Olivia Drake

Boger Hall, Gordon Career Center, The West Wing Dedicated During R&C Weekend

During Reunion & Commencement Weekend, the Wesleyan community celebrated the dedications of three prominent areas of campus with ribbon-cutting ceremonies. They include Boger Hall (formerly 41 Wyllys), the Gordon Career Center (located inside Boger Hall), and The West Wing of Usdan University Center.

Trustees, emeriti trustees, leadership donors and volunteers, and members of the Wesleyan community celebrated the dedication of Boger Hall, named for Joshua Boger ’73, P’06, ’09 and Amy Boger P’06, ’09 in recognition of their extraordinary leadership, service, and generosity. This event was held in conjunction with the Leadership Donor and Volunteer reception. (Photo by Jonas Powell '18)

Trustees, emeriti trustees, leadership donors and volunteers, and members of the Wesleyan community celebrated the dedication of Boger Hall, named for Joshua Boger ’73, P’06, ’09 and Amy Boger P’06, ’09 (second and third from right) in recognition of their extraordinary leadership, service, and generosity. (Photo by Jonas Powell ’18)

Usdan ’80, P’15, P’18, P’18 Honored with Baldwin Medal for Outstanding Service to Wesleyan

From left to right: Michael Roth and John Usdan (Photo by John Van Vlack)

At right, John Lemberg Usdan ’80, P’15, P’18, P’18 was honored with the Raymond E. Baldwin Medal on May 22. He’s pictured here with Wesleyan President Michael Roth. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

During the 184th Commencement Ceremony, John Lemberg Usdan ’80, P’15, P’18, P’18 was honored with the Raymond E. Baldwin Medal. The award was presented by Joshua Boger ’73, P’06, P’09, chair of the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees.

The Baldwin Medal, which pays tribute to the late Judge Raymond E. Baldwin of the class of 1916, is the highest honor of the Alumni Association, recognizing outstanding service to Wesleyan.

John Lemberg Usdan is president of Midwood, a New York-based real estate investment and development firm. Usdan also is president of the Lemberg Foundation.

Usdan’s remarkable record of service to the Wesleyan community over more than three decades has included 12 years as a trustee as well as serving as chair of the THIS IS WHY campaign—the most successful fundraising effort in Wesleyan’s history. He is one of Wesleyan’s greatest ambassadors, engaging scores of alumni and parents in the life of the University.

While serving alma mater, Usdan has led by example. He and his brother, Adam ’83, established the Samuel Lemberg Scholarship Fund in memory of their grandfather to support middle-income students. John and Adam also made the lead gift to construct the university center, which Wesleyan proudly named the Suzanne Lemberg Usdan University Center in honor of their mother and in recognition of their extraordinary service to the University.

John Usdan and his wife, Eva Colin Usdan, have three sons: Samuel, Wesleyan class of 2015, Joshua, Wesleyan class of 2018, and Simon, Wesleyan class of 2018.

Michael Roth and John Usdan. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Michael Roth and John Usdan. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Stevenson, Smith, Appiah Receive Honorary Degrees

From left, Michael Roth, Bryan Stevenson, Patti Smith, Anthony Appiah, Joshua Boger. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

From left, Wesleyan President Michael Roth, Bryan Stevenson, Patti Smith and Kwame Anthony Appiah. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Wesleyan presented honorary doctorates to Bryan Stevenson, Patti Smith and Kwame Anthony Appiah during the University’s 184th Commencement on May 22.

Michael Roth, Bryan Stevenson.

Michael Roth and Bryan Stevenson.

Bryan Stevenson is a human rights lawyer who has dedicated his life to fighting racial injustice and discrimination in the criminal justice system. He is executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), an Alabama-based group that has won numerous legal challenges on behalf of the poor and incarcerated, including a historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling holding that life-without-parole sentences for children aged 17 or younger are unconstitutional.

He founded the Equal Justice Initiative in 1989 to help prisoners on death row, and the scope of its mission has expanded since. Under his leadership, EJI has won a number of major legal challenges—eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults. He has successfully argued several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and he and his staff have won reversals, relief or release for more than 115 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row. Professor Stevenson has initiated major new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts that challenge the legacy of racial inequality in America, including projects to educate communities about slavery, lynching and racial segregation.

Professor Stevenson also teaches at the New York University School of Law. He is a 1985 graduate of Harvard, with both a master’s in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government and a J.D. from the Harvard Law School. Among the numerous honors accorded him are a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant,” the National Medal of Liberty from the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Olof Palme Prize in Stockholm for international human rights. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014. He is the author of the bestseller Just Mercy, winner of the 2015 Carnegie Medal for Best Nonfiction and named by Time magazine as one of the 10 Best Books of Nonfiction for 2014.

Michael Roth and Patti Smith.

Michael Roth and Patti Smith.

Patti Smith is a writer, performer, and visual artist. She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary mergence of poetry and rock and has recorded 13 albums. Her seminal album Horses (1975) has been inducted into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress/National Recording Preservation Board.

Her acclaimed memoir, Just Kids, chronicling her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe, was awarded the 2010 National Book Award. Her books include Witt, Babel, Coral Sea, Woolgathering, Auguries of Innocence and the recent M Train.

The French Ministry of Culture awarded Smith the prestigious title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, the highest honor awarded to an artist by the French Republic. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 and in 2011 was the recipient of Sweden’s Polar Award, for significant achievements in music.

The anthem People Have the Power, written and recorded with her late husband Fred Sonic Smith, is used globally to call for collective unity and social justice. Smith lends her support to many causes, believing it is essential to use one’s creative powers to increase awareness of environmental issues, disease, poverty and human rights violations.

Michael Roth and Kwame Anthony Appaih.

Michael Roth and Kwame Anthony Appaih.

Kwame Anthony Appiah is professor of philosophy and law at New York University, teaching in New York, Abu Dhabi and other NYU Global Centers. He has held a number of other distinguished academic appointments as well, most recently at Princeton in the philosophy department and the University Center for Human Values. He also has taught at Yale, Cornell, Duke, and Harvard universities and has lectured worldwide.

Professor Appiah is renowned for his insights into moral theory and practice, racism and identity, cultural differences and political development. His 1992 book, In My Father’s House (Oxford University Press), explores the role of African and African-American intellectuals in shaping contemporary African cultural life and was recognized by the African Studies Association with its Herskovits Award as “the most important scholarly work in African studies published in English.” His vast and wide-ranging scholarly activities earned him Forbes’ designation in 2009 as one of the world’s seven most powerful thinkers. In October 2015, he began to write the weekly Ethicist column for The New York Times Magazine, answering readers’ questions about their ethical quandaries.

Professor Appiah holds BA and PhD degrees from Cambridge University. His numerous honors include election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. President Obama presented him with the National Humanities Medal in 2012.

Bachner, Eudell, Lipton Honored for Excellence in Teaching

Wesleyan President Michael Roth honored James Lipton, professor of computer science; Demetrius Eudell, professor of history; and Sally Bachner, associate professor of English with Binswanger Prizes for Excellence in Teaching during the 184th Commencement Ceremony on May 22. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Wesleyan President Michael Roth honored James Lipton, professor of computer science; Demetrius Eudell, professor of history; and Sally Bachner, associate professor of English with Binswanger Prizes for Excellence in Teaching during the 184th Commencement Ceremony on May 22. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Sally Bachner, associate professor of English, Demetrius Eudell, professor of history, and James Lipton, professor of computer science, received Binswanger Prizes for Excellence in Teaching at Commencement on May 22. These prizes, made possible by gifts from the family of the late Frank G. Binswanger Sr., Hon. ’85, underscore Wesleyan’s commitment to its scholar-teachers, who are responsible for the university’s distinctive approach to liberal arts education.

Recommendations were solicited from alumni of the last 10 graduating classes, as well as current juniors, seniors, and graduate students. Recipients were chosen by a selection committee of faculty and members of the Alumni Association Executive Committee.

Bios of the recipients follow:

Students Toss Objects from Exley’s Roof during Big Drop

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In 1589, Galileo dropped balls of various sizes from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to demonstrate that they all hit the ground at the same time. On May 4, Wesleyan students repeated this experiment in modern-day way at Exley Science Center. Several Wesleyan students, staff and faculty observed the “big drop.”

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Hanna Elszasz ’18, Sam Sheppe ’18, and Bill Nelligan, director of environmental services, dropped objects from the roof of Exley Science Center. In this test, the group used a Mac and PC.

5 Tenure-Track Faculty Hired for Fall 2016

Wesleyan recently hired five additional tenure-track faculty who will begin their appointments during the Fall 2016 semester. They join eight other faculty who were hired in February.

The new faculty include:

Joan Cho, assistant professor of East Asian studies. Cho’s BA is from the University of Rochester, and she is completing her dissertation at Harvard, titled “The Dictator’s Modernity Dilemma: Modernization and Generation Turnover under Authoritarianism.”

Master Drummer Adzenyah Celebrated at Ceremony, Hall Dedication

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, at right, congratulates Abraham Adzenyah for teaching at Wesleyan 46 years and for the naming of the Abraham Adzenyah Rehearsal Hall (formerly the Center for the Arts Rehearsal Hall). A ribbon cutting ceremony took place May 7.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, at right, congratulates Abraham Adzenyah for teaching at Wesleyan 46 years and for the naming of the Abraham Adzenyah Rehearsal Hall (formerly the Center for the Arts Rehearsal Hall). A ribbon cutting ceremony took place May 7.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, was honored with a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students (View photo set here). Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

Abraham Adzenyah speaks to the audience.

Abraham Adzenyah speaks to the audience.

During the event, Adzenyah was honored with the naming of the Abraham Adzenyah Rehearsal Hall (formerly the Center for the Arts Rehearsal Hall). This is the first time that a leading U.S. university has named a building after a traditional African musician. In addition, grateful students, alumni and friends have raised more than $225,000 to establish the Abraham Adzenyah Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship.

“West African drumming has been one of the most important parts of our Music Department since the beginning of our World Music Program in the 1960s,” said Professor of Music Eric Charry. “Abraham Adzenyah has been the pillar of the World Music Program, being here for so many decades and training so many of our students. He has been such a valued colleague within our Music Department. He has such breadth and depth of experience, and it’s just a pleasure to have had him around and for him to have offered the kinds of expertise that he does.”

Early in his career, Abraham Adzenyah studied, performed, and taught drumming in his native Ghana, including five years of formal study in music, dance, and drama at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana. He was one of the first artists to be named Master Drummer in the Ghana National Dance Ensemble. On arriving at Wesleyan in 1969, he began to offer courses in West African music, dance, and culture. He received a BA in liberal arts from Goddard College in 1976, and an MA in music from Wesleyan in 1979.

Throughout his years at Wesleyan, Adzenyah was a visiting artist and teacher at dozens of workshops, colleges and conservatories, and has performed all over the world, alone and with eminent musicians such as the late Wesleyan Artist in Residence Ed Blackwell, Wesleyan’s John Spencer Camp Professor of Music Emeritus Anthony Braxton, Hugh Masekela, Steve Gadd, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Ornette Coleman and Rufus Reid. He has also influenced and inspired students and professional musicians through his recordings. While at Wesleyan, Adzenyah received the Afro-Caribbean World Music Symposium Achievement Award and the Percussive Arts Society Award.

Adzenyah was featured in the May 7 Hartford Courant in an article titled “A Unique Honor for Retiring Master Drummer at Wesleyan.”

The celebration was co-sponsored by the Center for the Arts, the Music Department, the Office of the Dean of Arts and Humanities, and University Relations.

Several past and present students, faculty and friends attended the celebration.

Several past and present students and faculty attended the celebration.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts,

Adzenyah was honored with a farewell concert.

The afternoon concert featured Wesleyan's  West African Drumming and Dance Ensemble, Tufts University's Kiniwe Ensemble with the Agbekor Drum and Dance Society, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's Kekeli African Music and Dance Ensemble, Berklee College of Music's West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, Montclair State University's West African Drumming and Dance Ensemble with the Rhythm Monsters, and Ayanda Clarke '99.

The afternoon concert featured Wesleyan’s  West African Drumming and Dance Ensemble, Tufts University’s Kiniwe Ensemble with the Agbekor Drum and Dance Society, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Kekeli African Music and Dance Ensemble, Berklee College of Music’s West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, Montclair State University’s West African Drumming and Dance Ensemble with the Rhythm Monsters, and Ayanda Clarke ’99. (Photos by Caroline Kravitz ’19)

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

Students Honored with Academic Prizes, Fellowships

The Office of Student Affairs hosted a Spring 2016 awards banquet for students who received academic prizes, fellowships and awards on May 4 in Daniel Family Commons.

Students received awards for demonstrating outstanding character, leadership and intellectual commitment; intercollegiate debating; extracurricular participation; promoting the health, visibility, and participation of the Latino community at Wesleyan; writing the best paper that uses econometric techniques to analyze an economic problem; excellence in environmental stewardship; excellence in modern languages; exhibition in painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, or architecture; and much more.

To view the entire list of awards and recipients see Student Affairs Prizes website. (Photos by Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19)

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Students Solve, Analyze Complex Problems at DataFest

Students from Wesleyan, Trinity College, Connecticut College, Yale University and the University of Connecticut participated in the American Statistical Association DataFest, hosted at Wesleyan in April. 

Students from Wesleyan, Trinity College, Connecticut College, Yale University and the University of Connecticut participated in the American Statistical Association DataFest, hosted at Wesleyan in April. (Photos by Will Barr ’18)

Three teams from Wesleyan received honors during the American Statistical Association DataFest, hosted at Wesleyan April 8-10.

During DataFest, students are presented with a large, complex, surprise data set and work over the weekend to explore, analyze, and present their findings. Teams of three to five undergraduate students from Wesleyan, Trinity, Connecticut College, Yale, and the University of Connecticut competed against each other.

After two days of intense data wrangling, analysis and presentation design, each team was allowed only five minutes and no more than two slides to impress a panel of judges.

The event, coordinated by Wesleyan’s Quantitative Analysis Center, is part of a set of initiatives to strengthen quantitative reasoning and facilitate computational and data analysis work across the curriculum. It is designed to bring together current students, alumni and data analysis professionals as they work together in addressing real world problems that involve computational data work.

The event also provided an opportunity for recruiters to connect with students who are interested and skilled in data analysis, and may be candidates for internships or job openings.

Wesleyan team 1,588,506 received the "Best in Show" award. Teammates included Jack Gorman ’19, Samara Prywes ’17 and Tiffany Coons ’18,

Wesleyan team 1,588,506 received the “Best in Show” award. Teammates included Jack Gorman ’19, Samara Prywes ’17 and Tiffany Coons ’18,

Wesleyan Faculty, Staff Named United Way Coordinators of the Year

Wesleyan has set at a goal of raising $130,000 through its annual United Way workplace campaign, which kicked-off Oct. 6.

Middlesex United Way held its annual awards program May 5 at the Middletown Elks Lodge, and among the honorees were campaign “Coordinators of the Year:” Associate Professor of Biology Gloster Aaron and Provost Joyce Jacobsen, who served as Wesleyan’s campaign co-chairs this year, and Cathy Lechowicz, director of the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships.

Middlesex United Way also awarded Rob Rosenthal, director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life and the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, with the Community Leadership Award in January. Bill Holder, director of University Communications, is president of the Middlesex United Way Board.

Since 2001, Wesleyan employees have donated more than $1.7 million to the organization. Read more online here.

United Way

Middlesex United Way “Coordinators of the Year” include Gloster Aaron, Cathy Lechowicz and Joyce Jacobsen.

In accepting the award, the three chatted on stage with the M.C. of the event, former local television reporter Jamie Muro, and they discussed their reasons for supporting Middlesex United Way.

In accepting the award, the three chatted on stage with the M.C. of the event, former local television reporter Jamie Muro, and they discussed their reasons for supporting Middlesex United Way.

Staff on the Move April 2016

The Office of Human Resources reports the following new hires and departures for April 2016:

Newly hired
Deborah Katz was hired as a marketing director in University Communications on April 1.
Anthony DeMarco was hired as a boiler tender in Physical Plant on April 11.

Departures
Toria Bobbitt, research assistant in biology
Joseph Hopkins, boiler tender in Physical Plant
Pamela Tatge, director, Center of the Arts
Sharon Washburn, administrative assistant, Creative Writing