Tag Archive for University Relations

Gemma Fontanella Ebstein Plays Key Role in Building Relationships with Alumni, Staff


Gemma Fontanella Ebstein is associate vice president for external relations. (Photo by Dena Matthews)

If you’ve enjoyed attending Wesleyan events, chances are that you have Gemma Fontanella Ebstein to thank.

As associate vice president for external relations, she has had an ever-evolving set of responsibilities, but one constant has been ensuring that events for alumni, parents and the campus community are first rate. Under her direction, for example, Wesleyan merged Commencement and Reunion weekends into one event that rapidly has become a valued Wesleyan tradition.

“Gemma has great management instincts and I can absolutely count on her to get things done,” says Barbara-Jan Wilson, vice president for university relations. “We can’t have successful fundraising without building excellent relationships with all our constituencies, and Gemma plays a key role in that effort. Wesleyan is fortunate to have her energy, positive attitude and leadership capability.”

During her 20 years at Wesleyan, she also led planning for Wesleyan’s 175th Anniversary Celebration, merged Homecoming and Family Weekends, increased attendance at both that event and Reunion, reorganized the University Lecture Series,

Tuition Translation Celebration Thanks Alumni, Parents for Support

Wesleyan Tuition Transition 2010

University Relations held a "Tuition Transition" celebration March 26 in Usdan University Center to thank alumni and parent donors for their financial support.

Wesleyan Tuition Transition 2010

The ever-popular Wesleyan Cardinal made an appearance at the event.

Wesleyan Tuition Transition 2010

A tuition grant from alumni and parents through the Wesleyan Fund, along with the endowment, reduces tuition, room and board charges by nearly $20,000 per student every year.

Wesleyan Tuition Transition 2010

Red & Black callers passed out informational material and cookies. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett Drake)

Michelle Dube: Development Officer Specializes in Major Gifts

Michelle Dube, a development officer in University Relations, works with donors interested in providing major gifts to Wesleyan. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett Drake)

Q: Michelle, when did you come to Wesleyan?

A: I arrived on campus in August, 2007 to work as a development officer in University Relations.

Q: What department are you part of?

A: Major gifts. We solicit financial gifts of $100,000 and higher.

Q: How many alumni do you generally work with?

A: Around 225 alumni and parents. For the most part, we do maintain relationships with the same individuals.

Q:  How do you encourage alumni to support Wesleyan during these economically difficult times?

A: I think last year was more of a challenge than this year appears to be. Alumni and parents who give at this level want to maintain their relationship with the university,

Parents, Alumni Celebrate Homecoming/Family Weekend with Students

More than 5,000 fans attended the Homecoming football game against Williams Nov. 7.

Wesleyan played Williams during the Homecoming football game Nov. 7 in Corwin Stadium.

More than 5,000 parents, alumni and friends came to campus Nov. 6-8 to celebrate Homecoming/Family Weekend. This year’s theme was “Come Home!” Event photos are posted on the HCFW website.

“Every year, I hear from alumni, parents and students that Homecoming/Family Weekend gets better and better,” says Gemma Fontanella Ebstein, associate vice president for external relations. “We had a terrific turnout this year and the energy was palpable across campus – in the WESeminars, athletic contests, department anniversary celebrations and other special gatherings throughout the weekend. This has become one of the highlights of the year for the Wesleyan community.”

The weekend began Friday, Nov. 6 with tours of campus, sessions for parents, department open houses, the Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony and dinner, an all-campus dinner, a concert by Eilen Jewell and the Sacred Shakers, a fall senior thesis dance concert and several WESeminars. Interactive and inspiring, WESeminars provide opportunities to revisit the classroom and attend presentations by scholars, pundits, and other experts in their fields.

The College of Letters and the College of Social Studies both held their 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Prometheus, Wesleyan's student fire-dancing group, performed on Foss Hill Nov. 6 during Homecoming/Family Weekend.

Prometheus, Wesleyan's student fire-dancing group, performed on Foss Hill Nov. 6 during Homecoming/Family Weekend.

On Saturday, Nov. 7, campus guests attended the annual Where on Earth are We Going? Symposium, rowing instructions with Wesleyan’s crew team, a family swim, WESeminars on dance, study abroad projects, the history of Wesleyan, and international journalism.

Deana Hutson, director of events, estimates that 5,000 fans showed up for tailgating, the homecoming football game and the NESCAC men’s soccer semi-finals. The day wrapped up with several other athletic events, a community bike ride, the Dwight L. Greene Symposium, the Reed Labyrinth Opening and a concert with Amy Crawford ’05.

A Fall Harvest Brunch and the Alumni Association Executive Committee meeting kicked off events on Sunday, Nov. 8. The day also included a legacy gathering and photo of current students posting with parents or grandparents that are Wesleyan alumni, a celebration of Western Art Music and a student A Capella Concert.

Alumni who are parents and grandparents of current first-year students gathered on Denison Terrace for a legacy photograph Nov. 8.

Alumni who are parents and grandparents of current first-year students gathered on Denison Terrace for a legacy photograph Nov. 8.

Gabriela De Golia ’13 spent the event-filled weekend with her parents, Jim De Golia and Terri Hanagan of San Francisco; her uncle, Jose Hanagan of Reno, Nevada; and her brother, Nicolas, who goes to high school in France. Together, the family saw the Wesleyan screening of Matt Tyrnauer ’91 Valentino: The Last Emperor, attended the Labyrinth opening in honor of Joe and Kit Reed, the Amy Crawford concert on Saturday night,  a panel discussion on how parents can help students achieve academic success, a lecture on the role of public opinion in foreign policy, the Homecoming football, soccer and ice hockey games and swimming meet. In addition, Hanagan P’13 worked as a parent volunteer at Usdan University Center.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to meet many other parents, a great many of them new (as I am) to Wesleyan,” Hanagan says. “I also met many of Gabriela’s new friends and colleagues, which was especially important to me. It gave me a great sense of comfort to see that she has so many kind, fun and intelligent new friends.”

Homecoming/Family Weekend was held Nov. 6-8.

Homecoming/Family Weekend was Nov. 6-8.

President Michael Roth also led a Sunday morning address to parents. He laid out his near and long term views for enhancing the overall student and academic experience at Wesleyan, making a strong case for the benefits of the entire Wesleyan experience and the need to provide increased financial aid to those strong candidates for admission whose ability to become members the student body would be prevented due to lack of financial means.

“As a person who has seen firsthand the benefits that my children have gained from being routine exposure to diversity on virtually all levels and all types, I found particularly attractive his passion for increasing the geographic and other diversity of the student body and for more effectively removing financial barriers to attending Wes,” De Golia P’ 13 says.

Class of 2012 Triumphs in WesWars

WesWars, an inter-class, campus-wide competition, was held Oct. 30 on Andrus Field.  Modeled after older class competitions and “cannon scraps,” which were popular in the mid 1800’s, WesWars is composed of field games and trivia questions.  The students participated in games such as tug-o-war, the human pyramid, disc toss, the loudest scream, three-legged-race and a roll down Foss Hill. The Class of 2012 won WesWars.

WesWars is supported by the Cardinal Council, University Relations, the Alumni Association and the Office of Student Affairs. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett Drake)

Kosloski Retires from Wesleyan May 15

Carol-Ann Kosloski, associate director of stewardship, is retiring from Wesleyan May 15. Kosloski built the scholarship donor stewardship program from the ground up—from matching students and donors to overseeing the appropriate stewardship for each donor. She is responsible for several plaques that recognize donors in Usdan University Center, the Center for Film Studies, Freeman Athletic Center and on the Scholarship Wall in North College. Kosloski has worked at Wesleyan almost 12 years.

Wesleyan Celebrates Alumni and Parent Donations

University Relations held a "Tuition Transition" celebration March 27 in Usdan University Center to thank alumni and parent donors for their financial support. Pictured, from left, Sarah Bell '09, Pam Vasiliou, director of the Wesleyan Fund, and Katie Borfshever '09 look over a poster on display.

University Relations held a "Tuition Transition" celebration March 27 in Usdan University Center to thank alumni and parent donors for their financial support. Pictured, from left, Sarah Bell '09, Pam Vasiliou, director of the Wesleyan Fund, and Katie Borfshever '09 looking over a poster on display.

Ariel Marzouca-Jaunai Manages Biographical Data, Gift Processing

Ariel Marzouca-Jaunai, manager of University Relations Information Services, manages data on more than 150,000 constituents.

Ariel Marzouca-Jaunai, manager of University Relations Information Services, manages data on more than 150,000 constituents.

Q: Ariel, when were you hired at Wesleyan?

A: I started at Wesleyan in October 2006.

Q: As the manager of University Relations Information Services, what information do you oversee?

A: I manage our data services staff to ensure data integrity throughout our database. We have a database of over 150,000 constituents consisting of alumni, parents, corporations and foundations and friends of Wesleyan. My area is responsible for processing all the gifts we receive as well as all the biographical data we maintain on people.

Q: What type of information do you keep track of?

A: Each constituent has their own record. We maintain their contact information, degrees, employment, family relationships, volunteer activities, interests, contact information with various staff members and giving history.

Fields ’03 Maintains Digital Repository of Photos, Logos


Jenny Fields '03, digital asset and project manager, color-corrects and edits university images.

Q: Jenny, in November 2008, you became Wesleyan’s first digital asset and project manager for University Communications. How would you describe this role?

A: I am in the process of setting up and maintaining a digital repository of photos, logos, and other digital collateral that is used in the University Communications Office, and other offices on campus. I’m also a photo editor, meaning that I respond to photo requests, do color correction, handle stock photography, and schedule photographers for events.

Q: If someone, say from the Office of Admission, needs a photograph of student activity for the department’s website, how would he or she go about getting an image?

A: A departmental request can take anywhere from an hour to a week, depending on how complicated the request is, and how many jobs are ahead of it. If the photo does not exist, then it has to be taken, which can be done, but not without setting up a shooting schedule.

Q: Does Wesleyan have a photo database? What is included in this database and who can access it?

A: Technically, the University has several photo databases. Some are open to the public, some only to those on campus, and some are for internal use only. The database that I administer is primarily for internal use, but the photos in it are seen in almost every publication and web page that our team produces.

Q: If an alumnus, faculty or staff member needs a photograph taken on campus, should he or she contact you directly?

University Communication Changes for Bailey, Cooke, Fields

As part of the reorganization of the Office of University Communications, formerly the Office of Public Affairs, three staff members’ roles have changed to directly support the department’s mission and priorities.

Mark Bailey, formerly director of development communications, is now director of strategic communications. His responsibilities are for university brand and messaging; strategic initiatives to communicate Wesleyan advantages; and marketing communications integration across media.

Adrian Cooke, formerly web administrator, is now associate director of web technology. In this role, Cooke is the web technologist for University Communications and University Relations and principal contact for University Communications’ web initiatives. With Information Technology Services’ New Media Lab, he will develop and produce the core university website, as well as University Relations and alumni sites.

Jenny Fields ’03, formerly development communications coordinator, is now digital asset and project manager. She is the point of contact for procurement, stewardship, and delivery of university digital assets, including coordination with outside photographers and videographers for special project and event coverage.

Neill New at Wesleyan

Victoria Neill was hired by the Office of University Relations as an assistant director of stewardship Sept. 29. Her primary role is managing a scholarship program with a focus on writing.