Wesleyan won its first ever NESCAC championship in baseball this afternoon, beating Tufts 6-4. Mark Woodworth’s team had a tremendous regular season, finishing first in the division and winning The Little Three. Behind great pitching, terrific defense, and wonderful fundamentals (oh, those squeeze bunts!) the Cardinals found ways to win.

The same held true in the tournament. Beating Bates and then Tufts in consecutive days, Wes needed to win one of two against the Jumbos on Mother’s Day. The guys dropped the first game, and Tufts kept fighting to keep things interesting until the final out. With the tying run at the plate, the Cardinals completed their victory with a force out at second base. Wesleyan has its first NESCAC championship!

Congratulations to Coach Mark and all the players (and especially their mothers!). A great day for Wesleyan athletics!!



Congrats Baseball, LAX, Track Stars

The Wesleyan baseball team once again won the Little Three title this weekend, taking 2 of 3 from Amherst. This left the Cardinals atop the NESCAC West division moving into the playoffs. THISISWHY!

Speaking of playoffs, the mighty men’s lacrosse team beat Connecticut College to advance to the semifinals of the NESCAC tournament. We face Amherst Saturday at Tufts University, with the winner going on to play for the championship the next day.

LaDarius Drew ’15 kept his winning ways at NESCAC men’s track championship this past weekend, winning the 200 meters and the long jump. LD also finished second in the 100 meters. Agbon Edomwonyi ’16 was a standout in the hammer throw and the shot put. I think it was the history/philosophy/literature classes that gave them the jump on the field….

Speaking of the hammer and shot, Sierra Livious ’16 placed in these events and another at the NESCAC women’s championship. Ellie Martin ’16 finished an incredible close second in the 400m race.

Congrats to all our athletes finishing up their spring seasons! Go WES!


Music, Theater, Athletics This Weekend!

This weekend the senior theses shows keep coming. I missed the opening this week because of NESCAC meetings, but I’m eager to see the work of the studio art seniors at the Zilkha Gallery (up through Saturday). There are recitals (e.g., Simon Riker’s ’14 musical in Beckham, Jeffrey Berman ’14 and Molly Balsam ’14 in the CFA) and plays (Lily Whitsitt ’06 production of Vatzlav), and I hear a rumor about a great musical in the 92 Theater. And I’m sure there’s more!!

There’s also plenty of sports action. The baseball team has been on a tear. Last weekend there was a very exciting sweep of Middlebury, and this weekend the Williams team comes to town on Friday afternoon. The softball team has been lead by pitching ace Su Pardo ’16, who was named Player of the Week by NESCAC after heroic efforts. In track, Kiley Kennedy ’16 has continued her record setting ways in pole-vaulting, while Sierra Livious ’14 set a school record in the hammer throw. The Women’s lacrosse team is on the road this weekend, and they are getting stronger as the season progresses. The men’s lacrosse team has excelled, and they defend their first-place record this weekend against Bowdoin. The mighty crew teams will be up at Tufts, showing how pulling together really works.

It’s such a busy time of year, and I know I haven’t listed anything like a full report on goings on. But let’s cheer on our Cardinal mates wherever we find them: on the fields, stages, galleries or vaulting with a pole!

And congratulations to all those thesis writers who finished up today. THESISWHY!


Congratulations and Good Luck to the Wes Athletes!

Great news from swimming and diving coach Peter Solomon: Angela Slevin ’15 has qualified and is being invited to compete in this year’s Div. III NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships being held March 19th – 22nd in Indianapolis, IN.  Angela will be competing in the 1,650-yard (mile) Freestyle, 500-yard Freestyle, and the 200-yard Freestyle events during this 4-day competition.  We think that Angela is the first Wesleyan swimmer since 2006 to have qualified for the national championships.

On a frozen surface, the women’s hockey team has had a heck of a season so far. To close out regular play, the Cardinals tied Trinity in two straight games. This capped off one of their best regular seasons in many years.  The Cardinals qualified for the NESCAC tournament for the first time since the 2003-04 season.  The fifth seeding equals the team’s highest ever in the playoffs.

In women’s squash, Mary Foster ’14 was named to the all NESCAC squad for the fourth straight year. And Lauren Nelson ’15 was also honored with an all NESCAC nod. In men’s squash, John Steele ’14 had another superb season, and was also recognized by the conference for his exemplary play. Guy Davidson ’16 also was recognized for a fine season.

Shona Kerr was awarded Coach-of-the-Year honors for the second time in four years! What wonderful recognition from her peers!

Both men and women’s hockey teams are heading for the playoffs, and we wish them all the best. The “spring” athletes have been working hard for some time already, and I can imagine they are looking forward to the March break. As I left the gym last night (dragging myself out of the fitness center), I bumped into the chipper, upbeat women’s lacrosse team. They seemed raring to go, even if they had just finished what must have been an icy-cold practice. I straightened up and tried to look a little less bedraggled.

Good luck to those finishing their seasons, and all the best to those who are just getting underway!  Go WES!

Wesleyan on Ice – Hockey Thrives

Wesleyan’s hockey teams have been having very strong seasons. Let’s start with the women. Long a hard working and dedicated group, this year the team has had a nose for the goal and an almost uncanny ability to protect our own net. Most recently against Hamilton, Cara Jankowski ’15, Jordan Schildhaus ’15 and Jess Brennan ’17, each posted a goal and an assist to lead the Cardinals to our largest margin of victory ever over visiting Hamilton, 5-0. We swept that series, and remember that Hamilton students are all used to going to class across an icy campus!

A great reason for our success is goalie Laura Corcoran ’16. Against Hamilton in the first game of the series, she came up with 27 saves to post her third shutout of the year. Laura is one of the NESCAC leaders for both save percentage and goals-against average this season, now with .944 and 1.56 figures, respectively. She anchors a fine defense, while the offense has been putting the puck in the opponents’ nets. Coach Jodi McKenna leads a great squad.

The men’s hockey team has also excelled this year, and they had an AMAZING weekend. First, they soundly beat a solid Williams’ team, 7-3, after having jumped out to a 4-0 lead. A sophomore line was firing on all cylinders, as Alex Carlacci ’16, Jaren Taenaka ’16 and Terence Durkin ’16  accounted for the final four goals of the contest for the Cardinals. Another sophomore, Jay Matthews, ’16, has had an impressive season, already earning NESCAC Player-of-the-Week honors. Our frosh phenom Elliot Vorel ’17 also received that honor and he has been an intense offensive threat all year.

Speaking of intense frosh phenoms, the Wesleyan goalie Dawson Sprigings ’17 had a superb weekend, limiting the powerful Middlebury team yesterday to just a single goal, while our guys netted a pair. Coach Chris Potter has forged a fiery, young team, and we should wish them all luck as they head up to Maine at the end of the week.

Go winter Wes!

This Weekend: Super Theater and Athletic Competition

This weekend the Brooklyn-based theater collective The Assembly brings HOME/SICK to the Center for the Arts. “HOME/SICK tells the story of a handful of student activist leaders in the 1960s who, searching for justice and an end to the Vietnam War, became convinced that violence could pave the way toward peace. With ambitions to overthrow the government, they formed the Weather Underground after taking control of the Students for a Democratic Society movement in 1969.” The play combines the personal and the political, the anecdotal and the historical, and we are fortunate that this group of young alumni (and others) are staging the work at the CFA. You can read more about it here.

There is also a tide of sports events crashing into the Freeman Athletic Center this weekend. The men’s and women’s basketball teams will see plenty of action Friday night and Saturday afternoon, and the track team will be competing against a bunch of teams in another invitational. Men’s hockey is at home Saturday and Sunday…while many of our other squads are carrying the Red and Black on the road.

The semester is only just getting underway, but I suspect these artists and athletes are already at the top of their game.




Athletes Soar During Break

I just learned that last weekend Kiley Kennedy ’16 set a new Wesleyan record in the pole vault, clearing nine feet, ten inches. The old record stood for more than a decade, but at a meet at Yale Kiley flew right over it! Sierra Livious ’14 was our top finisher of the weekend, as she got the attention of those Division I schools with her prowess at the shot put and weight throw. Kimora Brock ’15 was outstanding in the 800 meters. Congratulations all!!

This coming weekend the track team will be in competition at the first of three consecutive Wesleyan Invitationals. As I stumble around the fitness center, I’ve run into some of our hard working tracksters. They seem more than ready.

Other groups that are more than ready are the basketball and hockey teams. Are you on campus or near Middletown? Tomorrow, Tuesday, January 14 at 7 pm, the men’s basketball team will take on a tough Amherst squad. On Friday, both the men and women hoopsters are at home, as is the men’s ice hockey team. You can see the schedule here.

I’ve got to go back on the road myself, but if you can come out to cheer the Cardinals, the Freeman Athletic Center will be jumping!


What a Great Homecoming!

It was an amazing weekend, filled with artistic, athletic and academic achievements. It was great to see the crowds at the Alumni Show II art exhibition (which you can still see at the Zilkha Gallery), and I enjoyed meeting some of the artists there. My early bedtime prevented me from seeing the play in the Olin stacks, but I heard it was an enlivening experience.

John Ravenal ’81, P’15
John Ravenal ’81, P’15



I was also thrilled to learn that Gail Jenkins Farris ’84, P’14, P ’16, one of the founders of our volleyball program, was awarded a special Letter over the weekend. A great athlete herself, Gail has been a tireless advocate for women’s sports. She was still pretty jazzed about being recognized for her work when I saw her at a reception later in the day.


This swim team had a successful meet, and men’s soccer won a tough match against Connecticut College in the first round of the NESCAC tournament. We were all very excited by football’s first Little Three championship in over forty years! Lacrosse, softball, soccer, and baseball have won Little Three crowns in recent years, and we are delighted with football’s success. I was very moved when Coach Whalen presented me with the game ball.


Alumni Association Chair Megan Norris ’83, P’17 distributed a very cool video today on football’s victory. You can see it here.



Welcome Home!

Today marks the beginning of Homecoming/Family Weekend. There are many great seminars, concerts, sporting events and recitals planned. Some families will just want to spend time together enjoying Connecticut in the fall, and many alumni will simply want to re-visit their favorite haunts. Whatever your pleasure, I hope you find Wesleyan welcoming, stimulating and festive.

I’m particularly excited about the Dar Williams concert Friday night at 9 pm in Crowell Concert Hall. I’ve been listening to Dar’s CDs for a long time, and recently I’ve been able to hear her play live on campus. It’s great to have her back at alma mater, especially since this concert is a fundraiser for financial aid. We are all working hard to establish more scholarships that meet student needs without high loans, and this concert is an important addition to our efforts.

There are some great seminars, panels and lectures during the weekend. One of the highlights: the 21st Annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium: Women of Color: 40 Years at Wesleyan, and Beyond will take place at 4 pm in the Chapel. You can find a list of events here.

There will be plenty of sports excitement over the weekend. The volleyball team will be in the Silloway gymnasium battling Little Three Rivals, while cross country, women’s soccer and field hockey are playing in NESCAC tournaments on the road. Men’s soccer will have a home contest in the tournament on Jackson field Saturday at 12:30. The mighty Wes football team will take this year’s undefeated streak into a battle against Williams. The game starts at 1:00 pm at Corwin Stadium. Connecticut Public Television is broadcasting the game, and we will have a video link here.

I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. THIS IS WHY!



Fall Break Travels — Amherst, Washington, San Francisco

Fall break is usually a busy time for me, and this year is no exception. It started off with a bang at Amherst. All our athletes competed superbly, and our football team won at Amherst for the first time in many years. It was an exciting game, and there was a great Wesleyan turnout in the visitors’ bleachers. I’m not sure if our lusty cheering helped all that much, but it didn’t hurt. In the end the team left Amherst at 5-0. This is a result for which Alumni Director John Driscoll ’62 has been waiting for a long time!


This morning I headed down to Washington, D.C., to talk about improving learning outcomes in higher education at an event sponsored by the Hamilton Project. Our session was chaired by former Secretary of the Treasury Robert E. Rubin, and I was joined by University of North Carolina President Thomas Ross and Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa from the University of Texas. Although the challenges of these large public systems are quite different from those we face at Wesleyan, I was proud to learn that many were looking to our work at Wesleyan for innovative ideas that might translate to a variety of educational contexts.

Hamilton Project Panel on Higher Education
Hamilton Project Panel on Higher Education

Tomorrow I head West for a great THIS IS WHY event in San Francisco with Michael Pollan P’15 and Jonathan Bloom ’99. They will be talking about food as pleasure, necessity, and industry. I can hardly wait!


We had a great turnout last night for the conversation about food, politics, culture and the environment. I saw several recent alumni and alumni from decades back (some who are also current Wes parents). Jonathan was a wonderful interviewer, and Michael described both the systemic issues in the way we produce (and waste) food and what we can do about it. I was particularly glad to hear him describe the massive political challenges while also analyzing the positive steps that we can take that make a difference immediately. And he gave a great shout-out to Wesleyan farmers at Long Lane and to our environmental activists more generally.

Michael Pollan P'15 and Jonathan Bloom '97
Michael Pollan P’15 and Jonathan Bloom ’99

This is Why.