Bill Holder

William Holder ¹75 is editor of Wesleyan magazine.

Students, Faculty, Alumna Honored at Beckham Social Justice Awards

Several students were honored for helping promote diversity and inclusion during the Edgar Beckham Social Justice Awards ceremony April 23 in Beckham Hall. 

Several students were honored for helping promote diversity and inclusion during the Edgar Beckham Social Justice Awards ceremony April 23 in Beckham Hall.

Students, faculty and staff who exercised cultural sensitivity, helped promote diversity and inclusion, and improved the campus climate were recognized at the annual Edgar Beckham Social Justice Awards ceremony held April 23. The event brought together generations of alumni, students, faculty and staff to celebrate the tenets that make Wesleyan diverse.

Originally called the Edgar Beckham Helping Hand Awards when it was founded in 2013, the awards were created in honor of Edgar Beckham, the first African-American Dean of the College at Wesleyan University and a tireless advocate for social justice.

Aetna Taps Sabatino ’80 and Loveman ’82 as High-Level Hires

Thomas Sabatino Jr. ’80 joins Aetna as executive vice president and general counsel.

Thomas Sabatino Jr. ’80 joins Aetna as executive vice president and general counsel.

Aetna has tapped two Wesleyan alumni for recent high-level hires. Thomas Sabatino Jr. ’80 is joining the insurance giant as executive vice president and general counsel. Sabatino worked most recently at Hertz Global Holdings as its chief lawyer, and previously in pharmaceuticals and medical products.

He joins Gary Loveman ’82, who in September became Aetna’s corporate executive vice president and president of Healthagen, the company’s consumer business. Loveman, a former management professor at Harvard Business School, had been chairman and CEO of Caesars Entertainment Corp.

Gary Loveman ’82 is Aetna’s corporate executive vice president and president of Healthagen, the company’s consumer business.

Gary Loveman ’82 is Aetna’s corporate executive vice president and president of Healthagen, the company’s consumer business.

Dan Haar ’81, business editor of the Hartford Courant, wrote that both Hertz and Caesar’s are known for tracking and managing their top customers. Loveman created a data-based customer loyalty program as well as an incentive-based health and wellness program for the company’s 70,000 employees and their families.

At two of the three big Hartford insurance companies, Wesleyan alumni hold the general counsel position – David Robinson ’87 has the post at The Hartford. Also, Tom Cowhey ’94 is head of investor relations at Aetna, and Gabriella Nawi ’90 has the same position at Travelers.

President Emeritus Campbell Discusses “Thoughts on Citizenship” at Olin Library

President Emeritus Colin G. Campbell spoke to a crowded Smith Reading Room in Olin Library April 13 about “Thoughts on Citizenship.” Campbell, who served as president from 1970 to 1988, had visited the Allbritton Center prior to his talk and said the citizen engagement promoted by the Center is one of the most exciting activities he has seen on any campus.

President Emeritus Colin G. Campbell spoke to a crowded Smith Reading Room in Olin Library April 13 about “Thoughts on Citizenship.”
Campbell, who served as president from 1970 to 1988, had visited the Allbritton Center prior to his talk and said the citizen engagement promoted by the Center is one of the most exciting activities he has seen on any campus.

He spoke at length about the ethical obligations of educated citizens in a participatory democracy, and he took questions after. After Wesleyan, Campbell served as president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. He went on to serve as chairman, president, and chief executive officer of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, retiring in 2014 and now serving as chairman emeritus. His talk was sponsored by the Wasch Center for Retired Faculty.

He spoke at length about the ethical obligations of educated citizens in a participatory democracy, and he took questions after.
After Wesleyan, Campbell served as president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. He went on to serve as chairman, president, and chief executive officer of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, retiring in 2014 and now serving as chairman emeritus. His talk was sponsored by the Wasch Center for Retired Faculty.(Photos by Ryan Heffernan ’16)

Wesleyan Launches Sustainability Action Plan during Earth Month

cam_lon_2016-0414035938

Hilary Brumberg ’17 waters seedings inside the new greenhouse at Long Lane Farm. The new greenhouse, funded by the Green Fund, allows the students to get a head start on the gardening season. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Emma Distler ’19 uses a bottle filling station inside Usdan University Center on April 18. The bottle filling stations provide clean, filtered water and reduce the use of disposable bottles. As part of Wesleyan’s sustainability efforts, the university has installed bottle refilling stations and drinking fountains at many locations campus-wide.

Emma Distler ’19 uses a bottle filling station inside Usdan University Center on April 18. The bottle filling stations provide clean, filtered water and reduce the use of disposable bottles. As part of Wesleyan’s sustainability efforts, the university has installed bottle refilling stations and drinking fountains at many locations campus-wide.

During Earth Month Wesleyan is celebrating its progress toward a sustainable campus.

“From planning to composting, from university-wide utilities to low-flow showerheads, we are reducing our carbon footprint and creating a culture of sustainability,” said Jennifer Kleindienst, sustainability director at Wesleyan.

With leadership from Kleindienst, Wesleyan has developed a Sustainability Action Plan – a broad commitment to sustainability that is the result of more than a year of effort from over 130 students, faculty and staff. The plan is intended to guide the university’s efforts in this area over the next five years.

“Wesleyan as a whole can contribute to a sustainable world not just by doing what it does so well – teaching and research – but also by being a model of sustainability itself,” said President Michael Roth. “We now have a comprehensive plan and strategies to move Wesleyan toward carbon neutrality and create a more environmentally and socially sustainable campus.”

A recycling station was installed in Boger Hall/41 Wyllys.

A recycling station was installed in Boger Hall/41 Wyllys.

Energy use has the greatest impact on Wesleyan’s carbon footprint, and efficiency and conservation programs, as well as expansion of renewable energy sources are all a part of the university’s strategy. Preparations for construction of a new solar photovoltaic (PV) “farm” on the university’s Long Lane property will begin in May, and it is expected to be operational by the fall.

Wesleyan’s sustainability achievements also include:

• Sustainable Buildings: Boger Hall (formerly 41 Wyllys Avenue) has the highest possible Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification (Platinum). Among the building’s sustainability highlights are a green roof that provides water filtration and a reduction of the heat island effect; mechanical and lighting systems that sense occupancy, low-flow water fixtures, individual control over lighting and heat, and much more here.

• Water: Usage has declined by over 50 percent (more than 13 million gallons, or the equivalent of nearly 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools) since 2011 due to installation of low-flow fixtures.

Wesleyan students oversee Long Lane Organic Farm's compost area.

Wesleyan students oversee Long Lane Organic Farm’s compost area.

• Composting and waste reduction: Over a three-year period, Wesleyan has increased composting from 12 tons to 42 tons, while generation of trash declined from 703 tons to 604 tons.

• Long Lane Farm: Since 2004, the student-run Long Lane Farm has produced food for dining halls and the broader Middletown community. The Community Food Project connects families with children on free or reduced-price lunches to the farm, where they get an opportunity to help out, receive free produce, and have fun.

• Grounds: In 2013, facilities staff planted a wildflower meadow on eight acres off Long Lane. More than 80 acres of Wesleyan’s campus are no-mow, low-mow, or wooded. Since 2012, the student group Working for Intelligent Landscape Design at Wesleyan (WILD Wes) has brought permaculture principles to campus. The group now manages two garden locations.

Water usage at Wesleyan has declined by more than 50 percent since 2011 due to installation of low-flow fixtures.

Water usage at Wesleyan has declined by more than 50 percent since 2011 due to installation of low-flow and automatic-shut off fixtures, like this one in Fayerweather.

• Green Fund: In 2010 the student-managed Green Fund was established through a $15 per semester opt-out fee, and 87 percent of students voluntarily participate in the fund. Over the past five years, the Fund has awarded over $365,000 to more than 40 different projects.

“I’m so encouraged by our progress to date,” Kleindienst said, “and having a detailed, comprehensive plan with specific actions and metrics will enable us to do much more. Sustainability is an ongoing process, not an end goal, and we are fortunate to have a campus where sustainability is widely embraced.”

Bryan A. Stevenson Named Commencement Speaker, Honorary Degree Recipients Announced

Wesleyan will present three honorary doctorates at the University’s 184th Commencement on May 22, 2016. Bryan A. Stevenson, a staunch advocate for racial justice who has fought against inequities in our judicial system, will deliver the Commencement address. Wesleyan will also honor Patti Smith, a legendary singer and writer celebrated for her path-breaking music and powerful memoirs, and Kwame Anthony Appiah, a philosopher known for his compelling work on cosmopolitanism, identity and ethics. The Baldwin Medal, the highest award of the Wesleyan Alumni Association, will be presented to John Usdan ’80, P’15, P’18, P’18.

Bryan Stevenson

Bryan A. Stevenson

Bryan A. Stevenson is a human rights lawyer who has dedicated his life to fighting racial injustice and discrimination in the criminal justice system. He is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, 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.

Professor Stevenson also teaches at the New York University School of Law and founded the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in 1989 to help prisoners on death row, and the scope of its mission has expanded since.

Patricelli Center Receives Challenge Grant from Propel to Complete Endowment

Propel Capital, a philanthropic and impact investing fund that supports innovative strategies to deploy capital for social impact, has announced a challenge grant to Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship (PCSE). Every dollar raised in gifts or pledges to the PCSE endowment by June 2017 will be matched 1:1 by Propel, up to $700,000 which will fully endow the Center.

Co-founded by Jeremy Mindich ’87 and Sarah Williams ’88, Propel Capital provides grants and investments to nonprofits and social enterprises early or at critical junctures in their development. Mindich and Williams were part of a small group of Wesleyan alumni who came together in 2009, along with Bob Patricelli, and conceived of the Center. In 2011, Propel Capital provided seed funding to launch the Center’s programming. Williams co-chairs the Advisory Board and Mindich serves as a seed grant judge and advisor to the Center.

“One of the hallmarks of a Wesleyan education is the ability to challenge commonly held assumptions and beliefs and to chart new ways of doing things,” Mindich said. “The Center creates a pipeline of talented students skilled in this kind of thinking and then connects them to the amazing alumni network of Wesleyan social entrepreneurs.“

The Patricelli Center provides students with the training, experience, and connections to accelerate their growth as social entrepreneurs. “Wesleyan students combine ingenuity, drive, and passion for impact,” Williams said. “We are proud of the work the Center has done to date and excited about its future as a critical Wesleyan institution.”

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship provides workshops and a class, seed funding to explore new ideas, opportunities and training to serve on boards of local nonprofits, business mentors, summer internship financing, connections to and between alumni in related fields, and helps incubate new enterprises on campus. This year, the Center organized and hosted the first Social Impact Summit, a conference attended by 120 people that featured many enterprises launched by Wesleyan alumni.

In addition to its work around the world, Propel Capital is a sustaining supporter of key projects across Wesleyan, including the PCSE, the Center for Prison Education, and the Kevin Sanborn ’87 Scholarship and Summer Experience Grants.

To learn more about the Patricelli Center, visit www.wesleyan.edu/patricelli. For information about making a gift or pledge, contact Steve Kirsche at skirsche @ wesleyan.edu. View past News @ Wesleyan stories on the Patricelli Center here.

Wesleyan 1 of 12 Institutions Awarded Beckman Scholars Program

Wesleyan is one of only 12 institutions awarded a prestigious Beckman Scholars Program this year, according to Francis Starr, director of the College of Integrative Sciences and professor of physics, who directs Wesleyan’s Beckman program. The Beckman Scholars Program provides intensive research experiences and career mentoring to help Wesleyan undergraduates develop as leaders in the sciences.

Up to two Wesleyan students will receive this award annually, which carries a total stipend of $18,200 plus funds to support supplies and travel. Awards are normally made to sophomores to support research during the summer through the summer following junior year.

Hamilton Wins Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album

The Broadway musical sensation­ Hamilton claimed a Grammy Feb. 15 for Best Musical Theater album, and the show’s creator and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, rapped his acceptance speech. Miranda and the cast of Hamilton (directed by Thomas Kail ’99) also performed for the 58th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony live via satellite from the show’s home at the Richard Rodgers Theater in New York.

In addition to Miranda and Kail, the show’s Wesleyan connections include album co-producer Bill Sherman ’02 and Atlantic Records’ head of A&R Peter Ganbarg ’88, who helped sign the album to the label.

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, rapped his acceptance speech. Miranda and the cast of Hamilton (directed by Thomas Kail ’99)

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 and Thomas Kail ’99. (Photo by Robert Adam Mayer)

“This has been an amazing experience for all involved, and the fact that so many Wes alums are a part of this makes it even more special,” Ganbarg said. “Hamilton is the fastest-selling Broadway cast recording in over 20 years, since Rent, and it will soon be certified as a Gold album—the first cast album to be certified since Jersey Boys, almost 10 years ago.”

“To perform from our home is a dream come true,” Miranda said of the performance in a statement prior to the ceremony. Grammy Awards’ producer Ken Ehrlich called Hamilton “the toast of Broadway” in an interview with ET. Stephen Colbert had the honor of introducing the cast performance of the show’s opening number live from New York.

Miranda previously won a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album for his Broadway debut In the Heights. Sherman, the album’s co-producer, also received a Grammy that year. In the Heights also received several Tony Awards.

Next up for Hamilton: Nominations for the 2016 Tony Awards will be announced live on May 3, with the awards presented at the Beacon Theatre in New York on Sunday, June 12.

Wesleyan hosted a sold-out benefit performance of Hamilton on Oct. 2, raising $1.6 million for financial aid. Read more.

Equity Task Force Established

A new task force announced by President Michael Roth will explore the establishment of a multicultural/gender/first-generation resource center as part of Wesleyan’s broader effort to improve equity and inclusion on campus.

The task force will be tri-chaired by Gina Ulysse, professor of anthropology, professor of feminist gender and sexuality studies; Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion and Title IX officer; and Shardonay Pagett ’18. Their initial recommendations are expected to be published in February with final recommendations by May 1.

“It need hardly be said that making our campus more equitable and inclusive is a communal goal and must be a communal effort,” President Roth wrote in a campus-wide email. “In the course of this work we will be challenged to truly listen to differing viewpoints and to learn from them. In 2016 let’s each and every one of us do what we can—be it personal, political or intellectual—to contribute to equity and inclusion at Wesleyan.”

Wesleyan students, staff and faculty can find updates on the task force’s work and related events, including a community dialogue to be held early spring semester, at equity.wesleyan.edu, and direct input to the task force should be addressed to: equitytaskforce@wesleyan.edu.

Farias said the task force will operate in a transparent manner to provide a clear statement of issues the university faces as a community and how a center would address them, as well as explore policy and operational changes needed to sustain the effort. The group also will consider the broader issue of “cultivating belonging.”

“To ‘cultivate belonging’ is about tending to something we care about,” Ulysse said. “It is about being an engaged presence in the process of change making. Everyone can play a part but there must be will and very clear intentions. The current moment demands that institutions face history without taking short cuts. To that end, if we want to be effective, we need to dedicate ourselves more than ever to engaging in a process of cultivating belonging. Cultivation is really hard work that is action oriented. It requires community, intention and is ongoing. There is no end to it.”

Wesleyan Sets 2015–2016 Student Charges

For the 2015–16 academic year, total student charges will be $62,478 for first-year students and sophomores, and $64,324 for juniors and seniors

For the 2015–16 academic year, total student charges will be $62,478 for first-year students and sophomores, and $64,324 for juniors and seniors.

At its meeting Feb. 28, Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition and residential comprehensive fees by 2.1 percent for the 2015–16 year, reflecting the third year of linking tuition increases to the rate of inflation.

The increase is based on the three-year national CPI average of June 30, 2014, the latest full fiscal year available. As a result of this policy, Wesleyan’s student charges for first-year students and sophomores currently rank 14th among a peer comparison group, compared to 1st in 2011. A further decline is anticipated.

“We remain committed to keeping Wesleyan affordable for all students,” said President Michael S. Roth. “Through a generous financial aid program, Wesleyan meets the full need of all its students receiving financial aid, and we ensure that our students leave here without a heavy debt burden.”

The university’s affordability initiative also provides for an optional three-year degree program, saving families about $50,000 on their total tuition bill while retaining the core academic experience for students who participate.

Support for financial aid is the highest priority of Wesleyan’s current campaign, and the university has raised nearly $380 million toward a goal of $400 million.

For the 2015–16 academic year, total student charges will be $62,478 for first-year students and sophomores, and $64,324 for juniors and seniors (reflecting the 2.1 percent increase in residential fees). Tuition will be $48,704 for all students.

Wesleyan Students Hospitalized

The student-run organization Active Minds at Wes hosted an Open Healing Space Feb. 24 in Espwesso. The group welcomed all students and community members to come write anonymous messages of support to the students in the hospital. Resources and information on different support systems were provided by Active Minds and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at Wesleyan. Pictured is Alison Znamierowski '15.

The student-run organization Active Minds at Wes hosted an Open Healing Space Feb. 24 in Espwesso. The group welcomed all students and community members to come write anonymous messages of support to the students in the hospital. Resources and information on different support systems were provided by Active Minds and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at Wesleyan. Pictured is Alison Znamierowski ’15.

It is Feb. 24, 10:20 a.m., and Mike Whaley, vice president for student affairs, steps out of a meeting in the President’s Office to take a phone call. He returns two minutes later, takes his seat, and in an emotion-laden voice tells the group that a student whose life was endangered by poisoning from a variant of the drug Molly (MDMA) was improving.

It was a moment so many had been waiting for. As of Tuesday evening, eight of the 10 Wesleyan students hospitalized Sunday had been discharged. Two, however, remained hospitalized.

There was more news Tuesday night: four Wesleyan students had been arrested by Middletown police as a result of an investigation into the weekend’s events.

[Update] All students were discharged from hospitals and a fifth student was subsequently arrested.

Here’s a brief recap of what happened:

Update on Greek Life at Wesleyan

Since the announcement last September that residential fraternities must become fully co-educational over the next three years, Greek life on campus has changed in several significant ways.

The decision to mandate coeducation of residential fraternities came after several months of deliberations among students, faculty, staff, alumni and the Board of Trustees. While the three all-male residential fraternities were given three years in which to become fully co-educational, the deadline to present an initial co-education plan was the end of fall semester.