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Reblogged from: Special Collections & Archives at Wesleyan University. (Go to the original post…)


The new SC&A exhibition, “A Stellar Education: Astronomy at Wesleyan, 1831-1916,” is now open. It explores the study of astronomy at Wesleyan from the University’s founding in 1831 through the construction of Van Vleck Observatory in 1916, which celebrates its centennial this year. Items on display include atlases, textbooks, photographs, an original Henry Bacon Van Vleck Observatory architectural drawing, and more. The exhibition is held in conjunction with a number of other Van Vleck Observatory celebratory events sponsored by the Department of Astronomy. More details about the events can be found here: http://www.wesleyan.edu/observatory/centennial.html

Reblogged from: Class of 2016. (Go to the original post…)

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This semester 35 students and 7 faculty took part in the spring intensive pilot program where they enrolled in/taught one course at a time within four 3-week periods.Come view student projects and interact with students and faculty participating in the spring intensive at our end of semester open house.  

When: Monday, May 9, 12:00 to 2:00
Where: Exley 189 (24/7 study room)

Made to order smoothies will be catered by Middletown’s own Raw Youniverse.

Reblogged from: Class of 2017. (Go to the original post…)

Spring Intensive Open House

This semester 35 students and 7 faculty took part in the spring intensive pilot program where they enrolled in/taught one course at a time within four 3-week periods. Come view student projects and interact with students and faculty participating in the spring intensive at our end of semester open house.  

When: Monday, May 9, 12:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Where: Exley 189 (24/7 study room)

Made-to-order smoothies will be catered by Middletown’s own Raw Youniverse.


Reblogged from: Wesleyan Photo. (Go to the original post…)

The Theater Department presented “Wes Out-Loud: Stories of Place” April 28-May 1 on campus.

“Wes Out-Loud: Stories of Place” is a site-specific auditory journey conceived and created for the Wesleyan campus through a collaboration between theater students and Assistant Professor of Theater Marcela Oteíza. “Wes Out-Loud” invited the audience to experience Wesleyan as a scenographic space by inserting new narratives into everyday sites.

The juxtaposition of place and stories presented the richness and diversity of the students on campus and promoted inclusiveness.

Audience members wore wireless headsets to listen to the recorded stories of place created for each site. The performance, led by Wesleyan students, covered a one-and-a-half mile loop through campus. Read more: http://newsletter.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2016/04/29/wesoutloud/

Reblogged from: Wesleyan Photo. (Go to the original post…)

The Neuroscience and Behavior (NSB) Program hosted their third annual undergraduate research symposium April 29 in Daniel Family Commons. Senior thesis writers delivered 10-minute scientific presentations during a dinner with fellow NSB students and faculty. Students also showcased their finest scientific projects during a research poster session. 

Reblogged from: Class of 2016. (Go to the original post…)

Congratulations—you will soon be a Wesleyan alum! As you prepare for your departure from campus, I want to invite you to become an ambassador for Wesleyan and join the ranks of WAAV (Wesleyan Alumni Admission Volunteers). WAAV activities include representing Wesleyan at college fairs, conducting interviews with prospective students, attending admission receptions, and acting as a local contact for interested prospective students and their families. What better way to keep your positive memories of Wesleyan alive than by making a contribution to the next generation of Wesleyan students?

The primary activities for WAAV are representing Wesleyan at college fairs around the country and abroad and conducting interviews with prospective students.  For the alumni interview process, prospective students request an alumni interview via our website. Each WAAV member has a portal where they can view any students who have requested interviews, as well as keep track of those interviews you have “claimed” and completed. The two parties decide on the meeting place and time, and then engage in a conversation that typically lasts around 30-40 minutes. Once the interview is completed, the WAAV goes to their portal and submits the evaluation for that interviewee. For more information about the WAAV portal, you can check out our WAAV blog

Alumni support in the admission process is a critical component in our efforts to attract the strongest candidates from across the country.  Don’t worry if you don’t know where you’ll be permanently next year—just sign up now and you can easily update us once you’re settled.  We look forward to adding members of the Class of 2016 to our community of nearly 700 admission volunteers!  This is a great way to give back to Wesleyan that doesn’t cost you anything. Feel free to visit the WAAV website to learn more. 

If you would like to become a WAAV member, please complete the sign-up form at: http://goo.gl/forms/CAE7GiBHjb

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at acorvi@wesleyan.edu or (860) 685-2462, or Karen O’Leary, WAAV Assistant, at kmoleary@wesleyan.edu or at (860) 685-2987.

Again, congratulations on your upcoming graduation, and I wish you a successful transition to the next stage of your life!


Ashleigh M. Corvi ‘13
Assistant Dean of Admission & Financial Aid
Wesleyan University
Stewart M. Reid House
70 Wyllys Ave, Middletown CT 06459
O: (860)685.2462

Reblogged from: ENGAGE – Wesleyan University. (Go to the original post…)

The Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life supports the integration of academic study and civic engagement through service-learning courses, the nonprofit board residency program, the collaborative cluster, academic fellowships, and the engaged scholarship of faculty. But this work is happening outside of Allbritton, too! For this post, I collected stories from a few students who are leading their own civically-engaged student forums this semester. 

Let’s Get Ready

unnamedThis semester I’m leading a forum called Let’s Get Ready about the achievement gap and educational inequality. Participants in the forum attend a weekly hour-long meeting in which we discuss contemporary issues in education. Then, they tutor local high school students for three-hours a week; the tutors help the high schoolers develop their Common Application essay, apply to colleges, and study for the SAT. In this way, the Wesleyan forum participants actually help increase college access opportunities, while learning about the larger context of the U.S. education system. – Jenna Shapiro

Mass Incarceration in the United States

The student forum I am leading with Liza Bayless (Mass Incarceration in the US) offers a general overview of the topic. Throughout the course, we have explored diverse issues such as women’s prisons, the school-to-prison pipeline, the prison industrial complex, dynamics between staff and inmates, mental health in prisons, prison abolitionism, movements to reform prisons and to reduce recidivism, and immigrant detention. We have been fortunate to have several speakers come to our class, including Craig Gore, a former Center for Prison Education student who has recently been released from Cheshire Correctional Institution, representatives from the Malta Justice Initiative, a faith-based prison reform organization in Connecticut, Linda Lentini and Robin Cullen, two formerly incarcerated women who do trauma therapy in York Correctional Institution, the only women’s prison in Connecticut, and Lori Gruen, a Wesleyan philosophy professor who teaches at CPE. As part of the course, students wrote op-eds about a topic of their choice (a few have appeared in campus publications) and will complete a final project. Some of these projects include writing informational zenes, bringing lecturers to our class, and engaging in activism around prison issues on campus.-Emily Greenspan

Homelessness in Middletown

The course Homelessness in Middletown attempted to engage with the Middletown community in a way that students aren’t normally asked to. We talked about the systemic reasons that homelessness exists as well as some specifics about homelessness in Middletown. The course provided a space for students to reflect on these ideas and encouraged to them think more critically about how they participate in the Middletown community. The course also involved rotating visits to the Writer’s Block that happens at St. Vincent dePaul and a visit to the Warming Center one night. The course examined the ways the Wesleyan campus creates boundaries between itself and the rest of Middletown. – Yael Horowitz

Reblogged from: The WesPress Blog. (Go to the original post…)


Dedicated June 16, 1916, Van Vleck Observatory celebrates its centennial this year. For one-hundred years the observatory has inspired young astronomers and others in the Wesleyan community.

In 1960, John Cage came to Wesleyan as a visiting professor in the Center for Advanced Studies. While exploring Wesleyan’s campus, Cage discovered the observatory’s Van Vleck Library. Bill Jefferys (Emeritus Professor of Astronomy, UT-Austin) was a junior at Wesleyan, working at the observatory, when Cage visited, searching for star charts to guide his music, a new experiment in composition. Bill presented Cage with Antonín Bečvář’s Atlas Eclipticalis, one of few astronomy books printed entirely in color at the time. The book inspired “Atlas Eclipticalis,” a composition that relies on the placement of stars within constellations, rather than the orthodox implementation of musical notes. Using a transparent music staff, Cage composed this piece, basing each note’s sound upon the size and color of the stars which landed on the staff. Greater detail of the piece’s creation can be found in the series of Selected Letters of John Cage edited by Laura Kuhn.

“Atlas Eclipticalis” has become an iconic piece of music, raising questions of improvisation and musical ownership. The piece will be formed today, May 1, as part of a concert in celebration of the Van Vleck Oberservatory’s 100th anniversary.


In his own words, here is Bill Jefferys’ story of his encounters with John Cage:

I was aware that John Cage was at Wesleyan, in the Honors College, that year. I would have been a junior in 1960–61, and I had some duties in the Van Vleck library, probably making sure that books left around got back to the right place on the shelf…I was the only astronomy major during my years at Wesleyan (1958–62). I happened to be in the library when John Cage wandered in, looking for star charts to use in his music. His idea was that you could put a transparent music staff randomly on the chart, which would make potential notes become real notes, indicated by where the stars happened to be at that point. I was aware that Bečvar’s Atlas Eclipticalis had just been printed…we had recently received a copy. Unlike most star charts of the time, this book was in full color…stars had their colors indicated by the color in the chart and of course the size of the image indicated the magnitude. Also, nebulae were indicated in green. I showed this to Cage, whose eyes lit up as I think it was a lot more than he expected. I helped him check it out, and he took it down to the Honors College to work in his piece.

A year or two later, I forget which, I learned from the late David McAllester, who had been one of my favorite professors at Wesleyan, if not the favorite, that the US premier of Atlas Eclipticalis was to be presented at what was then Connecticut College for Women (now just Connecticut College, I believe). David invited me to go along with him and his wife Susan to attend this event, which I did. Susan brought along a very large shelf fungus that she had collected at their place in the Berkshires (Monterey, MA), and presented it to Cage prior to the performance. Cage was delighted as he was a very good amateur mycologist. The performance was the music for a dance performance by Merce Cunningham, Cage’s longtime companion and lover, and his troupe. Cunningham was dressed as a chicken, I believe. The whole affair was quite amusing.

Cage had a custom of dedicating parts of his compositions to friends and colleagues; There was a part dedicated to David and Susan McAllester, for example, and also to the chair of the music department at the time, whose name escapes me. Some years later I wrote to Cage and reminded him about how he came by the Atlas Eclipticalis. In return he wrote me a letter (which is somewhere in the attic) in which he dedicated the Second Bassoon part to me. This may well have been one of Cage’s jokes, as there may not actually be a Second Bassoon part! I don’t know, but I’ve always been amused by the notion.

My favorite mycology story about Cage is from Silence: He had taken a course on mushroom identification at the New School, and the professor took the class out for a field trip. One of the students brought a mushroom to him, which the professor identified as such-and-such a species (I forget the name, but it is in the book and on the recording). The professor declared it “edible.” Cage, however, thought it was a different, and possibly poisonous species. Cage reports that this put him in a dilemma: Should he keep silent, and perhaps be responsible for a student poisoning himself, or should he speak up? He spoke up, and the professor said, well, let’s key it off. Which they did, and it turned out that Cage was right. After the field trip, the professor took Cage aside and asked him, how come, since he seemed to know so much about mushrooms, he was taking the course? Cage responded that there was a lot that he didn’t know. Cage then asked the professor why he had made a mistake in identifying that mushroom. The professor responded, “My specialty is the jelly fungi; I just give the fleshy fungi a whirl.”

So, that summarizes what I know about the origins of Atlas Eclipticalis and the relation to Cage’s Wesleyan visit.

New from Wesleyan:

Cage - Silence for catalog R-72-3 KlostyDropShadow-R-72-3 Cage_Selected featured image

Also available:
MUSICAGE: Cage Muses on Words






Reblogged from: The WesPress Blog. (Go to the original post…)

When asked about his favorite poem, Michael Rothenburg replied with “Hymnus Ad Patrem Sinensis” by Philip Whalen from The Collected Poems of Philip Whalen.

Hymnus Ad Patrem Sinensis

I praise those ancient Chinamen
Who left me a few words,
Usually a pointless joke or a silly question
A line of poetry drunkenly scrawled on the margin of a quick
splashed picture—bug, leaf,
caricature of Teacher
on paper held together now by little more than ink
& their own strength brushed momentarily over it

Their world & several others since
Gone to hell in a handbasket, they knew it—
Cheered as it whizzed by—
& conked out among the busted spring rain cherryblossom winejars
Happy to have saved us all.

“Hymnus Ad Patrem Sinensis” is often cited as one of Whalen’s greatest poems. It is certainly the most anthologized. It reminds us of impermanence and lineage, the debt we owe to the poets who preceded us and inspired us with their work, poets who showed us generosity in their teachings. It also suggests that we should not take ourselves too seriously.

Michael Rothenberg


Whalen Cover

Philip Whalen (1923–2002) was an influential Beat poet and the author of dozens of books of novels and poetry, including On Bear’s Head, The Diamond Noodle, and Overtime. Michael Rothenberg is one of the literary executors of Whalen’s estate, and the editor of www.bigbridge.org. Also the editor of major volumes of selected poetry by Joanne Kyger, David Meltzer, and Edward Dorn, he lives north of San Francisco.


Be sure to check out our new poetry!


Common Sense (Ted Greenwald)

Age of Reasons: Uncollected Poems 1969–1982 (Ted Greenwald)

Azure: Poems and Selections from the “Livre” (Stéphane Mallarmé)

Fauxhawk (Ben Doller)

Scarecrow (Robert Fernandez)

The Book of Landings (Mark McMorris)

A Sulfur Anthology (edited by Clayton Eshleman)

Reblogged from: Class of 2016. (Go to the original post…)

The Cap and Gown Loaner Program is designed to assist students who are unable to purchase a cap and gown set for Commencement.  Priority is given to aid-eligible students. It should be noted that supplies are limited, and certain sizes may not be available.

Any student who did not pre-register for a cap and gown loaner program can stop by the Usdan Administration office beginning Tuesday, May 3, at 9am to find out if any caps and gowns are still available.

A $40 cash deposit is required and will be refunded immediately upon return of the cap and gown.

The program ends on Wednesday, May 4, at 3pm.

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