Campus News & Events

Physical Plant Staff Spearheading Summer Campus Renovations, Projects

As part of Wesleyan's major maintenance projects this summer, Physical Plant- Facilities staff and local contractors inspected the manholes and made repairs to an underground piping system. On Aug. 7, crews discovered a failed drain line, which may be the cause of leaking vapors, visible during the colder months.

As part of Wesleyan’s major maintenance projects this summer, Physical Plant- Facilities staff and local contractors inspected the manholes and made repairs to an underground piping system. On Aug. 7, crews discovered a failed drain line, which may be the cause of leaking vapors, visible during the colder months.

While students are away, there’s no time for play, if you’re on the Physical Plant – Facilities staff.

“The day students move out of their campus residences, we get to work,” said Roseann Sillasen, associate director and project manager for Physical Plant – Facilities. “We get as many projects done as possible while students and faculty are away for the summer.”

Summer projects began early with replacement of the 22-year-old Andersen track at the Freeman Athletic Center. The project included an installation of a new synthetic turf field for inclement-weather games and practice field, taking pressure off the grass practice fields and Jackson Field, the principal playing field for men’s and women’s soccer as well as men’s lacrosse.  The track is expected to be completed on Sept. 3.

Contractors fill areas near The Center for the Arts Rehearsal Hall and Crowell Concert Hall after replacing several sections of 40-year-old underground steamline piping.

Contractors fill areas near The Center for the Arts Rehearsal Hall and Crowell Concert Hall after replacing several sections of 40-year-old underground steamline piping.

On May 28 work began on a mechanical system replacement inside the Center for the Arts Rehearsal Hall. This project included the consolidation of mechanical rooms, installation of a heat pump and exterior dry cooler, perimeter landscaping, tree relocation within the CFA, a new acoustic entry door to Rehearsal Hall 013 and new acoustic doors in the corridor that separates Rehearsal Hall from Crowell Concert Hall. Also on May 28, work began on the Davison Art Center’s Alsop House. The veranda received new wood decking, framing and painting. The veranda’s metal pan roof is in the process of being replaced.

On June 3, crews began renovations on the Religion Department and the Center for the Humanities. Both buildings received wall repairs, fresh paint, lights and carpet. The Center for the Americas received a porch replacement, window restoration, roof repairs and replacement of the ADA-approved entrance with composite decking.

“Buffy to the Bard” Exhibit Offers Retrospective Look at Whedon’s Career

The Wesleyan Cinema Archives presents a retrospective look at the career of Joss Whedon '87, from his years at Wesleyan to his 2012 production of Much Ado about Nothing. The exhibit, "Joss Whedon: From Buffy to the Bard," located inside the Rick Nicita Gallery, features posters, notebooks, photographs, props and artwork from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity, the Avengers and more.

The Wesleyan Cinema Archives presents a retrospective look at the career of Joss Whedon ’87, from his years at Wesleyan to his 2012 production of “Much Ado about Nothing.” The exhibit, “Joss Whedon: From Buffy to the Bard,” located inside the Rick Nicita Gallery, features posters, notebooks, photographs, props and artwork from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Serenity,” “The Avengers” and more.

Whether you’re a serious student of Joss Whedon’s oeuvre or your inner geek has just really, really wanted to see Buffy’s scythe close up, an exhibit on view in the Cinema Archives’ Nicita Gallery should satisfy every fan of the prolific ’87 Wes alumnus.

Joss Whedon '87 presented Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, with an honorary degree from the American Film Institute Conservatory in 2006. This photograph is on display in the "Buffy to Bard" exhibit.

Joss Whedon ’87 presented Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, with an honorary degree from the American Film Institute Conservatory in 2006. This photograph is on display in the “Buffy to the Bard” exhibit.

“Joss Whedon: From Buffy to the Bard” is an intimate and charming retrospective of Whedon’s career, starting with a picture of Whedon shooting a student film at Wesleyan, continuing through souvenirs of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and winding up with a poster from his latest film, “Much Ado About Nothing,” which he previewed during Reunion & Commencement weekend for a wildly enthusiastic crowd of alumni and students.

“It was an awful lot of fun to put together,” said Curator Andrea McCarty, who not only created the exhibit but also designed the special Lucite cases that hold such Whedonalia as script notes and objéts from Whedon’s blockbuster “The Avengers,” based on the Marvel comic. “Joss basically went into his garage – and gave us all this stuff.”

Marvel and Lions Gate Studio also were generous in donating movie ephemera, McCarty said.

The exhibit will be up through December, honoring the prominent film studies alumnus (whose 2013 Commencement speech has now garnered more than a quarter million views on YouTube) as Wesleyan launches its new College of Film and the Moving Image. The college brings the Film Studies Department, the Center for Film Studies, the Cinema Archives and the Wesleyan Film Series under a single umbrella.

The exhibit will be open from noon to 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and also by appointment, allowing visitors to ponder notes and sketches for “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog;” film and TV posters; and props and artifacts from various Whedon productions.

For more information see the Nicita Gallery’s website.

In this 1986 photograph, director/producer/writer Joss Whedon '87, at left, makes a student film with classmate Richter Hartig '87. This photograph, taken by Brooks Kraft '87, is on display in the "Joss Whedon: From Buffy to the Bard" exhibit inside the Nicita Gallery through December.

In this 1986 photograph, director/producer/writer Joss Whedon ’87, at left, makes a student film with classmate Richter Hartig ’87. This photograph, taken by Brooks Kraft ’87, is on display in the “Joss Whedon: From Buffy to the Bard” exhibit inside the Nicita Gallery through December.

During the academic year, the Rick Nicita Gallery is open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday and by appointment by calling 860-685-2220.

During the academic year, the Rick Nicita Gallery is open noon to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and by appointment by calling 860-685-2220. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Register for Fall Graduate Liberal Studies Classes

The average GLS class has 12-14 students.

The average GLS class has 12-14 students. Courses are designed for working adults.

This fall, Wesleyan’s Graduate Liberal Studies is offering classes on psychological measurement, portraiture, editing fiction and nonfiction, contemporary world politics, Tolstoy and other topics of interest. Classes begin Sept. 9.

Students may take courses for personal enrichment, or to pursue a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) or a Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts (M.Phil). Classes are taught by Wesleyan faculty.

An information session will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 3 at the GLS office, 74 Wyllys Avenue.

Courses and instructors include:

Earn a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies through the Graduate Liberal Studies program.

Earn a MA in liberal studies.

“Jazz in the Sixties” will be taught by Jazz Ensemble Coach Noah Baerman from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Mondays from Sept. 9 to Dec. 13.

“Portraiture” will be taught by Juliana Forbes Romano, a visiting assistant professor of art, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesdays from Sept. 9 to Dec. 13.

“The Photographic Series” will be taught by Postdoctoral Fellow Matthew Grubb from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays from Sept. 9 to Dec. 13. (CLASS IS FULL)

“Editing and Invention: Developing your work in Fiction and Nonfiction” will be taught by Anne Greene, adjunct professor of English, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Mondays from Sept. 9 to Dec. 13.

“Personalizing History” will be taught by Indira Karamcheti, associate professor of American studies, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays from Sept. 9 to Dec. 13.

“The Arthurian Legend on Film” will be taught by Jeff Rider, professor of romance languages and literatures, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 21, 22, 28, 29, and Oct.  5.

“The Novel as Epic: Tolstoy to Joyce” will be taught by Joseph Fitzpatrick, visiting assistant professor of letters, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays from Sept. 9 to Dec. 13.

“Strange New Worlds: Planets, Exoplanets and Stars that Host Them” will be taught by Bill Herbst, professor of astronomy, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays from Sept. 9 to Dec. 13.

“Testing and Educational Policy: Psychological Measurement” will be taught by Steven Stemler, associate professor of psychology,  from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays from Sept. 9 to Dec. 13.

“A Citizen’s Guide to the First Amendment” will be taught by John Finn, professor of government, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays from Sept. 9 to Dec. 13.

“Democracy and Dictatorship: Politics in the Contemporary World – Foundational Course Option” will be taught by Peter Rutland, the Collin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Mondays from Sept. 9 to Dec. 13.

For more information on classes or to register, see this link.

Poet/Memoirist, Novelist/Screenwriter to Lead Writing Workshops for Students

For young writers, the prospect of getting their work in front of a master (whether a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, a prominent poet or a famous byline) can be both exciting and terrifying.

Student scribes at Wesleyan will have that opportunity this academic year as two masters of the craft come to campus to conduct a series of noncredit workshops at the Shapiro Creative Writing Center. Poet and memoirist Mark Doty and novelist and screenwriter Michael Cunningham will each do a series of three, two-and-a-half-hour master classes for about a dozen students. Doty’s up first in the fall semester and Cunningham will be on campus in the spring.

“They’re both exceptional writers, and this is a great opportunity for students,” said Amy Bloom ’75, director of the Shapiro Writing Center. “Having your work read and getting that type of direction is absolutely critical (for those learning the craft).”

Trees Rescued, Replanted During Steamline Replacement

Crews used a mechanical tree spade to transplant a 20-year-old maple tree on Aug. 6.

Crews used a mechanical tree spade to transplant a 20-year-old maple tree on Aug. 6.

During the months of August and September, contractors are replacing the underground steamlines between Fayerweather and Foss 10. This process requires significant excavation, and unfortunately, two trees stood in the path of destruction.

“These are perfectly healthy trees,” said Dave Hall, ground and events manager. “We couldn’t just let them die.”

On Aug. 6, Hall hired a tree specialist to remove the two trees from Foss Hill and relocate them to the Center for the Arts courtyard. The contractor used a mechanical tree spade to pierce the earth and extract the trees and their root-balls, which measure about 6-feet-wide and 5-feet-deep.

A copper beech, rescued from construction on Foss Hill, found a new home near the World Music Hall.

A copper beech, rescued from construction on Foss Hill, found a new home near the World Music Hall.

Crews transplanted a 20-year-old maple to a grassy area between the Davison Health Center and Davison Art Center. A 15-to-20 year-old copper beech found a new home near World Music Hall.

“This beech is going to turn bright red in the fall. It’s going to be very pretty,” Hall said. “You’d never know it wasn’t growing here for years.”

Another rescued birch, acquired from an earlier job near the CFA’s Rehearsal Hall, also was transplanted near the Music Studios and South Studio.

Planting aftercare includes a daily water dousing.

The new underground piping will exit the south east corner of Foss 10 and travel to the northwest corner of the west section of parking lot E (adjoining Fayerweather). From there, it will travel around the perimeter of the parking lot and terminate at an existing manhole just behind Fayerweather.

The parking lot will remain open during construction and travel along Wyllys Avenue and Mt. Vernon Street will not be restricted. A construction fence will separate the work area from the parking lot.

During the first three weeks of construction, the sidewalks on the south end of Foss 10 (from Van Vleck Observatory to Wyllys) will be closed. Work will begin at Foss 10 and progress to Fayerweather.

 

 

10 Students Tend 2 Acres at Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm

Students learn about sustainable agriculture at Long Lane Farm.

Students learn about sustainable agriculture at Long Lane Farm.

While their classmates spend the summer growing business contacts at off-campus internships, 10 Wesleyan students hope to cultivate something equally lucrative – sustainable agriculture.

The “dirt in the nails” days are long but satisfying at Wesleyan’s Long Lane Organic Farm, a student-run organic farm that gives students a place to experiment and learn about sustainable agriculture. Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals – environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.

Johnson is one of 10 student farmers working at Long Lane this summer. After graduating, Johnson hopes to study astrophysics and ultimately become an astronaut.

Coady Johnson ’15 harvests radishes at Long Lane Farm this summer. After graduating, Johnson hopes to study astrophysics and ultimately become an astronaut.

This summer, the students are cultivating two acres of land, the biggest plot they’ve ever farmed. They’re growing cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, tomatillos, squash, asparagus, basil, broccoli, lettuce, blueberries and much more. They’re also building a second hoop house, similar to a greenhouse, which will allow the students to grow leafy greens, peppers and other crops during the fall and winter months.

Not all students have a farming background. Summer farmer Coady Johnson ’15 grew up an hour north of Chicago in Wadsworth, Ill. where “most of the surrounding area is cornfields, but even so I didn’t get involved in farming until coming to Wesleyan,” he said.

At Wesleyan, Johnson fell in with a group of people who inspired him to think about the state of food production and consumption in this country.

“Industrial farming and a disconnect between what we eat and how it is produced is hurting our well-being, and I think that the best way to remedy that is to educate myself and others on growing our own food in a more responsible and sustainable way.”

A day down on the farm begins at 7 a.m. with a morning meeting . There, the students discuss plans for work, “like whether or not we should companion plant radishes with the squash. We try to be horizontally organized and make decisions only with 100 percent consensus, so that everyone can have a say in what we’re doing, and can suggest new ideas if they want,” Johnson said.

The students work until 11 a.m. and take a midday heat break. During time, the farmers run errands and do other work for the farm that can be done in the field, like emails and budget spreadsheets. At 3 p.m., the students return to the fields and work until 7 p.m. The farmers also choose to participate in various building projects such as planning and building the mass irrigation system.

Jessup Smith ’14 and nine other Wesleyan students enrolled in the Architecture II course designed and built a new chicken coop for Long Lane Farm.

Jessup Smith ’14 and nine other Wesleyan students enrolled in the Architecture II course designed and built a new chicken coop for Long Lane Farm. Pictured, Smith is crawling through the coop’s exterior entryway.

Food harvested from the farm is sold at the North End Farmers’ Market throughout the summer, and at the Wesleyan Farmers’ Market during the academic year. The student farmers donate excess food to Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown, and have an arrangement through which Bon Appetít dining services funds positions for students to work on the farm in exchange for weekly deliveries of farm vegetables. In addition, the students invite local families to the farm and teach children about the various aspects of farming and producing food. Children are sent home with a bag of produce that they personally harvested.

Next fall, a flock of feathery friends will join the students at the farm. A newly-designed and installed chicken coop will enable the farmers to harvest local eggs for use at Usdan University Center. Learn more about the coop in this Wesleyan Connection article.

The summer farmers are Laura Cohen ’14, Kate Enright ’15, Coady Johnson ’15, Ben Guilmette ’15, Josh Krugman ’14, Maggie Masselli ’16, Anna Redgrave ’16, Rebecca Sokol ’15, Hailey Sowden ’15 and Cat Walsh ’16. And they’re always looking for extra working hands.

“Whoever wants to help is a farmer, and we’re always looking for new people, from Wesleyan or from Middletown at large,” Johnson said.

Learn more about the farm’s

Photos of the farm are below:

farm (4)

Architecture Class Designs Chicken Coop at Long Lane Farm

Ten Wesleyan students enrolled in the Architecture II course designed and built a new chicken coop for Long Lane Farm.

Ten Wesleyan students enrolled in the Architecture II course designed and built a new chicken coop for Long Lane Farm. A fence will complete the left side and protect the chickens from predators.

A flock of feathery friends will soon join the student staff at Long Lane Farm.

Each year since 2006, Wesleyan’s Architecture II course, taught by Associate Professor of Art Elijah Huge, has accepted a commission to work on a project, traditionally for a nonprofit organization. Past projects have included the Wesleyan Sukkah, a wildlife-viewing platform for the Audubon Society, and a pavilion for the Connecticut Forest and Parks Association at its headquarters. This year, the idea for the project came from Long Lane Farm and Bon Appétit: to design and build a chicken coop that would enable Bon Appétit to serve locally harvested eggs at Usdan University Center.

“This is the first project commissioned for non-human clients,” said Teaching Assistant Julia Drachman ’14. “Reactions from the class members varied from skeptical to excited to nervous.”

First, the class spoke to chicken experts about the health and psychology of feathered fowl.

Jessup Smith ’14 and nine other Wesleyan students enrolled in the Architecture II course designed and built a new chicken coop for Long Lane Farm.

Jessup Smith ’14 crawls through the coop’s entryway.

“We learned some peculiar facts about chickens,” said class member Jessup Smith ’14. “For one, chickens will only accept a new chicken into their group if you sneak it into their coop while they are asleep. If you try to introduce chickens while they are awake, the new chickens may be rejected.”

After researching the quirky psychology of chickens, the students began designing the coop. The class began by discussing basic coop requirements with members of the Long Lane Farm. Topics included green power, free-range area, structure mobility and overall functionality.

The class split up into three groups to fully explore its options. Each group brainstormed about a design for a different frequency of mobility, either stationary, seasonal, or creeping with a weekly movement.

Next Round of Wesleyan Coursera Classes Starting

The course "Social Psychology," taught by Professor Scott Plous, will be offered free of charge on the Coursera platform.

The course “Social Psychology,” taught by Professor Scott Plous, will be offered free of charge on the Coursera platform.

Miss the start of MOOC-mania earlier this year? Good news—it’s not too late to check it out! Wesleyan’s next round of massive open online courses (MOOCS) is starting on Coursera in the coming weeks.

A brand new MOOC, “Social Psychology,” will be offered by Professor of Psychology Scott Plous starting Aug. 12. The course has generated enormous interest, with more than 170,000 students currently enrolled.

“The goal of the course is to explore some entertaining and intriguing psychology findings that students can use to improve their lives, relationships, and work. More than 40 organizations have contributed free readings, video clips and other items to the course, and I’m excited to share these materials with students who might not otherwise have access to them,” said Plous, adding that he has “tucked some fun surprises into the course.”

In addition, many of Wesleyan’s original MOOCs will run for a second time on Coursera this summer and fall. These include  “The Modern and the Postmodern,” (begins July 29) taught by President Michael Roth; “The Ancient Greeks,” (Sept. 2) taught by Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, professor of classical studies; and “The Language of Hollywood: Storytelling, Sound and Color,” (Sept. 16) taught by Scott Higgins, associate professor of film studies.

"Analysis of a Complex Kind" will be taught by Professor Petra Bonfert-Taylor.

“Analysis of a Complex Kind” will be taught by Professor Petra Bonfert-Taylor, starting on Oct. 21.

Later in the fall, another new MOOC, “Analysis of a Complex Kind,” will be taught by Petra Bonfert-Taylor, professor of mathematics. This class starts on Oct. 21.

The first round of Wesleyan MOOCs saw enrollment by more than 140,000 students from 171 countries and every continent, save Antarctica, according to Sheryl Culotta, director of continuing studies and the Graduate Liberal Studies Program. The typical student was an international, college-educated woman in her 20s and 30s.

The feedback from these students has been very positive. “Many have said that they felt their Wesleyan Coursera course was equivalent to college-level classes they have taken,” Culotta said.

Wesleyan’s initial Coursera pilot project will continue throughout the coming academic year, with a few new courses launching in the fall and spring. After these courses launch, Wesleyan will make a decision regarding future courses, said Culotta, and will develop an official course proposal process similar to the process for other programs.

 

 

Microgrid will Supply Power to Campus During Power Outage

The Central Power Plant team discusses the performance of the main “island mode” generator, located behind the wall on the left.

The Central Power Plant team discusses the performance of the main “island mode” generator, located behind the wall on the left.

Wesleyan’s Microgrid Project – which would allow the university to keep the lights on even during a massive power outage – was one step closer to reality last week with the award of a state grant for work on a specialized engine.

The grant, for $694,000, will pay to connect Wesleyan’s natural gas Combined Heat and Power (CHP) reciprocating engines to the campus electrical grid.

“The new microgrid will supply power to the campus 24-7,” said Joyce Topshe, associate vice president for facilities. “In the event of a power outage, the microgrid will power the campus in ‘island mode,’ enhancing Wesleyan’s ability to provide a safe environment for its students, faculty, staff and members of the Middletown community.”

Wesleyan’s grant was one of nine awarded to projects across Connecticut. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection pilot program for microgrids was launched in response to recent violent storms (Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy) that left some state residents without power for weeks.

“These projects will help protect residents and vital public services even when the power goes out,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in announcing the grants.

Dance Department Moving to Cross Street in January

The former AME Zion Church on Cross Street is being remodeled this summer. Next January, it will house the Dance Department.

The former AME Zion Church on Cross Street is being remodeled this summer. The Dance Department will occupy the space in January 2014.

In January 2014, the Dance Department will move from its space in the Center for the Arts to a new studio and office space on Cross Street. This will allow Dance Department faculty and students to be closer to the Bessie Schönberg dance studio on Pine Street.

Construction at 160 Cross Street commenced July 9 with asbestos abatement and demolition of the interior finishes and walls. Interior framing begins Aug. 5. According to Alan Rubacha, director of Physical Plant, construction will be completed this fall.

Dance Department faculty and students are currently using two studios and other shared spaces. Some dance faculty are sharing offices due to the lack of space.

The new venue will house offices for all dance faculty. It will also create an opportunity for more dance performances since the studio will be equipped for lighting instruments, making it a suitable production space. With this multipurpose new space, the dance department will be more able to accommodate present and future student enrollment in dance classes, teaching and research of new dance technologies, and performances of student work, faculty directed concerts, and visiting artists and scholars.

The building, which neighbors Neon Deli and the Freeman Athletic Center, was constructed in 1978 by the AME Zion Church. The congregation has since moved to a new location on West Street. Wesleyan’s Cross Street Archeology Laboratory occupied the building’s basement for several years. On July 8, the lab relocated to a space inside the Physical Plant building on Long Lane.

The Theater Department will occupy the former CFA Dance Department space.

20 Courses Offered during Wesleyan Summer Session

Wesleyan’s 2013 Summer Session offered students a unique opportunity to complete semester-long courses in only five weeks. Courses spanned the curriculum, including gateway courses and special two-course Thematic Institutes, which are only available during the summer. All courses followed the Wesleyan tradition of small classes, which allow for closer relationships with faculty and fellow students as well as immersive study and a concentrated focus.

This summer, one session ran from May 29 – June 27 and the other from July 1 – July 30. The first session included 12 courses while the second session included eight courses, two of which comprised a Thematic Institute on Visual Storytelling.

Examples of courses offered this summer were “The Graphic Novel,” “Elementary Statistics,” “Drawing I,” “Life Science, Art, and Culture, Medieval to Present,” and “Foreign Policy at the Movies.”

Some courses gave students the chance to knock out a gateway course for their major over the summer. For example, all English majors are required to take English 201 and Professor Stephanie Weiner’s course, “Ways of Reading: Reading for Genre: Form, History, Theory.” By completing this course over the summer, students are able to pursue different courses during the regular academic year. Other classes, such as Professor John Kirn’s “Comparative Animal Behavior,” are only offered during the summer. All courses are open to Wesleyan and non-Wesleyan students alike.

In addition to the Summer Session, Wesleyan also offers pre-college students the opportunity to experience a Wesleyan education during the summer. Beginning this summer, Wesleyan is offering fully online seminars developed specifically for high-achieving high school juniors and seniors. Pre-College courses are taught by Wesleyan faculty, allowing students to get the full benefit of Wesleyan while also interacting with classmates, participating in writing and interactive projects, completing assignments, and gaining valuable, individualized feedback on a flexible schedule. Students receive a Certificate of Completion with an optional letter grade.

Photos of the 2013 Wesleyan Summer Session are below: (Photos by John Van Vlack)

Summer Session classes, July 2013 at Wesleyan University.

Gift from Bailey ’66 Endows Visiting Faculty Position in COE

At right, College of the Environment Director Barry Chernoff graciously accepted a $3 million gift from history major Essel Bailey ’66, pictured at left. Bailey's gift will ensure a continuing robust visiting scholar program at the COE.

At right, College of the Environment Director Barry Chernoff graciously accepted a $3 million gift from history major Essel Bailey ’66, pictured at left. Bailey’s gift will ensure a continuing robust visiting scholar program at the COE.

If anyone can appreciate humankind’s connection to the Earth, it’s a farmer. Essel Bailey ’66 grew up on farms in the South and Michigan, his early years shaped by the rhythms of planting and harvesting and his father’s careful stewardship of the land.

The lessons of his farming boyhood stay with Bailey, a lawyer and executive in Ann Arbor, Mich., in his work with the Nature Conservancy and other groups, and informed, in part, his gift to Wesleyan’s College of the Environment. The nearly $3 million commitment from Bailey and his wife, Menakka, will endow a visiting professorship and bring the COE close to full funding.

“What’s very appealing is the idea of knowledge-based policy on the environment,” Bailey said. “That’s what the COE can do, providing a scientific basis, academic basis to solutions on the environment. And (visiting faculty) are a valuable part of a Wesleyan education, bringing different ideas to campus.”

Their generous gift represents the Baileys’ strong commitment to Wesleyan and to the COE, which was founded in 2009 to “change the trajectory of humans on the planet for the better.”

“The most important challenge facing current and future generations of humans will be the quality of the environment