The Old Normal

The crowds are gone, the tents are coming down in front of College Row, but there isn’t anyone dancing on the lawns. After a productive Board of Trustee Meeting, a boisterous series of Reunions, and a grand Commencement (sandwiched between thunderstorms), the campus is settling into its summer calm. This is, I hope, the last summer for which I can say that. Next year we hope to have at least a few hundred students here taking classes, but now it’s time to catch our breath and plan for the future.

I was sorry to be only able to catch glimpses from time to time of old friends from my student years at Wes. I was busy in the early part of the weekend listening to tales of Wesleyan traditions, meeting recent alumni and giving my share of toasts and speeches. Happily, there was plenty of great music to be heard, as is usually the case on our campus. Commencement was lovely, and I was especially moved by the speeches from our honorary doctorate recipients. You can hear them all at:

At our board meeting, some trustees spoke about finding the “new normal” in the wake of the financial crisis. That’s something we are already working on, but looking out the window now I see the “old normal” of Foss Hill partially eclipsed by the remaining party tent. Late spring at alma mater.

4 thoughts on “The Old Normal”

  1. Here’s hoping that the “new normal” does *not* include revisiting the idea of dropping any portion of need-blind admissions (even for the wait list or transfer students), as has been rumoured.

  2. Summer Calm?

    It may be calm on your side of the campus . . . .

    In the sciences, the 21st Hughes Summer Research Program got off to a good start today, despite the clouds that moved the opening picnic indoors. 58 Hughes Fellows, 8 McNair Fellows, 9 Mellon Fellows, 6 SCIC Fellows, and 11 students on other funds or volunteering started their 10 week summer research projects. After a pizza lunch with the faculty, staff, and other researchers they will be working with, and remarks from Profs. Weir and Appel about seminars and workshops to complement their research, they received their annual safety training (particularly pertinent after the recent fire) from Bill Nelligan, Director Environmental Health, Safety and Sustainability, and then got down to work.

  3. President Roth contemplates that summers on the Wesleyan campus will change, apparently with the addition of summer class programs. I approve of such programs, but I truly hope that summers in Middletown will not change from what I experienced between my junior and senior years, in 1978. Best for them to be more available to more students.

    I spent that summer in Middletown as a research assistant to professors Rich Adelstein and Gary Yohe. The three summer months were at once hugely satisfying and–dare I say–the most intellectually challenging and satisfying three months I spent in Middletown. Nearly every day, I felt extremely challenged and, nearly every day, I felt the warm glow of great accomplishment. Back then, one got such an opportunity if very, very lucky.

    Few can possibly enjoy the challenges and the intellectual richness of working for Professors Adelstein and Yohe as I did that summer–there just aren’t enough of those wonderful professors to go around. But if Wes U is moving toward making “summer in Middletown” a possible–or better still, an attactive option–for more students, that is wonderful news. Maybe a student who is less than very, very lucky will have the chance. And it will be wonderful for her.
    I enthusiastically applaud President Roth’s plans to make the Wesleyan garden a productive place even when the hot winds blow.

  4. I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to meet you while I was on campus for my 25th reunion. I had promised my mother that I would give you her regards — she was thrilled to have met you at the condo pool in Boynton Beach when you were visiting your mother a few months ago. (My mom was the one who approached you because you were wearing a Wes sweatshirt.)

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