fired power plants, and forestry. He also serves on as an adjunct on the faculty of University of Washington and Seattle University law schools.

Award-winning Documentary ‘Dream On,’ by Roger Weisberg ’75 Airs on PBS, Oct. 7

DreamONDream On, the newest documentary by Roger Weisberg ’75, will air on PBS at 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7. (check local listing). The film is the 32nd documentary written, produced and directed by Weisberg, who heads Public Policy Productions. Dream On has already appeared in 19 international film festivals, garnering four top awards. Weisberg’s earlier works have won more than 150 awards, including Emmy and Peabody awards, as well as two Academy Award nominations.

Dream On asks the question: “Is the American Dream still alive and well?” Are we still optimistic that hard work will raise our standard of living—for our generation and for our children? Weisberg explores this question with political comedian John Fugelsang serving as host and commentator throughout this unusual road trip. The journey revisits the cities of Alexis de Tocqueville’s 1831 itinerary, which served as the Frenchman’s research for Democracy in America. In it, Tocqueville described America as a land of equality, opportunity and social mobility. For those interested in viewing the film as part of a community screening event or classroom educational opportunity, PBS offers a viewer’s guide, as well as a trailer and additional resources, including video segments that Weisberg was not able to include in the 90-minute slot for PBS.

Roger Weisberg ’75, founder of Public Policy Productions, introduces his latest documentary exploring the American dream in a roadtrip following the 1931 journey of Alexis de Toqueville and featuring political comedian John Fugelsang.

Roger Weisberg ’75, founder of Public Policy Productions, introduces his latest documentary, an epic road trip exploring the endangered American dream. The film retraces the journey of Alexis de Tocqueville and features political comedian John Fugelsang.

Weisberg also spoke to The Wesleyan Connection about the process of creating his newest work and his hopes for it: 

Connection: What was the inspiration for Dream On?

Roger Weisberg: I wanted to make a contribution to PBS programming surrounding the election, but I wanted to do it in a way that was different from some of my more conventional reporting on poverty, social mobility and economic inequality. The road trip infused this project with a degree of exuberance and levity, while also permitting us to examine some urgent social issues and meet some really powerful subjects along the way.

Connection: How did John Fugelsang come to join you?

RW: We were pretty lucky to have been referred to him by colleagues who worked with Bill Moyers. It turned out that for John, the timing was perfect: He’d just lost his job as a talk show host, because the cable network that had hired him was sold to a foreign buyer. Because of John’s new feeling of economic insecurity, he was able to put himself in the shoes of many of the people he met on our Tocqueville odyssey.

Connection: What kind of time frame were you working in?

RW: In the early part of 2013, I did the whole road trip on my own, without a crew, to meet prospective participants and scout locations. In the fall of 2013, we filmed this journey in two stints of about 25 days each.

Johnston, Eiko Exhibit A Body in Fukushima in Manhattan

From The Fukushima Project, by Eiko Otake and William Johnston: Hattachi Benten 7 August 2016 No. 0457; Photo by William Johnston.

From The Fukushima Project, by Eiko Otake and William Johnston: Hattachi Benten 7 August 2016 No. 0457; Photo by William Johnston.

A Body in Fukushima, the collaborative work of Wesleyan artist-in-residence Eiko Otake P’07, ’10 and Professor of History and East Asian Studies William Johnston, will be on view at the Cathedral of St, John the Divine in Upper Manhattan as part of a larger exhibition The Christa Project: Manifesting Divine Bodies from Oct. 6 through March 12. Otake, who serves as an artist-in-residence at the Cathedral and a co-curator with Wesleyan senior Hannah Eisner ’17 for this project, will offer a short performance for the opening reception, which is open to the public. The exhibition includes works by many notable artists such as Kiki Smith, Kara Walker and Meredith Bergmann ’76.

The project offers a response to and a wider revisiting of the 1984 exhibit of sculptor Edwina Sandys’s Christa, a conceptualizing of the crucified Christ in female form, which sparked considerable outrage at the time. In a statement introducing this re-exhibition of the sculpture, now alongside works of 21 contemporary artists, the project directors note: “Christa’s essential statement …remains vital to our world today: people are hungry to see themselves and each other fully represented in society, especially in its most powerful and iconic institutions.

Otake and Johnston’s collaboration, A Body in Fukushima, explores environmental disaster, human failure, and loss through Johnston’s photographs of Otake’s presence in Fukushima, the site of the 2011 earthquake, tsumanmi and nuclear meltdowns. The large area of Fukushima remains uninhabitable to this day. Prior to this artistic collaboration with their three visits to Fukushima in 2014 and this summer, the two have co-taught courses on the atomic bombings and mountaintop removal mining.

In artists’ statements the two note the importance of a physical presence and bearing witness. Otake says, “By placing my body in these places, I thought of the generations of people who used to live there. Now desolate, only time and wind continue to move.”

Johnston, also, speaks to the historic context of the place: “By witnessing events and places, we actually change them and ourselves in ways that may not always be apparent but are important. Through photographing Eiko in these places in Fukushima, we are witnessing not only her and the places themselves, but the people whose lives crossed with those places.”

Hittachi Benten 7 August 2016 No._0457 Photo by Wm Johnston copyJohnston

From The Fukushima Project, by Eiko Otake and William Johnston: Minami Soma, Shiogama Shrine, 3 August 2016 No. 426. (Photo by William Johnston)

From The Fukushima Project, by Eiko Otake and William Johnston: Tomioka 5 August 2016 No. 0215; Photo by William Johnston

From The Fukushima Project, by Eiko Otake and William Johnston: Tomioka 5 August 2016 No. 0215.(Photo by William Johnston)