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Inauguration Events Key Part of Homecoming/ Family Weekend

Janice Astor del Valle, left, director of the Green Street Arts Center, listens to Sonia BasSheva Manjon, director of the Center for Art and Public Life at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, speak on “Building Bridges between University and Community” during a Inauguration  Event Nov. 2 in Memorial Chapel. Manjon and del Valle each spoke on how their arts center has helped their local communities.
Posted 11/05/07
One of Michael Roth’s predominant themes during his inauguration, as well as his professional life, has been “Liberal Education and Public Life.” This theme was reflected in several special Inaugural Evenst during Homecoming/Family Weekend.

The presentations began before the inauguration ceremony itself with a WESeminar titled “Building Bridges Between University and Community” which was held on Friday morning. The presentation brought together Sonia BasSheva Manjon, executive director of the Center for Art and Public Life at Roth’s former institution, the California College for the Arts, in Oakland and San Francisco, Calif., and Janis Astor del Valle, director of the Green Street Arts Center in Middletown.

The presentation detailed how both organizations provide a unique mix of art and arts programming for the community and a high level of public service, which has been quite successful in both cases. More of a challenge has been teaching students, faculty and others about the value and need of art in society, and how to combine these needs with arts and service education. Both presenters were frank in their comments, indicating that this is not an easy task at any level.

An inauguration-linked benefit reception and dinner was also held for the Green Street Arts Center (GSAC) Nov. 3 featuring cabaret signer Andrea Marcovicci. A veteran of the Broadway stage, Marcovicci continues to tour her numerous, critically-acclaimed cabaret shows, including “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “Love Songs of WWWII,” and “Marcovicci sings Rodgers and Hart.” The event raised more than $43,000 for GSAC scholarships.

Also Nov. 3, a WESeminar titled “Thoughts on the History of Lesbian/Gay/Queer Activism at Wesleyan University” was presented by Henry Ablelove, Wilbur Fisk Osbourne Professor of English Literature. Ablelove was a mentor of Roth’s during and after his Wesleyan undergraduate years, spoke of lesbian/gay/queer activism on Wesleyan’s campus from the 80s until today, discussing benefits, consequences and unintended outcomes.

On Nov. 4, the final inauguration event, “Stories and Lessons from the Climate Wars, and featured Gary Yohe, Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics. Yohe is also a senior member and lead author of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which was a co-recipient if the Nobel Peace Prize this year. Yohe spoke about his experiences on the committee, some of the battles they fight with each other, and the newsmedia, over the veracity of certain climate change data, papers and scientific reports. He also detailed some of the difficulties inherent in a committee that comprises almost 2,000 scientists and represents more than 130 national governments.

By David Pesci, director of Media Relations. Photo by Olivia Drake.

Students Promote Campus-Wide Religious Pluralism

Nadeem Modan ‘10 and Adina Teibloom ‘10 attended interactive workshops, panel conversations with leading think tanks and foundations at the Interfaith Youth Conference Oct. 28-30 in Chicago, Ill. They are sharing what they have learned with their Wesleyan peers.
Posted 11/05/07
Two Wesleyan sophomores met with renowned religious scholars, interfaith activists and peers from around the world recently to promote peaceful relations between different religious groups.

Nadeem Modan ‘10, who is Muslim, and Adina Teibloom ‘10, who is Jewish, attended interactive workshops, panel conversations with leading think tanks and foundations, and an interfaith concert at the Interfaith Youth Conference Oct. 28-30 in Chicago, Ill. This year’s conference was titled “Crossing the Faith Line.”

Modan, an active member of Wesleyan’s Interfaith Justice League and the Advisory Committee for Spiritual and Religious Life, attended the conference to discover methods to encourage further religious pluralism at Wesleyan. He’s also striving to develop a Middle Eastern Studies Program at Wesleyan, where is planning to major in pre-med and religion.

“Many of us grapple with the same problems: How do we create a safe space in which people feel comfortable enough to share their beliefs? How do we guide a discussion in which authenticity is not lost while trying to maintain community? And how do we deal with the elephant in the corner that is the Middle East?,” Modan says. “By attending this conference, I was able to get answers to these questions, all of which will help in working towards religious pluralism on campus and beyond.”

Modan says Wesleyan, which prides itself on its diverse student body, often excludes religion as a form of diversity.

“’Unless you’re like me, unless you believe this, unless you don’t believe that, you are wrong.’ This attitude is still very prevalent at Wesleyan, and it is espoused not only by those who identify as religious, but arguably even more so by those who don’t,” Modan says.

At the conference, Modan and Teibloom had the opportunity to participate in dozens of workshops, led by spiritual leaders from around the country. Topics included Youth as Leaders in the Interfaith Movement; the Relevance of Religion in 21st Century Curriculum; Faith, Democracy, Jazz: The Applications of Universal Language Skills; Baha’i Faith; Enhancing U.S. – Muslim Relations on Campus; Evangelical Christianity; Creating Interfaith Dialogue on College Campuses; Deepening Interfaith Service Learning Through the Arts; Addressing the Arab-Israeli Conflict in Interfaith Dialogue; Fostering Mentoring Communities Through Interfaith Service Learning; among many other topics.

This was Teibloom’s second year attending the interfaith conference. She has worked with the organization for five years, and was invited to facilitating a brainstorming session about how to be an effective interfaith leader on campus. She also wrote a pamphlet about the Days of Interfaith Youth Service, which was widely distributed.

Teibloom, who is planning to major in religion, hopes to begin a summer program for students in high school and college to experience religious diversity and work together toward common action. She wants to pilot the program at Wesleyan.

“Our campus lends itself to interfaith work because it is an accepting environment to begin with,” Teibloom says. “I hope that an interfaith culture can be started on this campus and become a tradition that will continue even after I have graduated. If we can come to understand each other across difference perhaps we can begin to consider ending these conflicts with fair, peaceful solutions.”

Modan and Teibloom attended several talks by featured speakers such as Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core; Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, chair and scholar-in-residence at the Nawawi Foundation; Sally Mahe, director of Organizational Development for the United Religions Initiative; Ji Hyang Sunim, Buddhist advisor at Wellesley College; Eliyahu McLean, director of Jerusalem Peacemakers; Sally Quinn, editor of the Washington Post; among others.

Participants also attended a networking dinner, interfaith concert, a screening of “Encounter Point,” featuring a Q&A with director Ronit Avni of Just Vision; and the 2007 Days of Interfaith Youth Service Awards Banquet.

“I see religious pluralism as a way of life,” Teibloom says. “It’s a place where everyone is constantly striving to understand and empathize with people of all different moral and religious traditions. For me, pluralism is more than the existence of diversity but the dedication to encounter it with openness and acceptance at every moment.”

By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Student Singer-Songwriter on Ballot for 3 Grammy Awards

Skye LoGuidice ’09 is on the ballot for three Grammy awards. She write songs on life, tackling love, life and loss.
Posted 11/05/07
Skye LoGuidice ’09 is working toward graduating with a degree from the College of Letters, but first she may receive a Grammy Award – or two, or even three.

LoGuidice, who musically goes by Skye Claire, is listed on the 50th Annual Grammy Awards official ballot in three categories. The singer-songwriter was chosen among thousands of artists and bands nation-wide.

“I haven’t told that many people yet, because I don’t know how to react to this, or how to bring it into a conversation,” says LoGuidice, who learned of her ballot placement Oct. 30. “It’s hard to just say to someone, ‘I am on the Grammy ballot.’ I’m still spending a lot of time in my room just freaking out.”

Skye Claire is on the ballot in Category 1: Record of the Year with her song, “Hope It Helps;” Category 5: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Hope it Helps;” and Category 11: Best Pop Vocal Album for her seven-track 2006 EP Good Boys Don’t.

She writes her songs based on actual events that have occurred in her life, tackling love, life and loss. She sets her vocals to guitar in rock-infused pop.

“A lot of that album is about a guy I broke up with my freshman year at Wes,” LoGuidice says. “And my most recent songs are about my new boyfriend. He’s a student here, too.”

Members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will vote for their favorites on Nov. 7, and the top five in each category will be announced Dec. 6. Nominees will have the opportunity to attend the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles Feb. 10, 2008.

LoGuidice is well aware of her steep competition. In the Record of the Year category, she’s up against Smashing Pumpkins, Bob Seger, George Strait and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks. Among those with her on the ballot for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance are Nelly Furtado, Christina Aguilera and Norah Jones. In the Best Pop Vocal Album, she’s up against 263 others, including Carly Simon and KT Tunstall. Still she hopes she will make the cut to be a finalist.

“That would be a fairytale ending,” LoGuidice says. “I could go to the Grammys and be among all those celebrities, and actually get to say, ‘Hi Avril (Lavigne)!’”

Louise Brown, associate dean of the college and dean for the Class of 2009, was thrilled to learn about her student’s success.

“I’ve heard her CD and she definitely rocks,” Brown says. “The nominations, even at this early stage, give her a greater visibility and a new and bigger audience than she’s had, so it’s all good. What a fabulous opportunity and recognition of her work this is.”

“Skye Claire” rarely meshes her musical career with her academic life. The Manhattan, N.Y.-raised performer prefers to keep her music in New York and her studies in Middletown. Although her ideal goal would to become a famous singer-songwriter, she’s also planning to pursue a law degree after graduating from Wesleyan.

“I guess I lead a double life,” she says, smiling. “Here, I just like to concentrate on my school work and friends. I don’t want to have to think about performing too much when I’m on campus, so it’s better than I just keep them separate.”

Skye started writing music at 13, and recorded her first demo album at 16. At 19, she recorded her second CD and produced and arranged all but two songs. Now, at 20, she’s a self-taught guitarist, singer and group leader of a four-member band. Her proud parents and independent music promotion firm Big Noise help market the rising pop-star.

More information about Skye can be found online at

By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Artist Examines Media Coverage of Worldly Events

Alfredo Jaar is displaying three of his exhibits inside Zilhka Gallery.
Posted 11/05/07
Is a media giant like Newsweek able to shape public opinion by defining what is newsworthy? This is one question internationally acclaimed artist Alfredo Jaar leaves for his audience to answer in a current exhibition in Zilkha Gallery.

Jaar’s exhibition is on display in Zilkha Gallery through Dec. 2. He will present an art seminar at 4:15 p.m. Nov. 6 in Zilkha 106 and a music colloquium at 4:15 Nov. 7 in the Music Department.

Through a straightforward photography installation that addresses the media coverage of the Rwandan genocide, Jaar expands the ongoing debate among art and cultural critics about documentary photography. His work, Untitled (Newsweek) is one of three works reflecting his ongoing examination of the dichotomy between the authority of an image and its failure to fully convey an event.

The work in this exhibition examines economic and social injustice in Africa, specifically Rwanda, Angola, and Sudan. He draws attention to poverty, economic exploitation, global injustice and genocide.

“The work is about much more than conditions and events in these particular countries—genocide, colonialization, and famine—it is about systemic injustice, about the dynamic and tension between those who have absolute power and those who have absolutely none, suggesting parallel or related situations in Iraq, New Orleans, the Middle East, the South Bronx, or Bridgeport, Connecticut,” says Nina Felshin, curator of the exhibition.

Untitled (Newsweek) consists of 17 digital prints of Newsweek magazine covers chosen from issues published over a four-month period, from April 6 to Aug. 1, 1994. On April 6, the plane carrying Rwandan President Habyarimana was shot down as it was preparing to land at the airport in Kigali. This event triggered the beginning of 100 days of premeditated slaughter, which resulted in the deaths of one million members of the Tutsi minority and moderate Hutus. International response was barely audible. Newsweek’s response was silence, raising questions about the mainstream media’s relationship to those in power.

Jaar has added text below each Newsweek cover reporting statistics and events in Rwanda that correspond to the date of the magazine. After 16 weeks of the genocide, Newsweek finally accorded it a cover.

In addition to Untitled (Newsweek), a film and haunting video-installation are on display. The film, Muxima, meaning “heart” in Kimbundu, an indigenous language of Angola, is a cinematic elegy dedicated to the people of Angola.

“During the process of organizing my extensive collection of Angolan recordings, I discovered that I had in my possession six different versions of a song called ‘Muxima,'” Jaar explains.

And a film was born —a film that poetically portrays the evolving history of Angola through alternate interpretations of this single folk song. Muxima is rooted in his love of African music and the belief that music can resonate with and therefore help communicate the experiences of the people.

The video installation, titled The Sound of Silence, features a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph shot in the Sudan in 1993 by the late South African photojournalist Kevin Carter and the controversy it sparked. The eight-minute videotape is housed within a structure that evokes the interior of a camera obscura, forcing the viewer to become part of a captive audience while at the same time implicating us in the controversy that surrounds this image. The predominantly text-driven video challenges us to examine the broader implications of another’s suffering in terms of our personal ethics.

Alfredo Jaar was born in Santiago, Chile in 1956. He currently lives and works in New York City. His work has been shown extensively around the world. He has participated in the Venice, São Paulo, Johannesburg, Sydney, Istanbul and Kwangju Biennales and in Documenta in Kassel. Major solo exhibitions have been presented at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Whitechapel in London, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Pergamon Museum in Berlin and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm.

He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1985 and was named a MacArthur Fellow in the year 2000.

Alfredo Jarr’s exhibition is sponsored by the Raymond E. Baldwin Lecture Fund, Office of Academic Affairs, Office of Affirmative Action, Department of Art and Art History, Raymond E. Baldwin Lecture Fund, Center for African American Studies, The Office of the Dean of the Arts and Humanities, Music Department and The President’s Office.

Wesleyan Replaces Loans with Grants for Neediest Students

Posted 11/05/07
Wesleyan University will eliminate loans for its neediest undergraduates and replace these with additional grants, President Michael S. Roth has announced. The policy will be part of a new initiative to reduce overall student indebtedness by 35 percent to make Wesleyan even more accessible to students regardless of their financial capacity.

“Access to a Wesleyan education for students from all backgrounds has long been one of the core values of this community,” Roth says. “It remains one of our highest priorities. As I begin my presidency, I see this new effort as a down payment on our goal to endow financial aid and need-blind admission more fully in the next campaign.” Roth was formally inaugurated as Wesleyan’s 16th president at ceremonies on campus on Nov. 2.

Beginning with the first-year class enrolling in the fall of 2008, most students whose total family incomes are $40,000 per year or less will receive an aid package that substitutes grants for any loan obligation. Beginning with the same class, all other students who receive aid will graduate with a four-year total loan indebtedness reduced by an average of 35 percent. Aid packages will include a single student loan, the federally subsidized Stafford Loan. The interest rates for Stafford Loans are among the lowest available.

Wesleyan will raise endowment sufficient to fund the $3.2 million annual cost of this initiative. In fact, preliminary conversations with Wesleyan donors about the goal of reducing student indebtedness already have yielded over $10 million in new commitments to student aid, Roth reported.

Wesleyan admits students without regard to their financial circumstances and then provides a financial aid package that meets each student’s full demonstrated need. Forty percent of its 2,900 students currently receive grant aid. The average grant is $27,151. Wesleyan currently budgets $35.4 million of its own resources annually for grant aid for undergraduates. Federal and state sources contribute an additional $2.7 million.

Since the 1960s, Wesleyan has aggressively pursued diversity in the form of affirmative action and need-blind admissions.

Thirteen percent of Wesleyan students currently receive Pell grants; the federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate students to promote access to postsecondary education.

Wesleyan also is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its Upward Bound program. Upward Bound is an educational opportunity outreach program supported through federal TRIO funding, as well as through grants from Connecticut Department of Education and the boards of education of the Middletown, Meriden and Portland schools; it provides fundamental support to low-income students in their preparation for college. Wesleyan recently received a TRIO grant to establish a Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program focused on students in the sciences; the McNair program prepares students from disadvantaged backgrounds and who have demonstrated high academic potential for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities.

By Justin Harmon, vice president of Public Affairs

Roth Inauguration a Celebration of Ideas, Possibilities

Jim Dresser ’63 shakes hands with Michael Roth during the 16th Wesleyan President Inauguration event Nov. 2.  Roth was installed as president in front of more than 1,500 people.

Posted 11/05/07
“Today, Michael Roth, you are formally charged with the duties, obligations and opportunities of the office of president of Wesleyan University. Today, especially, we express our gratitude that you have so fully and enthusiastically assumed these duties in the service of our beloved University.”

With these words by Jim Dresser ’63, Michael S. Roth ’78 was formally installed as the 16th President of Wesleyan Nov. 2 in front of more than 1,500 faculty, students, staff and members of the university community at Silloway Gym in the Freeman Athletic Center. Hundreds more watched the event live on the web. An archived webcast of the full ceremony can be found here:

The ceremony brought together the Wesleyan community with words, music, awards and, perhaps most important, ideas and goals for the future of the university. These ambitions were reflected in Roth’s theme for his inauguration: “Liberal Education and Public Life.”

“Our campus community is a learning community,” Roth said in his written introduction featured in the inauguration program. “It helps us consider how we can all be more engaged in connecting the lessons in freedom through liberal learning to our social and political lives – to our public life.”

The ceremony opened with a procession of Wesleyan faculty as well as delegates from other universities and academic organizations from across the nation, a tradition that reaches back centuries. Participants included representatives from Yale University, Williams College, Amherst College, Trinity College, Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania, Spelman College, and 52 other institutions.

The ceremony included greetings and congratulations from Gary Yohe, Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics and chair of the Wesleyan faculty, Matt Ball ’08, chair of the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA), and Nancy Stack ’74, chair of the Wesleyan Alumni Association. A letter of congratulations from Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell was read.

Extended remarks were provided by Beverly Daniel Tatum ’75, P’04, president of Spelman College, and by Carl Schorske P ’81, a historian who taught at Wesleyan from 1946 to 1960, and later as a visiting professor in 1976-77. Roth was a student of Schorske’s at Wesleyan that year, and Schorske supervised Roth’s Ph.D. dissertation in history a few years later at Princeton. They have remained friends ever since.

“Having observed him for 30 years in a variety of functions and contexts, I have some sense of the dimensions of his approach in the past,” Schorske said of Roth. “Scholar, teacher, institutional leader, if Michael’s past experience and performance are any guide, he will remain vigorously active in all of these dimensions of academic and intellectual life. … I invoke this record of Michael’s performance to introduce you to a person fully committed to the holy trinity of scholarship, teaching and administration.”

Roth’s inaugural speech complemented Schorske’s, focusing on teaching, scholarship, and sustainable institutional excellence in all areas (the full text can be found at: ).

In his address Roth emphasized that the commitment to the highest quality academic work characterized his own Wesleyan professors, as well as today’s faculty:

“Our faculty expect that students bring ‘their best selves’ to class, but they are also wise enough to know that this won’t always happen. That’s where great teaching comes in. Our professors understand that there will be times when students don’t know how to access their capacity to be rigorous, passionate learners. And our professors know how to help students find that capacity and to use it.”

Roth described having been mentored both as a student and after, citing Professor of English Henry Abelove, who helped Roth when he was writing his first book, and Professor of Philosophy Victor Gourevitch, who assisted with the translation of a previously unknown correspondence between Leo Strauss and Alexandre Kojeve that Roth had unearthed while studying in France.

“These were heady experiences, but they were not singular,” Roth said. “I know of many, many Wesleyan students who can tell similar stories of close relationships with their teachers that led to an active life of the mind, of research, of creativity and of productivity.”

Roth also noted the link between the high quality of teaching at Wesleyan and the high standards of scholarship among the university’s students, and he challenged the institution to add a new measure of learning at Wesleyan.

“We should require that every student have the experience of producing original research,” Roth said. “Whether one majors in biology or music, film or philosophy, as a Wesleyan student you should become a participant in, and not just a spectator of, the professional practices in your area of study. We have a glorious tradition of active learning at this university, and we must ensure that every student who receives a diploma has a first-hand experience of it.”

Roth also announced a new financial aid initiative that will replace student loans with grants for Wesleyan’s neediest students beginning with the Class of 2008. As part of the initiative, students who do receive loans will see their four-year total loan indebtedness drop by an average of 35 percent—with the difference made up in grant aid.

During the ceremony, trustee emeritus Kofi Appenteng ’81, P ’07 was presented with the Raymond E. Baldwin Medal for his service to Wesleyan over the past three decades, including his role leading the recent presidential search that resulted in Roth’s selection as president. The Baldwin Medal is the highest award of the Wesleyan University Alumni Association. It was presented by Chair of the Board of Trustees, Emeritus, Alan M. Dachs ’70, P ’98, who himself had received an honorary doctorate at Commencement in May.

Roth added his recollections and thoughts regarding the inaugural event, which can be read online at:

The theme “Liberal Education and Public Life” was reflected in several special Inaugural Events during Homecoming/Family Weekend. Read more about them at:

By David Pesci, director of Media Relations. Photos by Bill Burkhart and Nick Lacy.

Film Studies Faculty Speaks on Technicolor Process at Museum of the Moving Image

Posted 11/05/07
In the 1930s, Hollywood unveiled a new way of watching film with the introduction of three-color Technicolor.

Scott Higgins, left, associate professor of film studies, will speak on the 75-year-old color film process technique during a three-weekend retrospective of Technicolor films at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. His lecture, which begins at 2 p.m. Nov. 17, will be held in conjunction with the publication of his book Harnessing the Technicolor Rainbow: Color Design in the 1930s (University of Texas Press).

“Filmmakers had already mastered the art of monochrome, of translating stories into a world of black and white, light and shadow. Technicolor was both a threat and a gift,” Higgins explains. “Now cinematographers, set designers, and directors had to consider how to guide the viewer’s attention, highlight key actions, and underline dramatic developments with this new tool. On one hand, color was thought distracting, glitzy and detrimental to drama. On the other hand, it could offer a new emotional register, a new form of spectacle, and a fresh way to shape the image.”

Although many producers and filmmakers initially resisted the use of color, Technicolor designers developed an aesthetic that complemented the classical Hollywood filmmaking style while still offering innovative novelty. By the end of the 1930s, color in film was thoroughly harnessed to narrative, and it became elegantly expressive without threatening the coherence of the film’s imaginary world.

Higgins’ book, published in November, is the first scholarly history of Technicolor aesthetics and technology, as well as a thoroughgoing analysis of how color works in film. He draws on extensive primary research and close analysis of well-known movies, including “Becky Sharp,” “A Star Is Born,” “Adventures of Robin Hood,” and “Gone with the Wind,” to show how the Technicolor films of the 1930s forged enduring conventions for handling color in popular cinema.

Higgins argues that filmmakers and designers rapidly worked through a series of stylistic modes based on the demonstration, restraint, and integration of color—and shows how the color conventions developed in the 1930s have continued to influence filmmaking to the present day.

Technicolor taught filmmakers how to use a broad palette to tell stories. But in the past 10 years or so, digital techniques have returned color’s pride of place in popular filmmaking.

“Filmmakers again face a new color technology and we can see them repeating some of the aesthetic struggles of the early Technicolor era,” Higgins says.

He sites films like “O Brother Where Art Thou “and “The Aviator,” which use this digital technology to emulate the old Technicolor look. Other productions like “Sin City” and “300” revel in color’s power and experiment with its potentials in a manner akin to the earliest three-color Technicolor films.

“It is a very exciting time for color in the cinema, quite like the 1930s in that regard,” he says.

He also formulates a new vocabulary and a method of analysis for capturing the often-elusive functions and effects of color that, in turn, open new avenues for the study of film form and lay a foundation for new work on color in cinema in the 312 page book.

Higgins will host a book signing after his lecture, and the museum will continue its celebration of Glorious Technicolor! through Dec. 2. The first three-strip Technicolor feature, “Becky Sharp” (released in 1935), and the first commercial three-strip cartoon, “Flowers and Trees” (released in 1932), will be shown at the museum. A rare, three-strip camera used by the Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation will be on display.

For more information about the Museum of the Moving Image Glorious Technicolor event go to:

For more information about Higgins’ book, or to order the book, go to:

By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

SOUNDS OF EAST ASIA: The group IIIZ+ (Three Zee Plus) performed for an audience inside the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies Oct. 11. From left to right are Ryuko Mizutani playing a Japanese koto; Yi-Chieh Lai, playing a Chinese zheng; Il-Ryun Chung playing Korean percussion; and Jocelyn Collette Clark ’92 playing a Korean kayagum. Combining these instruments is not traditional in East Asia.

Clark, who majored in East Asian studies, says the ensemble relies on collaborations with contemporary composers in order to build its repertoire.
At left, Vera Schwarz, director of the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies, chair of the East Asian Studies Program, professor of East Asian studies and professor of history applauds the musicians in between songs.
Il-Ryun Chung and Clark performed a duet. The event was co-sponsored by the East Asian Studies Program and the Music Department. More information about the ensemble is online at (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Wesleyan Aims for 47% United Way Participation to Make Difference in the Lives of Local Residents

Posted 10/16/07
Growing up, Karen Collins’s family found themselves in financially-difficult situations. But when times got tough, her community generously helped the family through local programs.

In college, she received financial aid, and relied on the support of many alumni of her school to finish her degrees.

Nowadays, the chair of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department, professor of mathematics, is giving back to her community by chairing Wesleyan’s Middlesex United Way campaign drive for the 2007-08 term.

Wesleyan’s annual campaign kick-off is Oct. 23.

“I’m a supporter of United Way because I want to give back to the world some of the help that I received,” Collins says. “I also want to live in a strong and healthy community, and that’s not really possible unless the people around me have food, homes, and basic medical care. The United Way serves people in our community, which is important to me, and supports so many programs in our community, that it is easy to find programs that I really want to support.”

Wesleyan employees will have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of local residents and improve community conditions by making donations to the Middlesex United Way. The campaign supports critical human care services and county-wide projects that address the top concerns of local residents including housing issues, mental health and substance abuse.

This year, Wesleyan’s goal is to raise $140,000 with 47 percent faculty and staff participation. Last year, Wesleyan raised $135,399 with 45 percent participation.

“As faculty and staff retire, we have to expect that our total contributions will fluctuate from year to year, and that’s one reason we are making the participation rate a priority this year,” Collins says.

Middlesex United Way currently supports six “What Matters” focus areas for funding including Affordable Housing Matters, School Readiness Matters, Positive Youth Development Matters, Independent Living Matters, Personal & Community Safety Matters and Volunteers Matter.

United Way also is mobilizing the caring power of communities in new ways, by working with new partners on prevention-based approaches that can bring about long-term, positive change.

Bill Holder, director of publications, says as a Wesleyan Middlesex United Way Campaign Board member, he is able to witness first hand how much effort goes into making sure that United Way dollars have a beneficial impact, and his contribution is handled with care.

“I certainly believe in helping worthy organizations in the community, and that’s part of my motivation for giving,” he says. “I’m also well aware that Middlesex United Way is working in a strategically smart way to address the underlying causes of problems in our county, and I think that’s so important.”

In 2006-07, Wesleyan was one of 160 businesses and organizations which helped raise 65 percent of all United Way funds during their annual workplace campaign. For its efforts, Wesleyan was named a Silver-level Corporate Sponsor.

“Together with our donors, volunteers and funding partners, we are bringing lasting change on key community issues like youth substance abuse, affordable housing, and early childhood development,” says Andy Heuer, Middlesex United Way development director. “Wesleyan’s leadership and financial support is, and always has been, an integral part in helping us achieve our goals.”

Employees can make a one-time donation or have funds withdrawn once a week, once every two weeks or once a month through Wesleyan’s payroll deduction plan. Forms will be sent to Wesleyan employees this month. A raffle drawing will be held with prizes for those making contributions.

“Here in the Wesleyan community, we have so much wealth compared to many, many people who live around us. We have wealth of education, of resources, and of support for our plans and ideas,” Collins says. “I believe that we can make a difference in the world and that, because we can be, we need to be leaders in making the world a better place. Our contributions make a difference in the lives of the people in our community, and they have an immediate impact. When we live in a strong community, our own lives are enriched and improved.”

For more information on Middlesex United Way go to the organization’s website at

By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

New Faculty Expert on Ancient Athens

Celina Gray, assistant professor of classical studies and archeology is teaching Magic in the Ancient World and Introduction to Ancient Greek this fall.
Posted 10/16/07
Celina Gray has joined the Department of Classical Studies as assistant professor.

Gray came to Wesleyan this fall after a year spent as the Blegen Research Fellow in the Department of Classics at Vassar College, her alma mater. Previously, she was assistant professor of Greek art and archaeology at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario.

This semester at Wesleyan, she is teaching GRK101, Introduction to Ancient Greek, and CCIV118, First Year Initiative: Magic in the Ancient World. As a graduate of a liberal arts college, Gray is excited to be back in a small college environment.

“I have always been a strong proponent of a liberal arts education,” Gray explains. “This semester, I am continually reminded how wonderful it is to teach and interact with students in this environment; my students are thoughtful, analytical, creative, enthusiastic and critical. They are learning for the first time about an ancient culture which is completely foreign to them, but they continually make observations which allow me to think about the material in new and interesting ways.”

Gray’s research focuses on the material culture of ancient Athens, especially sculpture and architecture from the Classical to Roman periods. She has published several articles on Athenian funerary art and her book project, Buried in the Past: the Funerary Landscape of Roman Athens, considers issues of citizenship, funerary ritual and the revival of the Classical past.

She has been invited to present this research at the “German-American Frontiers of Humanities Symposium” in Potsdam, Germany this month. Sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the American Philosophical Society, the symposium brings together American and German scholars in a variety of humanities fields. This year’s theme is “Worlds in Motion: Migration, Boundaries, Identities” and Gray will be presenting a paper titled, “Defying Definitions: Citizens and Foreigners in Roman Athens.”

Her interest in Greek art and archaeology developed from interdisciplinary training in the Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of California, Berkeley, where she completed her Ph.D. In addition to her work at Berkeley, she has held fellowships at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the American Academy in Rome.

Gray is also a faculty member in Wesleyan’s Archaeology Program. While her current research usually involves studying gravestones in dusty museum storerooms, she has extensive archaeological experience on both excavations and survey projects in Greece (Halai, Nemea, Corinth, Sikyon) and Italy (Oppido Lucano, Monte Polizzo). Additionally, in future courses and research, she is hoping to explore questions of cultural heritage and archaeological ethics.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

New Assistant Professor Expert on Space, Number Representations


Posted 10/16/07
Anna Shusterman has joined the Department of Psychology as an assistant professor of psychology. This semester she is teaching PSYCH110, “Issues in Contemporary Psychology: What Makes Us Human?”

Shusterman’s research interests are on the structure and development of mental representations, interactions between language and cognitive development, and representations of space and number.

She comes to Wesleyan from Harvard University, where she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory for Developmental Studies.

“Wesleyan has provided me with everything I need to do my research, including a beautiful new child development laboratory,” she says. “I also appreciate that Wesleyan values both research and teaching, which is important to me and very hard to find at many institutions.”

Shusterman received a bachelor of science in neuroscience from Brown University in 1998, and a Ph.D in developmental psychology from Harvard University in 2006.

At Harvard, she was the recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Student Research Fellowship between 2003-06; the McMaster Restricted Funds Grant in 2006 for her project “Spatial language and cognition in Nicaraguan Sign Language”; the Mind/Brain/Behavior Graduate Student Grant in 2005; the Stimson Restricted Funds Grant in 2005 for her project “The Comprehensive Survey on Trichotillomania.”

Shusterman is an active member in the Cognitive Development Society and Society for Research on Child Development; an Ad hoc reviewer for Cognition; a past organizer for The Diversity of Children’s Spatial Representations symposium and at the 4th Biennial Meeting of the Cognitive Development Society; and co-founder of the Harvard-MIT Philosophy & Experimental Psychology Reading Group.

She is the co-author of several articles, including “Reorientation and landmark-guided search in children: Evidence for two systems,” published in Psychological Science in 2006; and “Language and the development of spatial reasoning,” published in The Structure of the Innate Mind by Oxford University Press in 2005. She also has several articles under revision or in preparation.

She has presented at more than a dozen conferences, most recently at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development March 29 in Boston, Mass. She will speak on “Does spatial language guide spatial representation? Evidence from Nicaraguan Sign Language” during the Fifth Biennial Meeting of the Cognitive Development Society, Santa Fe, N.M. this year.

In addition to teaching, Shusterman has worked as a research supervisor and reading/research advisor for undergraduates from Wesleyan, Harvard, and other institutions participating in cognitive development research for work-study, Research Methods, Advanced Methods, Honors thesis projects, and summer internship program since 2002.

The Wesleyan students, she says, are a pleasure to be around, work with and teach.

“I came in with high expectations of the students, and my expectations are exceeded every day in new and surprising ways,” she says.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Farmers’ Market, Cob-Oven Demos at Pumpkin Fest 2007

The Long Lane Farm Club is spearheading the fourth annual Pumpkin Festival Oct. 20 for the Wesleyan and local community. The event will be held at the student-run Long Lane Farm.
Posted 10/16/07
The Wesleyan community and people from the surrounding area can paint and purchase pumpkins during the fourth annual Long Lane Farm Pumpkin Festival Oct. 20.

The event offers educational composting and organic gardening workshops, beekeeping, pumpkin face painting, tours of the farm, T-shirt designing, free bike tune-ups, garlic planting, music by student and local bands, games and a farmer’s market, selling farm produce and pumpkins. Long Lane Farm Club members will also offer demonstrations of the “cob oven” they constructed last summer.

“Pumpkin Fest is a chance to celebrate fall harvest and the changing of seasons, to bring together folks with connections to long lane both from Wesleyan and the broader Middletown sphere, and to make the farm accessible to students who miss out on the summer season when it is most alive and productive,” says Long Lane Farm Club member Jordan Schmidt ’08.

Although the farm successfully produces more than 80 different types of vegetables from eggplants to tomatillos, the pumpkin patch never produced a successful harvest until this year. Schmidt says the farm will display their 20 “own big beautiful pumpkins” at the fest, and supplement them with pumpkins and apples grown at an eco-friendly orchard in Meriden, Conn.

The Long Lane Farm was created in 2004 so students would have a place to come together and learn about food security issues. Students have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of running the farm.

People of all ages are welcome to participate in Pumpkin Fest activities.

Farm Club member Grace Lesser ’08 says Pumpkin Fest provides an excellent opportunity to introduce children to organic farming. As a freshman, she brought a class of students from a local elementary school to Middletown’s Washington Street Community Garden, and helped them plant a plot with lettuce, carrots and flowers, and met those students three months later to harvest to their crops.

“Some of these students had no idea where their vegetables at dinner came from, and definitely no idea that they could in fact eat food that they, themselves planted,” Lesser says.

The Long Lane Farming Club is extending festival activities into a series of other events highlighting the exploration of urban agriculture and broader food-agriculture interaction.

On Oct. 18, the farm club and Environmental Studies Certificate Program will host the agricultural film, “The Future of Food” from 8 to 10 p.m. in PAC 001; on Oct. 19, the Farming Club will meet between 2 and 5 p.m. to make pizza in their cob oven and work on the farm. At 7 p.m. Oct. 19, Scott Kellogg, co-founder of the Rhizome Collective, will discuss Urban Agriculture in the Russell House. The Rhizome Collective operates out of a self-renovated building in urban Austin, Texas where they work on creating accessible forms of autonomous energy and growing their own food using recycled water and nutrients from the available city-scape.

The 2007 Pumpkin Fest will be held from noon to 5 p.m. at the Long Lane Farm. The farm is located at the corner of Long Lane and Wadsworth Street, south of Physical Plant and Wesleyan University Press. Admission and activities are free. This year’s special musical guest is the band Busted Roses.

”I hope people can come out and have a good time, meet some new folks, share good food, become familiarized with the fall tasks of organic gardening, and just feel comfortable hanging out at the farm,” Schmidt says. “

The event is sponsored by the Environmental Studies Certificate Program, First Year Matters and Student Budget Committee. For more information contact Valerie Marinelli at 860-685-3733.

By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor