Alumni news.

President Michael S. Roth: ‘Why Liberal Arts Matter’

In an exclusive opinion piece for CNN, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth says that a national focus on science and math education is important, but not at the exclusion of the other liberal arts. “We are running away from the promise of liberal education. We are frightened by economic competition, and many seem to have lost confidence in our ability to draw from the resources of a broadly based education,” he writes. “Many seem to think that by narrowing our focus to just science and engineering, we will become more competitive. This is a serious mistake.”

Read the full piece here.

The opinion piece is part of coverage supporting a CNN special investigation titled “Don’t Fail Me.

Roth: Universities Must Ensure Quality and Equality

In an opinion piece for a recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth discusses how colleges and universities, like secondary schools, must reverse the trends of limiting access to intellectual and social opportunities for all their students, regardless of economic background. Roth says that specialization has received too much emphasis and that “many people have pointed out that higher education itself is beset by problems that undermine its ability to provide students with this flexible, pragmatic framework for lifelong learning. Take, for example, the powerful, long-term trends toward specialization in university culture, trends that have a decidedly negative impact on undergraduate education…At many colleges, this has led to a fragmentation of intellectual life, with powerful departments defending their own interests without regard to the welfare of the institution as a whole.”

Basinger, Dombrowski ’92 on Celebrity Culture Today

In The New York Times OpEd forum “Room for Debate,” Jeanine Basinger, Chair and Corwin Fuller Professor of Film Studies, and Lisa Dombrowski ’92, associate professor of film studies, both examine the question of the difficulty of celebrity for film stars today as opposed to the old studio system that produced such luminaries as Elizabeth Taylor.

Basinger says that one of the big differences today is the scale and scope of scrutiny: “Today we’ve added on TV coverage, instant Internet coverage, international coverage — and all the news seems to be entertainment news.”

Dombroski says that the studio system protected stars, though there were caveats to this, while stars today are “freelancers supported only by agents, managers, and personal publicists whose employment relies on the approval of the star.”

Roth Reviews Barkan’s ‘Michelangelo: A Life on Paper’

In a review for The Washington Post, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth discusses the new book by Leonard Barkan: Michelangelo: A Life on Paper. While volumes have been written about the great artist and his work, Roth says this book is different and intriguing because of its perspective. “It focuses…on the artist’s ‘life on paper,’ the hundreds of sheets that have survived containing drawings, poems, doodles, instructions to assistants and ‘notes to self.’ For Barkan, a professor of comparative literature at Princeton, these sheets are a treasure trove of aesthetic delights; traces of the historical context of Renaissance art making; and, most important, a window onto the personality and artistic practice of a figure who came to define genius.”

Math, Science Alone will not Increase Competitiveness

In an OpEd for The Houston Chronicle, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth says that while the recent emphasis on math and science studies to increase students’ international competitiveness is laudable, it is not enough. Only a balanced education that also includes the humanities, social sciences and arts will give students the depth of knowledge and critical thinking skills they will need to lead and compete in the fast-changing 21st Century workplace.

Roth OpEd: This is the Cynical Season in Politics

In an opinion piece for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth says that this may be one of the most cynical election cycles ever, a mood abetted by the recent Supreme Court ‘Citizen’s United’ case that allows for more special interest group advertising. But while cynics are ‘no fools,’ cynicism in general does not lend itself well to positive change or progress. It also can lead to withdrawal from the political process.

Undefeated 1969 Football Team Won in Tense Era

The Hartford Courant profiled the undefeated 1969 Wesleyan Football Team and discussed the heady social and political environment on campus and in the U.S. back then. The perfect season came complete with protests against one opponent, Army, as well as a bomb threat, war protests, and racial unrest. Despite all the turmoil, the team became a unifying force on campus. The 1969 team will have a reunion on the night of Saturday, Oct. 23, as part of HomeComing/ Family Weekend. The team has also been inducted into the Wesleyan Athletics Hall of Fame.

Zilkha Exhibit, Ho Bynum’98 on ‘Where We Live’

A new exhibit at the Zilkha Gallery titled “Connectivity Lost” was featured on a recent broadcast of WNPR’s ‘Where We Live.’ The exhibit examines the disconnects in modern society between people and their surroundings.

‘Where We Live’ also featured Taylor Ho Bynum ’98, a jazz musician who is currently on a 1,000 mile tour – using his bicycle as his sole mode of transportation. Bynum said the tour is a combination of his great loves: music, biking, and experimentation.

Four Alumni Win Emmy Awards

The following alumni received Emmy Awards at the 62nd annual Emmy Awards  on August 29.

Bruce McKenna ‘84—Co-Executive Producer, Outstanding Miniseries, The Pacific. The Pacific received 8 Emmy Awards, more than any other program.

Matthew Senreich ’96—Executive Producer, Writer, Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program, Robot Chicken.

Matthew Weiner ‘87—Executive Producer, Mad Men, Outstanding Drama Series; Writer (with Erin Levy), Mad Men, “Shut the Door. Have a Seat”. Mad Men received 4 Emmy Awards.

Bill Wrubel ‘85—Co-Executive Producer, Modern Family, Outstanding Comedy Series. Modern Family received 6 Emmy Awards.

A complete list of nominees from the Wesleyan community can be found here, and a complete list of all Emmy winners can be found here.