Inauguration Events Key Part of Homecoming/ Family Weekend

Janice Astor del Valle, left, director of the Green Street Arts Center, listens to Sonia BasSheva Manjon, director of the Center for Art and Public Life at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, speak on “Building Bridges between University and Community” during a Inauguration  Event Nov. 2 in Memorial Chapel. Manjon and del Valle each spoke on how their arts center has helped their local communities.
Posted 11/05/07
One of Michael Roth’s predominant themes during his inauguration, as well as his professional life, has been “Liberal Education and Public Life.” This theme was reflected in several special Inaugural Evenst during Homecoming/Family Weekend.

The presentations began before the inauguration ceremony itself with a WESeminar titled “Building Bridges Between University and Community” which was held on Friday morning. The presentation brought together Sonia BasSheva Manjon, executive director of the Center for Art and Public Life at Roth’s former institution, the California College for the Arts, in Oakland and San Francisco, Calif., and Janis Astor del Valle, director of the Green Street Arts Center in Middletown.

The presentation detailed how both organizations provide a unique mix of art and arts programming for the community and a high level of public service, which has been quite successful in both cases. More of a challenge has been teaching students, faculty and others about the value and need of art in society, and how to combine these needs with arts and service education. Both presenters were frank in their comments, indicating that this is not an easy task at any level.

An inauguration-linked benefit reception and dinner was also held for the Green Street Arts Center (GSAC) Nov. 3 featuring cabaret signer Andrea Marcovicci. A veteran of the Broadway stage, Marcovicci continues to tour her numerous, critically-acclaimed cabaret shows, including “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “Love Songs of WWWII,” and “Marcovicci sings Rodgers and Hart.” The event raised more than $43,000 for GSAC scholarships.

Also Nov. 3, a WESeminar titled “Thoughts on the History of Lesbian/Gay/Queer Activism at Wesleyan University” was presented by Henry Ablelove, Wilbur Fisk Osbourne Professor of English Literature. Ablelove was a mentor of Roth’s during and after his Wesleyan undergraduate years, spoke of lesbian/gay/queer activism on Wesleyan’s campus from the 80s until today, discussing benefits, consequences and unintended outcomes.

On Nov. 4, the final inauguration event, “Stories and Lessons from the Climate Wars, and featured Gary Yohe, Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics. Yohe is also a senior member and lead author of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which was a co-recipient if the Nobel Peace Prize this year. Yohe spoke about his experiences on the committee, some of the battles they fight with each other, and the newsmedia, over the veracity of certain climate change data, papers and scientific reports. He also detailed some of the difficulties inherent in a committee that comprises almost 2,000 scientists and represents more than 130 national governments.

By David Pesci, director of Media Relations. Photo by Olivia Drake.