Eastern Cuts the Ribbon to Formally Open Fine Arts Center

Left to right: Music Professor David Belles; Art History Professor Anne Dawson; Windham Mayor Ernie Eldridge, Yvette Melendez, vice-chair of the Board of Regents; Douglas Johnston of William Rawn & Associates (architects); Dr. Nunez; Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities; Robert Pulito of SLAM Collaborative (architects); Pasquale Salemi, deputy commissioner of DCS; SGA President Justin Ahern; State Sen. Mae Flexer, and State Rep. Susan Johnson.

Left to right: Music Professor David Belles; Art History Professor Anne Dawson; Windham Mayor Ernie Eldridge, Yvette Melendez, vice-chair of the Board of Regents; Douglas Johnston of William Rawn & Associates (architects); Dr. Nunez; Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities; Robert Pulito of SLAM Collaborative (architects); Pasquale Salemi, deputy commissioner of DCS; SGA President Justin Ahern; State Sen. Mae Flexer, and State Rep. Susan Johnson.

On April 5, Eastern President Elsa Núñez led the formal opening of Eastern’s new Fine Arts Instructional Center (FAIC) with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony. Núñez was joined by Windham Mayor Ernie Eldridge; Yvette Meléndez, vice-chair of the Board of Regents for Higher Education; Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System; Pasquale Salemi, deputy commissioner of the Division of Construction Services in the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services; and other state and local dignitaries, as well as an audience of more than 125 Eastern students, faculty and staff.

Núñez noted the “transformational impact of art” in our lives, characterizing art as a “vehicle for change.” She said that the building was the last piece of the campus Master Plan developed by former President David Carter, and thanked the faculty in the Art & Art History and Performing Arts Departments for their patience in waiting for the building, which was delayed a number of times over the years due to budgetary constraints and other campus needs.

Mayor Eldridge, whose sisters and wife attended Eastern, applauded the University’s intention of making events in the new facility available to the local community, and said, “Eastern’s commitment to our community has never wavered. Whatever Eastern builds, builds Willimantic.”

Art History Professor Anne Dawson said that the new facility was being well received by students. “We have seen an immediate impact on our students. They simply couldn’t believe they were actually going to be able to work in this beautiful building. They feel valued and respected.  And I see great, renewed energy among my own students. Some tell me this is why they came to Eastern. Another student told me that this building adds a level of professionalism to her college experience that she hadn’t thought possible. We are very grateful to be working inside a work of art.”

David Belles, vocal studies director and music professor, said his students also were in awe of the new arts center. He also quoted one of his students, who said the new facility “reflects how important and vital the arts are considered at Eastern.”

World Class Scientist Plays Piano in Unique Lecture

Liu and TarchiniEdison Liu, president and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) and an accomplished jazz pianist, visited Eastern on April 11, to lecture and perform in a presentation titled “The Interconnection between Science and Creativity.” Liu was accompanied by fellow JAX researcher Basile Tarchini, who plays the double bass. The lecture/performance took place in the Choral Rehearsal Room of the new Fine Arts Instructional Center.

The two scientists opened with a delicate jazz rendition of the classic Liu speakingsong “Over the Rainbow.” After the final note, Liu rose from his seat and said, “Often the public thinks that if you’re a scientist, you’re hardnosed and purely logical, and that if you’re an artist, you’re aesthetic and illogical.” He went on to explain that the processes of art and science are very much the same. “Both tell a story, and creativity is a fundamental element. Creativity is hardwired in us as humans,” he said, suggesting that people from the two camps merely have different ways of expressing their creativity.

While Liu is a renowned researcher focusing on genomics and cancer, he is also an adept composer, and explained that writing a piece of music is similar to scientific experimentation. He and Tarchini played two of his original pieces. “Each part is composed separately and then pieced together,” he explained. “Through trial and error, they are stitched into some narrative form.” He added, “There’s no artist or scientist who’s any good who hasn’t failed.”

“The Snail Darter and the Dam” Author Speaks

Snail darter speakerZygmunt J. B Plater, author of “The Snail Darter and the Dam: How Pork Barrel Politics Endangered A Little Fish and Killed a River,” spoke at Eastern on April 1 about his book and the historic Supreme Court case on which it’s based.

Plater, now a distinguished law professor at Boston College, was the lead attorney in the fight to save the Little Tennessee River. Accompanied by students, lawyers and activists, he managed to temporarily halt the construction of a federal dam project by invoking the Endangered Species Act. The building of the Tellico dam would not only have flooded 330 farms, but would have forced the snail darter, a one-and-a-half inch fish into extinction.

Plater discussed the story behind the court case of 1978, “TennesseePlater Snail and Dam book cover Valley Authority v. Hill,” describing how a small group of individuals who lacked financial and political support worked their way to the Supreme Court and caused a major halt to the hydroelectric dam project.

With an endangered species at risk, Plater was able to build a strong case against TVA and the Tellico Dam. “Everything is connected to everything else, the snail darter was connected to the river, which connected to the farmers,” said Plater. “Since only the snail darter got public attention, we lost the case, leading to a loss of 330 family farms and the near extinction of the fish.”

Eastern Celebrates Sustainability

ISE Members showcase the importance of sustainability to Eastern community.

ISE Members showcase the importance of sustainability to Eastern community.

Eastern Connecticut State University’s Institute of Sustainable Energy hosted a booth celebrating sustainability in the Student Center on April 12. Faculty, staff and students were invited to stop by and learn about sustainability via a PowerPoint presentation and videos on on-campus recycling. “We wanted to show students the importance of living a sustainable lifestyle,” said Jenna Lafleur, university assistant. “We gave individuals who passed by the opportunity to take the pledge to live with greater attention to our impact on energy and the environment for now and for years to come.” Students were able to take a photo in Eastern Celebrates selfie frames as well as catch a preview of the Eastern Sustainability t-shirts, which are being sold in the bookstore.

Eastern Students and Faculty attend CSU Making History Conference

Eastern Attendees at the 2016 Making History conference. From L to R, back to front: Professor Ania Kirchmann; Jacqueline Ray; Sabrina Bell; Professor Joan Meznar; Sabreena Croteau; Chris Morris; Carl Krauss; Professor Thomas Balcerski; History alum Jared Leitzel; Sara Dean; Bethany Marion; Alexa Potter; and History alum Bethany Niebanck.

Eastern Attendees at the 2016 Making History conference. From L to R, back to front: Professor Ania Kirchmann; Jacqueline Ray; Sabrina Bell; Professor Joan Meznar; Sabreena Croteau; Chris Morris; Carl Krauss; Professor Thomas Balcerski; History alum Jared Leitzel; Sara Dean; Bethany Marion; Alexa Potter; and History alum Bethany Niebanck.

On March 11, a group of Eastern Connecticut State University history students and faculty members attended and presented research at the second annual CSU “Making History” conference at Central Connecticut State University. Student presenters included Sabreena Croteau ’16, Jacqueline Ray ’17, Bethany Marion ’17, Carl Krauss ’16 and Christopher Morris ’17.

The students were accompanied by History Professor and Department Chair Anna Kirchmann and Professors Joan Meznar and Thomas Balcerski. Meznar’s presentation was titled “Religion and the Abolition of Slavery in Brazil,” while Balcerski’s research was “Beards, Bachelors and Brides: The Surprisingly Spicy Politics of the Presidential Election of 1856.”

“The ‘Making History’ conference brings together both faculty and students in the four CSU departments,” said Kirchmann. “By facilitating the exchange of academic knowledge, it helps us to get to know each other better. This year’s conference was a great event and allowed our students to experience a professional conference first-hand. All of our presenters did a fantastic job and I am very proud of them.”

Faculty Scholarship!

Trawick-Smith Discusses Understanding Cultural Diversity in Children.

early childhood cover.jpgFor many decades, educators and society in general believed that all children develop in a similar way, based on research mainly conducted with white middle-class children enrolled in university lab schools. During his presentation at the Faculty Dialogue Series on April 6, Jeffrey Trawick Smith, Eastern’s Phyllis Waite Endowed Chair of Early Childhood Education, noted that new studies have shown that child development varies considerably across cultures.

“It has required that scholars and professionals rethink some of our longest-held beliefs about how children grow up,” said Trawick-Smith. In his presentation, he shared evidence of how attachment, autonomy, play, social interactions and self-esteem all can vary, depending on culture, socioeconomic status, family beliefs and socialization practices.

Villanueva Presents on “New World” Wine Producers.

On April 6 as part of the Faculty Scholars Series, Sociology ProfessorVillanueva Book Cover Emiliano Villanueva presented his research on world wines to faculty, staff and administrators. Villanueva’s research looks at the evolution of the world wine industry in the period 1961-2005 and pays special attention to the appearance of non-traditional producing and exporting countries of wine from the beginning of the ’90s. He shows that the success of these new producing and exporting countries can be explained by the importance of the demand from non-producing countries with little or no tradition of wine consumption (Scandinavia, Great Britain, Japan and Russia).

Villanueva has presented this research in nearly a dozen different international conferences, and his contribution to the Spanish book “La Economía del Vino en España y el Mundo” (“The Economy of Wine in Spain and the World”) won the OIV (International Wine Organization) Award for Excellence in Research 2015.

And Vietnamese Makes an Even Dozen!  
Wynn Book in Vietnamese 2Two of Chemistry Wynn Book in VietnameseProfessor Charles M. Wynn’s books, “The Five Biggest Ideas in Science” and “The Five Biggest Unsolved Problems in Science,” are now available in Vietnamese from Long Minh Publishers in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).  This makes an even dozen languages into which his books have been translated.

Torockio Publishes New Novel.
 
Torockio Book CoverEnglish Professor Christopher Torockio read from and signed copies of his new novel, “The Soul Hunters,” on April 5 in the Student Center Theater. The book has been praised by literary critics.

“The Soul Hunters took me entirely out of my own life and then very artfully led me back into it,” said Richard Bausch, author of “Before, During, After.” “This writer’s way with time and with people in time, through the window of a single day and night, is as involving as it is by turns moving and funny, too. The compression of incident and emotion, and the psychology of this family, these sons and their lost father, had me from the start. One lives in this book; one’s sense of felt life is enhanced without quite seeing how it is brought off. A magic show, the thing first-rate fiction always provides.”

Torockio also is author of the novel, “Floating Holidays,” and the story collections “The Truth at Daybreak” and “Presence.” His fiction has appeared in “Ploughshares,” “The Gettysburg Review,” “The Iowa Review,” “The Antioch Review,” “Willow Springs,” “Colorado Review,” “New Orleans Review” and other publications.

Bowlathon a Huge Success!

Thanks to generous donations from Eastern faculty and staff, 42 Eastern students, including Eastern’s Men’s Soccer Team, and students from Windham Middle School were able to come togethter for a mentoring activity at the Bowlathon on March 5.

Thanks to generous donations from Eastern faculty and staff, 42 Eastern students, including Eastern’s Men’s Soccer Team, students from Windham Middle School were able to come together for a mentoring activity at the Bowlathon on March 5.

The pins were flying as 30 teams totaling 120 bowlers rocked the house and helped to raise $9,300 at this year’s annual Bowlathon on March 5 at Willi Bowl in North Windham. Proceeds from the fun-filled event will be divided up between the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) and scholarships for Eastern students who have financial need and attended area high schools.

bowlersThis was the best result in five years, due in large part to Kim Crone, former director of admissions at Eastern and now director of admissions at the University of St. Joseph, and her husband Lew, an executive with Dominion, who organized four teams of Dominion employees.

Adrien Sylveen Performs Violin Sonatas

 Violinist Adrien Sylveen and pianist Blake Hansen performing in the Concert Hall of Eastern’s new Fine Arts Instructional Center.

Violinist Adrien Sylveen and pianist Blake Hansen performing in the Concert Hall of Eastern’s new Fine Arts Instructional Center.

Noted violinist Adrien Sylveen performed violin sonatas from the works of 19th century composer Johannes Brahms on April 6 at Eastern.  Pianist Blake Hansen accompanied Sylveen for the University Hour event. The duet performed Sonata No. 1 in G major and Sonata No. 3 in D minor. “The violin sonatas are great pieces of music regardless of what instrument you play,” said Music Professor Stacy Dziuk, “and it is a rare treat to hear Sylveen and Hansen together on a performance.”

 

CECE Releases New Videos

Preschool teacher Cynthia DeJesús reads to a child in the video “Supporting Oral Language Development in Dual Language Learners” from the new Center for Early Childhood Education series on Oral Language. Preschool teacher Cynthia DeJesús reads to a child in the video “Supporting Oral Language Development in Dual Language Learners” from the new Center for Early Childhood Education series on Oral Language.

Preschool teacher Cynthia DeJesús reads to a child in the video “Supporting Oral Language Development in Dual Language Learners” from the new Center for Early Childhood Education series on Oral Language.
Preschool teacher Cynthia DeJesús reads to a child in the video “Supporting Oral Language Development in Dual Language Learners” from the new Center for Early Childhood Education series on Oral Language.

Eastern’s Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE) has released two new video series to support those who care for and educate young children. One set is a series of three videos designed to support children’s social and emotional development.  Former education professor Ann Gruenberg provided content expertise, and the videos were produced by Julia DeLapp and edited by Sean Leser. The videos feature interviews with Gruenberg, education professor Tanya Moorehead, and a variety of teachers, family child care providers and experts across Connecticut.

Early Head Start teacher Janette Rivera engages with an infant in the video “Understanding Challenging Behavior in Young Children,” part of a 3-video series designed to help adults support children’s social and emotional development.

Early Head Start teacher Janette Rivera engages with an infant in the video “Understanding Challenging Behavior in Young Children,” part of a 3-video series designed to help adults support children’s social and emotional development.

The second series, “Supporting Oral Language in the Preschool Classroom,” is a four-part video series authored by education professor Theresa Bouley. In the videos, teachers and experts discuss oral language development and strategies for how early childhood professionals can create a language-rich environment in preschool classrooms, including building language skills through interactive read-alouds and oral story telling. This series was also produced by DeLapp, with consultation by communication professor Denise Matthews. Ken Measimer served as director and lead editor, with assistance from communication students Sean Leser, Kristen Chemerka, Megan Saunders, Nicole Ricard and Sarah Pierce.  To view the series, visit www1.easternct.edu/cece/oral-language/

Hebert at the Hans Weiss Newspace Gallery

Hebert's "Lasko"

Hebert’s “Lasko”

Tom Hebert, lecturer in the Department of Art and Art History, is presenting his work in the Hans Weiss Newspace Gallery in Manchester. The exhibit runs through May 4. The works in this exhibit are selected pieces from five different series, which were produced from 1998 through the present.

“Tom Hebert is a determined and prolific artist, as evidenced in this

Hebert's "Yellow raincoat"

Hebert’s “Yellow raincoat”

exhibition, which spans a period of nearly 20 years from his long and extensive career,” said Susan Classen-Sullivan, director/curator of the Hans Weiss Newspace Gallery, located at Manchester Community College. “His paintings are often highly photorealistic, though both they the constructions have a quality of surrealism in that the viewer is placed on somewhat unfamiliar ground.”

Eastern’s Gift of Life: Red Cross Blood Drive

Eastern held its last blood drive of the school year on April 4 and 5. Over the two days, 128 students, faculty and staff donated 114 pints of blood. “We had more than 30 student volunteers, and because of these wonderful volunteers, we were able to fill all the blood drive slots, and keep all of our donors fed and entertained,” said Nancy Brennan, blood drive coordinator. “Dominos helped by donating pizza and Campus Ministry and the Center for Community Engagement donated the fixings for chocolate chip and Oreo pancakes.  It was a great two days and the Eastern community helped save 342 lives!”

Three Eastern Student-Athletes are Little East Award-Winners

sports smaldone-head16-300_1765Three Eastern athletes were recently recognized in the Little East Conference’s weekly spring awards program. In men’s lacrosse, senior Blake Smaldone (Hamilton, MA/Hyde School) was named Goalie-of-the-Week; in softball, junior left-hander sports-cipriani-head16-300_2578Summer Cipriani (North Stonington) sports-white_head16_300_1847was recognized as Pitcher-of-the-Week; and in baseball, freshman leftfielder Alexander White (West Hartford) was voted Rookie-of-the-Week.