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AIDS Crisis, Disasters Explored in Upcoming Art Season


Gay Smith, professor of theater, speaks about upcoming art events during the 2006-07 Center for the Arts season in World Music Hall May 9. Pictured below, far right, Nina Felshin, curator of exhibitions and adjunct lecturer in art history, speaks with guests following the CFA’s season announcement.

Posted 05/16/06
A fusion of Japanese drumming and jazz, “clown”-theater, Brazilian guitar, creative conversation and West African dance are all in the Center for the Arts (CFA) pallet for the 2006-07 season.

During the CFA’s annual Season Announcement May 9, Pam Tatge, CFA director, announced the center’s upcoming highlights.

“We are very proud of what we and Wesleyan’s faculty, students and staff have created for next year,” Tatge says.

New this year will be online ticketing, a deepened interest in engaging students, and creating a partnership with Middletown’s Luce eatery and the Green Street Arts Center.

In addition, the Dean of the College Office will collaborate with the CFA next year to allow first-year students to interact with guest artists. Through the new “Engage and Imagine” program, students can exchange views, discuss art and culture with guest artists choreographer Bill T. Jones and playwright Charles L. Mee.

“This is going to be an amazing initiative and we hope it’s first of many,” Tatge says.

GALLERY SHOWS
The season begins Sept. 8 with “Disaster! One Year After”, an exhibit on display in the Ezra & Cecile Zilkha Gallery through Oct. 29. Organized on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, “Disaster! One Year After” includes both historical and contemporary art that addresses the impact of extreme weather conditions.

BREAKING GROUND SERIES
The CFA’s Breaking Ground Dance Series will open Sept. 15 and 16 with “Another Evening,” performed by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. The ever-evolving 90-minute collage, featuring choreographer Bill T. Jones, interweaves new movement, excerpts from existing repertoire, original and traditional music and text into a vibrant multi-media work.

Compagnie TchéTché, an all-female dance troupe from Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, will perform “Dimi” Nov. 17 and 18. In Dimi, the troupe explores the inner conflicts of contemporary African women.

The Joe Goode Performance Group will perform “Deeply There (stories of a neighborhood)” and “Stay Together” on Feb. 2 and 3. “Deeply There” is an intimate exploration of the AIDS crisis and the work widely acknowledged to be Goodes masterpiece.

CROWELL CONCERT SERIES
The Crowell Concert Series begins with San Jose Taiko on Sept. 28-29. By fusing the ritual drumming traditions of Japan with contemporary jazz, Latin and African rhythms, San Jose Taiko performers express the beauty and harmony of the human spirit through the voice of taiko.

Sérgio and Odair Assad, the Assad Brothers perform “Brazilian Guitar” on Oct. 21. Hear the brothers’ fine blend of styles, time periods, and cultures ranging from gypsy melodies and American tangos.

The FLUX Quartet, featuring the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music Alvin Lucier’s world premier, performs Nov. 3.

Paul Brady, one of Ireland’s most enduringly popular artists, will perform Feb. 16. Brady continues to push out the boundaries of Irish contemporary music in the new millennium.

Eight-time Grammy award winner Eddie Palmieri will perform “The Sun of Latin Music” on March 3. At Wesleyan, he will play with his ensemble, La Perfecta II.

OUTSIDE THE BOX THEATER SERIES
The Outside the Box Theater Series begins with the Pig Iron Theatre Company–performing “Hell Meets Henry Half Way” on Sept. 21 and 22. The Philadelphia-based Pig Iron Theatre Company calls itself a “dance–clown–theater ensemble.” A tournament of malcontents erupts in a deluge of florid insults and absurd cruelties.

Connecticut resident and OBIE-award winning playwright Charles L. Mee will hold “Creative Conversation” Feb. 22. His works, including “bobrauschenbergamerica,” “Big Love” and the rock-musical “True Love,” often draw inspiration from the Greek classics.

NAVARATRI FESTIVAL
The 30th Annual Navaratri Festival will be held Oct. 5-8. The longstanding tradition at Wesleyan celebrates Indian culture with music, dance, a religious service and the annual feast.

GREEN STREET ARTS CENTER
Janice Astor, assistant director and interim director of the Green Street Arts Center, says the downtown arts center will expand its age range from 7-to-14-years-old to include older teens. These high-school-aged students will have the ability to record their own videos or CDs.

She’s also allowing Wesleyan students to perform their own talents for the center’s students.

“Wesleyan has some amazing performers from tap dancers to cellists, and the kids love to interact with the Wesleyan students,” Astor says. “We really want to boost the collaboration between Green Street and Wesleyan students this year.”

For more information on any CFA event, call 860-685-3355, e-mail boxoffice@wesleyan.edu or visit www.wesleyan.edu/cfa.

 
By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor and Lex Leifheit, Center for the Arts press and marketing coordinator

Turf Field Completed, Will Open this Month


Wesleyan’s new turf field, located behind Physical Plant on Long Lane, was dedicated April 29 during a ribbon cutting ceremony. It is expected to be available for use later this month.

Posted 05/04/06
Wesleyan athletes will be breaking new ground this month on their new synthetic turf field.

The field, dedicated April 29 during a ribbon cutting ceremony, will be put to use in May. Men’s and women’s soccer, lacrosse and field hockey teams will use the outdoor field regularly, and it will be available for several other activities, as well.

John Biddiscombe, director of athletics and chair of physical education, said Wesleyan is among the last universities in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) to possess a turf field.

“We’re no longer the turf nomads,” he said during the outdoor ceremony. “We’re no longer at the disadvantage.”

The artificial field, composed of Polytan Megagrass 2025, is located behind the Physical Plant building on Long Lane. Underneath the synthetic “grass” is a rubber padding, gravel and drainage pipes to keep the field puddle-free in the event of wet weather.

Men’s Head Lacrosse Coach John Raba said the field will be ideal for on- and off-season practices. In addition, the turf will serve as a drawing card for recruiting top student-athletes.

Baseball and softball teams will also use the field for pre-season practice in late February when Bacon Field House becomes overcrowded. The field will be available for selected club sports, intramural play, sport camps and selected use by the local community.

“This is a great situation for us, and for all sports,” Raba said, who cut the ribbon. “I’m going to guess that this field is always going to be busy.”

Wesleyan’s Office of University Relations and Athletics personnel worked with parents and alumni to raise the $920,000 needed to build the field. More than 160 alumni, parents and friends of the university were actively involved in helping to raise the funding for the field, including Bill Belichick, ’75, P’07, Moira Byer P’06, David Campbell ’75, P ‘10, Michael and Marilyn Dee P’06, Mike McKenna ’73, Jim Walsh P’07, Cole and Katherine Werble P’07 and Preston Smith ’64, P’06.

Preston Smith, who’s son, Matt, is a varsity lacrosse player, reminded the ribbon-cutting ceremony audience that it took the fund-raising effort of five teams, with support form five decades of alumni, to provide the two-acre turf field.

“This field is not only the best in the division, but the best in New England,” Smith said to the crowd.

Wesleyan hopes to raise another $400,000 to pay for lights, bleachers, a scoreboard, protective netting and a paved walkway between the Freeman Gymnasium and the turf field.

 
By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Women’s Crew Coach Stresses Dedication, Teamwork


Head Women’s Crew Coach Beth Emery and her crew team pick up litter along the Connecticut River shoreline during their off season.
 
Posted 05/04/06
Q: Most of us know little about crew except that very strong people move amazingly fast in tandem in a thin boat and look like water spiders dancing on the surface. Would you mind briefly defining the sport?

A: Rowing can be done competitively or recreationally. Most of the rowing taking place out of Wesleyan’s Macomber Boathouse is done with collegiate competition in mind. We race in eights and fours. In “eights” there are eight rowers, each with one oar, plus the coxswain, the person who steers and commands the crew, the same is true of the four, it just has fewer rowers.

Q: Are there different ways to row?

A: “Sweep” rowing is in reference to rowing with both hands on one oar, as a port or starboard oarsperson. In the fall the physical education curriculum offers a sculling class. Sculling is done with a similar oar just smaller in size, with one oar in each hand in singles, doubles or quads.

Q: What is the distance the crews race in their competitive season, and how long does the race take?

A: Weather and water related conditions as well as skill, strength and fitness dictate the time it takes to cover the 2,000-meter distance where two to six crews race head to head in one of six lanes. Women’s Division III first Varsity Crews often post a time between 6:40 and 7:00 on a 2,000-meter race course. In a strong headwind the crew that goes 6:40 on flat water could take 7:50 in a strong headwind. Elite women’s crews racing in the Olympics can cover that distance in under 6:00 minutes.

Q: Crew spans two seasons?

A: Spring is the traditional 2,000-meter collegiate racing season. Our early season races have two to five teams competing. When we get to our championships at the end of the season 12 to 24 crews might be part of the regatta, so there are morning heats and in the afternoon–third level, petite and grand final. In the fall we have our “non-traditional” season and race against the clock in head-style races over a distance of 2 to 3 miles. There can be anywhere from 10-45 entries, racing over the same course starting at 10-15 second intervals where faster crews are afforded the shortest distance between to points as the slower crews are required to give way on the turns that are present in most head courses.

Q: Tell me about a typical crew practice. Where do you meet and how do the women train?

A: When we are “in-season,” we meet at the Macomber Boathouse a mile from campus on the Connecticut River. Water time is limited by the rules we follow and the weather, so we try to train on the water to develop our rowing skills whenever possible. Fog, high water and wind can force us off the water, so we do a “land” workout instead. Land workouts can be a combination of rowing ergometer training, running, weightlifting and body circuits plus a host of other activities that build muscular endurance, fitness and core body strength. When the team is out of season the athletes will keep themselves in shape with the same type of land workouts.

Q: Physically and mentally, what makes an ideal crew member?

A: An appetite for demanding physical training coupled with the ability and desire to push mentally through what the body sometimes perceives as pain when pushing the muscles, respiratory and pulmonary systems to and through the limits of its capability. A tall, lean, powerful, supple body helps, as does a commitment to teamwork and training in the off season all of which comes packaged with a winning attitude.

Q: What do you think about your team this year?

A: We have a young team of dedicated oarswomen who work hard everyday to make themselves better athletes and rowers. I look forward to helping them reach their personal goals, and their goals as a team this year and over the course of their rowing careers at Wesleyan. They have tremendous potential in the novice eight and varsity four to finish the season strong.

Q: What classes do you teach, or have you taught, as an adjunct professor?

A: I have taught a lot of swimming classes. The beginning swimming class is rewarding and usually a fun group to work with. Of course I enjoy being on the water and teaching the sculling class, though we can only teach that class in the fall, as the water is usually too cold, and moving too fast to teach it in the spring. The singles can flip pretty easily.

Q: What is your interest in rowing and the environment, which was the topic of your article published in American Rowing Magazine in 1995?

A: The water we row on is our playing field, and I believe we have an obligation to take care of that field, to be stewards of sorts, as well as to learn something about the lakes and rivers we race and practice on. I’ve rowed in a few places like the Los Angeles harbor, and the Piscataway River in New Jersey, where the water was so polluted it took much of the pleasure away from being on the water. I’d like to do more for the river. My current commitment, started with the team this last year which also serves as a community service project for the team is to participate in the annual Connecticut River Cleanup Day held  each fall. I’ve also taken to pestering my coaching colleagues north and south along the river to have their teams join in.

Q: Where did you coach prior to Wesleyan?

A: My first year of coaching was at Syracuse University followed by a year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and four years at Northeastern where I had earned my undergraduate degree in physical education.

Q: You’re a former member of the National Collegiate Rowing Committee and the U.S. Rowing’s Junior Women’s Rowing Committee, and you’re ending a six-year term with the NCAA Division III Women’s Rowing Championship Committee this year. Why do you get involved in these committees and why are they important to you?

A: I think most of us who coach give back to “our” organizations, we are what we make of them. I see it as part of my professional responsibility to contribute what and when I can. They are great opportunities for professional development and networking with others throughout the country. What I have learned serving on these committees is invaluable, and as I am now becoming aged with knowledge I am happy to share with younger coaches what I have learned in my 25 or so years of coaching. I consider it a great honor to have served, and to have been selected among my peers for a six year term on the the inaugural NCAA Division III Women’s Rowing Championship Committee where we created the format, and implement the details, and have overseen the running of one of the newest NCAA Championships.

Q: Tell me about your personal accomplishments as a competitor and coach?

A: When I finished my college rowing career I continued to row with the aim of making the national team. I made it to the pre-elite level a few years running and won some races at the US rowing championships. For a variety of reasons I did not make my goal of being a National team member, it was however an invaluable experience and additional education towards my coaching career. On and off over the years I have continued to compete in Master’s Rowing events. My personal accomplishments as a coach might be measured by many in our win/loss records where we have been very successful over the years Wesleyan women have also had many crews finish in the top three at our New England Rowing Championships, and twice have we have earned a berth at the NCAA Rowing Championships. It is harder to measure the personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment I feel when I have been successful in teaching life lessons learned through rowing, or encouraged and inspired an athlete to achieve a personal best in ergometer racing, or simply watched the personal growth, self-awareness and self- assuredness that comes from the journey of becoming an athlete. Unlike most other sports rowing is a sport you can learn in college, and we do have individuals who join the team with little if any prior athletic experience.

Q: Have you ever tipped over?

A: These are things that you try to forget. But when I was training hard in Boston on the Charles River and just learning to scull, I flipped in front the Harvard men’s boathouse. It was not so much the men on the dock watching me flip that was embarrassing, but that the premier woman sculler at the time happened to be training too, and was standing on the dock watching as I so ungracefully flipped the boat and had to just as ungracefully get myself back in.

Q: What are your favorite “on land” activities?

A: Owning my own home, and recently sharing it with a gardener has not turned me into a green thumb yet, but I’m working towards it, and really enjoy learning about the plants, and creating a small colorful garden with plenty of catnip for our cat, Mimi, to play in. I’m also working towards my black-belt in aikido. When we are not in the garden in the summer we are on our bikes, or out hiking, and traveling to visit family and friends, while keeping an eye out for a good folk or jazz concert to attend.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Initiative Coordinator Spreads Interest in Asian Culture with Community


Stanford Forrester, coordinator of the Freeman Asian / Asian American Initiative, displays photographs and haiku in the Asian / Asian American House.
 
daylight . . .
no one notices
the firefly

Haiku by Stanford Forrester
 
Posted 05/04/06
Since he was 12, Stanford Forrester had a strong interest in Asian culture. Growing up in New York, watching “Kung Fu” on TV, taking karate and judo lessons, and studying Asian philosophy were his fondest pastimes.

For the last four years, Forrester has been the coordinator of the Freeman Asian / Asian American Initiative, a position that has allowed his interest in Asian culture to flourish.

“We bring teaching fellows directly from Japan, China or Korea and have them share their culture in Wesleyan classes, take part in Wesleyan functions and just have them here on campus to share their ideas and thoughts,” Forrester says. “Their presence adds to Wesleyan’s unique atmosphere.”

As the initiative’s manager, Forrester manages the initiative’s $1.9 million budget, plans events and maintains the Asian / Asian American Initiative Web site, http://www.wesleyan.edu/aaai. He also helps hire two or three teaching fellows each year from East Asia and provides logistical support for recruitment of visiting scholars in the field.

Forrester was also responsible for developing and planning all logistics of a national conference at Wesleyan in 2005. Scholars from all over the country attended the conference to discuss “Traffic and Diaspora: Political, Economical and Cultural Exchanges between Japan and Asian America.”

“The Asian / Asian American Initiative was designed to create a bridge between the Center for the Americas and the Center for East Asian Studies,” he explains. “We want to offer significant opportunities for academic and cultural enrichment.”

The five-year, grant-funded initiative, supported by the Freeman Foundation, supports the study of Asia and the Asian Diaspora – the study of people of Asian heritage outside the geographical boundaries of Asia.

The program has helped 47 undergraduates to study abroad in Asian countries, and 38 students to conduct research in the U.S. or abroad. He has used the grant money to purchase over 140 educational films, documentaries, books and other resources pertaining to Asian culture and literature to help Wesleyan’s students and faculty with their research.

Much of Forrester’s initial forays into Asian culture were self-taught. He majored in Spanish at Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. He went on to receive a master’s in Spanish Literature from Boston College, and has completed all the coursework needed for a Ph.D at Boston College.

Forrester served as the publicity assistant and then exhibits manager at Yale University Press, and in 2002, he came to Wesleyan as the coordinator of the Asian/Asian American Initiative.

“I studied Spanish literature, but I was always interested in Asian culture and language, and Asian poetry,” he says. “So working here at Wesleyan I feel like a kid in a candy store. It combines my love for Asian culture with business administration.”

With Forrester’s love for Asian literature comes a passion for haiku, a Japanese-based, unrhymed poem linking nature with human nature. The poems, written in three lines, usually total less than 17 syllables. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to a year to write a single poem, Forrester says.

Forrester, who has had over 300 poems published internationally, is a member of the Haiku Society of America. He served as the society’s president in 2003 and judged the United Nations International School Children’s Haiku Contest in 2006.

“One of our major goals of the Haiku Society is to attract new generations of poets to teach and nurture,” he says. “The American culture is not poem-friendly, and there are so few venues out there that publish poetry.”

That is one reason Forrester opened own publishing house, Bottle Rockets Press. He designs and publishes haiku books and is editor of the national haiku journal, bottle rockets: a collection of short verse.

To date, Forrester has delivered more than a dozen presentations including “An Introduction to the Haiku Path” at the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies and “Buddhism and Haiku: Two Paths of Awareness,” at Wesleyan’s Buddhist House. He’s also guest-taught classes with Shelia Mullen, visiting instructor in American Sign Language, and Kate Rushin, adjunct assistant professor of African American Studies and visiting writer.

“Integrating haiku into lessons is a great way to learn about poetry,” he says.

Forrester lives in Wethersfield with his wife, Mary and children Abigail, 6, and Molly, 4.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

More than 10,000 Books on Sale for Library Benefit


A handcrafted quilt, pictured at left, made by library staff members will be raffled off during a book sale sponsored by the Friends of the Wesleyan Library May 13.

Posted 05/04/06

The Wesleyan community can book some time at a library benefit this month.

Friends of the Wesleyan Library, a volunteer group dedicated to supporting the library, will hold a book sale in the Exley Science Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 13. The center will be filled with over 10,000 books for sale.

“It’s a perfect opportunity to find research, pleasure, gift or treasure books at a great price and build your own collection,” says Christina Trier, co-chair of the Friends of the Wesleyan Library book sale committee.

This is Wesleyan’s first major book sale in 20 years. Books have been withdrawn from Wesleyan’s four libraries or selected from private donations and sorted into 35 categories including art, science, literature, foreign language, religion, biography, philosophy, politics and history. Some books are new.

Prices start at 50 cents for paperbacks and $1 for hardcovers. Special titles will be priced $5 and up or sold through silent auction. A handcrafted quilt made by library staff members will also be raffled that day.

Book sale committee co-chair Greg Petropoulos says this sale is a great opportunity to promote the Friends of the Wesleyan Library, which was revitalized two years ago.

“We hope the sale will bring together people who enjoy books, while helping to raise funds to initiate special preservation projects or catalog currently inaccessible collections in the library,” he says.

The sale is open to the public and admission is free. For further information about the sale and the Friends of the Wesleyan Library, go to www.wesleyan.edu/libr/friends/index.html or contact Jennifer Hadley at jthom@wesleyan.edu, or call 860-685-3897.

If you would like to volunteer to help at the sale, please contact Christina Trier at ctrier@wesleyan.edu.

 
By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Interim Promoted to Vice President for Finance


Posted 05/04/06
Interim Vice President for Finance John Meerts has become Wesleyan’s permanent vice president for Finance and Administration effective May 1.

Meerts has responsibility for the Offices of Finance, Human Resources, Facilities and Legal Affairs. The Board of Trustees will act on a resolution to appoint Meerts as treasurer of the university at its annual meeting this month. In addition, he will continue his oversight of the Office of Information Technology Services, which he has led since coming to Wesleyan in 1996.

“In his interim role, John quickly demonstrated the ability to manage a complex budget situation,” says Wesleyan President Doug Bennet. “He successfully developed a five-year plan to reduce substantially Wesleyan’s reliance on its endowment, and he communicated the key issues with great clarity to faculty and staff and ultimately to the Board. John’s colleagues give him credit for great personal integrity and the transparency with which he conducts business. He will provide the financial and administrative leadership we need to implement the next phases of the university’s strategic plan.”

Meerts joined the Wesleyan administration in July 1996, from Yale, where he had been director of administrative systems since 1991. As director of information technology services at Wesleyan, he led a substantial overhaul of the organization, as well as the university’s technology and applications. He became vice president for information technology in 2002.

After Vice President for Finance and Administration Marcia Bromberg retired in July 2005, Meerts assumed interim responsibility for Wesleyan’s finances. His permanent appointment follows a national search for Bromberg’s successor.

“It has been tremendously rewarding for me to serve Wesleyan in this broader capacity over the past several months,” Meerts says. “I look forward to continuing as part of the team that delivers on Wesleyan’s promise of educational excellence.”

President Bennet to Step Down


Posted 05/04/06
Wesleyan President Doug Bennet will conclude his presidency at the end of the 2006-07 academic year, he informed faculty, students and staff on May 4.

Bennet, who became president in April 1995, led Wesleyan’s historic $281 million capital campaign, expanded the size of the faculty, launched an ambitious campus building program, and shaped the university’s first comprehensive strategic plan.

“Wesleyan is doing well, both institutionally and in its daily pursuit of excellence,” Bennet said to members of the campus community gathered at the steps of North College. “The university is prepared well to engage new leadership, and the time is right for Midge and me to move ahead to the next phase of our lives.”

Bennet praised the ongoing work of Wesleyan’s faculty in envisioning and implementing a liberal arts and sciences curriculum intended to engage students with the world around them and to enable them to become leaders. He also cited the strategic planning processes that have mobilized the campus and alumni communities around clear institutional priorities.

“Universities progress in several ways,” he said. “There are big turning points that affirm fundamental institutional commitments. The work we did to define a Wesleyan education for the 21st century, to improve student aid, to add faculty, and to begin a process of campus renewal—all of these show that Wesleyan can make big decisions and act upon them.”

He added: “The daily progress of an educational community is ongoing and never-ending–the discovery, the teaching, the care and respect for all within the community. New students arrive every year; new issues come to the fore. They show who we really are, especially in making good on the potential of our diversity. They help individual students define their values and learn the confidence that will empower them as change-makers.”

Midge Bennet thanked the assembled students, faculty and staff. She added that, even after their retirement, she and the president would look forward to “lectures and sporting events, as well as lunch at the new Usdan University Center.”

“We will continue helping Wesleyan in any way we can,” she said.

James van B. Dresser ’63, chair of Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees, was on hand to thank and congratulate the Bennets.

“The hallmark of Doug’s tenure has been his ability to forge a strategic direction for the institution,” Dresser said. “Through cycles of planning and action, Doug has moved Wesleyan forward. His well-placed faith in the willingness of alumni, parents, and friends of the college to fund plans they believed in has brought Wesleyan important new resources. The school has never been stronger, and thanks to his leadership, the Wesleyan community has the pride and confidence to move from strength to strength.”

Dresser called Midge Bennet “for many of us … the wisest and warmest counselor and friend we have known.” He added: “Her undying faith in our common purpose and our bright future have inspired all who have had the good fortune to come into contact with her in any setting, over all these years.”

Dresser assured those assembled he would consult the Board of Trustees immediately about plans for a presidential search. “I promise that we will keep the campus community fully informed about this process, and that we will keep students, faculty and staff meaningfully involved,” he said.

Bennet’s Legacy
Douglas J. Bennet ’59 was elected the 15th president of Wesleyan University on
April 7, 1995, and began his tenure on July 1, 1995. He was U.S. assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs when tapped by Wesleyan, though he was best known for his decade (1983-93) as chief executive officer and president of National Public Radio.

Once installed as Wesleyan’s president, Bennet led the university community through its first-ever strategic planning process, a comprehensive effort that included faculty, staff and students, alumni and parent leaders. This process yielded a vision for liberal education in times of rapid change. “Wesleyan Education for the Twenty-First Century” (1997) sought to define the essential capabilities of an educated person and established the principles on which to make ongoing curricular choices. It affirmed the value of scholarship and teaching in a residential community and confirmed that knowing how to learn is the most durable legacy of a Wesleyan education. The process also produced “Strategy for Wesleyan” (1998), which defined key institutional priorities: an enduring commitment to need-blind admission and thus to building the University’s student aid program; an expansion of the faculty in order to improve teaching ratios and expand scholarship and teaching in new, interdisciplinary areas; and the beginning of a program of campus renewal. 

To view Bennet’s accomplishments, including his efforts with strategic planning, student aid, faculty additions, campus renewal, fund-raising, endowment management, technology and athletics, visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/administration/president/accomplishments.html.

These priorities became the foundation for the $281 million Wesleyan Campaign, by far the most successful fund-raising effort in the university’s history. The campaign garnered contributions from 68 percent of Wesleyan’s alumni. Total gifts in a single year tripled, from $10.4 million in 1995 to $31.3 million in 2005.

As the campaign concluded in 2004, Bennet led a second strategic planning exercise. The second strategy, “Engaged with the World” (2005), describes priorities for the period 2005-2010, including continuing curricular innovations and renewed commitments to international studies and to science. It outlines priorities for academics, campus life, student aid, and physical infrastructure.

Bennet’s emphasis on planning and on strict allocation of budget resources according to the priorities thus established has enabled Wesleyan to devote the highest proportion of its total spending to teaching and research and the lowest to administration among the top 50 schools in the annual rankings produced by U.S. News and World Report. It has enabled Wesleyan to compete for students and faculty against much better-endowed institutions. It also has enabled the University to maximize the impact of fund-raising and borrowing to invest in strategic priorities, while almost doubling the market value of its endowment during his presidency.

The Bennet presidency also represented a new era of collaboration with the city of Middletown. Under Bennet’s leadership, Wesleyan participated actively in the city’s development efforts, including investing University funds to bring to the city a downtown hotel, the 100-bed Inn at Middletown, which opened in 2003. Wesleyan established the Green Street Arts Center, a community arts center in the city’s North End, offering classes and workshops for children and adults in music, visual arts, dance, theater, literary and media arts. The center, a collaboration with the city of Middletown and the North End Action Team, is an important part of efforts to revitalize the city’s North End.

“I think they will be talking about Doug Bennet’s legacy for many generations to come,” said Alan Dachs ’70, chair of Wesleyan’s Development Committee who also served as chair of the Board of Trustees from 1997 to 2005. “He did an outstanding job as our president. He will be very hard to replace. Everything we value most has been improved under his leadership. Financial aid packages are better, and the academic enterprise is more robust. He has raised more money than ever before in our history, and our investment returns are in the top quartile. Everything he was asked to do, he did and more, much more.”

In January 2006, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation made a grant of $200,000 to Wesleyan in honor of Doug Bennet’s service to the university over the past 10 years. The grant created an endowment that will support an annual lecture and program focused on ethics, politics and society.

 
By Justin Harmon, director of University Communications

Professor of Chemistry Promoted to Vice President for Academic Affairs


Posted 05/04/06
Professor of Chemistry Joseph Bruno will become Wesleyan’s vice president for Academic Affairs, effective July 1. Bruno has served as dean of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics since 2003.

Bruno will serve as chief academic officer for the university, responsible for attracting and retaining faculty and for supporting their research and teaching activities.

In February, after Vice President for Academic Affairs Judith Brown announced her intention to step down, Wesleyan President Doug Bennet began extensive consultations with faculty on the characteristics to seek in her successor, as well as nominations. Bennet decided to seek a Wesleyan faculty member to fill the post.

“In addition to the personal qualities one expects in an academic leader—intelligence, articulateness, fair-mindedness—faculty cited such characteristics as demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and colleagueship, and the energy and enthusiasm to launch initiatives that will distinguish Wesleyan,” Bennet says. “In every respect, Joe Bruno meets the desires expressed by the faculty. I have great confidence in his ability to lead.”

As dean of the natural sciences and mathematics, Bruno supports the research and teaching efforts of faculty in 10 departments and programs. He participates in budgeting for faculty positions, as well as in recruiting and hiring decisions. He reviews grant proposals and works with the chairs of the academic departments on curricular and administrative issues. Bruno also is responsible for developing plans for the construction and renovation of science facilities.

Bruno has served as vice chair of and science representative to the Advisory Committee, which advises the president on matters relating to appointments and promotions of the faculty. He also served as chair of the Department of Chemistry and president of the Wesleyan chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

Bruno’s teaching and research activities have garnered grants from the National Science Foundation, the American Chemical Society, the State of Connecticut, and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, among other sources.

After earning his Ph.D in organometallic chemistry from Northwestern University, Bruno spent two postdoctoral years at Indiana University before joining the Wesleyan faculty in 1984. He received tenure in 1991.

“I am very grateful for the opportunities I have had at Wesleyan over 22 years, working alongside colleagues on the faculty, in the administration and on the staff,” Bruno said. “I look forward to building on these experiences as vice president for academic affairs. Wesleyan has generated considerable momentum, and I am very excited about the opportunities ahead.”

Apply for Wesleyan Staff Positions Online


Posted 05/01/06

Careers@Wesleyan, a new online career opportunity site, will replace the paper based employment process at Wesleyan.

 

The Human Resources Department began using Careers@Wesleyan April 19 to help automate the employment process.

 

Careers@Wesleyan provides online access to applicant information from any computer with an internet connection. The service will provide such enhancements as online review of the requisition approval process, capability to ask job specific prescreening questions to assist in developing a pool of qualified candidates, and online storage of applicant files to support a paperless process.

 

Job applicants will be able to view each position description online, establish a secure password protected file to maintain or update their profile and apply to positions from any computer with internet access 24 hours a day. 

 

“Careers@Wesleyan is designed to address the needs of staff recruitment and to provide new technology to enhance the employment process,” explains Dan Pflederer, Human Resources Management System functional specialist.

 

To access the site, visit http://careers.wesleyan.edu.

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

ARTISTS’ STATEMENT: The Senior Thesis Exhibition is on display in the Center for the Arts Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery March 28-April 30. Pictured is the exhibition’s opening March 28.

Raphael Griswold 06 left, talks to another student about his scrolling artwork.
The public is invited to come view the talents of the seniors in the Studio Art Program of the Department of Art and Art History. The exhibition is open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and admission is free.
Two students get a good look at the artwork. (Photos by Kara Brodgesell ’07)

Art Director Has an Eye for Design


Steven Jacaruso, art director, designs the look and feel for Wesleyan magazine.
 
Posted 04/17/06
Q: When did you come to Wesleyan?

A: I was hired in July 1998 as the assistant art director. Later on I became the associate director, and then the art director in 2000 for the Office of University Communications.

Q: How did you become interested in graphic design?

A: When I was a kid, I was always into drawing and I was intrigued by logos and full-page movie ads in the New York Times. I’ve always had my eye on the visual aspect of things. Back then, graphic design wasn’t a common career, so after high school I went to business school, which led me to the University of New Haven where I studied graphic design.

Q: Do graphic designers have a distinct style, as would an oil painter or writer?

A: Some do, but I try hard not to have a style. I like to approach each project with an open mind because one style is not applicable to all problems.

Q: How has your job changed in your eight years here?

A: My first year here, I was doing a lot of budgetary work and handling the production aspect of things, as well as most of the design work. When I was promoted to an associate director, my responsibilities grew and when I became the art director, it became my sole responsibility to design the Wesleyan magazine, which was something I’ve never done before.

Q: I imagine that was a big challenge.

A: I was basically handed a magazine and it was a challenge to learn the process. I had to keep true to the Wesleyan message while implementing my own design elements. It is a constant evolution.

Q: When you say design elements, how do you use them to keep the magazine cohesive?

A: On a visual level Wesleyan magazine is all about great images – images that are a step above most alumni magazines. I use color and layout to enhance the visual appeal of the images. I do the same with typography. I like to experiment with type settings and headlines that will draw a reader into the story. I don’t like my design to overshadow the main purpose of the magazine, which is to report on successes of our alumni.

Q: You designed the Wesleyan logo, correct?

A: I refreshed the existing Wesleyan logo. It was time to move into a new direction with the logo. We wanted to move it into the new millennium without sacrificing its historical relevance. The shield is used sparingly as a nod to tradition. The new logo treatment has been very well received and works in many different mediums from campus signage to print publications.

Q: How long does it take to get the magazine designed and what goes on?

A: It’s about a three month process for each issue from beginning to end. After our initial meeting, I see what stories the writers will be working on and I begin creating the color pallet and templates for the issue and determining the amount of real estate dedicated to each section and feature. Stories that are longer, or the most significant, or have quality images, get more pages in the magazine. Then I meet with Bill Burkhart, the university photographer, and we discuss what images need to be taken. I lay out the magazine and we go through a month and a half of critiques. I take all comments, positive and negative, into consideration.

Q: What is your reaction when a magazine is finally finished and you get your first peek at the printed product?

A: Since we only publish four times a year, I am always happy to see it designed, trimmed to size and published. But being a perfectionist, I go through it page by page and notice little things that we could’ve done differently. I’m always striving for perfection in each issue.

Q: In addition to the magazine, what other publications do you design?

A: I oversee all creative for most of the publications. When a certain department needs to be folded into the Wesleyan brand, such as Wesleyan Annual Fund for Excellence, campaign and most recently the timeline exhibit that will be unveiled at Reunion and Commencement weekend, I usually take the lead. Sometimes I’ll start a design and set up the specs, and hand it off to Anne Marcotty, our senior designer, or Shelley Burchsted, our production manager, who will have our student interns work on projects.

Q: Where did you work before Wesleyan?

A: I started out working for my father’s computer business, then I worked at a t-shirt company, a newspaper, and then I got into the music industry. I designed CD covers for artists like Richard Elliot, Barbara Mandrell, Bon Jovi, the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and then art directed a small record label in New York City. The music industry isn’t real consistent and seemed really one-dimensional to me, so I wanted to push myself outside of my comfort zone and open my own business in Waterbury. I worked on a lot of civic-minded projects for the community with the local Chamber of Commerce. I had to do it all, from the budget to production to client relations to design. This enabled me to hone my business skills, which helped when I started at Wesleyan.

Q: Why did you want to work in academia?

A: Being in a university is a nice blend of my experiences and I can be creative but also business-minded. I get to do projects for alumni and external audiences, but also for students, which have a youthful element to them.

Q: How do you keep your design ideas fresh and creative?

A: I am submerged in the design world. I’m always reading design magazines, and when I read other publications, I’m always looking at how they are designed. I tend to surround myself with people who are very creative and through that I find inspiration. In college I was trained by a professor who learned design in Basel, Switzerland and Yale University. We never had computers so we designed everything in a very organic way. I learned a lot by that method. Computers are a tool. They do not make a good designer.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: Graphic design is my hobby and I have turned it into a career, but I also like working out, yard work, hanging out with friends and family, watching movies and listening to music. Music has been a big influence in my life. I always wanted to be the guy who advises the careers of music artists. Who knows, I still might do that one day.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Associate Dean of Admission Gives Human Touch to All Those Applications


Greg Pyke, senior dean of admission, stands outside the Office of Admission.
 
Posted 04/17/06
Every year, the Office of Admission begins with a prospective student pool of over 30,000 and mails information to another 88,000 based on PSAT and ACT scores and grades. Of these, about 7,000 apply, and after review, this number is whittled down to less than 2,000. Of this amount, ultimately, 720 of the applicants will become Wesleyan’s newest freshman class.

As a senior associate dean of admission, Greg Pyke reviews hundreds of these applications, and he meets almost as many potential applicants each year. He’s currently preparing to welcome the Class of 2010. But the process that got these students here is long and exacting.

Pyke and 10 other admissions personnel divvy up all the applications. Each one must be reviewed at least twice before acceptance or denial is granted.

This year, Pyke and Leah Kelley, assistant dean of admission, reviewed applicants from northern New England states, eastern Massachusetts, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Africa and Europe. Each application is scrutinized not only for test scores, grades and achievements, but also for traits that show the applicant would benefit from Wesleyan’s educational program and environment.

“We want our student body to have variety, so we’re looking for students who have a combination of talents, experience, unique backgrounds and opinions, and who have demonstrated social involvement,” Pyke explains.

Nancy Meislahn, dean of admission and financial aid, determines which students are accepted.

“Greg is the office data-base guru and numbers cruncher,” she says. “In that work, as well, he brings the sensitivity of the practitioner to every task and report.”

Pyke seems to have a new job for every season.

In the fall he travels to schools across the country and the world, meeting prospective students and parents. In winter, Pyke begins the process of going through “the stack” – the hundreds of applications – with special attention paid to those applying for early admission.

In spring, Pyke concentrates his efforts on convincing the accepted students to choose Wesleyan through WesFest and face-to-face conversations. By June, the incoming frosh class will be announced. In the summer, Pyke is busy meeting and speaking with campus visitors, compiling statistics on the incoming fall class, and planning his next year.

The process is cyclical year to year, with new changes and challenges implemented every season.

“Never knowing what is coming next and wondering what questions or concerns will arise the next year is one of the biggest reasons I enjoy working in the Admission Office,” says Pyke, who has been a member of the department since he started in at Wesleyan 1978.

And as for this years’ frosh, Pyke reports that the Class of 2009 comprised 6,879 applicants, of which 1,902, or 28 percent of those who applied, were admitted. Of the 1,902, 71 percent were ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class; 13 percent are the first generation in their family to go to college; 79 percent live outside of New England; 41 percent are students of color; 77 percent have taken biology, chemistry and physics before entering college; and 76 percent had studied a foreign language for at least four years.

Pyke’s responsibilities have grown over the past 28 years. He previously handled the transfer student admission process, and later the senior interviewer program. He’s currently the statistical information reporter. In this role, Pyke generates class profiles for the university, public media and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, designed to collect data from all primary providers of postsecondary education. He reports on the total number of students accepted, students of color, geographical information, average SAT and ACT stores, among several other factors.

In addition to reviewing college applications and collecting and reporting statistical information, Pyke collaborates with Joan Adams, assistant to the dean, on the High School Scholars Program. Through this program, local high school seniors have the opportunity to take classes at Wesleyan with no tuition charge. They attend classes with Wesleyan students, and are graded on the same scale as a college student would be. Of the 23 high school scholars who applied this past academic year: 15 were accepted into the program and enrolled in courses either in the fall of ‘05 or the spring of ‘06.

“When parents ask me, ‘What is an average class size,’ I try to understand what they are really asking. They don’t want me to say, 17.2 or some decimal number,” Pyke says. “What they really want to know is, if their child will be able to talk in class or will their child get to work with his professor one on one? The answer cannot be given in a simple number. There is never a short answer to a question or concern.”

Pyke knows some of the emotions parents go though during the college application process. He and his wife, Karen Bovard ’77, have gone through the procedure themselves with their two children Alan and Josh, who are both currently enrolled in college. Pyke also has an older daughter, Jenny, who was an interim class dean at Wesleyan and is currently in a similar, permanent position at Mt. Holyoke College.

“Greg is such a wonderful colleague: smart, funny and thoughtful,” Meislahn says. “He brings a great balance of Wesleyan history, as well as an educator’s and father’s sensibility to the process. No one knows his or her territory better. Greg helps us all understand the importance of access, context and opportunity for each applicant.”
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor