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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

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:

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:

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; 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

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

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):

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.

2 Faculty Appointed Leadership Roles

Posted 05/02/07
Two distinguished faculty members will be appointed leadership roles in university centers for the next three years, with terms beginning on July 1, 2007.

Suzanne O’Connell, left, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, has agreed to assume the directorship of the Service-Learning Center for a three-year term. O’Connell will be replacing Rob Rosenthal, professor of sociology.

O’Connell studies climate change, coastal processes, and diversity in the geosciences. She is the author of more than 50 refereed publications and the recipient of more than $1 million in National Science Foundation grants. Most recently she was the Principle Investigator on a major award to build a “Community of Women Geoscience Leaders.” More than 12 months of her life have been spent at sea on oceanographic research expeditions. O’Connell was the 2000 recipient of the Association for Women Geoscientists “Outstanding Educator Award.”
The Service Learning Center was launched to integrate experiences outside the classroom with an academic curriculum taught within the classroom. As one form of experiential education, service learning seeks to broaden students’ understanding of course content through activities which are, at the same time, of service to the community.

The Service Learning Center coordinates and supports faculty efforts to develop and teach service learning courses. The Director of the Service Learning Center aids faculty members in designing new service learning courses, facilitates the review of proposed courses, and works closely with faculty and community partners to coordinate the activities of the Center and the courses it sponsors.

O’Connell says Wesleyan brought her to Middletown 18 years ago, and she soon realized the additional benefits of being a resident of Middletown.

“Wesleyan and Middletown are two unique and rich communities,” she explains. “By accepting this position, I hope to be able to enhance the ties between the two, and give students an opportunity to expand their education into action while benefiting Middletown.”

Sean McCann, left, associate professor of English, associate professor of  American Studies, has agreed to assume the directorship of the Center for Faculty Career Development for a three-year term.

He replaces Andy Szegedy-Maszak, the Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, professor and chair of the Classical Studies Department. Szegedy-Maszak initiated the center.

McCann studies late-nineteenth and twentieth century American literature and its relation to contemporaneous political developments. He is the author of Gumshoe America: Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Rise and Fall of New Deal Liberalism, (Duke University Press, 2000), which received honorable mention for the America Studies Association’s John Hope Franklin Prize for the best book in American Studies. He is currently working on a book titled, The Anti-Liberal Imagination: American Literature and Presidential Government. McCann was a recipient of the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2004.

The Center for Faculty Career Development plays a central role in the professional development of our faculty. The director is responsible for overall management of the Center and coordination of its various activities, which include the weekly Academic Technology Roundtable lunch discussions, talks, seminars, workshops by visitors, programs to assist faculty in developing their classroom skills, developing a library of resources, and serving as a confidential source of informal advice to faculty on issues broadly related to their professional development.

Joe Bruno, vice president for academic affairs and provost, applauds Rosenthal and Szegedy-Maszak for their outstanding leadership exhibited in their former roles.

“Both centers have functioned beautifully and have come to be very important parts of the university,” Bruno says. “We are indebted to Andy and Rob for the outstanding work they have done in establishing the centers and ensuring their contributions to Wesleyan’s mission.”

Bruno welcomes O’Connell and McCann to their new roles.

“I am deeply grateful for their willingness to accept these important assignments,” he says.

Philosophy, Literature Conference Discusses Works by Melville, Descartes

Posted 05/02/07
A scholar in philosophy and a scholar in literary studies can pick up the same book, read the same words, and come away with completely different perceptions about the contents and messages of the text. It is this phenomenon that is the focus of a conference being held at Wesleyan from May 9-10, titled, “Philosophy and Literature: Reading Across the Disciplines.”

The idea behind the conference is to gather scholars from both academic areas and compare how each interpret the same text.

This is the first year of our conference and the positive response has far exceeded our expectations,” says Ethan Kleinberg, associate professor of history, associate professor of letters, and the conference coordinator. “We have over 30 Wesleyan faculty participating and faculty and graduate students register from as far away as Yemen and Europe. Perhaps most encouraging, Wesleyan students have also shown great enthusiasm for the event and plan to attend the public lectures and then form student workgroups that will parallel the faculty sessions.”

The conference will feature a presentation on a single literary work during each morning. In the afternoons, participants will form working groups to discuss the presentations, the works discussed and their own approaches to these books.

The first day’s presentation will be on Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivner, which will be led by Arthur Danto, Emeritus Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, and Susan Suleiman, C. Douglas Dillon Professor of Civilization and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University.

On the second day, Rene Descartes’ Meditations will be discussed by Rebecca Goldstein, professor of philosophy at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, and David Konstan, John Rowe Workman Professor of Classics and Humanistic Tradition at Brown University.

On the final night there will also be a dinner with an address by Richard T. Vann, emeritus professor of History and Letters at Wesleyan University and senior editor for History and Theory.

“This conference is different from many others because it sets out to explore what philosophers and literary scholars actually do when they interpret a text,” Kleinberg says. “Wesleyan University is the perfect place for such an undertaking because of its commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching.”

The conference is being supported by the Raymond E. Baldwin Lecture Fund and a Mellon Workshop Grant, as well the College of Letters, and Wesleyan’s departments of English, German Studies, Philosophy, and Romance Languages and Literatures.

For more information or to register go to:

By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

State AG Speaks about Global Warming at Wesleyan’s Earth Day Celebration

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal speaks with Joe Bruno, vice president for Academic Affairs and provost; Barry Chernoff, director of the Environmental Studies Certificate Program; and Midge Bennet prior to his talk on global warming April 18.
Posted 05/02/07
“Connecticut’s Role in the Fight Against Global Warming” was the topic of Wesleyan’s Earth Day celebration April 18. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal delivered the keynote address to a Memorial Chapel-full of students, faculty, staff and members of the local community.

Blumenthal, the 23rd elected AG of the state, had worked as a federal prosecutor for several cases against environmental polluters. He has also addressed issues on interstate air pollution, clean energy solutions and the environment of Connecticut, with an emphasis on rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. CO2 is the principal greenhouse gas emitted as a result of burning of coal, oil, and natural gas.

“You know CO2 is a great threat to the future of our planet,” Blumenthal said during the presentation to more than 150 audience members, including Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and President Doug Bennet. “It will have the greatest impact on lower-income countries, but it’s going to have dire effects on the United States, and especially a state like Connecticut, and our shoreline. CO2 is odorless, tasteless and invisible, and the challenge here is to continue advancing to make sure people understand the way this pollutant affects our daily lives.”

Blumenthal stressed the importance of using renewable resources such as solar and wind power, and even natural gas – rather than burning oil – for “cleaner” energy sources. He spoke on energy efficiency standards, stating that they are a “no brainer,” and “must be at the heart of the state’s CO2 battle.”

Blumenthal mentioned the Clean Air Act, amended in 1990, which says CO2 is classified as a pollutant that needs to be regulated. In a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on carbon dioxide emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency was found guilty of violating the Clean Air Act.

Blumenthal said he’s already noticing changes in the automotive and power industries.

“I think they’re beginning to get it,” he said. “They know they are not going to be permitted to function in an unregulated world. The question is, ‘How soon can we provide new technologies and make it a common ground?” We may see a whole new wave of technology because the interest will be there.”

Graduate Liberal Studies Program student Nicole Conti Lee says she was impressed with Wesleyans Earth Day talk. Lee, who was raised in Africa and Italy, and moved to the United States in 1996, says European countries are far more advanced when dealing with the global warming crisis than the United States. She hopes Blumenthal’s message will become widespread across the state, New England and the country at large.

“I think that most people are aware of the situation, but it was great Wesleyan was able to bring in the attorney general to hear what he has to say,” she said. “The amount of CO2 being produced from mansions and SUVs is unthinkable, and I really think that people have to step it up in this country as a general rule.”

Johan (Joop) Varekamp, the Harold T. Stearns Professor in Earth Sciences and department chair, explained the flip side of the CO2 issue.

“The classification of CO2 as a pollutant is heavily attacked by ‘climate contrarians’ who argue that CO2 can not be a pollutant because it is an essential nutrient for plants. The question then becomes is CO2 a pollutant, a contaminant or something else? Here we come into gray terrain of nomenclature – more CO2 means a warmer climate with potentially severe impacts for many organisms, but on the other hand more CO2 is also beneficial to many plants,” Varekamp says. “This classification conundrum is not easily settled, but many environmental and scientific organizations, including the IPCC, regard the current global climate warming deleterious for the global ecosystem and humans. They all thus argue that CO2 should be considered a pollutant.”

After his talk, the Attorney General answered questions from the audience. Questions on carbon tax, natural gas, considerations on rail and electric cars, a proposed gas-based energy center on Long Island, Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, Connecticut’s electric grid and opponent’s views were all posed and discussed. Conversation continued at a reception in Zelnick Pavilion following the keynote address.

Blumenthal applauded the Wesleyan’s efforts in education, programs and actions to help reduce global warming. He told the audience it was up to them to educate others on the ongoing fight.

“I think we all have an obligation to leave this world better than the way we found it,” he said. “Can one state or one country make a difference by example? People, as individuals, that come together can make a difference.”

The presentation was sponsored by The Robert Schumann Lecture Series in the Environmental Studies Certificate Program.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor. Photos by Richard Marinelli.

Faculty Show Exhibition Highlights Work of 10 Studio Artists

Assistant Professor of Art Leslie Snipes is one of 10 faculty participating in The Faculty Show in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery through May 27.
Posted 05/02/07
Through a three-dimensional art piece made of carpet spools and mobile platforms, Jeffrey Schiff, professor of art, explores movement and stability, and the desire to exert control and temptation to escape.

Schiff and nine of his colleagues are showing their work at The Faculty Show, an exhibition that showcases the work of studio art faculty in Wesleyan’s Art and Art History Department. The first of its kind in more than a decade, the exhibition includes the work of Schiff, professors of art David Schorr, J. Seeley and Tula Telfair; assistant professors of art Elijah Huge and Leslie Snipes; Luther Gregg Sullivan Fellow John Slepian, pictured at right; Professor Emeritus of Art John Frazer; Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Kate TenEyck; and Visiting Artist in Art and East Asian Studies, Keiji Shinohara.

Curated by Nina Felshin, The Faculty Show will be on view through May 27 in The Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery.

The artists in The Faculty Show represent a broad spectrum of stylistic and conceptual concerns and are at various stages of their teaching and artistic careers. The length of their time at Wesleyan also varies enormously. The now retired but still part-time teaching John Frazer, for example, began in 1959 whereas Elijah Huge who teaches architecture taught his first course last semester.

Schiff, pictured at left, a sculptor and installation artist, says his piece is a prototype for a work envisioned to be much larger, in which several spools dispense carpeting onto mobile planes to produce a fragmented floor of shifting patterns. The numerous parts of the floor can roll about, changing the configuration of the floor and the juxtapositions of its colors and patterns.

“My work explores order and disorder, and offers speculations about the complex ways in which the things of the world cohere, conglomerate, fragment, proliferate, and disperse,” he says.

Shinohara, pictured at right, a visiting artist in art and East Asian Studies and master woodblock printer, is showing work inspired by observing attempts to preserve ancient wall paintings.

“Sometimes the areas that chip away are restored in an attempt to maintain the original vitality of the painting,” he says. “Yet there is a certain beauty to wall paintings that honestly reflect the passage of time, which is what I wanted to capture in these pieces.”

In addition to the show, “Outside the Frame: Teaching Art in a World of Porous Boundaries,” a seminar related to the exhibition, is scheduled for 3 p.m. May 26 in Zilkha Gallery. Panelists include Sidney Russell ’07, Schorr and TenEyck, pictured at right.

“As in other academic disciplines, the boundaries of art have expanded and, increasingly, art is not sharply defined by medium as it once was,” explains Felshin, who will moderate the seminar. “We will ask and explore, ‘How has the evolution of art itself influenced the teaching of art in an undergraduate program such as Wesleyan’s? How does a professor’s own work influence his or her teaching? How do they prepare their students for life in the art world?”

Gallery Hours are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; and noon to 8 p.m. Friday. The event is free. For more information, call the Box Office at 860-685-3355 or visit

For artist biographies and to see images of the show, visit:

By Adam Kubota, press and marketing director. Photos by Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor