Campus News & Events

Wesleyan is No. 1 (and Top 10 in other Third-Party Rankings)


Posted 09/15/06
Each year, the Office of University Communications collects objective and comparative measures of Wesleyan’s strengths from data compiled by outside sources. Following is a brief list of recent findings:

No. 1 in National Science Foundation (NSF) Funding among Liberal Arts Peers
This is an objective ranking based on available NSF funding data. Between 2001 and 2003 Wesleyan received $14.49 million in NSF funding (this reflects the most recent data available – Wesleyan was also No. 1 in the previous survey that ran up to 2001). Next closest was Mt. Holyoke at $5.31 million. Carleton was 3rd, Barnard 4th and Wellesley 5th.

No. 1 in Science and Math Publications Among Liberal Arts Peers
Also objective and a very significant ranking within the scientific community, this data set runs between 1994-2004 and shows that Wesleyan had a little less than 1,061 scientific publications during this period. Williams was No. 2 with just over 508 publications. Rounding out the top five were Wellesley No. 3, Swarthmore No. 4, Amherst No. 5.

No. 10 in the 2006 U. S. News & World Report Rankings of Liberal Arts Institutions
This is probably the best-known national ranking list.

Wesleyan also ranked within U.S. News:
     No. 6 in Peer Assessment
     This number reflects Wesleyan’s over-all academic reputation and perception of excellence among peer institutions.

     No. 7 in Economic Diversity
     This ranking was determined by the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants within U.S. News’ top 25 ranked schools. While not a perfect gauge of economic diversity, “Pell figures are the best available gauge of how many low income undergrads there are on a given campus,” according to the editors.

No. 3 among All National Universities & Colleges by Washington Monthly
This magazine ranks schools by “not what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country…Are our colleges making good use of our tax dollars? Are they producing graduates who can keep our nation competitive in a changing world?” The full rankings and methodology can be seen at: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2006/0609.collegechart.html

No. 8 Wesleyan Athletics Power Ranking among Div. III Schools by NCSA
The National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) recently gave Wesleyan a power ranking of 8 nationally among Division III schools. According to NCSA, the rankings were developed to encourage student-athletes and parents to take a comprehensive approach to choosing a school based on its overall merits. Colleges and universities are given a ranking based on academics, athletics, and student-athlete graduation rates. Last year Wesleyan was ranked 13th in this survey. The full rankings can be seen at http://www.ncsapowerrankings.org/ under 2006 Rankings, then clicking Division III.

No. 10 of Top 50 Colleges in the U.S. for African Americans as Ranked by Black Enterprise magazine.
1. Florida A&M; 2. Howard University in Washington, DC; 3, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, N.C.; 4, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; 5, Spelman College, Atlanta, Ga.; 6, Hampton University, Hampton, Va.; 7, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.;
8, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.; 9, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Penn.;
10, Wesleyan University.

Wesleyan is a Top 30 Private School according to Reform Judaism magazine’s “Insider’s Guide to Jewish Campus Life”
“Created for high school and college students, the guide’s centerfold documents colleges by Jewish population – the top 30 private and top 30 public North American school Jews choose. It also includes expert information on getting into top universities, why it is important to choose a Jewish-friendly school, finding Jewish-related scholarships and loans, and making the best of the college experience.” The full list can be seen at www.reformjudaismmag.org.
 

List compiled by David Pesci, director of Media Relations and the Office of University Communications staff

Wesleyan, Connecticut Science Center Forge Partnership to Promote Interest in the Sciences


Science teachers in Connecticut teachers take classes at Wesleyan through the Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science Program (PIMMS). PIMMS is teaming up with the Connecticut Science Center to provide science and math education techniques to K-12 teachers.
Posted 09/15/06
A new partnership between Wesleyan University and The Connecticut Science Center in Hartford will be designed to engage more students across the state to the sciences than ever before.

Specifically, The Connecticut Science Center will be partnering with Wesleyan’s Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Sciences (PIMMS). Together they will train Connecticut middle school science teachers how best to teach the sciences to students in grades K-12.

“We are very excited about the new Science Center,” says Joseph Bruno, vice president for academic affairs and provost at Wesleyan.

“Coming at a time when we are actively promoting the excellence of Wesleyan science, we view the partnership as an opportunity to contribute to this exciting project and to inform others about our science programs. The contributions of our faculty and students at the Center would also be entirely consistent with Wesleyan’s strong commitment to service in the community,” he says.

Both PIMMS and The Connecticut Science Center have a mission to foster public interest in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The new partnership will offer teachers graduate level credit through Wesleyan’s Graduate Liberal Studies Program (GLSP) for those who enroll in the Science Center’s Institute for Inquiry. The Science Center’s Institute for Inquiry is a professional development program for Connecticut teachers of science. It’s available to all teachers in grades K-12 who have an interest in teaching the sciences. Teachers must enroll, and be accepted to the program where they research and develop a unit of study pertaining to science.

This summer, the Institute accepted 150 Connecticut area teachers-an enrollment spike from 125 teachers last year. The program runs for six weeks starting each July and each week-long session trains approximately 30-40 teachers.

Christine Moses, director of Program Outreach for the Connecticut Science Center, says that the Center has always thought of Wesleyan’s PIMMS as a leader in the state for the development of teachers in the sciences.

“This mutually beneficial partnership will teach teachers how to take their students through the inquiry process,” she says. “When you engage students first in the sciences, instead of lecturing, they retain the information better.”

Moses anticipates that next summer, even more teachers will apply to the Institute for Inquiry for credit through Wesleyan University, to prepare for the new state science cumulative testing requirements for grades 5 and 8 beginning in 2008.

The new partnership between PIMMS and The Connecticut Science Center also involves Wesleyan University faculty, who will help the Center write curricula for their science labs.

“Wesleyan’s science and mathematics faculty have always shown a keen interest in working with teachers and students in Connecticut’s schools,” says Mike Zebarth, director of Wesleyan’s PIMMS.

“This partnership will provide additional opportunities for the Wesleyan faculty to be involved with one of the State’s key educational resources in science and math. Faculty members may serve in advisory capacities, present public seminars and work with PIMMS on the Center’s Inquiry Institute. There will also be opportunities for Wesleyan’s graduate and undergraduate students to be involved directly with the Center in the role of exhibit tour guides,” he says.

Robert Rosenbaum, University Mathematics Professor at Wesleyan University, established the Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science at Wesleyan in 1979. Annually, 1500 teachers attend one or more of PIMMS 50 high-quality professional development programs. For more information, contact Mike Zebarth at 860-685-6456 or visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/pimms/ or www.ctsciencecenter.org.
 

By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations

Presidential Search Committee Forming


Posted 09/15/06
On May 4, 2006, Doug Bennet ’59, P’87, P’94, Wesleyan’s 15th president, announced his decision that the 2006-07 academic year will be the 12th and final year of his presidency. The Wesleyan Board of Trustees is in the process of convening an 18-person search committee composed of alumni, trustees, faculty, staff and students to undertake a comprehensive search to identify and successfully recruit Bennet’s successor.

The alumni and trustee members of the search committee are Kofi Appenteng ’81 and chair, Stephen Daniel ’82, Jim Dresser ’63, Joe Fins ’82, Ellen Jewett ’81, Michael McPherson P’98, Megan Norris ’83, Ted Shaw ’76, Shonni Silverberg ’76, and John Usdan ’80. Peter Patton, vice president and secretary, will also serve as a member of the search committee.

In keeping with the process used in the search that resulted in Doug Bennet’s selection by the Board in 1995, the faculty will select five members and the student body will select two members to join the search committee.

Several other leading colleges and universities will be conducting presidential searches this year, so to ensure that Wesleyan has its first choice among search consultants, several trustees, staff, faculty and students initiated a competitive process to select a search firm in July.

Consultants Jennifer Bol and Michele Haertel from Spencer Stuart will work as search consultants to Wesleyan. They bring a combination of extensive experience in higher education plus world-wide experience in other markets.

“Many thanks to the faculty, student and trustee leadership for enabling the search consultant selection process to proceed so smoothly,” Appenteng says. “We look forward to working with as many of you as possible as we take this important next step in Wesleyan’s future.”

Appenteng says it is critical to have staff on campus to support the search process. Peter Patton, vice president and secretary of the university, professor of earth and environmental sciences, has agreed to serve as executive secretary to the search committee. Patton will be joined by Joan Adams, formerly the assistant to the dean of admission and financial aid, who will serve as special assistant to the Presidential Search Committee.

Current committee members have established a Web site to collect confidential nominations and feedback from the community at http://www.wesleyan.edu/presidentialsearch.

Anyone may make suggestions, comments or nominations to the search committee.

Once the search committee membership is complete, the full search committee will begin a more formal outreach process with the Wesleyan Community and review the submissions.

Definitive Strength and Conditioning Moves Online


Drew Black, wrestling coach and strength and conditioning coach, explains how to use a medicine ball for strength training via video on a new Strength and Conditioning Web Site.
Posted 09/15/06

With moves like the spider lunge, chest fly, sumo squat, wood chop, push jerk and the inch worm, strength and conditioning lessons have never been so easy – and entertaining.

 

Through a series of online videos and written training plans, Drew Black, Wesleyan wrestling coach and strength and conditioning coach, shows how to properly execute 241 movements in the weight room. Some can be applied in the workplace or at home, as well.

 

The new Strength and Conditioning Web Site, launched Sept. 7, can be seen online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/athletics/strength/. All high-quality video clip demonstrations were filmed in the Freeman Athletic Center’s Andersen Fitness Center.

 

“This new site is for the entire Wesleyan community,” Black says. “Our fitness center is one of the most used facilities on campus and I want everyone to have a tool and resource they can turn to for information on how to reach their strength and fitness goals whether you are a varsity athlete, a recreational athlete, a lifetime fitness enthusiast, or someone who is recovering from an injury.”

 

In addition to the video clips, the site highlights six performance principles including sport specific training, multiple joint movements, multiple plane movements, ground-based movements, nutrition, rest and recovery, and periodization, a scientific, systematic training model used to continuously make gains in training.

 

It offers training notes on speed and agility, general strength programs, warming up, core training. Site visitors can download and print log forms to chart and record training sessions.

 

Black suggests a number of general strength training programs, categorized into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels of strength training. Users can view a three-day program, weight training for total body, interval training ideas and a bodyweight strength program.

 

“These programs are set up into two different formats where you may choose how you would like to train during the week,” Black explains. “You may like to train your total body each time you lift or you may choose to train only certain movements such as upper body pushing movements, lower body only, and upper body pulling movements. Both methods are effective for increasing strength. It’s important to choose a plan that works best for you.”

 

Student athletes can use the site to enhance their individual’s athletic potential on the field, mat, ice, court and water. Since strength training is a major supplement to the athlete’s specific sport, the athletes always have access to the video-coach as they train.

 

Black says the site also will attract top prospective student-athletes to Wesleyan.

 

“There are not many sites around the country that offer this information,” Black explains. “It shows that we love what we do and at Wesleyan we strive for excellence.”

 

The site was designed by Ryan Lee, Web designer; coordinated by Jen Carlstrom, director of New Media Services; and categorized by Mary Glynn, application technology specialist. Michael Leone, son of Pat Leone, World Wide Web administrator, filmed and edited the digital videos.

 

Black, who initiated the idea for a video-coach Web site, says strength and conditioning are the two best supplements a person can add into his or her daily regimen.

 

“In order to run faster, jump higher, and be able to play longer, you must strength train, cross train, and condition your body,” Black explains. “Many of our fitness center users also have goals in terms of losing weight, become more flexible, get stronger, and put on some muscle. All of these goals will be realized and attained by following a strength program. Quality of life and quality experience in your sport are directly related to following a consistent strength and conditioning program.”
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

David Titus, Professor Emeritus of Government, Dies


Posted 09/15/06

David Titus, Professor Emeritus of Government, died on June 13, 2006.

Professor Titus taught at Wesleyan from 1966 until his retirement in 2004, serving as chair of the Government Department, the College of Social Studies and the East Asian Studies Program. He played a crucial role in establishing East Asian Studies at Wesleyan; he served as Resident Director of the Kyoto Program three times, and was a member and frequent chair of its Executive Board. His masterwork was his Palace and Politics in Prewar Japan, which established his reputation as a leading scholar of Japanese politics; it was translated into Japanese in 1979.

Professor Titus as an avid birdwatcher, and a vital participant in the Mattabesset chapter of the Audubon Society, which he also served as president. Until his recent stroke, he loved to play the violin, enlivening numerous campus occasions over the years.

He is survived by two sons, Brian and Jeffrey, a daughter in law, Rie, and two grandchildren, Sion and Neo. A memorial service will be scheduled in the fall.

 

Memorial donations may be sent to the Mattabeseck Audubon Society, c/o Alison Guinness, DeKoven House, 27 Washington St., Middletown, CT 06457.

Libraries and the Constitution After 9/11 Topic of Constitution Day


Posted 09/15/06
Wesleyan celebrated the 10th anniversary of Constitution Day.

According to Federal law, Wesleyan and other federally-funded institutions are required to offer programs commemorating the Constitution.

“We want to take something that is required by law, and turn it into something meaningful for the Wesleyan community,” says the Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian Barbara Jones.

Jones, whose primary professional interests include intellectual freedom, presented a talk titled “Libraries and the Constitution After 9/11” in recognition of Constitution Day 2006 Sept. 19 in the Smith Reading Room in Olin Library. R

Jones has served one term as chair of the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and two terms as a member of the Intellectual Freedom Committee. She was the first chair of the American College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Intellectual Freedom Committee. Jones has spoken to library, general academic, legislative and community groups about the First Amendment in libraries of all types, and has just returned from a lecture tour in Japan.

Olin Library will celebrate its centennial as a depository library with an event during Homecoming, including an exhibit in the library on the Constitution.

Constitution Day, Inc., a non-partisan non-profit organization, coordinates an annual national simultaneous recitation of the Preamble across all of America. All 50 states participate in a roll call in the order they ratified the Constitution or were admitted to the Union.

This year, General Colin Powell led a nationwide annual recitation of the preamble. The recitation was dedicated to and honored the United States military.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Faculty, Students offer Reflections at Sept. 11 Memorial


Ron Jenkins, professor of theater, reads a Sanskrit prayer during a Sept. 11 Memorial Service in the Memorial Chapel while Jason Harris ’09, left, listens.
Posted 09/15/06
On Sept. 11, 2001, Marc Arena ’07 was in class when his high school principal announced over the P.A. that the World Trade Center towers were struck by two planes. He and his classmates at Pelham Memorial High School in Pelham, N.Y. gathered around a radio, listening in awe.

With an ear on the broadcast, and a pencil at hand, Arena wrote a poem.

“Bodies leaping from 61 floors. Like roaches in the light. The people flee from the dark cloud. The shrapnel rain. Suffocating smog and fumes. Complete darkness even in daylight,” Arena wrote.

Five years later, Arena presented this poem during a “9-11 Memorial” Sept. 11, 2006 in the Memorial Chapel. He was one of six speakers who offered a reflection or poem during the 45-minute service, attended by Wesleyan students, faculty and staff.

Jewish Rabbi David Leipziger Teva organized the service, noting that 1,825 days have passed since the terrorist attacks; 3,500 Wesleyan undergraduates have received degrees; and a baby born on Sept. 11, 2001 could be attending kindergarten this year.

Leipziger Teva read off 24 names of Wesleyan alumni and friends who perished in the attacks, starting with Maile Hale ’97 and Andy Kates ’85.

“Let us reflect on all those who were killed five years ago today,” he said. “They were our fathers, our wives and our children. They were alumni – students who walked the halls we walk today. They were friends and loved ones of our beloved Wesleyan community.”

Like Arena, Ethan Kleinberg, associate professor of history, associate professor of letters, shared his memories of Sept. 11, 2001 with the audience, mentioning that his first day teaching classes at Wesleyan was at 10:30 a.m. that morning. Not knowing what to do, he asked the students to speak. Several wanted to explore the reasons of what led to the attacks.

Kleinberg followed his story with summarized points adapted from French philosopher Georges Sorel’s “Reflections on Violence.”

By reading a Sanskrit prayer excerpt, Ron Jenkins, professor of theater, mimicked how victims of terrorist bombings in Bali prayed during a ceremony at Ground Zero.

“I chose to read and discuss this ceremony because I believe it is important to understand 9/11 in an international perspective, and to reflect on cultures like Balinese Hindus,” Jenkins said. “They live in the world’s largest Muslim country and chose to respond to terror with art instead of war.”

Elizabeth Willis, assistant professor of English, said as a poet, she was struck by how poetry was being circulated on the internet post Sept. 11. She read 1969 Pulitzer Prize poet George Oppen’s “Power of the Enchanted World” and an excerpt from Walt Whitman’s poem, “Leaves of Grass.”

Other speakers included Karl Scheibe, professor of psychology, emeritus, who read Robert Frost’s “Choose Something Like a Star,” and Jason Harris ’09 who shared a reflection titled “Is it Just a Myth?”

In addition to the memorial, panelists spoke on the topic, “9/11 in Retrospect: in what ways, if any, has the world changed?” in the Public Affairs Center. Donald Moon, dean of the social sciences and John. E. Andrus Professor of Government served as moderator.

Panelists included Peter Gottschalk, associate professor of religion; Bruce Masters, professor of history; Joel Pfister, professor of English and Len Burman,’75, director of the Tax Policy Center, Urban Institute and Brookings Institution.

Bells rang at 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m., the times when planes struck the World Trade Center.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

 

 

 

 

The following poem was written by Marc Arena ’07 (pictured above)  while listening to the radio during live broadcast coverage of Sept. 11, 2001.

The day shattered by the pierce of the P.A.
“The World Trade Center has been hit by a plane.”
Think nothing of it I thought until it collapsed

The World Trade Center fell
The Pentagon hit
Nation emergency

Bush in the air
Light hearts reeled in
Fleeing along Broadway
Cell phone calls frantically placed
The inferno burned the towers like roman candles

Reporters choking back fear
To comfort and inform the people
The thickness of the smoke
Surpasses the tension in the air

War seems only footsteps away
My parents may have been called to aid the victims
Please don’t let that be true

Car bomb explosion
How long has this been planned?

“It is the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history”

Children stranded at schools

“New York City is on full terrorist alert.”

Nation-wide breakdown

“Breaking News”

Family on Chambers St.
Ashley in school, crying
Fabienne at work, wondering
Jon at work, worrying

THE SECOND TOWER COLLAPSED!
Reporters are desperately attempting to state their names
Leave their recognition upon the world and their condolences to all
What can’t be said at the time can be read

Bodies leaping from 61 floors
Like roaches in the light
The people flee from the dark cloud

The shrapnel rain
Suffocating smog and fumes
Complete darkness even in daylight

Falling sands
Human coal dowsed with water
The state department possibly attacked
Thanks god I’m not 18

NYC is in shambles
One hour of chaos
The hum of work overshadowed
by the moans of fatality

Reports from the air suspended
Everyone is a suspect
The task was taken out successfully
In the kamikaze tradition

The globe paralyzed
Gone!
The entire nation’s honorary capital is relatively destroyed

There might as well be war
This is war
Casualties are imminent

Giant flame-throwers erupt from the towers
Sirens blaring and muffling the sounds of panic

Tragedy

Half hour between collapses

C
O
L
L
A
P
S
Ed

“The word here is Oh My God.”

People trapped inside
10:31

“Smoke tidal wave.”

The skyline altered forever
The sky lined by smoked
The smoke lined by tears
Of a nation

Read another Sept. 11 poem, spoken during the recent Memorial Service, here.

Wesleyan Receives $500,000 Challenge Grant from Kresge Foundation


Posted 08/24/06
The Kresge Foundation of Troy, Mich., has awarded a challenge grant in the amount of $500,000 to Wesleyan University. This grant will be applied toward the purchase of equipment for several Wesleyan science departments, including biology, chemistry, molecular biology and biochemistry, earth and environmental sciences and physics.

To apply to the Science Equipment Program, Wesleyan had to raise $500,000 and now must raise an additional $1 million to meet the terms of Kresge challenge grant and establish an endowment for repair and replacement of science equipment. According to the tenets of the grant, Wesleyan must raise $1.5 million to meet the challenge and establish an endowment for the repair and replacement of science equipment. To date the university has already raised $500,000 toward this goal.

Wesleyan’s planned purchases of advanced scientific equipment with the grant and additional money raised include:

– LC-Mass Spectrometer for Biology ($158,000)

– Gel Permeation Chromatograph for Chemistry ($148,000)

– Telescope Control System for the Astronomy department’s telescopes ($60,000)

– ICO-Mass Spectrometer for Earth and Environmental Sciences ($203,000)

– YAG/Dye Laser for Physics and Chemistry ($89,000)

– Microplate Reader for Biology ($61,000)

– Photosynthesis System for Biology and Earth and Environmental Sciences ($31,000).

In the next few years, Wesleyan will construct a state-of-the-art facility for teaching and research in the life sciences. The new facility will add roughly 80,000 square feet of departmental and community space that will enable Wesleyan to continue its academic leadership in the sciences.

The Kresge Foundation is a national foundation with $3 billion in assets that seeks to strengthen nonprofit organizations by catalyzing their growth, connecting them to their stakeholders, and challenging greater support through grants.

Physics Professor Studies Exotic Atoms


Tom Morgan, the Foss Professor of Physics, developed a laser lab in the basement of Exley Science Center. He uses a control panel to fire atoms and study quantum mechanics. His atom research is supported by a recent National Science Foundation award of $200,000.
Posted 08/24/06
In outer space, some protons and electrons can travel millions of years alone before colliding, forming super-excited exaggerated atoms. Tom Morgan, the Foss Professor of Physics, wants these atoms to come back down to earth.

For the past 20 years, Morgan, an atomic and molecular physicist, has experimented with these excited atoms known as Rydberg atoms.

With the help of Wesleyan’s Scientific Support Services, he’s designed and created two accelerator collision systems in the basement of Exley Science Center. By shooting a laser beam at a series of regular atoms, he can create Rydberg atoms, which escalate the electron’s orbit 10,000 times further than in a regular atom. These giant atoms, with elusive properties, are ideal to study to gain insight into the connection between quantum mechanics and classical physics.

“What I’ve always been interested in is what I learn about an atom or molecule on a fundamental level,” Morgan says from his second floor office in the Exley Science Center. “I want to learn about their structure, their dynamics, and how the size of an atom affects its behavior.”

Over the years the Research Corporation, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation have supported his research. On Aug. 15, the NSF awarded a grant of $200,000 for laser research equipment.

Morgan began his career at Wesleyan 33 years ago by studying properties of fast protons colliding with alkaline atoms magnesium, calcium, strontium and barium. In the mid-80s, he began investigating Rydberg atoms in hydrogen and helium. Recently, his research interests include molecular spectroscopy and dynamics of highly excited Rydberg states in strong electric fields and plasma environments. His most recent contributions include studying Rydberg argon dynamics and the first measurement of a scaled-energy recurrence spectrum for molecules.

Morgan says he is among about a hand-full of researchers in the world studying scaled-energy laser-excited atoms in strong electric fields and the first to apply the technique to hydrogen molecules.

“When you’re doing cutting-edge research, it’s not going to be easy,” he says overlooking his self-designed laser-accelerator control panel. “Everything has to be perfect to get the right conditions and results. Doing this type of work requires not only brains, but a lot of patience and good hands.”

Lutz Huwel, chair of the Physics Department and professor of physics, says Morgan’s positive and constructive attitude in the classroom stands out just as much as his love for physics.

“Tom loves physics of all kind ­ above all the Rydberg atoms and molecules he and his dedicated group of students are investigating in his lab,” Huwel says. “He is always on the lookout for interesting things to do and to talk about. He has a knack for getting students excited about physics.”

In October, one of Morgan’s undergraduate students, Jack DiSciacca ’07, will be presenting his research results at a national laser science conference in Rochester, N.Y. DiSciacca is a Goldwater Scholar for the academic year 06-07 and is writing his senior honors thesis on Rydberg hydrogen molecules.

Morgan, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., says his interest in physics came about in high school, when his algebra teacher said he had “quite the ability in math.”

“I perked up at this, because this person thought I was actually good at something. That was my defining moment. It gave me the confidence to pursue math, and later physics,” he says.

He studied math and the sciences at Carroll College in Helena, Mont. and Montana State University, Bozeman and received his Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley in 1971. His thesis covered the collisional formation and destruction properties of excited hydrogen molecules.

In 1973, after two years at Queen’s University of Belfast, N. Ireland, Morgan came to Wesleyan, and began teaching general physics classes, more advanced classes for majors and graduate level courses. Morgan has published more than 85 articles in leading physics journals. He’s overseen dozens of students pursuing Ph.D degrees and senior honors theses, who often report their findings at national conferences and publish in scientific journals.

Morgan, who also is Wesleyan’s Academic Secretary, served as the Chairman of the Physics Department for five years, and the Dean of the Sciences and Mathematics for three years. He has held several visiting research appointments at other universities, including the University of Paris, France, the University of Colorado, Boulder, the University of Mexico, Mexico City and at Dublin City University, Ireland, where as a Fulbright Senior Scholar he established a physics undergraduate student exchange program with Wesleyan.

“Wesleyan was great when I arrived here, and it’s great now,” Morgan says. “The teaching and research environment is wonderful and my colleagues are superb, but what I really love about Wesleyan is the students. It is the bright students in the classroom and in my lab that have kept me here all these years.”

He is presently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he is collaborating on research programs devoted to plasma physics. He’s also a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Physics in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

He’s also a four-time marathon runner, a big New York Yankees fan, and a singer/musician for an Irish Celtic band.

Morgan is one of three in his family to work at Wesleyan. His wife, Janet, retired in 2003 from Information Technology Services, and his son, Brent Morgan, is an instructional media specialist for ITS and the Center for the Arts. But after more than three decades here, Tom has no plans to leave Wesleyan just yet.

“No, I can’t even think about (retirement),” he says, turning the knobs on his laser lab control panel. “I am having too much fun.”
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Committee to Prepare Campus for Crisis, Disaster


Posted 08/24/06

A team of staff members is updating Wesleyan’s emergency response plan, which describes protocols for maintaining personal safety and the continuity of operations in the event of a crisis.

Led by Director of Physical Plant Cliff Ashton, the Business Continuity Planning Committee is updating a plan that was implemented in 2002. The plan covers hurricanes and other natural disasters, as well as such manmade crises as power outages and chemical spills. The committee is exploring responses to more recent threats—such as the possibility of a pandemic contagion. It also is reviewing the plan for consistency with protocols established in the National Incident Management System created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The committee, which began its work last spring, will recommend a revised plan to the senior administration in the fall.

Questions and comments may be directed to Cliff Ashton at cashton@wesleyan.edu.
 

By Justin Harmon, vice president for Public Affairs and director of University Communications

Memorial Service Planned for David McAllester


Posted 08/24/06
Wesleyan’s Music Department will sponsor a memorial service for David McAllester, professor of music and anthropology, emeritus, at 2 p.m. in the Memorial Chapel Sept. 24.

McAllester, a founder of the Society for Ethnomusicology, died April 29, 2006, after suffering a stroke. He was 89.

“David had a huge impact on generations of Wesleyan students, many of them not music majors or grad students,” says Mark Slobin, professor of music, who worked with McAllester for 15 years. “When I was hired at Wesleyan in 1971 and looked at a college guide, the only course singled out was McAllester’s exciting course on American Indian Music, complete with a pow-wow on Foss Hill.”

A graduate of Harvard University, McAllester studied at the Juilliard School of Music and earned his doctorate in anthropology at Columbia. He began his career at Wesleyan in the Psychology Department, and soon established the Anthropology Department, where he was an instructor of anthropology. In 1957, he was promoted to a full professor and in 1971, he moved to the Music Department, where he co-founded the program in World Music. He remained in the Music Department until his retirement in 1986.

“The twin career in anthropology and music is the work of a man who, faced with the choice between art and science, embraced them both,” wrote Richard Winslow, professor of music, emeritus, in the summer 1986 issue of Wesleyan magazine.

One of the founders of the Society for Ethnomusicology in 1952, McAllester served the organization in a number of positions, first as its secretary, and later as the president and editor of the society’s journal. His particular field of interest was Native American ceremonial music, especially that of the Navajos of the American Southwest.

Known internationally for his scholarly works and publications, he was a recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for research in new Native American music and of a Fulbright grant that provided him with a senior lectureship in Australia. He was a member of the board of trustees for the American Indian Archaeological Institute in Washington, D.C., and did extensive fieldwork with several native American groups, with books that include Peyote Music (1949), Enemyway Music (1954) and Navajo Blessingway Singer (1978).

With a longstanding commitment to nonviolence, he served in conscientious objector work camps during World War II. He was a founding member of the Middletown Quaker Meeting, as well as the South Berkshire Friends meeting, where he set up a tipi on the grounds, as well as helping to construct a swamp trail around a beaver pond.

Predeceased by his first wife, Susan McAllester, in 1994, he is survived by his wife, Beryl Irene Courtenay, a daughter, a son, two granddaughters, and a son-in-law.

“Up Against the Wall” Featured in Gallery Exhibit


Artist Mary Lum works on her painting, which is part of the exhibit “Up Against the Wall” opening in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery on Sept. 8.
Posted 08/24/06
“Up Against the Wall,” an exhibit featuring art that relies exclusively on the interior surfaces of architecture for inspiration and material support, will open at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery on Sept. 8.

Organized by Nina Felshin, curator of Zilkha Gallery, the exhibition includes work by William McCarthy, gallery supervisor of Zilkha Gallery and Davison Art Center gallery supervisor, as well as artists Shoshana Dentz, Elana Herzog, Mary Lum and Mary Temple. Also on exhibit is a collaboration between artist Sol LeWitt and Alvin Lucier, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music. The collaboration is executed by Wesleyan students.

Though the stylistic tendencies, technique and method of application or engagement vary, in each case the work becomes an integral part of the Zilkha Gallery’s architecture. When the exhibit is over, the gallery walls will be soaped down and repainted, and the works of art will cease to exist.

“The idea for the show has been percolating for some time,” Felshin says. “Finally, a critical mass of artists coalesced in my thinking and summer seemed to be the perfect time to invite artists to visit the gallery and execute their new work. The unique architecture of Zilkha Gallery continues, as it has in the past, to provide a rich source of artistic inspiration.”

The collaboration between LeWitt and Lucier, “Zug III,” is based on the Alpine ridge, as viewed from Zug, Switzerland, and consists of lines that repeat the ridge in a variety of colored markers. It was created in response to a composition by Lucier, in which he transcribed the mountain range into musical notation. Lucier’s musical piece accompanies the Lewitt wall drawing (click image at right to open a larger version of this painting).

The work of Lum and Herzog is more concerned with culture than it is with nature. Herzog’s wall-embedded multi-color chenille bedspread is simultaneously seductive and violent. Lum’s expansive acrylic painted drawing takes inspiration from the architecture of Zilkha Gallery and from her ongoing concerns with spatial illusion, the opposition between fact and fiction and the vagaries of human nature.

Dentz’s gouache drawing on Zilkha’s huge, wall-sized windows comments on how viewing art can sharpen one’s perception of his or her environment in general and specifically, in this case, beyond the gallery.

McCarthy, known for his landscape paintings, also applies his talent to Zilkha’s windows. And finally, a fleeting moment from the past is frozen in time in Mary Temple’s trompe l’oeil painting of mysterious shadows.

The public is invited to attend the opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 8 in the gallery. The event will include a talk by Felshin and comments by several of the artists.

The gallery is open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday Sept. 8 through Oct. 8. Admission is free of charge.
 

By Lex Leifheit, press and marking coordinator. Photos by Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor