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An exciting overtime win for The Cardinals for our first ever NESCAC crown in men’s b-ball! More soon!!

UPDATE (from Athletics website + Hartford Courant):

Jack Mackey ’16 hit his sixth three-pointer of the game with 2:14 left in overtime, the first points of the extra period, then fed Joseph Kuo ’17 for a pair of dunks before the Cardinals hits four of six free throws in the final :17 to defeat Amherst, 74-70, and win their first-ever NESCAC championship Sun., March 1 at Trinity.  Wesleyan led most of the game but had to fend off several Lord Jeff rallies to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Divison III Championship.  The field of 63 teams will be announced early Mon., March 2 afternoon with times and locations of games.

The NCAA qualification is the first for men’s basketball.  The NESCAC crown is the sixth by a Wesleyan team in the last 10 years.  Baseball (2014), football (2013), softball (2010), men’s lacrosse (2009) and men’s soccer (2005) are the other prominent Cardinal squads with NESCAC titles to their credit.

This fancy passing (from an earlier playoff game) made ESPN highlights.

You can read more here at Wesleyan site.

And here, the Hartford Courant gives Coach Reilly’s team some fine coverage (with pics):

Go Wes! #thisiswhy

Have you seen the new Exley Science Center Lobby??? This is a great upgrade and a fine example of how student and faculty input has resulted in real improvements to the campus.


Students Settle In

Students Settle In


Exeley Lobby Coming Alive

Hats off to Brandi Hood and the team for the lovely design and great execution.

On Thursday February 26, more than 100 Wesleyan folks will meet with members of the Sasaki Associates, Inc. to discuss a framework for campus planning. We need more spaces that are friendly for studying and socializing for staff, students and faculty. And we need more places to make stuff. On that score, have you seen the new Digital Design Studio?

Make your voices heard and together we will build the campus that’s right for the kind of education we need now and tomorrow!


Campus Update

The following message is being distributed to our campus community and current parents via email.

Dear friends,

This evening Middletown Police arrested four Wesleyan students as a result of an investigation into the drug-related hospitalizations over the weekend.  The University immediately suspended the students pending a formal hearing. We take very seriously allegations concerning the distribution of dangerous drugs, and the University will continue to cooperate with state and local officials. We will do everything we can to make our community as safe as possible.

We are relieved to know that all but two of the students hospitalized over the weekend have been released and are doing much better. And I am pleased to report that the two students who remain at Hartford Hospital have made progress. We continue to be hopeful about their recovery, and we ask you to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

We are a community that values freedom. None of us want to see arrests on our campus, but even less do we want to see ambulances rushing from our residences with students whose lives are in danger.

Our community has been reminded these last few days of our fragility but also of our resiliency – of our fears but also of our care for one another.

Wesleyan is an extraordinary place of exuberant self-discovery and compassionate solidarity. May we continue to find joyful inspiration in a community that looks out for the well-being of all of its members.


Yours truly,

Michael Roth


I recently learned that Hannah Steinberg’s ’16 work was recognized with the School for Field Studies’ Distinguished Student award. Hannah’s research project in the Spring 2014 semester, Effect of artificial feeders on hummingbird diversity and level of interactions in Monteverde, Costa Rica, was part of an ongoing study of the ecology of hummingbirds in the cloud forests of Costa Rica, and more specifically, the various effects of artificial hummingbird feeders on their ecology.

While the use of artificial hummingbird feeders is a popular method to attract the birds for human enjoyment and to draw visitors to ecotourist destinations, Steinberg’s research illustrated a direct impact of the use of feeders on hummingbird diversity. You can read more about Hannah’s work here.

Each year, The School for Field Studies honors its most exceptional students with Distinguished Student Researcher Awards for their important contributions in environmental research. Outcomes of these Directed Research (DR) projects provide information and recommendations to community members and other stakeholders on critical, local environmental issues.

Students are nominated by SFS faculty based on their demonstrated sophistication in research design, field work, reporting, and their contribution to the Center’s 5YRP. The SFS award also recognizes the student’s leadership exhibited while working with a team of student and faculty researchers in the field.

Congratulations, Hannah! #ThisIsWhy

Over the years I’ve occasionally given a seminar called Photography and Representation. We examine how photography has affected how we remember and forget, how we tell the truth, how we lie and how we make art. I started teaching it when I worked at the Getty Research Institute, and we were able to use its extraordinary collection to shed light on how great photographers have changed our relationship to the past and to the present.

Historical events can change one’s relationship to history; so can personal traumas. These came together for many people in the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Those who were in New York that day, and those connected to the people present were marked — in many cases indelibly. In the wake of the attacks a photographic archive began to form, and it was exhibited and then published under the title here is new york. Everyone was invited to submit their pictures — from little kids and tourists with disposable cameras to accomplished professionals. It was labeled a “democracy of photographs.” This is from the Introduction to the massive volume:

What was captured by these photographs — captured with every conceivable kind of apparatus, from Leicas and digital Nikons to homemade pinhole cameras and little plastic gizmos that schoolchildren wear on their wrists — is truly astonishing: not only grief, and shock, and courage, but a beauty that is at once infernal and profoundly uplifting. The pictures speak both to the horror of what happened on 9.11 (and is still happening), and to the way it can and must be countered by us all. They speak not with one voice, but with one purpose, saying that to make sense of this terrifying new phase in our history we must break down the barriers that divide us.

Charles H. Traub and Aaron Traub recently gave Wesleyan a large selection of these images, in honor of Professor David Schorr and David Rhodes ’68, President of the School for the Visual Arts in New York. The collection is one of only a few deposited with universities or museums, Wesleyan’s Curator of the Davison Art Center Clare Rogan told me.  This is an important addition to our photography holdings, and I look forward to working with the pictures alongside students next time I teach that seminar.

Photographs have grown increasingly ubiquitous, so much so that it is difficult to determine which images will retain meaning over time. But history and trauma have elevated some photographs beyond the ordinary such that they become scars of memory — marking their own times and connecting to those of future beholders. Such is the case with the collection here is new york.


Our expectations were high this week when Kari and I headed into New York to catch Lin-Manuel Miranda’s (’02) new musical Hamilton. We had seen In the Heights with a raucous Wesleyan crowd several years ago when the show was having its Tony awarded season on Broadway — and we were blown away. Now we’ve been hearing all the great buzz about the new show. The New York Times ran a substantial article about it on Sunday, and The New Yorker published a long profile of Lin last week. My favorite line in this piece about his days at Wes: At Wesleyan, you can find resources for whatever cockamamie idea comes into your head. Lin will deliver the Commencement Address when he receives an honorary doctorate on May 24.

The show is spectacular — I never realized American history could be so cool. An early song, “I am not throwing away my…shot” knocks you back in your seat. The musical plea for forgiveness near the show’s end makes you want to drop down on your knees. Tickets for the Public Theater performances are now sold out, I’m told, but we’re rooting for a return to Broadway!

Who Tells Your Story?

Who Tells Your Story?

Theater and music around campus this weekend: In the Patricelli ’92 Theater Friday and Saturday you can find  “Almost, Maine” and at Crowell tonight you can hear “Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars” raising the roof.

For decades faculty and students at Wesleyan have been interested in critical theory and a few years ago that interest led to the development of a Certificate in Cultural and Critical Theory. This program “aims to facilitate a coordinated, inter-disciplinary program of study that encourages students to seek out theory-intensive courses in a wide range of disciplines with the aim of developing proficiency in the study of critical theory.” Thanks to the leadership of Assistant Professor of English Matthew Garrett, next week begins a series of lectures on some of the major concepts behind work in these fields. Here are some of the theory talks this semester on Wednesdays at 4:30 in Downey 113 (Hobbs):

ALIENATION- Ulrich Plass, Associate Professor of German Studies (2/11)
MEANING – Joseph Fitzpatrick, Visiting Assistant Professor of Letters (2/18)
HARMONY – Stephen Angle, Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the College of East Asian Studies (2/25)
DIFFERENCE – Amy Tang, Assistant Professor of American Studies and English (3/25)
UTOPIA –  Eirene Visvardi, Assistant Professor of Classical Studies  (4/8)

The Center for the Humanities has been a home for Critical Theory since the 1960s. On Monday night the Center begins its lecture series on mobilities, focused on “a new approach to the study of mobilities [that] has emerged involving research on the combined movement of peoples, animals, objects, ideas, and information. This can be viewed through the lens of complex networks, relational dynamics, and the redistribution or reification of power generated by movement.” You can read more about the theme here. Lectures take place in the Daniel Family Commons on Monday nights at 6 p.m. The first talk is scheduled for February 9 by Professor Enda Duffy, University of California at Santa Barbara, and is titled “Rush: Adrenaline, Stress, and Modernist Velocity.”

The title above is the one The Daily Beast gave to an essay I published earlier this year. Over the last several months I’ve been arguing that the increasing focus on narrow, vocational education is a crucial mistake, one that neglects a deep resource of pragmatic liberal learning. I have been talking about liberal education at various venues around the country since the publication of my book, Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters (Yale University Press, 2014). I wrote the book, and several op-eds since, because I believe that the kind of education we offer at Wesleyan is more relevant and compelling than ever before. I have argued that the current push for narrow, utilitarian forms of learning are part of the forces legitimating trends toward inequality in our country. The American tradition of liberal education has been a resource to combat inequality, and it can be again.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, February 3 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Chapel, I will be talking about these issues at Wesleyan. I am particularly delighted that my Wesleyan advisor and mentor Henry Abelove, who retired just a few years ago, will come back to campus to introduce the talk.

We’ll be selling and signing copies of Beyond the University (all my royalties are contributed to financial aid at Wesleyan).

I hope to see many of you tomorrow night.

It’s that time of year again. The university is soliciting nominations for Wesleyan’s Binswanger Award for teaching excellence. Here’s a little history:

The Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching was inaugurated in 1993 as an institutional recognition of outstanding faculty members. One to three Binswanger Prizes are presented each year and are made possible by the generosity of the Binswanger family that counts numerous Wesleyan alumni, alumnae and parents in its ranks. The standards and criteria for the annual prizes shall be excellence in teaching, as exemplified by commitment to the classroom and student accomplishment, intellectual demands placed on students, lucidity, and passion.

Recommendations may be based on any of the types of teaching that are done at the University including, but not limited to, teaching in lecture courses, seminars, laboratories, creative and performance-based courses, research tutorials and other individual and group tutorials at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Juniors, seniors, graduate students and alumni from the last decade are eligible to nominate up to three professors. Nominations are made through Wesconnect here. GLS students can use their e-portfolio to make nominations. Professors who have taught at Wesleyan for at least a decade are eligible.

You can find out more about the Binswanger Prize, as well as watch or listen to interviews with some previous winners here.

Speaking of great teachers, I was so pleased to see my teacher Victor Gourevitch, William Griffin Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, and his wife Jacqueline Gourevitch in the audience for a conversation about liberal education in New York recently. I studied philosophy with Victor, and we edited a book together with the letters of Leo Strauss and Alexandre Kojève a few years after I graduated (On Tyranny). Jacqueline taught painting at Wesleyan for years, and my office benefits from having one of her extraordinary cloud paintings in it.

My undergraduate advisor, Henry Abelove, Wilbur Fisk Osborne Professor of English, Emeritus, has kindly agreed to come back to campus next week to introduce my talk on Tuesday, February 3 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Chapel. I am calling the talk “How to Destroy Higher Education,” and it is open to the public. Henry is a truly remarkable teacher (recognized with a Binswanger Prize early on), and it will be so lovely to have him back on campus. I’m hoping to see lots of current students, alumni and friends of the university there.



Earlier today the university sent out the following announcement to the campus community:

Due to the expected arrival of a major storm, the University will close at 6 p.m. today and remain closed tomorrow. The University will not reopen until Wednesday morning. All classes and events are cancelled from 6 p.m. today until Wednesday morning. Only essential personnel should report for work.
Tomorrow at 4 p.m. we will make another announcement about when on Wednesday the University will reopen.
By 6 p.m. today, most faculty/staff parking lots will close. Faculty and staff who have permits to park in these lots and who would like to remain on campus beyond the closing time, are asked to relocate their vehicles to the V Lot on Vine Street or to the 56 Hamlin Street parking lot (former Physical Plant building).  Faculty and staff who are traveling out of town should park in the Vine Street parking lot as a courtesy to colleagues. Faculty and staff may call Public Safety for a ride to and from the Vine Street lot at night if necessary.

An email addressing faculty concerns is forthcoming from Academic Affairs. Dean Mike Whaley will send an email presently to students about food service and other matters.
Please call Public Safety for help with storm-related matters, (860) 685-2345. For emergencies, call (860) 685-3333.

Stay safe and warm!


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