The e-newsletter of Eastern Connecticut State University
For 1,256 undergraduates and 41 graduate students, the roars and cheers of thousands of their family members and friends at Eastern's123rd Commencement exercises at the XL Center in Hartford on May 14 was "sweet music" as they received their diplomas.
Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest member of the "Little Rock Nine," gave the Commencement Address, telling the graduates, "This is your moment, a time you have been looking forward to and working toward since you first arrived at Eastern. Celebrate the moment; seize it. Step out into your future bravely and boldly." LaNier noted that the graduates were bound to encounter challenges. Those experiences will be "the greatest teacher in the grand classroom of life. Those challenges will show you who you really are."
The Little Rock Nine was a group of nine African American students who desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, AR, in 1957. Due to the segregation policies of Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus and the mob atmosphere in Little Rock at the time, President Dwight Eisenhower ordered 1,000 members of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division to Arkansas to provide protection and escort the nine students to class throughout the 1957-58 school year.
Despite the daily military escort, LaNier and her friends were kicked, hit with rocks, threatened, and shunned. Her own home was firebombed. As the onslaught continued, "the more determined I became to get my diploma." Today, she has "made peace with my past."
LaNier turned to the Class of 2013 and encouraged them to have the same commitment: "Finish whatever goals you have set for yourself. Find the strength, fortitude and determination to see it through. When you see injustice, how will you respond? I hope you take the heroic stand."
LaNier was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa at the Commencement Exercises.
Eastern President Elsa M. Nunez told the graduates, "There is no other country in the world that places its future so firmly in the hands of the people. You are now the next generation of citizen leaders in our state and in our nation. . . . The world needs your energy, your enthusiasm, and your skills . . . There is a challenge out there ready for you to conquer, whether it's helping out at your church or synagogue, volunteering at the local senior center, or inventing a new surgical procedure. There is a team somewhere that needs you to complete its mission."
Nana Owusu-Agyemang of Ghana, West Africa, delivered the Senior Class Address. She thanked the faculty for their support, saying, "During my time here at Eastern, I have met professors that I simply cannot forget -- professors who really care for their students. It will forever strike me how much time professors at Eastern are willing to spend with each student...how much of themselves they give. It's not just the professors who make Eastern what it is. At Eastern it's not just about imparting knowledge, it's about joining hands to mold each student into a richer person academically and mentally, as well."
On May 11, more than 1,100 people -- graduating seniors, their families and various alumni classes -- visited campus for the annual Eastern Celebrates festivities. The Jubilee Class of 1963 was treated to tours of campus and a refreshing lunch in Burr Hall before joining other reunion classes at a special reception in their honor in the Student Center Café. Later in the afternoon, alumni mingled with the Class of 2013 under the Big Top Tent to enjoy barbeque, a live band and the company of other members of the Eastern family.
"It was wonderful to see so many families in attendance," said Ken DeLisa, vice president for institutional advancement. "We had alumni from as far back as the Class of 1943 visiting campus. Not only are they always surprised and pleased with the growth that has taken place on our beautiful campus, they enjoyed visiting with today's students and the faculty and staff who work hard to make our alumni proud of their alma mater."
Eastern students Laura Kathryn Hilton, a biology major from West Haven, and Suzanne Slater, an early childhood and psychology major from Brooklyn, were honored at the 25th Annual Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award Dinner on April 23 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.
Hilton and Slater were two of 12 state university students to win the award; each was nominated by their respective universities. The award is named for the first U.S. Commissioner of Education, Henry Barnard, a distinguished Connecticut educator who was the state's first superintendent of schools and principal of what later became Central Connecticut State University. A $750 award comes with the honor.
Connecticut Supreme Court Justice and Central alumna Carmen Espinosa delivered the keynote address. Espinosa spoke fondly of her time as an undergraduate student at Central Connecticut State University, calling her education there the "linchpin" to her success. To the students, Espinosa said they would likely face many detours and obstacles throughout their lives, but that they should rely on the help and guidance of the people who support them most. "To be sure, we have high expectations for you," Espinosa said, "but likely no higher than the ones you have for yourself."
"It is true that Laura Hilton and Suzanne Slater have achieved much over the last four years," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Between jobs, internships, student teaching and volunteer work, they will graduate with impressive resumes. No matter what their paths may be, these gifted young women, who have been described as self-motivated, mature, sensitive, caring, engaging and respectful, will continue to improve the world just as they have been doing all along."
In the classroom, Hilton is a well-respected by faculty and students alike. "Laura is a gifted scholar and is highly regarded by members of the Biology Department," said Gloria Colurso, professor and chair of the Biology Department. "She holds herself to the highest academic standards, is bright and insightful and she has a remarkable memory."
"Suzanne Slater is one of my most vibrant students, and stands out as a thoughtful, dedicated and scholarly student, teacher and researcher," said Sudha Swaminathan, associate chair of the Education Department and professor of early childhood education. Last summer, Swaminathan invited Slater and two other students to perform research with her. The students presented their findings at the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) Regional Undergraduate Research Conference and the Early Education and Technology for Children Conference.
Thirteen biology majors were inducted into the Tri Beta Honor Society on April 19. Tri Beta is dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research.
On April 18, 28 business majors were inducted into Delta Mu Delta, the international honor society for business administration. The society recognizes academic excellence of students in a community that fosters the well-being of its members and the business community through life-time membership. Inductees are in the top 20 percent of juniors and seniors majoring in business administration/business information systems and accounting; have at least a 3.25 GPA; and 24 credits minimum residency in the program.
On April 26, 47 students majoring in communication were inducted into the Tau Nu Chapter of the Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society. The society recognizes students who have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0; have a communication studies GPA of at least 3.25; are in the upper 35 percent of their graduating class; are enrolled in good academic standing; and display a commitment to the field of communication.
On April 17, 11 economic majors were inducted into Omicron Delta Epsilon (ODE), the oldest of all academic honor societies. Students must have completed at least 15 credit hours of economics to be eligible for membership in ODE, and distinguished themselves by earning at least a 3.25 GPA in economics and a 3.25 overall GPA.
On April 25, nine students majoring in business information systems and computer science were inducted into Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the international honor society for computing and information disciplines. The society recognizes academic excellence in the computing and information disciplines.
On April 16, Carolyn Kurth '97, director of forensic accounting, auditing and consulting at Sheptoff, Reuber & Co., PC, delivered the keynote address at the 19th Annual Accounting Banquet. Her topic was "Evolving with a Global Economy-Never Stop Learning." Pictured above are (left to right) Mohd RuJoub, Eastern President Elsa Nuñez, Kurth, and William Sisco and John Listro, professors emeritus of accounting.
On April 11, 22 history majors were inducted into Alpha Mu Alpha, Eastern's chapter of the Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society. The society promotes the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication, and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians. The society recognizes students who have completed a minimum of 12 semester hours in history; have a minimum GPA of 3.1 in history; have a cumulative GPA of 3.0; and are in the top 35 percent of their class.
Fifteen physical education majors were inducted into the national honor society, Alpha Upsilon Chi, on April 23. The society establishes an intellectual climate by providing instruction for future professionals in the areas of health, physical education, recreation, and sport and dance, and recognizes students for their academic achievement, service and professional involvement in their field.
Sixteen marketing majors were inducted into the Alpha Mu Alpha honor society on April 18. The society is committed to the advancement of excellence in the field of marketing; recognizes senior undergraduates who have a marketing concentration in the Department of Business Administration; and hold a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 3.25.
Twenty-one math majors were inducted into the Kappa Mu Epsilon mathematics honor society on April 19. The society recognizes students who have a 3.0 GPA; a B or better in each of the Abstract Algebra and Real Analysis I courses; at least a B+ average in higher level mathematics courses; and a junior or senior class standing.
On April 17, five political science majors were inducted into Alpha Beta Gamma, the Eastern chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society. A 3.4 GPA, with at least a 3.2 in the major of political science is required to qualify for the honor society. The major is uniquely designed for students interested in careers in government, public administration, law, public service and business.
Forty-eight psychology majors were inducted into Psi Chi, the national psychology honor society, on May 3. The society encourages excellence in scholarship and advancement of the science of psychology. Qualifications for inductees include declaring a major or minor in psychology; at least 12 credits of coursework in psychology or sophomore class standing; a 3.5 GPA in psychology; and a 3.0 GPA overall.
Twenty-two students majoring in social work at Eastern were inducted into Phi Alpha, the national social work honor society on May 11. The society builds relationships among students of social work and promotes humanitarian goals and ideals. Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites members who have attained excellence in scholarship and achievement.
Six Spanish majors at Eastern Connecticut State University were inducted into Sigma Delta Pi, the national Spanish honor society, on April 27. Qualifications for inductees include three years of college-level Spanish (18 semester credit hours), including at least three semester hours of Hispanic literature or Hispanic culture and civilization at the junior level; a 3.0 GPA in all Spanish courses taken; a ranking in the upper 35 percent of their class; and completion of at least three semesters.
Twenty-six sociology majors were inducted into Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD), the national sociology honor society on May 2. The society was founded in 1920 by Emory Bogardus. The original purpose of the organization was to "stimulate scholarship and promote the scientific study of society."
On May 21, 22 and 23, more than 1,470 students in grades five through 12 gathered in the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center to participate in "College Knowledge Days." The students came from schools in Bloomfield, Bridgeport, Coventry, Bethel, Danbury, East Hartford, Ellington, Enfield, Vernon, Hartford, Manchester, Meriden, New Britain, New Haven, Norwalk, Sandy Hook, Stamford, West Hartford, Storrs, Pawcatuck, Union, Watertown, Wethersfield, Willimantic and Gales Ferry.
The visiting students participated in a number of lectures and group activities facilitated by Eastern staff. The presentation, "Preparing for the Future," instructed students on how to research and choose the college that is right for them. The presentation, "Financing My Future," focused on paying for a postsecondary education. Group discussions analyzed payment options such as federal student aid, grants, work-study and loans. Group activities such as "When I Grow Up," gave visiting students the opportunity to discuss what they want for a future career and the process that it takes to attain that career.
"College Knowledge Days are a great opportunity for students and educators to start the conversation about postsecondary options," said LaQuana Price, Eastern's assistant director of admissions, who coordinated the event. "The program allows students to start planning early for their future."
Laura Markley, a junior from Preston majoring in environmental earth science with a concentration in sustainable energy studies, has been named the recipient of the 2012 CRC (Chemical Rubber Company) Press Chemistry Achievement Award. "The award is presented to the student with the highest test average in general chemistry," said Charles Wynn, professor of chemistry. The CRC Press Chemistry Achievement Award is sponsored by the CRC Press, and includes a commemorative scroll and a copy of the "CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics."
Eastern theatre students, along with students from Southern Connecticut State University, performed at The NYC Showcase of Student Talent May 19-20 in the Producer's Club Crown Theatre. Eastern students presented "Scenes, Songs, and Monologues," while Southern students presented "A Dance Below," directed by Felix Reyes. The plays are a compilation of short pieces. Eastern has been participating in the NYC Showcase of Student Talent with other Connecticut State Universities since 1994. As part of the showcase experience, students take workshops at professional theatre schools, tour theaters and tech./design companies, see shows, and meet with professionals in the field. Above, Jon Francois and Cindy Guilbe perform in "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" by August Wilson.
Last month, Library Director Patricia Banach announced the winners of the Second Annual Library Research Award for 2013. The award has been established to recognize and celebrate exemplary student research projects that demonstrate the ability to locate, evaluate, select and apply information from appropriate library resources. Primary emphasis is placed on the creative and effective use of library resources, services and collections encompassing print, microform and online data bases.
Daniel Kowalsky won $350 in the freshman/sophomore category for his paper, "The Psychology of Psychics: Why We Believe." Kowalsky's work was reviewed and recommended by Mika Taylor, assistant professor of English. Margaret Pallis won the $350 prize in the junior/senior category for her paper, "Authority Figures in Conversion Narratives." Barbara Little Liu, associate professor of English, recommended Pallis. The winning research papers can be found on the Library Research Award Guide.
Associate Librarian Janice Wilson chaired the Library Research Award Committee. Other members included associate librarians Carolyn Coates, Carol Reichardt and Hope Marie Cook; Biology Professor Elizabeth Cowles; Associate Professor of History David Frye; Business Administration Professor Elizabeth Scott and Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, assistant professor of psychology. Heidi Roberto, administrative assistant in the library, provided organization and logistical support for the committee.
On April 11, 325 Eastern students filled the Betty R. Tipton Room to attend the annual ECSU Foundation Competitive Scholarship reception. The ECSU Foundation awarded the students competitive scholarships totally nearly $500,000 for the 2013-14 academic year. The competitive scholarship awards are based on merit and, in many cases, unmet financial need. The scholarship process is coordinated by the Office of Institutional Advancement in concert with the Office of Financial Aid. Two students, Sarah Mooney '14 and Kyle Nitz '14, were selected to read their award-winning essays.
"The ECSU Foundation plays an important role in that it often provides financial support to our students for the last critical amount of money they need to continue their goal of obtaining a college degree," said Kenneth DeLisa, vice president for institutional advancement. "For many students receiving an ECSU Foundation scholarship could be the difference in having to commute versus living in a residence hall, or in other cases, the difference in having to work three part-time jobs versus two."
On June 1, Connecticut College awarded its College Medal to Father Larry LaPointe, director of Campus Ministry at Eastern Connecticut State University, for more than 30 years of service as a chaplain at Connecticut College and the New London community. Connecticut College confers the medal, its highest honor, on an individual whose accomplishments or service have enhanced the institution's reputation and nourished its growth. Above, colleagues and friends from Eastern were on hand at the award ceremony to celebrate the occasion with LaPointe and congratulate him. Left to right are Luis Rodríguez, assistant director of the Center for Community Engagement; Ken Bedini, vice president for student affairs; LaPointe; Joyce Sagal, administrative assistant in Campus Ministry; and Carmen Cid, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.
At the spring University Meeting on May 8, President Elsa Núñez reviewed the progress made over the past five years under Eastern's 2008-13 Strategic Plan, citing creation of the Academic Services Center, the Center for Community Engagement and the Liberal Arts Work! Initiative as three examples of strides made under the plan. Núñez also handed out draft copies of the new 2013 Strategic Plan, and thanked Political Science Professor William Salka, co-chair on the COFE II Strategic Planning Committee, and more than 70 other faculty and staff who worked on the planning process. She also said construction on the new Fine Arts Instructional Center would begin in August, with the facility opening in fall 2015.
At the meeting, Biology Professor Ross Koning was honored with the 2013 Distinguished Professor Award. Excellence Awards were presented to Political Science Professor Nicole Krassas for full-time teaching; to Kathryn Niemasik for part-time teaching in Performing Arts; and to Performing Arts Professor David Belles for creative activity. Shirley Audet, associate director of fiscal affairs; Suzanne Dowling, counselor in psychological services; and William Leahy, chief executive officer for operations at the Institute for Sustainable Energy, received Excellence Awards for Service.
A 10-year service award was presented to Candice DeAngelis. A 20-year service award was presented to Debra Hunt, manager of information technology services. A 25-year service award was presented to Dominique Cesar, unit supervisor in the Registrar's office. Five new hires were announced: Jomar Floyd as resident hall director; Richard Fontaine as engineer in facilities management; William Bisese as director of the academic services center; Star Jackson as curriculum and program coordinator of Eastern's Summer Undergraduate Research in Health Life and Science; and Norma Vivar as operations and database support specialist in information technology services. Six retirees were honored for their years of service to the University: Cynthia Carroll, Phillip Elliott, Robert Wolf, Lula Mae Blocton, Annette Boulianne and Patricia Strickland.
Eastern senior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) has become the first third baseman in Eastern history to earn first-team All-America honors when she was named at that position by the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association (NFCA). A second-team All-America selection at third base as a junior, Cooper becomes the University's first first-team All-America selection at third base in the softball program's 37-year history, and is the first full-time position player to earn first-team honors since outfielder Leanne Shoop in 1990.
"Arielle has made her mark on Eastern softball--one which she deserves--and one which I believe makes her best third baseman ever at Eastern," noted Eastern head coach Diana Pepin. "Arielle is a tremendous athlete who was driven to be successful. She was a competitor, with the heart of a champion. Our program has been elevated because of her work ethic and passion for the sport," added Pepin of Cooper, who set numerous season and career records this season en route to first-team NFCA All-New England Region honors for the second straight season and 2013 Little East Conference Player-of-the-Year and Eastern Female Athlete-of-the-Year plaudits. "What she has done this season in terms of hitting is unbelievable, and being regarded as one of the best in the country is truly an honor."