| Wesleyan University recently announced that it will confer four honorary degrees during its 173rd commencement exercises on Sunday, May 22 to the following recipients:
Wesleyan will also bestow the Baldwin Medal, the highest alumni honor presented by the University, to John F. Woodhouse, ’53, P’79, former president and CEO of Sysco Corporation, named trustee emeritus following 15 years on Wesleyan’s Board, and most recently, chairman and leader of the successful $287M Wesleyan Capital Campaign. David B. Jenkins, ’53, P’83, former CEO and president of Shaws Supermarkets, named trustee emeritus following 12 years on Wesleyan’s Board, chair of the Campaign for Liberal Learning and National Leadership Gifts Chair for the Wesleyan Capital Campaign, will receive the Baldwin Medal at Homecoming/Family Weekend this fall.
The Baldwin Medal pays tribute to the late Judge Raymond E. Baldwin of Wesleyan’s Class of 1916. Baldwin was the only man to have held the offices of Connecticut governor, U.S. senator, and chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.
|By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations|
Campus News & Events
by Olivia Drake •
Pictured above, Lydia Bell 07 (center) and area children watch the Footnotes Dance Theater perform during the Saturday for Kids Programs Buddy Day. Bell is a substitute teacher at Saturday for Kids, a recreation/respite program for children with disabilities.
At right, Saturday for Kids Program Director and Wesleyan administrative assistant Debbie Sierpinski helps a child with a craft project. Sierpinski is recruiting volunteers and performers for the program.
Twice a month, Lydia Bell 07 gets to mingle with an aspiring rock star.
He really loves to get everyone singing Yankee Doodle, or doing the moves for the YMCA, Bell says about her 10-year-old friend, David*.
Bell and David meet during The Saturday for Kids program, a recreation/respite program for children with disabilities. Several Wesleyan students, staff and faculty are donating a few hours a month to socially interact with the youngsters, and theyre always looking for more Wesleyan volunteers to work with children ages 6-12.
Saturday for Kids program Director Debbie Sierpinski, administrative assistant for the Classical Studies Department, Medieval Studies Program, and the Archaeology Program, says this is an ideal opportunity to give back to the community, while meeting other Wesleyan student and employees who they normally wouldnt meet on campus.
Since Wesleyan has really pushed for community services to be an important aspect of the Wesleyan community, I feel that the Saturday for Kids program is a vital avenue for Wesleyan students, faculty and staff to accomplish this, she says.
Saturday for Kids is part of the Middlesex Association for Retarded Citizens: Community Resources, Ltd., most commonly known as MARC. The private, non-profit organization provides services to adults and children with cognitive disabilities and their families.
The Saturday for Kids Program is held two to three Saturday mornings a month. Structured activities, crafts, toys and free time for play offer valuable social interaction for the children.
Bell started volunteering in 2004 and was hired as a sub this year. She says the most rewarding part of working with the program is having the luxury of working one-on-one with a child.
With time and patience I have found rewarding connections through games and lots of smiling and laughing, Bell says. Working with special needs children is a great way to prepare for a teaching career or to be active in the greater Middletown area. I would recommend it to other students as a great way to get off campus and get involved with the community around us.
Sierpinski has already written several recommendations for students who are applying for fellowships in this field or who are looking for summer employment working with children.
Wesleyans Community Relations co-sponsors the program to enable some meetings to be held at Wesleyan. When the organization holds its Community Service Fair in September, Frank Kuan, director of Community Relations, recruits Wesleyan students and staff to man the information booth.
Debbie and her student volunteers have been the heart and soul of the Saturday for Kids program, Kuan says. Its a very worthwhile, service-orientated cause.
Some Wesleyan employees have got involved in the Saturday for Kids Program through their talents. Helen Mensah, an artist in residence in dance, played African drums for the children. Juliana Shortell, collections manager of the Archaeology Program and member of the Footnotes Dance Theater performed a dance for the kids. Kids on the Block, a volunteer group associated with Oddfellows Playhouse and Wesleyan students, put on a play with puppets that have disabilities.
Shortell says Footnotes has performed at schools and libraries around the state, but the Saturday for Kids Program is her favorite group to work with.
Usually there is a fair bit of snickering and shyness, she says. Not so with these kids. They welcome us and jump right in, and because everyone cannot necessarily move or communicate in the same way, we all learn about different ways to relate to words, music, and movement. In the end, there is very little performing going on, as we are all just playing together. And that is the way we like it!
These special performances take place once a month during Buddy Day. During this event, the children can invite friends and siblings and anyone from the community to join in on the fun.
It is a way to educate the community about what special needs means and makes the program more inclusive, Sierpinski says.
Sierpinski is hoping more students and faculty from the theater, music and other departments donate their skills to entertain the children.
We have found that the common link with all of these children, no manner what level of functioning they are at or what kind of cognitive and physical disabilities they have, is music and dance, she says. Some of our non-verbal children give us a huge smile and we know that we have touched their soul.
Sierpinski says the Classical Studies Department supports her working for the program. For a while, she was storing toys in the Classical Studies library.
One day, one of the visiting faculty members was riding one of the kids adult trikes down the hall, she says. I thought I was seeing things. He said the tires were flat, he had inflated them and was checking out the bike. I am very lucky to work at Wesleyan, a place very committed to community service.
The Saturday for Kids Program meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Woodhead Lounge, Mercy High School or at the MARC administration building, 421 Main Street in Cromwell.
These are a fabulous group of kids, Shortell says, and you will always get back as much, if not more, than what you put in.
For more information or to become a volunteer or performer, email Debbie Sierpinski at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Lou Alperowitz at 860-635-5151 extension 305.
(* last name withheld by request.)
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
Vice President for Finance and Administration Marcia Bromberg will retire from Wesleyan at the end of the fiscal year.
In her four years at Wesleyan, Bromberg has overseen numerous improvements. When she was hired she was charged with providing a more transparent financial planning and reporting system. This led her to a revamping of the budget planning cycle, budget and long-range planning materials, and the annual budget and financial statements. The result has been a more open and understandable set of processes and documents.
Bromberg also opened up the facilities planning process with the establishment of the Master Plan Executive Committee, which has coordinated on-campus planning and oversight for all facilities projects.
She recognized the need for a specialist to manage the university’s auxiliary services and created a director position to oversee those areas. She led in the recasting of the universitys bookstore, now operated by Follett College Stores, which has succeeded in providing the level of textbook services and support required by students and faculty.
In collaboration with a committee she established, Bromberg developed a new administrative staff evaluation and compensation system that links performance assessment to individual and University goals and provides a reward system for meaningful accomplishments. More recently, in collaboration with the faculty’s Compensation and Benefits Committee, she conducted a health plan review which led first to moving the university from a fully insured to a self-insured plan, and this past year, to an improved program that incorporates new plan designs and healthy living options.
Brombergs creative vision enabled Wesleyan to construct new residence halls on Fauver Field that will allow the university to house almost all students in university-owned housing.
March 30 was the culmination of another initiative: Wesleyan’s first Environmental Awareness Day. Students, faculty, the Connecticut Consortium of Independent Colleges and local civic and political leaders celebrated campus energy conservation initiatives, recycling activities and our plan to incorporate clean-energy electric vehicles into its campus service fleet. Through this initiative, Bromberg channeled student interests and concerns towards collaborative and positive results.
Wesleyan will soon begin a national search for Marcia’s successor. In the interim period after June 30, Vice President and Secretary Peter Patton will provide oversight to the Facilities and Auxiliary Services offices. Vice President for Information Technology John Meerts will provide oversight to the offices of Finance, Human Resources, Legal Projects, and Project Coordination. Tom Kannam, director of investments, will report to President Douglas Bennet while maintaining a dotted-line relationship with the interim and then the permanent vice president for finance.
|By David Pesci, director of Media Relations|
by Olivia Drake •
|A new grant will expand emphasis on computer science instruction and resources.|
An $800,000 Mellon Foundation grant will allow the Mathematics and Computer Sciences departments at Wesleyan University, Connecticut College and Trinity College to collaborate on a new cost and resource sharing arrangement, expand the departments curricula and provide incentives for more computer science faculty to work in a liberal arts setting.
The grant will fund the hiring of four post-doctoral fellows in computer science who will develop new courses, seminars and workshops. While each fellow will be employed by a home institution, all four will provide instruction and collaborate with colleagues at the three participating academic institutions. This will include on-site instruction and the simultaneous teaching of courses at the institutions through video conferencing.
The grant also focuses on providing resources for the recruitment, mentoring and training of women and underrepresented students in computer sciences. Methods will include faculty and peer mentoring, workshops and programs on career and research opportunities, and the creation and distribution of materials aimed at interesting nontraditional students to enroll in introductory computer science courses.
Wesleyan University, Connecticut College and Trinity College have enjoyed a long tradition of academic collaboration known as the CTW Consortium, which includes sharing instructional technology and library service resources. In recent years, the Mellon Foundation has also awarded grants to the CTW Consortium to sponsor a computer sciences joint colloquium and to build on existing shared resources to improve the curricula of all three member institutions.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a private foundation that makes grants on a selective basis to institutions in higher education, museums, and art conservation, performing arts, population, conservation and the environment and public affairs.
|By David Pesci, director of Media Relations with Eric Cárdenas, Connecticut College|
by Olivia Drake •
“Vanity Fair” contributing editor Christopher Hitchens and Pulitzer Prize nominee Michael Parenti participated in a debate titled “Iraq and the Future of U.S. Foreign Policy” April 18 at Wesleyans Memorial Chapel.
Hitchens is an Oxford-educated self-described liberal who has become a supporter of U.S. intervention in Iraq. A former columnist for The Nation and book critic for Newsday, he is now a contributing editor for Vanity Fair magazine. His books include “Hostage to History: Cyprus From the Ottomans to Kissinger” and his most recent, “Love, Poverty and War: Journeys and Essays.”
Parenti, a Yale graduate, has been a persistent critic of U.S. foreign policy for over 25 years and strongly opposed to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. His most recent book, “Superpatriotism,” explores the cultural dynamics that underpin America’s approach to foreign policy in recent years. He has reportedly written over 250 articles for scholarly journals, periodicals and newspapers.
The presentation was sponsored by Wesleyan’s Office of the President, the Sociology and Government departments, WESU 88.1FM, WesPeace, the United Student Labor Action Coalition and the Muslim Students Association.
|By David Pesci, director of Media Relations|
by Olivia Drake •
|Maria Cruz-Saco will become dean of the college.|
Maria A. Cruz-Saco, interim dean of the college at Connecticut College, will become dean of the college at Wesleyan University on July 18.
Wesleyan’s dean of the college is responsible for the programs and services that support student learning and development. The office of the dean encompasses the class deans, the Office of Residential Life, student and behavioral health services, the Office of Student Activities, the Office of Community Service, the chaplains, and the new Usdan University Center. The dean serves as a member of the university’s senior staff.
“This is a moment of unusual opportunity,” says President Doug Bennet. “We are thinking afresh about how we link students’ academic experiences with their lives in the community and about how we can take full advantage of the diversity of student experience as a resource for learning. Wesleyan is also strengthening our residential life and student programming in concert with the addition of new housing and the Usdan University Center. Maria Cruz-Saco will provide strong leadership in all these areas, and we welcome her to Wesleyan.”
Cruz-Saco is an economist and expert in social protection and the reform of social security systems with a regional emphasis in Latin America and the Caribbean. She has authored three books, co-edited one, and contributed many articles and chapters to professional journals and books. She earned her B.A. at the Universidad del Pacífico in Lima, Peru, in 1979 and her Ph.D. in economics at the University of Pittsburgh in 1983.
She is a full professor of economics at Connecticut College.
Cruz-Saco has served as interim dean at Connecticut College since July 2003. She joined the college in 1990 and held leadership positions including chair of the economics department, chair of the Priorities, Planning and Budget Committee, member of the Grievances Committee, and member of the faculty steering committee of the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy. In 2002-03, she chaired the Presidential Commission on a Pluralistic Community charged with delineating the college’s vision for a multicultural experience and inclusive excellence.
As interim dean, Cruz-Saco led an internal self-study of her division in comparative perspective, redrafted its vision, mission and goals and designed an action plan for 2004-2006. Under her leadership, the Dean of the College division produced a student quality of life report, concluded and implemented the results of a self-assessment of the Multicultural Center, secured an increase in the operational budget for pluralistic initiatives and supported the creation of a peer-mentoring pilot.
“Professor Maria Cruz-Saco has been a leader in strengthening the entire educational program at Connecticut College,” says Connecticut College President Norman Fainstein. “In 2002-03 she chaired a presidential commission on creating a genuinely pluralistic community. As interim dean of the college, she has continued to support efforts to improve equity and diversity, to further student achievement, and to better integrate the curricular and co-curricular sides of the college. She has worked closely with students, faculty and staff to establish a collegial climate and institutional structure where students can truly put the liberal arts into action as citizens in a global society. Her enthusiasm, energy, and intellect will be sorely missed.”
“I look forward to joining the Wesleyan community and to being a part of this vibrant and engaged campus,” says Cruz-Saco. “Wesleyan offers an extraordinary liberal arts education, and I feel fortunate that I will contribute to the continued excellence of student life and development.”
Billy Weitzer, senior associate provost and dean of continuing studies at Wesleyan, will continue in his role as acting dean of student academic services during Cruz-Saco’s transition. The role of dean of student academic services was established as part of a reorganization of the dean of the college office led by Wesleyan’s interim dean, Peter Patton.
|By Justin Harmon, director of University Communications|
by Olivia Drake •
|Phil Cotharin, temperature controls mechanic/energy management specialist, examines a variable frequency drive that controls the neighboring air handling unit in the Exley Science Center. The system significantly reduces energy waste.|
by Olivia Drake •
|Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Manju Hingorani researches pathways that lead to carcinogenesis.|
Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Manju Hingorani recently earned an award totaling more than $571,700 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for research on pathways leading to carcinogenesis, including the development of colon, rectal, stomach, and ovarian cancers.
The five-year grant will specifically fund the research of Hingorani’s laboratory focuses on the workings of proteins responsible for DNA mismatch repair with the long-term goal of understanding how defects in repair are linked to many forms of cancers.
“I am tremendously grateful to the National Science Foundation for its strong commitment to basic science research and education, especially in this time of constrained budgets,” says Hingorani.
Hingorani earned the award thanks to the NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program. This program recognizes the critical roles faculty members play in integrating research and education, and in fostering the natural connections between the processes of learning and discovery.
To date, eight Wesleyan University faculty members have received this award including Hingorani, Assistant Professor of Astronomy Kathryn Johnston, Professor of Physics Reinhold Blumel and Associate Professors of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Scott Holmes and Michael McAlear.
Hingorani plans to use the funds to support graduate and undergraduate research projects in her laboratory, and to develop innovative courses on science writing and on science documentary filmmaking in collaboration with faculty from Wesleyan’s Department of Film Studies.
by Olivia Drake •
|Astronomy Professor William Herbst studies the star, KH 15D. Pictured are images of KH 15D out of eclipse (left) and in eclipse (right) as taken from Wesleyan’s observatory.|
| It’s 3 million years old and 2,400 light years away, but a distant star discovered by Wesleyan researchers has given insight into how our solar system may have formed. NASA wants to know more, and has given William Herbst almost a quarter of a million dollars to keep looking.
This month NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) awarded Wesleyan Professor of Astronomy William Herbst a $216,000 grant to continue his studies of the star, KH 15D, and other emerging stars and their possible link to the creation of our solar system.
The grant for Herbst’s proposal titled “Synoptic Studies of T Tauri Stars in Nearby Clusters and Associations” will span three years. It was approved by NASA’s Origins of Solar Systems Program and is one of only 39 proposals of the 94 submitted that received funding.
“NASA is particularly interested in this work because they want to find planets that may support life,” says Herbst, the Van Vleck Professor of Astronomy, chair of the Astronomy Department and director of the Van Vleck Observatory. “As far as we know, life can only get started on a planet. Understanding how these types of planets form can help us pinpoint where they may exist and when the conditions for the creation of life first occur.” Three years ago, Herbst reported how KH 15D, a star in the constellation Monoceros that he and graduate student Kristin Kearns discovered, and that physics Ph.D. candidate Catrina Hamilton further helped identify, seemed to displaying the early stages of planet formation. KH 15D was periodically going through “winking” eclipses, determined by Herbst to be he swirling waves of rock and dust clouds typical of early planet formation. The discovery sent excitement through the astronomical community. He continues to study KH 15D and other young stars looking for more clues. “Wesleyan has been recognized as a world leader in monitoring these young stars,” Herbst says proudly. “And we are able to do many of our observations using our own observatory on campus.” Herbst also notes that in the awarding of the grant, the officials at NASA went out of their way to applaud the way undergraduates have been involved in the studies. Specifically, the reports says Herbst “is to be commended for his extensive work in student training, where he has done a first rate job in engaging undergraduates in research and launching them along productive career paths.”
“Involving undergraduates in the research is not required for the grant. In fact it’s pretty atypical for this level of research,” Herbst says, then smiles. “But it is what we do here at Wesleyan. I was glad NASA made note of it. It’s a part of our program that we are very proud of.”
Related resource: Animation of KH 15D.
|By David Pesci, director of Media Relations|
by Olivia Drake •
The next time you grab a bite to eat or enjoy a drink at the Red & Black Café, youll also be helping students in need at Wesleyan.
Ed Thorndike, Jr. ’89 and Karen Kaffen-Polascik, owners of Wes Wings and Red & Black Cafe, will donate 1 percent of their gross sales from Red & Black Cafe to support financial aid through the Wesleyan Annual Fund (WAF).
“This is something we’ve really been wanting to do,” says Thorndike. “I contacted University Relations and we were able to set it up and make it work. It’s really gratifying to know that this money will be going to help Wesleyan students in need.”
Their intention is to give semi-annually in May and January.
by Olivia Drake •
|Economics Professor John Bonin is the editor of “Journal of Comparative Economics.”|
| As John Bonin recalls a recent overseas trip, one scene in particular stands out.
“The tree-lined streets with boutiques sprinkled among retail giants like the Gap could have easily been in a European city,” says Bonin, the Chester D. Hubbard Professor of Economics and Social Science and editor of the “Journal of Comparative Economics.”
Perhaps the most remarkable part of this recollection is that the streets he describes weren’t in Europe or even the west. They were in Shanghai, China. The image is important because it illustrates how quickly China is growing economically.
And yet, when Bonin traveled to the nearby city of Wuxi, he encountered another image along the way that impressed him just as much.
“There were huts sitting in mud with peasants attempting to eke out an existence from farming or fishing in small ponds,” he says. “It was as if these people were from another time entirely.”
Much like the two extremes of China, Bonin studies extremes within the world of banking. His research focuses on financial sector reform and bank privatization — the successful transition of financial institutions away from the controlling hands of the government towards private control.
His travels and research have landed him in many far away countries, including China, Hungary, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Poland and Russia. Bonin’s love for far away countries developed during grade school after he wrote a paper about China’s Yangtze River. Ever since, it’s been this country that has captured Bonin’s attention the most.
“I’ve always had this romantic notion of China,” he says. “I guess you could say I came full circle.”
Bonin’s most recent visit to Shanghai last May stemmed from an invitation to speak at a conference on the governance reform of state-owned enterprises in China.
“When I lectured at Peking University in Beijing in 2001 to a room full of about 50 Chinese students, it was incredibly rewarding,” he says. “They were the most inquisitive, captivated audience I’ve ever had.”
Bonin is also asked several times a year to travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with World Bank leaders who are eager to collaborate with economists and research groups. Some of his research has even been circulated as policy briefs in Washington for government officials and members of Congress.
In addition, he compiled a case study of a privatized Polish bank for a U.S. Treasury Department funded project about banking in Central Europe and Russia.
It can take years for emerging-market countries to develop efficient financial institutions, he explains.”My job is to supply them with background information based on the experiences of other countries,” he says.
For example, while in Beijing, Bonin met with an official from the banking supervision department of the People’s Bank of China. This person eventually became very interested in Hungary’s experiences with bank privatization.
One of Bonin’s newest project includes collaboration with assistant professor of economics Masami Imai. They are researching how stock prices of companies in Korea, including Daewoo and Hyundai, are affected by news of changes in their main bank’s ownership.
The study will shed light on the impact that foreign owners of domestic banks have on domestic lending, especially lending to long-standing large corporate clients.
Bonin enjoys the research, but enjoys his work with students even more. He recalls one former student, David Lipton, ’75 who went on to become the Undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury Department in the 1990’s.
“I was sitting across from Lipton one night over dinner and he looked at me and said ‘You’re the reason I’m an economist,'” Bonin says. “To hear that was one of the most rewarding experiences of my teaching career.”
Bonin will also travel to Paris in April to teach a master’s class on financial economics in transition countries at the Sorbonne.
“First hand experience compliments standard research sources,” Bonin says. “Experiencing other places and cultures allows me to bring the real world into the classroom and enliven the learning process.”
by Olivia Drake •
| On March 4, Tom Cornish ’05 was transported to a local hospital with symptoms consistent with meningitis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Tom was infected with strain B of Neisseria meningitidis, a strain not protected against by any existing vaccine, though one is in development.
Based on this information, Tom had meningococcal meningitis, which is a type of bacterial meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis. Tom’s condition has improved significantly since being admitted to the hospital and he is making steady progress toward recovery.
Wesleyan’s Office of Health Education has compiled a page with information about this disease:
There are different strains of Neisseria meningitidis. Tom was infected with a strain not protected against by the vaccine mandated for Wesleyan undergraduates. The bacteria can be spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions (such as through coughing or kissing). Fortunately, these bacteria are not as contagious as agents that cause the common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been. A vaccine for strain B Neisseria meningitidis is in development.
Persons in the same household or who have had direct contact with a patient’s oral secretions would be considered at increased risk of acquiring the infection. Even though the risk of getting meningococcal disease is generally very low; as a precaution, close contacts are often advised to take an antibiotic, usually rifampin or ciprofloxacin. Even when that step is deemed necessary, it does not imply an increase in risk for the broader community.
The University Health Center has contacted and provided or arranged treatment for those identified as having close contact with Tom. Medical staff maintained a telephone hotline around the clock to answer questions from members of the community and to direct them to further medical consultation or treatment, as appropriate.