Tag Archive for emeritus faculty

duCille Delivers Slotkin Lecture on “Why Racial Representation Still Matters”

Ann duCille, professor of English, emerita, delivered the third annual Richard Slotkin Lecture in American Studies on "TV and the 'Thug Default': Why Racial Representation Still Matters" Oct. 26 in the Powell Family Cinema. Her new book, Technicolored: Reflections on Race in the Time of TV, from which her talk was drawn, is forthcoming from Duke University Press in 2018.

Ann duCille, professor of English, emerita, delivered the third annual Richard Slotkin Lecture in American Studies on “TV and the ‘Thug Default’: Why Racial Representation Still Matters” Oct. 26 in the Powell Family Cinema. Her new book, Technicolored: Reflections on Race in the Time of TV, from which her talk was drawn, is forthcoming from Duke University Press in 2018. DuCille was the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of the Humanities at Wesleyan from 1999-2005 and has chaired both the African American Studies Program and the English Department and also directed the Center for African American Studies.

Retired Faculty Honored at Reception

Eleven faculty retired in 2016-17. In 2017: David Beveridge, the Joshua Boger University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics, professor of chemistry; John Finn, professor of government; Albert Fry, the E.B. Nye Professor of Chemistry; Peter Patton, the Alan M. Dachs Professor of Science and Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences; Rex Pratt, the Beach Professor of Chemistry; Michael Roberts, the Robert Rich Professor of Latin and Professor of Classical Studies; Ruth Streigel Weissman, the Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Sciences.

In 2016: Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music; Philip Bolton, professor of chemistry; Alex Dupuy, professor of sociology; and Mark Slobin, the Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music.

The faculty, five of whom were present, were honored at a ceremony May 27 at the Wasch Center for Retired Faculty. Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

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Wesleyan Emeritus College Offers Theses Supervised by Retired Faculty

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The Wasch Center, located on Lawn Ave., is launching the new Wesleyan Emeritus College this spring.

Starting next fall, the Wasch Center for Retired Faculty will begin a two-year pilot program, “Wesleyan Emeritus College,” to encourage thesis tutorials between undergraduates and retired faculty members.

During this pilot, 11 retired faculty participants have been specifically approved to administer tutorials for credit by their parent departments.

Richard Elphick, professor of history, emeritus, taught at Wesleyan from 1972 to 2015. His interests are African history, comparative imperialism, revolutions, theory of history, and the history of Christianity. “I would be interested in supervising theses focusing on the following areas: History of Christianity, Africa (especially South Africa), imperialism, World War I and II, Cold War,” he said.

Jack Carr, professor of theater, emeritus, worked at Wesleyan from 1984 to 2015. He was the lighting and scene designer for the Theater Department, and a professional designer for productions in New York, the United Kingdom, Bucharest, Romania and Russia. His interests include lighting, design for dance and theater, and theater history. At Wesleyan, he taught Introduction to Production, Lighting Design, Designing for the Computer, and has already advised hundreds of thesis productions.

Slobin Elected Member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Mark Slobin

Mark Slobin

On April 12, ethnomusicologist Mark Slobin, the Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music, Emeritus, was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is one of 228 national and international scholars, artists and philanthropic leaders who joined the 237th class.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing—and opportunities available to—the nation and the world. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies in science, engineering, and technology policy; global security and international affairs; the humanities, arts, and education; and American institutions and the public good.

Slobin, who retired from Wesleyan in June 2016, is an expert on East European Jewish music and klezmer music, as well as the music of Afghanistan. Slobin’s career started at Wesleyan in July 1971. He has been president of the Society for Ethnomusicology, president of the Society for Asian Music, and editor of Asian Music. He has been the recipient of numerous prizes, including the Seeger Prize of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, the Jewish Cultural Achievement Award (for lifetime achievement) from the Foundation for Jewish Culture, and the Curt Leviant Award In Yiddish Studies from the Modern Languages Association (honorable mention). He was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award for Chosen Voices (1989).

Slobin joins philanthropist and singer-songwriter John Legend; award-winning actress Carol Burnett; chairman of the board of Xerox Corporation Ursula Burns; mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani; immunologist James Allison; and writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in the 2017 American Academy of Arts and Sciences class. Other recipients are Pulitzer Prize winners; MacArthur Fellows; Fields Medalists; Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Arts recipients; and Academy Award, Grammy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award winners.

“In a tradition reaching back to the earliest days of our nation, the honor of election to the American Academy is also a call to service,” said Academy President Jonathan F. Fanton. “Through our projects, publications, and events, the Academy provides members with opportunities to make common cause and produce the useful knowledge for which the Academy’s 1780 charter calls.”

Slobin will be inducted at a ceremony on Oct. 7 in Cambridge, Mass.

De Boer Remembered for Teaching Connecticut Geology

Jelle Zeilinga de Boer

Jelle Zeilinga de Boer

Jelle Zeilinga de Boer, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, emeritus, died July 23 at the age of 81.

De Boer received his BS and PhD from the University of Utrecht before coming to Wesleyan as a postdoctoral fellow in 1963. During his early years at Wesleyan he worked closely with Geology Professor Jim Balsley in the field of paleomagnetism. In 1977, de Boer was named the George I. Seney Professor of Geology and in 1984 he was named the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Sciences.

In the 1970s de Boer worked as a joint professor at the University of Rhode Island at the Marine Sciences Institute where he was a PhD supervisor for Bob Ballard, who found the Titanic in 1985. Ballard later invited de Boer to go diving in the submersible Alvin to collect rocks in the Cayman Trough.

Originally interested in coming to the United States to study the Appalachian Mountains, de Boer’s research focused on the geotectonics of the Appalachians, Southeast Asia and South and Central America.

In 2015 de Boer received the Joe Webb Peoples Award,

Wesleyan Oral History Project Available on WesScholar

The Wesleyan Oral History project features an interview with Bob Rosenbaum.

The Wesleyan Oral History project features an interview with Bob Rosenbaum.

Twelve oral history interviews of Wesleyan community members, including faculty emeriti and administrators, are available at Olin Library. Transcripts and recordings have been deposited in Special Collections and Archives, and Leith Johnson, university archivist, has worked to make the transcripts available on WesScholar.  (A link to the collection of memoirs will also be available from the Wasch Center website.)

The set includes an extensive interview with Bill Firshein, the Daniel Ayres Professor of Biology, Emeritus, who passed away in December 2015. In this interview, Firshein related a whole complex of matters having to do with his Wesleyan career—his work as a scientist, his Jewish identity, his relationship with the administration, his colleagues, his hobbies and avocations. Another treasure in the collection is an interview with Bob Rosenbaum, who just completed his 100th birthday celebration in November. Rosenbaum is a University Professor of Sciences and Mathematics, Emeritus. He also served as academic vice president, acting president, and chancellor at Wesleyan.

“Should anyone undertake a history of the last 50 years of Wesleyan, going forward, these oral histories will be invaluable resources,” said Karl Scheibe, director of the Wasch Center. “And if no such history emerges, the oral histories will be even more important for the detail they contain and the perspectives they represent.”

Heather Zavod and Christine Foster, freelance writers who have contributed to Wesleyan magazine, are working on a new set of interviews this year, thanks in part to funding from the Friends of the Wesleyan Library and the library. The new participants are Jelle DeBoer, John Driscoll, Rick Elphick, Dick Buel, Duffy White, and Allan Berlind.

(This article was originally printed in the Spring-Summer edition of Check it Out, a publication from Wesleyan University Libraries and written by Karl Schiebe.)

President Emeritus Campbell Discusses “Thoughts on Citizenship” at Olin Library

President Emeritus Colin G. Campbell spoke to a crowded Smith Reading Room in Olin Library April 13 about “Thoughts on Citizenship.” Campbell, who served as president from 1970 to 1988, had visited the Allbritton Center prior to his talk and said the citizen engagement promoted by the Center is one of the most exciting activities he has seen on any campus.

President Emeritus Colin G. Campbell spoke to a crowded Smith Reading Room in Olin Library April 13 about “Thoughts on Citizenship.”
Campbell, who served as president from 1970 to 1988, had visited the Allbritton Center prior to his talk and said the citizen engagement promoted by the Center is one of the most exciting activities he has seen on any campus.

He spoke at length about the ethical obligations of educated citizens in a participatory democracy, and he took questions after. After Wesleyan, Campbell served as president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. He went on to serve as chairman, president, and chief executive officer of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, retiring in 2014 and now serving as chairman emeritus. His talk was sponsored by the Wasch Center for Retired Faculty.

He spoke at length about the ethical obligations of educated citizens in a participatory democracy, and he took questions after.
After Wesleyan, Campbell served as president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. He went on to serve as chairman, president, and chief executive officer of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, retiring in 2014 and now serving as chairman emeritus. His talk was sponsored by the Wasch Center for Retired Faculty.(Photos by Ryan Heffernan ’16)

Firshein Remembered for being a Founding Member of the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department

William "Bill" Firshein

William “Bill” Firshein

William “Bill” Firshein, the Daniel Ayres Professor of Biology, emeritus, died Dec. 7 at the age of 85.

Firshein arrived at Wesleyan in 1958 after receiving his BS from Brooklyn College and his MS and PhD from Rutgers University. He taught at Wesleyan for 47 years before retiring in 2005.

Firshein was an active scholar who was awarded research grants totaling more than $2 million over his career. He investigated the molecular biology of DNA replication cell division in Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli and their plasmids. In his most recent book, The Infectious Microbe, published by Oxford University Press in January 2014, he discussed the relationship between humans and viruses and illustrated how pathogens are spread. This book was based on a very popular general education course that he taught for decades.

Firshein was a founding member of the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department, and served as chair of MB&B for seven years, and as chair of the Biology Department for three years. He was instrumental in the establishment of the PhD programs in biology and MB&B.

The Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department annually awards the William Firshein Prize in his honor to the graduating student who has contributed the most to the interests and character of the department each year.

William "Bill" Firshein. (Photos courtesy of Wesleyan University Special Collections & Archives)

William “Bill” Firshein. (Photos courtesy of Wesleyan University Special Collections & Archives)

“Bill was a true friend to his colleagues and always available for effective useful advice and guidance to the young faculty,” said Anthony Infante, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, emeritus.

Firshein is survived by his wife, Anna, and his children, Kyrill, Alex, David, Alan and Eva. His family requests that memorial contributions be made in his name to the Wesleyan Memorial Fund and sent to the care of Marcy Herlihy, University Relations, 318 High Street, Middletown, CT 06459.

A memorial will take place at 4:15 p.m. Jan. 25 in Memorial Chapel. A reception will follow in Zelnick Pavillon.

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Klarren Remembered for Introducing Students to Religious Thinkers

Eugene Klaaren

Eugene Klaaren

Eugene Klaaren, associate professor of religion, emeritus, died Oct. 18 at the age of 78. Klaaren taught at Wesleyan from 1968 until he retired in 2006.

Klaaren’s courses introduced students to central Christian thinkers in the history of theology and philosophy, from Martin Luther to Soren Kierkegaard, John Calvin to David Hume and Jonathan Edwards, and Friedrich Schleiermacher to Friedrich Nietzsche.

9 Faculty Retire in 2014-15

Nine members of the Wesleyan faculty retired during the 2014-15 academic year.

They include John Carr III, professor of theater (1984-2014); James Donady, professor of biology (1972-2015); Richard Elphick, professor of history (1971-2015); Brian Fay, the William Griffin Professor of Philosophy (1971-2015); Gale Lackey, adjunct professor of physical education (1978-2015); Laurie Nussdorfer, the William Armstrong Professor of History (1986-2015); George Petersson, the Fisk Professor of Natural Science (1973-2015); Vera Schwarcz, the Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies (1975-2015); and Ann Wightman, professor of history (1981-2014).

On May 23, the faculty gathered for a reception. Several faculty also held their own private celebrations.

Brian Fay, who joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1971 as an assistant professor of philosophy, was recognized at a reception on May 23. (Photo by Hannah Norman '16)

Brian Fay, who joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1971 as an assistant professor of philosophy, was recognized at a reception on May 23. (Photo by Hannah Norman ’16)

Professor Emeritus Jason Wolfe Remembered for Mentoring, Cell Biology Research

Jason Wolfe

Jason Wolfe

Jason Wolfe, professor of biology emeritus, died Dec. 23 at the age of 73.

Wolfe joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1969 after receiving his BA from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and completing two post-doctoral fellowships at Kings College, University of London, and Johns Hopkins University. He taught cell biology, human biology, biology of aging and the elderly, and structural biology at Wesleyan for 39 years.

In his research, Wolfe asked big questions about how reproduction and aging are regulated. With funding from NIH and NSF, he produced a consistent and enviable body of work published in the major cell biology journals – always mentoring undergraduates and graduate students with great compassion and insight. He led the effort that resulted in Wesleyan’s first Howard Hughes Medical Institute Grant for Undergraduate Life Science Education, establishing a program that has provided decades of support for hundreds of undergraduates. In retirement, he twice offered his popular general education course in Human Biology and published his last Biology Open research paper in 2014 with four former Wesleyan undergraduate co-authors.

About 80 colleagues, friends and family gathered in the Daniel Family Commons April 26, 2009 celebrate Jason Wolfe's retirement. He taught biology at Wesleyan for 39 years. Pictured are former and current members of the Wolfe Lab. Front row, from left, are Emily Lu '00 and Vey Hadinoto '99. Back row, from left, are Aditi Khatri '11, Joan Bosco '09, Hyo Yang '12, Professor Wolfe, Carlo Balane '06 and Ivy Chen '09.

About 80 colleagues, friends and family gathered in the Daniel Family Commons April 26, 2009 celebrate Jason Wolfe’s retirement. He taught biology at Wesleyan for 39 years.

He brought his keen intellect and passion to the study and practice of Judaism. The scope of his activities extended from giving public lectures at the Center for the Humanities to service on the Wesleyan University Press Editorial Board to working with the Sierra Club in Arizona and New Mexico.

Jason is survived by his wife, Vera Schwarcz, the Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies, professor of history, as well as three children and five grandchildren. Memorial contributions in his name may be made to Young Israel of West Hartford, 2240 Albany Avenue, West Hartford, CT, 06117.

A memorial will be held at 4 p.m. Feb. 23 in Memorial Chapel. A reception will follow in Zelnick Pavilion.