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Director of Publications Says “Wesleyan” Magazine is Collaborative Effort

Bill Holder, director of Publications, is the the editor of “Wesleyan” magazine.
Q: Your history with Wesleyan goes back more than three decades. How did it start?

A: My story with Wesleyan begins in 1971, when I came here as a freshman, graduating in 1975. I ended up working here most of my professional career here in the Office of University Communications, formerly the Office of Public Information.

Q: As director of publications, what are you in charge of?

A: I’m the editor of “Wesleyan” magazine. I plan content for the magazine, write, edit and oversee production, but really, the magazine is a collaborative venture with a number of people here in communications, from beginning to end. I’m glad to be part of this publication, which has been very well received. Our office also produces most of Wesleyan’s publications: everything from invitations to the course catalog.

Q: Sounds like a satisfying career.

A: The opportunities that came with doing the magazine have been very gratifying. I’ve met so many wonderful people on and off campus, and the job presents unending opportunities for personal growth. There are always challenges ahead.

Q: Who is the audience of the magazine?

A: Both campus and alumni. The magazine has various names that reflect its history. The correct name is “Wesleyan: the University Magazine,” but many people still call it older names, such as ‘the Alumni Magazine,’ or ‘Alumnus,’ which I think originated in the single-sex era here. Some people still call it “The Bulletin,” and that name goes way back. It’s funny how these old names stick around.

Q: What was your degree, and what led you into journalism/publications?

A: I actually graduated with a degree in chemistry, and then I went on to graduate school at the University of California at Berkley, wanting to become a research chemist. But after one year, I realized it wasn’t for me.

Q: Then what led you into journalism?

A: I learned mostly through on-the-job training. After I graduated, my Wesleyan connection served me well. I got a job as a science journalist with the American Chemical Society in Washington D.C. and my supervisor had a master’s from Wesleyan. Also, we both knew Max Tishler, who was a professor of chemistry at Wesleyan between 1970 and 1987 and served a term as president of the American Chemical Society. He influenced a lot of people, including me.

Q: How did you end up working at Wesleyan?

A: My wife, Elisabeth, and I wanted to move back to New England, so I came here and worked at the Middletown Press as a reporter for two years. My beat was covering Wesleyan, so I got to know many people here. And when a job opened up in Wesleyan’s public information office, I joined as a writer/editor.

Q: What were you writing/editing?

A: We had a newsletter for faculty and staff called the “Campus Report” and a tabloid for alumni called “WesNews.” I wrote for those, and the magazine, and later started WesOnline, which has since been replaced by the online newsletter.

Q: How has the Office of University Communications changed?

A: The public information office in South College was much smaller. There were only six or seven of us. Now there are 16, and the name changed to the Office of University Communications in 2000 when Justin Harmon was hired as the director. So back then I was doing a little bit of everything, including writing and editing stories for the magazine and writing a lot of press releases. Now there are three departments under the Office of University Communications: Media Relations, headed by David Pesci, which handles the media inquiries, press releases and the online newsletter; Web Management, headed by Jennifer Carlstrom, which handles the design of the bulk of the University’s Web pages; and my department, Publications, which produces the “Wesleyan” magazine and most of Wesleyan’s higher profile publication pieces.

Q: You left Wesleyan for a few years. Where did you end up going?

A: In 1990, I went to Cornell’s news bureau. I was a full-time science writer, and that was an interesting change, as Cornell is a much different institution. My beat was the College of Agriculture, and I wrote articles on everything from cows and apples to molecular biology. I was there three years, until the magazine editor job opened here at Wesleyan and I came back.

Q: What do you enjoy doing after work or on weekends?

A: I work out regularly at the Freeman Athletic center, read, and I like to travel. Recently, I went to visit my daughter in L.A.; other trips have included visits to friends in Ottawa and in Switzerland. Our Swiss friends have a view of Lake Geneva and the Alps to die for. I also am on the Middlesex County United Way board of directors and a member of the Rockfall Foundation, a local conservation and environmental group.

Q: Tell me more about your family.

A: My wife, Liz ‘’76, teaches earth science at Rocky Hill High School. I have three children, Anne, who is at USC in LA now; Luke, who will graduate from Wesleyan this spring with the class of ’’05, and Zoe, a freshman here at Wesleyan.

Q: Any pets?

A: We have two dogs, Acadia and Kona. We go on lots and lots of dog walks.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Flory joins Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department


 
Mark Flory, assistant professor of molecular biology, studies genomic integrity in Hall-Atwater Laboratory.
 
Posted 05/02/05

Mark Flory joined the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department as an assistant professor of molecular biology and biochemistry in January 2005.

Flory, a native of Roanoke, Virginia, completed his bachelor’s of science degree at the University of Richmond majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry in 1994. He earned his Ph.D. at the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program at the University of Washington, Seattle, in 2001. His dissertation was titled, “Isolation and Characterization of Calmodulin-Binding Centrosome Components Related to Sacharomyces cerevisiae Spc110p from the Fission Yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Humans.” Flory completed his postdoctoral research in proteomics and mass spectrometry in Ruedi Aebersold’s group at the Seattle Institute for Systems Biology in 2004.

Flory’s research interests involve understanding the specific mechanisms that ensure genomic integrity. These mechanisms are fundamental to the prevention of chromosomal abnormalities that accompany carcinogenesis. A core set of proteins, conserved in yeast and human cells, protects telomeric chromosome ends by forming a physical cap structure, termed the “telosome,” that regulates access to chromosome ends. The low-abundance and biophysical properties of telomere-associating factors have hampered their identification and characterization, but he has successfully applied mass spectrometry to the identification of telomeric proteins in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

“I hypothesize that the telosome serves as a repository for factors that dynamically function in an equilibrium balancing telomeric protection and DNA repair according to the needs of the cell under different conditions,” Flory says.

While conducting postdoctoral research in Seattle, Flory also taught “Introduction to Biochemistry and Metabolism Parts I and II” at the University of Washington Extensions College for two years prior to coming to Wesleyan.

“I value highly the merits of a smaller-campus environment, but did not want to sacrifice the quality of my research program,” he says. “Wesleyan provides a truly unique combination of high-level research with an intimate teaching environment ideally suited for effective training of undergraduate and graduate students. During my recent national job search, I found the Wesleyan life sciences environment is unique not only to Connecticut but across the country.”

Flory is the co-author of nine articles, one technical report and a chapter in a book. He lives in Middletown with his partner Amy Sanchez, a chocolate lab named Ace, and a cat named Denson. He enjoys listening to and playing classical and jazz piano, kite boarding on water and snow and hiking.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Assistant Dean of Admission Reads Applications, Recruits Students, Plans WesFest


Leah Kelley, assistant dean of admission, looks through a student’s file in the Office of Admission.
 
Posted 05/02/05

Q: When did you come to Wesleyan?

A: I came to Wesleyan as an assistant dean last fall after graduating from Yale in the spring.

Q: What led you into working in an admission office?

A: I have a bachelor’s of arts in psychology, but in college, I became very involved in college awareness and SAT prep outreach programs. The different programs that I worked with opened up my eyes to the complexity of admissions. After working with high school students for three years, I knew that I wanted to work on the inside as well to get a better understanding of the process before returning to the advising/counseling side again someday.

Q: What are you enjoying most about working here so far?

A: Wesleyan is a wonderful place to work, but what I enjoy most about this job is the opportunity to travel and interact with students at their schools and in their communities.

Q: Working in the Office of Admission, do you get to work face-to-face with the students and parents or are you behind the scenes?

A: Both. All of the deans in the office spend time meeting students and parents at college fairs, school visits and information sessions. But of course a lot of the work in admissions goes on behind the scenes. We spend a lot of time reading applications, coordinating alumni outreach, planning travel and putting special programs together just to name a few duties.

Q: And what about that successful WesFest?

A: It was a community wide effort that Wesleyan can be proud of!

WesFest is our admitted student’s weekend, and I was involved with the planning of it. It could be thought of as a celebration of all things Wesleyan and requires coordination between the Office of Admission and dozens of faculty and student groups on campus. Around 400 admitted students visited that weekend and I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things from both parents and students.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Wesleyan students?

A: I absolutely love working with both our prospective students as well as our current students. One of the greatest parts of this job is getting to meet so many individuals and hearing their stories and plans for the future.

Q: What are typical questions that high school students or parents have about Wesleyan?

A: Our information sessions are driven by the audience’s questions so we get asked almost everything and anything about Wesleyan. Some common themes are social life on campus, study abroad opportunities, campus culture and academic programs. One of the neat things about our information sessions is that a current senior sits on the panel with an admissions dean. Having a student on the panel is invaluable to families that are trying to find out what it’s really like to be a student at Wes.

Q: Students are also tour guides, correct?

A: Yes. Our tour guides are also excellent and we get a lot of great feedback about them. The Cardinal Key Tour Guide Program is a volunteer program and so the students who give tours really do it for the love of the university, which makes for a wonderful tour. 

Q: How does your job change throughout the year?

A: Admissions is a cyclical process, so I’ll describe the different seasons of admissions. In the fall, the deans in our office travel all over the country — and the world — to visit high schools, meet students, work at college fairs and host receptions. It’s a hectic schedule where we visit up to five schools during the day and then host a reception or attend a fair at night. In the winter, you will find most of the deans reading applications. Once decision letters go out in the spring, our office gets busy planning for WesFest, reaching out to admitted students though phone-a-thons and recruiting the next year’s class. Throughout the year, we hold daily information sessions and answer questions from students, parents and counselors.

Q: Is reading applications a pretty intense process?

A: Yes. Last winter, I often found myself reading applications six days a week, sometimes from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Most of the deans work at home to avoid office distractions.

Q: Are you involved with any Wesleyan activities?

A: The on-campus activity that I am most heavily involved in is varsity softball. I played in college and jumped at the opportunity to volunteer with the team here at Wesleyan. It’s a great way to spend more time interacting with students and sharing a passion that they have. 

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: Probably the most interesting “hobby” of mine, if you can call it that, is football. This past winter I joined a women’s professional football team here in Connecticut called the Connecticut Crush (www.ctcrush.com).  Few of the women on the team have played full-contact football before, so we put in a lot of time practicing and learning the sport. I’m also active in my church in New Haven, Christ Presbyterian, and can often be found spending time with that family on the weekends.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Center for the Arts Director Brings the Arts to Campus, Town


Pamela Tatge is Director of the Center for the Arts and spearheaded the development of the Green Street Arts Center.
 
Posted 05/02/05

When Pamela Tatge became the director of the Center for the Arts (CFA) six years ago, Wesleyan had a golden reputation in the arts.  Unfortunately, not enough people in the community – or on campus  –  were taking notice.

“We were an undiscovered gem,” Tatge recalls.” I saw the richness in this institution and believed the resources should be shared with the community.”

Tatge would spend the first five years of her Wesleyan career raising the public’s awareness of arts at Wesleyan. By 2004, the CFA increased its attendance by the general public by 70 percent, while increasing student attendance by 18 percent and faculty-staff attendance by a staggering 1,720 percent. Overall ticket sales climbed 14 percent and revenues for CFA sponsored events went up 24 percent.

Tatge also spearheaded the development of the university’s Green Street Arts Center, which opened in January of 2005 in Middletown’s North End. She conducted feasibility studies, focus groups and derived the business plan.

“Nothing in my working life has been as tremendous as creating the Green Street Arts Center,” she says. “I know the institution is here to stay, and it will only grow and continue to assist children and adults.”

Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2003, she was awarded the Elizabeth Mahaffey Fellowship for Arts Administration from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. In March, the Connecticut Dance Alliance honored Tatge and the CFA with an achievement award.

In addition, the Center for the Arts was recently named a Hub Site for the National Dance Project in recognition for their ongoing commitment to the creation and presentation of new dance work. As a result Tatge will serve on the NDP Board.

But these are just the extras that Tatge takes on. As director, her main duties are to oversee programming in an arts complex that includes a theater, cinema, two music halls and a contemporary art gallery. Offerings include the Crowell Concert Series, the Breaking Ground Dance Series and Outside the Box, a series of theater performances and talks, well as several professional and student installations annually in the Zilkha Gallery.

LiLy Milroy, Dean of the Arts and Humanities program and professor of American studies and art history says her colleague devotion to promoting arts in the Middletown community is signaled by such projects.

“I think Pam is a dynamic director of the Center who has developed an exciting and innovative program of events for the Center and has as a result significantly raised the profile of the Center for the Arts both on campus and in the wider community,” Milroy says. “I enjoy working with her immensely.”

Working in the CFA is not Tatge’s first experience with Wesleyan’s fine arts. After growing up in Bethesda, Md., and Milan, Italy, the bilingual student enrolled at Wesleyan in 1980 to pursue a degree in history.

But in between courses on 20th Century Europe with Professor of History Nat Greene and psychohistory with Professor of History Phil Pomper, she took an interest in Wesleyan’s overabundance of art, dance and music classes. She acted in a play every semester, took several dance classes and sang in the concert choir. These experiences, along with a year abroad in Paris, led to a deep love for international cultures.

“These four years here were a precious time for me to take advantage of the arts and the arts faculty here,” she says. “I aimed to be a triple threat. I was going to be an actress, singer and dancer and I was determined to make my fame in New York,” she says.

After graduating in 1984, she worked for two years as an actor in New York, supporting her career by grant writing and fund-raising for several arts organizations. In time, her home life and administrative interests in the arts outweighed her desire to be cast in roles that would require her to travel.

From 1989-99, she was the Director of Development at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, where she spent 10 years developing the theater’s fund-raising  and community outreach programs, including mounting what was at the time, the most successful single year fundraising campaign in the theater’s history.

While at Long Wharf, she ran fund-raising workshops for arts organizations throughout the state, worked to create the Arts Industry Coalition and the Regional Cultural Plan for Greater New Haven, and was hired by the Connecticut Commission on the Arts to mentor first-time arts managers.

“My life experiences had taken me in many different directions, so I came back to Wesleyan, looking at it through new eyes,” she says.

She oversees a staff of 15, including an exhibitions curator, technical operators, an art director, box office manager, art studio and audio-visual technicians and the staff of the Green Street Arts Center. She’s also been recruiting artists for Middletown Dances!, a town-wide dance festival which will feature the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. As a result of Tatge’s efforts and the interest of the dance and science Departments, GLSP and the Continuing Studies Program, among others, the dance exchange will be in residency throughout the year, culminating in world premiere of Ferocious Beauty: Genome as part of the Breaking Ground Dance Series.

“Pam has done wonders in bringing the Green Street Arts Center to life, establishing important arts connections between Wesleyan and its surrounding community,” says Eric Charry, associate professor of music. “Her great energy has helped to bring a wide array of musical events to campus that gives Wesleyan its distinctive character.”

Tatge lives in Madison, Conn., with her husband, artist Jerry Zinser, her two children and two step-children. She also spends time as a Madison Foundation board member, a volunteer at her children’s schools, and attends events that the CFA sponsors.

She regrets not having the time to sing, dance or perform. However, she still sneaks in an occasional jam session with her family.

“I still love to dance,” she says. “I still love to rock out.”

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Telfair Paints from Memory Via Her Heart


 
Above, Tula Telfair, professor of art, sits near her students’ work inside her office in Art Studio South. At right, Telfair’s oil on canvas, “Obscured to the Eye Apparent on the Map,” measures 79 by 100 inches.
 
Posted 05/02/05
Many people who see Tula Telfair’s landscape painting titled “To Make Space Distant,” are confident the artist painted a place familiar to them. However, before she painted it, the grassy field, split by a pond highlighted in fire brush existed nowhere but in Telfair’s mind. It’s part of a world that the professor of art at Wesleyan creates from her life experiences.

“The paintings trigger a connection in people,” says Telfair. “Two people, one from Florida and one from Maine will swear they grew up near there, and they know these places.”

Telfair’s work is nationally recognized. Her large-scale paintings have been shown in dozens of solo and group exhibitions in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Chicago and other large city galleries. They are also held in numerous public collections including MasterCard Corporation, General Electric Corporation and The New Orleans Museum of Art.

The scenes she creates are expressions of metaphoric visual short stories. She invents landscapes with skies blazing with white, golden, gray or saffron clouds. In her square format paintings, skies often make up most of the image. Others include water, which leads viewers through the picture to an indefinite end. The water reflects the light in the sky, as it cuts through the shifting land surface, contributing to the mood of the scene.

“I work from my own memories and feelings,” she says. “I don’t paint on location. I paint in my studio where I can determine the colors. Colors are so meaningful to the expression.”

Telfair recently exhibited work at the Forum Gallery in Los Angeles. Many of those multi-paneled pieces are set off with wide bands of color, which lead views around the painting. Telfair says these self-invented bands – which wrap around or cut through an image – are painted with colors found within the landscapes contained in the painting itself.

The bars also add depth. “The Relationship is Symmetrical,” is actually painted on five canvases, each at a different elevation.

“The bands have their own intensity that yields a sensual roadmap to the scenes they contain,” says Robert Fishko, director of the Forum Gallery. “They magnify our approach and deepen our desire to penetrate the suggested story of the landscape.”

Telfair is currently Wesleyan’s only painting instructor, and describes her lessons as “challenging and demanding.”

“See these paintings? These are all done by students who have never painted before,” she says, pointing at finished work on display in Art Studio South. “I teach each student real technical skills and help them foster unique expression. I am thankful for that privilege.”

David Schorr, professor of art, says his colleague is known for her toughness and “extremely high” standards.

“Tula demands and gets the most from everyone: her students, her colleagues, and above all herself,” he says. “Sometimes she scares people or puts them off but she never worries about that, because her standards matter and because they always like her in the end for making them perform to their utmost.”

Telfair never intended on becoming a painter. In fact, she entered into a required art course in high school and felt overwhelmed. Frustrated by her ignorance, Telfair decided to teach herself how to draw and began copying the drawings of Michelangelo and DiVinci. Two years later, she went to college with aspirations of becoming a medical illustrator.

Six years later, she ended up a painter, with a bachelor’s degree from Moore College of Art and a master’s of fine arts degree from Syracuse University. In 1989 she was hired by Wesleyan University as an assistant professor of art. She soon became the chair of the Department of Art and Art History and then served as acting academic dean for the Arts and Humanities.

Telfair currently teaches all levels of painting, introductory drawing and senior thesis, while she continues to work from her studio in New York. Teaching and painting go hand in hand, she says. She’d never want to do one and not the other.

“Teaching to me is essential,” she says. “I am stimulated by the challenge to teach students how to paint.”

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

18th-Century Man: Assistant Professor of History Researches a Revolutionary Tale


Kirk Davis Swinehart, assistant professor of history, specializes in early American history. (Photo by James Ward Swinehart, Jr.)
 
Posted 05/02/05

Kirk Davis Swinehart, assistant professor of history, has been spending most of his time in the 18th century with an Irish knight and a Mohawk woman.

Swinehart’s research and teaching focus on events from the period just before and leading up to the American Revolution. He has also done extensive research on the New World soldier-adventurer Sir William Johnson (1715–74) and his families, Irish and Mohawk, both of which fought for Britain during the American Revolution. Funded by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Faculty Career Enhancement Grant, Swinehart will spend next year finishing his book on Johnson and his Mohawk common-law wife Molly Brant.

“Sir William’s story is easily one of the eighteenth century’s most seductive—a story of setting out and making good, a story reenacted for centuries throughout the British Empire,” Swinehart says. “Monarchical, rich, and sexually corrupt in the eyes of a fledgling nation, this unlikely couple represented all that America struggled to define itself against after winning independence from Britain.”

Swinehart’s book, tentatively titled “Molly’s War,” is a narrative that recounts an intimate history of the Crown’s uneasy military alliance with the Mohawk Indians of central New York. The story chronicles Sir William Johnson’s 20-year relationship and domestic life with Brant (1736–96), a powerful Mohawk woman who struggled to maintain the Mohawks’ allegiance to George III after Johnson’s death.

The book is under contract with Houghton Mifflin in North America and Hodder Headline in the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth. 

Swinehart’s “Molly’s War” derives its narrative verve from the events and places that shaped Brant and Johnson’s lives: their childhoods in the New and Old Worlds; the circumstances of their meeting and subsequent two decades together; the building of the estate they shared uneasily with their eight children and with Johnson’s three white children; and the two decades Brant spent without Johnson, waging war and living as a single mother confronted with heartbreaking blows.

Many have written about Johnson since his death in 1774 but too often he has been depicted as a caricature of the British colonial official. Swinehart says his research, conducted in British and American archives–including the British Library, the Public Records Office in London, and in Sir William’s own published papers–suggests a more complicated portrait than the ones offered by previous biographers and scholars. Swinehart says Johnson was a devoted father, a great lover of fun, and a man of tremendous intelligence and empathetic powers.

To complement his research, Swinehart spends time in physical locations where Johnson and Brant lived. He has spent extensive time at the house they shared, Johnson Hall, which still stands, 45 miles northwest of Albany. This summer, he’ll be in London, searching for the family’s banking records, and in Dublin, visiting Johnson’s childhood house.

Swinehart’s interest in Johnson and Brant dates back six years. After earning a master’s degree from the University of Delaware, where he studied American decorative arts, he pursued a Ph.D. in American Studies at Yale University. While at Yale he studied with prize-winning colonial historian John Demos, who changed forever how Swinehart writes history. That is when he began his doctoral dissertation on Johnson.

“Writing narrative history is for me a way of enriching our sense of the eighteenth century,” Swinehart says. “So, too, is reconciling the history of early America with the history of the British Empire.”

Swinehart says he hopes to spend his life doing work that combines scholarly rigor and accessibility in equal measure, inside the classroom and on the page. Students, he finds, learn best about early American history when people and life stories are placed front and center: when enormous social and economic changes can be discerned in the life of a James Boswell or a Benjamin Franklin or a Molly Brant.

At Wesleyan, Swinehart has taught all self-designed courses. These include the survey of early American history, narrative nonfiction and historical biography and the British Empire, a seminar on the Puritans, and another on early American furniture and art.

“I believe in reaching intelligent, curious people, in opening up worlds to people who may never become scholars but who — if you can persuade them of a book’s capacity to transport and transform — may become discerning adult readers of serious literary nonfiction,” Swinehart says. “It’s always a marvel to watch young readers connect for the first time with people who lived over 200 years ago.”

In addition to the Mellon Foundation Career Enrichment grant, Swinehart is the recipient of a Yale College Teaching Prize and of fellowships from the University of Pennsylvania’s McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, the Huntington Library in Los Angeles, and the New York Public Library. Prior to coming to Wesleyan in 2002, he was the Mellon Research Fellow in American History at the University of Cambridge.

“That’s my vocation,” he says. “To reach those who will never become professional historians, teach them that reading books is a lifelong pleasure — and the cheapest vacation they’ll ever take.”

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

CLASS ON THE GREEN: Students make good use of the spring weather on April 5 by holding class outside on the College Row lawn.

A Wesleyan student leads a group of prospective students and their parents on a campus tour on April 12. Here, they are passing by the Center for Fine Arts.
On April 6, Foss Hill and Andrus Field became the hot spots for warm-weather activities. Temps exceeded 60 degrees. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Wesleyan University Announces 173rd Commencement Honorary Degree Recipients


Posted 04/19/05
Wesleyan University recently announced that it will confer four honorary degrees during its 173rd commencement exercises on Sunday, May 22 to the following recipients:

  • Amy Gutmann (Doctor of Letters) – Amy Gutmann, Wesleyan’s commencement speaker, became president of the University of Pennsylvania this year. Formerly, she was provost and Laurence S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. She was the founding director of the Princeton University Center for Human Values, a multi-disciplinary center that supports teaching, scholarship and public discussion of ethics and human values.
  • Bill Belichick (Doctor of Humane Letters) – Bill Belichick earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at Wesleyan in 1975. Also a Wesleyan parent, Belichick and his wife, Debby, have been long-time advocates of and contributors to Wesleyan and community charities. In 2002 Coach Belichick guided the underdog New England Patriots to their first world championship, against tremendous odds. He has since repeated that feat twice, most recently this year at Super Bowl XXXIX. Belichick has earned a reputation for being one of football’s elite game strategists whose defensive game plans have consistently been credited for defusing some of the NFL’s most potent offenses.
  • Edward P. Jones (Doctor of Humane Letters) – Edward P. Jones was educated at Holy Cross College and the University of Virginia. His first book, Lost in the City, was originally published by William Morrow in 1992 and short-listed for the National Book Award. A collection of fourteen short stories, Lost in the City deals with African American working class and underclass experiences in mid-20th century, inner-city Washington, D.C. Jones was named a National Book Award finalist for a second time with the publication of his debut novel, “The Known World,” which subsequently won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
  • William Barber (Doctor of Letters) – William Barber is the Andrews Professor of Economics Emeritus at Wesleyan. Barber joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1957 after receiving his doctor in philosophy degree from Oxford University. He is recognized as an expert on the history of economic thought, on economists as policy advisers, and on development economics. His next book, Volume 4 of “Perspectives on Applied Topics and Forward Trajectories,” is expected to be published in 2005.

Wesleyan will also bestow the Baldwin Medal, the highest alumni honor presented by the University, to John F. Woodhouse, ’53, P’79, former president and CEO of Sysco Corporation, named trustee emeritus following 15 years on Wesleyan’s Board, and most recently, chairman and leader of the successful $287M Wesleyan Capital Campaign. David B. Jenkins, ’53, P’83, former CEO and president of Shaws Supermarkets, named trustee emeritus following 12 years on Wesleyan’s Board, chair of the Campaign for Liberal Learning and National Leadership Gifts Chair for the Wesleyan Capital Campaign, will receive the Baldwin Medal at Homecoming/Family Weekend this fall.

The Baldwin Medal pays tribute to the late Judge Raymond E. Baldwin of Wesleyan’s Class of 1916. Baldwin was the only man to have held the offices of Connecticut governor, U.S. senator, and chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.

 
By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations

Vice President for Finance and Administration Retiring


Posted 04/15/05

Vice President for Finance and Administration Marcia Bromberg will retire from Wesleyan at the end of the fiscal year.

In her four years at Wesleyan, Bromberg has overseen numerous improvements. When she was hired she was charged with providing a more transparent financial planning and reporting system. This led her to a revamping of the budget planning cycle, budget and long-range planning materials, and the annual budget and financial statements. The result has been a more open and understandable set of processes and documents.

Bromberg also opened up the facilities planning process with the establishment of the Master Plan Executive Committee, which has coordinated on-campus planning and oversight for all facilities projects.

She recognized the need for a specialist to manage the university’s auxiliary services and created a director position to oversee those areas. She led in the recasting of the university’s bookstore, now operated by Follett College Stores, which has succeeded in providing the level of textbook services and support required by students and faculty.

In collaboration with a committee she established, Bromberg developed a new administrative staff evaluation and compensation system that links performance assessment to individual and University goals and provides a reward system for meaningful accomplishments. More recently, in collaboration with the faculty’s Compensation and Benefits Committee, she conducted a health plan review which led first to moving the university from a fully insured to a self-insured plan, and this past year, to an improved program that incorporates new plan designs and healthy living options.

Bromberg’s creative vision enabled Wesleyan to construct new residence halls on Fauver Field that will allow the university to house almost all students in university-owned housing.

March 30 was the culmination of another initiative: Wesleyan’s first Environmental Awareness Day. Students, faculty, the Connecticut Consortium of Independent Colleges and local civic and political leaders celebrated campus energy conservation initiatives, recycling activities and our plan to incorporate clean-energy electric vehicles into its campus service fleet. Through this initiative, Bromberg channeled student interests and concerns towards collaborative and positive results.

Wesleyan will soon begin a national search for Marcia’s successor. In the interim period after June 30, Vice President and Secretary Peter Patton will provide oversight to the Facilities and Auxiliary Services offices. Vice President for Information Technology John Meerts will provide oversight to the offices of Finance, Human Resources, Legal Projects, and Project Coordination. Tom Kannam, director of investments, will report to President Douglas Bennet while maintaining a dotted-line relationship with the interim and then the permanent vice president for finance.

 
By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

Saturday Program is All About The Kids


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Pictured above, Lydia Bell ’07 (center) and area children watch the Footnotes Dance Theater perform during the Saturday for Kids Program’s “Buddy Day.” Bell is a substitute teacher at Saturday for Kids, a recreation/respite program for children with disabilities.

At right, Saturday for Kids Program Director and Wesleyan administrative assistant Debbie Sierpinski helps a child with a craft project. Sierpinski is recruiting volunteers and performers for the program.

Posted 04/15/05

Twice a month, Lydia Bell ’07 gets to mingle with an aspiring rock star.

“He really loves to get everyone singing ‘Yankee Doodle,’ or doing the moves for the ‘YMCA,’” Bell says about her 10-year-old friend, David*.

Bell and David meet during The Saturday for Kids program, a recreation/respite program for children with disabilities. Several Wesleyan students, staff and faculty are donating a few hours a month to socially interact with the youngsters, and they’re always looking for more Wesleyan volunteers to work with children ages 6-12.

Saturday for Kids program Director Debbie Sierpinski, administrative assistant for the Classical Studies Department, Medieval Studies Program, and the Archaeology Program, says this is an ideal opportunity to give back to the community, while meeting other Wesleyan student and employees who they normally wouldn’t meet on campus.

“Since Wesleyan has really pushed for community services to be an important aspect of the Wesleyan community, I feel that the Saturday for Kids program is a vital avenue for Wesleyan students, faculty and staff to accomplish this,” she says.

Saturday for Kids is part of the Middlesex Association for Retarded Citizens: Community Resources, Ltd., most commonly known as MARC. The private, non-profit organization provides services to adults and children with cognitive disabilities and their families.

The Saturday for Kids Program is held two to three Saturday mornings a month. Structured activities, crafts, toys and free time for play offer valuable social interaction for the children.

Bell started volunteering in 2004 and was hired as a sub this year. She says the most rewarding part of working with the program is having the luxury of working one-on-one with a child. 

“With time and patience I have found rewarding connections through games and lots of smiling and laughing,” Bell says. “Working with special needs children is a great way to prepare for a teaching career or to be active in the greater Middletown area. I would recommend it to other students as a great way to get off campus and get involved with the community around us.”

Sierpinski has already written several recommendations for students who are applying for fellowships in this field or who are looking for summer employment working with children. 

Wesleyan’s Community Relations co-sponsors the program to enable some meetings to be held at Wesleyan. When the organization holds its Community Service Fair in September, Frank Kuan, director of Community Relations, recruits Wesleyan students and staff to man the information booth.

“Debbie and her student volunteers have been the heart and soul of the Saturday for Kids program,” Kuan says. “It’s a very worthwhile, service-orientated cause.”

Some Wesleyan employees have got involved in the Saturday for Kids Program through their talents. Helen Mensah, an artist in residence in dance, played African drums for the children. Juliana Shortell, collections manager of the Archaeology Program and member of the Footnotes Dance Theater performed a dance for the kids. Kids on the Block, a volunteer group associated with Oddfellows Playhouse and Wesleyan students, put on a play with puppets that have disabilities. 

Shortell says Footnotes has performed at schools and libraries around the state, but the Saturday for Kids Program is her favorite group to work with.

 “Usually there is a fair bit of snickering and shyness,” she says. “Not so with these kids.  They welcome us and jump right in, and because everyone cannot necessarily move or communicate in the same way, we all learn about different ways to relate to words, music, and movement. In the end, there is very little ‘performing’ going on, as we are all just playing together. And that is the way we like it!”

These special performances take place once a month during “Buddy Day.” During this event, the children can invite friends and siblings and anyone from the community to join in on the fun.

“It is a way to educate the community about what special needs means and makes the program more inclusive,” Sierpinski says.

Sierpinski is hoping more students and faculty from the theater, music and other departments donate their skills to entertain the children.

 “We have found that the common link with all of these children, no manner what level of functioning they are at or what kind of cognitive and physical disabilities they have, is music and dance,” she says. “Some of our non-verbal children give us a huge smile and we know that we have touched their soul.”

Sierpinski says the Classical Studies Department supports her working for the program. For a while, she was storing toys in the Classical Studies’ library. 

“One day, one of the visiting faculty members was riding one of the kids adult trikes down the hall,” she says. “I thought I was seeing things. He said the tires were flat, he had inflated them and was checking out the bike. I am very lucky to work at Wesleyan, a place very committed to community service.” 

The Saturday for Kids Program meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Woodhead Lounge, Mercy High School or at the MARC administration building, 421 Main Street in Cromwell.

“These are a fabulous group of kids,” Shortell says, “and you will always get back as much, if not more, than what you put in.”

For more information or to become a volunteer or performer, email Debbie Sierpinski at dsierpinski@wesleyan.edu or call Lou Alperowitz at 860-635-5151 extension 305.

(* last name withheld by request.)

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Verdeja joins Department of Government and College of Social Studies


 
Ernesto Verdeja, assistant professor of government, started teaching at Wesleyan in August 2004.
 
Posted 04/15/05

Ernesto Verdeja joined the Department of Government and College of Social Studies as an assistant professor of government in August 2004.

”I was attracted to Wesleyan because of its reputation for promoting research and teaching among its faculty,” he says. “And the students are fantastic.”

Verdeja earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his master’s and Ph.D in political science/political theory from the New School for Social Research in New York City. His dissertation, which Verdeja is turning into a book manuscript, focuses on reconciliation after mass political atrocity.

“In it, I try to conceptualize the requirements for a theoretically satisfactory model of societal reconciliation that is also empirically possible,” he says. “I do this by looking at the role of truth commissions and trials, as well as the role of political and civil society actors.”

Verdeja’s main areas of interest are in modern and contemporary political theory, with a strong focus on issues of justice in transitional societies, meaning societies that are emerging from a recent history of political violence. He is currently writing two articles, one on public apologies for mass violence, and a second on reparations for victims of violence.

Verdeja anticipates teaching courses in political theory as well as more specialized classes on transitional justice, mass violence and justice and reconciliation. 

Verdeja lives in New Haven, and enjoys listening to music and playing guitar in his free time

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Professor Will Miss Teaching French Language, Literature


Joyce O. Lowrie, professor of romance languages and literatures, is retiring this semester after 39 years.
 
Posted 04/15/05

It’s been a “bon voyage” for Madame Joyce O. Lowrie.

After a 39-year career at Wesleyan, the professor of romance languages and literatures has announced her retirement at the end of this semester. But she’s not saying “au revoir” just yet.

“You could say my retirement is more of an ‘a bientôt  ‘ I’ll be seeing you soon,’” she says from her third floor office on High Street, a room that once housed President Doug Bennet in the converted all-male fraternity house Alpha Chi Rho. “I’ll be taking trips to Paris, but I still plan to be around.”

Professor Lowrie, who came to Wesleyan in 1966 as an assistant professor, says she will continue her research on French literature after her retirement. She’ll also finish the book she has been writing, which is already 300 pages long.

“I have spent my life doing research and I hope not to have to stop, at least for a while yet,” she says. “This is my passion.”

Lowrie taught courses both at Wesleyan and in Paris, including a senior seminar, “Introduction to French Literature, Middle Ages to the 18th-century,” “Narrative Strategies in 19th-20th-century French Literature,” “A Question of Time,” and her signature class, “The Mirror in the Text,” which featured sections from her forthcoming book, “Sightings:  Mirrors in Texts — Texts in Mirrors.” The book emphasizes her research, which is on the function, significance and meaning of chiastic and interlocking structures in French prose fiction. 

“I’ve always loved teaching courses that cover literature from many centuries,” she says. “I could do that in these classes. I simply love helping students learn how to appreciate such beautiful and challenging usages of the French language, and to understand the ideas they portray.”

Deirdre Stiles ’87 of Sussex, England took senior seminar with Lowrie and the two have been e-mail correspondents ever since. Stiles still remembers Lowrie engaging her in class discussions.

“She treated us as colleagues,” Stiles says. “She listened and was truly interested in what each of us had to say about what we had read. She had a wonderful sense of humor which enlivened the dialogue. And she was fully engaged in what she taught – she loved it and it showed.”

Although her courses were taught in French, Lowrie says the classes touched a broad spectrum of students in different majors. 

Ari Zito, ’05, who will double major in the College of Letters and French Studies, took two classes with Madame Lowrie during his Wesleyan career.

“I know that in the future, when I think back to my academic experience at Wesleyan, I will recall sitting in the seminar room in 300 High Street, drinking tea with a dozen other students, and listening to Madame Lowrie talk about Proust,” Zito says. “I know that I am only one of many people who will miss her very much.

Born in Brazil, Lowrie was raised bilingual in Portuguese and English as a child, but learned Latin and French in school, “with a strong Brazilian accent.”  Her accent was corrected when she attended college at Baylor University in Texas, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1957. That same year, she received a Fulbright scholarship to study French literature at the University of Bordeaux. 

“That experience changed my life,” she says. “Although I was interested in many other subjects, it was French language and literature that I loved most. I also fell in love with the country, its culture, its mores, its cuisine, its people.”

Lowrie returned to the United States in 1958 to earn her Ph.D. in French at Yale University. There she met her husband-to-be, Ernest. They have one daughter, Michèle, who now teaches classics at New York University. 

Lowrie was the first woman professor “to rise through the ranks” and obtain tenure at Wesleyan. In 1972, Lowrie became associate professor, and in 1977 she became a full professor.

She taught French in smoke-filled classrooms at the then all-male university. Even President Colin Campbell’s office had “snazzy” ceramic ashtrays, she recalls. 

“It was quite a different institution then,” she says.

While much has changed, Lowrie’s vibrant and witty personality has remained the same.

“Joyce is an irreverent, fun-loving bon vivant, an Epicurean with a taste and talent for making superb food and scandalous jokes,” says colleague Andrew Curran, associate professor of romance languages and literatures.

Ellen Nerenberg, associate professor of romance languages and literatures and associate professor of women’s studies, considers Lowrie’s sense of humor sly and puckish.

“You could even call it wicked,” Nerenberg says. “Yet despite this, or perhaps because of it, Joyce has a keen sense of decorum. She balances deliciously between the two poles.”

Lowrie is the author of 19 articles, five translations, 12 reviews and one book under her own name, “The Violent Mystique” published by Droz Press, Geneva. She has contributed substantive chapters to three books and her book in progress. She earned a fellowship to work on her present book at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, in 1995.

Lowrie has sat on more than 20 university committees.  She also served as a freshman, sophomore, and a French major advisor. She was a liaison with Foreign Language Teaching Assistants, chair of her own department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and she served as the Resident as well as campus director of the Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Paris.

“Many of my students decided to spend some time in France through this program,” she says. “There is nothing like a year abroad to help students to learn to speak colloquial French, and to understand French literature and culture. “

Lowrie has obtained many academic honors over the years. She was awarded an University Fellowship at Yale University between 1959-1962; a Wesleyan fellowship at the Center for the Humanities in 1973; she received a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant in 1989-90. She has been a member of several professional organizations including the American Association of Teachers of French, the Modern Language Association, and the Northeast Modern Language Association of America. She has presented papers in all of these venues.

After retiring, Lowrie is planning on “doing exactly what I most love doing, and that is reading, doing research, writing, and traveling to France,” she says.  She will continue to reside in the Middletown area. She doesn’t want to wander far from her colleagues, friends and Wesleyan students.

“Wesleyan students: I love them! That says it all,” she says. “They are so bright and so full of ideas. They are the reason I have wanted to stay at Wesleyan all of these years. Being around students keeps one young.”

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor