Alumni news.

Professor Braxton Celebrated at Tri-Centric Festival

A recent feature in The New York Times details the rehearsals for the Tri-Centric Festival, which celebrates the work of Anthony Braxton, professor of music. The orchestra performing at the festival, which runs from Oct. 5-9, is conducted by Taylor Ho Bynum ’98. The festival is a celebration of Braxton’s highly influential avant-garde compositions and is timed this year to coincide with the release of his first opera, “Trillium E.”

Nicholas Kristof’s Column Extols Shining Hope Project

“Just Look at What You Did!” is the headline on a Nicholas Kristof column, letting readers know that his request that they commemorate Mother’s Day with donations led to a $135,000 gift to Shining Hope for Communities, a project in the Kibera slum of Kenya led by Kennedy Odede ’12 and Jessica Posner ’09. Kirstof writes: “So while in Kenya recently, I dropped by to see what was being done with your money. In the grim alleys of the Kibera slum in the capital of Nairobi, I found a dazzling girls’ school being built with some of those donations — and, yes, I found a love story.” Read more.

Roth on Economic Impact at Conference with Governor

As noted by WNPR and The Hartford Courant, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth discussed the economic impact of private colleges and universities at a meeting of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC), which was attended by Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and held at Wesleyan. President Roth is quoted in the stories addressing some of the immediate and long-term contributions made by private higher education institutions to the state and regional economies.

Roth: U.S. Budget Woes Furthering Income Disparity

Writing for The Huffington Post, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth ’78 sees the findings of Pew study that shows record income disparity between whites and non-whites in the U.S. being exacerbated by the ideology framing ongoing budget battles in Washington D.C.  Roth says in part that, “The defense of racial and economic privilege under the rhetoric of “taking back our country,” or of “living within our means” further undermines our political culture today as it starves future generations of cultural and economic opportunity.”

Six Wesleyan Alumni Receive Emmy Nominations

Among the individuals nominated for 2011 Emmy awards:

Sasha Alpert ’82, producer, Project Runway, nominated for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program.

Bill Wrubel ’82, co-executive producer, Modern Family, Outstanding Comedy Series with 17 nominations.

Shari Springer Berman ’85, co-director, Cinema Verite, Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special (film is also nominated for Outstanding Movie);

Matthew Weiner ’87, creator, writer, producer for Mad Men with 19 nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Writing

Jim Margolis ’93, co-executive producer, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series

Matt Senreich ’96, executive producer and writer, Robot Chicken: “Star Wars Episode III,” Outstanding Animated Program

The full list of all nominees can be found at The Hollywood Reporter.

Basinger on the Rise and Success of Michael Bay ’86

In the latest issue of GQ, Jeanine Basinger, Chair and Corwin Fuller Professor of Film Studies, discusses the success of director-producer Michael Bay ’86 whose raft of popular films have grossed billions of dollars worldwide and turned him in into an action-film icon, as well as one of Hollywood’s most powerful and influential directors.

President Roth: “Is a College Diploma Worth It?”

On the PBS NewsHour, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth joined PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel of The Thiel Foundation, Azar Nafisi of Johns Hopkins University, Richard Vedder of Ohio University’s Center for College Affordability and Productivity, and NewsHour moderator Jeffrey Brown to discuss whether a college degree is still worth the investment in today’s society.

President Roth will also be featured in a live chat on the subject sponsored by The NewsHour in June.

Wesleyan Celebrates 179th Commencement

Wesleyan’s 179th Commencement Ceremonies were held on Andrus Field on Sunday, May 22. The full story with comments by commencement speaker Dr. Paul E. Farmer is here.

The text of President Michael S. Roth’s address to the Class of 2011 graduates can be found here.

The text of the senior class welcome by Margo Boyer-Dry ’11 can be found here.

A gallery of photos from Commencement will be refreshed all week and can be found here.

A speech by Mary Jane Rubenstein, assistant professor of religion, assistant professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies at the “Senior Voices” baccalaureate event on May 21 can be found here.

President Michael S. Roth: ‘Why Liberal Arts Matter’

In an exclusive opinion piece for CNN, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth says that a national focus on science and math education is important, but not at the exclusion of the other liberal arts. “We are running away from the promise of liberal education. We are frightened by economic competition, and many seem to have lost confidence in our ability to draw from the resources of a broadly based education,” he writes. “Many seem to think that by narrowing our focus to just science and engineering, we will become more competitive. This is a serious mistake.”

Read the full piece here.

The opinion piece is part of coverage supporting a CNN special investigation titled “Don’t Fail Me.