Lauren Rubenstein

Associate Manager of Media & Public Relations at Wesleyan University

Basinger Reflects on Star Wars Sequel Success

Though movie sequels had been successful in the past, it was a huge surprise when The Empire Strikes Back turned out to be as popular as the original Star Wars film, Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, told the website Boing Boing for a story reflecting on Empire 35 years after it arrived in cinemas.

“When you have set a level that you set with Star Wars in terms of financial success, critical success, audience success, quality of production, greatness of storytelling, you don’t really think even if the second one is going to be good that it can hit that same level twice because Star Wars was a real landmark film,” Basinger said. “It was a real big impact film and so you don’t expect the next one in that sequence to also be a landmark. It just doesn’t seem possible the way storytelling works but Empire was a movie that did not let down the standards set by Star Wars and that was great. Everybody was thrilled.”

She added that Empire opened up in a new way the possibility of sequential storytelling on a giant scale.

Basinger also is curator of the Wesleyan Cinema Archives.

Wesleyan Awards 799 BA Degrees at 183rd Commencement

New graduates toss hats following the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24. 

New graduates toss hats following the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

Graduates, their families, and other members of the Wesleyan community who gathered for the 183rd Commencement ceremony on May 24 were treated to some life advice in the form of rap, courtesy of Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, this year’s Commencement speaker and the composer, lyricist and star of the hip-hop musical Hamilton.

Lin-Manuel Miranda '02 delivering the Commencement address on May 24. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 delivering the Commencement address on May 24. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

“I’m going to sing a little bit, so if you made a bet that I’d be rapping during the Commencement address, your friend owes you money,” Miranda joked.

He drew upon the stories of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr to discuss two different approaches to life: charging forward in the spirit of Hamilton—”I’m not throwing away my shot”—versus holding out for just the right moment to take action–“Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it.”

Manuel spoke of falling in love with the “instant gratification” of theater at Wesleyan.

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 Delivers Commencement Address

The 183rd Commencement Ceremony took place on Andrus Field, with Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters recipient Lin-Manuel Miranda '02 delivering the Commencement address on May 24. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

The 183rd Commencement Ceremony took place on Andrus Field, with Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters recipient Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 delivering the Commencement address on May 24. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 made the following remarks at the 183rd Commencement ceremony May 24:

Thank you, President Roth, Provost, Board of Trustees, faculty, students, families. Wes Wings, Thai Gardens and Neon Deli.

As I look across the sea of proud, sleepy graduates, who just hours ago were turnt all the way up in the tent where your families now sit—seriously, your grandmother is sitting where YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID—I can’t help but wish I had been asked to be your freshman orientation speaker instead. Over the course of your time here, you have learned innumerable lessons, large and small, but I could have saved you a few of them. So, future graduates on Foss Hill, are you here? Consider this your post-frosh orientation advice.

Remarks for Honorary Degree Recipient Beverly Daniel Tatum ’75

Beverly Daniel Tatum '75, P'04 received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters this year on May 24. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Beverly Daniel Tatum ’75, P’04 received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters this year on May 24. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Beverly Daniel Tatum ’75, president of Spelman College, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on May 24. She delivered the following remarks:

eve_ruc_2015-0524115145Thank you, President Roth and the Board of Trustees, the faculty, for this wonderful honor. I can’t tell you how delighted I am to be here – especially on the occasion of the 40th reunion of the Class of 1975! The years I spent at Wesleyan were transformative for me, and when I left Wesleyan, I was a confident young woman with a clear career plan.

I planned to go off to graduate school, earn my Ph.D.

Remarks for Honorary Degree Recipient Michael Price

Michael Price received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters this year on May 24. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Michael Price, at right, received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wesleyan President Michael Roth, at left. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Honorary Degree Recipient Michael Price made the following remarks during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24: 

My children would say this is an awesome moment.  For me, being on this platform amongst such a distinguished assemblage is somewhere between exhilaration and terror. I now know how an actor feels on opening night, excited, honored and hoping not to fall off the stage.

President Roth and the Wesleyan Community, thank you for this very special honor. To the class of 2015, I am thrilled and grateful to share this day with you, and to be in the company of Beverly Daniel Tatum and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

President Roth Makes Remarks to the Class of 2015

Wesleyan President Michael Roth speaks during Commencement.

“Diversity, equality, education…these are ideals shared by generations of Wesleyan alumni,” President Roth said. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

Wesleyan President Michael Roth made the following remarks during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24: 

Members of the board of trustees, members of the faculty and staff, distinguished guests, new recipients of graduate degrees and the mighty class of 2015, I am honored to present some brief remarks on the occasion of this commencement.

On this Memorial Day Weekend, I begin by asking us all to take a moment to remember the men and women who have died while serving in the American armed forces. In recent years, military conflicts far from our own shores have cost the lives of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilians. Regardless of our political views, we stop on this Memorial Day weekend to remember these losses.

Greetings for the Senior Class from Marissa Castrigno ’15

Marissa Castrigno '15 delivered the Senior Class Welcome during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24. 

Marissa Castrigno ’15 delivered the Senior Class Welcome during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

Marissa Castrigno ’15 made the following remarks during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24:

I feel immensely lucky to be able to stand here and see so many people that I love all in one place – so many people that love each other all in one place. My favorite college memory was on this very balcony two years ago when I sat with my best friend on its wide ledge and we spoke candidly for the first time about those private things that motivate and shape each of us. In that moment, among others during my first year here, I knew that transferring to Wesleyan had been the best decision I’d ever made for myself. Now my biggest fear is that we will go forth from this place and lose Wesleyan and all that it has afforded us. But I’d like to suggest today is not a day of loss, rather it is a day from which we become more expansive than we ever could be living together on our idyllic little campus.

We are taught to challenge this place. To examine it, analyze it, criticize it. During our time here we learn that the world is a deeply imperfect place and often this truth disillusions us.

Calter, Schorr, Ulysse Honored with Binswanger Prizes; Dachs ’70 Receives Baldwin Medal

Wesleyan President Michael Roth (second of left) and Daphne Kwok '84, chair of the Wesleyan Alumni Association 9fifth from left) presented The Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching to Gina Athena Ulysse (at left), Michael Calter and David Schorr. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Wesleyan President Michael Roth (second from left) and Daphne Kwok ’84, chair of the Wesleyan Alumni Association (fifth from left) presented The Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching to Gina Athena Ulysse (at left), Michael Calter and David Schorr. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

 

President Michael Roth awarded Alan Dachs '70, Hon '07, P'98 with the Raymond E. Baldwin Medal on May 24. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

President Michael Roth awarded Alan Dachs ’70, Hon ’07, P’98 with the Raymond E. Baldwin Medal on May 24. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

During the 183rd Commencement ceremony, President Michael Roth awarded the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching to three faculty, and the Raymond E. Baldwin Medal to an alumnus.

Three outstanding teachers are recognized annually with the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching. This year, President Michael Roth honored Michael Calter, David Schorr and Gina Athena Ulysse for their excellence in teaching.

The prizes are made possible by gifts from the family of the late Frank G. Binswanger Sr., Hon. ’85, and underscore Wesleyan’s commitment to its scholar-teachers, who are responsible for the university’s distinctive approach to liberal arts education.

Starr, Masand, Casareno Deliver “Senior Voices” Addresses

Jenna Starr ’15, Jasmine Masand ’15, and Camille Casareno ’15 delivered “Senior Voices” speeches on May 23 in Memorial Chapel. Below are the texts of their speeches.

Jenna Starr

I am grateful to Wesleyan. After a turbulent year at a different school, Wesleyan was the second chance I urgently needed.

When I first got here (literally the first day), I was scared. I was so scared that when my dad and aunt tried to leave, I secretly jumped in their car so they would take me home.

New York Times Features Wesleyan Admission Essay

Adriane Tharp, who will be coming to Wesleyan in the fall as part of the Class of 2019, set her admission essay in the Forestdale, Ala. Domino’s Pizza where she worked, writing about the “lineup of fellow misfits who were her colleagues.” The New York Times featured Tharp’s essay in its annual story on admission essays about working and money.

The story quotes Wesleyan Associate Dean of Admission Chris Lanser, who was the first reader of Tharp’s essay. He tells the Times how rare it is for applicants to write about money and work, and explains what stood out to him about Tharp’s essay.

“The point of the essay is not to tell us that she needs work or doesn’t,” Lanser said. “What she wants us to learn from this is that she is able to embrace difference and learn quite a bit from those differences.”

The Times asked Lanser about the perception that admissions officers at competitive colleges devalue work experience.

“We think there are valuable life skills and people skills to be gained in the workplace,” he said, adding that he personally believes that everyone should work in the service industry at some point in their lives.

Read Tharp’s essay here (second from the bottom).

Donna Morea is Chair-elect of the Board of Trustees

Donna Morea '76, P'06

Donna Morea ’76, P’06

Wesleyan University’s Board of Trustees has elected Donna Morea ’76, P’06 as Chair of the Board for a two-year term beginning July 1, 2016. The election took place at the Board’s meeting on campus May 22.

Morea will succeed Joshua Boger ’73, P’06, P’09, who will step down in June 2016 after 7 years as Chair.

“The Board asked Joshua to continue his leadership through the conclusion of the capital campaign and he has graciously agreed,” said Shonni Silverberg ’76, chair of the Board’s Governance Committee. “He and his fellow Board members felt it would be advantageous to elect his successor now for a transition year as Board Chair-elect.

“Donna brings to her role as Board Chair extensive experience in managing complex organizations, combined with considerable financial savvy and a warm and engaging style,” Silverberg added.

Morea is an internationally recognized executive in the IT services and software communities. She is currently the CEO of Adesso Group, a private consulting and advisory firm, helping businesses develop growth strategies and improve operational performance. She also serves as an independent director of SunTrust Bank (NYSE:STI) and SAIC (NYSE:SAIC).

In 2011, she retired from a successful 31-year career at American Management Systems (AMS) and CGI. As President of CGI Technologies and Solutions, she led CGI’s business in the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Her clients included some of the world’s largest and most complex organizations in government, healthcare, financial services, and telecommunications.

Active in community service, she serves as a director of Share Our Strength, a global anti-hunger organization, and as a trustee of the Inova Health System, the largest health care provider in Northern Virginia. She is a chairman emeritus of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, serving more than 1,000 member companies.

Her service on Wesleyan’s Board has included chairing the Finance and University Relations committees. She received a Distinguished Alumna Award from Wesleyan in 2006.