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.


Volleyball, Tonight…Football, Field Hockey and Soccer Tomorrow

Tonight at 8 pm, the volleyball team takes on Middlebury in the Silloway Gymnasium at Freeman, and they face off against Hamilton there tomorrow at 2 p.m. The team has played some tough matches this season, and Kim Farris ’14 was recently named a NESCAC Player of the Week.

Speaking of Players of the Week, Jesse Warren ’15 leads a powerful Cardinal offense tomorrow against a tough Colby squad at 1 p.m. at Corwin Stadium. LaDarius Drew ’15 and Kyle Gibson ’15 have been a terrific pair running the ball. And we’ve had the ball a lot because the defense has been awesome so far this year, with Nik Powers’15 recording eight tackles last week against Hamilton. Men’s and women’s soccer play tomorrow as well, and both teams have been ultra-competitive this year. Victoria Matthews ’16 put on a great display this week for the women, and Emmett McConnell ’15 in goal was yet another Player of the Week for the men. Field Hockey has simply been tenacious, with Sara Grundy ’16 and Sarah Prickett ’17 shining in goal. You can see them all play tomorrow (Saturday).

As usual, there’s plenty of great music on campus this weekend. Art House and Buddhist House are hosting concerts that will be the envy of Brooklyn, and tomorrow at Long Lane Farm there will be the annual Pumpkin Festival. Should be some great sounds at eats at the farm…

Pumkpin Fest 2013


Middletown Day, Turf Field and Athletic Contests

Tomorrow, Saturday, September 21, we welcome Middletown residents onto campus for an afternoon of games, music and athletic contests. We will dedicate the new Turf Field and Andersen Track at noon, and you can catch plenty of great games from men’s and women’s soccer and field hockey. The football season gets underway at 6:00 pm — our first night game ever!


It should be a great day. GO WES!!

Wes Stars: Softball, Baseball, Filmmakers

Wesleyan softball star Allee Beatty ’13 was named NESCAC player of the year, fitting recognition for this senior who has established new Wesleyan records for her offensive production. Allee was also named defensive player of the year by the conference for her standard of perfection out in the field. Pitching sensation Su Pardo ’16 was named NESCAC rookie of the year.

The baseball team had a tremendous season that led all the way to the conference championship game. This was our first trip to the final match-up, and we  got there the hard way, having dropped a nail-biter against Amherst College in extra innings on Saturday. Donnie Cimino ’15 was one of many stand-out performers over the weekend, capping off his stellar season. The young Cardinal team will be back in the mix for years to come!

The art of film making is certainly a team sport. Over the weekend I also had the opportunity to take in some of the senior productions made by this year’s film studies majors. Whether working in 16 millimeters or video…whether putting together animation, musicals, comedies or existential thrillers, the Wesleyan film auteurs (and their teams) display craft and ingenuity. If you didn’t see the screenings over the weekend, there’s usually another chance over Commencement/Reunion weekend.

Baseball on a Roll: Another Little Three Crown!

The Wesleyan baseball squad took two out of three games from Amherst this weekend to secure first place in the NESCAC West division and gain the Little Three crown for this semester. Donnie Cimino ’15 had a powerhouse weekend at the plate, while Jeff Blout ’14 and Nick Cooney ’15 were all but unhittable from the mound.

Wesleyan Baseball Little Three Champs
Wesleyan Baseball Little Three Champs

We will be hosting the NESCAC baseball tournament, while the softball team will be traveling to the playoffs. The men’s lacrosse team will also be on the road for the semi-finals of the conference tournament, after a thrilling overtime victory against Bowdoin Saturday. Mike Giambanco ’14 and Quentin DellaFera ’15 had hat tricks for the Cardinals. All three teams were Little Three champs this semester.

Men’s and women’s tennis had shutout victories against Colby yesterday. Both teams have been having great seasons. Did you forget about rugby? The rugby men had an amazing come-from-behind victory against Williams over the weekend.

Go WES!!

Softball Wins Little Three!!

The mighty Wesleyan softball team is the Little Three Champ for the just the second time in our history (the other win was in 2008). Jill Gately ’15 continued her phenomenal season, breaking the Wes RBI record. Frosh pitching sensation Su Pardo ’16 was devastating on the mound. She now has 125 Ks in 88 innings of work this year with a 12-0 record and 1.91 ERA. The Wes women are at home next weekend to wrap up their season against Middlebury.

Softball Little Three Champs
Softball Little Three Champs


Wesleyan also had great success over the weekend in baseball and lacrosse. The baseball team swept a double-header against Middlebury, and the lacrosse squad came from behind to beat the highly-ranked Tufts team. Lots of momentum as we move toward the end of the semester!!

UPDATE: Men’s and Women’s tennis continue their winning ways. Both teams won against Connecticut College on Sunday!

The Wesleyan Festival Continues

April is a terrifically busy month, and also one in which there are so many delights to behold. Take athletics — from the men’s lacrosse team’s classy triumph over Trinity to the softball teams FIRST EVER sweep of Trinity’s women. Men’s tennis is also on a roll, dispatching Hamilton and then beating Tufts FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE WW II. The crew teams are having the kinds of success that send rankings soaring, while rugby sends opponents falling. And the baseball team seems to be having almost as much fun with its winning ways as the spectators up on Foss Hill. 

From almost anywhere on campus you can hear the drummers, who have taken to lawns of the CFA, sometimes accompanied by dancers. I couldn’t help but shake a little bit as I headed for this week’s senior artist exhibition in the Zilkha gallery. What a fantastic show! From the photographs of imposters to the paintings of (photographs of) Versailles, there is lots of great art to see. Check out the amazing blend of the conceptual and the beautiful! 

There are seminars and panels, lectures, films and shows over these next few days. After witnessing Lily Haje’s ’13 amazing immersive theatrical experience last week, I am looking forward to catching Eurydice at the Patricelli 92 theater. And after catching Sam Friedman’s ’13 UNBELIEVABLE senior concert last week, I’m looking forward to some great jazz at the CFA this weekend. 

Wednesday morning I met with WesFest families bright and early. There were folks from Bangkok and Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Berkeley…even Kansas City! I reminisced with them about my student days at Wesleyan, particularly at Alpha Delta Phi. Feeling nostalgic, I headed over to the Star and Crescent for a delightful lunch. I spent many happy hours in the kitchen there when I was a student, and I felt that great Wes spirit alive and well there yesterday. But don’t believe the Facebook photos… 

I’ll be back talking about liberal arts education with parents and pre-frosh this morning. They’ll be off to a day of meeting with students, professors and staff, learning about Wesleyan. There is an especially exciting event today: 

Global Produce founder and CEO Marc Shmuger ’80 – Previously, Marc worked as CEO and chairman for Universal Pictures. He will host a special pre-release presentation of the film, We Steal the Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks, at 8 p.m. in the Center for Film Studies, Goldsmith Family Cinema. 

Wesleyan in the springtime. The festival is off and running. THIS IS WHY.


Little Three Champs in Lacrosse – Softball Soars

Wesleyan student-athletes are having another strong year. Last week the men’s lacrosse team captured the Little Three Crown with a 7-6 win over Amherst. Mike Giambanco ’14 netted four goals and Mark Simmons ’14 led a strong defensive effort. Wes has built a strong winning tradition in lacrosse. Coach Raba and this year’s squad continue to build on that tradition.

The women’s softball team got off to a great start during their spring break swing through Florida. Back in Middletown, they have continued their winning ways by sweeping Hamilton College. Jill Gately ’15 has been knocking in runs like nobody’s business, and we’ve been getting great pitching from Su Pardo ’16 and Laura Getchell ’14. Allee Beatty ’13 has a 17-game hitting streak going!! That wasn’t a typo: 17 games in a row. Speaking of streaks, the softball team has tied the program’s longest winning streak with 12 consecutive wins. The women have a chance to break the record against Coast Guard on April 3. Come on out to the field to catch the action at 4:30!

I also received word last week that our swimming teams were awarded Scholar All-American status for the Fall 2012 semester. Congratulations to Coach Solomon and the squads. The women’s team had the fourth highest GPA in the country — just .02 points behind the leader! I’m proud to know that our athletes are as determined to succeed in the classroom as they are in their competitions.



I just received a letter from NCAA officials that Kyle Roosa ’13, Nick Scotto ’13, Howard Tobochnik ’13, and Maika Nagata ’13, star members of the Wesleyan wrestling team, have earned distinction as Scholar All-Americans.  Howard had a particularly strong season, qualifying for the national championships (along with Jefferson Ajayi ’13 and Josh Roometua ’16). Congratulations to all, and to their might coach, Drew Black.

No Rest for Wes Athletes

During this break from classes, our athletes are also hard at work. This weekend three Wesleyan wrestlers are participating in the NCAA National Championships in Iowa. Jefferson Ajayi ’13, Howard Tobochnik ’13 and Josh Roometua ’16 are all in the Midwest getting ready to put the finishing touches on their great seasons. Coach Drew Black and the entire Wes wrestling community are cheering on these great All-Americans!

Speaking of All-Americans, Alexis Walker ’16 earned that designation for her amazing achievements in the long jump. She has had a great season, as has Sierra Livious ’14, who set a Wesleyan record in the shot put and then went on to better her own mark!

Wes softball and baseball players are off campus in warmer climes to start their seasons. Both have impressive, young teams with plenty of talent and ambition. The hearty lacrosse teams stay right here to battle the cold as well as their opponents. The women’s lacrosse team bounced back from a rough start against Williams and Hamilton to beat a tough Eastern Connecticut State University team. Maddy Coulter ’14, Kaylin Berger ’13 and Caty Daniels ’15 each recorded hat tricks in the 13-9 victory. The team is at home against Bates tomorrow (Saturday) at noon.

The men’s lacrosse team is on a tear, with early season victories against Williams, Hamilton and Lasell. David Murphy ’15 put in the winning goal against Williams, and Remy Lieberman ’14 had a hat trick against Hamilton. Graham Macnab ’14 had four goals against Lasell, and Mark Simmons ’14 is leading a great defensive effort from the goal. The men are up at Bates tomorrow for their next contest.

Of course, I can only mention a few of the students who are working hard and achieving much. Wesleyan athletes, like our artists, performers and researchers, are using the March break to excel. GO WES!



Women’s crew varsity eight had a great weekend winning their event in Florida: Clare Doyle ’14, Kayla Cloud ’14, Emma Koramshahi ’16, Zoe Mueller ’13, Hannah Korevaar ’14, Robin Cotter ’13, Emily Sinkler ’14, Avery Mushinski ’15 and cox Brianne Wiemann ’15.

Keith Buehler ’14 was named an All-American and NESCAC player of the year in ice hockey. Keith joins two other Wes students who received this great honor from our conference: Adam Purdy ’13 in men’s soccer, and Laura Kurash ’13, in women’s soccer. Three in one year! In the previous 12 years we only had three other players so honored. Go WES!