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!

Hoopsters Head to NESCAC Tournament, Hockey at Home, Theater in Your Head

The men’s and women’s basketball teams head north this weekend for the first rounds of the NESCAC tournaments. The women will play a tough Williams squad on Saturday after finishing the regular season with back-to-back wins over Bowdoin and Colby. Captain and senior Kendra Harris leads the young team that has plenty of momentum. Speaking of momentum, the men’s squad enters the tournament after a big win over Colby. All-time Wesleyan leading scorer Shasha Brown ’13 was named Player of the Week as the season wound down, and seniors (and career 1k scorers) Derick Beresford and Mike Callaghan are pumped up as they head for a showdown at Middlebury College. In their earlier meeting this season, the Cardinals lost a tense overtime game in Vermont. Go Wes!

Men’s ice hockey finishes its season with home and away games against Trinity College. The guys take the ice tonight (Friday) in Middletown at 7:00 pm. The team has had many standout performances (check out frosh goalie Nolan Daley!), and Keith Buehler ’14 was named a semifinalist for the Concannon Award, “given to the top American-born Division II/III Player in New England.”

On the other side of campus there are sure to be standout performances as Mabou Mines brings “Glass Guignol: The Brother and Sister Play” to the CFA Theater Saturday night at 8 pm. The play is conceived and adapted by Lee Breuer and Maude Mitchell. Breuer and Mitchell are an amazing team of theatrical innovators; you can read more about them here.


A “Break” for Getting Work Done

Every year around this time I hear comments from parents and students about the length of winter break. Like most of our peer institutions, Wesleyan begins classes for the second semester around the time of Martin Luther King Day. This year, we start up on the Thursday following the holiday weekend. By that time, many students will be eager to be back on campus, and their parents will be more than ready to help them pack.

But for those on campus, there is anything but a “January break.” As I mentioned in a previous post, Wes athletes are already in stiff competition. On Monday, for example, swimmers were battling Hamilton in the water while the rest of us were side-stepping the melting snow outside. Over the next weeks, staff in Middletown are meeting to plan the rest of the year: developing ideas for new programs, for enhancements to the campus, and for greater efficiencies. It’s a time to make repairs and to dream big. This morning, I met with the whole crew for a second semester “kick-off,” and tomorrow I head out to maintain our fundraising momentum to support our highest priorities: financial aid and academic program endowment. It’s a privilege to ask for support knowing the dedication of the staff and faculty to providing the very best liberal arts education.

I see faculty members in the library, studios, labs and departmental offices busily trying to finish some of their research and their class preparation. Many of our professors have been at professional meetings sharing their scholarship, visiting archives, or just writing one more paper. Others are going over their syllabi to ensure that their students next semester will have access to the best work concerning whatever topic is at hand. Scott Higgins and I are scrambling to finish our Coursera classes, which launch on February 4. We are the first out of the gate in this new venture for Wesleyan. You can check out all the Wes offerings here.

So, there isn’t much of a “break” for faculty and staff at this time of year, and yet we are thinking now about new January programs that would be compelling for students. We’ll be consulting with student groups, faculty and others to figure out how to make future Januaries at Wesleyan even more lively!




Wesleyan Athletes at Work

Baby, it’s cold outside. Here in Middletown the snow and ice make it a good time to head to the gym to see some hot action.

Andrus Field with Snow


Tonight (Friday) the men’s and women’s basketball teams match up against Amherst. The men start at 6 pm, and the women get underway at 8pm. Just in the middle of these contests, the men’s hockey team will face off against Middlebury (at 7 pm). Women’s ice hockey is on the road at Middlebury, coming off a win against New England College on Tuesday night.

Tomorrow all the teams are back in action. Trinity dribbles to the gym for more b-ball, while Williams will skate into the rink for a mid-afternoon match. You can see complete schedules here.

This is a winter break for many, but Wes athletes are working hard! Go Wes!!

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!

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!