Liberal Learning and Making Stuff: Review of Anderson’s MAKERS

This weekend released a podcast of an interview I did with one of their reporters on the liberal arts as a pragmatic form of education for our time. Today my review of Chris Anderson’s Makers: The New Industrial Revolution appeared in the Washington Post. Anderson argues that the digital economy offers enormous opportunities for inventors and entrepreneurs.

Having spent seven years as president of an art and design school known for education through the arts, I am particularly interested in the ways in which “making stuff that matters” is relevant to liberal learning. Over the next few years we will be launching an initiative to enable more Wesleyan students to increase their digital and computational literacy, and we will be expanding access to spaces in which students can make stuff with digital tools. Liberal learning should go hand in hand with creating things that make a positive difference in the world. Here’s the review:


These days, when our slow recovery from recession seems like a full-employment program for pessimistic pundits, it’s great to have a new book from Chris Anderson, an indefatigable cheerleader for the unlimited potential of the digital economy. Anderson, the departing editor in chief of Wired magazine, has already written two important books exploring the impact of the Web on commerce. In “The Long Tail,” he argued that companies like Amazon that faced distribution challenges arising from having large quantities of the same kind of product would thrive by “selling less of more.” Corporations didn’t have to chase blockbusters if they had a mass of small sales. In “Free: The Future of a Radical Price,” he argued that giving stuff away to attract a multitude of users might be the best way eventually to make money from loyal customers. Anderson has also helped found a Web site, Geekdad, and an aerial robotics company. From his vantage point, in the future more and more people can get involved in making things they really enjoy and can connect with others who share their passions and their products. These connections, he claims, are creating a new Industrial Revolution.

In a 2010 Wired article entitled “In the Next Industrial Revolution, Atoms Are the New Bits,” Anderson described how the massive changes in our relations with information have altered how we relate to things. Now that the power of information-sharing has been unleashed through technology and social networks, makers are able to collaborate on design and production in ways that facilitate the connection of producers to markets. By sharing information “bits” in a creative commons, entrepreneurs are making new things (reshaping “atoms”) more cheaply and quickly. The new manufacturing is a powerful economic force not because any one business becomes gigantic, but because technology makes it possible for tens of thousands of businesses to find their customers, to form their communities.

Anderson begins his new book, “Makers,” with the story of his grandfather Fred Hauser, who invented a sprinkler system. He licensed his invention to a company that turned ideas into things that could be built and sold. Although Hauser loved translating ideas into things, he needed a company with resources to make enough of his sprinklers to turn a profit. Inventing and making were separate. With the advent of the personal computer and of sophisticated but user-friendly design tools, that separation has become increasingly irrelevant. As a child, Anderson loved making things with his grandfather, and he still loves creating new stuff and getting it into the marketplace. “Makers” describes how today technology has liberated the inventor from a dependence on the big manufacturer. “The beauty of the Web is that it democratized the tools both of invention and production,” Anderson writes. “We are all designers now. It’s time to get good at it.”

Here’s where social networks come in. By sharing design ideas, we improve performance and find efficiencies. Communities of makers — whether they care about sprinklers, 3-D printers or flying robots — exchange ideas, correct one another’s plans, and together make something worth having (and that many are already invested in). Anderson sees a revolution in the contemporary preference for amateur content, and he approvingly cites Web entrepreneur Rufus Griscom’s talk of a “Renaissance of Dilettantism.” This is a “remix culture” in which everything can be customized. Web culture reveals the “long tail of talent,” and with barriers to entry rapidly disappearing, Anderson sees a new, more open playing field in which inventor-entrepreneurs (makers) will fuel economic development while creating fulfilling, less hierarchical communities.

This is heady stuff, and Anderson is an excellent guide to companies that make niche products for an international market. There are, apparently, enough folks interested in products like hammocks, weapons for Lego sets, and cool flying machines to support producers whose design and manufacturing costs are kept very low. Most of Anderson’s product examples are the kinds of things boys like to play with, and there is something of the “I found other kids like me” joy in his descriptions of community-building through the social networking of makers. The new industrial revolution, apparently, will have less to do with confronting poverty, disease and climate change, and more to do with inventing better, cooler toys. It will also be, like the last one, very male.

A firm believer in the wisdom of crowds, Anderson doesn’t take time to explore the dangers — or the limits — of wired dilettantism. He counts on networks to uncover error rather than to reinforce prejudice, and he has faith that real talent will be recognized more easily by those invested in solving a problem than by those seeking somebody who is merely properly credentialed.

Anderson is a good storyteller, and these anecdotes effectively highlight changing economic dynamics. Take Jordi Munoz Bardales, who went from hacker-hobbyist to CEO just a couple of years after graduating from his Tijuana high school. Bardales’s posting online of his design innovations to a toy helicopter was proof enough in Anderson’s eyes that he had the right stuff to be the leader of a robotics firm. It just didn’t matter where he went to school. It mattered that he had the skills and a capacity to share them.

In Anderson’s view, the Web creates an arena in which inventive people can connect with one another and figure out ways to turn their designs into things that will succeed in the marketplace. This will “unlock an economic engine” as thousands of small enterprises find new ways to be sustainable. Anderson convinced me that these enterprises will indeed succeed in making cool things that are fun to play with or that offer heightened convenience.

And I even have some hope that these new powers of making might address some of the major problems that still plague us from the last Industrial Revolution. Making hope in the future may be the most important product of the dynamic Anderson describes in his inventive new book.


Conversations, Consultation and Feeling Thankful

This past weekend, the Board of Trustees was in town for its annual November meeting. Some trustees arrived Thursday to attend classes, and in the evening they met with a group of faculty over dinner to discuss skill building and career preparation. I had the pleasure of seeing a group of inspired students and Rinde Eckert in the Theater Department’s production of The Last Days of the Old Wild Boy. I went with Kari, who had been in conversation with Rinde about the human/animal distinction for the last several months. It was an extraordinary evening, the product of great teamwork, extensive preparation, and intense performance. I was so thankful to be there and to be part of a university where this kind of work takes place.

On Friday morning, a group of women on the faculty got together with the women on the Board of Trustees. I’m told that they had very productive conversations about the challenges facing women on our campus, and that they will continue to try to find ways to make our campus a place of true gender equality. During the day on Friday, trustees, along with faculty and student representatives to the Board, worked in committees on topics ranging from energy to the honor code, from fundraising for financial aid to the use of online courses to expand the reach of our educational mission. At the end of the afternoon, several board members met in an open meeting with a few dozen students to discuss financial aid. There were good questions raised, I thought, that clarified many of the issues we’ve been discussing since February. Over dinner that night, we celebrated newly elected trustees emeriti, and student, faculty and staff accomplishments. It was a joyful evening. Reading through the remarkable work that students were doing, I felt thankful that Wesleyan continues to attract and nurture such talent.

The Board concluded its work on Saturday, and we spent a good deal of time talking about the issues that had arisen at last week’s forum on diversity. We didn’t come up with a magical solution, but there was a commitment to continue to make our campus more inclusive. I headed to the gym with Sophie to get a little exercise, and then to watch the men’s basketball team (led by Derick Beresford ’13) win the Herb Kenny Tournament in convincing fashion. Dreisen Heath ’15 powered the women’s basketball team to a big win at St. Joseph’s tip-off tournament. The men host Williams tonight (Tuesday).

On Sunday evening, I was able to attend the first half of the African Students Association’s fall presentation. There were stirring performances of poetry, drumming, music and dance. I also learned a lot from the presentations. I left to attend the WSA meeting to go over our Board of Trustees discussions with the students gathered there for their weekly meeting. The student representatives spent hours (after I left) discussing key issues facing the university. We should all be thankful for their efforts.

My final meeting Sunday night was with more than 70 high school juniors and their alumni, staff and faculty parents, who are beginning the college search process. I could see the anxiety in some faces, and in some the hopeful anticipation of young people ready to begin a new stage in their lives. I extolled the virtues of liberal arts education today, and I emphasized that in our changing economy and culture this form of learning is more relevant than ever before. Looking around the room and thinking about my interaction with students over the last several days, I told the high school students that I hoped they would find a campus community where they were able to thrive, NOT because they were with people like themselves, but because they were in a diverse, dynamic and affectionate community from which they could learn. When they found such a community, I concluded, they would be very thankful. I know I am.

There will be plenty of work to do when we come back from break. For now, Happy Thanksgiving, Wesleyans!

Get Smart! Cultivate Interdependence

In my Modern and Postmodern class this week, we are reading thinkers who offered deep criticism of the West’s narrative of progress. Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, on the one hand, and Michel Foucault on the other, re-describe modernity as a “triumphant calamity,” in which apparent reductions in cruelty turn out to be subtle, strong mechanisms of oppression. The work of these critical theorists has certainly inspired strong currents of activism, but it has also led some to cultivate a sophisticated pessimism, or to adopt a knowing ironic posture in relation to the public sphere.

After spending time with these European theorists, I’ve found myself returning to John Dewey, the great American pragmatist philosopher. Dewey was no friend of the status quo, and, as I emphasized in an op-ed at the beginning of the semester, he identified education as freedom. He did not, though, think of freedom as individual autonomy — he did not believe we could get smart on our own. The goal of education wasn’t just self-reliance; personal autonomy could actually be quite destructive: “There is always a danger that increased personal independence will decrease the social capacity of an individual. In making him more self-reliant, it may make him more self-sufficient; it may lead to aloofness and indifference. It often makes an individual so insensitive in his relations to others as to develop an illusion of being really able to stand and act alone — an unnamed form of insanity which is responsible for a large part of the remediable suffering of the world.”

Critical theorists do help us expose hypocrisy and the persistence of domination, but I find Dewey a salutary complement to their powerful example of education as disillusionment. Surely we want more from education than to test our beliefs and affections; we want more than to lose our illusions. We want to be able to carry with us traces of experience that allow us more freedom in the future. Dewey put it this way: Human plasticity is essentially the ability to learn from experience; the power to retain from one experience something which is of avail in coping with the difficulties of a later situation. The goal of inquiry isn’t Truth with a capital “T;” it is more inquiry. The goal of liberal learning is more learning. We hold onto our “plasticity” by holding onto our ability to be affected by others — to learn from experience in context.

Rather than just enabling the strong individual, liberal education aims to create (and is enhanced by) a robust sociability. Community building is no simple matter, as we saw this week in our forum on diversity university. But it would be a mistake to think that “community” is just an extra-curricular appendage to a liberal arts education. The forms of solidarity and dissent that we create in our residential university are at the heart and soul of our educational mission — and core to our curriculum of life-long learning.



Last Night’s Forum: Diversity University, In Theory and In Practice

Last night’s forum, Diversity University: In Theory and In Practice, was an intense, disturbing and enlightening experience for me, as I imagine it was for many others. I want to thank everyone who attended, and I especially want to thank the student organizers, the panel participants, and all those students who showed the courage to share their stories about their Wesleyan experiences. The emotional honesty and thoughtfulness I witnessed gives me hope that together we can create a more inclusive, supportive and inspiring campus culture.

Last night’s forum follows on the heels of campus discussions among a variety of student groups, the WSA, and participants in Making Excellence Inclusive (MEI). There are two other general forums planned in the near term: the first, on November 20th from 6-7pm, will be with the WSA Committee on Inclusion and Diversity.  The second, The Barriers that Inhibit Productive Dialogue About Race at Wesleyan, will be coordinated by Invisible Men, Asian American Student Collective, Ujamaa, and the WSA Committee for Inclusion and Diversity and moderated by Amy Tang and Lois Brown.

Between now and the end of the Thanksgiving, we will follow up on specific student issues raised last night, and we will develop a list of the most important policies on which we should be working. As I mentioned at the forum, I will send a draft list of the issues at the end of the month. Once I receive feedback on those priorities, I will assign staff to work with students and faculty on making progress in each area. Just after spring break I will give a progress report to the campus community, and then we can schedule another student forum to discuss what has (and has not) been accomplished.

It was difficult last night to realize that we have fallen short, and that I have fallen short, of my aspirations for making Wesleyan an inclusive campus for progressive liberal arts education. But it was good to be reminded of those shared aspirations. It was difficult (terribly difficult) to hear the accounts of disappointment, anger and pain. But it was good to see the solidarity and affection of members of our community as they reached out to comfort one another — with snapping fingers, with applause, with hugs. We will build on those aspirations and on the affectionate bonds that connect us as we work together to make Wesleyan an institution that values diversity in theory and in practice.


A Campus Infused With Art

In preparing my syllabus for a seminar on photography and philosophy, I’ve been thinking about how the arts and the other academic programs intersect at Wesleyan. The recent lectures and concerts of Music and Public Life were a great example of such intersections. And in general, I’m just so impressed by the variety and quality of creative work on campus. Here’s just a sampling as we begin the week before the Thanksgiving break.

Tomorrow, Monday November 12, English Prof. Lisa Cohen will be giving a talk at the Center for Humanities entitled “Minerals Alone Escape It: Mourning Time.” She will read “from work in progress, a multi-genre project about the temporalities of friendship, illness, grief, and activism in the context of the AIDS crisis. A book in three parts and three genres, it also dramatizes three different historical moments, their echoes and discontinuities.” Lisa’s recent and very successful book, All We Know, also has three parts — delicate, incisive biographies of Esther Murphy, Mercedes de Acosta and Madge Garland. Lisa brings art and research together in stunning ways.

Speaking of bringing art and research together, I am very much looking forward to Rinde Eckert‘s play “The Last Days of Old Wild Boy,” which presents a man who, having been raised by wolves, has “risen” to heights of culture and success. But he wants to go back to the wildnerness of his early years… What does it mean to go back to one’s animality, to one’s wild youth? Rinde is a musician, composer, playwright and (by all accounts) an extraordinary artist. This play has been commissioned by the Center for the Arts and has benefited from the involvement of students and faculty. Performances from Thursday-Saturday.

Tomorrow (Monday) night Benh Zeitlin ’04 Michael Gottwald ’06, and Dan Janvey ’06 of Beasts of the Southern Wild will be at the Goldsmith Family Cinema at the Center for Film Studies at 8 pm to talk about about their extraordinary movie. Check out the exhibition about the film in the Rick Nicita Gallery there.

And on Wednesday, New York Times jazz and pop music critic Ben Ratliff will be talking in the Daltry Room (Rehearsal Hall 003) at the CFA.

Let’s not forget the drawing workshop, a great place for those who want to develop their figure drawing practice. Students gather every Monday, 4:30-6pm in Art Workshops 105.

The arts…intersecting with almost everything we do at Wesleyan.


Moving Our Campus Community Forward

Today I emailed the following message to Wesleyan students:

As I sat nervously watching election returns Tuesday night, I wondered how the country would digest the outcome, whatever it turned out to be. This election cycle has been so bitter and brutish, would representatives be able to work together to get things done? Would we find ways to tackle the important problems that we all know are undermining our economy and our culture?

In his victory speech, President Obama evoked the spirit of service that he also spoke about in his Wesleyan Address at Commencement in 2008. He talked about the sacrifices that people make for one another in tough times, and about the shared hope for a better future that he believed would overcome our differences. “The task,” he said, “of perfecting our union moves forward.”

At Wesleyan this year we have seen our fair share of differences on issues ranging from teaching loads for visiting professors to the possibilities of building a small cogeneration plant for backup power in the event of emergencies. The most important issue that has sowed divisions has been our decision to allocate a defined amount of the budget for financial aid, which we expect will mean we are “need-blind” for about 90% of the entering class. I think this will allow us to meet the full needs of the students who are here, preserve diversity, and keep our debt levels low while restraining future tuition increases. Others think we are abandoning not just a technique for achieving diversity but a key principle. We have our differences.

We have been discussing these issues with students, faculty, alumni and staff, even as we try to raise more funds for financial aid. For the first time in its history, Wesleyan is entering a fundraising campaign whose highest priority is endowment for financial aid. I have been traveling around the country seeking support for this campaign, and alumni and parents have been responding with great generosity. Last year we secured more than 60 million dollars in gifts and pledges, and we are keeping up that pace this year. I believe that supporting financial aid is more important now than ever, and on this, I think, we agree.

Debates about financial aid have exposed divisions within our campus community. To ensure a sustainable economic model, some think we should raise tuition more aggressively, others think we should lay off staff or faculty, while others want to cut programs they deem less important to the student experience. I’ve been listening to and participating in these debates, and I’ll continue to do so. We have significant financial resources, and we have enormous talent on this campus. We will continue to energize Wesleyan’s distinctive educational experience while working within a sustainable economic model. We have our differences, but what unites us is far more important.

In a far uglier vein, recently some have tried to exploit or create divisions in our campus community by appealing to racism and hatred. In anonymous posts on websites known for their vulgarity, homophobia and misogyny, there have been racist comments posted about Wes students and Middletown residents. They are hurtful to students of color and to all who value diversity and inclusion.  I have not spoken out on this until now because I think such comments are beneath contempt.

Students have also raised concerns about recent campus security alerts that used racial identifications in describing alleged perpetrators. Were these more hurtful than useful? I have also heard complaints from students of color who feel marginalized or intimidated by certain aspects of our campus culture. We must make diversity meaningful on campus by creating a culture of inclusion. There is work to do.

On Monday night in Beckham Hall at 7:30 pm students have organized a forum to discuss issues of race and inclusion on campus. Sonia Manjon will moderate a panel on which I will participate with student and Public Safety representatives. I hope there will be a good turnout so that we can have a frank conversation about how we can create a campus climate in which all are treated with respect. More than that, we want a campus that builds on acceptance, creating bonds of affectionate solidarity.

The project of building this community is ongoing, and I am eager to help lead it. I want students to know that I am available to meet with any group, formal or informal. I have regular office hours on Monday afternoons, and scheduled sessions with the WSA, and Argus editors during the semester. I frequently meet with student groups at various times throughout the week. The open forums I’ve held with students have been candid exchanges, and I’ve learned much from them. I’m happy to hold additional meetings of that kind. I am eager to hear your views and find ways to join forces to enable our school live up to our aspirations for it.

I am continually inspired by the talent, energy and purpose of Wesleyan students – on stage, in athletic competitions, in classrooms, studios and research labs. We are not, to paraphrase President Obama, as divided as our politics sometime suggest. We are brought together in shared hope to ensure that Wesleyan will be a champion of progressive liberal arts education for generations to come. Together, we will move our campus community forward.

Election Eve Thoughts: Can We Still Be Inspired?

With thanks to Gabriella De Golia ’13, I am passing along some information on voting tomorrow:

  • The Middletown registrars should have updated all the residential information of registered students so as to reflect their current housing situation.
  • All students except those listed below will be voting at the Senior Center, located close to Broad St. Books at 150 Williams Street.
  • Students living in La Casa, Interfaith/Lighthouse, Full House/Writing House and Park Washington Apartments will be voting at Macdonough School, located at 66 Spring St. All other Washington St. residents will be voting at Senior Center.
  • Shuttle rides to both polling locations will be provided all day to students, leaving every ten minutes from the Wyllys Avenue entrance to Usdan.
  • It is recommended that students bring both a government-issued ID and their WesID to the polls in the event that there were confusions regarding their registration.
  • Polls are open from 6AM to 8PM. If students are in line to vote by 8PM, they can still vote even if they do not get to the voting booth before 8PM.
  • If there are any questions regarding a student’s registration status or polling location, the Registrar’s Office can be reached at (860) 344-3518 (Democratic Registrar) or (860) 344-3517 (Republican Registrar).

Students can watch returns in Usdan Cafe beginning at 7. The American Studies and Government majors will be watching returns at Woodhead Lounge.

I remember well the exuberance on campus on the night of Obama’s election in 2008. I came over to Usdan late (for me) at night to find a great celebration going on.

Even those who weren’t thrilled with Obama felt part of a historic moment. The mood seems so different this year. Is that because of the sorry state of the economy, or because of the nasty and brutish campaign run by both candidates? Is our campus more divided about our own local issues, or has our capacity for ironic distancing overwhelmed our capacity to be inspired to serve something larger than ourselves? Despite these differences, I trust Wes students will get to the polls, and that in the aftermath of the election we can find ways to work together on issues of mutual concern — both national and right here on campus.

  Here are some thoughts I posted on HuffingtonPost this past weekend.

As Election Day draws near, I find myself thinking back to Barack Obama’s 2008 Commencement Address at Wesleyan. He was just candidate Obama then, coming to the end of a tough primary fight, substituting for Ted Kennedy at our graduation ceremony. I was just finishing my first year as president of alma mater. It was a day of excitement, of hope and of inspiration.

Obama told our graduates that they should be skeptical of the notion that there were two different stories ahead of them: one the private tale of jobs and families, and the second the account of what happens in the wider world. He related how many had told him when he was graduating that he should focus on the first story: that economic security and building a family were all that really mattered. They had told him, as many were telling our undergraduates, that it was foolhardy to think you could really change the world for the better.

Candidate Obama told our graduates not to listen to such advice because it would narrow their futures and impoverish the nation. He reminded them that generations had long believed “that their story and the American story are not separate but shared.” He stressed that he himself had found his calling through service to community, through significant acts of citizenship.

Service also helped define Mitt Romney’s path to adulthood, though he doesn’t like to dwell on his time in France as a Mormon missionary or his very active efforts as a church member to help those in his community in need of assistance. He does, of course, often refer to his leadership of the 2002 Olympics, but he does so to point to his managerial expertise rather than his public service or civic engagement.

Obama’s message resonated with our graduates in 2008, and it captivated the majority of the nation by Election Day. We wanted to believe that the story of our private lives is not divorced from our public activities as citizens. How distant that message has seemed during the 2012 campaign! Over the last several months we have heard talk of taxes and of deficits, of investment and of outsourcing, of education as workforce preparation. Of course, these topics are of undeniable importance, especially in these difficult economic times. But the economic times were also difficult in the spring of 2008, and they were rapidly getting worse. Yet back then Obama chose to try to inspire us to link our ambitions for economic security to our dreams for building a more just and humane society. He chose to talk about service as well as salaries.

Why are both candidates today so reluctant to call for service? Why do they continually appeal to our desire to have our country do something for us, but rarely ask that we make personal sacrifices to improve our collective future? Have they concluded that given the tough times, they can win only be satisfying private individual’s desires, without evoking our public aspirations to create a society that fosters community and individual freedom?

In 2008, candidate Obama sounded a different note: “It’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential and discover the role that you’ll play in writing the next great chapter in the American story.” He was right about that. As a society, we will not be admired because of the thinness of our tax rates or of our computers. Smaller tablets and more convenient apps inspire neither compassion nor greatness. We will realize our true potential as individuals and citizens when we respond to a call to protect the most vulnerable while helping others to fully develop their abilities.

Obama ended his Wesleyan address by noting that “we may disagree as Americans on certain issues and positions, but I believe that we can be unified in service to a greater good.” That belief in service to a greater good is exactly what we will need after this bitter, nasty electoral contest. We will need a call to service that will combine idealism with effectiveness, that will merge our private and public stories. We will need to hitch our wagons to something larger than ourselves. Who will try to inspire us to do so?

Wes Students Triumph over Plant that Eats Humans!

While our athletes were waging tough battles up in Williamstown, a group of (mostly) Wes sophomores were tangling with a vicious adversary — Audrey 2, the human devouring plant from outer space that is the centerpiece of the musical Little Shop of Horrors. Although I don’t know exactly what we are supposed to take away from the “don’t feed the plants” ending, the tough part is mounting a high-energy musical out of this weird story. Regen Routman’s puppeteering was marvelous, and Dan Storfer’s (the voice of the plant) “feed me!” cries were hilarious. Jacob Feder, Trina Parks, Ben Zucker, Nick Martino, Linsin Smith, Beanie Feldstein, and Sara Guernsey were all in fine voice and very funny. After a week for me of storms, stress, and travel, this musical comedy was just what the doctor ordered. My hats off to the cast, the great band, the crew and Jenna Robbins and Jiovani Del Toro Robles, who co-directed this.

Go Second Stage! Go Wes!

Thinking of the Extended Wesleyan Family

Over the last 10 days I’ve traveled to Houston, Dallas and Chicago, with teaching and storm preparation on campus in between trips. The travels are opportunities to discuss with parents and alumni what’s been happening on campus, and to continue raising money for our highest priority, financial aid. It’s been good to meet members of the extended Wes family while also reconnecting with old friends. Their generosity and affection for Wesleyan is inspiring.

Among the most inspirational alumni and dearest friends to Wesleyan was John Woodhouse, who passed away earlier this week. John was a member of the class of ’53, a parent ‘79, and a trustee emeritus of Wesleyan.

Two true Cardinals

John served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1976 through 1979 and again from 1980 through 1992. After retiring from the Board, John chaired the Wesleyan Campaign from 1997 through 2005, meeting with countless alumni all over the world to seek support for Wesleyan. Following the Wesleyan Campaign, John was an active member of the Development Committee (2005-2008) and, most recently, the current Campaign Council (2008-present). In recognition of his loyal service to Wesleyan, John was honored with the Baldwin Medal in 2005. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1993 during his 40th Reunion and he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wesleyan in 1997.  He will be deeply missed by his family and friends, and all of us fortunate enough to have worked with him.

Over the last few days I’ve been hearing from Wesleyan friends who are still dealing with the aftermath of super storm Sandy. While things on campus have returned to normal, we realize that for many the hardships caused by the storm are very far from over.  Our hearts go out to all those who suffered devastating losses, and we look with admiration on the work being done to restore normalcy in these challenging times.