All News

9 Awarded Fulbright Scholarships for 2007-08


Nishita Roy ’07 is one of five Wesleyan students to receive Fulbright Fellowships for the 2007-08 academic year. She will study economics in Cairo, Egypt.
Posted 05/16/07
International politics major Nishita Roy ’07 will graduate this May, but before she begins a career in international development, she will have the opportunity to conduct independent economic research in Egypt.

As a Wesleyan Fulbright Scholar, Roy will study at the American University in Cairo during the 2007-08 academic year. She is among nine Wesleyan students and alumni named 2007-08 Fulbright Scholars. This is a record number for Wesleyan.

“I hope that this Fulbright award will open up many doors for me to pursue my career interest, and I believe that my studies at Wesleyan have been invaluable to my research next year,” says Roy, who spent her 2006 spring semester studying in Cairo.

The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for students, scholars, and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide.

The program was established in 1946 by the U.S. Congress to “enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

Other student Fulbright scholars are Lindsay Ceballos ’07, who will go to Russia to study language and literature; Jacqueline Cruz ’07, who will teach English in Malaysia; Alexander Dynan ’07, who will study textile design in India, Jennifer Timm ’07 who received a Fulbright to teach English in Argentina, and graduate student Hae Joo Kim, who will study musicology in Korea.

Recent alumni also received Fulbright awards. They included Gideon Unkeless ’06, who will study education in South Africa; Morgan Philbin ’04, who will study public health in Mexico; and Katherine Standish ’03, who will study public health in China.

About 1,300 students, recent graduates and young professions are awarded Fulbright scholarships each year. They operate in more than 140 countries.

In Egypt, Roy plans to explore the concept of microfinance and its relationship to Islamic banking in Egypt. She will be trying to determine whether microfinance initiatives can be consistent with Islamic law as it pertains to money-lending.

“I think it is important to study this development issue in Egypt. The United Nations Capital Development Fund reports that, although Egypt has 1.5 million microenterprises, still 95 percent of the prospective demand for microfinance is unmet,” Roy explains. “The Fund estimates that ‘the Egyptian microfinance industry could potentially have between 2 and 3 million clients, whereas only an average of 220,000 have access to financial services.'”

Roy will take courses such as the Economics of Egypt, Small Business Entrepreneurship, and Islamic Institutions to gain a better understanding of economic development issues in Egypt. She also plans to continue learning the Arabic language, which she began studying at Wesleyan.

“I hope that my findings will help Egyptian microfinance institutions carry out their work more effectively, and I would be honored and thrilled if government officials take my work seriously and use my research as a guide to improve and expand microfinance programs in Egypt,” she says.

The program is named after Senator J. William Fulbright, who introduced a bill in the United States Congress that called for the use of proceeds from the sale of surplus war property to fund the “promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture, and science.” In 1946, President Harry S. Truman signed the bill into law, and Congress created the Fulbright Program.

Wesleyan Fulbright alternates include Kathleen Day ’07, graduate student Douglass Dineen, Gregory Dubinsky ’07 and Jean Park ’07. Krishna Winston, the Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature and chair of the German Studies Department, is Wesleyan’s Fulbright advisor.

More information on the Fulbright Program is online at:http://us.fulbrightonline.org/home.html.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Junior Named Beinecke Scholar


Posted 05/16/07
When she first came to Wesleyan, Holly Wood ’08 never considered going to graduate school. But after a few Wesleyan professors offered encouragement and guidance, Wood has changed her plans and is looking into doctorate programs.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have access to a couple of extremely affable professors who were dedicated to helping me achieve my goals,” Wood says.

As a newly-named Beinecke Scholar, Wood will receive more than $30,000 towards her graduate education. Eventually, she hopes to become a professor of sociology.

Wood, who is majoring in sociology and government, is among 20 students across the nation to receive the scholarship. She is the first Wesleyan student to receive the award in 10 years.

“We are very proud of Holly,” says Vancenia Rutherford, associate dean of the college and dean for the Class of 2008. “Her academic achievements are very impressive reflecting a breadth of intellectual interests, and she participates in the community with verve. I’m confident that Holly will continue to make important contributions to her academic field.”

The Beinecke Scholarship program provides support to students planning to attend graduate school in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Since 1975, the program has selected more than 370 college juniors from 97 different schools for support during graduate study at any accredited university.

Wood hasn’t chosen a graduate school yet, but is looking into programs with “an emphasis on inequality and stratification studies, ideally with some offering of social policy courses,” she says.

At Wesleyan, she is a member of the sociology majors’ and government majors’ committees; a volunteer tutor for middle school students; and is co-founder of an online blog for Wesleyan students. In her free time, Wood enjoys crafting and playing video games.

Wood will receive $2,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school. Scholars must utilize all of the funding within five years of completion of undergraduate studies.

The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 by the Board of Directors of The Sperry and Hutchinson Company to honor Edwin, Frederick, and Walter Beinecke. The program seeks to encourage and enable highly motivated students to pursue opportunities available to them and to be courageous in the selection of a graduated course of study.

For more information on the award to to http://www.beineckescholarship.org/.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Reunion and Commencement Weekend May 24-27


Picnics, entertainment, dances and get-togethers are all part of Reunion and Commencement Weekend, which kicks off May 24.
Posted 05/16/07
Picnics, seminars, a parade of classes, alumni luncheons, campus walking tours, rock concerts, academic department open houses, and graduation ceremonies are all part of the 2007 Reunion and Commencement Weekend May 24-27.

All Wesleyan alumni, students, staff, faculty and friends are invited to the three-day event, which will conclude Wesleyan’s yearlong celebration of its 175th anniversary.

“Reunion and Commencement weekends are partly about Wesleyan’s past and present,” says President Doug Bennet. “We come together from across the Wesleyan map to affirm the tradition of where we have come from and, especially this year, the promise of where we are going.”

Registration begins at 9 a.m. May 24. Major events include the 25th reunion of the Class of 1982, a welcome picnic, a champagne reception for graduating seniors and their families, an all-college dinner, reunion party, an all-college picnic, reunion class photos and an all-college party.

WESeminars will cover such topics as 175 Years of Piano, The Bells of Old South College, How to Counteract the Harmful Effects of Stress, Wesleyan’s Changing Campus, a Connecticut River Expedition, among others.

Exhibitions include “A Campus Fair and Green: Wesleyan’s Changing Landscape,” “Typewriters to Keyboards: The Production of the ‘Modern’ Thesis,”  “A Newspaperman’s Eye: American Photographs from the Collection of Russell G. D’Oench,” “Brushwork by Kazuaki Tanahashi,” and “The Faculty Show.”

The 175th Commencement Ceremony begins at 11 a.m. May 27. Jim Lehrer P’85, will be the featured speaker at the ceremony and will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

“I hope you will join us on campus for Reunion and Commencement Weekend 2007 and share with us the passion and the character that connect class years, including this year’s graduates and their families,” Bennet says.

To register for the event, to see a complete schedule, or obtain more information go to: http://www.wesleyan.edu/rc/
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Student Scholarships, Awards Received at Annual Banquet


More than 280 students received awards during the 2007 Academic Scholarships, Fellowships and Prizes awards ceremony May 8.
Posted 05/16/07
During the 2007 Academic Scholarships, Fellowships and Prizes awards ceremony May 8 in Russell House, Maggie Filler ’07 received the Camp Prize for excellence in English literature; Jeremy Marks ’07 was honored with a Leavell Memorial Prize for film studies; and Per Stinchcombe ’08 received the Rae Shortt Prize for excellence in mathematics.

Kristen Haller ’08 received the Thorndike Prize for excellence in psychology and John Burruss ’07 was honored for his thesis on an American studies topic.

At the event, 289 people were award recipients. Of those, 283 were students.

To view the complete list of 2007 award recipients go to:
http://www.wesleyan.edu/deans/awards2007.html.
 

Photos by Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Associate Director of Parent Programs Preparing for Reunion, Commencement Events


Camille Dolansky, associate director of Parent Programs and Development, makes daily contact with parents of graduating students.
 
Posted 05/16/07
Q: Camille, when did you come to Wesleyan and what were you hired in as?

A: I came to Wesleyan in April of 2000, as the assistant to the director of Parent Programs.

Q: What is the mission of the Office of Parent Programs and Development?

A: Our mission is to facilitate communication between parents and the University, as well as within the parent constituency, and to promote the inclusion of parents in the greater Wesleyan community. My job is to support that mission through our written communications with parents; and through the active engagement of volunteers, who focus their efforts in the following main areas: parent-to-parent outreach, career resources, communications and ParentLine, fundraising through The Wesleyan Fund, campus events and local Wesleyan club events.

Q: Who do you work with in Parent Programs and Development?

A: I work with Meg Zocco, director; Frantz Williams, associate director; and Beth Watrous, administrative assistant.

Q: What are some ways Parent Programs helps build relationships with students’ parents and why is this connection important?

A: We begin communicating with parents as early as the Early Decision admission phase of their student’s experience, and maintain regular contact with them throughout the four years via our publications, regularly scheduled email correspondence, the parents Web site, and our parent-to-parent volunteer outreach programs. We engage parents as volunteers, and as resources for future program planning. We serve as a front-line resource for parents who have questions about housing, health and safety issues, academics, dining, and student life, providing information and connections with other University staff as appropriate. As a result of these efforts, parents feel engaged with the University in appropriate and productive ways, and are better able to help guide their students to greater success while here at Wesleyan.

Q: What are some programs your office puts on? How are these staffed?

A: We work closely with the office of the dean of the college to provide Arrival Day programs for parents on academic and co-curricular life on campus. We work closely with special events staff to help develop Homecoming/Family Weekend and Reunion and Commencement programs of interest to parents. We work with regional clubs and networks on off-campus programs and special events for parents. We partner with the office of admission to host admission events and welcome parents to campus during WesFest. We work with other University Relations staff members to enhance fundraising success with parents. Many of these programs benefit from the active participation of parent volunteers and all are supported by colleagues all across campus.

Q: With Reunion and Commencement right around the corner, what is your schedule like?

A: We all are in high gear, in daily contact with many parents of graduating students, answering myriad questions about the weekend ahead and working with our special events team on last-minute details of the events specifically designed for parents. We join a few parents of graduating seniors in hosting two wonderful events: the Champagne Reception for graduating seniors, their families and friends and the Grandparents Reception for graduating seniors and their grandparents. At the invitation of President Bennet, parents working in the field of education may elect to march in a special section of the commencement procession to honor their graduating seniors.

Q: How often do you interact with students’ parents?

A: I spend a significant portion of each day talking with parents on the phone and corresponding with parents via e-mail, especially at key points during the year like just prior to Arrival Day, Homecoming/Family Weekend, and Reunion and Commencement. As time and financial resources permit, I visit parent volunteers, and attend off-campus events, such as summer send-offs and regional programs involving parents.

Q: What are typical questions or concerns parents have? How do you help answer the questions or resolve problems?

A: Questions from parents cover a very broad spectrum, from “where can I stay when I come to visit?” to “My student is graduating but hasn’t yet secured a job… who can help?” to “My student’s advisor is on sabbatical…to whom should he turn for academic advice?” In many cases, I’m able to provide answers myself. In other cases, I connect the parent with the appropriate person on campus. Many times, I simply listen long enough to help ease the tension. Parents often want to intervene, to fix whatever problem exists. I encourage those folks to allow their students to resolve their own problems. My answers often start with the phrase “Your student can…” It’s a difficult transition for many parents.

Q: What is the Parents Council?

A: All parents are “members” of the Parents Council, simply by virtue of being the parent of a Wesleyan student. It is simply a framework for involvement in the Wesleyan community. No dues are required, unless you take into account the cost of tuition! And membership is all-inclusive. Volunteer recruitment and engagement are conducted within this framework.

Q: What led you to work in Parent Programs? What do you like most about your job?

A: As the beneficiary of a small liberal arts university education, I was drawn to the notion of working with lots of creative, intelligent folks in a not-for-profit setting. Where better to do so than a highly selective liberal arts university? Working with parents has been a uniquely rewarding, and certainly educational, experience. I have been most pleasantly surprised by the long-term friendships I’ve established with many of the parents with whom I’ve worked. Ah, there’s that relationship thing again!

Q: How do you keep in touch with parents?

A: Our communication plan involves printed publications – the Handbook for Parents, the PARENTLINE newsletter, the welcome mailing for new families, correspondence from University officials – the parents Web site at www.wesleyan.edu/parents; regular e-mails throughout the year; phone calls and e-mails to and from individual parents; volunteer recruitment and programming; parent-to-parent communications via our volunteer programs; and the ParentsTalk list, to name a few. We view communication as the key to involving this world-wide constituency in the community.

Q: What is your educational background and what were you doing before you joined the Parent Programs staff?

A: I earned a bachelor’s of art in sociology from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. I’ve enjoyed a rather eclectic professional life, working mostly in the non-profit world, such as Planned Parenthood and the Mental Health Association. Prior to my relocation from Florida to Connecticut in 1999, I was the Computer Services Specialist for the American Lung Association of Southeast Florida.

Q: Are you a parent yourself?

A: Spouse Greg and I are the proud parents of two extremely spoiled felines, neither of whom exhibit any interest or ability in pursuing a college education.

Q: What are your hobbies and interests?

A: I love — in no particular order — Sunday afternoon football, playing golf on a warm summer day, living the quiet life in the woods of Connecticut with Greg and the kitties. A good book is high on the list too. I’d love to learn to paint in water colors someday.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Students Bike to Raise Awareness for Housing Issues


Posted 05/16/07
Beth Ogata ’09 has the power – pedal power that is – to raise awareness for American housing needs.

She will be one of 90 college students riding coast-to-coast this summer to support the non-profit organization, Habitat for Humanity. This is her third year making the cross-country trek. She will accompanied by Jessalee Landfried ’07, Liana Woskie ’10.

The 13th annual Habitat Bicycle Challenge (HBC) will generate approximately $430,000 in proceeds, enough to underwrite the construction of eight Habitat homes. HBC riders will also raise awareness of Habitat’s work throughout the country as they pedal to end poverty housing.

According to Habitat, more than 5.1 million American families are forced to pay more than half their income for housing, endure overcrowded conditions and/or live in houses with severe physical deficiencies. While the number of families in poverty is growing, the number of affordable rental units is shrinking, and most families who qualify for government housing assistance aren’t receiving any aid.

The bikers have the choice to take one of three routes, each approximately 4,000 miles long.

Woskie and Ogata will take the “southern route,” crossing through parts of Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and ending in San Francisco, California.

Landfried will take the “central route,” which follows the path settlers of Oregon’s Willamette Valley took more than a hundred years ago. Starting in New Haven, the bikers cross Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, the mountains of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and southern Idaho before hitting the Columbia River in Oregon.

Before the students can embark on the trip, they are required to raise $4,000 each. The money will go to the Greater New Haven chapter of Habitat for Humanity as well as international building projects. More information is online at http://hbc.habitatgnh.org/.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

4 Mellon Mays Fellows Honored at Banquet


Posted 05/16/07
Applauded by friends, family, faculty members and administrators, Wesleyan’s graduating Mellon Mays Fellows were honored at a banquet held on May 12 in the Russell House.

As participants in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program, these students have been identified as students of great promise. Wesleyan and the Fellowship are helping them become scholars of the highest distinction as they pursue Ph.Ds in core fields in the arts and sciences.

The senior Fellows are Gustavo Furtado, Meenasarani (Linde) Murugan, Acacia Stevens and Roberto (Tito) Soto-Carrión. In attendance were three of the junior fellows—Michael Bolds, Mark Leonida, and R.J. Schmidt; Stephen Padilla and Melanie Jung are studying abroad in Argentina and England.

Also in attendance were sophomores who are the newly selected members of the 18th Mellon cohort: William Franklin, Devaka Gunawardena, Julius Hampton, Jason Harris, Amber Jones and Katherine Rodriguez.

During the banquet, Gayle Pemberton, professor of African American Studies, English, and American studies was named the first Mellon Mentor of the Year. She was recognized for her dedicated and effective mentoring of several fellows, her participation in the Mellon program’s regional conference, and her support for applicants to the program. In addition, the senior fellows gave presentations on their research projects.

Last fall Wesleyan had four fellows enter graduate programs in Mellon fields, bringing the total number in graduate school to 11, while one fellow deferred entrance. Next fall, four more fellows will be starting graduate programs.

Five of Wesleyan’s seven Mellon Ph.Ds are in tenure-track positions at the University of South Carolina, Berkeley, Texas A&M, Barry University and Princeton, and one entered a post-doctoral program funded by the National Institutes of Health this year. One fellow will be starting in a tenure-track position at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts next fall.

More than 20 other Wesleyan Mellons have received master’s degrees or professional degrees.

“Behind these statistics are wonderful stories of persistence in the face of many odds and, in the case of those Fellows going on to the Ph.D., determination to change the academy to make it more inclusive and culturally vibrant,” says Krishna Winston, coordinator of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program.

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, established in 1988, is a program of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the centerpiece of the foundation’s long-term effort to help remedy the serious shortage of faculty of color in higher education. The fellowship aims to create a legacy of qualified and gifted scholars of color who, along with others committed to eradicating racial disparities, will provide opportunities for all students to experience and learn from the perspectives of diverse faculty members. The name of the program honors Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, the noted African-American educator, statesman, minister, long-time president of Morehouse College, and mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Wesleyan Raises $135,000 for United Way


Posted 05/16/07
Wesleyan is donating more than $135,000 to the Middlesex United Way Campaign this year. Middlesex United Way supports critical human care services and county-wide projects that improve community conditions.

Funds were raised through the annual Wesleyan Employee Campaign. This year, 45 percent of all employees made a donation, with the average gift of $252. Wesleyan has 43 staff and faculty members in the Leadership Circle. This year, these leaders gave $65,476 or 48.5 percent of the total.

A number of departments had 100 percent participation including the Center for the Arts, Classical Studies Department, Office of International Studies, Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science, Office of the Registrar and the Religion Department.

Pam Tatge, director of the Center for the Arts, and Frank Kuan, director of community relations at the Center for Community Partnerships served as co-chairs.

This year’s campaign fell about $6,000 short of the initial goal, but Tatge and Kuan are still pleased with the amount raised. Kuan believes that the economy, rising cost of fuels, and skyrocketing gas prices probably added to individuals’ inability to be as generous.

“Although we are short of or stated goal this year, the sum donated is still very significant and will be put to good use to meet critical needs in our communities,” Tatge says.

The Wesleyan Employee Campaign still remains in the top three in Middlesex County.

Information Technology Services stood out as the leading department this year. Shawn Hill, ITS desktop support specialist, was a “terrific coordinator,” Kuan says, raising ITS’s participation to 80 percent and increasing giving by $1,400.

Wesleyan has been involved with the campaign for more than 60 years. In 2005, Wesleyan made a record-breaking contribution of $140,018.

In Middlesex County, United Way provides ongoing funding for 35 programs and services including the Amazing Grace Food Pantry, Girl Scouts Connecticut Trail Council Inc., Boy Scouts Connecticut River Council, Inc., Literacy Volunteers of Greater Middletown, Middlesex Hospital Family Advocacy Program, Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater and YMCA of Northern Middlesex County.

Donors to the United Way Wesleyan Employee Campaign had the opportunity to take part in a raffle. The winners and prizes are:

Gloster Aaron, assistant professor of biology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, Wesleyan Computer Store gift certificate; Tom DiMauro, analyst programmer, one-day arts workshop at Green Street Arts Center; Judith Brown, professor of history, Center for the Arts tickets and dinner gift certificate to Typhoon Restaurant; Cliff Thornton, associate dean of admission, gift basket from Broad Street Books; Helen Aiello, serials librarian, Wilson tennis racket and tennis balls from Freeman Athletic Center; Carol Scully, director of Foundation and Corporate Relations, an overnight stay at Inn at Middletown; and Fernando DeGiovanni, assistant professor of Latin American studies, assistant professor of romance languages and literatures, an overnight stay at Water’s Edge Resort and Spa.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Dean of the College Says Farewell


Midge Bennet and President Doug Bennet hosted a farewell reception for Maria Cruz-Saco, dean of the college, who is leaving in June.
 
Posted 05/16/07
Maria Cruz-Saco, dean of the college, will leave Wesleyan at the end of her contract in June 2007.

At the invitation of a United Nations office and Universidad del Pacifico, Lima, Peru, Cruz-Saco will lead a study on aging, equity and income security in Peru. While leading this study in 2007-08, she will be a Fulbright Scholar at Universidad del Pacifico’s Research Center. In 2008-09, Cruz-Saco will resume teaching as professor of economics at Connecticut College.

Under Cruz-Saco’s leadership, Wesleyan created the Office for Diversity and Academic Advancement, enhanced First Year Matters through collaborations with the Center for the Arts and the Office of Academic Affairs, introduced a new peer advising program, integrated orientation for new and international students and created opportunities for rich educational experiences outside the classroom. Wesleyan has established a task force that is articulating a vision for religious and spiritual life on campus, preparing the opening of the Usdan University Center, and better aligning student affairs with our educational mission.

Below are photos of her farewell reception May 10 at the President’s House:

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Artist-in-Residence Teaches “Delicious Movements” to Spur Body Movement


Eiko Otake teaches dance at Wesleyan and performs as Eiko & Koma through the Center for the Arts. She encourages her students to show their emotions with or without words.
 
Posted 05/16/07
In Eiko Otake’s workshop, students only need to bring their body, and a willingness to move it.

Otake, a visiting instructor for the Department of Dance, teaches a “Delicious Movement” course, designed for students who love to move with “delicious feelings.” Dance experience is not a requirement.

“You don’t have to be a dancer to enjoy movement,” Otake says. “We move and dance to actively forget the clutter of our lives so as to fully ‘taste’ body and mind. I like to say dance is like dream. It comes and goes. It reflects life but is not bound by it. Like a dream, a dance can bring delicious and/or emotional tastes.”

In her Spring 2007 course, “Delicious Movement for Remembering, Forgetting, and Uncovering,” Otake combines dance and movement with study of postwar Japanese arts. The course picks up on the heels of the Spring 2006 course, “Japan and the Atomic Bomb,” which Otake co-taught with Bill Johnston, professor of East Asian Studies, Science in Society and history, and chair of the Department of History.

“Learning about human experiences of the atomic bombings is not an easy process,” Otake says. “How does one express what is essentially inexpressible? But through movement study and discussion, students can learn how to support each other’s learning process with or without words. We ask, ‘what is it to forget, remember, mourn, and pray?’ and how does being a mover, a dancer, affect our learning and creativity?”

Otake encourages students to be compassionate to others and to themselves through appreciation of body, movements and life. Creativity, disobedience, respect to others, flexibility and coordination are all interwoven in her movement studies.

Otake, who works as a performer with Eiko & Koma, a New York-based dance and choreography company, first performed at Wesleyan in 2002 with her husband, Koma. In 2004, she began visiting Wesleyan as one of the founding members of Center for Creative Research (CCR), a group consisting of 11 choreographers.

In 2005, she started working as a CCR artist-in-residence, teaching students workshops, faculty workshops, guest-teaching other classes, presenting lectures and participating in panels. In the spring of 2006, Eiko & Koma presented Cambodian Stories with 10 young Cambodian artists at the Center for the Arts.

Recently, the Otakes have focused on presenting outdoor works, such as the River, The Caravan Project, Offering, and Tree Song, as free events in public sites. Eiko Otake believes she is “most human” when she is dancing.

“Through dance Koma and I would like to present our bodies as parts of archaic landscape. Mountains and rivers dance too,” Otake explains. “Through dancing we can also momentarily forget that we are human. Dance is the oldest art form, yet we treat performances as contemporary rituals.”

Eiko & Koma have received many honors, starting with being named John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellows for 1984. They were awarded one of the first New York Dance and Performance “Bessies” in 1984 for Grain and Night Tide, and were honored again in 1990 for Passage. They were named MacArthur Fellows in June of 1996, and they received the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for “lifetime contributions to the field of modern dance” in 2004. Recently, they received the 2006 Dance Magazine Award, and this year, they were recognized by the United States Artists as one of the 50 finest living artists across the fields.

Eiko and Koma Otake didn’t move to the United States until 1976. They were law and political science students in Japan when, in 1971, they each joined a dance company in Tokyo. What began as an experiment turned into an exclusive partnership, and “Eiko & Koma” started working together in Tokyo.

Eiko & Koma will spend the summer researching and planning new works in North Carolina and Alaska. Eiko Otake is planning to return to Wesleyan in Spring 2008 to teach another Delicious Movement class.

Her ties to Wesleyan are growing through her family, as well. Her son, Yuta, is graduating from Wesleyan this month; her other son, Shin, is member of the Class of 2010.

“I love that my relationship with Wesleyan is so multi-layered,” she says.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor. Photos by Rose Eichenbaum, top, and Varga Mtyas, bottom.

Winston Appointed to Dean of the Arts and Humanities


Krishna Winston, the Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature, has been appointed the next dean of the Arts and Humanities.
Posted 05/15/07
Krishna Winston, the Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature, has been appointed the next dean of the Arts and Humanities. Winston will begin her four-year term in July.

“In her 37-year career at Wesleyan, Winston has proven to be a tireless university citizen,” says Joe Bruno, vice president for Academic Affairs and provost.

Winston has served on many committees and is currently the chair of the Educational Policy Committee. She coordinates the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, a mentoring program devoted to increasing minority representation in academia.

Since 1979, Winston also has served as the campus Fulbright Program advisor, working with both graduating seniors and alumni who are applying to study, do artistic work or research, or teach English abroad.

Winston served as acting Dean of the College in 1993–94.

Winston teaches German literature, primarily 20th-century, and German language at all levels. A professional literary translator, she has published 24 books and numerous shorter works. Among the most notable authors she has translated are Goethe, Golo Mann, Christoph Hein, Peter Handke, and Günter Grass. Her translation of Grass’s Too Far Afield, received both the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize and the Schlegel-Tieck Translation Prize. Her translation of Peter Handke’s lengthy novel, Crossing the Sierra de Gredos, will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux this July.

Winston is looking forward to her new role.

“This appointment comes as a great honor and privilege, and I thank all my faculty, staff, and administrative colleagues who have so generously expressed their support and their confidence in my ability to do the job,” she says. “I am looking forward to working with the team in Academic Affairs and to helping the departments and programs in the humanities and the arts further their educational and scholarly aspirations.”

Winston will succeed the current dean of the Arts and Humanities Elizabeth Milroy, professor of American studies and professor of art history.

“I am very grateful to the many faculty members with whom I consulted on this appointment, and especially to the chairs of all of the arts and humanities departments. Their wisdom and guidance were invaluable in the process,” Bruno says.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor and the Office of Academic Affairs

Roth Meets, Greets Campus Community


Wesleyan President-Elect Michael Roth ’78 speaks to the Wesleyan community during his introduction April 27 in Memorial Chapel.
Reposted 05.02.07
Though it was gray and soggy outside, the inside of Memorial Chapel glowed with laughter and applause as the campus community was formally introduced to Wesleyan’s 16th president, Michael S. Roth ‘78.

Roth, who will come to Wesleyan from the presidency of California College of the Arts, spoke to a capacity audience of students, faculty, staff and Middletown residents. The event was webcast and is archived at (Quicktime needed): http://condor.wesleyan.edu/openmedia/webcast/archive/roth.mov

As Roth entered the chapel, he was met with an immediate standing ovation. He was joined by Wesleyan President Doug Bennet, Board of Trustee Chair Jim Dresser ’63, trustee emeritus Kofi Appenteng ’81, who chaired the presidential search committee, and the committee members.

Seated in the front row with Midge Bennet was Roth’s wife, Kari Weil, who will begin teaching in Wesleyan’s College of Letters in the spring of 2008, and their nine-year-old daughter, Sophie Weil-Roth.

Before formally introducing Roth to the Wesleyan community, Dresser thanked the search committee.

“Kofi led a remarkable group of students, faculty, staff and trustees who served on the presidential search committee,” Dresser said. “Never was there a group who cared more about Wesleyan nor gave more of themselves to Wesleyan than this group, who collectively brought us Michael Roth. We owe you all a debt of gratitude.”

Roth then stood and began to speak, but then paused for a moment, removed his glasses and scanned the full chapel.

“This is a miraculous thing for me, frankly,” he said, and then smiled. “I don’t want to scare anyone by seeming to be overly emotional. But it is a very beautiful thing for me to walk across this campus and feel so welcomed.”

He went on to speak of his fondness for Wesleyan, how it had been the source of great friendships and his scholarly roots. He praised the power of liberal arts education and how it served as a foundation for all the intellectual and civic work he had done since leaving the university in 1978.

“Wesleyan has always meant to me the opportunity to combine serious intellectual and esthetic work with doing good in the world and making a difference in the world,” Roth said.

Borrowing from French history, of which he was a student, Roth cited three ideals he hoped would resonate for the campus as a community during his presidency: freedom, equality and solidarity.

For Roth, who created his own major as a student at Wesleyan, the freedom of a liberal arts education was liberating. A young man from a working-class family, he had experienced “work” as what had to be done, usually without much joy. But at Wesleyan, surrounded by faculty and fellow students who were engaged and curious and encouraging, Roth found that work became exhilarating.

“It was a promise that you could as a student learn to work in such a way that after graduation you had a shot at working in our society in a way that was meaningful to you and that could serve the common good,” he said. “That was satisfying and enormously fun.”

For Roth, equality means diversity at every level. He spoke of a desire to make a Wesleyan education fully available to anyone who can meet the University’s academic requirements. He also said that the commitment to equality and diversity is a lesson Wesleyan has been trying to teach for several decades.

But, Roth said, freedom and equality require the ability to passionately disagree within a civil and respectful framework.

“There had been enormous progress in this area, especially under the Bennet administration,” he said. “And Wesleyan will continue to promote this community and solidarity.”

Roth paused once more and looked at the full chapel, then smiled again.

“I am so happy to be back home to at Wesleyan University, where I can be part of community that shares those values, that is engaged in this practice and that is committed to being the very best university in the United States.”

The audience roared its approval and stood, having saved its longest and heartiest applause for that moment.
 

By David Pesci, director of Media Relations. Photos by Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor.