100 search results for ""Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship""

Kingsley to Direct Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship

Makaela Kingsley

Makaela Kingsley

Makaela Kingsley will become director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Makaela (Steinberg) Kingsley graduated from Wesleyan in 1998 with a degree in neuroscience and behavior. After a brief stint doing public relations for the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, she returned to Wesleyan in 2000 to join the alumni and parent relations team in University Relations.

During the past 13 years, she has collaborated with colleagues in U.R. and across campus, as well as students and alumni. For the past two months, she has been serving as interim director of the Patricelli Center.

Her short-term goal is to expand Patricelli’s existing services and offer top-notch, high-impact workshops and trainings, networking and advising services, and grant administration. Looking to the future, Kingsley will explore additional ways to support students, in particular through faculty and academic engagement and research.

“My personal commitment to social innovation and human rights combined with my experience as a Wesleyan student, alumna, and staff member drew me to the Patricelli Center,” Kingsley said. “I am thrilled to have this opportunity to support Wesleyan students and alumni interested in creating and sustaining programs, businesses, and organizations that advance the public good. Through our workshops, networking, and grants, the Patricelli Center will cultivate and strengthen the spirit of social entrepreneurship and civic engagement that is already deeply ingrained in the Wesleyan culture.”

Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Dedicated

Wesleyan hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Nov. 5. Pictured, from left, are Shining Hope for Communities co-founders Jessica Posner '09 and Kennedy Odede '12; Joshua Boger ’73, P’06, P’09, chairman of the Wesleyan Board of Trustees; Bob Patricelli ’61 and his wife, Margaret Patricelli, and Bob's daughter, Alison Patricelli '90.

The new Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship will offer students an opportunity to serve the public good by developing innovative social ventures.

Rob Rosenthal, the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, salutes the Patricelli family during the center's dedication.

Wesleyan dedicated the center during a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration Nov. 5 in the Allbritton Center. The Patricelli Center is supported by a $2 million leadership gift from the Robert and Margaret Patricelli Family Foundation.

Robert “Bob” Patricelli ’61, chairman and chief executive officer of Evolution Benefits and of Women’s Health USA, and his wife, Margaret Patricelli, president and chief executive officer of the Robert and Margaret Patricelli Family Foundation, were honored at the dedication ceremony.

“The Patricelli Center allows us to greatly expand our engagement initiatives, providing opportunities for students to connect with mentors and learn new skills that will aid their efforts to create and sustain organizations dedicated to the public good,” said Rob Rosenthal, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Alumni and students I’ve talked to are wildly enthusiastic

Gift Establishes the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship

Robert and Margaret Patricelli

Wesleyan University is establishing the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, which will support students who want to create programs and organizations serving the public good – anywhere in the world.

The Patricelli Center and its programs are supported by a generous $2 million leadership gift from the Robert and Margaret Patricelli Family Foundation. Robert E. Patricelli ’61 is chairman and chief executive officer of Evolution Benefits and of Women’s Health USA and an emeritus trustee of Wesleyan. Margaret Patricelli is president and CEO of the Robert and Margaret Patricelli Family Foundation.

The Center will provide workshops, speakers, and networking opportunities to help students become successful social entrepreneurs, and will award small grants to undergraduates engaged in specific projects. It is intended to serve as an incubator of ideas and initiatives.

“For generations Wesleyan students have been venturing into the world as social entrepreneurs, applying what they learned on campus to help others,” says President Michael S. Roth. “The Patricelli Center will build on this tradition and will prepare students to make an even greater difference in the world. I’m so grateful to Bob and Margaret for their vision and generosity.”

Intercultural Learning, Study Abroad Celebrated during International Education Week

italian game night

Students participated in Italian Game Night during International Education Week activities. (Photo by Willow Saxon ’24)

Members of the campus community played Italian Tombola Bingo, ate Spanish Polvoróns, learned how to pronounce their names in Chinese, savored snacks from South Korea, danced to Afrobeats, and learned about study abroad opportunities all during Wesleyan’s annual International Education Week (IEW) celebration.

“International Education Week is a dedicated time for students, faculty, and staff to recognize the many ways in which we can engage meaningfully in intercultural learning and understanding at Wesleyan,” said Hannah Parten, assistant director, study abroad, for the Fries Center for Global Studies. “The 2021 event focused specifically on ways to emerge from the pandemic with a greater sense of interconnectedness, self-awareness, and empathy.”

IEW, held Nov. 13-19, was celebrated through a series of more than 20 globally-focused events. The PINOY Club—a group of Filipinos, Filipino-Americans, and Filipino-culture enthusiasts—offered a sampling of Filipino dishes; the African Student Association hosted an Afrobeats Dance Class showcasing fun and energetic moves from all over Africa; the Office of Study Abroad held an interactive session about the benefits of studying in another country; and the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship offered a virtual session on ways to take action on social and environmental issues through grassroots organizing, activism, fundraising, and more.

Participants also were treated to an Italian Game Night, Chinese Name Pronunciation Workshop, and a screening of the Greek box-office hit “A Touch of Spice” and the Indian Hindi-language comedy “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.”

International Education Week concluded with a Wes Stories— a multilingual event showcasing talented students on campus through songs, spoken stories, dances, speeches, and other creative performances, and an International Festival of Games, hosted by the Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs).

In addition to activities, IEW provided the Fries Center for Global Studies an opportunity to celebrate the return to study-abroad programs, which were suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although some countries still have travel restrictions, 30 students are currently studying abroad this fall in countries such as Spain, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

According to Emily Gorlewski, director of study abroad, 152 students have already applied for spring semester study abroad programs.

“(After the pandemic), there was a lot of initial interest,” she said. “We normally have about 100 in the spring. However, there has been much more attention than usual.”

In a “normal” academic year, Wesleyan sends about 325 students abroad. Students travel to programs on six continents, in all different countries.

“Going abroad changes your perspective in so many different ways, and this is the only time in your life you will be able to participate in this kind of experience,” Gorlewski said. “There are lots of opportunities on campus to learn about the world and other cultures, but studying abroad is a unique opportunity.”

Study abroad also allows students to engage with and learn from the world and its cultures. “A meaningful cross-cultural experience sharpens our understanding of ourselves in relation to the world in which we live,” Parten added.

IEW is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education. It aims to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences. Wesleyan’s first organization of IEW was in 2017, one year after the Fries Center for Global Studies (FCGS) was formed.

“Every fall Wesleyan’s IEW committee convenes to discuss our goals for the year and remind ourselves of our ‘why,'” Parten said.

Photos of various 2021 International Education Week activities are below:

The Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) and International Student Advisory Board (ISAB) hosted an open house and meet and greet. 

The Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) and International Student Advisory Board (ISAB) hosted an open house and meet and greet.

The African Student Association and Fries Center for Global Studies hosted an Afrobeats Dance Class at the Malcolm X House. 

The African Student Association and Fries Center for Global Studies hosted an Afrobeats Dance Class at the Malcolm X House.

Several study abroad alumni led a discussion titled "From Ghana to Middletown: Maximizing Your Study Abroad Experience Overseas and Back Home." 

Four study abroad alumni led a discussion titled “From Ghana to Middletown: Maximizing Your Study Abroad Experience Overseas and Back Home.”

During an "Opportunities Abroad" discussion, Wesleyan faculty learned about opportunities for travel and work in countries around the world. The session, which included information on faculty exchanges and Fulbrights, was hosted by the Fries Center for Global Studies, Office of Career and Faculty Development, and Office of Corporate, Foundation, and Government Grants

During an “Opportunities Abroad” discussion, Wesleyan faculty learned about opportunities for travel and work in countries around the world. The session, which included information on faculty exchanges and Fulbrights, was hosted by the Fries Center for Global Studies, Office of Career and Faculty Development, and Office of Corporate, Foundation, and Government Grants.

Alumni Discuss Black Entrepreneurship at 29th Annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium

dwight greene

Melinda Weekes-Laidlow ’89, Shawn Dove ’84, Oladoyin Oladapo ’14, Lucas Turner-Owens ’12, Kenny Green ’98, and Sadasia McCutchen ’17 were the panelists for the virtual 29th Annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium.

Like many alumni entrepreneurs, Kenny Green’s career launched from a “dorm room business” during his junior year at Wesleyan. Green ’98, an economics major, teamed up with his classmate Paul Freeman ’98 and started selling keychains with ‘Wesleyan’ stitched in black thread.

“[At the time] these big long keychains came in style—the dog tag keychain. So I said, ‘Hey, how can we put Wesleyan on this?'” Green asked.

Green, who is the founder of Green Passion Projects, an organization that consults with professional athletes and entrepreneurs to create effective business strategies, joined five other Wesleyan alumni panelists to lead the 29th Dwight L. Greene Symposium on Oct. 27. Moderated by Melinda Weekes-Laidlow ’89, the group discussed the topic of Black entrepreneurship and specific strategies these alumni leaders use to build entrepreneurial ventures and ecosystems. Green and Weekes-Laidlow were joined by Sadasia McCutchen ’17, Lucas Turner-Owens ’12, Shawn Dove ’84, and Oladoyin Oladapo ’14 for the virtual event.

“I think my entrepreneurial roots started right at Wesleyan,” said Green, who worked in public accounting after graduation. “I became a CPA .. but the calling to entrepreneurship came along.”

Since then, he’s worked with NBA star Charlie Ward on a community fundraiser; he’s consulted with Grammy-winning songwriter Steven Battey on a social impact music video featuring Snoop Dogg and partnered with the Jackie Robinson Park of Fame on a holiday party for underserved families. “I’m just happy with everything that I’m doing every single day,” Green said.

Wesleyan in the News

NewsWesleyan’s intellectually dynamic faculty, students, alumni, staff, and parents frequently serve as expert sources for national media. Others are noted for recent achievements and accolades. A sampling of recent media hits is below:

April 7
The Boston Globe – She Loves Theater, Dessert, and New Zealand — and Can’t Wait to Get to Japan. Features HowlRound director Jamie Gahlon, who is currently completing her master’s degree in performance curation at Wesleyan.

US Lacrosse Magazine – Behind the Whistle: All in the Family. Features Carly Randall, assistant lacrosse coach at Wesleyan.

Street Insider – Avalonbay Communities news. Mentions Richard Lieb ’81, P’22, senior advisor at Greenhill & Co., LLC, a publicly traded investment bank.

Talking Biz News – Barlyn departs Reuters. Features Suzanne Barlyn ’88, who will become assistant director of media and public relations at insurance company The Hartford.

Stamford Advocate – Wesleyan seniors conduct research at Long Lane Forest in Middletown. Features Wesleyan’s earth and environmental science majors.

April 8
VoyageLA – Rising Stars: Meet Naomi Ekperigin. Features Naomi Ekperigin ’05.

The Cornell Daily Sun – University Assembly Votes to Cut Ties with ICE, Broaden Emissions Reporting. Mentions that Wesleyan has established itself as a sanctuary campus.

Wonderlust – Nightstand, Books We Recommend. Features Brenda Coultas, whose next collection of poetry, The Writing of an Hour, will be published in 2022 by Wesleyan University Press.

April 11
Portland Press Herald – Waynflete Flyers Winter Athletes of the Year. Features Chris Saadé ’25, who “plans to row and study government at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.”

April 12
Waste Today – Middletown Partners with Composting Firm on Food Waste Recycling Initiative. Mentions Wesleyan.

The Hour – Wesleyan University in Middletown to ‘ensure’ students are immunized for fall semester. Mentions Wesleyan and President Michael Roth.

Fox News – FOX News Media names Gugar new General Counsel, EVP of Corporate Development. Mentions that Bernard Gugar ’86 graduated from Wesleyan with a dual degree in psychology and American studies.

The Republican Journal – Maine Sen. Angus King Adds Staff Additions. Mentions Nancy Billings ’19 and Wesleyan University.

Cornell University – Study: More exposure to political TV ads heightens anxiety. Mentions Wesleyan.

Johns Hopkins University Hub – Historian Todd Shepard ’91 awarded Guggenheim Fellowship.

Literary Hub – How Nellie Y. McKay Forged a Path for the Study of African American Literature. Mentions Wesleyan University Professor Emerita Gayle Pemberton.

All Events – In Art History from Home: Me, Myself, and. Mentions Josh Lubin-Levy ’06 and Wesleyan University.

The Boston Globe – Brigham and Women’s Hospital Doctor Dies in Tragic Fall in the Dominican Republic. Quotes Dr. Robert Soiffer ’79.

April 13
Darien Times – Middletown Residents, Wesleyan Professors Write, Direct ‘American Oz’ Documentary. Features Wesleyan University faculty Randall MacLowry and Tracy Heather Strain.

Health News Digest – Children with Autism May Not Be Receiving the Right Level of Treatment. Mentions Jamie Pagliaro ’98.

WFDD – Sonny Simmons, Fiercely Independent Alto Saxophonist, Dies at 87. Mentions Wesleyan Private Lessons Teacher Pheeroan akLaff.

The Middletown Press – Wesleyan Long Lane Farm grant to help Middletown residents access affordable produce. Mentions that Long Lane Farm is the recipient of a 2021 Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Seed Grant from Wesleyan.

PR Web – Industry Experts Release Whitepaper On The Realities, Opportunities, And Risks Associated With Diminished Decision-Making Capacity. Mentions Chris Heye ’81, P’14, the CEO and founder of Whealthcare Solutions, Inc. and Whealthcare Planning LLC.

My Silly Little Gang – Geneticist and Pediatrician Dr. Hamosh Receives David L. Rimoin Lifetime Achievement Award in Medical Genetics from the ACMG Foundation for Genetic and Genomic Medicine. Features Dr. Ada Hamosh ’81.

News 12 Connecticut – Students must get COVID-19 Vaccination to Return to Campus in Fall. Features Wesleyan. This story also appears in:
Fox 61
Connecticut Patch
WTNH News 8
CT Mirror
Stamford Daily Voice|
CT Post
NBC Connecticut
Hartford Courant
WFSB Eyewitness News 3

April 14
The New York Times – COVID-19 in New York: Variants and Johnson & Johnson. Mentions that Wesleyan University became the first university in Connecticut to require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Middletown Press – Hartford indie coffee shop to open eatery in Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookshop.

Healthcare Technology Report – The Top 50 Healthcare Technology CEOs Of 2021. Mentions Marc Casper ’90, P’23, president and chief executive officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific.

April 15
Whitehouse.gov – President Biden Announces His Intent to Nominate Key Administration Leaders in the State Department. Features Karen Donfried ’84, nominee for assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Record Journal – Colleges working to get students, staff vaccinated. Community Health Center expects to vaccinate about 3,000 students at Wesleyan University in Middletown on April 24 and 25.

Daily Magazine – The top 11 cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL draft. Mentions former Wesleyan football player Mark McAleenan ’97.

April 16
The Washington Post – The Art of the Photograph; the Photograph as Art. Op-ed by Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78.

Variety – Variety Entertainment Impact Report: Top 50 Film Schools and Instructors From Around the World. Mentions Wesleyan’s College of Film and the Moving Image.

Market Screener – Scotts Miracle-Gro news. Scotts Miracle-Gro hires Jim Esquea ’90 as Vice President of Public Affairs.

Market Screener – Springworks Therapeutics news. Mentions Daniel Lynch ’80, P’11, ’14.

WFSB – Colleges and universities are making COVID vaccine more accessible to students. Mentions that “Wesleyan is the only university in the state requiring a COVID-19 vaccine.”

The Wall Street Journal – ‘Hamilton’ Creator Partners With Posse Foundation to Mentor Arts Students. Features Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15 who had “started writing his Broadway musical ‘In the Heights’ during his sophomore year at Wesleyan University.

The Nation – How BLM Is Subtly Shaping the Chauvin Trial. Features an op-ed by Sonali Chakravarti, associate professor of government.

Market Screener – Razer Inc. news. Mentions Kevin Kwok Fun Chau ’83.

Market Screener – Mentions Michael Kishbauch ’71, P’07.

April 17
NBC Connecticut – COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Held For High School Students in Middletown. Features the Community Health Center’s vaccination clinic at Wesleyan.

April 19
NBC – An ‘enormous burden’: Chauvin trial jurors will face scrutiny – no matter their verdict. Quotes Sonali Chakravarti, associate professor of government.

The Missouri Review – “Not an Ode to April 22nd, 2019” Gisselle Yepes. Features poem by Gisselle Yepes ’20 and mentions Wesleyan’s Winchester Fellowship and Wesleyan’s The Ankh.

USA News Hub – Microbes are ‘unknown unknowns’ despite being vital to all life, says study. Quotes Frederick Cohan, Huffington Foundation Professor in the College of the Environment.

Yahoo! News via The Hartford Courant – Connecticut colleges and universities will fully reopen this fall, but state won’t require COVID-19 vaccines, letting individual schools decide. Mentions Wesleyan.

April 20
Time Magazine – History’s Lesson for Activists Who Want to Defund the Police. Features an op-ed by Sarah Ryan, associate professor of the practice in oral communicationn.

Street Insider – Biotech Veterans Troy Cox, Susannah Gray and Karen McGinnis Join Biosplice Therapeutics Board of Directors. Features Susannah Gray ’82.

The New Haven Register – Albertus honors professor, coach who fought ‘brave battle with cancer.’ Features honor longtime Professor Ron Waite CAS ’82, “who holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in Art (Film and Video) from Wesleyan University.”

newstrust.com – Bradley Whitford Finds Inspiration in the Theater (and Dog Park). Features Bradley Whitford ’81 and Wesleyan’s ’92 Theater– “the place where all the student-initiated productions happened, and it’s where I fell in love with acting. It’s just this magical place.” Also mentions Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15.

newstrust.com – Life on Venus? The Picture Gets Cloudier. Quotes Martha Gilmore, George I. Seney Professor of Geology.

Pennsylvania Patch – Karen Fleming Running For West Chester Area School Board Seat. Features Karen Fleming P’20 and her son, Andrew Fleming ’20.

Market Screener – Guotai Junan International Holding news. Mentions Ka Keung Ceajer Chan ’79.

Students Awarded $5,000 Seed Grants for Socially-Good Ventures

seed grant pitch

On April 2, six Patricelli Center Seed Grant finalists pitched their projects, virtually, to a panel of expert judges.

Wesleyan’s organic farm, an eco-friendly clothing store, and a clean water supplier in New Jersey are the recipients of the 2021 Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Seed Grants. These student-led social ventures will each receive $5,000 in unrestricted funds as well as training, advising, mentoring, incubator workspace, and other resources from the Patricelli Center.

On April 2, a pool of finalists pitched their projects, virtually, to a panel of expert judges. Applicants were assessed on their project design, leadership qualities, and potential for social or environmental impact.

Seasoned Seed Grant judge and Patricelli Center Advisory Board member Syed Ali ’13 said the PCSE’s Seed Grant competition demonstrates “the best of Wesleyan. These students brought both creativity and critical thinking to their proposals. They see clearly that every person deserves clean water, good food, and a healthy planet and recognize we are going to have to think differently to achieve that.”

On April 5, the Patricelli Center announced the Seed Grant winners:

Infinitely: Doing Good While We’re Here by Nimra Karamat ’23 and Ashley Cardenas ’23.

Nimra Karamat ’23 and Ashley Cardenas ’23 are the co-creators of Infinitely: Doing Good While We’re Here. With Infinitely, Karamat and Cardenas are offering products that are made in an eco-friendly fashion.

Infinitely: Doing Good While We’re Here by Nimra Karamat ’23 and Ashley Cardenas ’23

Karamat and Cardenas are working to launch a sustainable, affordable line of clothing that combats the fast fashion industry and all the environmental and humanitarian concerns it raises. Their first collection will launch later this spring.

“We pride ourselves in doing good while we’re here, for when we’re no longer here,” Cardenas explained. “Fast fashion companies don’t offer quality in sustainable products. They create a high demand production for cheap materials to keep up with the latest trends.”

Infinitely is partnering with other sustainable businesses—small and large—to increase the demand and access to sustainable clothing.

“Unlike other sustainable businesses that overprice their clothing materials, Infinitely is dedicated to remaining accessible for everyone in advocating for social issues through our clothing materials,” she said.

Elam Grekin '22 and Franny Lin '21

Elam Grekin ’22 (pictured) and Franny Lin ’21 are members of Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm community.

Long Lane Farm, Summer Farming by Elam Grekin ’22 and Franny Lin ’21

Since its founding in 2003, Long Lane Farm has worked towards a model of food sovereignty, in which all people not only have access to affordable, healthy meals, but also have a say in how their food is produced.

“Following the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic to both the farm and our communities, we will look ahead, strengthen and expand our role in the community, and shore up our strategies for the future,” Lin said.

Lin and Grekin have both spent ample time growing food at Long Lane Farm, and they hope to use the farm as a means of helping fight food insecurity in Middletown. They seek to create a farm stand, launch educational initiatives, and host community events to bring people together while working towards their goal.

“As the pandemic eases, this is the time for us to rebuild our relationships with the Middletown community,” Lin explained. “This grant would allow us to hire more farmers, giving us the freedom to focus on community building and food insecurity without having to sacrifice our ecological growing practices or vegetable yields. It will also allow someone to focus on the longevity of these relationships.”

Newark Water Association by Vincent Henrich '24.

Vincent Henrich ’24 created Newark Water Association by

Newark Water Association by Vincent Henrich ’24

Henrich launched the Newark Water Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, in 2020 to provide the community of Newark, N.J. with access to clean, safe, and free water.

“Newark residents are still drinking lead-contaminated water,” Henrich said. “The immediate need is not being met. This is where Newark Water Association stepped in. We supported the immediate need by supplying those who needed the water the most with our bottled water project.”

He focuses on giving bottled water to groups who could not otherwise access uncontaminated water.

Runners up included: B4 ~ Bold, Brave, Beautiful, Bald by Kara Hodge ’24 and Alexis Papavasiliou ’24; Hearth Creative Co. LLC by Nélida Zepeda ’23; and Olive Branch Pictures Inc. by Andrew Hirsh ’20, Kevin DeLoughry ’21, and Liam Trampota ’18. The Seed Grant and other Patricelli Center programs are made possible by numerous donors and volunteers, including Propel Capital, Newman’s Own Foundation, and the Norman Ernst Priebatsch Endowed Fund for Entrepreneurship.

Ali, who works as an analyst for HR&A Advisors, an urban planning / public policy / economic development consulting firm, admired the diversity of projects pitched by the students. 

“For every single venture, even the ones who were not crowned winners, the judges saw tremendous potential in what these students could achieve with the passion and leadership they demonstrated,” Ali said. “These students and teams exemplify the spirit of innovation and impact shared by so many members of the Wesleyan community.”

 

Norris ’83, P’17, Becker ’85 Elected First Woman Chairs at Law Firms

Megan Norris ’83, P’17

Megan Norris ’83, P’17

Barbara Becker '85

Barbara Becker ’85

Two Wesleyan alumnae were elected chairs of prestigious law firms in 2021.

Megan Norris ’83, P’17 was named the first woman CEO of Miller Canfield. And Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher elected Barbara Becker ’85 as chair and managing partner.

Norris, an accomplished litigator, is a nationally recognized expert and frequent public speaker on the topics of the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act. Within the Miller Candield, she has served as the leader of the Employment and Labor Group, overseeing the firm’s large and active team of dedicated employment and labor attorneys and staff. She served for eight years on the firm’s Board of Managing Directors, the last six years as chair.

“In many ways, for nearly 170 years, the firm’s focus has never changed: Our primary purpose is always to serve our clients. And we can’t do so without the best attorneys in the business,” Norris said in a press release. “What is always changing is what our clients need. Clients face budgetary restrictions, so we must adapt to provide high-quality legal services in more efficient ways while remaining profitable.”

Norris graduated from the University of Michigan Law School. At Wesleyan, she was chair of the Alumni Association and is an emerita member of the Board of Trustees.

Becker, a corporate partner in Gibson Dunn’s New York office, will start her new role on May 1. She succeeds Ken Doran, who has led the firm since 2002. (View Becker’s Gibson Dunn profile online here.)

“As the first woman to lead the firm, Barbara’s election is a momentous point in our firm’s history,” Doran said in a statement to Bloomberg Law. “She is absolutely the right person to succeed me.”

For more than a decade, Becker has served as co-chair of the firm’s Mergers and Acquisitions Practice Group, which includes 400 lawyers around the world. She has represented Accenture, Kraft Heinz, Merck, News Corp, PepsiCo, and VMware, among others.

Becker received her law degree from New York University School of Law. At Wesleyan, she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and also has served on her 25th and 35th class reunion committees and as an active volunteer at the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Employees Recognized for Years of Service to Wesleyan

Joyce Topshe

Associate Vice President for Facilities Joyce Topshe is celebrating her 20th year working at Wesleyan. She credits her love for the job to a “lifelong passion” for design and construction. LEGOs, Lincoln Logs, and Etch A Sketch were among her favorite childhood toys. “I am so lucky to be getting paid to do the things I love and with people that I care about,” she said.

For 19 years, Joyce Topshe took on the role of managing Wesleyan’s construction services, environmental services, rental properties, and Physical Plant-Facilities.

Now in her 20th year of working at Wesleyan, the associate vice president for facilities is powering through “the most challenging year of my career,” she said. “As we approach the end of the fall semester during a raging pandemic, I am feeling like we almost won the World Series. My entire team has worked exhaustively to make our campus safe during the pandemic, and I am so grateful to every member of my team for staying the course despite the challenges and concerns that the pandemic brought.”

Topshe, a member of Wesleyan’s Pandemic Planning Committee and the Campus Community Emergency Response Team (C-CERT), helped oversee the COVID-19 testing operation on campus and was heavily involved with the University’s reopening plans last fall.

Despite the pandemic, Topshe “continues to love coming to work every day because I enjoy the people that I work with,” she said. “Many of us have been working together for the entire time and we have this incredible sense of ownership and loyalty to our Wesleyan community, to each other, and even more so to the students that we serve. I enjoy working as a team and I am grateful for my talented colleagues who have contributed to the wonderful accomplishments that our team has achieved. I can’t believe that it has been 20 years since I joined Wesleyan. It is true that time flies when you are having fun.”

Students Pitch Social Benefit Business Ideas

Be Better

Blake Northrop ’22, won the Wesleyan COLLISION Spring 2020 pitch competition on May 5 with his venture, Be Better, a clothing brand focused on producing sustainable products.

A clothing brand that promotes education and discussion of mental health and wellness is the winner of the Wesleyan COLLISION Spring 2020 pitch competition sponsored by the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Created by Blake Northrop ’22, Be Better consists of the clothing brand itself—which highly values customer participation and artist collaboration—as well as an online community forum for followers and members to connect, discuss, and share their stories about mental health.

On May 5, Northrop and more than dozen other aspiring student entrepreneurs pitched their social benefit business ideas. Watch a recording of the Pitch Night online here.