Jonathan Smith ’92 will be one of 14 delegates selected to participate in the U.S. State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP) Mission to Indonesia in July. The delegation, made up of U.S. investors, entrepreneurs and academics, will offer individualized mentoring to Indonesian early-stage and growth-stage companies. Additionally Indonesian start-ups will have an opportunity to present their ideas to the delegation with the hopes of obtaining investors.
Smith, who earned his Wesleyan bachelor’s degree with a College of Social Studies degree, also holds a master’s degree in accounting, as well as a certificate in Homeland Securities Studies from Michigan State University. He is the president and chief operating Officer of Wave Dispersion Technologies (www.whisprwave.com). Under his leadership, the company was ranked in Inc, Magazine’s 500 List.
Trustee emeritus John Jakobson '52, P'05, who bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange for $85,000 in 1955, addressed students on campus on April 4, an event sponsored by the Career Resource Center. “Investment is all about tomorrow, not yesterday,” he said. “People don’t give a damn about anything that’s not the next big thing.”
Jakobson engages with David Goldman, president of the Wesleyan Investment Club.
Stephen K. Friedman ’91 has been promoted to president of MTV. Since the fall of 2008, he has been general manager, and he will now oversee MTV, MTV2, mtvU, MTV.com, MTV Hits and MTV Jams.
During Friedman’s tenure, MTV has had five consecutive quarters of growth, and launched such successful shows as Teen Mom, 16 and Pregnant, Life as Liz, and the upcoming Teen Wolf. He joined MTV in 1998 and started MTV’s strategic partnerships and public affairs department. As general manager, he launched mtvU, the channel dedicated to college students, in 2004, and helped shape the channel’s Emmy Award-winning Sudan campaign to protest genocide in Darfur.
In announcing his promotion, The Los Angeles Times writes: “Over the years, [Friedman] has been instrumental in many of MTV’s social and political causes. … He was deeply involved in MTV’s award-winning ‘Fight for Your Rights’ campaign and its ‘Choose or Lose’ political drive. Before joining MTV, Friedman was director for the PEN American Center, an international writers’ human rights organization.”
In late December, Denise Jefferson Casper ’90 was confirmed to a United States District Court Judgeship in Massachusetts. She had been nominated last April by President Obama, and an American Bar Association panel had rated her as “unanimously well qualified” for this lifetime appointment.
Casper was previously the Deputy District Attorney for the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, overseeing the daily operations of one of the largest district attorney’s offices in New England. Prior to that position, Casper taught legal writing at Boston University School of Law.
She had served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Boston from 1999 to 2005; she was promoted to Deputy Chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in 2004. Casper also practiced as a civil litigator in the Boston office of Bingham McCutchen LLP (formerly Bingham, Dana & Gould) from 1995 to 1998. After law school, Casper clerked for the Honorable Edith W. Fine and the Honorable J. Harold Flannery of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. At Wesleyan she majored in history and African-American studies. She received her J.D. in 1994 from Harvard Law School.
The law firm of Miller Canfield has elected Megan Norris ’83 to serve a two-year term as a managing director, effective Jan. 1. She is part of a five-person management administration that works with the CEO to oversee the firm’s offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Poland and China.
A principal in the Detroit, Mich. office, Norris is leader of the firm’s Labor and Employment Law Group. She counsels clients on employment matters that include discipline and discharge, discrimination, harassment, and tort claims. She is a nationally recognized expert on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Cited as a “2011 Leader in the Law” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly, she also has been recognized for her work in The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA and Michigan Super Lawyers.
A government and music major at Wesleyan, she earned her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Norris is a member of the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees.
The first comprehensive mid-career retrospective devoted to pioneering New York–based artist Glenn Ligon ’82 is being held at the Whitney Museum of American Art (45 Madison Ave. at 75th Street, 212-570-3600) in New York City through June 5.
The exhibition, “Glenn Ligon: AMERICA,” features about 100 works, including paintings, prints, photography, drawings, and sculptural installations, as well as striking recent neon reliefs, one of them newly commissioned for the Whitney’s Madison Avenue windows. Over the course of his career, Ligon has created a body of work that has explored American history, literature, and society as it has built critically on the legacies of modern painting and more recent conceptual art.
The artist is renowned for his landmark series of text-based paintings,
Dr. Halley Faust, MA ’05 has been elected the president of the Board of Regents of the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM). Faust will assume the presidency in 2013; he will sit on the Board of Regents and the executive committee of the board until 2017, according to the Jewish Ledger.
Faust currently works in bioethics and venture capital from his home in Santa Fe, N.M. He is clinical associate professor of family and community medicine at the University of New Mexico, and sits on the university’s Preventive Medicine Residency Advisory Committee. Previously, he was visiting professor of biology and philosophy at Wesleyan University in Middletown where he taught epidemiology and biomedical ethics. Faust recently co–edited with philosopher Paul Menzel Prevention vs. Treatment: What’s the Right Balance? to be published this fall.
He also manages Jerome Capital, LLC, a venture capital fund founded in 1997 now based in New Mexico, which invests in medically–related high technology early stage companies. Faust earned his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College; his MPH from the University of Michigan, and his MA in philosophy from Wesleyan.
Nominated by President Obama in January 2011 and confirmed in March, Eric Postel ’77 joins the leadership team at the U.S. Agency for International Development as assistant administrator for Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade.
Postel, an experienced economic development expert and financier with a background in emerging markets investments, has worked in Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East as an advisor and financial officer. In 2006, he served as commissioner on the bi-partisan Senate Helping to Enhance the Livelihood of People Around the Globe (HELP) Commission.
A mathematics/economics major at Wesleyan, he is also a four-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and a graduate of Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Robert Block ’65, M.D., was named president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics, with his term as president beginning in October 2011.
A biology major at Wesleyan, he earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania and served three years in the U.S. Army. He joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma Medical School in 1975 and has been chair of the pediatrics department for the past 13 years.
He has been particularly active in combating and raising public awareness of child abuse and has been the state’s chief child abuse examiner since 1989.
The position as president of the AAP, he explained in an article for TulsaKids, is largely one of advocacy, with a focus on “’trying to put policy into healthcare reform that would help children.” He noted that, while children are 60 to 70 percent of the Medicaid patients, they only receive 20 percent of the funds. Furthermore, 7 million children in the United States have no health insurance. He also plans to continue his work against child abuse at a national level.
Additionally, Block is active in the American Board of Pediatrics, the testing and certification organization, where he is the founding chair of its newest sub-specialty, child-abuse pediatrics.
Two Wesleyan alumni who wrote Ph.D dissertations on Russian politics have recently accepted tenure-track jobs in political science departments.
Russian and East European studies major Danielle Lussier ’98, will be an assistant professor at Grinnell College, where she will be replacing Robert Grey ’61. Lussier wrote her B.A. thesis on the women’s movement in contemporary Russia, and her Ph.D at the University of California, Berkeley on a comparison of civil society and political mobilization in Russian and Indonesia.
College of Social Studies major Lauren McCarthy ’01 will be an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She wrote her B.A. thesis on superpower rivalry in the Olympics during the Cold War, and her Ph.D at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, on human trafficking in Russia.
Lussier and McCarthy former students of Peter Rutland, the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government, professor of Russian and Eastern European Studies, tutor in the College of Social Studies.
Alberto Ibarguen ’66, CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, has joined the board of directors of AOL, according to The Associated Press. He will serve on the board’s audit and finance committee. Ibarguen replaces William Hambrecht.
The company is currently realigning itself as an online news source, and Ibarguen, former publisher of The Miami Herald, provides a valuable addition to the board. The Knight Foundation supports journalism training programs and many digital news delivery experiments.
Ibarguen also serves on the board of ProPublica, an independent nonprofit organization that focuses on producing investigative journalism in the public interest.
John Q. Griffin ’70 was named executive vice president of Time, Inc., and president of the Time Inc. News Group, by corporate CEO Jack Griffin on Dec. 22. (The two Griffins are not related.)
This appointment is part of the reorganization of Time Inc., that split the previous news and sports group into its two components.
In his new role, John Q. Griffin will oversee Time, Fortune and Money along with their respective websites, as well as Life.com.
Previously the executive vice president and president of publishing for the National Geographic Society for the past nine years, Griffin was credited with having helped the society revamp its well respected