Tag Archive for reunion and commencement

President Roth Makes Remarks to the Class of 2015

Wesleyan President Michael Roth speaks during Commencement.

“Diversity, equality, education…these are ideals shared by generations of Wesleyan alumni,” President Roth said. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

Wesleyan President Michael Roth made the following remarks during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24: 

Members of the board of trustees, members of the faculty and staff, distinguished guests, new recipients of graduate degrees and the mighty class of 2015, I am honored to present some brief remarks on the occasion of this commencement.

On this Memorial Day Weekend, I begin by asking us all to take a moment to remember the men and women who have died while serving in the American armed forces. In recent years, military conflicts far from our own shores have cost the lives of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilians. Regardless of our political views, we stop on this Memorial Day weekend to remember these losses.

Greetings for the Senior Class from Marissa Castrigno ’15

Marissa Castrigno '15 delivered the Senior Class Welcome during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24. 

Marissa Castrigno ’15 delivered the Senior Class Welcome during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

Marissa Castrigno ’15 made the following remarks during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24:

I feel immensely lucky to be able to stand here and see so many people that I love all in one place – so many people that love each other all in one place. My favorite college memory was on this very balcony two years ago when I sat with my best friend on its wide ledge and we spoke candidly for the first time about those private things that motivate and shape each of us. In that moment, among others during my first year here, I knew that transferring to Wesleyan had been the best decision I’d ever made for myself. Now my biggest fear is that we will go forth from this place and lose Wesleyan and all that it has afforded us. But I’d like to suggest today is not a day of loss, rather it is a day from which we become more expansive than we ever could be living together on our idyllic little campus.

We are taught to challenge this place. To examine it, analyze it, criticize it. During our time here we learn that the world is a deeply imperfect place and often this truth disillusions us.

Calter, Schorr, Ulysse Honored with Binswanger Prizes; Dachs ’70 Receives Baldwin Medal

Wesleyan President Michael Roth (second of left) and Daphne Kwok '84, chair of the Wesleyan Alumni Association 9fifth from left) presented The Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching to Gina Athena Ulysse (at left), Michael Calter and David Schorr. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Wesleyan President Michael Roth (second from left) and Daphne Kwok ’84, chair of the Wesleyan Alumni Association (fifth from left) presented The Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching to Gina Athena Ulysse (at left), Michael Calter and David Schorr. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

 

President Michael Roth awarded Alan Dachs '70, Hon '07, P'98 with the Raymond E. Baldwin Medal on May 24. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

President Michael Roth awarded Alan Dachs ’70, Hon ’07, P’98 with the Raymond E. Baldwin Medal on May 24. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

During the 183rd Commencement ceremony, President Michael Roth awarded the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching to three faculty, and the Raymond E. Baldwin Medal to an alumnus.

Three outstanding teachers are recognized annually with the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching. This year, President Michael Roth honored Michael Calter, David Schorr and Gina Athena Ulysse for their excellence in teaching.

The prizes are made possible by gifts from the family of the late Frank G. Binswanger Sr., Hon. ’85, and underscore Wesleyan’s commitment to its scholar-teachers, who are responsible for the university’s distinctive approach to liberal arts education.

Gatherings, Celebrations During Reunion & Commencement Weekend May 21-24

The all-campus party will take place from 10 p.m. Saturday, May 23 to 1 a.m. in the main tent on Andrus Field.

The annual reunion party will begin at 10 p.m. May 22, followed by the all-campus party at 10 p.m. May 23. Both activities take place in the main tent on Andrus Field.

The Wesleyan community has established a tradition of celebrating Reunion and Commencement together, ensuring a large and convivial gathering of alumni, students, families, faculty, staff and friends of the university.

Beginning with the arrival of alumni, family, and friends on May 21 and culminating with the 183rd Commencement ceremony at 11 a.m. May 24, Wesleyan will offer a wide array of educational and recreational programs, including many opportunities to celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2015.

Lin-Manuel Miranda (Photo courtesy of broadway.com)

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 is the 2015 Commencement speaker. (Photo courtesy of broadway.com)

This year’s schedule includes class reunions, WESeminars, academic department open houses, the 100th anniversary of the parade of classes, campus tours, an all-college picnic and festival, historian David Potts speaking on the history of Wesleyan, the traditional all-college sing, an all-campus party featuring DJ Smokey (Smokey Fontaine ’93) and a fundraising benefit performance by FreeStyle Love Supreme (tickets are still available by calling 860-685-3870).

Award-winning composer, lyricist, writer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 will deliver the Commencement address on May 24. Miranda ’02, Beverly Daniel Tatum ’75, P’04, and Michael Price will receive honorary doctorates during the event.

Registration is located in the Usdan University Center.

For additional information on R&C Weekend visit WesConnect.

The R&C photo gallery, hosted on Wesleyan Flickr, will be updated frequently throughout the weekend. Check back frequently.

Class Reunions, WESeminars, Commencement at R&C Weekend May 22-25

Reunite and reminisce with former classmates at Wesleyan's Reunion & Commencement Weekend.

Reunite and reminisce with former classmates during Wesleyan’s Reunion & Commencement Weekend.

All Wesleyan alumni, students, parents, faculty, families and friends of the university are welcome to attend Reunion & Commencement Weekend May 22-25 on campus.

The weekend is chocked-full of events including class reunions, WESeminars, academic department open houses, campus tours, an all-college picnic and festival, an All-Campus Party featuring mamarazzi and Illegalize, and the 182nd Commencement Ceremony led by commencement speaker Theodore Shaw ’76. The full schedule is online here.

All alumni and their families are invited to walk in the traditional Parade of Classes scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at Usdan University Center. The parade is immediately followed by the Assembly and Annual Meeting.

All alumni and their families are invited to walk in the traditional Parade of Classes scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at Usdan University Center. The parade is immediately followed by the Assembly and Annual Meeting.

Highlights of this year’s R&C Weekend include a financial aid benefit concert featuring musician Randy Newman P’14 (sold out), stargazing at the Van Vleck Observatory, a Cardinal Loop Fun Run, a gathering for graduating seniors and their grandparents, a strolling magician and magic show and the traditional Parade of Classes. Classes ending in “4” and “9” will celebrate their reunions.

Wesleyan’s renowned WESeminar program will feature alumni, parents, students and faculty. WESeminar topics are 75 Years of Community Radio; Ocean Science and Storytelling; Reflecting on a Hollywood Icon: Clint Eastwood; An Inside Look Into the Legalization of Marijuana; The Senior Thesis: A Showcase of Academic Excellence; Celebration of Wesleyan Writing, Multiverse Cosmologies at the Limits of Modern Science; Advocacy after Incarceration; The Changing Face of Sports; Celebrating 10 Years of Long Lane Farm: Alumni in Agriculture and many more.

The 182nd Commencement Ceremony begins at 11 a.m. on Andrus Field.

The 182nd Commencement Ceremony begins at 11 a.m. on Andrus Field.

The 182nd Commencement Ceremony begins at 11 a.m. on Andrus Field. Tickets are not required. About 5,000 chairs will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

All campus visitors may check in for a final weekend schedule with updates and event locations, meal tickets, a welcome packet, campus maps, and more inside Usdan University Center.

View this link for frequently asked questions and additional information.

785 Undergraduates Receive Degrees at Wesleyan’s 181st Commencement

Wesleyan awarded 785 bachelor degrees to the Class of 2013.

Wesleyan awarded 785 bachelor degrees to the Class of 2013.

Seniors at Wesleyan's Commencement Ceremony.

Seniors at Wesleyan’s Commencement Ceremony.

Embrace the contradictions and tensions within yourself and between yourself and others, and accept that they will never go away.

This was the advice Joss Whedon ’87 shared with the Class of 2013 at the 181st Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 26.

“The best thing is not just the idea of honest debate, the best thing is losing the debate, because it means that you learn something and you changed your position. The only way really to understand your position and its worth is to understand the opposite. That doesn’t mean the crazy guy on the radio who is spewing hate; it means the decent human truths of all the people who feel the need to listen to that guy. You are connected to those people. They’re connected to him. You can’t get away from it.”

The 181st Commencement Ceremony took place on Andrus Field, with Honorary Doctorate of Letters recipient Joss H. Whedon '87 delivering the Commencement speech on May 26. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

The 181st Commencement Ceremony took place on Andrus Field, with Honorary Doctorate of Letters recipient Joss H. Whedon ’87 delivering the Commencement speech on May 26. (Photos by John Van Vlack)

Wesleyan conferred an honorary doctor of letters upon Whedon at the ceremony, which was held on Andrus Field, with temperatures that felt more like October than late May. Also honored were Majora Carter ’88, an urban revitalization specialist, and Jim Dresser ’63, who has dedicated himself to serving Wesleyan in numerous capacities since graduating. Both were awarded honorary doctor of human letters degrees. This year, Wesleyan awarded 785 bachelor degrees; 30 master of arts degrees; 30 master of arts in liberal studies degrees; and 21 doctor of philosophy degrees.

An award-winning film and television writer, director and producer, Whedon was behind the 2012 superhero blockbuster The Avengers, as well as cult favorites like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. His latest film, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, premiers June 7. An early screening was held at Wesleyan on Friday, May 24.

Whedon ’87, Carter ’88, Dresser ’63 Receive Honorary Degrees

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, at right,  awarded Majora Carter ’88, Jim Dresser ’63 and Joss Whedon ’87 with honorary degrees.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, at right, awarded Majora Carter ’88, Jim Dresser ’63 and Joss Whedon ’87 with honorary degrees.

During Wesleyan’s Commencement Ceremony on May 26, Wesleyan President Michael Roth awarded Joss Whedon ’87, Majora Carter ’88 and Jim Dresser ’63 with honorary degrees.

Joss Whedon ’87
Joss Whedon is an award-winning writer, director and producer and delivered the commencement address on May 26. He is the force behind such popular television shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, and the 2012 superhero blockbuster film, The Avengers.

The son and grandson of successful television writers, Whedon was raised in New York and studied film at Wesleyan. After graduating, he landed his first TV writing job on the show Roseanne. He developed a script for the 1992 film, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which in 1996 he adapted as the cult hit television show by the same name. Buffy ran for seven seasons; Whedon was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series in 2000. The spin-off from Buffy, titled Angel, ran for five seasons. He subsequently created the space-western TV show, Firefly, and a film of the same premise, Serenity, which won a 2006 Hugo Award.

Whedon also wrote and co-wrote on numerous films, including Toy Story (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award)In 2008, he produced a short web-exclusive musical comedy, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which won an Emmy Award and a Hugo Award, among other honors.

In April 2012, The Avengers, a live-action adaptation of the Marvel Comics superhero team, directed and co-written by Whedon, had the biggest opening weekend of all time, and became the third highest-grossing film ever. He is currently writing and will direct the sequel. Most recently Whedon directed a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

In 2009, Whedon delivered the Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns keynote address at Wesleyan. In 2010, he was honored by the Producers Guild of America with its Vanguard Award, which recognizes achievements in new media and technology.

Majora Carter ’88

Majora Carter '88 and Wesleyan President Michael Roth. (Photos by John Van Vlack)

Majora Carter ’88 and Wesleyan President Michael Roth. (Photos by John Van Vlack)

Majora Carter is an urban revitalization strategist who works to make communities more livable, healthy and green through infrastructure projects, policies, and job-training and placement systems. She is a MacArthur “genius” Fellow and has received numerous other accolades from organizations as wide ranging as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, the Center for American Progress, and Goldman Sachs. Fast Companynamed her one of the 100 most creative people in business.

Today, Carter is president of the Majora Carter Group, an economic development consulting and planning firm that works across the United States and internationally. But she got her start as a force for change in the neighborhood where she grew up: the South Bronx.

In 2001, Carter founded Sustainable South Bronx, a nonprofit organization dedicated to resolving environmental inequality issues—ensuring that no one community has to bear a higher environmental burden with fewer environmental benefits than any other—through innovative, economically sustainable projects informed by community needs. As executive director (until 2008), she oversaw the construction of the award winning Hunt’s Point Riverside Park, the South Bronx’s first new waterfront park in 60 years; the design of the South Bronx Greenway, for which she obtained federal funding; and development of the Green-Roof project and policy initiatives that led to tax-abatements for property owners who adopt this sustainable building practice. In 2003, Carter pioneered one of the country’s first urban “green collar” job training and placement programs, influencing how economic and environmental issues across the country are addressed.

Carter’s TED talk was one of the first six to launch TED’s groundbreaking website. She has been widely featured in the media, including in The New York TimesMarketplace, and NBC Nightly News and has produced her own shows for Sundance Channel as well as her nationally broadcast, Peabody Award-winning public radio series, The Promised Land.

Jim Dresser ’63
The family history of Jim Dresser ’63 is deeply intertwined with that of Wesleyan. His great-grandfather taught classics at Wesleyan for almost 40 years in the 19th century; his grandfather, grandmother, great-aunt, father, sister and son all graduated from Wesleyan. And his commitment to the school is unparalleled. Dresser headed the annual fund, led the alumni association, and served on the Board of Trustees for 15 years, including a four-year term as chair of the Board. He also stepped in temporarily to fill critical positions at Wesleyan, serving as Interim Vice President of University Relations and Vice President of Finance and Treasurer. In recognition of his remarkable service to Wesleyan, the baseball diamond on Andrus Field was named the “Dresser Diamond” in May 2010. It was a fitting honor; Dresser is an avid baseball fan and softball player, and his grandfather (class of 1908) was captain of Wesleyan’s baseball team.

As chair of the Board of Trustees, Dresser led the search process that resulted in the arrival of Michael Roth ’78 as Wesleyan’s 16th president. He also worked with the Board to raise gifts to the University’s endowment. Dresser led the Board in dealing with the financial crisis of 2008, helping the University to streamline its expenditures and explore possibilities for additional revenue. On the Board, he was known for his inclusive leadership style and his dedication to involving students and faculty.

For many years Dresser was a senior vice president and chief administrative officer at The Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm and a leading advisor on business strategy.

President Roth Makes Remarks at Commencement Ceremony

Wesleyan President Michael Roth speaks during the Wesleyan Commencement Ceremony May 26.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth speaks during the Wesleyan Commencement Ceremony May 26.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 made the following remarks during the Wesleyan Commencement Ceremony:

“Members of the board of trustees, members of the faculty and staff, distinguished guests, new recipients of graduate degrees and the mighty class of 2013, I am honored to present some brief remarks on the occasion of this commencement.

During your four years here, Wesleyan has been largely isolated from many of the troubles of this world. While you have been students, the United States has been engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and on this Memorial Day Weekend, I begin by asking us all to take a moment to remember that these wars have cost the lives of thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of civilians in those countries.

Economic times have been difficult as well. When you first arrived, in the fall of 2009, the global economy was reeling from the most massive disruption since the Great Depression. Unemployment in this country quickly skyrocketed and is now only slowly receding, while the distance between the very wealthy and the average American has increased enormously. 2009-2013 has been a good time to be in a bubble—even a pretty leaky bubble like our own here on campus. You have spent four years taking advantage of an education devoted to boldness, rigor, and practical idealism, and now as I speak to you for your last time as students, I’d like to underscore three ideals that I hope you will take with you and make practical in your lives going forward: non-violence; diversity; and equality.

Swartz ’13 Delivers Senior Class Welcome

Anna Swartz ‘13 delivered the Senior Class Welcome at the Wesleyan Commencement Ceremony.

Anna Swartz ‘13 delivered the Senior Class Welcome at the Wesleyan Commencement Ceremony.

Anna Swartz ’13 delivered the following remarks during the Senior Class Welcome on May 26:

Right before I left for Wesleyan for the first time, Ruth, my ninety-year-old neighbor warned me “Make the most of it, college is the best time of your life.” I took her advice to heart, it seemed smart to trust a woman who had done so much living, and I arrived at Wesleyan filled with the loftiest dreams, the highest expectations, ready for my life to be changed.

What I didn’t realize at the time is that college isn’t just about what Wesleyan could give to me, it wasn’t just about showing up and getting the full, packaged collegiate experience, I had to do the changing too. So I opened myself up, along with my classmates, and Wesleyan delivered.

This school took us to the sepia-soaked worlds of Hollywood classics, to the energetic drum circles of West Africa, the desolate moors of the Brontës and the cinderblock hallways of Cheshire Correctional Institute, where the students there looked at us and said “We are Wesleyan too.” We read the Romantics and the Modernists, we saw Judith Butler and Antonin Scalia, we woke up early to hike Mount Higby, and stayed late after class to talk to our professors.