Alumni news.

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.

Roth: Universities Must Ensure Quality and Equality

In an opinion piece for a recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth discusses how colleges and universities, like secondary schools, must reverse the trends of limiting access to intellectual and social opportunities for all their students, regardless of economic background. Roth says that specialization has received too much emphasis and that “many people have pointed out that higher education itself is beset by problems that undermine its ability to provide students with this flexible, pragmatic framework for lifelong learning. Take, for example, the powerful, long-term trends toward specialization in university culture, trends that have a decidedly negative impact on undergraduate education…At many colleges, this has led to a fragmentation of intellectual life, with powerful departments defending their own interests without regard to the welfare of the institution as a whole.”

Basinger, Dombrowski ’92 on Celebrity Culture Today

In The New York Times OpEd forum “Room for Debate,” Jeanine Basinger, Chair and Corwin Fuller Professor of Film Studies, and Lisa Dombrowski ’92, associate professor of film studies, both examine the question of the difficulty of celebrity for film stars today as opposed to the old studio system that produced such luminaries as Elizabeth Taylor.

Basinger says that one of the big differences today is the scale and scope of scrutiny: “Today we’ve added on TV coverage, instant Internet coverage, international coverage — and all the news seems to be entertainment news.”

Dombroski says that the studio system protected stars, though there were caveats to this, while stars today are “freelancers supported only by agents, managers, and personal publicists whose employment relies on the approval of the star.”

Roth Reviews Barkan’s ‘Michelangelo: A Life on Paper’

In a review for The Washington Post, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth discusses the new book by Leonard Barkan: Michelangelo: A Life on Paper. While volumes have been written about the great artist and his work, Roth says this book is different and intriguing because of its perspective. “It focuses…on the artist’s ‘life on paper,’ the hundreds of sheets that have survived containing drawings, poems, doodles, instructions to assistants and ‘notes to self.’ For Barkan, a professor of comparative literature at Princeton, these sheets are a treasure trove of aesthetic delights; traces of the historical context of Renaissance art making; and, most important, a window onto the personality and artistic practice of a figure who came to define genius.”

Math, Science Alone will not Increase Competitiveness

In an OpEd for The Houston Chronicle, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth says that while the recent emphasis on math and science studies to increase students’ international competitiveness is laudable, it is not enough. Only a balanced education that also includes the humanities, social sciences and arts will give students the depth of knowledge and critical thinking skills they will need to lead and compete in the fast-changing 21st Century workplace.