All News

Noah Simring ’07 Dies at Age 21


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

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

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

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

Iberian Studies Major Unveiled this Fall


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations

Research Team Studies Bioluminescent Bays in Puerto Rico


At top, Anda Greeney ’07 and Suzanne O’Connell, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, prepare to deploy a bathyphotometer, an instrument that measures bioluminescence, into a bay in Vieques, an island off Puerto Rico.

At right, Tim Ku, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, shows students how to drill a core sample in a bay they are studying.

Posted 07/28/06
Ten miles off the east coast of Puerto Rico, on the island of Vieques, three mangrove-lined bays are illuminated with unicellular marine life known as dinoflagellates. One of the bays has an unusually high abundance of these microscopic creatures that produce their own light through bioluminescence, a chemical reaction similar to the one that makes fireflies glow.

But why do these colorful creatures thrive so well in these bays? That is the question Suzanne O’Connell, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences and Tim Ku, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, want to answer.

As part of a grant-funded research study, O’Connell, Ku and Anna Martini of Amherst College took 13 students from eight colleges, including Anda Greeney ’07, Andrea Pain ’08 and Ulyana Sorokopoud ’08, to the Puerto Rican island for a two-week intensive study. The trip was succeeded by two weeks of lab analyses at Wesleyan and Amherst.

“This ecosystem is so special and we’re curious to know why so many dinoflagellates live here,” Ku says, browsing through digital photos of the turquoise-water bays. “It’s most likely very fragile. We hope to learn what could destroy them, and also, how to maintain a bay that supports this type of ecosystem.”

The study, supported by the Keck Geology Consortium (now funded by the National Science Foundation), began June 17. The students and researchers hauled along their necessary research equipment to the Caribbean, including sediment core samplers, water quality monitors and centrifuges.

They rented a house on the ocean, living on the top floor and using the main floor as a laboratory. Ku and O’Connell taught classes on the front porch, overlooking the water.

Every day, the group drove to the south-central side of Vieques, and studied the Puerto Mosquito, Puerto Ferro and Bahia Topin bays, each less than a mile apart from each other. The researchers studied the hydrodynamics of the water, present-day and past sediment sources, nutrient and metal cycles, and satellite imagery to see how the area has changed through anthropogenic development and hurricane activity. Studies were conducted by wading, snorkeling, kayaking or and boating in the bays, and core samples were taken of the layered sediment. These samples will be the basis of the student research throughout the year on campus.

Ku says the most bioluminescent bays in Vieques have a narrow opening to the ocean to maintain the necessary balance of temperature and water flow and; the surrounding mangroves may supply other key nutrients to feed the dinoflagellates. In addition, a nearby salt flat may be crucial in providing proper nutrients. On the neighboring island Jamaica, a bioluminescent bay no longer glows at night when developers decided to build a hotel in the salt flats to better see the bay.

“To conserve these fragile environments we need to understand how they function and how they respond to environmental threats,” O’Connell says.

The bays are a unique find, world-wide. For more than 60 years, they’ve have been untouched by developers. The U.S. Navy used sections of the island for military exercises, blocking access to the bays. In 2003, the land was transferred from the Navy to the U.S. Department of Fishing and Wildlife to become a wildlife refuge. Although the lack of development kept the area pristine, pollution from the Navy’s bombing residues is being studied and activities and plans are underway to clean-up material left by the Navy.

But it’s not only the toxic pollution that concerns the researchers. It’s actually light pollution encroaching on the bays. Light beaming from a full moon alone is enough to hide the brilliant bioluminescence. There are pressures from both individuals and the Puerto Rican government to develop the hills above the bay and in the public beach area to the west.

Wesleyan students Greeney, Pain and Sorokopoud, who were funded in-part by the Mellon and Hughes programs, will continue their research during the academic year. They’ve returned home with core samples, which will be examined in depth inside Wesleyan laboratories. O’Connell and Ku hope to obtain additional grant funding in the future to continue studying the unique ecosystem.

O’Connell made her first trip to Vieques seven years ago and returns each year, most recently to teach courses in the Graduate Liberal Studies Program.

“Once I saw these bays, I fell in love with them, and I want to study them and preserve them,” she says.

 
By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor. Photos contributed by Tim Ku and Suzanne O’Connell.

Psychology Department Welcomes New Assistant Professor


Barbara Juhasz, assistant professor of psychology, studies readers’ eye movement.
 
Posted 07/28/06
Barbara Juhasz has joined the Department of Psychology as an assistant professor.

Juhasz studies the psychology of reading. Her main task in investigating word recognition is to measure readers’ eye movements as they read sentences on a computer screen. The duration of readers’ eye fixations on words provides detailed information on how easy or difficult words are to understand, she explains.

While her research is usually conducted on literate adults, it has applications to the teaching of reading and the understanding of reading disorders.

“In my opinion, recognizing and understanding words is a very important part of the reading process,” Juhasz says. “I am particularly interested in how readers’ mental dictionaries are organized.”

Juhasz comes to Wesleyan from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she worked as the university’s Eye-Tracking Laboratory manager while completing her Ph.D. She received a bachelor’s of art in psychology from Binghamton University; a master’s of science in cognitive psychology from UMass, Amherst; and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from UMass, Amherst in May 2006.

She has been the recipient of several grants and fellowships including a pre-doctoral traineeship from the National Institute of Mental Health; a Study Visit Grant from the Experimental Psychology Society; a Psychology Departmental Travel Grant from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and a Dean of Harpur College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Support Grant.

At Binghamton, Juhasz was an undergraduate research assistant for Professor Albrecht Inhoff in the university’s Eye-Tracking Laboratory. She also worked as a teaching assistant for a course titled Research Methods and an instructor for two psychology courses and accompanying labs.

At UMass, Amherst, she worked as a graduate research assistant for Professor Keith Rayner at the Eye-Tracking Laboratory. In addition, she supervised four undergraduates in the lab, and oversaw two senior honor’s thesis students. She also worked as a teaching assistant for the course, Undergraduate Psychological Statistics.

“It was these early research experiences that inspired me to become an assistant professor and study reading,” she says. “I am very excited to involve undergraduates in my research.”

At Wesleyan, Juhasz plans to establish an internationally-known eye movement and reading lab.

“Wesleyan has a great reputation for both teaching and research. It is rare to find a university that excels in both of these areas,” she says.

Juhasz is the author or co-author of more than a dozen articles including “Immediate disambiguation of lexically ambiguous words during reading: Evidence from eye movements,” and “Orthographic uniqueness point and eye movements in reading,” published in the British Journal of Psychology; “Age-of-acquisition effects in word and picture processing,” published in Psychological Bulletin; and “Binocular coordination of the eyes during reading: Word frequency and case alternation affect fixation duration but not binocular disparity,” published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

In addition, she holds professional memberships with the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society.

Juhasz will teach Sensation and Perception in the fall, and in the spring, Statistics: An Activity-Based Approach and Psychology of Reading.

Juhasz says her family is especially proud that she has become an assistant professor at Wesleyan. Her grandfather, Wesley Sanders, attended Wesleyan, and her uncle, Peter Sanders, graduated from Wesleyan in ‘56.

She lives in East Hampton, Conn. with her husband, Matthew Vitiello, and their dog, Sid.
.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Field Hockey Coach is Leading by Example


Patricia Klecha-Porter, head women’s field hockey coach, offers her team advice during half-time. She also is the assistant squash coach, and has worked at Wesleyan for more than 20 years.
 
Posted 07/28/06
Q: How were you first introduced to field hockey and squash, and at what age did you begin playing?

A: My older sister was involved in the sport of field hockey. After her practice she would play with me. Organized training began in ninth grade. Squash was introduced to me at Wesleyan under the Head Coach Don Long. He mentored and gave me a solid foundation of skills, strategy and coaching.

Q: At Ithaca College, you were a team captain and MVP in both field hockey and lacrosse. What were your secrets to success?

A: My strongest asset as a captain was the ability to show by example. I was determined to always compete hard every minute of the contest no matter what the score was. Respect the rules, respect your teammate and respect your opponent. Work at what is most productive and difficult for the opponent. I enjoyed communicating, encouraging my teammates to rally, do their best in both field hockey and lacrosse. What remained a constant with all three sports was my reminder that what effort you put into the sport, practice, game, was what you were going to achieve. My teammates knew that.

Q: What did you major in and why did you decide to pursue a career in coaching?

A: At Ithaca College I received a bachelor’s of science in physical education with a minor in psychology. At Springfield College I received a master’s of science in exercise physiology and cardiac rehabilitation. The coaching field had become an extension of my desire to pursue field hockey at the national level. Having the knowledge and training at a high level gave me the opportunity to teach and coach the sport.

Q: You’ve been at Wesleyan 21 years, 15 of which you were head coach of the squash team. What keeps your job interesting?

A: I truly enjoy watching players develop from the beginning of a season to the end, and their long term development, from their freshmen year to their senior year. Each fall, the team must pull together, from the early stages of the game to the end of postseason play. It is what gets them there that I have a passion for. I like to employ new ways of training, set a goal for that team for the season and create practices to make it happen. My gratification comes from observing their talent come together and over all improvement.

Q: What physical education classes do you teach at Wesleyan?

A: I teach Step Aerobics and Advanced Strength Training.

Q: In 1999, you were honored as the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) field hockey coach of the year.

A: I was honored to be selected by my colleagues and to be honored as the Coach of the Year. I do credit the 1999  Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship team for this recognition. They were a solid team.

Q: As a field hockey coach, you guided the lady Cardinals to their most regular-season victories in team history with 11 in 2005, and have led the team to two ECAC New England Division III titles in 1999 and 2000. What are your other major accomplishments?

A: I was inducted into the Ithaca College Sports Hall of Fame and the New York State Section 5 Hall of Fame. In 2005 I was awarded the Chickie Possion Award for Service in Field Hockey in Connecticut.

Q: When does the field hockey season begin and how do you help prepare the team? What coaching lessons do you stress year after year?

A: Field Hockey season begins Sept. 1. Programs are set up for players to develop their fitness level. When the season begins we strive for players to play their best, work hard no matter what the score is, no matter how much time is on the clock. I stress to the team to be accountable for your actions, respect others, judge the situation and make the best decisions.

Q: You’ve taken your team to Bermuda, Barbados and the Netherlands. What is the advantage of these trips?

A: Tours are a definite perk for a team to develop bonding, friendship and camaraderie. To travel 10-12 days with each other, playing a sport you have a passion for in different countries makes the unknown exciting. Experiencing different customs and different styles of play allows the individual to go out of their comfort zone and accommodate, change and be charged with new ideas. Traveling allows for the students to become sports ambassadors for the U.S. and Wesleyan.

Q: You hold an International Umpiring rating, the highest level for umpires in the game of women’s lacrosse. Where have you umpired?

A: Besides numerous college games and NCAA playoffs here in the states, I have umpired for the International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse Associations World Cup during the summer of 2001 in Wycombe, England, the 2005 World Cup at the Navel Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, and the International Owl tournament in Oshawa, Canada.

Q: What is the Cardinal Field Hockey Camp and what is your role with this camp?

A: The goal is to offer a fundamental clinic that exposes high school players to current techniques and skills of field hockey. The Cardinal Field Hockey Camp is an evening camp for 7-12th grade players. I direct, create the curriculum, manage the coaching staff and I am involved in the daily coaching. The camp has been running for over 10 years.

Q: At Wesleyan, who is your assistant coach?

A: Jen Shea is the field hockey assistant who played at Amherst College. She also is our head softball coach here at Wesleyan.

Q: You have competed at the Olympic Sports Festival.

A: The Olympic Festival was a great experience for me. It was an extensive selection process for athletes who where chosen by performing in the United States Field Hockey Association Developmental camps. I truly enjoyed the level of play and was honored to be selected twice in the 80s. I also had the opportunity to play with my younger sister on those teams.

Q: What are your hobbies and interests aside from sports?

A: I enjoy gardening, exercising, reading and doing home improvements.

Q: Tell me about your family, and do they enjoy sports, too?

A: I have a wonderful husband, Scott, who keeps me well balanced, two sons, Nathan and Andrew, and a daughter, Logan. All are involved with sports and keep me entertained!
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor. Photos by Brian Katten, sports information director.

Students, Alumni Bring Fatal Fire Story to Life through Play


The American Story Project, a theater company comprised of Wesleyan students and alumni, will perform We Can’t Reach You, Hartford at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival held in Edinburgh, Scotland Aug. 7-19.
Posted 07/28/06
In 1944, the Hartford Circus Fire caused more than 150 deaths during an afternoon circus performance. Although the cause of the fire remains officially undetermined, five employees of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus were charged with involuntary manslaughter, and the circus was forced to accept full financial responsibility for the fire that occurred during their show.

This tragic, yet compelling story, will be retold and performed by the American Story Project, a new theater company comprised of Wesleyan students and alumni. The seven-member group will premier We Can’t Reach You, Hartford, a play by Jess Chayes ’07 and Stephen Aubrey ‘06, at the Bedlam Theatre during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival held in Edinburgh, Scotland Aug. 7-19.

Under Chayes’s direction, the audience will witness the story of sad clowns, unlikely heroes and the forgotten tragedy under the big top. Performers include Annie Bodel ’08, Edward Bauer ’08, Elissa Kozlov ’08, Mike James ’07 and Hayley Stokar ’06.

In We Can’t Reach You, Hartford, Bauer plays the role of Emmett Kelly, a sad clown from the Depression-era 1930s who once performed as an actual member of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1942 to 1956. One of the most memorable pictures to emerge from the Hartford Circus Fire depicted Kelly, in full sad clown makeup, attempting to extinguish the flames that had already engulfed the entire circus behind him. Even until his death in 1979, Emmett Kelly never discussed what he saw that day in July.

James plays Meryl Evans, a band director who continued to conduct during the fire until the flames forced his musicians to flee.

“Jess really wanted to make the play a living document without following docudrama rules,” James says. “She and Stephen made something surprising. The play focuses mostly on the disaster’s periphery; it’s an eerie stage poem.”

This will be a second venture to the Fringe Festival for Chayes, James, Stokar and Kozlov. Last year, the American Story Project’s production of Tone Clusters premiered at the Bedlam Theatre and brought critical acclaim. The American Story Project has also performed at venues in Connecticut and New York.

“Each of our plays strives for honest, powerful expression among the more bizarre channels of the human experience,” Chayes says. “Each piece tackles difficult, haunting questions, striving not for answers, but for illumination, insight and a journey into the human condition.”

In 2001, a comprehensive history of the Hartford Circus Fire was published. Novelist Stewart O’Nan, author of “The Circus Fire: the True Story of an American Tragedy,” attended the company’s workshop performance in May. Afterwards, he wrote of the production: “We Can’t Reach You, Hartford re-imagines the tragedy of the Hartford Circus Fire with a strange and compelling immediacy. It’s a weird, nearly overwhelming tale, but director Jess Chayes, writer Stephen Aubrey and the players bring an intimate scale and bracing range to the material. Creepy, funny, touching–it’s a tour de force.”

A benefit performance of We Can’t Reach You, Hartford runs in Manhattan, N.Y., Aug. 2; and in Scarsdale, N.Y. on Aug. 3. For more information visit americanstoryproject.com.

 
By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Wesleyan to Host Summer Institute on U.S. Citizenship, Race


Posted 07/28/06
Immigration, race and the history of U.S. citizenship are just a few of the topics that will be discussed during a summer institute presented by the Center for African American Studies for secondary school teachers from Aug. 7-10.

“Race and Membership: A History of United States Citizenship,” has pre-registered more than 20 social studies teachers, most hailing from Connecticut. The four-day institute is open to all secondary school educators (grades six through 12), support staff, curriculum specialists and school librarians.

The institute aims to foster a sustained and in-depth discussion among the participants about how to teach United States history, how to bring many different racial groups into the historical narrative, and how to connect historical issues to contemporary problems in Connecticut’s secondary school curriculum. Last year, the institute focused on the Civil Rights Movement.

Participants will examine some of the most recent scholarship on the history of several different racial groups, including Blacks, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanics. With its focus on the theme of citizenship, the Institute will draw connections between historical debates about what it means to be American, how membership in the nation has been regulated, and contemporary debates about immigration and Native sovereignty rights.

“The summer institutes are so much fun for the Wesleyan faculty,” says Renee Romano, associate professor of History, African American Studies and American Studies and the institute’s director. “The teachers we work with are so dedicated and engaged and they are just a joy to work with.”

The following Wesleyan faculty members are participating in this summer’s institute: Demetrius Eudell, associate professor of History and African American Studies, Gayle Pemberton, professor of English, African American Studies and American Studies, Melanye Price, assistant professor of government, Kehaulani Kauanui, assistant professor of American Studies and Anthropology and Romano.

Besides engaging in activities and discussion with scholars, participants will also be split into four curriculum development groups to translate content into usable classroom lesson plans.

“It’s helpful to meet with teachers from different school districts and to discuss what effective materials and techniques are being used in their classroom,” says institute participant Doris Duggins, an eighth grade teacher of U.S. History at Silas Deane Middle School in Wethersfield, Conn. “The institute affords me the opportunity to absorb information in the hopes of continually improving myself as a teacher.”

Romano says it is particularly important to explore the history of U.S. citizenship laws and practices given the current political debates about immigration, border control, and how the nation should deal with illegal immigrants.

“This institute will ask what it means to be a full member of the state, how the United States government has sought to control, which people can be considered a member of the nation, and how groups that have been excluded from membership or who have faced restrictions on full citizenship rights have fought for inclusion,” Romano says.

“Race and Membership: The History and Politics of United States Citizenship” is funded by Humanities in the Schools, a program of the Connecticut Humanities Council, the We The People initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities and Wesleyan University.

For more information about the Summer Institute, please contact Professor Renee Romano at rromano@wesleyan.edu or 860-685-3579.

 
By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

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

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

Kay Butterfield Celebrates 100th Birthday at Wesleyan


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wesleyan Breaks Fund-Raising Record, Garners Award


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ITS VP Says His Department Can Handle Any Technology Problem


Ganesan “Ravi” Ravishanker has worked at Wesleyan 20 years. He was recently promoted to associate vice president of Information Technology Services.
 
Posted 07/07/06
When there’s nothing broken, don’t try to fix it.

That’s how Ganesan “Ravi” Ravishanker feels about Information Technology Services. The newly-promoted associate vice president of ITS says the university can feel comfortable that its technology needs are in good hands.

“I inherited a very hard working organization and I’m not intending to change anything drastically within the department,” Ravishanker says from his fifth floor office in Exley Science Center. “Technology problems can arise and hit us very fast, and our department is very capable of responding to these situations.”

This has always been the case, he says.

When Ravishanker arrived at Wesleyan 20 years ago, he shared a dual appointment in the former Wesleyan Computing Center and the Chemistry Department with David Beveridge, the University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics and professor of chemistry. Professor Beveridge’s group measured the movement of DNA molecules over time using molecular modeling program. Though they could only capture the motions over a hundred picoseconds (1 picosecond is one-trillionth of a second) the results from these simulations were huge.

He and Beveridge developed a program called Molecular Dynamics Analysis Toolchest, to analyze and present this data in a concise graphical format. This is still in active use by several molecular modeling labs.

“Keep in mind, this is 1986. Computer power was very limited, but we were doing cutting-edge simulations of DNA,” Ravishanker says. “It was very rare for a small university to have the computer equipment we had, and that has always been one of the best parts about working at Wesleyan. We are always able to go looking for the next best thing in technology and implement them.”

As technology became more complex, so did Ravishanker’s responsibilities. Although he enjoyed working in the Beveridge lab, he was offered a full-time management position in the Wesleyan Computing Center. The number of people using personal computers and applications such as e-mail was growing in leaps and bounds, and the Internet was just beginning to take form. Managing all these posed special challenges and Ravishanker wanted to be part of this, and jumped at the opportunity.

“I feel very privileged that I got to be part of the evolution of the Internet right from the start,” he says. “I had no idea the Internet would become so huge and simplify lives the way that it has. It’s been nothing but an exciting journey here.”

From 1994-1996, the Wesleyan Computing Center under went several iterations and changes in management. Ravishanker spent a year as interim director and was later promoted to director of Technology Support Services. He stayed in this role until June 2006, when he was promoted as associate VP.

“Ravi is one of the most energetic, customer-orientated, bright, down to earth, collegial people that I have ever worked with,” says John Meerts, vice president for Finance and Administration. “I’m supremely confident he will guide ITS in a superb fashion in his new VP role.”

Ravishanker leads monthly meetings for the entire ITS department to keep everyone abreast on each other’s projects and upcoming deadlines. He offers help and advice to anyone who needs it, and enjoys taking on his own projects when time allows.

Ravishanker is the E-Portfolio’s author and wrote several of its applications, such as the bulk email system and various e-mail tools. He’s mastered several programming languages including as Java, FORTRAN and PERL and understands all e-mail, server and networking issues on campus.

“I used to be a very hands-on manager,” he says. “I wanted to be able to do anything anyone else in this department can do, in addition to being a manager. But that has to change now.”

Ravishanker, a native of Sri Lanka, attended college in southern India and earned a Ph.D in theoretical chemistry Hunter College of the City University of New York. He has always had an interest in technology.

In his new VP role, Ravishanker has two immediate goals in mind. He wants to make Web Mail more efficient. A group of ITS staff are currently implementing various technologies to accomplish this. He also wants to explore with the cooperation of ITS staff opportunities available through Web 2.0 and see how these services can be advantageous to Wesleyan. The term Web 2.0 refers to a second generation of services available on the World Wide Web that allows users to collaborate and share information online. He cites blogs and wikis as examples of Web 2.0 technologies. Leading by example, the “gone paperless” guru already uses a Web 2.0 blog to communicate with his department.

“Applying new Web technologies to enhance the sense of community and help collaborate better will be our goal in the coming year,” he says.

Ravishanker spends his free time playing golf and the occasional game of cricket. But he returns to the computer for his ultimate hobby – tuning into South-Indian music stations.

“I’m always humming along with them,” he says, smiling.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor