Cynthia Rockwell

Schwartz ’94 Provides Medical Assistance in Ecuador with Team Rubicon

during the hike to get one of these villages.  Some of the villages in Ecuador are rather remote in Jungle locations.  There are no roads.  Getting to these locations means walking through the Jungle to get there.  Many of the locals do it on Donkey back (we sorely regretted not taking more time to find donkeys, by the way).  It had recently rained the day before, and many of the usual trails were damaged or unpassable due to landslides and washout.  Where the trails were passable, the mud was as high as our hips and almost impossible to walk through.  We found it was easier to just hike IN the river at certain points rather than stay on the trails. 

“Some of the villages in Ecuador are rather remote in jungle locations,” says Dan Schwartz ’94, at right. “There are no roads. Many of the locals do it on donkey back (we sorely regretted not taking more time to find donkeys, by the way). It had recently rained, and many of the usual trails were washed out or damaged by landslides. Where the trails were passable, the mud was as high as our hips.  We found it was easier to just hike in the river at certain points rather than stay on the trails.”

Last spring, Dan Schwartz ’94 returned from Ecuador where he worked as a physician with Team Rubicon as a part of a rapid-deployment disaster medical assistance team after a 7.8M earthquake hit the area on April 16, 2016. Team Rubicon provided rescue, medical and reconnaissance aid to remote villages that could not be reached by the local government or non-governmental organizations.

“One of our mottos is, ‘We go where the others can’t or won’t,” Schwartz says.

Team Rubicon, a group of military veterans and first responders, was formed in 2010. In its first mission, the team brought lifesaving equipment and supplies to Haiti, which had been devastated by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0.

Schwartz joined Team Rubicon in 2015, only a year and a half before getting that phone call on April 21. “‘Can you go to Ecuador? Let us know—your flight leaves in eight hours.’” He was on board.

Saint John ’99 Named Women in Music Executive of the Year

Bozoma Saint John, photographed on Nov. 7, 2016 at Smashbox Studios in Culver City. (Photo by Ramona Rosales, appearing in BillBoard.)

Bozoma Saint John, photographed on Nov. 7, 2016 at Smashbox Studios in Culver City. (Photo by Ramona Rosales, appearing in Billboard.)

Bozoma Saint John ’99, head of global consumer marketing for iTunes and Apple Music, was named Women in Music executive of the year.

In an article for, writer Shirley Halperin interviewed Saint John, describing the recent months that catapulted the music executive into the industry’s spotlight and beyond. “A year ago, she was the streaming service’s secret weapon,” Halperin wrote. “Now, after a headline-making onstage appearance and a series of high-profile, star-studded ads, she’s the (glamorous) new face of Apple Music.”

Previously at Beats, Saint John had been only three months at that the job when Apple music acquired the company in 2014 and invited her to head up Apple’s music marketing division. In June of 2016 when she took the stage at Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference, Saint John brought a whole new perspective to the conference, reaching beyond the engineers in the auditorium with an approach to music marketing that grabbed attention.

Saint John explained to Halperin: “’The strategy was to talk to the people outside—those who are going to be watching in their office or on the phone, the people on social media,’ she says. ‘They need to feel like their best girlfriend just told them about this cool new thing. It needed to feel fun because that’s what the ­experience of music is.'”

Active in the Wesleyan community, Saint John was recently announced as a member of the selection committee for the first-ever Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity. She is a member of the President’s Council and served as keynote speaker at WesFest 2016, the April event for admitted students and their families.

Sutton ’86 Nominated for Grammy with The Sting Variations

The Sting Variations, the latest album by The Tierney Sutton [’86] Band was nominated for a 2017 Grammy in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category,

The Sting Variations, the latest album by The Tierney Sutton [’86] Band, was nominated for a 2017 Grammy in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category,

Tierney Sutton ’86 has been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. The Sting Variations is a collection of Sting and Police songs reinterpreted by The Tierney Sutton Band and released on the BFM Jazz label. Sutton had previously explored the music of Bill Evans, Frank Sinatra, and most recently Joni Mitchell, with her 2013 album, After Blue.

In a September interview for Billboard, Sutton told writer Melinda Newman that the choice to explore Sting’s work was a natural one: “‘[Sting’s] autobiography is full of references to Miles and Coltrane and the Great American Song tradition.’”

The Sting Variations includes both well known songs by the artist, such as “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free,” and “Message in a Bottle,” as well as lesser known pieces among the 14 tracks. The first track, “Driven to Tears,” is highlighted on Sutton’s website as a video of the band performing this song.

Also this year, Tierney Sutton and her band’s co-leader and pianist Christian Jacob collaborated with Clint Eastwood on the soundtrack to the movie Sully, about the pilot, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (played by Tom Hanks), who, in 2009, became a national hero after successfully executing an emergency water landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River. Sutton described the experience with Eastwood as “really collaborative. …very much ‘Clint joins The Tierney Sutton Band.'” The singer and actor-director have even discussed further collaboration, Tierney told Billboard. The Sully soundtrack was released in October by Varese Sarabande.

Sutton was also recently announced as a member of the selection committee for the first-ever Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity.

McCarthy ’75 Produces ‘Star-Studded’ Documentary Harry Benson: Shoot First

Stephen McCarthy ’75 is producer of the new documentary Harry Benson: Shoot First, opening this weekend.

Stephen McCarthy ’75 is partner/executive producer of the new documentary Harry Benson: Shoot First, opening Dec. 9, 2016.

Stephen McCarthy ’75, managing director at KCG Capital Advisors, is also partner/executive producer with Matthew Miele’s Quixotic Endeavors (QE) film production company, featuring corporate/individual biopics, such as Crazy About Tiffany’s (starring Jessica Biel and Katie Couric, among others) and Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorfs (starring Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen, among others). Their third film Harry Benson: Shoot First, will be in theaters—including New York City—and video on demand, starting Dec. 9, 2016.

Harry Benson: Shoot First is a 90-minute documentary on one of the most accomplished photojournalists of the past five decades. Benson’s work has captured cultural icons in defining moments of history—including Robert Kennedy’s assassination—as well as in moments of playful ease—the Beatles in the midst of a pillow fight—with compassion, elegance, and intimacy. His photographs have graced the covers of TIME, LIFE, and People more than 100 times, notes film critic Isaac Guzman in the Nov. 26, 2016, issue of TIME. In Guzman’s review, titled “A Star-Studded Tribute to a Lovable Lensman,” he warns viewers, “Don’t blink…Every flutter of an eyelid risks blocking out a wonder of the photographic world: Michael Jackson frolicking like the Pied Piper at Neverland Ranch with a retinue of children; Bill and Hillary Clinton on the precipice of a kiss on a hammock; Bobby Fisher being nuzzled by a wild Icelandic horse.”

McCarthy’s involvement in QE (“a wonderful sidelight at this stage of my career”) began almost six years ago when director Matthew Miele, one of the QE founders, approached him through a mutual friend about the Bergdorf project. “I immediately got in touch with my dear friend/late classmate Seth Gelbum ’75, a prominent Broadway lawyer from Loeb and Loeb and worked with his partners on the first two film projects.” In addition, after a Homecoming visit to campus, McCarthy brought Miele to meet Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies Jeanine Basinger, “who was been interested in and supportive of their ventures,” he says.

“To date, I’m enjoying this industry from the business side, but given the breadth and depth of ‘the Wesleyan mafia’ in Hollywood, you never know whom you’ll meet to potentially collaborate on upcoming projects (like our Norman Rockwell film in the works)!” As for his thoughts on Harry Benson: Shoot First: “To my mind, the film is the equivalent of walking through a fantastic gallery and instead of just looking at the photos, you are having the entire experience curated by someone who had been there at the exact historical moment each photo was taken—it’s riveting.”

Photographs by National Geographic Photographer Yamashita ’71 on Exhibit in Beijing

Acclaimed photographer Michael Yamashita ’71 captures the Meili Snow Moutains in all of their breathtaking grandeur. The photograph appears in the Return to Tea-Horse Road exhibition in Beijing.

Acclaimed photographer Michael Yamashita ’71 captures the Meili Snow Mountains in all of their breathtaking grandeur. The photograph appears in the Return to Tea-Horse Road exhibition in Beijing.

Return to the Tea-Horse Road, an exhibition by acclaimed National Geographic Magazine photographer Michael Yamashita ’71, will be featured in the Sony U Space in Beijing, from Dec. 6, 2016, to Jan. 8, 2017.

An exhibition by acclaimed photographer Michael Yamashita ’71 will be held in Beijing, starting Friday, Dec. 9, 2016.

An exhibition by Michael Yamashita ’71 will be held in Beijing, starting Dec. 6, 2016, and running through Jan. 8, 2017.

Drawn from a series of photographs created for a 2010 National Geographic article, “Tea Horse Road,” Yamashita traces the legendary trail of grand vistas, where both Chinese tea and Tibetan horses were traded. His photographs offer cultural highlights rendered with intimacy—equestrian festivals revealing pageantry and brightly-colored flags, travelers sipping tea by yak-butter candlelight, men squatting to gather worms for herbal healers—as well vast landscapes of distant mountains traced with switchback trails and breathtaking majesty.

The exhibition highlights and features large-scale prints of his work, some two-by-three meters in size. Multiple Sony 4K television monitors will play a 200-picture slide show.

Additionally, Yamashita will be on hand for portions of each day this upcoming weekend (Dec. 9–11, 2016). He’ll be at a reception on Friday, Dec. 9, signing books from 1 to 6 p.m., and on Saturday afternoon he will offer a slide show, as well as attending the show on Sunday. Admission is free, Yamashita notes and adds, “I hope to see many Wesleyan alumni.”

The gallery is located at Jiuxianqiao Road No. 2, 798 Art Zone, Taoci 3rd Street E05-8, Chaoyang, Beijing, China.

Composer/Drummer Sorey MA ’11 is “The Maestro”

Drummer and composer Tyshawn Sorey MA’11 is the subject of an article in JazzTimes by David Adler. Sorey will return to Wesleyan as an assistant professor of music in the fall semester of 2017. (Photo by John Rogers.)

Drummer and composer Tyshawn Sorey MA’11 is the subject of an article in JazzTimes by David Adler, who calls him “multifaceted and restlessly evolving.” Sorey will return to Wesleyan as an assistant professor of music in the fall semester of 2017. (Photo by John Rogers)

Tyshawn Sorey MA ’11 is the subject of a Nov. 26 article published in JazzTimes titled “Tyshawn Sorey: The Maestro.”

“It’s something to see,” writes David Adler for JazzTimes. “A fired-up young sideman blossoms into one of the most multifaceted and restlessly evolving artists of our time at age 36. It’s hard to tally just the most recent accomplishments.”

His accomplishments include premiering a work—Sorey on piano and drums—at the Ojai Festival in California that had been commissioned by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) at the Ojai Festival in California last February—and another ICE commission is upcoming. His Alloy trio (pianist Cory Smythe and bassist Christopher Tordini) not only played a weeklong gig at the Village Vanguard, but has a work commissioned by the Newport Jazz Festival, which Sorey will release soon, containing material from his stint at the Vanguard.

Williams ’89: “Bridge Broadly and Creatively”—Interview in The Progressive

Dar Williams ’89 is touring on her Image by Tristan Loper

Dar Williams ’89 is on her Mortal City 20th Anniversary Tour and also writing a book on eight cities she has visited frequently, including Middletown, Conn. (Image by Tristan Loper)

“A featured performer at the The Progressive’s 100th anniversary party in 2009, [Dar] Williams [’89] has always identified with progressive causes,” writes Bill Luedes, associate editor of The Progressive magazine, by way of background to his Q&A with Williams that follows. “She toured with Joan Baez early in her career and has embraced feminist, anti-war, and pro-environment positions.  She’s taught a class titled ‘Music Movements in a Capitalist Democracy’ at her alma mater, Wesleyan University. A mother of two children, she has written a novel for young adults, Amalee, and is working on a sequel.”

In the interview, Luedes explores the reasons for the sense of community found among audience members at Williams’s concerts, as well as the meaning behind certain song lyrics to tease out her reaction to the recent political climate. When he asks her to recommend community action for individuals, Williams is first descriptive before prescriptive: “My particular expertise these days as a traveler is that I’ve watched towns and cities evolve and become very resilient, and fun, and unique, and prosperous on their own terms. And the secret is bridging. It’s when the local church has a fun clothing swap fundraiser with a temple, and then the next year they bring in the mosque. It’s one group working with the senior center, which works with the elementary school, which works with the Lion’s Club. … I would encourage people to bridge broadly and creatively in their communities, not just because that creates the most fun and resiliency, but also because it creates the most points of access for people to be part of the community, which is what democracy is at its best.”


Jazz Guitarist Halvorson ’02 Is “Unflinching and Full of Grace”

Credit Jacob Blickenstaff for The New York Times

Mary Halvonson ’02 has released her eight album, Away With You, reviewed in the New York Times by Nate Chinen. (Photo by Jacob Blickenstaff for The New York Times)

“There’s no other sound in music precisely like Mary Halvorson’s guitar, which she plays with a flinty attack, a spidery finesse and a shiver of wobbly delay,” writes New York Times jazz critic Nate Chinen in a review of her recent shows around Brooklyn in October. She also released her eighth album, Away With Youon Oct.28.

The album is produced by Firehouse 12, a production studio co-founded by fellow jazz musician Taylor Ho Bynum ’98 MA ’05, which has released his work, as well as the music of Halvorson’s and Bynum’s Wesleyan professor and mentor Anthony Braxton, whom Chinen calls “a formative influence as a musical thinker” for Halvorson. Chinen also notes another mentor Halvorson found in Connecticut: acclaimed free-jazz guitarist Joe Morris, “a staunch experimentalist,” with whom Halvorson took private lessons. (Morris is spouse of Anne Marcotty, senior designer in Wesleyan’s Office of Communications.)

Calling her new CD “the most accomplished statement Ms. Halvorson has made as a composer, her strongest turn as bandleader and a standout jazz release of the year,” Chinen notes that she is part of a “vibrant cohort,” and performs on cornetist Bynum’s most recent album, Enter the PlusTet, among other musical collaborations.

The article is both review and interview and part of Times‘ The New Vanguard series, which “examine[s] jazz musicians who are helping reshape the art form, often beyond the glare of the spotlight.” Concluding the interview, Chinen asks Halvorson “whether she had noticed her sound among any imitators …’Actually no, I don’t think so. I can’t think of a time when I heard someone and thought, ‘Oh, that sounds like what I’m doing.’ After a pause, she added: ‘Maybe that will happen. I don’t know.'”

Vidich ’72 Celebrated in Poets and Writers as First-Time Author

Paul Vidich ’72 is first-time author of the noir spy-thriller "An Honorable Man," garnering rave reviews.

Paul Vidich ’72 is first-time author of the noir spy-thriller An Honorable Man, garnering rave reviews.

The article in Poets and Writers begins, “From the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 program to the New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 list, many organizations make a point of recognizing young, gifted authors at the start of their literary careers. In the November/December 2016 issue of Poets & Writers magazine, we feature five debut authors over the age of 50 … whose first books came out this past year, and who stand as living proof that it’s never too late to start your literary journey.”

Highlighted here was Paul Vidich ’72, whose first book, “An Honorable Man” was published in April 2016 by Atria/Emily Bestler, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Kirkus Review called it “A moody debut spy novel inspired by real events…Dead-on Cold War fiction. Noir to the bone,” and Publisher’s Weekly listed it as one of their “top ten mysteries and thrillers of spring 2016.”

The novel is set in 1953, in the midsts of McCarthyism, and with the Cold War underway. Vidich’s hero, George Mueller, is assigned to help the CIA find the double agent in its midst who is selling secrets to the Soviets. Read the excerpt published in Poets and Writers here.

Prior to this novel, Vidich has written both fiction and nonfiction pieces that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Fugue, The Nation, Narrative Magazine, and elsewhere. His story, “Falling Girl,” was nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize and appeared in New Rivers Press’s American Fiction, Volume 12: The Best Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers.

A College of Social Studies major at Wesleyan, Vidich previously served as executive vice president in charge of global digital strategy at Time Warner’s Warner Music Group. A past member of the National Academies committee on The Impact of Copyright Policy on Innovation in the Digital Era, he testified in Washington before rate hearings.

Vidich is currently a venture investor and serves as an advisor to Internet media companies in video and music. He is on the boards of directors of Poets and Writers, The New School for Social Research, and the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation. A former trustee of Wesleyan, he received a Distinguished Alumni Award and is a graduate of The Wharton School.

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.