Tag Archive for Class of 1994

“You Just Have to Read This…” Books by Wesleyan Authors Gottlieb ’94, Scolnik ’78, Shanok ’98

In this continuing series, Annie Roach ’22, an English and Italian studies major from Northampton, Mass., reviews alumni books and offers a selection for those in search of knowledge, insight, and inspiration. The volumes, sent to us by alumni, are forwarded to Olin Library as donations to the University’s collection and made available to the Wesleyan community.

Uncontrolled Spread book coverScott Gottlieb ’94, Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic (Harper, 2021)

Since March 2020, the news cycle has been riddled with despair, conflicting information, and false theories. Even with vaccines, social distancing, and masking, COVID-19 isn’t going away, and the next pandemic could be around the corner. Since our realities have changed so much, it’s hard to pinpoint where and when exactly the United States (and the world) went wrong in handling the COVID-19 crisis, and what the best steps are moving forward. In his new book Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic, physician and former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb addresses everyone’s most pressing questions concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and consolidates his answers into a strong, cohesive narrative.

Gottlieb offers a path forward that is hopeful yet urgent, compelling his readers and the American government to be proactive about preventing a future crisis that could be even more devastating than the one we’ve already experienced. Using historical knowledge, epidemiology, and political science, Gottlieb forms a strong argument that will leave readers with a clearer understanding of the world we’ve been inhabiting and a more urgent mission to improve its future.

Scott Gottlieb is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He served as the twenty-third commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administrator and is a contributor to CNBC and a partner at New Enterprise Associates. He is a member of Wesleyan University’s Board of Trustees. He is on the board of directors of Pfizer Inc. and Illumina, Inc. He lives in Westport, Connecticut.

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:

Forbes ranks Netflix CMO Bozoma Saint John ’99 as the world’s most influential CMO. Saint John, who also is a member of Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees, took the helm of Netflix’s marketing department last year following her leadership roles at powerhouse brands including Endeavor, Apple and Uber. More than half of the honorees on this year’s list are women and around 20 percent of the list are CMOs who come from diverse backgrounds. (Sept. 29)

The Los Angeles Review of Books interviews New York Times best-selling author Maggie Nelson ’94 about her books The Argonauts and On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint. “My books tend to be very different from each other, so each requires new skills. That keeps me at the edge of what I feel able to do, as a writer,” she said. (Sept. 20)

Also, The New York Times reviews Nelson‘s new book On Freedom. “It’s fitting that On Freedom is dedicated to her son, Iggy, whose presence reminds us, as it has before in her writing (including, memorably, in the candid account of his birth in The Argonauts), that care both enables and constrains our freedom.” (Sept. 5)

In Lit Hub, Poet John Murillo, assistant professor of English and director of the creative writing program at Wesleyan, is mentioned for being nominated for the $10,000 Maya Angelou Book Award. “Throughout my writing life, I write from and about and to the lives of primarily people in urban situations, so there’s always an aspect of social justice in that sense,” Murillo said. (Sept. 29)

Robyn Autry, associate professor of sociology, speaks to The 19th News about the history of abduction in the United States. “The discrepancy between how women are treated is not surprising and doesn’t feel isolated or random,” Autry said. “It suggests something structural and systemic, and this racism is harder for the mainstream to wrap its mind around. You can get caught up in how these longer histories implicate our criminal justice system — more complicated and harder truths to face.” (Sept. 29)

The dedication of the Jeanine Basinger Center for Film Studies is featured in The Hartford Courant. The center has been in development since 2000. It was completed in three phases, one finished in 2004, one in 2007, and the final phase in 2020. “She is that rare scholar who speaks to diverse audiences through a combination of meticulous research, clear thinking, and elegant writing,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth. “Jeanine has inspired loyalty and love from her students, and she has remained a mentor to many.” (Sept. 27)

On a new podcast hosted by PlayerFM, Ying Jia Tan, assistant professor of history, discusses his new book, In Recharging China in War and Revolution, 1882–1955 (Cornell University Press, 2021). Tan explores the fascinating politics of Chinese power consumption as electrical industries developed during seven decades of revolution and warfare. (Oct. 1)

Photographer Alana Perino ’11 is mentioned in V Magazine for being one of 20 finalists for the Creator Labs Photo Fund—a visual art platform which financially help artists who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “From New York City and after having studied European Intellectual History and Photography at Wesleyan University, Alana Perino worked as a photojournalist in the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts territories. Returning to the United States, Alana continually have been completing several road trips across the country to photograph American landscapes as she seeks for land identity.” (Sept. 30)

In Times Reporter, Amy Swartelé ’93 is mentioned for showcasing her latest works in an exhibit titled “Supernormal” at the Massillon Museum in Ohio. “Supernormal” is a selection from Swartelé s “Carnival-Sideshow” series, where she envisions a group of characters as carnival sideshow performers. The characters combine species, genders, the animate and inanimate, and the paintings are mixed media, including graphite, charcoal, inks, acrylics and oils, on various surfaces. The works range in size from 15- to 64-inches. (Sept. 29)

News 8 WTNH reports that Martha Gilmore, George I. Seney Professor of Geology, is a finalist for the 17th annual Women of Innovation awards presented by the Connecticut Technology Council and Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology. (Sept. 28)

Wesleyan’s 16th annual Eat Local Challenge is featured in The Middletown Press. Themed “limited miles, unlimited flavors,” Wesleyan’s food service provider Bon Appétit was charged with crafting a meal from products and ingredients harvested within a 150-mile radius of the campus — without sacrificing flavor. (Sept. 27)

In The New York Post, Chris Erikson ’87 shares his memories of Willie Garson ’86. Erikson recalls meeting Garson “39 years ago this month, on our first night of Wesleyan University, when I was paired up with an 18-year-old sparkplug from New Jersey on a freshman-hall ice-breaking exercise.” (Sept. 25)

Garson also is featured in The Connecticut Post and The Middletown Press. John Carr, professor emeritus of theater at Wesleyan, recalls going bowling with Garson and now-director Jon Turtletaub. And members of the Theater Department communicated with Garson in 2020 for the college’s first digital alumni reunion. “He showed so much fondness for his Wesleyan background. It was a joy to hear him talk about his work in the TV/film industry. He is a bright star for us that will be missed,” said Assistant Professor of Theater Maria-Christina Oliveras. (Sept. 22)

In Hartford Business Journal and the CT Mirror, Balazs Zelity, assistant professor of economics, discusses why higher-income communities are doing better now because their residents recovered faster from the recession and resumed spending, “A large fraction of the money a person spends ends up in the local economy,” Zelity said. “If a number of local residents re-start their spending, a virtuous cycle of spending will ensue, triggering a recovery. The more residents are in a position to participate in this process, the stronger and quicker the recovery will be.”

The Connecticut Post reports that a team of researchers led by Huffington Foundation Professor in the College of the Environment Fred Cohan and PhD candidate Fatai Olabemiwo has discovered new strains of bacteria located on campus that may have the ability to break down microplastics, and aid in the world’s ongoing plastic waste crisis. (Oct. 3)

 

Gottlieb ’94: Apply Wesleyan Spirit to “Decisive Juncture in History”

Scott

Scott Gottlieb ’94 made remarks during the 189th Commencement Ceremony, (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS ’08)


Scott Gottlieb ’94, a physician, public health and policy advisor and advocate, received an honorary doctorate of science during Wesleyan’s 189th Commencement on Wednesday, May 26. Gottlieb, who earned a BA in economics from Wesleyan, was the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 2017 to 2019. He is currently a special partner with the venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates, and a resident fellow at public policy think tank the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

In his speech, Gottlieb drew distinctions between his time at Wesleyan 25 years ago and the experiences of the Class of 2021. Yet he highlighted characteristics shared by all Wesleyan students: the “seriousness” in academic studies, the belief that actions can “transcend the University boundaries to influence the country,” and the feeling of “obligation” to make a difference in individual communities.

“I hope you take that spirit into this uncertain period we’re in, at this very decisive juncture in history, when the country may be more ready than it’s been in many years to hear your voices, and to set about making lasting changes,” he said.

He made the following remarks (as prepared) during Wesleyan’s 189th Commencement Ceremony:

It’s an honor to be here with you today. Twenty-five years ago, I sat here at my own graduation. it was very different. We didn’t have masks. We weren’t social distancing. Senior year was a lot different.

Wesleyan Announces Its 2021 Honorary Degree Recipients

Wesleyan has announced the speaker and honorary degree recipients for its 189th Commencement.

The date of Commencement was previously announced as May 30th; however, given current pandemic conditions, the University is reviewing other options for the last week of May. The University is currently planning to hold the ceremony in-person on Wesleyan’s Middletown campus, though off-campus guests will be restricted to virtual attendance given the ongoing threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. More details about the ceremony and a definitive date for Commencement will be announced by the end of March.

Reginald Dwayne Betts, an award-winning poet, memoirist, and teacher, is this year’s commencement speaker. MacArthur-winning researcher, writer, and activist Catherine Coleman Flowers and Scott Gottlieb ’94, a physician and former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, also will be honored. The recipients were chosen on the basis of their significant contributions to the social, environmental, and public health of the United States.

“Be it through teaching, art, advocacy, medicine, or policy-making, these three individuals offer us shining examples of how we can work to forge better futures,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78. “Despite difficult circumstances, like the current public health situation, Reginald, Catherine, and Scott represent our ability to make progress on seemingly intractable problems, and, through their efforts, inspire us to direct our talents toward meaningful action.”

“Cirque du Cambodia” by Gershon ’94 to Make World Premier Oct. 21

cambodiaA film directed by Joel Gershon ’94 will make its world premiere on Oct. 21.

The documentary, titled “Cirque du Cambodia,” is about two teenagers from Cambodia who learned how to become circus performers at a special school for the arts near their home village. They became determined to become the first Cambodians to take the stage with Cirque du Soleil after seeing one of their videos. The two of them moved across the world to Montreal, where Cirque du Soleil is headquartered, in order to attend the world’s most elite circus school after getting full scholarships there. The film follows them on their journey as they try to reach the top of the circus world.

Gershon started work on this film in 2011.

“I filmed the two Cambodian main characters for more than six years as they continued to try to fulfill their dreams, shooting in four countries. The film features three spoken languages,” Gershon said.

The film will have its first screening as part of the United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) on Oct. 21, and it will be broadcast for free for California residents. Watch the film’s trailer online here.

Alumni of Color Help Wesleyan Plot a Path ‘Toward an Anti-Racist Community’

The recent death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man killed while being forcibly detained by police, has ignited the United States and brought issues of inequality and violence against black people to the forefront of the national consciousness.

Alison Williams ’81, vice president for equity and inclusion/Title IX officer, and Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 hosted a panel discussion on Thursday, June 11, titled “Toward an Anti-Racist Community,” featuring six alumni of color who discussed how to move beyond the pain and trauma of the current cultural moment toward constructive action.

“What I hope is that this will be the beginning of many conversations that lead to transformation both at Wesleyan and beyond,” Williams said. “This requires that we first take a look at our own attitudes and biases and do some personal work. . . . Until we do the personal work, any structural or institutional changes that we implement will be meaningless.”

“We feel confused, angry,” President Roth said during his panel introduction. “Sometimes energized, sometimes full of despair. When I have that mixture of feelings, I turn to friends and colleagues . . . I want to listen.”

Wesleyan in the News

NewsWesleyan in the News

1. CNN: “How Coronavirus Has Reshaped Democratic Plans for 2020”

This article on how Democrats are politicizing the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis features research by the Wesleyan Media Project, which found that this past month has seen a huge drop in campaign advertising overall. “The messaging and the attacks that we’ve seen on [coronavirus] do feel louder … in part because there are fewer messages overall,” said Erika Franklin Fowler, associate professor of government, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project. She notes that health care was emerging as a top issue in 2020 advertising for Democrats even before the pandemic began, so “it’s not surprising that Democrats appear poised to focus on the pandemic and the Trump administration’s response to it as part of their larger strategy to hit Trump and Republicans on health care.”