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Wesleyan Musicians “Come Together” in All-Star Beatles Tribute Band for Third Annual Benefit Concert

An 18-piece all-star band, including five members of the Wesleyan community, will perform the Beatles’ Abbey Road album in its entirety during a benefit concert at Middlesex Community College (MCC) on Saturday, June 24, at 6 p.m. Pictured (l to r): Nancy Brown, Andy Chatfield, Sarah McNamara, Shona Kerr and Peter Standaart.

An 18-piece all-star band, including five members of the Wesleyan community, will perform the Beatles’ Abbey Road album in its entirety during a benefit concert at Middlesex Community College (MCC) on Saturday, June 24, at 6 p.m. The concert is the third annual event held in memory of former Wesleyan Center for the Arts (CFA) intern Stephanie Nelson, of Middletown, who passed away in early 2015 at the age of 25.

The first two benefit concerts, held in 2015 and 2016, raised more than $6,400 to establish and fund the Stephanie Nelson Scholarship at MCC, Nelson’s alma mater. Each May, the scholarship is awarded to an MCC student with a desire to work as an intern at Wesleyan University in the field of broadcast communications or multimedia.

C-CERT Members Take Annual Oath, Prepare Supplies

Members of the Campus Community Emergency Response Team (C-CERT) gathered in Woodhead Lounge on June 8 to regroup, stock supplies and participate in an annual oath ceremony. Formed in September 2009, Wesleyan’s C-CERT members are trained to assist first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and organize volunteers at a disaster site and improve the safety of the Wesleyan community. Members participate in an initial 20-hour training session and additional training opportunities are provided during the academic year.

Members of the Campus Community Emergency Response Team (C-CERT) gathered in Woodhead Lounge on June 8 to regroup, stock backpack supplies and participate in an annual oath ceremony. Formed in September 2009, Wesleyan’s C-CERT members are trained to assist first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, organize volunteers at a disaster site and improve the safety of the Wesleyan community. Members participate in an initial 20-hour training session and additional training opportunities are provided during the academic year. All Wesleyan faculty and staff are welcome to join C-CERT.

Environmental History Class Produces Radio Program

This year, students in Associate Professor of History Jennifer Tucker’s class, Seeing a Bigger Picture: Integrating Visual Methods and Environmental History, had an opportunity to share what they learned in an unusual format. They produced an hour-long radio program, which debuted on WESU 88.1 FM on Memorial Day. It will air again on the station this summer, and can be heard on wesufm.org or on SoundCloud.

Rosie Dawson, a producer at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), teaches Phie Towle '20 and Alea Laidlaw '20 about radio program development. 

Rosie Dawson, a producer at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), teaches Phie Towle ’20 and Alea Laidlaw ’20 about radio program development.

The course introduces students to key landmarks in the visual history of environmentalism and environmental science, from the 18th century to the recent past. The class studies the power and the limits of visual representations, addressing how images of nature have changed as well as how the nature of images has been transformed in the past 250 years, according to Tucker, who is also associate professor of environmental studies, associate professor of science in society, and associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies. The students received training in radio storytelling from Rosie Dawson, a producer at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Tucker and Dawson first met two years ago, when Tucker contributed an essay to a BBC series that Dawson was producing

Brubeck ’69 Takes His Jazz Quartet on Tour

Darius Brubeck ’69

Darius Brubeck ’69

Jazz pianist, band leader and composer Darius Brubeck ’69 recently toured in Israel with his renowned Darius Brubeck Quartet as part of the Hot Jazz Series. The quartet performed seven shows across the country from June 3 to 10, presenting compositions written by Brubeck and his late father, a legendary jazz pianist best known for his album Time Out.

Before returning to a career as a touring musician, Brubeck spent many years at the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa, where he founded the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music. Both an artist and an academic, he has toggled between these identities for many years.

Author Nelson ’94 Continues to Receive Critical Acclaim

Maggie Nelson ’94

Maggie Nelson ’94

Since publishing her latest book, The Argonauts, winner of the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, author Maggie Nelson ’94 has received attention from more mainstream outlets and audiences. As her popularity grows beyond academic circles, her earlier works, including The Red Parts and Bluets, are gaining in visibility.

A recent article from The Telegraph discusses Nelson’s books of nonfiction published between 2005 and 2015, and draws connections between them, focusing on the similarities in content and form that tie these works together:

More than anything, Nelson’s project [is]: to behave as though the land of the heart were automatically a subject for reportage, and not just a cause for an outpouring of emotion. Heartbreak, longing, sex, death, fear, family trauma, love, maternity, homonormativity: these are the territories from which Nelson has chosen to deliver her dispatches. If that sounds merely confessional, the books are far from it . . .

Nelson’s interest in form might be traced to her beginnings as a poet. “I think of the ‘I’ as a character that I’m controlling in a certain way,” she explains.

Faculty, Staff Mingle, Play Games at Ice Cream Social

On June 12, the Office of Human Resources hosted the third annual Faculty and Staff Ice Cream Social on Andrus Field and the Huss Courtyard.

“This event provides us with the opportunity to enjoy a fun afternoon with colleagues and a way for all of us to kick off the summer months,” said Julia Hicks, chief human resources officer.

In addition to ice cream and sorbet, Wesleyan employees enjoyed popcorn and pretzel snacks, live entertainment with DJ Mario Torres (also a material handler in Physical Plant), raffle prizes, a tie dye t-shirt station, bingo, water balloon toss, volleyball, a block-stacking game, bean bag toss, dancing and more. Employees were encouraged to wear their tie dye t-shirts to work on June 16.

Photos of the event are below: (Event photos by Olivia Drake and aerial photo by John Wareham)

Fries Center for Global Studies Dedicated

Provost Joyce Jacobsen, Michael Fries '85, Wesleyan President Michael Roth '78 and Professor Antonio Gonzalez participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 25 at the Fries Center for Global Studies. 

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Joyce Jacobsen, Board of Trustees member Michael Fries ’85, Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78, and Antonio Gonzalez, director of the Fries Center for Global Studies and professor of Spanish studies, participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 25 at the Fries Center for Global Studies.

Faculty, staff, students and alumni recently gathered for the dedication of the Fries Center for Global Studies.

The center, housed in Fisk Hall, includes the Office of Study Abroad; Fellowships, Internships and Exchanges; Language Resources and Technology; and Language and Intercultural Learning. The center was dedicated in recognition of the generosity of Board of Trustees member Michael Fries ’85, vice chairman and CEO of Liberty Global, and is committed to helping all members of the Wesleyan community achieve the knowledge, language skills, and sensitivity to exercise effective and responsible citizenship in an increasingly inter-dependent world.

“Our emphasis on intercultural communication, experience and knowledge reflects the value Wesleyan places on adaptability, compassion and cultural self-awareness with respect to the world beyond our borders,” said Antonio Gonzalez, director of the Fries Center for Global Studies, professor of Spanish studies. “These qualities and practices put Wesleyan’s liberal arts program at the forefront of global education and are the hallmark of responsible global citizenship.”

The center includes a large commons area, which can be used as a venue for special events. The area offers large displays for presentations or watching international events. Ample space is provided for students to study and convene in the commons area and in the Language Resources and Technology (LRT) area, which is located across the hall. The LRT area is a multipurpose space that provides flexible seating and is equipped with desktop computers and laptops to accommodate the needs of an entire class. The LRT space is staffed with student attendants and can be used as for teaching, testing, to conduct workshops and as a study space. The center also includes a multimedia classroom with telepresence equipment, which allows for easy collaboration with other schools in the U.S. and abroad. The center’s audio visual workroom enhances the center’s production capabilities with a recording studio, a digital editing workstation and a video production studio.

Photos of the dedication ceremony and the Fries Center for Global Studies are below. (Photos by Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19 and Olivia Drake.)

Ocorr PhD ’83 Sends Fruit Flies into Space for Cardiovascular Research

Karen Ocorr Ph.D. ’83

Karen Ocorr PhD ’83

Karen Ocorr PhD ’83, a professor at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, Calif., is using fruit flies to investigate how long-term weightlessness might affect the cardiovascular health of astronauts.

Ocorr’s research team packed 400 adult fruit flies and 2,000 eggs in a capsule, which will be launched by a rocket in June and return to Earth after spending a month docked in space.

In a New York Times article published on June 2, titled “Fruit Flies and Mice to Get New Home on Space Station, at Least Temporarily,” Ocorr explains that although the structure of a fly heart is very different than that of a human, the cardiovascular system shares many of the same cellular components in addition to the similar heartbeats.

Fruit flies, Ocorr said, are “actually much closer in some respects to humans than the mouse or rat models are.”

Upon their return, Ocorr and her colleagues will study the flies for abnormalities in the skeletal and heart muscles and the shape of the hearts.

At Wesleyan, Ocorr’s biology research was supervised by Allen Berlind, professor of biology emeritus.

Ocorr also appears on NASA’s educational panel with regard to science projects on the missions at the 1:22 mark. 

Read more in this 2013 News @ Wesleyan article.

Class of 2017 Freeman Asian Scholars Celebrated at Reception

On May 27, the Class of 2017 Freeman Asian Scholars were honored at a reception in Daniel Family Commons. Scholars, their families, friends, advisors and alumni attended the event.

The Freeman Asian Scholarship Program provides expenses for a four-year course of study toward a bachelor’s degree for up to 11 exceptional students annually, one each from the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

During the event, the nine graduating Class of 2017 scholars spoke briefly about their time at Wesleyan and post-graduation plans.

Other speakers included Tracey Gardner ’96, chair of the Wesleyan Alumni Association, Trustee Saeyun D. Lee ’93, and Alice Hadler, associate dean for international student affairs; the event was organized by Gina Driscoll, associate director of alumni and parent relations.

Photo of the reception are below: (Photos by Will Barr ’18)

Chong ’18 Repeats as DIII Honda Athlete of the Year Nominee for Tennis

Eudice Chong '18

Eudice Chong ’18. (Photo by Jonas Powell ’18)

For the third consecutive year, Eudice Chong ’18 of the women’s tennis team was named the Division III Honda Athlete of the Year nominee for tennis, as announced by Executive Director Chris Voelz of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) presented by Honda.

“This past season has been a crazy ride, with our team trying to make small steps each day to improve our chances of coming up on top every match,” said Chong, the three-time NCAA Individual Singles Champion as well as the 2017 Individual Doubles Champion. “The camaraderie we have in our team is what keeps our team focused on reaching a common goal, and the support I get from them is phenomenal.”

Chong is the first player in NCAA Division III Women’s Individual Tournament history to win three-consecutive singles titles. She also captured her first DIII NCAA Double’s Championship to become the first player since 2004 to win both NCAA titles in the same year.

“It is nice to be playing at the Individual NCAA Championships knowing that my teammates will be cheering me on, but hopefully next year, we will be able to make the Elite 8 and compete as a team at the tournament venue as well,” she said. “It is such an honor to be nominated for such a prestigious award, showing that hard work really does pay off!”

3 Faculty Awarded Tenure; 7 Promoted

From left, Anthony Ryan Hatch, Basak Kus and Courtney Weiss Smith.

From left, Anthony Ryan Hatch, Basak Kus and Courtney Weiss Smith.

In its most recent meeting, the Board of Trustees conferred tenure to Anthony Ryan Hatch, associate professor of science in society; Basak Kus, associate professor of sociology; and Courtney Weiss Smith, associate professor of English. Their appointments begin on July 1.

Hatch, Kus and Weiss Smith join faculty Courtney Fullilove, Tushar Irani, Tiphanie Yanique, Jay Hoggard, Ron Kuivila and Sumarsam in the 2017 tenured cohort.

In addition, seven faculty members are being promoted: Abderrahman Aissa, adjunct assistant professor of Arabic; Balraj Balasubrahmaniyan, adjunct associate professor of music; Daniel DiCenzo, adjunct professor of physical education; Michael Fried, adjunct professor of physical education; Ruth Nisse, professor of English; Ulrich Plass, professor of German studies; and Kim Williams, adjunct associate professor of physical education.

Brief descriptions of their research and teaching appear below.

Abderrahman Aissa teaches elementary, intermediate and advanced Arabic. He is the editor of, and a chief contributor to, the bilingual Arabic-English cultural and political magazine, Zarah.

Wesleyan Takes Action on Climate Change

Wesleyan University’s solar panels produce enough energy to power 164 houses.

In recent weeks, Wesleyan has been taking a public stand to fight climate change. President Michael Roth was one of more than 80 university presidents who, together with mayors, governors and business leaders, are preparing to submit a plan to the United Nations pledging to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets outlined in the Paris climate accord, according to The New York Times. This came after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the international agreement.

Roth told The Chronicle of Higher Education: “I think it’s quite extraordinary that supporting a basic commitment to lessen a source of pollution in the world is seen as a particularly strong civic or political act. At a time when the White House is promoting an anti-scientific assault on public policy and research, it’s really important for universities and especially university leadership to defend the values that are necessary for us to be institutions of learning.”

Roth also said that Wesleyan had already divested from coal and made efforts to make its campus more energy-efficient. In May, Wesleyan drafted a building-sustainability policy that establishes how the campus will choose building materials and use energy and water in ways that reduce its carbon footprint.

The Hartford Courant also covered Wesleyan’s efforts. “I think it’s incumbent upon states and businesses and universities and other organizations to do whatever we can to pollute less [and] develop more sustainable economic models for the future of the planet,” Roth said.

Roth also recently joined 29 other college and university presidents in endorsing carbon pricing as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, according to The Middletown Press. These presidents, who form the Higher Education Carbon Pricing Endorsement Initiative, signed a letter calling on state and federal lawmakers to enact a carbon price at the state and federal levels.

Jen Kleindienst, director of Wesleyan’s Office of Sustainability, told the Press, “It stems from inaction during the current (presidential) administration, but even during the previous administration. A lot of sustainability professionals are concerned that we, as a country and as a community, are not moving quickly enough and that could mean really dire consequences for the planet.”