All News

Physics Professor Studies Exotic Atoms


Tom Morgan, the Foss Professor of Physics, developed a laser lab in the basement of Exley Science Center. He uses a control panel to fire atoms and study quantum mechanics. His atom research is supported by a recent National Science Foundation award of $200,000.
Posted 08/24/06
In outer space, some protons and electrons can travel millions of years alone before colliding, forming super-excited exaggerated atoms. Tom Morgan, the Foss Professor of Physics, wants these atoms to come back down to earth.

For the past 20 years, Morgan, an atomic and molecular physicist, has experimented with these excited atoms known as Rydberg atoms.

With the help of Wesleyan’s Scientific Support Services, he’s designed and created two accelerator collision systems in the basement of Exley Science Center. By shooting a laser beam at a series of regular atoms, he can create Rydberg atoms, which escalate the electron’s orbit 10,000 times further than in a regular atom. These giant atoms, with elusive properties, are ideal to study to gain insight into the connection between quantum mechanics and classical physics.

“What I’ve always been interested in is what I learn about an atom or molecule on a fundamental level,” Morgan says from his second floor office in the Exley Science Center. “I want to learn about their structure, their dynamics, and how the size of an atom affects its behavior.”

Over the years the Research Corporation, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation have supported his research. On Aug. 15, the NSF awarded a grant of $200,000 for laser research equipment.

Morgan began his career at Wesleyan 33 years ago by studying properties of fast protons colliding with alkaline atoms magnesium, calcium, strontium and barium. In the mid-80s, he began investigating Rydberg atoms in hydrogen and helium. Recently, his research interests include molecular spectroscopy and dynamics of highly excited Rydberg states in strong electric fields and plasma environments. His most recent contributions include studying Rydberg argon dynamics and the first measurement of a scaled-energy recurrence spectrum for molecules.

Morgan says he is among about a hand-full of researchers in the world studying scaled-energy laser-excited atoms in strong electric fields and the first to apply the technique to hydrogen molecules.

“When you’re doing cutting-edge research, it’s not going to be easy,” he says overlooking his self-designed laser-accelerator control panel. “Everything has to be perfect to get the right conditions and results. Doing this type of work requires not only brains, but a lot of patience and good hands.”

Lutz Huwel, chair of the Physics Department and professor of physics, says Morgan’s positive and constructive attitude in the classroom stands out just as much as his love for physics.

“Tom loves physics of all kind ­ above all the Rydberg atoms and molecules he and his dedicated group of students are investigating in his lab,” Huwel says. “He is always on the lookout for interesting things to do and to talk about. He has a knack for getting students excited about physics.”

In October, one of Morgan’s undergraduate students, Jack DiSciacca ’07, will be presenting his research results at a national laser science conference in Rochester, N.Y. DiSciacca is a Goldwater Scholar for the academic year 06-07 and is writing his senior honors thesis on Rydberg hydrogen molecules.

Morgan, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., says his interest in physics came about in high school, when his algebra teacher said he had “quite the ability in math.”

“I perked up at this, because this person thought I was actually good at something. That was my defining moment. It gave me the confidence to pursue math, and later physics,” he says.

He studied math and the sciences at Carroll College in Helena, Mont. and Montana State University, Bozeman and received his Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley in 1971. His thesis covered the collisional formation and destruction properties of excited hydrogen molecules.

In 1973, after two years at Queen’s University of Belfast, N. Ireland, Morgan came to Wesleyan, and began teaching general physics classes, more advanced classes for majors and graduate level courses. Morgan has published more than 85 articles in leading physics journals. He’s overseen dozens of students pursuing Ph.D degrees and senior honors theses, who often report their findings at national conferences and publish in scientific journals.

Morgan, who also is Wesleyan’s Academic Secretary, served as the Chairman of the Physics Department for five years, and the Dean of the Sciences and Mathematics for three years. He has held several visiting research appointments at other universities, including the University of Paris, France, the University of Colorado, Boulder, the University of Mexico, Mexico City and at Dublin City University, Ireland, where as a Fulbright Senior Scholar he established a physics undergraduate student exchange program with Wesleyan.

“Wesleyan was great when I arrived here, and it’s great now,” Morgan says. “The teaching and research environment is wonderful and my colleagues are superb, but what I really love about Wesleyan is the students. It is the bright students in the classroom and in my lab that have kept me here all these years.”

He is presently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he is collaborating on research programs devoted to plasma physics. He’s also a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Physics in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

He’s also a four-time marathon runner, a big New York Yankees fan, and a singer/musician for an Irish Celtic band.

Morgan is one of three in his family to work at Wesleyan. His wife, Janet, retired in 2003 from Information Technology Services, and his son, Brent Morgan, is an instructional media specialist for ITS and the Center for the Arts. But after more than three decades here, Tom has no plans to leave Wesleyan just yet.

“No, I can’t even think about (retirement),” he says, turning the knobs on his laser lab control panel. “I am having too much fun.”
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Tennis Coach Ken Alrutz Brings Experience, Excellence and Passion to Sport


Wesleyan tennis coach Ken Alrutz, right, teaches his son, Graham, a few techniques on the Wesleyan tennis courts Aug. 24.
 
Posted 08/24/06
Q: Ken, you will be entering your third year as the men’s and women’s head tennis coach. What attracted you to Wesleyan?

A: When my wife and I contemplated a move, I decided I wanted to coach both women and men, to work at an academically distinguished school, and to finish my career at a small institution similar to the place where I began my professional life.

Q: What months does the tennis season span? When do you begin NESCAC Championship playoffs?

A: Wesleyan’s tennis season commences the first day of classes in the fall, runs through the New England Women’s Invitational Tournament in late October. It begins again on February 15, and concludes with the NESCAC tournament the final weekend of April. Of course, the NCAA championship tournament takes a month longer, and my teams plan to qualify for that event as well.

Q: Who are your leading student-athletes? Do they play other sports as well?

A: Last season, six first-year women played significant roles on the team that posted an 11-4 record: Rachael Ghorbani ‘09, Ania Preneta ‘09, Madalina Ursu ‘09, Alexandra Sirois ‘09, Emily Fish ‘09 and Lizzie Collector ‘09. They, along with Tori Santoro ’07, who spent last spring in Paris, will form the nucleus of the squad, though I expect important contributions from newcomers Anika Fischer ‘10, Meredith Holmes ‘10, and Casey Simchik ‘10, who will also be a member of the squash team.

Among the starting men returning from the team that went 10-5 are Jack Rooney ‘07, Tallen Todorovich ’07, Michael Frank ‘08, Pauri Pandian ’08, Matthew O’Connell ’09, Alejandro Alvarado ’09, and Paul Gerdes ’09. Joining them and their teammates are two tremendous first years: George Pritzker ’10 and Miles Krieger ’10.

Q: Where were you coaching prior to Wesleyan?

A: Immediately before joining the Wesleyan staff, I served as the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Miami University-Hamilton for three years, while also acting as a tennis professional at the Riverside Racquet Club in Hamilton, Ohio. I was the head men’s tennis coach at NCAA Division I Miami University in Oxford, Ohio from 1996 to 1999, and began my head coaching career at NCAA Division I Virginia Military Institute from 1987 until 1996.

Q: What were some of your biggest achievements at these schools?

A: At Miami-Hamilton, my women’s and men’s teams won Ohio Regional Campus Conference Championships in 2002 and 2004. I led Miami University in Oxford to the Mid-American Conference men’s title in 1997. My coaching colleagues honored me with the conference’s Coach-of-the-Year Award in 1999, and the Midwest section of the United States Professional Tennis Association, of which I am a certified member, named me Team Coach of the Year a few months later. During the spring of 1990, VMI honored me with the Institute’s Distinguished Coaching Award; in 1992, I received the Southern Conference’s Tennis Coach-of-the-Year Award as well as the Mid-Atlantic Professional Tennis Association’s Collegiate Coach-of-the-Year Award in 1995. I am the first coach of any sport in VMI’s long athletic history to win one hundred contests, and my Division I squads at VMI and Miami saw twelve straight winning seasons.

Q: What is your overall coaching record?

A: My cumulative coaching record stands at 199-116, or 63 percent. More important than anything else, though, all of my teams boast a 100 percent graduation rate.

Q: You received a Distinguished Teaching Award in 1994 from the Virginia Military Institute and Honored Professor Awards from 2000-04 from Miami’s Associated Student Government. What were you teaching?

A: At VMI and Miami, I taught English full time in addition to coaching tennis. While my ostensible specialty is Victorian literature, I especially enjoy offering various courses in prose fiction, including Modern and Contemporary American Novels, Nineteenth-Century British Novel and International Short Fiction. In fact, I earlier taught English at Ripon and Lynchburg Colleges; at the former, I was also a volunteer English professor in the Wisconsin prison system.

Q: Where did you go to college and what are your degrees in?

A: I earned my undergraduate degree in English education at California State College, which I attended on a tennis scholarship, and did my graduate work in English at the University of Pennsylvania. My dissertation subject was the Victorian novelist Charles Kingsley.

Q: For the non-tennis audience, can you what skills are needed to be a tennis player, and can anyone basically do this?

A: Tennis is an attractive spectator and participatory sport for a number of reasons. Playing the game at a high level demands keen hand-eye coordination, fast reflexes, excellent physical conditioning, and the ability to remain calm under pressure. One of the most appealing aspects of tennis for the non-professional is the many levels of the game; that is, no matter players’ ages or ability levels, they can find suitable practice partners or opponents.

Q: Is teaching the sport difficult?

A: I have given thousands of hours of tennis lessons in the past 26 years, and I guarantee that I can teach anyone to have fun with the game. When do you want to do a lesson?

Q: What classes do you teach as an adjunct professor?

A: I teach beginning and intermediate tennis courses here. My students are eager to learn, to improve their skills, so we have a great time.

Q: You have been on the Prince advisory staff for 18 years? What is involved in this?

A: My relationship with Prince has been a very happy one. Throughout the year, Prince sponsors clinics at tournament sites. Many times, I have worked these events with such world-ranked players as Michael Chang, Guillermo Coria, Albert Costa, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Jan-Michael Gambell, Xavier Malisse and Vince Spadea.

Q: Have you coached anyone who went on to be a “famous” tennis star?

A: Quite a few of my collegiate players have broken into the touring professional ranks. I am especially proud of coaching two young men while they played Davis Cup for their countries: Tunisia and the Bahamas. All fans recognize the four major tournaments—The Australian, the French, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open—but Davis Cup, the international team competition for men, and the women’s Federation Cup, strike me as the most significant events of the tennis calendar. Being selected to play for one’s country transcends all other tennis accomplishments.
Q: Do you have any tennis plans for the larger Wesleyan community?   A: Yes. I want to involve as many members of the Wesleyan family in tennis as possible in the coming year. First of all, my teams are dedicating our fall season to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Next, I want to initiate some type of tennis tournament open to everyone at the school. People can pair with varsity team members!  My teams and I will also donate a Saturday of introductory tennis lessons.Finally, my daugher, Rikki, and I want to offer Cardio Tennis classes here. Sponsored by the USTA, this activity combines tennis and fitness.

Q: What are your other interests?

A: I still follow my hometown Pirates and Steelers, though I am more interested in attending athletic contests at Wesleyan and supporting my colleagues’ efforts.
My major hobbies, if that is the correct term, are reading and writing. I am always in the middle of reading a novel or some type of history. Might I recommend such contemporary novels as Ellen Miller’s Like Being Killed, Mary Gaitskill’s Two Girls, Fat and Thin, and Alice McDermott’s Charming Billy. I also have four completed novels of my own in my desk drawer. My students and family continually urge me to publish them. Who knows? That might soon happen.

Q: Tell me about your family. Any young tennis players?

A: My wife, Kellylee, and I will celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary on September 5. She is a classical pianist, a woman of remarkable talents and the person who gives my life meaning. Our daughter, Rikki, attended a university in Paris and is now doing graduate work at Harvard. In addition to being a tremendous teacher and tennis player—she won a major tournament at Forest Hills, the former site of the U.S. Open, last summer—she speaks seven languages and is a professional interpreter. Our 11-year-old son, Graham, lives for art and tennis. He inherited his mother’s artistic ability, and he is an extremely accomplished tennis player, who dreams of playing on the international circuit in a few years.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Department of Religion Welcomes New Assistant Professor


Mary-Jane Rubenstein, assistant professor of religion, will teach Modern Christian Thought and the Problem of Evil during the fall semester.
 
Posted 08/24/06
Mary-Jane Rubenstein has joined the Department of Religion as an assistant professor.

Her primary research interests are continental philosophy and Christian theology. She also focuses on post-colonial Christianities; literary and critical theory; and race, gender and sexuality studies.

Rubenstein comes to Wesleyan from the Department of Religion at Columbia University in New York. There, she taught Contemporary Civilization and co-taught the courses, “Religions in the Modern World” and “Religion and Its Critics.” She was awarded the Core Curriculum Teaching Award in 2006.

Rubenstein received a bachelor of arts in religion and English from Williams College; a master’s degree in philosophical theology from Emmanuel College, Cambridge University; a master’s degree in philosophy of religion and certificate in comparative literature and society from Columbia University; and a Ph.D in philosophy of religion from Columbia. Her dissertation was titled “Wondrous Strange: The Closure of Metaphysics and the Opening of Awe.”

Having studied at a liberal arts college, Rubenstein says she is deeply committed to the kind of learning that takes place at an institution where teaching and scholarship are equally valued.

“At Wesleyan in particular, one gets the feeling that students and faculty consistently encourage one another to maintain a certain intellectual openness, to be ready to be surprised, even amazed, by new possibilities for thought and collaboration,” she says. “I am delighted to be coming to Wesleyan; honestly, I couldn’t have dreamed up a better job.”

Rubenstein is the author of a dozen articles and book reviews, some on the topic of philosophers Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Derrida and negative theology and global Anglicanism. In recent years, her article “The Unbearable Withness of Being: On the Essentialist Blind-Spot of Anti-Ontotheology,” appeared in Theology and the Political, published by Duke University Press, and “An Anglican Crisis of Comparison: Intersections of Race, Gender, and Religious Authority with Particular Reference to the Church of Nigeria,” was published in the Journal of American Academy of Religion.

In the fall, Rubenstein will be teaching two courses, Modern Christian Thought and the Problem of Evil. In the spring, she will teach Introduction to Philosophy of Religion and a course on the death of God. Meanwhile, she is busy settling into her new office in the Department of Religion.

When Rubenstein isn’t teaching, she practices yoga, and enjoys running, singing and exploring second-hand bookshops. She resides in Middletown.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Committee to Prepare Campus for Crisis, Disaster


Posted 08/24/06

A team of staff members is updating Wesleyan’s emergency response plan, which describes protocols for maintaining personal safety and the continuity of operations in the event of a crisis.

Led by Director of Physical Plant Cliff Ashton, the Business Continuity Planning Committee is updating a plan that was implemented in 2002. The plan covers hurricanes and other natural disasters, as well as such manmade crises as power outages and chemical spills. The committee is exploring responses to more recent threats—such as the possibility of a pandemic contagion. It also is reviewing the plan for consistency with protocols established in the National Incident Management System created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The committee, which began its work last spring, will recommend a revised plan to the senior administration in the fall.

Questions and comments may be directed to Cliff Ashton at cashton@wesleyan.edu.
 

By Justin Harmon, vice president for Public Affairs and director of University Communications

Memorial Service Planned for David McAllester


Posted 08/24/06
Wesleyan’s Music Department will sponsor a memorial service for David McAllester, professor of music and anthropology, emeritus, at 2 p.m. in the Memorial Chapel Sept. 24.

McAllester, a founder of the Society for Ethnomusicology, died April 29, 2006, after suffering a stroke. He was 89.

“David had a huge impact on generations of Wesleyan students, many of them not music majors or grad students,” says Mark Slobin, professor of music, who worked with McAllester for 15 years. “When I was hired at Wesleyan in 1971 and looked at a college guide, the only course singled out was McAllester’s exciting course on American Indian Music, complete with a pow-wow on Foss Hill.”

A graduate of Harvard University, McAllester studied at the Juilliard School of Music and earned his doctorate in anthropology at Columbia. He began his career at Wesleyan in the Psychology Department, and soon established the Anthropology Department, where he was an instructor of anthropology. In 1957, he was promoted to a full professor and in 1971, he moved to the Music Department, where he co-founded the program in World Music. He remained in the Music Department until his retirement in 1986.

“The twin career in anthropology and music is the work of a man who, faced with the choice between art and science, embraced them both,” wrote Richard Winslow, professor of music, emeritus, in the summer 1986 issue of Wesleyan magazine.

One of the founders of the Society for Ethnomusicology in 1952, McAllester served the organization in a number of positions, first as its secretary, and later as the president and editor of the society’s journal. His particular field of interest was Native American ceremonial music, especially that of the Navajos of the American Southwest.

Known internationally for his scholarly works and publications, he was a recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for research in new Native American music and of a Fulbright grant that provided him with a senior lectureship in Australia. He was a member of the board of trustees for the American Indian Archaeological Institute in Washington, D.C., and did extensive fieldwork with several native American groups, with books that include Peyote Music (1949), Enemyway Music (1954) and Navajo Blessingway Singer (1978).

With a longstanding commitment to nonviolence, he served in conscientious objector work camps during World War II. He was a founding member of the Middletown Quaker Meeting, as well as the South Berkshire Friends meeting, where he set up a tipi on the grounds, as well as helping to construct a swamp trail around a beaver pond.

Predeceased by his first wife, Susan McAllester, in 1994, he is survived by his wife, Beryl Irene Courtenay, a daughter, a son, two granddaughters, and a son-in-law.

“Up Against the Wall” Featured in Gallery Exhibit


Artist Mary Lum works on her painting, which is part of the exhibit “Up Against the Wall” opening in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery on Sept. 8.
Posted 08/24/06
“Up Against the Wall,” an exhibit featuring art that relies exclusively on the interior surfaces of architecture for inspiration and material support, will open at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery on Sept. 8.

Organized by Nina Felshin, curator of Zilkha Gallery, the exhibition includes work by William McCarthy, gallery supervisor of Zilkha Gallery and Davison Art Center gallery supervisor, as well as artists Shoshana Dentz, Elana Herzog, Mary Lum and Mary Temple. Also on exhibit is a collaboration between artist Sol LeWitt and Alvin Lucier, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music. The collaboration is executed by Wesleyan students.

Though the stylistic tendencies, technique and method of application or engagement vary, in each case the work becomes an integral part of the Zilkha Gallery’s architecture. When the exhibit is over, the gallery walls will be soaped down and repainted, and the works of art will cease to exist.

“The idea for the show has been percolating for some time,” Felshin says. “Finally, a critical mass of artists coalesced in my thinking and summer seemed to be the perfect time to invite artists to visit the gallery and execute their new work. The unique architecture of Zilkha Gallery continues, as it has in the past, to provide a rich source of artistic inspiration.”

The collaboration between LeWitt and Lucier, “Zug III,” is based on the Alpine ridge, as viewed from Zug, Switzerland, and consists of lines that repeat the ridge in a variety of colored markers. It was created in response to a composition by Lucier, in which he transcribed the mountain range into musical notation. Lucier’s musical piece accompanies the Lewitt wall drawing (click image at right to open a larger version of this painting).

The work of Lum and Herzog is more concerned with culture than it is with nature. Herzog’s wall-embedded multi-color chenille bedspread is simultaneously seductive and violent. Lum’s expansive acrylic painted drawing takes inspiration from the architecture of Zilkha Gallery and from her ongoing concerns with spatial illusion, the opposition between fact and fiction and the vagaries of human nature.

Dentz’s gouache drawing on Zilkha’s huge, wall-sized windows comments on how viewing art can sharpen one’s perception of his or her environment in general and specifically, in this case, beyond the gallery.

McCarthy, known for his landscape paintings, also applies his talent to Zilkha’s windows. And finally, a fleeting moment from the past is frozen in time in Mary Temple’s trompe l’oeil painting of mysterious shadows.

The public is invited to attend the opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 8 in the gallery. The event will include a talk by Felshin and comments by several of the artists.

The gallery is open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday Sept. 8 through Oct. 8. Admission is free of charge.
 

By Lex Leifheit, press and marking coordinator. Photos by Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Noah Simring ’07 Dies at Age 21


Posted 08/15/06
Noah Lior Simring, originally a member of Wesleyan’s class of 2007, died recently in New York City, his hometown. He was 21.

Noah, who was on leave from Wesleyan for the past two years, graduated from the Horace Mann School in New York City where he enjoyed fencing. His interests included the sciences, theater, music, wilderness living, animation and rocketry and volunteerism.

He is survived by parents Ruth and James Simring and sister, Mia Simring.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Horace Mann School or Children International.

Data Services Manager Embraces Full-Time Position  with The Wesleyan Fund


Marcy Herlihy will be promoted to associate director of Wesleyan Fund Internal Operations. She’s spent the past two years working with the fund and Data Services.
 
Posted 07/28/06
In just under five years at Wesleyan, Marcy Herlihy’s role has changed three times. Next month, her responsibilities will change again, all for the better of the university.

Herlihy was hired in October 2001 as the assistant director of The Wesleyan Annual Fund, which is now known as The Wesleyan Fund. Two years ago, she took over the role of manager of UR’s Data Services, but has continued to divide her time between data and fund responsibilities. When the newly-created position, manager of University Relations Information Systems is filled, Herlihy will become the associate director for the Wesleyan Fund Internal Operations, and support the Wesleyan Fund full-time.

“All of these changes have been good for the department and they’ve always been a good fit for me,” she says. “It’s a win-win situation for all.”

Since she currently splits her time between Data Services and The Wesleyan Fund, giving each one equal attention can be a challenge, Herlihy says.

For her Wesleyan Fund role, she spends a good deal of time in meetings with her UR and Office of University Communications colleagues, planning, scheduling and producing upcoming communication materials or working on the various Wesleyan Fund solicitation programs. For her Data Services role, she manages and oversees the maintenance of the alumni and parent database, manages donor records and oversees the processing of gifts and pledges. In addition, she maintains The Wesleyan Fund Web site and works with Wesleyan’s student Red & Black Society callers.

Deb Treister, director for University Relations Operations, works with Herlihy on a daily basis. They’ve developed an online giving Web page, a volunteer module in WesNet, and serve on the WesNet Committee together. WesNet is Wesleyan’s alumni online community.

“Marcy is the perfect colleague,” Treister says. “She’s extremely detail orientated and very pleasant to be around and work with. She has a great sense of humor, which can be very important in our line of work.”

It helps that she doesn’t have to split her location when she is splitting her time. The Wesleyan Fund, including Data Services, moved to its own building on Mt. Vernon St. in November 2005.

“It is wonderful that we have this new space, and we’re all together, and I love that I can finally be settled in one location,” she says from her sunny office that overlooks the Annual Fund calling area.

“It keeps me pretty busy,” she says, smiling.

Gifts that are made to The Wesleyan Fund are crucial for the entire university. The fund supports the university’s operating budget, which includes financial aid, staff and faculty salaries, the upkeep and maintenance of facilities and student services.

This year the Wesleyan Fund team raised $11.8 million, with 54 percent of alumni participation. But next year, since the university will look to rely less on its endowment, the team’s goal is to raise over $15 million.

“Raising $11.8 million was tough, and raising $15 million will be a lot of hard work, but I am optimistic that we can do this,” she says. “It would be so wonderful for the university.”

Herlihy is no stranger to the Wesleyan campus. She grew up in Portland, Conn., the town across the bridge from Middletown, and frequented the campus her entire life.

“When I was a child, I would take classes at Wesleyan Potters so I got to know some people from the Wesleyan community, and I also went to Wesleyan football games in the fall and of course I’d go sledding down Foss Hill in the winter,” she recalls. “With the exception of a few new buildings, campus looks pretty much the same as it did then.”

But “never in a million years” did Herlihy think she would end up working at Wesleyan.

Herlihy says a college job prompted her to want to work in a fund-raising field. As a student at the University of Vermont, she worked in that school’s development office and enjoyed it. After college, a friend of her family suggested she look into an open position at Wesleyan. Herlihy applied, and has been here ever since.

Ironically, Herlihy didn’t major in public relations or a fund-raising field. She graduated with a bachelor’s of science in horticulture and sustainable agriculture. Nevertheless, she continues to put her degree to work. At her home in Ivoryton, Conn., Herlihy and her husband, Rory, and golden retriever, Annie, spend an abundance of time in the yard.

“Gardening and landscaping are my biggest hobbies, and I love vegetable and perennial gardens,” she says. “But we also have been busy planting a funky shrub garden in front of our house. We used some interesting maples and unusual shrubs. My parents like to say I majored in a hobby.”
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

SUMMER SERIES : East L.A.-based Quetzal performed as part of the Center for the Arts Nights series June 29. The group was found by guitarist/jarana/bajo sexto player Quetzal Flores, who brings a grass-roots approach to fusing the folk styles of Mexico and Cuba along with elements of rock and blues.

Quetzal’s beats got the audience dancing in the aisles of Crowell Concert Hall. The concert was intended to be outside but rainy weather moved it indoors.
Quetzal kicked off the CFA Night Series, which also includes upcoming performances Eclipse: Visions of the Crescent and the Cross Forces of Nature Dance Theatre Company on July 6-7; Tim Crouch: An Oak Tree on July 20; and Jane Bunnett & Spirits of Havana on July 27. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Kay Butterfield Celebrates 100th Birthday at Wesleyan


Friends and family celebrated Kay Butterfield’s 100th birthday July 27 in the Office of the President. Kay Butterfield is the wife of the late Victor Butterfield, who served as Wesleyan’s president 1943-1967. Pictured above is Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano declaring July 27 Kay Butterfield Day in the City of Middletown.
Posted 07/28/06
Kay Butterfield, wife of former Wesleyan President Victor Butterfield, turned 100 July 27. She celebrated the day with friends and family during a celebration at the President’s House.

Kay has lived a life of idealism and service. She was born July 27, 1906 in Brooklyn, N.Y., the daughter of Philip Geyer and Sophie Westerman Geyer. Her grandfather, Philip Geyer, Sr. had emigrated from Bavaria, settling first in Newark, N.J, where he and his brothers established a brewery. The family moved to Brooklyn, and Kay’s father followed his father into the profession of Master Brewer, eventually owning Frank’s Brewery.

In 1919, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, prohibition, caused a reversal of fortune for the Geyer family, which had all its assets invested in the family brewery. One result was that Kay would eventually have to finance her own college education.

Kay graduated from Girls’ High School in Brooklyn in 1922, one month shy of her 16th birthday. In the spring of her senior year, searching the school bulletin board for employment opportunities, she spotted a notice for a city-wide essay contest for a one-year scholarship to the Manhattan Business School. She won the prize, attended in 1922-23, and then earned enough money as a legal secretary on Wall Street to pay for her first year of college.

In 1924, Kay entered Cornell University as a freshman. She was the publicity manager for the Women’s Varsity Council; the women’s editor for the Cornell Daily Sun, a varsity member of the women’s basketball team; and president of Delta Gamma Sorority. She also was involved in Alpha Chi Alpha, the honor society for journalism; Raven and Serpent, the junior honor society; and Mortarboard, the senior honor society.

During her junior year at Cornell, Kay met Victor Lloyd Butterfield at a dance. The duo got married June 11, 1928. Two days later, Kay graduated with a bachelor’s of art in English. She had paid her entire way through college by working as a secretary and typing student papers, and as a legal secretary in Manhattan during the summers.

The Butterfields moved to Deerfield, Mass. where Vic taught and coached at Deerfield Academy and Kay taught fifth and sixth grade in a single classroom in the Deerfield Elementary School. She called it “baptism by fire.”

In 1929, Vic joined the faculty of the Riverdale Country School in the Bronx. Kay taught mathematics to all grades at the Neighborhood School in Riverdale. An apartment and meals were included at Riverdale, allowing them to save all their earnings for graduate school for Vic. In 1931, the couple moved to Cambridge, Mass., where Vic entered Harvard as a Ph.D candidate. Kay became a door-to-door salesperson and typed doctoral theses for extra income. Her habits of thrift and industry enabled Vic and Kay to spend the summer of 1934 in Europe after Vic’s resident Ph.D work was completed.

Vic was hired by Wesleyan as the dean of Admission from 1935 to 1941, and worked as the associate dean from 1941 to 1942, acting president in 1942, then president from 1943 to 1967.

In 1938, the Butterfields built their first house on a four-acre plot on Randolph Road in Middletown. Kay cut all the studs and joists with a power saw, cut rock wool into bats for the insulation, and secured them with slats that she nailed in. They lived there until Vic’s appointment as president in 1943 and, then moved to a brick house on High Street. When the war ended, they moved into the President’s House at 269 High. After Vic’s retirement, they went back to their beloved small house on Randolph Road.

During the years of Vic’s presidency, Kay was heavily involved in college life. She loved the seminars, conferences, concerts, and the sporting events. She was a regular at games and matches, particularly football, basketball, and wrestling. She volunteered for decades at the Wesleyan Blood Drive, registering donors, as well as donating blood herself.

Much of her energy went toward the job of entertaining at the President’s House. Money was scarce in those days, and badly needed to improve faculty salaries. So Kay economized by cooking and baking for receptions and dinners for trustees, faculty, students and honorary degree recipients. On one occasion, during a period of intense rivalry in football between Trinity and Wesleyan, she even cooked and served dinner for both varsity teams on the night before the big game.

Kay became involved early on in the Middletown community. Before her own children were born, she was a Girl Scout leader. The YMCA was her earliest and longest commitment. As a member of the Women’s Board, she help nurture the girls’ club. She also raised large sums of money for the YMCA through her chairmanship of the Y’s annual Tour of Homes. When the women’s lounge needed new slipcovers, Kay and her fellow board members brought their sewing machines for a bee, and made them all themselves. It was through the “Y” that Kay was a long-time member of the Middletown League of Women Voters, as well as its president from 1936-37. She was also a member of the Board of Education (1952-1965), an annual campaigner for the United Way, and a Board member of Connecticut Citizens for Public Schools.

She also had a long connection with the Davison Art Center. In the early 1960s, Curator Heinrich Schwarz, hoping to add to the large print collection left to Wesleyan by George W. class of 1892 and Harriet Davison, proposed to Kay the idea of forming a “Friends of the Davison Art Center” to raise money for acquisitions.

Kay has been the recipient of a number of awards for her service, including the B’nai B’rith “Woman of the Year” award in the 1950s, the Baldwin Medal for service to Wesleyan in 1982, and received an honorary “Doctor of Humane Letters” from Wesleyan in 1997.

In the late 1960s, after Vic’s retirement from Wesleyan, Kay renewed her ties to the First Church of Christ, Middletown, which she had joined in the 1950s. Kay taught Sunday School until she was in her 90s, and after the Vietnam War, she tutored children from Vietnam and Cambodia through the church.

In the mid 1990s, she wrote a series of essays for the Middletown Press on backyard bird-watching, on her particular pleasure in crows, on Elderhostels, on her two hip replacements, and on her decision at the age of 94 to leave her beloved Randolph Road home and move to One MacDonough Place, where she now resides.

Another great love of Kay’s throughout her life has been music, and particularly singing. She had a huge repertoire – everything from Vaudeville to Negro Spirituals. Kay still loves singing – now with the One MacDonough Singers.

In honor of her 100 years, the Governor’s Office proclaimed July 27 as Kay Butterfield Day in the State of Connecticut, and the Mayor’s Office declared July 27 as Kay Butterfield Day in the City of Middletown.

 
Photos by Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor. Text contributed.

Wesleyan Breaks Fund-Raising Record, Garners Award


Max Schenkein ’08 chats with an alumnus during a Wesleyan Fund fund-raising drive. Below, Sean Collins ’08 and Ana Lombera ’09 request gifts for Wesleyan. The student callers, along with staff in University Relations, helped raise more than $35 million this past year.
Posted 07/28/06
Wesleyan enters its 175th anniversary year celebration with a tremendous gift from its alumni, friends, and other supporters: a record-breaking $35,054,196 in cash gifts, surpassing the 2005 record by $3.7 million.

These funds will support financial aid, faculty, facilities, and programs. Fifty-four percent of alumni participated in giving to Wesleyan in 2006, equaling 2005’s participation rate.

The official tally, announced this week by Barbara-Jan Wilson, vice president for University Relations, marks a significant milestone for Wesleyan.

“This generous support ensures Wesleyan’s future and announces to the worldwide Wesleyan community that our University is strong, getting stronger, and will be here for future generations,” Wilson says.

Wilson added that the Board of Trustees, President Douglas Bennet, alumni and parent volunteers including the Development Committee and the University Relations staff, are vital members of Wesleyan’s fund-raising effort.

“This development team represents a rare convergence of talent, skill, professionalism, dedication, and energy,” Wilson says.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) agrees with Wilson. CASE has awarded Wesleyan the CASE-Wealth ID Award for Educational Fund Raising: Overall Performance in the Private Liberal Arts Institutions category. In 2002, Wealth ID, a provider of wealth screening services and fund-raising solutions, joined CASE as a sponsor of the Educational Fund Raising Awards.

“What is best about the CASE Award is that this honor was awarded not for what Wesleyan received, but for what so many alumni, staff, and friends gave,” Wilson says. “The more we give, the more we receive. That defines the Wesleyan experience.”

“Wesleyan, already ranked highly for academic excellence, now demonstrates an exemplary new standard of excellence in support of private education through its fund-raising performance,” says Mark Bailey, director of Development Communications.

CASE, a nonprofit education association, supports educational institutions by enhancing the effectiveness of the alumni relations, communications and fund-raising professionals who serve it.

Other winners in the private liberal arts institution category include Amherst College in Massachusetts; Berea College in Kentucky; Bowdoin College in Maine; Middlebury College in Vermont; and Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

 
By Justin Harmon, vice president for Public Affairs. Photos contributed by Regan Schubel.

Iberian Studies Major Unveiled this Fall


A new Iberian Studies major will enable students to focus primarily on Iberia, mainly Spain, but includes Portugal and former colonies.
Posted 07/28/06
Iberian studies will be introduced as a new major by the Spanish section of the Romance Languages and Literatures Department this fall.

The major is designed for students interested in studying the literature, history, culture and society of the Iberian peninsula. The new major will complement the current Spanish major, which provides students with a broad knowledge of the Spanish-language literatures of Spain and Latin America.

“Over the years students have repeatedly expressed an interest in a Spanish major that would allow them to study Spain in depth,” says Michael Armstrong-Roche, associate professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and head of the Spanish section.

Iberian studies will enable students to focus primarily on Iberia, mainly Spain, but includes Portugal and former colonies.

Lynn Cartwright-Punnett ‘07, was happy to switch from her double major in Spanish and History to Iberian Studies and History this past spring.

“The Spanish major did a great job of integrating aspects of Spanish culture, but Spanish, as a major, also deals with Latin America, which I am less interested in,” says Cartwright-Punnett “Iberian Studies gives me more flexibility and relates more directly to my varied interests than purely literature based major would.”

Incoming Wesleyan sophomore Bryan Jones also plans on majoring in Iberian studies, primarily in order to master the Catalan language of the Iberian Peninsula.

“While visiting friends in Barcelona, I was intrigued by the Catalan language and culture, and have since obtained the desire to master that language as well as Spanish,” says Jones. “Clearly, the Iberian Studies major allows me to do so, as well as looks into the numerous
regions of Iberia, where the culture and language are as rich, profound, and intriguing.”

Armstrong-Roche says that Iberian studies majors such as Cartwright-Punnett and Jones may count up to four courses taken outside the Spanish section in English or Spanish.

“The requirements permit students to earn major credit for coursework on Iberia offered on campus outside the Spanish section, in the History Department, for instance, along with coursework on Iberia in fields other than literature offered by approved study abroad programs such as our own program in Madrid,” says Armstrong-Roche.

Iberian studies majors must qualify for the major with a grade of B- or better in Spanish 221 or the equivalent. Spanish 221 is not required but may be counted towards the major. Students are expected to maintain at least a B- average in the major program and are required to do a minimum of five of their nine required courses in Spanish literature with faculty from the Spanish section of Wesleyan’s Romance Languages and Literatures Department.

Armstrong-Roche says the Iberian studies major may interest students who want to pursue graduate work focused on Spain or other professional options that involve Spanish companies or international organizations.

Cartwright-Punnett plans on turning her thesis about sites of memory from the Spanish Civil War into a tourist guide book about the history of the war and to teach high school, where she can use her European History and Spanish background.

Jones is interested in working in Spain’s Catalonia region or in the U.S. teaching at a secondary school or hopes to land a job in international relations, either within a business or the government.

For more information about the Iberian studies major, please contact Michael Armstrong-Roche at 860-685-3128, e-mail marmstrong@wesleyan.edu or visit  http://www.wesleyan.edu/registrar/catalog/rlant.htm#Spanish.

 
By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations