In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni.
Wesleyan in the News
1. Where We Live: “The Life and Legacy of American Composer Charles Ives”
Neely Bruce, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, is a guest on this show about the legacy of composer Charles Ives. Bruce is the only pianist who has ever played all of the Ives music for solo voice, in a project called the Ives Vocal Marathon, which took place at Wesleyan in 2009. He is also the co-editor of a new collection of Ives songs, a former member of the board of the Charles Ives Society, and the chair of the Artistic Advisory Committee of the society.
2. The New York Times: “Don’t Dismiss ‘Safe Spaces'”
In this op-ed, President Michael Roth argues that while “safe spaces” can be taken too far on college campuses, the much-maligned concept actually “underlies the university’s primary obligations” to its students. He advocates for creating “safe enough spaces,” which “promote a basic sense of inclusion and respect that enables students to learn and grow—to be open to ideas and perspectives so that the differences they encounter are educative.” Roth further explores this topic and many others in his new book, Safe Enough Spaces: A Pragmatist’s Approach to Inclusion, Free Speech, and Political Correctness on College Campuses. He was interviewed recently about the book on several radio shows, including The Jim Bohannon Show, The Brian Lehrer Show, WGBH On Campus Radio, and Wisconsin Public Radio, among others, and published op-eds in the Boston Globe and The Atlantic.
3. Hollywood Reporter: “The Top 25 American Film Schools, Ranked”
Wesleyan is featured in this article on top film schools, which highlights Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, Emerita, Jeanine Basinger and many of the University’s successful graduates in the entertainment industry, as well as ongoing construction to expand the Center for Film Studies. Forbes also recently featured Wesleyan in its article on “The 15 Top Colleges With The Most Hollywood Stars.”
4. Bloomberg Government: “Mystery Group Puts $13 Million Into Ads on Surprise Health Bills”
Erika Franklin Fowler, associate professor of government and director of the Wesleyan Media Project, is quoted in this article on a “shadowy group” that is spending lavishly in states with vulnerable senators in opposition to proposed legislation that would reign in unexpected medical bills. “Ads like these with large budgets behind them effectively serve as a warning that even more money could be used to unseat the legislator if they vote the opposite way,” said Fowler.
5. The Creative Mind: “Motherhood and Creative Work”
Amy Bloom ’75, the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing, shares how she balanced writing and motherhood when her children were young.
As climate change causes powerful hurricanes like Dorian to increasingly stall over coastal areas, exacerbating the damage they cause, Gary Yohe, the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, emeritus, writes about the mind-boggling financial cost of climate change.
Alumni in the News
1. WBUR.org: On Point: “What The Future Holds for Labor Unions”
Meghna Chakrabarti, host of this Boston-based public radio program, welcomes Steven Greenhouse ’73, P’08 to discuss the future of unions. He is the author of Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor, and was a reporter at The New York Times for 31 years, covering labor and the workplace for 19 years. The site offers an excerpt from the book, published by Knopf on August 6, 2019.
2. Pasadena Now: “Women in STEM: Five Female Role Models”
The article, courtesy of Stratford School Altadena, begins, “There’s a rich history of women in STEM who have changed the world, honored for their achievements in science, technology, engineering, and math. Inspiring figures like Marie Curie, Countess Ada Lovelace, Mae Jemison, Dr. Jane Goodall, Florence Nightingale, and many more rightly hold pop culture titles of ‘greatest women in STEM’ or ‘women who changed the world.’ Yet today, we’re celebrating five modern women who are influencing the STEM world now.” Environmental activist and founder of Sustainable South Bronx Majora Carter ’88, Hon. ’13 is included in this list.
3. The New Yorker: Toni Morrison [Hon. ’83], Remembered By Writers
“My first experience with Morrison was through The Bluest Eye, back when I was a student at Wesleyan University, in the late nineteen-eighties. I had never read a novel like it, and the vision it gave me—not just of Pecola’s life but of her world, made of white standards of beauty—reoriented me in time and space,” wrote author Alexander Chee ’89 to begin his homage to Morrison in this collection.
4. The New York Times: Remembering Hal Prince: 12 Broadway Luminaries Share Their Stories
Thomas Kail ’99 recalls the longtime director and producer: “I had the great luck to become pals with him in early 2015. . . . I told him I once heard a quote of his, which I promptly blurted out . . . ‘It is days like these when I’m sure I’ll live forever, and it is opening nights that I remember that eventually I will die.’ I told him it made me weep when I’d read it.” Kail further recounts Prince’s reaction to his memory in the piece that also includes recollections from Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim, Patti LuPone, and others.
5. Wave Farm WGXC 90.7: WGXC Afternoon Show: Henry Klimowicz, Melissa Stern [’80 P’17] (audio)
“The guest during the second hour is artist Melissa Stern. Stern works across many media, including painting, sculpture, drawing, and graphics. The conversation will focus on Stern’s traveling show, The Talking Cure, and the recent, Strange Girls.” A link offers the audio of their hour-long lively conversation. (Note: Julie Burstein ’80 wrote about Stern and The Talking Cure in the 2013 article “Off Balance Art” for Wesleyan; Avery Kaplan ’20 wrote about Stern’s “Strange Girls as a State of Being” for the Connection.)