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Faculty, Students offer Reflections at Sept. 11 Memorial


Ron Jenkins, professor of theater, reads a Sanskrit prayer during a Sept. 11 Memorial Service in the Memorial Chapel while Jason Harris ’09, left, listens.
Posted 09/15/06
On Sept. 11, 2001, Marc Arena ’07 was in class when his high school principal announced over the P.A. that the World Trade Center towers were struck by two planes. He and his classmates at Pelham Memorial High School in Pelham, N.Y. gathered around a radio, listening in awe.

With an ear on the broadcast, and a pencil at hand, Arena wrote a poem.

“Bodies leaping from 61 floors. Like roaches in the light. The people flee from the dark cloud. The shrapnel rain. Suffocating smog and fumes. Complete darkness even in daylight,” Arena wrote.

Five years later, Arena presented this poem during a “9-11 Memorial” Sept. 11, 2006 in the Memorial Chapel. He was one of six speakers who offered a reflection or poem during the 45-minute service, attended by Wesleyan students, faculty and staff.

Jewish Rabbi David Leipziger Teva organized the service, noting that 1,825 days have passed since the terrorist attacks; 3,500 Wesleyan undergraduates have received degrees; and a baby born on Sept. 11, 2001 could be attending kindergarten this year.

Leipziger Teva read off 24 names of Wesleyan alumni and friends who perished in the attacks, starting with Maile Hale ’97 and Andy Kates ’85.

“Let us reflect on all those who were killed five years ago today,” he said. “They were our fathers, our wives and our children. They were alumni – students who walked the halls we walk today. They were friends and loved ones of our beloved Wesleyan community.”

Like Arena, Ethan Kleinberg, associate professor of history, associate professor of letters, shared his memories of Sept. 11, 2001 with the audience, mentioning that his first day teaching classes at Wesleyan was at 10:30 a.m. that morning. Not knowing what to do, he asked the students to speak. Several wanted to explore the reasons of what led to the attacks.

Kleinberg followed his story with summarized points adapted from French philosopher Georges Sorel’s “Reflections on Violence.”

By reading a Sanskrit prayer excerpt, Ron Jenkins, professor of theater, mimicked how victims of terrorist bombings in Bali prayed during a ceremony at Ground Zero.

“I chose to read and discuss this ceremony because I believe it is important to understand 9/11 in an international perspective, and to reflect on cultures like Balinese Hindus,” Jenkins said. “They live in the world’s largest Muslim country and chose to respond to terror with art instead of war.”

Elizabeth Willis, assistant professor of English, said as a poet, she was struck by how poetry was being circulated on the internet post Sept. 11. She read 1969 Pulitzer Prize poet George Oppen’s “Power of the Enchanted World” and an excerpt from Walt Whitman’s poem, “Leaves of Grass.”

Other speakers included Karl Scheibe, professor of psychology, emeritus, who read Robert Frost’s “Choose Something Like a Star,” and Jason Harris ’09 who shared a reflection titled “Is it Just a Myth?”

In addition to the memorial, panelists spoke on the topic, “9/11 in Retrospect: in what ways, if any, has the world changed?” in the Public Affairs Center. Donald Moon, dean of the social sciences and John. E. Andrus Professor of Government served as moderator.

Panelists included Peter Gottschalk, associate professor of religion; Bruce Masters, professor of history; Joel Pfister, professor of English and Len Burman,’75, director of the Tax Policy Center, Urban Institute and Brookings Institution.

Bells rang at 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m., the times when planes struck the World Trade Center.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

 

 

 

 

The following poem was written by Marc Arena ’07 (pictured above)  while listening to the radio during live broadcast coverage of Sept. 11, 2001.

The day shattered by the pierce of the P.A.
“The World Trade Center has been hit by a plane.”
Think nothing of it I thought until it collapsed

The World Trade Center fell
The Pentagon hit
Nation emergency

Bush in the air
Light hearts reeled in
Fleeing along Broadway
Cell phone calls frantically placed
The inferno burned the towers like roman candles

Reporters choking back fear
To comfort and inform the people
The thickness of the smoke
Surpasses the tension in the air

War seems only footsteps away
My parents may have been called to aid the victims
Please don’t let that be true

Car bomb explosion
How long has this been planned?

“It is the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history”

Children stranded at schools

“New York City is on full terrorist alert.”

Nation-wide breakdown

“Breaking News”

Family on Chambers St.
Ashley in school, crying
Fabienne at work, wondering
Jon at work, worrying

THE SECOND TOWER COLLAPSED!
Reporters are desperately attempting to state their names
Leave their recognition upon the world and their condolences to all
What can’t be said at the time can be read

Bodies leaping from 61 floors
Like roaches in the light
The people flee from the dark cloud

The shrapnel rain
Suffocating smog and fumes
Complete darkness even in daylight

Falling sands
Human coal dowsed with water
The state department possibly attacked
Thanks god I’m not 18

NYC is in shambles
One hour of chaos
The hum of work overshadowed
by the moans of fatality

Reports from the air suspended
Everyone is a suspect
The task was taken out successfully
In the kamikaze tradition

The globe paralyzed
Gone!
The entire nation’s honorary capital is relatively destroyed

There might as well be war
This is war
Casualties are imminent

Giant flame-throwers erupt from the towers
Sirens blaring and muffling the sounds of panic

Tragedy

Half hour between collapses

C
O
L
L
A
P
S
Ed

“The word here is Oh My God.”

People trapped inside
10:31

“Smoke tidal wave.”

The skyline altered forever
The sky lined by smoked
The smoke lined by tears
Of a nation

Read another Sept. 11 poem, spoken during the recent Memorial Service, here.

Fall Features Lecture Series on Slavery, Distinguished Presenters


Posted 09/15/06
The Center for African American Studies is hosting a fall lecture series titled “Revisiting Slavery.” The schedule includes:

“Slavery and the United States Constitution”
4:15 Sept. 27 in the CAAS lounge by Lawrence Goldstone. Goldstone holds a Ph.D in American constitutional studies. He is the author of Dark Bargain: Slavery, Profits, and the Struggle for the U.S. Constitution.

“Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery”
4:15 p.m. Oct. 19 in the CAAS lounge by Anne Farrow, Joel Lang and Jenifer Frank.
Farrow, Wesleyan alumnus Joel Lang and Frank are veteran journalists for The Hartford Courant. Farrow and Lang were the lead writers and Frank was the editor of a special slavery issue published in the newspaper’s Sunday magazine, which has since been expanded and published as the book, Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery.

“Cultivating Freedom: Slavery, Emancipation, and Enterprise in Colonial New England”
4:15 p.m. Nov. 8 in the CAAS lounge by Lois Brown.
Brown, an associate professor of English at Mount Holyoke College, specializes in 19th-century African American fiction. She has won awards for her discovery and republication of a largely unknown 1835 biography of a freeborn African American child. She is currently working on a book about African American novelist Pauline Hopkins.

“American Slavery: A Most Complete Story”
4:15 p.m. Nov. 29 in the CAAS lounge by Gerald Foster.
Foster is a scholar-in-residence at the United States National Slavery Museum, the first American museum dedicated to the history of slavery. The museum is currently under construction in Fredericksburg, Va.

Other fall events include:

“The Need to Question”
8 p.m. Sept. 14 by choreographer Bill T. Jones. Jones is famous for creating powerful works that fearlessly explore sexuality, race, politics, family and mortality.

“Another Evening”
8 p.m. Sept. 15 and 16 in the Center for the Arts Theater. A pre-show talk begins at 7:15 p.m. Sept. 15 in the CFA cinema.
Bill T. Jones and the Arnie Zane Dance Company will present an ever-evolving 90-minute collage interweaving new movement, excerpts from existing repertoire, original and traditional music, and text into a vibrant multimedia work.

“A Discussion with Immortal Technique”
4:30 p.m. Sept. 22 in the CAAS lounge.
Hip-hop artist and political activist Immortal Technique addresses a wide variety of contemporary political issues in his music, including U.S. foreign policy, police brutality, political killings by the FBI and the CIA, media censorship, and economic inequality. Born in Peru, “Tech” came with his family to Harlem when he was a child. His albums include Revolutionary Vol. 1 (2001), Revolutionary Vol. 2 (2003), and The Middle Passage (2006), all released by the independent label, Viper Records.

A Reading by Author Nathaniel Mackey
8 p.m. Sept. 27 in the Russell House.
Mackey’s works of poetry include Eroding Witness (1985), School of Udhra (1993), Whatsaid Serif (1998), and Splay Anthem (2006). He also is the author of two critical volumes and an ongoing prose work, of which three volumes have been published. Mackey’s work is keenly attentive to sound and to the role of writers as cultural workers. He is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, a DJ, and professor of literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The event is co-sponsored by the Edward W. Snowdon Fund and the Wesleyan Writing Program.

“Democracy and Captivity: Race and the Penal Landscape” by Joyce James
8 p.m. Oct. 12 in the CFA Theater.
James is a professor of African studies and political science at Williams College. Her work focuses on political and feminist theory, critical race theory, and incarceration. She is the author or editor of many publications including Resisting State Violence: Gender, Race, and Radicalism in U.S. Culture (1996), The Angela Y. Davis Reader (1998), States of Confinement: Policing, Detention and Prisons (2000, revised edition 2002), and Imprisoned Intellectuals: America’s Political Prisoners Write on Life, Liberation, and Rebellion (2003). This talk was organized by WESPREP.

“The War in Iraq” presented by Jonathan Cutler, associate professor of sociology and associate professor of American Studies
Noon Oct. 23 in the CAAS lounge.
The talk is part of the CAAS’s Pizza and Policy Lunch series. Lunch is provided.

A Discussion of Stem Cell Research
Lori Gruen, associate professor of philosophy and associate professor and chair of the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program
Noon Nov. 20 in the CAAS lounge.
The talk is part of the CAAS’s Pizza and Policy Lunch series. Lunch is provided.

Football Coach Begins Season with 40 Returnees, 19 Starters


 

 

 

 

 

Frank Hauser, head football coach, has been preparing Wesleyan Cardinals for competition Sept. 23. Hauser, who graduated from Wesleyan in 1979, has been coaching at Wesleyan 20 years.

Posted 09/15/06
Q: Frank, the football season kicks off Sept. 23. Is it difficult to prepare the team for competition in such a short period?

A: Practice began August 30 which gives us over three weeks to prepare for the opener against Middlebury College That is plenty of time.

Q: The Cardinals had seven consecutive non-losing seasons from 1997 to 2003. What are your goals this year to get Wes back on a winning-streak?

A: Two points of emphasis are improving the running game and limiting turnovers. Accomplishing those things is a good start toward getting us back on the winning track.

Q: You’re leading a team that includes 40 lettermen and 19 returning starters. How does this raise your hopes for a winning season this year?

A: We are returning some very good players from last year’s team. I expect improvement from all of our players, based on their hard work in the off-season.

Q: Who are your top returnees?

A: Defensively, we return Quincy Francis GLSP ’06 at linebacker, who earned a second-team all-NESCAC honor in 2005 with 61 total tackles, six behind team leader Tim O’Callaghan ’08, who also returns. We also have linebacker Ethan Pickett ’09; defensive backs Jeff McLaren GLSP 06, Joe Pepe ’07, Brian Valerio ’07, Steve Secundo ’07 and Kwasi Ansu ’09; defensive linemen John Harding ’09, Brian Smithson ’07, Brian Mahr ’07 and Tom Addonizio ’08.

Q: Tell us about Wesleyan’s offense.

A: Wesleyan’s offense boasts the total yardage leader in the NESCAC. Our quarterback Zach Librizzi ’08 averaged 195 yards a game in 2005 while also leading all starting quarterbacks in rushing yards with 204. He’ll be targeting Mark Noonan ’08, Matt Barnum GLSP ’06, Blake Curry ’07 and Ryan Walsh ’09. In the backfield, Wesleyan has its top two ball-carriers back in quad-captain Phil Banks ’07 and Garth Mitchell ’08. Banks also had 17 catches out of the backfield. Starting linemen returning are tri-captain Corey Baker ’07, Brett Valentine ’09 and Dan Glyck ’07. Also returning from injury last season is lineman Steve Cohen ’08.

AJ Taucher ‘08, who averaged 37.2 yards a punt to rank fourth in the NESCAC, and placekicker Chris Helsel ’09 round out the returning starters.

McLaren, who along with Librizzi were CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine District I academic All-Americans as well as starting defensive midfielders on Wesleyan’s national semi-finalist men’s lacrosse team in 2006, handled the bulk of the team’s kick returns in 2005, averaging 6.3 yards on punts and 24.4 yard on kickoffs.

Q: You’re a 1979 Wesleyan alumnus, and former linebacker and wrestler for the Cardinals. Since you know all about being a Wesleyan student-athlete, do your players ever ask for your advice on how to manage their academic life and sports?

A: Players often ask advice about academic matters, particularly when they are freshmen and sophomores. Knowing the rigors of the academic programs at Wesleyan, I make certain to give them any help I can. The players know that academics come first at Wesleyan and we would have it no other way.

Q: You’re entering your 14th year as head coach with a 57-47 career, and 20th year as a Wesleyan coach. What has kept you here all these years?

A: I came back to Wesleyan in 1986 when Bill MacDermott, my former head coach at Wesleyan, hired me as the defensive coordinator. I was then appointed head football coach at Wesleyan in 1992. The thing that has kept me at Wesleyan for so long is the quality of the student-athletes. Our football players are very serious about both their academic work and their football. They work hard in the classroom and on the field and are a pleasure for me to work with.

Q: Does it surprise you that a Division III school like Wesleyan can boast so many NFL ties?
Former players include Bill Belichick ’75, head coach of the New England Patriots; Eric Mangini, ’91 head coach of the New York Jets; Jeff Wilner ’94, former Green Bay Packer and Denver Bronco; and Don Lowery ‘77, former vice president for player development and community affairs for the New England Patriots.

A: It doesn’t surprise me because Wesleyan prepares its students to do anything they choose to do. We have former players working in medicine, law, business, education and a variety of other fields. It is not surprising that these Wesleyan alumni have risen to the top of their profession in football.

Q: In addition to being the head coach, you are the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. Who are the team’s assistant coaches?

A: We have John Raba coaching the inside linebackers; Doug Mandigo coaching defensive backs and also coordinating the defense; Hugh Villacis coaching the offensive line; James Wallace ’05 coaching the tight ends; Jophiel Philips coaching wide receivers; Clewi Challenger coaching outside linebackers; Keith Hellstern ’98 coaching running backs; and Shem Johnston-Bloom ’06 coaching the defensive line.

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

A: I teach fitness, strength training and golf.

Q: Are you involved in football activities outside of Wesleyan?

A: We as a football staff work numerous camps in the summer, particularly in the New England area.

Q: As a sports fan, what teams do you root for?

A: I have rooted for all Boston teams since I was a kid in Rhode Island, particularly the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. Now that Eric Mangini, who played for me at Wesleyan, is the head coach of the New York Jets, I am certainly a Jets fan as well.

Q: What are you hobbies?

A: Golf. I love the game. It is the best way I know to participate in a competitive sport throughout your life.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Wesleyan is No. 1 (and Top 10 in other Third-Party Rankings)


Posted 09/15/06
Each year, the Office of University Communications collects objective and comparative measures of Wesleyan’s strengths from data compiled by outside sources. Following is a brief list of recent findings:

No. 1 in National Science Foundation (NSF) Funding among Liberal Arts Peers
This is an objective ranking based on available NSF funding data. Between 2001 and 2003 Wesleyan received $14.49 million in NSF funding (this reflects the most recent data available – Wesleyan was also No. 1 in the previous survey that ran up to 2001). Next closest was Mt. Holyoke at $5.31 million. Carleton was 3rd, Barnard 4th and Wellesley 5th.

No. 1 in Science and Math Publications Among Liberal Arts Peers
Also objective and a very significant ranking within the scientific community, this data set runs between 1994-2004 and shows that Wesleyan had a little less than 1,061 scientific publications during this period. Williams was No. 2 with just over 508 publications. Rounding out the top five were Wellesley No. 3, Swarthmore No. 4, Amherst No. 5.

No. 10 in the 2006 U. S. News & World Report Rankings of Liberal Arts Institutions
This is probably the best-known national ranking list.

Wesleyan also ranked within U.S. News:
     No. 6 in Peer Assessment
     This number reflects Wesleyan’s over-all academic reputation and perception of excellence among peer institutions.

     No. 7 in Economic Diversity
     This ranking was determined by the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants within U.S. News’ top 25 ranked schools. While not a perfect gauge of economic diversity, “Pell figures are the best available gauge of how many low income undergrads there are on a given campus,” according to the editors.

No. 3 among All National Universities & Colleges by Washington Monthly
This magazine ranks schools by “not what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country…Are our colleges making good use of our tax dollars? Are they producing graduates who can keep our nation competitive in a changing world?” The full rankings and methodology can be seen at: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2006/0609.collegechart.html

No. 8 Wesleyan Athletics Power Ranking among Div. III Schools by NCSA
The National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) recently gave Wesleyan a power ranking of 8 nationally among Division III schools. According to NCSA, the rankings were developed to encourage student-athletes and parents to take a comprehensive approach to choosing a school based on its overall merits. Colleges and universities are given a ranking based on academics, athletics, and student-athlete graduation rates. Last year Wesleyan was ranked 13th in this survey. The full rankings can be seen at http://www.ncsapowerrankings.org/ under 2006 Rankings, then clicking Division III.

No. 10 of Top 50 Colleges in the U.S. for African Americans as Ranked by Black Enterprise magazine.
1. Florida A&M; 2. Howard University in Washington, DC; 3, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, N.C.; 4, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; 5, Spelman College, Atlanta, Ga.; 6, Hampton University, Hampton, Va.; 7, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.;
8, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.; 9, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Penn.;
10, Wesleyan University.

Wesleyan is a Top 30 Private School according to Reform Judaism magazine’s “Insider’s Guide to Jewish Campus Life”
“Created for high school and college students, the guide’s centerfold documents colleges by Jewish population – the top 30 private and top 30 public North American school Jews choose. It also includes expert information on getting into top universities, why it is important to choose a Jewish-friendly school, finding Jewish-related scholarships and loans, and making the best of the college experience.” The full list can be seen at www.reformjudaismmag.org.
 

List compiled by David Pesci, director of Media Relations and the Office of University Communications staff

Wesleyan, Connecticut Science Center Forge Partnership to Promote Interest in the Sciences


Science teachers in Connecticut teachers take classes at Wesleyan through the Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science Program (PIMMS). PIMMS is teaming up with the Connecticut Science Center to provide science and math education techniques to K-12 teachers.
Posted 09/15/06
A new partnership between Wesleyan University and The Connecticut Science Center in Hartford will be designed to engage more students across the state to the sciences than ever before.

Specifically, The Connecticut Science Center will be partnering with Wesleyan’s Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Sciences (PIMMS). Together they will train Connecticut middle school science teachers how best to teach the sciences to students in grades K-12.

“We are very excited about the new Science Center,” says Joseph Bruno, vice president for academic affairs and provost at Wesleyan.

“Coming at a time when we are actively promoting the excellence of Wesleyan science, we view the partnership as an opportunity to contribute to this exciting project and to inform others about our science programs. The contributions of our faculty and students at the Center would also be entirely consistent with Wesleyan’s strong commitment to service in the community,” he says.

Both PIMMS and The Connecticut Science Center have a mission to foster public interest in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The new partnership will offer teachers graduate level credit through Wesleyan’s Graduate Liberal Studies Program (GLSP) for those who enroll in the Science Center’s Institute for Inquiry. The Science Center’s Institute for Inquiry is a professional development program for Connecticut teachers of science. It’s available to all teachers in grades K-12 who have an interest in teaching the sciences. Teachers must enroll, and be accepted to the program where they research and develop a unit of study pertaining to science.

This summer, the Institute accepted 150 Connecticut area teachers-an enrollment spike from 125 teachers last year. The program runs for six weeks starting each July and each week-long session trains approximately 30-40 teachers.

Christine Moses, director of Program Outreach for the Connecticut Science Center, says that the Center has always thought of Wesleyan’s PIMMS as a leader in the state for the development of teachers in the sciences.

“This mutually beneficial partnership will teach teachers how to take their students through the inquiry process,” she says. “When you engage students first in the sciences, instead of lecturing, they retain the information better.”

Moses anticipates that next summer, even more teachers will apply to the Institute for Inquiry for credit through Wesleyan University, to prepare for the new state science cumulative testing requirements for grades 5 and 8 beginning in 2008.

The new partnership between PIMMS and The Connecticut Science Center also involves Wesleyan University faculty, who will help the Center write curricula for their science labs.

“Wesleyan’s science and mathematics faculty have always shown a keen interest in working with teachers and students in Connecticut’s schools,” says Mike Zebarth, director of Wesleyan’s PIMMS.

“This partnership will provide additional opportunities for the Wesleyan faculty to be involved with one of the State’s key educational resources in science and math. Faculty members may serve in advisory capacities, present public seminars and work with PIMMS on the Center’s Inquiry Institute. There will also be opportunities for Wesleyan’s graduate and undergraduate students to be involved directly with the Center in the role of exhibit tour guides,” he says.

Robert Rosenbaum, University Mathematics Professor at Wesleyan University, established the Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science at Wesleyan in 1979. Annually, 1500 teachers attend one or more of PIMMS 50 high-quality professional development programs. For more information, contact Mike Zebarth at 860-685-6456 or visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/pimms/ or www.ctsciencecenter.org.
 

By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

UP, UP AND AWAY: Wesleyan’s Davison Art Center received a new fiberglass cupola atop its building Aug. 9. The new addition replaces a deteriorated wood cupola, which was removed in July. The new cupola is a replica of the former cupola.

The 1,500-pound white, decorative cupola was hoisted by crane to the DAC’s rooftop.
Contractors lower the cupola to a copper-rimmed base.
The new cupola brings beauty to the DAC second and third-story views, as well as the DAC’s courtyard below. Macri Roofing provided the labor. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Physics Professor Studies Exotic Atoms


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Where were you coaching prior to Wesleyan?

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

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

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

Q: What is your overall coaching record?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Is teaching the sport difficult?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What are your other interests?

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

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

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

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Department of Religion Welcomes New Assistant Professor


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Committee to Prepare Campus for Crisis, Disaster


Posted 08/24/06

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

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

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

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

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

Memorial Service Planned for David McAllester


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Up Against the Wall” Featured in Gallery Exhibit


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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