And Now, Towards the Finish Line!

As we gather in the wake of spring break, it’s good to remember that many Wesleyans have been busy these past two weeks preparing for the last half of the semester. I know that many seniors working on theses, performances and art projects didn’t get away and have been making progress on substantial pieces of work. Whether they are studying federal regulations in the government department or working to understand personal dis-regulation in psychology, they are combing through data and honing their arguments. Biologists at Wes are closer to their fruit flies than one might think possible, while physicists work with computer scientists and mathematicians on the properties of sensors. These are quite different, thank goodness, from the properties of censors, which very few of our artists have to worry about (I trust). They are making films and dance performances, writing novels and analyzing philosophical texts for ideas that might change the way we look at the world.

All of this is to say that many of us have not been on much of a break at all. Spring sports teams have been busy competing, staff here in Middletown have been preparing the campus for the new season of activities. Writers are writing, readers are reading … You get the picture. 

Speaking of pictures, here’s one of Lola on the first day of spring:

Good luck with the rest of the semester!

Wounding Us All

The heinous attack in a Charleston, South Carolina church last night wounds us all. At a time of intense and conflicting conversations about race, bigotry and the aspiration toward equity and inclusion, a gunman’s attack on a prayer meeting is a brutal reminder that the legacies of racist violence can still be activated to terrorize African-American communities.

Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who were murdered in the Charleston church last night, and all those who are wounded this morning.



I received this message from Pastor Moses Harvill today:

Please join the Cross Street Church on Tuesday, June 23, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. for a Community  Prayer vigil in wake of the tragedy in South Carolina. Please encourage congregations, civic leaders, government officials, Law Enforcement Officers, and families to attend. This event is open to the public.

Cross Street Candlelight Vigil

Support WESU — Community Radio at Wesleyan

One of the great community assets in central Connecticut based at Wesleyan is our radio station, WESU 88.1. This is community radio at its best, with eclectic programing, opportunities for students to work in a great medium, and a mission that makes the station a valuable contributor to the Middletown community. It’s PLEDGE TIME at WESU, and you can help. Station manager Ben Michaels wrote in a recent appeal email:

Once again, I am reaching out again to WESU’s closest friends. Everyone receiving this email is connected to WESU in one way or another. Many of you are already volunteers and/or donors. Others reading this email are musicians, artists, activists, politicians, professors, writers, business people, and civil servants, whose views, art, and ideas have been broadcast throughout the Connecticut River Valley, thanks to the WESU airwaves. The remainder of you perhaps won a concert ticket, music CD, or T-shirt from one of the dozens of giveaways WESU offers each year.  Together, we make up the inner circle of WESU listeners and supporters, people who appreciate this unique approach to radio.

If you have yet to make your contribution, and you find value and meaning in the service that WESU provides to the many communities we serve, we need your support, now!  Every dollar raised will help ensure that we close our fiscal year with a balanced operating budget in addition to completing our 18 month capital campaign for studio upgrades. I hope you will join the relatively small group of people who sustain this unique radio treasure. Please make your donation online or by sending a check to: WESU Radio 45 Broad St 2nd Fl Middletown, CT 06457.

Please help us keep WESU strong! If you have already given, thank you! If not, remember you can also GIVE ONLINE and LISTEN ONLINE !

Saturday Festival at CT River!

The amazing curator/organizer artist and CFA leader Pam Tatge announces a music and art festival at the Connecticut River in Middletown on Saturday, May 9 from noon to 5 p.m. It’s at Harbor Park, Harbor Drive, in Middletown, and it’s FREE!

Here’s the announcement:

Spend an afternoon at Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter, which will feature live music, visual art installations, a kids’ activity zone, environmental education exhibits, plein air painters, a farmer’s market, a craft fair, and much more to bring you closer to the rich culture, history, and science of the Connecticut River.

The festival celebrates the Connecticut River as a source of cultural inspiration and creativity. Admission to the festival is free to the general public. There will be free parking at the Melilli Plaza Municipal Parking Lot, located on Melilli Plaza between Washington Street and Court Street; and at Arcade Parking Lot, located off of Court Street, in Middletown. The festival will be held rain or shine.

For the full schedule of performances and events, a complete list of activities and participating environmental organizations and craft fair vendors, and a festival map, please click here.

Live music will include performances by roots music singer-songwriter Peter Siegel; the acoustic string band Mattabesett String Collective; acoustic indie rock band Honey and the Sting, featuring Gemma Smith ’13, Melanie Hsu ’13, Skip Robinson, Jessica Best ’14, and Sam Long ’12; the folk Americana group Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem featuring Andrew Kinsey, Anand Nayak ’96, and Scott Kessel ’88 MALS ’92; and the sailor music of The Royal Boys, featuring Geoff Kaufman, Craig Edwards ’83, and Dan Spurr on the Main Stage; the youth circus company Circophany’s Circus by Artfarm and Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater; music, yoga, theater, and circus arts with the husband and wife duo Anastasia and Christopher Jankowski; camp singer-songwriter and storyteller Margie Warner; and members of the Middletown High School Band under the direction of Kimberly Everson on the Kid’s Stage.

Kids activities designed for all ages to learn more about the Connecticut River will be organized by Kidcity Children’s Museum, Jonah Center for Earth and Art, Wesleyan University’s Rho Epsilon Pi, and the Middletown High School Crew Team.

Other festival events will include artist Anne Cubberly‘s giant “Water” puppet roaming the festival (from noon to 3 p.m.); drawing and painting boat tours on six-person cata-canoes (departing each half hour from noon to 5 p.m., subject to weather conditions) with Sandbox Arts Collective; a drumming circle organized by The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center (from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.); environmental tours with Wesleyan students; a farmer’s market featuring locally grown and made produce, bread, smoothies, and other delicious goods organized by the North End Action Team; plein air painters organized by the Middletown Art Guild; craft vendors; and installations in the pedestrian tunnel, including sounds by Wesleyan University graduate student Cecilia Lopez and her Buenos Aires-based indie pop band Vigilante Margarita, and artwork by Middletown children.

Food trucks and vendors will include Firedog, Jammed 4 Thyme, Mamoun’s Falafel Cart, Mattabesett Canoe Club, NoRA’s Cupcake Company, Pizza to the People, and Spuds Your Way.

The “Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter” festival was inspired by the Connecticut debut performance by The Nile Project at Wesleyan’s Crowell Concert Hall, which took place on April 10, 2015 and featured a dozen musicians performing collaboratively composed songs drawn from the diverse styles and instruments of the countries along the Nile Basin, including Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, and Uganda.

This event is part of Feet to the Fire, a program of Wesleyan’s Creative Campus Initiative. Partners include The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center, the City of Middletown, Jonah Center for Earth and Art, Kidcity Children’s Museum, Middlesex Community College, Mattabesett Canoe Club, Middletown Garden Club, Middlesex County Historical Society, Middletown Public Schools, and Oddfellows Playhouse.

Made possible by the State of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development’s Arts Catalyze Placemaking program, the City of Middletown and the Middletown Commission on the Arts, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Wesleyan University’s Green Fund.

Cathy Lechowicz Day!

Cathy Lechowicz, right, displaying her award with William Dyson, chairman of the Connecticut Commission on Community Service, and Jane Ciarleglio, executive director of the commission.
Cathy Lechowicz, right, displaying her award with William Dyson, chairman of the Connecticut Commission on Community Service, and Jane Ciarleglio, executive director of the commission.

Mayor Dan Drew proclaimed Tuesday, April 28 Cathy Lechowicz Day in Middletown! Many Wesleyan students, staff and faculty make enormous contributions to Middletown, and so it’s wonderful to see one of our colleagues recognized for her profound dedication to the community. Recently, the Connecticut Commission on Community Service and the Office of Higher Education announced the recipients of the 2015 Community Service Awards, and Cathy Lechowicz was singled out for her great work.

In a letter nominating Lechowicz for the honor, Rob Rosenthal, director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, pointed to her work with the Center for Prison Education and the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center.

Under Cathy’s direction, the Center for Prison Education “has flourished,” he wrote.

“The Center now provides a program in the women’s prison at York as well as the men’s prison at Cheshire. In the 2013-14 school year, 54 students were taking classes. Over 20 professors (mainly Wesleyan, but others as well) have taught classes ranging from Molecular Biology to Political Philosophy, and always at the same level as they teach these classes to their undergraduate students. Additionally, over 130 Wesleyan undergraduates have served as teaching assistants, writing tutors, research interns, and workshop facilitators. Finally, the Center has been extremely successful securing funding.”

Rob also wrote of Lechowicz’ achievements at Green Street.

“In three years, Cathy has achieved incredible results: Wesleyan’s financial contribution has been cut almost in half, total visitors have more than doubled, student involvement has more than doubled, and faculty involvement has tripled.”

Campus Update

The following message is being distributed to our campus community and current parents via email.

Dear friends,

This evening Middletown Police arrested four Wesleyan students as a result of an investigation into the drug-related hospitalizations over the weekend.  The University immediately suspended the students pending a formal hearing. We take very seriously allegations concerning the distribution of dangerous drugs, and the University will continue to cooperate with state and local officials. We will do everything we can to make our community as safe as possible.

We are relieved to know that all but two of the students hospitalized over the weekend have been released and are doing much better. And I am pleased to report that the two students who remain at Hartford Hospital have made progress. We continue to be hopeful about their recovery, and we ask you to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

We are a community that values freedom. None of us want to see arrests on our campus, but even less do we want to see ambulances rushing from our residences with students whose lives are in danger.

Our community has been reminded these last few days of our fragility but also of our resiliency – of our fears but also of our care for one another.

Wesleyan is an extraordinary place of exuberant self-discovery and compassionate solidarity. May we continue to find joyful inspiration in a community that looks out for the well-being of all of its members.


Yours truly,

Michael Roth


SNOW! University Closed Tuesday, January 27th

Earlier today the university sent out the following announcement to the campus community:

Due to the expected arrival of a major storm, the University will close at 6 p.m. today and remain closed tomorrow. The University will not reopen until Wednesday morning. All classes and events are cancelled from 6 p.m. today until Wednesday morning. Only essential personnel should report for work.
Tomorrow at 4 p.m. we will make another announcement about when on Wednesday the University will reopen.
By 6 p.m. today, most faculty/staff parking lots will close. Faculty and staff who have permits to park in these lots and who would like to remain on campus beyond the closing time, are asked to relocate their vehicles to the V Lot on Vine Street or to the 56 Hamlin Street parking lot (former Physical Plant building).  Faculty and staff who are traveling out of town should park in the Vine Street parking lot as a courtesy to colleagues. Faculty and staff may call Public Safety for a ride to and from the Vine Street lot at night if necessary.

An email addressing faculty concerns is forthcoming from Academic Affairs. Dean Mike Whaley will send an email presently to students about food service and other matters.
Please call Public Safety for help with storm-related matters, (860) 685-2345. For emergencies, call (860) 685-3333.

Stay safe and warm!


Year End Thanks

Dear friends,

As 2014 comes to a close, I want to express my gratitude for all the contributions to our extraordinary university. Students, alumni, their families, staff, and faculty – we all learn from one another, teach one another. There have been more than a few challenges over the last twelve months, and many, many achievements. In a world of tension and acrimony, our community has modeled the aspiration for greater inclusion, equity, creativity and purpose. There is much work to be done, and we will do it together. The boldness, rigor and practical idealism of a Wesleyan education are evident in the talent, dedication and compassion of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff. THIS IS WHY we face the future with such hope and such confidence.

With thanks, I wish you and yours health, peace, and love in 2015.

Black Lives Matter March

We are preparing for finals, writing exams, grading them…. These are important things. But all around the country people are speaking out against the outrageous injustices that people of color face on a regular basis. We must acknowledge these issues. The time to speak out is now.

The following notice appeared on the faculty list-serve tonight.

On Monday, December 8th, at 3 pm, students of Wesleyan University will be marching in response to the police brutality and systemic racism that led to the deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and countless other people of color in recent times. The state must be held accountable for the prejudicial treatment of these individuals. Our movement must start from the ground-up. I am emailing you to ask for your support and solidarity, and invite you to march alongside us students for this cause. We will be gathering at Exley Science Center at 265 Church St.

At Wesleyan we affirm that we are an institution that values boldness, rigor and practical idealism. One doesn’t have to be an idealist to recognize that change is necessary, and that we must demand it.

Join us. This is Why.