Campus News & Events

Digital History Class Creates “A Spatial History of Wesleyan University”

Learn about the history of Wesleyan's campus in the new "Spatial History of Wesleyan University" website.

Learn about the history of Wesleyan’s campus in the new “Spatial History of Wesleyan University” website.

#THISISWHY

This semester, 18 students with an interest in communication and the history of Wesleyan University created a new website, “A Spatial History of Wesleyan University.”

The students, who were enrolled in the spring 2015 course, Digital History, conceived, designed, built, publicized, and launched this site. The class was taught by Amrys O. Williams, a visiting assistant professor of history, and was part of the university’s Digital and Computational Knowledge Initiative.

A Spatial History of Wesleyan University combines geographical and quantitative analysis with archival and oral history research to interpret the past in place. By studying the history of Wesleyan’s campus landscape and buildings alongside the university’s enrollment, tuition, and student body, website visitors can see the connections between the cultural life of the university and its physical environment.

The class brought together 18 students from across campus with varied skills and backgrounds who shared an interest in historical communication and making things.

The class brought together 18 students from across campus with varied skills and backgrounds who shared an interest in historical communication and making things.

The site has four main sections:

  • A historical narrative offers an overview of the major periods and episodes in the campus’s history, tracing student life, housing, and athletics, as well as the university’s changing educational mission and its relationship to other liberal arts schools in the area.
  • An interactive map allows readers to select and view different historical maps and aerial photographs of campus, learn more about individual buildings and see how the campus expanded over time.
  • A “By the Numbers” series of graphs trace data about enrollment, tuition and endowment over time, offering insights into the financial and demographic shifts that affected the shape and experience of campus.
  • Oral history video clips enrich these chronological, spatial, and quantitative stories with the voices of members of the Wesleyan community and their lived experiences of campus.

Baseball Wraps Up Stellar Season, Graduates 7 Stalwart Seniors

Sam Elias '15 was named NESCAC Pitcher of the Year.

Sam Elias ’15 was named NESCAC Pitcher of the Year. (Photos by Brian Katten ’79)

#THISISWHY

Seven stalwart baseball seniors played their final game for Wesleyan on May 15 on a grand stage, the NCAA Division III New England Regional Tournament in Harwich, Mass. The Cardinals were making their second straight appearance in the NCAA playoffs after capturing their second consecutive NESCAC Tournament title.

Wesleyan Hosts Conference of Community-Based Organizations

Attendees at this year's conference represented community-based organizations across the country. (Photo by Kora Shin)

Attendees at this year’s conference represented community-based organizations across the country. (Photo by Kora Shin)

On May 7-9, the Office of Admission held its annual conference for educators and directors of community-based organizations (CBOs), bringing together high school guidance counselors and directors from about 20 groups nationwide.

The conference was founded in 2003 as a way to build closer relationships between Wesleyan and CBOs at a time when the Supreme Court was considering the landmark Grutter v. Bollinger case on the University of Michigan Law School’s affirmative action policy and many in higher education were feeling uncertain about the future of affirmative action, explained Cliff Thornton, associate dean of admission and co-organizer of the conference.

McAlister Speaks on American Evangelical Spiritual Warfare

Elizabeth McAlister

Elizabeth McAlister

Elizabeth McAlister, professor of religion, professor of African American studies, professor of American studies, spoke at DePaul University on May 11. The topic of her talk was “American Evangelical Spiritual Warfare and Vodou in Haiti.”

According to the flyer for the talk, one strand of American evangelicalism practices so-called “spiritual warfare” in which Christian “prayer warriors” pray against “territorial strongholds.” This group believes the world to be mapped into either Christian or demonic space, where Satanic forces operate as “strongholds” of evil. They believe that Haiti is under the influence of Satan. McAlister draws on recent ethnographic fieldwork in Haiti to examine how American missionaries are waging spiritual warfare on the traditional Afro-Haitian religion of Vodou, and how some Haitian Vodou practitioners are responding, paradoxically, by adopting evangelical modes of prayer, publicity and self-presentation.

Back in January, McAlister spoke on “The Militarization of American Prayer” at the Social Science Research Council.

Wesleyan Faculty Organize, Speak at StemCONN 2015

Gloster Aaron, associate professor of biology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, spoke at StemCONN 2015 in April.

Gloster Aaron, associate professor of biology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, spoke at StemCONN 2015 in April.

Wesleyan faculty members played key roles in StemCONN 2015, Connecticut’s stem cell and regenerative medicine conference, held April 27 in Hartford, Conn.

Janice Naegele, professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, director of the Center for Faculty Career Development, served on the conference’s organizing committee for the second time this year.

Gloster Aaron, associate professor of biology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, spoke at the conference on “Investigating how transplants reduce seizures: brain slice electrophysiology and ontogenetic stimulation of transplanted cells.” He discussed the collaborative work being done by his lab and those of Naegele and Laura Grabel, the Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science and Society, professor of biology, which aims to heal damaged areas of the brain that are the source of seizures in temporal lobe epilepsy by providing newborn neurons to those areas. The goal is for the newborn neurons to replace dead neurons and repair broken neuronal circuits that are thought to be a cause of temporal lobe epilepsy.

Nearly 500 scientists, business leaders and students attended the event, which is held every two years. The event was also attended by many Connecticut officials, including Gov. Dannel Malloy, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut State Rep. Lonnie Reed, and Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra. The conference was sponsored by Wesleyan, as well as Yale University, the University of Connecticut, the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, Yale-New Haven Hospital, the City of Hartford, and other companies and non-profit organizations.

Students Honored with Scholarships, Prizes

On May 6, dozens of Wesleyan students received academic scholarships, fellowships and prizes. Recipients represent the highest ideals of Wesleyan University — intellectual curiosity, academic excellence, creative expression, leadership and service.

Several awards are supported by the legacies of alumni, administrators, faculty and friends whose lives and work are honored through endowed gifts.

View all the awards and award recipients here.

Grant Supports Kirn’s Research on Adult Neurogenesis

John Kirn

Professor John Kirn recently received a three-year $225,000 grant from the Whitehall Foundation to look at the activity patterns of vocal control neurons formed in adult zebra finches. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

#THISISWHY

It may not be the most beautiful, or the most complex, or the most well known, but the simple song of the zebra finch is helping Professor John Kirn learn more about how new information is acquired and old information preserved during adult neurogenesis.

Wesleyan Baseball Heads to Nashua, N.H. to Defend NESCAC Title

The 2015 Wesleyan baseball team at Amherst after winning the Little Three Championship in April. (Photo by Rick Dennett '77, P '15.)

The 2015 Wesleyan baseball team at Amherst after winning the Little Three Championship in April. (Photo by Rick Dennett ’77, P ’15)

#THISISWHY

The 2015 Wesleyan baseball season was highly anticipated, fraught with hopes of picking up where the accomplished 2014 squad left off. The entire starting lineup of 2015 was back from the 2014 team, which had gone 31-13, winning the first-ever NESCAC Championship in program history and going deep into the NCAA Division III regional with a 4-2 mark. Though three pitchers from the 2014 squad graduated that year, the Cardinals had three tremendous returners on the mound and a fourth pitcher with enormous promise. The result? A program record for regular-season wins (25), a third straight Little Three title and another trip to the NESCAC tournament, the third in a row for the Cardinals and fifth excursion in the last seven seasons.

Green Street Teaching and Learning Center Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Green Street director Sara MacSorley and Wesleyan provost Ruth Weissman celebrate Green Street's 10th anniversary. (photo c/o Lu Imbriano )

Green Street director Sara MacSorley and Wesleyan provost Ruth Weissman celebrate Green Street’s 10th anniversary.
(photo c/o Lu Imbriano )

On April 24, the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center celebrated its 10th anniversary at an event that brought together students, teachers, supporters, and advocates to celebrate the past decade.

The Green Street hip hop group performed at the anniversary celebrations.  (photo c/o Lu Imbriano )

The Green Street hip hop group performed at the anniversary celebrations.
(photo c/o Lu Imbriano )

Speakers at the event included Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew; Connecticut State Senator Paul Doyle; Pamela Tatge, director of the Center for the Arts; Robert Rosenthal, director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life; and Sara MacSorley, director of the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center. Students from Wesleyan and Middlesex Community College spoke about the impact that working at Green Street has had on their college experiences. The attendees also watched a performance by the Green Street hip hop crew.

MacSorley said it was the community that made Green Street a success. “It was great to recognize so many of the people who played a role in getting the Green Street Arts Center started 10 years ago and those who have helped us transition to the Teaching and Learning Center this year. The support of Wesleyan and the greater Middletown community make it possible for us to do our work with area kids and teachers. It’s truly a team effort.”

Visitors view the art at the Green Street anniversary celebration.  (photo c/o Lu Imbriano )

Visitors view the art at the Green Street anniversary celebration.
(photo c/o Lu Imbriano )

MacSorley also acknowledged the service of another key individual: “We also got to recognize our AfterSchool Supervisor, Cookie Quinones, for her 10 years of service. She has been here since the beginning and is our biggest community liaison.”

In his speech, Drew announced that April 27 would be officially declared “Green Street Day” in Middletown.

For those who would like to support these efforts, Green Street is accepting donations here.

Students Explore Different Religious Traditions During Faith Shadowing Week

Members of Wesleyan's Interfaith Council attended a campus-wide interfaith dinner on April 25. Shown from left to right, Eki Ramadhan '16, Aobo Dong '15, Michelle Han '16, Lydia Ottaviano '17, Hiram Brett, Yale Divinity School intern in Wesleyan’s Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and Jamie Jung '16. (Photo by Tracy Mehr-Muska.)

Members of Wesleyan’s Interfaith Council attended a campus-wide interfaith dinner on April 25. Shown from left to right: Eki Ramadhan ’16, Aobo Dong ’15, Michelle Han ’16, Lydia Ottaviano ’17, Hiram Brett, Yale Divinity School intern in Wesleyan’s Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and Jamie Jung ’16. (Photo by Tracy Mehr-Muska.)

Wesleyan is home to students of many different faiths, as well as those who don’t practice any religion. The week of April 19, Wesleyan’s Interfaith Council of students organized a Faith Shadowing Week to allow students an opportunity “to get a glimpse at what the different religious and spiritual fellowships and events look like, and how different traditions and forms take shape,” as Lydia Ottaviano ‘17, head of the council, put it.

Scholar-Athletes Honored at Banquet

At the banquet, Pat Tynan, head women's crew coach, and Athletic Director Mike Whalen '83 presented an award to Brianne Wiemann '15.

At the banquet, Pat Tynan, head women’s crew coach, and Athletic Director Mike Whalen ’83 presented an award to Brianne Wiemann ’15.

#THISISWHY

On April 30, more than 150 scholar-athletes, along with their coaches, faculty and staff members, attended the third annual scholar-athlete banquet, held in Beckham Hall.

Among the evening’s highlights was the presentation of the Roger Maynard Memorial Awards to women’s crew coxswain Brianne Wiemann ’15 and baseball second baseman Andrew Yin ’15. Since 1970, the award has been presented to the male and female senior student-athletes who best exemplify the spirit, humility and accomplishments of Roger Maynard ’37, a former Wesleyan trustee and standout cross-country and track letterman.

As the varsity-eight cox the last two seasons, Wiemann was integral in helping the Cardinals reach the NCAA Division III Championships a year ago. During that competition, she was named the Elite 89 winner for Division III women’s rowing as the participant in the Championships with the highest overall GPA. Wesleyan’s 2015 varsity eight squad is ranked ninth nationally in Division III heading into the New England Championships on May 2.

Yin took over as the Cardinals’ starting second baseman during his freshman year and enjoyed a string of 118 consecutive starts for the team over a four-year span. Heading into the final weekend of the 2015 regular season, Yin has 183 career hits, ranking third all-time at Wesleyan. He was a first-team CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-American in 2014 after earning third-team honors as a sophomore. That year he also received first-team all-NESCAC and second-team all-ECAC New England Division III laurels.

Head baseball coach Mark Woodworth with Andrew Yin '15.

Head baseball coach Mark Woodworth with Andrew Yin ’15.

Wesleyan supporter and team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bruck Moeckel, who has serviced the Cardinal athletic community for 23 years, was also honored at the banquet with the Cardinal Award. Presented by Wesleyan’s Athletic Advisory Council (AAC), the award recognizes a member of the Wesleyan community who has provided tremendous service and support to athletics.

During the banquet, Yin and women’s swimming standout Angela Slevin ’15 also spoke about their time as Wesleyan student-athletes. Slevin holds or is part of 11 Wesleyan school records, and was an NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships qualifier as a junior. She has been all-NESCAC throughout her career.

Attendees at the event were selected from 310 student-athletes who met the minimum qualification of a 3.2 cumulative GPA with at least sophomore status academically. That group was then whittled down to the 168 who received an invitation to the dinner based on a combination of their athletic accomplishment and the strength of their academic achievement.

Longley ’82 Speaks at Friends of Wesleyan Library Event

Adobe Photoshop PDFOn April 21, Dione Longley ’82 spoke about her new book, Heroes for All Time: Connecticut Civil War Soldiers Tell Their Stories, co-authored by Buck Zaidel (Wesleyan University Press), in the Davison Rare Book Room at Olin Memorial Library as part of the 2015 Friends of the Wesleyan Library Annual Meeting Talk. The book uses soldiers’ letters and diaries, and written accounts by nurses, doctors, soldiers’ families, and volunteers on the home front to vividly portray the war. Hundreds of period photographs (most, previously unpublished) add to the narrative.

Longley was director of the Middlesex County Historical Society in Middletown for 20 years.  Now a public historian and writer, she lives in Higganum.

Dione Longley '82 spoke about "Heroes for All Time: Connecticut Civil War Soldiers Tell Their Stories," co-authored by Buck Zaidel,  on April 21 (Photo by Dat Vu '15.)

Dione Longley ’82 spoke about “Heroes for All Time: Connecticut Civil War Soldiers Tell Their Stories,” co-authored by Buck Zaidel, on April 21. (Photo by Dat Vu ’15.)