Laurie Kenney

Guralnick ’83 Explores the Art of Order in Remodelista: The Organized Home

Margot Guralnick ’83 (Photo by Laure Joliet)

In this Q&A, Margot Guralnick ’83, coauthor of Remodelista: The Organized Home, speaks about her new book. The website, The Organized Home, features daily tips and ideas on discovering the art of order.

Q: The current organizing philosophies are all about order over beauty. You believe order doesn’t have to be artless. Tell us about how you developed your philosophy.

A: This idea is part of the core philosophy at Remodelista. We’re a 10-year-old website that Julie Carlson, my coauthor, founded to demystify the home design process and celebrate pared-back living. So we, of course, took an interest in Marie Kondo and the whole decluttering movement. Noting that the focus was on clearing out with no mention of how to live well, we felt compelled to join the dialogue.

Q: Were you a collector as a child?

Anita Hill Delivers 2018 Commencement Address

Anita Hill, University Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brandeis University and a faculty member of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis, delivers the 2018 Commencement address.

Anita Hill, University Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brandeis University and a faculty member of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis, delivered the 2018 Commencement address on May 27.

In 1991, Hill’s name became indelibly stamped on the national consciousness when she accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment while he was her supervisor. Her courage in speaking out and her dignity in the face of vituperative attacks remain inspirational, and over the years she has provided frequent commentary in the national media on gender and race issues. She recently was selected to head the Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, intended to address sexual abuse and harassment in the media and entertainment industries. She also served as chair of the Human Rights Committee of the International Bar Association.

Her commencement address follows:

Good morning. It really is a great pleasure to be here. I want to thank the Board of Trustees, President Roth, and the faculty and staff of Wesleyan who have made this singular recognition possible. I proudly accept this honorary degree and the privilege of addressing the Class of 2018.

Class of 2018, so far you have been fairly reserved and quiet. And I suspect that at some point, maybe right now, you want to make some noise.

I want to say to my fellow honoree, Dr. Boger, you’re now my new model for how to do well in the world and also to do great works.

Wesleyan Awards 745 BA Degrees at 186th Commencement


The Class of 2018 graduated on May 27.

Graduates, their families, and other members of the Wesleyan community gathered on Andrus Field for the 186th Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 27. Wesleyan conferred 745 bachelor of arts degrees; 41 master of arts degrees; 21 master of arts in liberal studies degrees; and 20 doctor of philosophy degrees.

Anita Hill received an honorary degree and delivered the Commencement address.

Anita Hill, University Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brandeis University—and a frequent commentator on gender and race issues—delivered the Commencement address and received an honorary degree. She recently was selected to head the Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, intended to address sexual abuse and harassment in the media and entertainment industries. She also served as chair of the Human Rights Committee of the International Bar Association.

“In 2018 I have new heroes—heroes and sheroes—all of whom represent courageousness,” Hill said. “And some of whom sit right here in this audience today. You have shared the truth about sexual assault and harassment, privately and publicly. Throughout the country, women and men have demanded that universities and workplaces take action to end sexual violence. Even today, however, silence breakers face backlash—often delivered instantly, harshly, and anonymously, with the click of a mouse. But speaking out, despite the hardship, can be self-liberating and can empower others.”

Boger ’73, P’06, ’09 Makes Remarks at 2018 Commencement

Joshua Boger ’73, P’06, ’09, founder and former chief executive officer of Vertex Pharmaceuticals and former chair of the Wesleyan Board of Trustees, received an honorary doctorate during Wesleyan’s 2018 commencement ceremony on May 27.

Joshua Boger ’73, P’06, ’09, founder and former chief executive officer of Vertex Pharmaceuticals and former chair of the Wesleyan Board of Trustees, received an honorary doctorate during Wesleyan’s 2018 commencement ceremony on May 27. As the founder and former chief executive officer of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Boger led the discovery and development of new pharmaceuticals for treating some of medicine’s most daunting challenges, including HIV, hepatitis C infection, and cystic fibrosis. Currently, he is chair of the campaign for Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren, vice chair of Boston’s Museum of Science, chair of the board of the Celebrity Series (Boston’s premier performing arts presenter) and chair of the fundraising campaign for Harvard Medical School, where he is chair emeritus.

 

Boger’s speech is below:

Wesleyan Class of 2018: When I sat where you sit now, some 45 years ago, in 1973, we impetuously embraced a popular mantra of the times: “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Now I thought that was a pretty good idea then . . . and I think it’s an even better idea now.

My generation has done some good things. We ended the war in Vietnam. We sequenced the human genome. We brought you the personal computer and then the iPhone. But on the biggest societal challenges of our time—such as the environment, income disparity, and the affordability of higher education—we haven’t done so well. Overall, I’d give us a solid “C.” (That’s a “Wesleyan A-Minus.”)

President Roth Makes Remarks at 2018 Commencement

Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 addresses the Class of 2018 during the 186th Commencement ceremony on May 27.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 made the following remarks during the 186th commencement ceremony on May 27:

Members of the Board of Trustees, members of the faculty and staff, distinguished guests, new recipients of graduate degrees, and the mighty Class of 2018, I am honored to present some brief remarks on the occasion of this commencement.

Do you remember the summer before you began your first year at Wesleyan? Were you working a tough job, attending an interesting program, or volunteering at an engaging not-for-profit? Like many in the summer of 2014, you might have been complaining about inertia in Washington, wondering whether things could get worse. Little did we know. There was cynicism in the air, to be sure, but nothing like the craven disregard for principle and process that we are witnessing today. The invective, insult, and manipulation we see today are antithetical to the inquiry, compromise, and reflection that are crucial for democratic governance—and at the heart of liberal education—one that aims at empowerment through learning.

Price ’18 Delivers Senior Class Welcome

Zenzele Price ’18 delivers the senior class welcome during Wesleyan’s 186th Commencement ceremony on May 27.

Zenzele Price ’18 delivered the following remarks during Wesleyan’s 186th Commencement ceremony on May 27.

Hi, my name is Zenzele Price, and I’m the 2018 Commencement speaker.

I’m trying to be optimistic, but right now graduating from college feels like being told to jump out of a plane. Standing here, with the wind battering my face, staring out at the great, terrifying expanse of the future, it’s easy to want to step back. Back to the cocoon of Usdan and Red and Black, back to saying “points please,” back to a sea of familiar faces.

But, in reality, there is no stepping back. In reality, we are dispersing, seeds cast to the wind, tumbling into the real world with painful, exhilarating, hopeful gravity. And it’s hard to trust my parachute.

New Book by Sachs ’97 Inspires Readers to Push Thought Boundaries

Ready to step outside your comfort zone? We recently spoke to Jonah Sachs ’97, who explores what empowers some people to respond to change with creative breakthroughs while the rest of us spend our lives clinging to the safety of “the way it’s always been done,” in his new book, Unsafe Thinking: How to Be Nimble & Bold When You Need It Most (Da Capo Press, 2018). Filled with ideas and tips on everything from embracing risk and inspiring unsafe thinking in conservative business cultures to bouncing back from failure, as well as a mix of brainteasers, experiments, and puzzles, Unsafe Thinking is both inspirational and entertaining—and the perfect springboard to your next big idea. Sachs is the award-winning founder and a partner of Free Range Studios, a brand and innovation company that transforms companies through unsafe thinking.

New Book by McIntyre ’84 Explores How We Arrived at a Post-Truth Era

Did you ever wonder how we arrived in a post-truth era, where “alternative facts” are substituted for actual facts and feelings are given more weight than evidence? In Post-Truth (MIT Press, 2018), Lee McIntyre ’84—a research fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University and an instructor in ethics at Harvard Extension School—explores the long history of the phenomenon . . . and what’s different this time around.

Post-Truth book cover

Q: Many people think that post-truth is a new idea, borne of Brexit and the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but in your book, you explore the history behind the concept. Historically speaking, when did the idea first arise?

A: The word “post-truth” first started to be used in the 1990s, in a political story in a magazine. But the real interest here is that in 2016 the Oxford Dictionaries named post-truth their word of the year. This was due to a 2,000% increase in usage from 2015! So the word post-truth is of fairly recent origin. But the roots behind it, as I explore in my book, go back to science denial in the 1950s and cognitive bias that has been with us since the dawn of human civilization.

Q: As you note, the idea of a single objective truth has never been free from controversy. If this is true, can it be argued that post-truth is really just an alternative view of the truth? Can there be such a thing, in your opinion? 

A: An alternative view of truth—or the claim that there is no such thing as objective truth—is the bread and butter of epistemology. Philosophers debate the meaning of truth all the time: what is the appropriate concept of it, what its relationship is to knowledge, belief, certainty, etc. In the political context, though, things are different. Post-truth arose not from some philosophical quarrel, but from politicians who wanted to impose their reality on others. Here I draw a distinction with something like “spin doctoring” where everyone really knows that the person is lying and shading the truth, e.g., “my candidate obviously won the debate last night,” versus claiming that obviously false things are true, e.g., “the murder rate went up in the USA last year.” I see post-truth as the first step toward authoritarian rule.

Q: You argue that when we set forth a statement as fact with the intent to manipulate someone into believing something that we know is untrue, we have crossed the line from interpretation to deliberate falsification. Is this, for you, where post-truth begins?

A: Like lying, post-truth is intentional. It is a strategy. There are many different tactics that one might use in post-truth (lying, propaganda, selective exposure to information, etc.), but the intent is what matters. The analogy with lying is telling: A lie has to be made on purpose. One cannot accidentally lie. Similarly, post-truth is the deliberate attempt to see information through a political lens before it is shared with the public. That is when post-truth begins. When political expediency is more important than telling the truth about reality, we have crossed over into post-truth.

Q: We talk about political spin and how its intent is to influence others. But you see post-truth in its purest form to be when one thinks the audience’s reaction to the lie told actually changes the lie to truth. Can you give an example, from both sides of the political aisle, of this phenomenon of a lie “becoming” truth?

Helping Widowed Fathers Move Forward with Their Children: An Interview with Author Rosenstein ’80, MD

In The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life (Oxford University Press, 2018), Donald L. Rosenstein ’80, MD, and Justin M. Yopp, PhD, tell the stories of how seven men whose wives died from cancer came to terms with their grief and learned how to move forward into a meaningful future with their children. The book is based on the experiences of the men as members of a support group run by Rosenstein and Yopp at the Comprehensive Cancer Support Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. All proceeds from the book will be donated to Rosenstein and Yopp’s clinical and research work at UNC with widowed parents. For more about the widowed parents group, visit widowedparent.org.

2 Wes Press Poets Named Finalists for L.A. Times Book Prize

Wesleyan University Press author-poets Shane McCrae and Evie Shockley have been selected as finalists in the poetry category for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. McCrae received the nod for In the Language of My Captor, which was previously honored as a finalist for the National Book Award, while Shockley was chosen for her latest collection, semiautomatic. In the Language of My Captor, by Shane McCrae

“We are thrilled for authors Evie Shockley and Shane McCrae to have their books recognized in this way,” said Susanna semiautomatic by evie shockleyTamminen, director and editor-in-chief of Wesleyan University Press. “These are both extraordinary books, and we feel truly honored to be their publisher.”

McCrae’s In the Language of My Captor examines the idea of freedom told through stories of captivity. Comprised of historical persona poems with a prose memoir at its center, the book addresses the illusory freedom of both black and white Americans. Shockley’s semiautomatic traces a web of connections between the kinds of violence that affect people across the racial, ethnic, gender, class, sexual, national and linguistic boundaries that do and do not divide us.

Winners of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes will be announced on April 21, 2018, at an awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

Bogin ’18 and Monson ’18 Participate In Creative Residency at Goodspeed

Tekla Monson '18 and Molly Bogin '18 are the first Wesleyan students to take part in a pilot program between the university and the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals.

Molly Bogin ’18 (left) and Tekla Monson ’18 (right) are the first Wesleyan students to take part in a pilot program between the university and the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals.

Molly Bogin ’18 and Tekla Monson ’18 represented Wesleyan in the university’s inaugural program with the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, Connecticut, last month. The students joined 36 established and emerging composers and lyricists to participate in the two-week creative residency—the only one of its kind solely dedicated to the creation of new musicals. Kathleen Conlin, Theater Department chair, and Ellen Nerenberg, dean of the arts and humanities, initiated Wesleyan’s involvement with the program.