Tag Archive for reunion and commencement

Odede ’12: From an African Slum to a Wesleyan Graduate

Kennedy Odede '12 delivered the Senior Class Welcome during the 180th Commencement Ceremony on May 27. (Photo by Nick Lacy)

Kennedy Odede ’12 delivered the Senior Class Welcome during the 180th Commencement Ceremony May 27:

Today, I stand before you as the first person from Africa’s largest slum to graduate from an American university.
For most of my life, I never imagined that one day I would be standing here.
For me, Wesleyan is HOPE.

You, the class of 2012, and my time at Wesleyan have changed me forever.

I grew up in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, where more than a million people live in an area the size of Central Park—without sewage systems, roads, running water, or access to basic rights like health care and education.

I was the oldest of eight children in a family that could not afford food, much less school fees. In Kibera, I dreamed of many things: food to eat, clean water to drink, safety from the violence, and relief from oppression that surrounded me.

Today, I want to tell you three stories about hope.

Adelstein, Greene, Telfair Honored with Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, second from left, congratulates Binswanger Prize recipients, from left, Richard Adelstein, Nathanael Greene and Tula Telfair. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Three Wesleyan faculty received The Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching during the 2012 Commencement on May 27. The Binswanger Prize was inaugurated in 1993 as an institutional recognition of outstanding faculty members. The award is made possible by gifts from the family of the late Frank G. Binswanger Sr., HON ’85

The standards and criteria for the annual prizes shall be excellence in teaching, as exemplified by commitment to the classroom and student accomplishment, intellectual demands placed on students, lucidity, and passion. Recommendations may be based on any of the types of teaching that are done at the university including, but not limited to, teaching in lecture courses, seminars, laboratories, creative and performance-based courses, research tutorials and other individual and group tutorials at the undergraduate and graduate level.

This year’s recipients are as follows:

Richard Adelstein, the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics
Richard Adelstein has an S.B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and received an M.A.T. from Harvard University, and a J.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and its Law School. He has taught economics and social studies at Wesleyan since 1975. He has spent sabbatical years as a visiting scholar at Oxford University, Harvard University, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and as a Fulbright Visiting Professor at the University of Munich.

Senator Bennet Delivers 2012 Commencement Address

Senator Michael Bennet '87 delivered Wesleyan's 180th Commencement Address. (Photo by Nick Lacy)

Senator Michael F. Bennet ’87 presented the Commencement Address on May 27:

Thank you, Board of Trustees… President Roth… proud parents and families…the entire Wesleyan community, and of course, once again, the brilliant graduates of 2012.

Brilliant, yes—but, as Kennedy said, no matter how brilliant, not one of you got here by yourself. So, in the most important moment of this day, let’s hear you say thank you.

A round of applause for everybody who got you here.

Senator Bennet received an honorary degree during the 2012 Commencement Ceremony.

A quarter of a century ago (and by the way, it was about 20 degrees hotter), I looked up at this podium and saw one of America’s greatest comedians: Bill Cosby.

Today, you face Colorado’s junior senator.

I’m not sure what that means for Wesleyan’s U.S. News and World Report ranking, Mr. President, but it cannot be good.

Nevertheless, I accept this honorary degree, much as I accepted my bachelor’s degree: with gratitude… and disbelief.

Because I know I don’t have what it takes to earn a real one here these days.
Sitting among you are classmates who have taught local elementary and high school kids, worked to prevent water-related illnesses in Bangladesh, and notched the most basketball wins in 110 years.

You have classmates who have worked to stop bullying in Middletown… who have burst out of Eclectic and onto the national music scene… and who, in the person of the remarkable Kennedy Odede, and Colorado’s own Jessica Posner, Class of [2009], have opened a school for girls and transformed a community in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum.

It all makes a person wonder: what in the world will you people do for an encore?

President Roth Addresses Graduating Seniors

Wesleyan President Michael Roth addressed the Class of 2012 during the 180th Commencement Ceremony May 27. (Photo by Nick Lacy)

President Michael S. Roth’s remarks:

Members of the board of trustees, members of the faculty and staff, distinguished guests, new recipients of graduate degrees and the mighty Class of 2012, I am honored to present some brief remarks on the occasion of this commencement.

When most of you began your Wesleyan education in the fall of 2008, the world was in a precarious state. It was an odd time to be investing in the future. But that’s what education is, as Kennedy said: a hopeful investment in the future. When you began here, America was waging two distant wars, the twisted legacies of a vicious attack on our country that took place when most of you were still in middle school. Today America has ended combat operations in Iraq and announced our intention to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan in the next two years. It is Memorial Day weekend, a time to reflect on the sacrifices that so many have made on behalf of our country, as we also reflect on the civilian lives that have been lost during these conflicts. We remember, but what shall we do with these memories?

In the fall of 2008 our country was headed toward the most significant economic dislocation since the Great Depression. Gigantic financial institutions that had ingeniously found ways to make enormous amounts of money, while claiming to have mastered risk with casino-like schemes, were suddenly calling loudly for government help. The entire financial system seemed to be on the brink of collapse, and through a series of measures designed to restore some basic stability to our economic life, the Federal government averted an even greater disaster than the one which has caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, their homes and their hopes for the future. We can recall those who suffer still in this economy, even as a fortunate few reap huge rewards. We remember, but what shall we do with these memories?

Bennet ’87, Ligon ’82, Richards P’13 Receive Honorary Degrees at Commencement

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, second from left, awarded Cecile Richards P’13, Michael Bennet ’87 and Glenn Ligon ’82 with Wesleyan honorary degrees. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

During the 2012 Commencement Ceremony on May 27, Wesleyan President Michael Roth awarded  U.S. Senator Michael Bennet ’87, Glenn Ligon ’82, and Cecile Richards P’13 with honorary degrees.

Michael F. Bennet ’87
Michael F. Bennet was elected to his first full term as U.S. Senator for Colorado in November 2010. He is a pragmatic and independent thinker who embodies the values of the western state he represents, and whose work has contributed to good in the world, in the best of the Wesleyan tradition.

As the father of three little girls, he is driven by a deep-seated obligation to create more opportunity for the next generation. He has been a tireless advocate – first as Denver Schools superintendent and now as a member of the Senate Education Committee – for bold, locally driven changes to public education that would ensure every child is prepared to compete in a rapidly changing economy.

His concern for the next generation has fueled his efforts to build bipartisan consensus around a comprehensive plan for deficit reduction. It has also informed his efforts to ensure the pharmaceutical drugs we take every day are safe and do not harm American families.

As Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, he led an innovative and inclusive reform effort that turned around failing schools and produced strong gains in reading, math, writing and science.

Residence Hall Named in Honor of Bennet Family

Members of the Donor Associates, trustees, and emeriti trustees and friends celebrated the Bennet family legacy during a dedication of Bennet Hall on May 25. Bennet Hall is named in honor of Wesleyan President Emeritus Douglas Bennet ’59, P’87, P’94, Midge Bowen Bennet, and the Bennet family. The hall is located inside the Fauver Residence complex.

Douglas J. Bennet ’59, P’87, P’94.

Class of 1962 Celebrates 50th Reunion

Members of the Class of 1962 and guests celebrated their 50th Reunion during Reunion & Commencement Weekend May 24-27.

During the reunion, Hank Sprouse ’62 presented a cardinal carving to Wesleyan on behalf of his class. The carving will be permanently displayed in Daniel Family Commons. Sprouse and Bruce Corwin ’62 also led a discussion on “Reinventing Ourselves As We Move Along” followed by a class discussion. In addition, the Class of 1962 dedicated the Highwaymen Common Room, located in the Romance Languages and Literatures Department. Photos of the 50th Class Reunion are below:

Kinky Spigot Performs at All-Campus Party

Alumni band Kinky Spigot and the Welders performed classic soul and covers during the All-Campus Party May 26 on Andrus Field. The event was held in conjunction with Reunion & Commencement Weekend. Band members include Lillian Ruiz ’08, Nicole Tirado Strayer ’07, Amanda Facelle ’09, Marlon Bishop ’07, Vlad Gutkovich ’07, Yoni Rabino ’07, Jon Hutchinson ’07, and Tess Amodeo-Vickery ’07. Photos of the event are below:

150 Events during 2012 Reunion & Commencement Weekend May 24-27

All Wesleyan alumni and their families are invited to participate in the Parade of Classes. This traditional Wesleyan festivity begins at 11:30 a.m. May 26.

Join the Wesleyan community for class reunions, educational WESeminars, picnics, campus tours, a parade of classes and much more during the 2012 Reunion & Commencement festivities May 24-May 27 on campus.

Highlights include an Eclectic party featuring The Rooks; an all-college picnic and festival on Foss Hill; a 50th Reunion and President’s Reception for the Class of 1962; a champagne reception for graduating seniors and their families; an eco-friendly All-College Dinner; “Senior Voices” with the Class of 2012; the traditional All-College Sing; Andrus Field Tent party featuring Kinky Spigot and the Welders; and of course, the 180th Commencement Ceremony on May 27. U.S. Senator Michael Bennet ’87, a leading advocate for education reforms that support great teaching, will deliver the Commencement address.

“With more than 150 events, R&C Weekend literally has something for everyone,” says Gemma Fontanella Ebstein, associate vice president for external relations. “But it’s really the people – alumni, students, faculty, staff and their families – who make the weekend memorable.”

WESeminars provide opportunities to revisit the classroom and experience firsthand the academic excellence that is the essence of Wesleyan, with presentations by scholars, pundits,