Tag Archive for alumni

Swanson Called Wesleyan Coach of Running Elite

Boston Marathon winner and former Runners World editor Amby Burfoot, his former Wesleyan coach Elmer Swanson and Jeff Galloway, Olympian, author and coach and founder of the Galloway Run Walk Run method of running. (Lori Riley / Hartford Courant)

Boston Marathon winner and former Runners World editor Amby Burfoot ’68, his former Wesleyan coach Elmer Swanson and Jeff Galloway ’67, Olympian, author and coach and founder of the Galloway Run Walk Run method of running. (Lori Riley / Hartford Courant)

The list of athletes who ran on Elmer Swanson’s teams over the 30 years he served as Wesleyan’s track and cross-country coach “reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ in elite running,” observed Hartford Courant Sports Columnist Lori Riley. She remembered Swanson, who died Aug. 12, at the age of 92, in an piece rich with comments from some of his well known—and fleet-footed —alumni.

Riley’s roundup notes: “He coached [Amby] Burfoot [’68], who won the Boston Marathon in 1968, his senior year, and went on to become the editor of Runners World magazine. He coached Bill Rodgers [’70], who won four Boston marathons and four New York City marathons and become one of the most recognizable runners in the world. He coached Jeff Galloway [’67], who ran the 10,000 meters in the 1972 Olympics and pioneered the Galloway Run-Walk-Run method, enabling many to start running and continue in the sport injury-free. He coached John Fixx [’83], son of Jim Fixx, who wrote the iconic “Complete Book of Running” during the height of the running boom in 1977. He coached Sebastian Junger [’84], who went on to become a filmmaker and author and wrote the best-seller The Perfect Storm (and also ran a 2:21 marathon).”

And, the praise from these runners for their college coach included these comments:  Junger, in a Facebook post, recalled Swanson as “such a source of calmness and love.’ Burfoot called Swanson “a rock… a second father.”  Galloway noted that “Elmer helped focus on that importance of running without making it overbearing,” and Fixx concurred: “Elmer’s runners seem to run longer after college, and continue to do better … It’s as though he paced his coaching so, in fact, our best years weren’t in college.”

Swanson, who had been inducted into the Wesleyan, Portland, and Middletown Halls of Fame, also is remembered fondly by Adjunct Professor of Physical Education, Emeritus, John Biddiscombe, who served as Swanson’s assistant in track and field for a decade. “Elmer was a leader in the Athletics Department in making the transition to the coaching of women when Wesleyan added women’s teams in the mid-1970’s,” Biddescombe recalled. “He enthusiastically embraced the coaching of women, and his extremely successful early women’s cross-country and track teams reflected his support for women athletes. His women’s track teams in the late 1970s and early ’80s were the best in New England and scored high in the national championships.” 

Swanson was predeceased by his wife of 61 years, Patricia Ann Swanson, and survived by his daughter, Kristen, and husband, Andy Cohen, of Oak Hills, Calif.; his son, Jay, and wife, Martha, of Portland, Conn. He is also survived by his grandson, Dr. Chris Swanson, and wife, Maggie, of Jacksonville, Fla.; his granddaughter, Ingrid, and husband, William Moss, of Glastonbury, Conn.; his great-grandson, Callum Elmer Moss; his sister-in-law, and two nieces.

 

 

 

Sumarsam, PhD Students, Alumni Present at Symposium

University Professor of Music Sumarsam demonstrated puppet movements at the 4th Symposium of the International Council for Traditional Music Study Group on the Performing Arts of Southeast Asia (ICTM PASEA), in Penang, Malaysia.

University Professor of Music Sumarsam demonstrated puppet movements at the 4th Symposium of the International Council for Traditional Music Study Group on the Performing Arts of Southeast Asia (ICTM PASEA), in Penang, Malaysia.

University Professor of Music Sumarsam and several PhD students and alumni recently presented papers at the 4th Symposium of the International Council for Traditional Music Study Group on the Performing Arts of Southeast Asia (ICTM PASEA). The symposium was hosted by Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, Malaysia, from July 31 to Aug. 6.

Sumarsam presented a paper titled, “Religiosity in Javanese Wayang Puppet Play,” and demonstrated puppet movements.

Rasmussen ’87 Manages Expectations About the Military Defeat of ISIS

Nicholas Rasmussen ’87, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, spoke on NPR’s “Morning Edition” about progress made in the fight against the Islamic State. He said the tactical gains the U.S. military and its partners are making in Iraq and Syria are a “necessary” part of quashing the danger it poses—but not “sufficient.”

Rasmussen told NPR that government agencies—ranging from federal to local—are working well together, and counterterrorism leaders are confident they can detect, disrupt or stop big, complicated attacks on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001.

But the danger remains from smaller-scale attacks directed or inspired by ISIS, and these may linger a long time.

The Islamic State can be defeated both as a self-styled “caliphate” and as a terror network, Rasmussen said — but he stressed that the West can’t declare victory whenever allied forces recapture Mosul, in northern Iraq, and the ISIS “capital” of Raqqa, in Syria.

Even the death or capture of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, while it would be “significant,” might not create a dramatic difference, Rasmussen said. “The payoff from that … does not come quickly.”

New Novel by Parkhurst ’92 Tells a Gripping Family Tale

Carolyn Parkhurst '92 (Photo by Nina Subin)

Carolyn Parkhurst ’92. (Photo by Nina Subin)

Carolyn Parkhurst (Rosser) ’92 is the author of the new novel Harmony (Pamela Dorman Books, Viking), in which a mother does everything she can to save her family. The Hammond family’s seemingly normal life is disrupted when oldest daughter Tilly shows signs of abnormal development. Her social behavior is considered undiagnosable and she is asked to leave the last school in Washington, D.C. that will have her.

To help Tilly, the Hammonds move to Camp Harmony in the New Hampshire woods, seeking the guidance of a child behavior expert Scott Bean and testing the bonds of the family. Parkhurst expertly tells her suspenseful story from the points of view of Alexandra, the mother, and younger daughter Iris, who may have the clearest perspective of what is happening to her family.

In her review in The Washington Post, novelist Amy McKinnon writes: “…in Parkhurst’s deft treatment, Harmony becomes a story of our time, a compassionate treatise on how society judges parents, how parents judge themselves and how desperation sometimes causes otherwise rational people to choose irrational lives.”

Novel by Carolyn Parkhurst '92

Novel by Carolyn Parkhurst ’92

For the A. V. Club, reviewer Caitlin Penzey Moog says: “The rare alchemy of achingly powerful words that also induce fevered page riffling is in abundance in Harmony, Carolyn Parkhurst’s sumptuously written, eminently compelling novel about a family and its desperation. Readers will be torn between a desire to pause to admire a golden paragraph and the compulsion to hasten on to find out what happens next.”

Parkhurst is the author of three other novels, The New York Times best seller The Dogs of Babel, Lost and Found and The Nobodies Album. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two children. Harmony was edited by Pamela Dorman ’79.

Barton ’01 Offers Serialized Fiction for Binge Readers

Molly Barton ’01, cofounder of Serial Box Publishing, was previously the Global Digital Director at Penguin Random House.

Molly Barton ’01, cofounder of Serial Box Publishing, was previously the Global Digital Director at Penguin Random House.

“Can Serialized Fiction Convert Binge Watchers into Binge Readers?” asked NPR reporter Lynn Neary in All Things Considered. “Serialized books have a long history in publishing—Charles Dickens famously released many his novels in serial form,” she observed.

Noting that television “episodic storytelling” is newly popular, Neary reported that Julian Yap and Molly Barton ’01 have entered the publishing industry with this in mind. Their start-up company, “Serial Box… aims to be ‘HBO for readers.’” Neary said, explaining, “Serial Box releases ‘episodes’ (not ‘books’) over a 10 to 16 week season.

Each season is written by a team of writers.

“’We’re not just chopping up novels and sending out chapters,’ Barton said.” A team of writers gathers to create the piece. They break down the plot, talk through the characters, and map out current and future seasons.”

The episodes are geared to be read (on any device—as e-books, podcasts, or both) in the time it takes to commute (about 40 minutes) and new episodes are released each week. The site also offers “Back of the Box”—guest articles, reviews, Q&As—for readers who want further material on their favorite new book and on the creative process.

Barton is not new to the business of e-Books. Previously she was global digital director at Penguin Random House where she lead the global e-book business, as well as digital product innovation and content strategy, in addition to building the community-curated publishing platform Book Country. An English major at Wesleyan, she was a Ford Fellow in Wesleyan’s Writing Program following her graduation and recently served as a visiting faculty member in the program.

Hornstein, Hounsell ’11 Co-Author Paper in Journal of Economics and Business

Abigail Hornstein

Abigail Hornstein

Associate Professor of Economics Abigail Hornstein and James Hounsell ’11 are the authors of a new paper published in The Journal of Economics and Business titled “Managerial investment in mutual funds: Determinants and performance implications.”

In the paper, Hornstein and Hounsell examine what determines managerial investments in mutual funds, and the impacts of these investments on fund performance. By using panel data they show that investment levels fluctuate within funds over time, contrary to the common assumption that cross-sectional data are representative. Managerial investments reflect personal portfolio considerations while also signaling incentive alignment with investors. The impact of managerial investment on performance varies by whether the fund is solo- or team-managed. Fund performance is higher for solo-managed funds and lower for team-managed funds when managers invest more. These results are consistent with the higher visibility of solo managers, and less extreme investment returns of team-managed funds. The results suggest investors may not benefit from all managerial signals of incentive alignment as managerial investments also reflect personal portfolio considerations.

Read the full paper here.

On Site in Orlando with Lockwood ’93, NYC Red Cross CEO

Josh Lockwood ’93, CEO of the New York City region of the American Red Cross, visits scenes of tragedy, supporting his team members and those suffering loss.

Josh Lockwood ’93, CEO of the New York City region of the American Red Cross, visits scenes of tragedy, supporting his team members and those suffering loss.

Josh Lockwood ’93, CEO for the American Red Cross in Greater New York and co-chair of the national LGBT affinity group, is no stranger to disaster and tragedy in his workday. Heading the organization’s efforts within an area that is home to 13 million persons, he estimates that his chapter receives between five and 20 serious incident-calls each day. Red Crossvolunteers also travel to other states to help out. Lockwood recalls his response when the country awoke to the horrific news about the mass shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on June 12, 2016.

“I’ve been on a disaster scene countless times and I’ve met families who have lost loved ones and had terrible moments,” he says. “Just seeing the images on that Sunday morning of what had happened at the Pulse nightclub was particularly affecting…and it seemed to be a moment where, if I could be helpful and play a role, I certainly would want to.

“I have a husband and I have a young son, and so I sat down with them that morning to explained where I was going and what I was doing. Our son is 6 years old, so we couched it for him. Then I headed to the airport—after stopping by our church and saying a prayer.”

Once in Orlando, he settled in at the Family Assistance Center, where the city of Orlando and the Red Cross were partnering to offer information and support to survivors, family and friends.

Says Lockwood, "It’s a special kind of person who can stand alongside someone receiving that news. Part of my role in Orlando was just to support the caregivers, support our team who was doing this very difficult work.”

Says Lockwood, “It’s a special kind of person who can stand alongside someone receiving the worst news imaginable. Part of my role in Orlando was just to support the caregivers, support our team who was doing this very difficult work.”

“It’s an incredibly challenging environment,” Lockwood explains. “We had large extended families, almost exclusively Latino families, huddled together, desperate to hear information. And not one family that was there when I was there received good news. It’s a special kind of person who can stand alongside someone receiving that news. Part of my role there was just to support the caregivers and support our team who was doing this very difficult work.”

Yet in the difficult work and heartbreaking sorrow, Lockwood remembers moments of awe. “I was at a small vigil a day after the shootings. The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Orlando convened a meeting and a young man, Adrian, shared his story: He had been at the nightclub with his husband and their friends. When the shooting started, he thought he had been shot and raced out of the building. When he realized his husband wasn’t with him, he ran back into the club and the gunfire. In those desperate moments inside, he made eye contact with the shooter but couldn’t find his husband. Somehow he got out again. Then, 35 minutes later, as he stood behind a police barrier, he saw a solitary figure limping out of the back of the nightclub and it was his husband, Javier. But none their friends appeared. They all were murdered inside the club. What was so amazing about this young man was that he implored the audience to not act out of vengeance or anger. He kept saying ‘We’re all just people. We all just need to love each other a little bit more.’

“I was so inspired and moved by this young man who had the grace to share his story and a world view that challenged the audience to not react out of revenge and anger but from our better angels. Listening to Adrian helped to temper the confusion and anger that one feels after an attack like this.”

Now back in New York City, Lockwood continues to work with his colleagues in Orlando, hoping to provide some longer term mental health support for Adrian and his husband through the American Red Cross.

Additionally, he offers his reflections on service to the community, which was reinforced through his work in Orlando. “All of us feel the pressures of our busy schedules, between family, friends, and our work, but we all need to make time for something larger than ourselves. When people do engage that way, it enriches their lives and creates something they are proud of and really thrilled to have done. But—it does requires intentionality.”

Says Lockwood, "Sadly, what we, at the Red Cross know— through experience at scenes in Newtown, Charleston, N.C., and the Boston Marathon—is how to provide guidance to local groups and government about what the community needs might be in six weeks or six months or six years from now, as people started to think about moving beyond this and into the longer term.

Lockwood notes that, sadly, through experience at scenes in Newtown, Charleston, N.C., and the Boston Marathon, the Red Cross volunteers have learned how to provide guidance to local groups and government about community needs as people start to beyond the first moments of tragedy and into the future.

Junger ’84 Speaks on American Heroes for PBS News Hour

Journalist Sebastian Junger ’84 spoke on PBS NewsHour on 'American Heroes.'

Journalist Sebastian Junger ’84 spoke on PBS NewsHour on American heroes.

For the July 4 PBS News Hour, hosted by John Yang ’80, Sebastian Junger ’84 offered a video essay, his reflections on American heroes.

“Several years ago,” Junger begins,” I spent much of a deployment with a platoon of combat infantry at a remote outpost called Restrepo. It was named after a medic, PFC Juan Sebastiàn Restrepo, who was born in Columbia, emigrated to America as a child, and died fighting at the bottom of a hill in Afghanistan…. The platoon was in several hundred firefights that year. And everyone out there was almost killed. Yet over and over, I watched perfectly normal people risk their lives to keep others safe. No one was more important than anyone else—and race religion and politics had absolutely no relevance at Restrepo. It was the most profoundly egalitarian place I’d ever been.”

From these experiences, Junger and his colleague, the late photographer Tim Herrington, had created and directed a feature-length documentary about the Afghanistan war, Restrepo, in 2010.

In his essay, Junger uses this lens to consider the ideal that is America, offers examples of everyday heroism, and urges all of us—including those in “the halls of power”—to remember the promises of equality and justice on which the country was founded.

Hickenlooper ’74 Releases Engaging Memoir

The20Opposite20of20Woe20by20John20Hickenlooper-197x300Irrepressibly optimistic, funny, self-deprecating, at times self-doubting but driven to tackle difficult challenges. These are the qualities that shine through in John Hickenlooper ’74’s disarming autobiography, The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics (with Maximillan Potter; Penguin Press, 2016).

It was in a moment of self-doubt, or perhaps profound personal insight, that Hickenlooper chose Wesleyan over Princeton, having been accepted to both universities in 1970. He confesses now that he didn’t think he was good enough for Princeton, but then adds, “I had a feeling that Princeton would be a bit too conservative, too buzz-cut and buttoned-down for me, and that Wesu’s long-haired liberal arts types would be more my crowd.” He was right.

Hickenlooper’s time at Wesleyan was remarkable for its longevity, and he devotes three chapters to “That Decade I Spent in College.” With candor unlike any politician bent on image burnishing, he tells in detail how he had his heart broken in love. An English major, he discovered his interest in geology in the second semester of his senior year, when he attended a lecture with a friend and found himself captivated by a discussion of leach fields and perc tests. He stayed at Wesleyan as a special student to take courses specified by the Geology Department as a prerequisite to being admitted into the master’s degree program, which he received in 1980.

Sociologist Smith ’60: What the Stock Market Teaches Us

what the market teaches usCharles W. Smith ’60, professor of sociology emeritus at Queens College, City University of New York, spoke to News @ Wesleyan about his latest book, What the Market Teaches Us: Limitations of Knowing and Tactics for Doing (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Q: I was surprised to note that you are a sociologist, not an economist. How, then, did this lead you to studying the stock market?

Charles W. Smith: The sociology of knowledge—how do people make sense of the world—has been my intellectual pursuit for the past 50 years? We create narratives, not only in our minds, but also in out communities. The stock market is a perfect venue to study the ways that we make sense of what happens around us..

Q. Were you surprised by the stock market crash of 2008?

CWS: Market crashes are part of the market. Knowing when they will occur, however, is another thing. The market is subject to so many different forces that you never know when it will happen or how large it will be. That is one of the major lessons that the market teaches us.n.

Q: In light of this, how should we navigate the market?

Charlie Smith ’60, professor of sociology emeritus at Queens College, City University of New York, is the author of the recently released What the Market Teaches Us.

Charlie Smith ’60, professor of sociology emeritus at Queens College, City University of New York, is the author of the recently released What the Market Teaches Us.

CWS: In part III of the book, I examine some of the major tactics for doing just that. The key is to know how to “act sensibly” rather than trying to “make sense” of what is happening. Market accounts and predictions have their uses, but as any successful trader knows when the market becomes turbulent you need to know what actions to take and this requires grasping what is going on. In the book I compare it to kayaking and surgery— things will happen and you have to respond in the moment to what is happening.

Q: So what does the market teach us?

CWS: It teaches us that elegant market theories and narratives have their functions – without them there would be no market, but they can’t manage the  contingencies and fluctuations of the market. Much the same can be said of grand accounts in general. Human societies are grounded in what we accept as sensible accounts, but that doesn’t mean that they are factually correct. This explains why ideologies prove to be so dangerous. For me this is the most important lesson that the market teaches us. In this sense I like to think of the market as being supportive of critical and pragmatic thinking along the lines promoted by Wesleyan.

Q: Could you give a more detailed description of what you see to be such critical and pragmatic thinking?”

CWS: Freeing ourselves from ideologies by contrasting how we actually experience concrete practices and events as they unfold—rather than simply accepting and acting upon what established accounts would dictate.

Saint John ’99 Wows Crowd at Apple’s Developers Conference

Bozoma Saint John ’99, head of Apple Music, spoke at their Worldwide Design Conference. Photo by Justin Kaneps for Wired.

Bozoma Saint John ’99, head of Apple Music, spoke at their Worldwide Design Conference. (Photo by Justin Kaneps for Wired)

Bozoma Saint John ’99 took the stage at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), held this year in San Francisco, and stole the show. “It’s not just that Saint John, head of marketing for Apple Music, was a black female executive appearing onstage at WWDC. It was the way she commanded the room—and the show—that blew everyone away,” wrote Davey Albey for Wired.

Saint John, who spoke about Apple’s streaming music service, which now has 15 million users, had led Apple Music’s marketing division since April 2014, when Apple acquired Beats, the company she had joined three months previously. Prior to that, she led the music and entertainment marketing group at Pepsi-Cola’s North America division,

Noted for her impressive career around connecting musicians and artists with brands, Saint John has received accolades and awards from numerous organizations, including induction into the American Advertising Federation’s Advertising Hall of Achievement. Her appearance at WWDC garnered articles in Fortune and Business Insider. Nevertheless, she does not let her success go to her head, notes Albey, and explores the ethos behind Saint John’s work with Tiffany Warren, chief diversity officer and  senior VP of Omnicon group, an advertising and marketing company.

“'[S]he turns around and gives it back immediately,’ says Warren. …’She’s an incredible sponsor and mentor to many.’” Saint John also returned to campus for WesFest, speaking to admitted students and their parents about her formative years at Wesleyan as the place where she began to think about a career in the music industry.

MSNBC’s Women in Politics, College Edition, Highlights Kate Cullen ’16

Kate Cullen on campus with South College and Memorial Chapel behind her.

Kate Cullen ’16, who served as president of Wesleyan Student Assembly was selected for MSNBC’s “Women in Politics: College Edition.”

Kate Cullen ’16, an earth and environmental science and history major from Bethesda, Md., was selected for MSNBC’s Women in Politics: College Edition series. The president of the Wesleyan Student Assembly, Cullen received the University’s nomination “as a leader making a difference not only through key issues on campus, but in bridging the gender gap in politics.” MSNBC plans to use the series to highlight women candidates and as a springboard for national conversations on women’s issues.

Cullen, who has “been fortunate to have a lot of strong female role models,” says she was motivated to work in student government by “making a tangible impact, whether through policy change, facilitated dialogue or a big community event…” Additionally, she notes, “I think student activism and free expression are of the utmost importance in fostering meaningful campus dialogues.”