Cynthia Rockwell

Cynthia Rockwell, MALS ’19, P’11

Richter ’66 Named to N.J. Hall of Fame

Irvin Richter ’66

Irvin Richter ’66

Irvin Richter ’66, chairman and chief executive officer of Hill International (NYSE:HIL), was named to the New Jersey Business Hall of Fame.  He was one of only four laureates this year.

This is a lifetime achievement award for individuals who have made a significant contribution to the quality of life and the business climate in New Jersey, and who will also serve as “role models for the next generation of New Jersey’s business leaders,” according to Dave Weaving, chair of the induction event, scheduled for April.

Richter founded Hill in 1976 and the company is now considered one of the premier construction consulting firms in the world, with 2,500 employees in 85 offices worldwide. Engineering News-Record magazine recently ranked Hill as the eighth largest construction management firm in the United States. Projects include the Channel Tunnel (where he served on the Oversight Committee), Al Fateh University in Libya, Palm Island in Dubai, Renovation of the Path Station at the World Trade Center, EPCOT, the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the Comcast Center in Philadelphia, LA Metro, Washington Metro, and Bahrain Airport, among thousands in which Hill has been involved.

Richter is a member of the World Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and the Construction Industry Round Table. He is or has been members of the boards of Rutgers University, Temple University Hospital, Construction Management Association of America (where he was elected a fellow), Energy Power & Storage, incNETWORKS, among others, and is the author of numerous publications. He is a member of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Bars and is licensed to practice law up through the US Supreme Court. He has been honored as a Distinguished Alumnus by both Wesleyan University and Rutgers University School of Law at Camden, where he earned his J.D. He serves as secretary for Wesleyan’s Class of 1966.

Heaney ’09 Awarded Fellowship to Study Law Ethics

(By Anne Calder ’11)

Allison Heaney ’03

Allison Heaney ’09

Allison Heaney ’09 has been awarded a Fellowship at Auschwitz for the study Professional Ethics. A law student at Duke University, she will spend two weeks this summer traveling to New York, Poland and Germany.

The Fellowship enables students in law, medical, seminary, journalism and business to address contemporary and future ethical issues by looking to the past. In the context of Nazi Germany and Auschwitz, Heaney will analyze the responsibilities lawyers have to their clients and to society.

Heaney was a psychology major at Wesleyan, and is now pursuing a master’s degree in psychology while simultaneously getting her law degree. She also took a number of history courses on World War II and Nazi Germany, so is well versed in all contributing aspects of the fellowship. She expects she will offer a fresh perspective to the group.

After working as a research assistant to a counter-terrorism and international criminal law expert at Duke, Heaney is growing more and more interested in international law. “I’m beginning to see a lot of connections between how the world handled Nazi Germany and how we’re going to handle Al Qaeda now,” she says.

Talbot ’70, Davis ’70 Create PBS Music/Politics Series Pilot

Sound TracksThe pilot for Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders, aired nationally on PBS in late January. Described as a magazine show “about the intersection of music with life, politics and culture around the world,” it is a collaboration between two alumni of the class of ’70—executive producer Stephen Talbot and executive producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting David Davis.

The first episode includes a vignette on Russian pop: “A Man Like Putin” is a catchy tune that became a generation’s anthem. Another section takes the listener to Africa, where Nigerian music legend Fela Kuti’s youngest son, Seun, has kept his father’s legacy alive by leading the band, a task he took on at age 14.

Additionally, Sound Tracks will introduce viewers to Mariza, considered the new queen of fado, Portugal’s traditional music. The story of a new symphonic work for Kazakhstan, composed by Erran Baron Cohen (brother of the creator of Borat) at the request of the country’s virtuoso violinist Marat Bisengaliev, rounds out the program.

Says executive producer Stephen Talbot ’70, former series editor of the award-winning PBS program, Frontline/World, “Americans love eating the food of different cultures. We want to give people that same exposure to the world’s incredible music with great stories that transcend cultural barriers.”

Emmy Award-winning Public Radio International newsman Marco Werman hosts the show.


Zeitlin ’03 Earns Accolades for King Pajama’s Something Sweet

Kaitlin Zeitlin '03

Nina Zeitlin '03

Something Sweet, Nina Zeitlin’s ’03 family/kids’ album, was named in the Top 10 on NPR’s “2009 Best Music for Kids and Their Families.” In a story for WXPN’sKids Corner in Philadelphia, host Kathy O’Connell noted that she’d remember 2009 as “the gold standard in kids’ music,” and included Zeitlin’s musical ensemble, King Pajama, as one of the groups “whose kid-centric themes (love of the library, train rides, ice cream) provide a clue to their intended audience, since the songs themselves work for everyone.”

Zeitlin, a sociology major at Wesleyan, sang, recorded and produced the collection, which also won a 2009 Parents’ Choice Award, and was included in Time Out New York Kids as a “Top 10 Best Children’s CD of 2009.”

kingpajamacoverTo read O’Connell’s picks for NPR, as well as to listen to a track from Something Sweet, go to:

King Pajama’s web site also offers samples of their musical fare, including “Guacamole Time” and “Heavy Coat.”

Ravenal ’81 President of Art Museum Association

John Ravenal '81

John Ravenal '81

John Ravenal ’81 is now president of his professional organization: the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC).

The Sydney and France Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Ravenal has become the fourth president of AAMC since the organization was founded in 2001.

Ravenal joined the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in 1998, and his exhibitions have included Vanitas: Meditations on Life and Death in Contemporary Art; Outer & Inner Space, a history of video art; and Artificial Light, displayed at VCUarts Anderson Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami.

In addition, he has recently completed a book on modern and contemporary art at VMFA and is planning a complete redesign of all modern and contemporary galleries, as well as the addition of a sculpture garden, to open this May.

An art history major at Wesleyan, Ravenal earned his M.A. and M.Phil in art history from Columbia University. Prior to his affiliation with the VMFA, Ravenal worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where he was associate curator of 20th-century art.

“Our profession is now more important than ever as we maintain the artistic vision of the museums we serve and engage ever broadening audiences,” he says in an AAMC press release.

To learn more about the Association of Art Museum Curators, see

Fins ’82 Elected President of Bioethics Society

Joe Fins '82

Joe Fins '82

Dr. Joseph J. Fins ’82 has been elected president of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. His election to this two-year term, which begins in 2011, recognizes his major contributions to bioethics, as well as his broad expertise in the field.

Fins is chief of the Division of Medical Ethics and a faculty member at Weill Cornell Medical College. He is also director of medical ethics at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and chairs its ethics committee.

“I am honored to have been elected, and I look forward to encouraging the contributions of my esteemed colleagues in bioethics and the medical humanities as we work together to improve patient care, enrich medical education and inform health policy,” he says.

Fins is an authority on ethical and policy issues in brain injury and disorders of consciousness, palliative care, research ethics in neurology and psychiatry, medical education and methods of ethics case consultation. He is a co-author of the 2007 Nature paper describing the first use of deep brain stimulation in the minimally conscious state. His most recent book is A Palliative Ethic of Care: Clinical Wisdom at Life’s End (Jones and Bartlett, 2006).

A College of Letters major at Wesleyan, he received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College, now known as Weill Cornell Medical College, in 1986. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Fins served on the Wesleyan Board of Trustees and chairs the Wesleyan Alumni Association.

Ballon ’01 Serves as California Legislature Advisor

Beginning this month, Daniel R. Ballon ’01 will serve as a California legislature advisor,  one of 10 fellows taking part in a first-of-its kind statewide program designed to provide legislators with access to experts in science and technology to help them evaluate the proposals before them.

Ballon, a Phi Beta Kappa Wesleyan graduate with a double major in molecular biology and biochemistry and Russian language and literature, earned his Ph.D in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley. He was previously a senior policy fellow in technology studies at the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco. As a fellow, he will work the Assembly Minority Leader/Republican Caucus and serve a one-year term.

The program is administered through the California Council on Science and Technology in conjunction with universities and several foundations and operates at no cost to the taxpayers.

More information is in a recent edition of The Mercury-News and the Pacific Research Institute web site.

Little ’81 Speaks on Digital Media in Recent Mediabistro Article

Caroline Little ’81, the North American CEO for the U.K.-based Guardian News and Media, was the subject of the most recent, “So What Do You Do” Q-and-A for Previously CEO at The Washington, where she led the web sites for the Post, as well as for Newsweek, Slate, and The Root, Little had begun her career as a lawyer. She says that she made the jump in 1997 to digital media because, “when something’s new, there’s a lot of opportunities” and her background had given her an overview of the business.

Asked about the Guardian’s goals in the U.S., its appeal, and its potential sources of revenue—as well as details on her departure from the— Little is frank and upbeat. What drew her to the Guardian, she says, is that she “found their Web presence to be really innovative.” Noting that approximately a third of the site’s unique new visitors are from this country, Little says, “What I’m trying to do is help grow that audience and—I hate the word but—monetize that audience, because we’ve never had a direct sales force here.”

Noting that the greatest source of revenue for print media has always been advertising, she says that those in digital media are continuing to examine different financial models.

“Paying for content is just one revenue stream. I don’t think it’s going to be the silver bullet.” Instead, she considers the news media’s “assets… your writers, your voice and your sales team.”

Given those, “What can you do with a ‘feet on the street’ sales team? Is there something else they can sell, for example?” She also notes that other publishing companies have found special events to be revenue sources.

“I think it [digital media] has a bright future, but we have some work to do,” she says.

For an earlier article on Little’s career, go to Wesleyan magazine archives, spring ’02, for “Raising Sites:” The Growth of Online News” by William L. Holder ’75:

Pollitt ’43 Receives State Award

Daniel Pollitt ’43, University of North Carolina Kenan Professor Emeritus and longtime civil-liberties and civil-rights advocate, was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the state’s highest honors, last summer.

Nominated for the award by state Sen. Floyd McKissick Jr., whose father, Floyd McKissick Sr., worked with Pollitt on a number of civil-rights issues, Pollitt was presented with the award by Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, with whom he was wed last April.

Bestowed for a lifetime of “integrity, learning and zeal,” the award recognizes his activism and commitment to the causes of social justice. In the 1950s, he served as defense council in a number of historic civil-liberty trials, including those of Lillian Hellman and Arthur Miller before the House Un-American Activities Committee, helped lead a successful protest to integrate a downtown Chapel Hill theater in the 1960s, and continues to be active in his opposition to the death penalty.

An article in the Carrboro Citizen, quotes him proclaiming his motto: “Constant skepticism is the hallmark of a democratic society.”

For further information, see

Melillo ’65 Says Biofuels Emit More Co2 Than Gasoline

Jerry Melillo ’65, a senior scientist at the U.S. Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., says in a study published in Science that the new generation of biofuels will actually emit more carbon dioxide, averaged over the first three decades of this century, than gasoline—although the fuels were meant to be a low-carbon alternative.

A Reuters report on the study noted that governments and private industry are spending billions of dollars on research into making fuels from wood and grass in the hopes of cutting carbon emissions while not competing with food, as corn-based biofuels do.

Melillo and his team found, however, that these advanced “cellulosic” biofuels will actually lead to higher carbon emissions. They contend that the land required to plant poplar trees and tropical grasses would displace farmland and therefore lead to more deforestation to create new crop farmland. Deforestation is a significant source of carbon emissions. Additionally, these biofuel crops require nitrogen fertilizer, which itself produces two greenhouse gasses.

Melillo notes that the paper is not meant to negate the place for cellulosic biofuels.

“It is not an obvious and easy win without thinking very carefully about the problem,” Melillo told Reuters. “We have to think very carefully about both short and long-term consequences.”

Shumlin ’79 to be Honored by Civil Rights Group

Peter Shumlin ’79

Peter Shumlin ’79

Vermont State Senator Peter Shumlin ’79 will be honored at the 8th Annual Human Rights Campaign New England Dinner, to be held in Boston on Nov. 14. HRC New England, the largest GLBT civil rights advocacy group in the country, is this year presenting the marriage equality award to “those who were heroes in our fight for equality.”

As President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Shumlin is considered instrumental on the April 15, 2009 Vermont legislature’s vote to override the governor’s veto and pass same sex marriage into law for the state.

Shumlin spoke about his reasons to support the bill last March on Vermont Public Radio. He called the passage “one of the proudest moments of my life” on the UK’s Guardian web site, where he traces his involvement in this historic legislation back to 2000.

“I owe a lot of my commitment to helping promote social justice to my Wesleyan experience,” he says.

It is expected that on Nov. 16, he will announce his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Vermont Governor.

Report by Harrison MA ’08 Says Water Found on Mars

Tanya Harrison MA ’08, who studied with Martha Gilmore, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, and is now at Malin Space Science Systems in California, is first author on a report that says her team found evidence of liquid water flowing on the surface of Mars in multiple locations as recently as this year.

An abstract of the report, titled “Present-Day Activity, Monitoring and Documentation of Gullies With the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Context Camera,” was published in the Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 267. The findings were reported in a speech at the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting on Oct. 8, and the work also was presented at the 2009 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting Oct. 19-21.

According to the report, the group found evidence of six active gully flows that formed since 2001. Of the six new flows, three have formation dates constrained to within a single Mars year; these three formed during autumn to early spring, demonstrating that summer warming is not participating in creating the liquid involved in their formation.

“These efforts are focused on understanding how the gullies formed, how they have been degraded, and where they are active today,” the report says.