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January 2013 Archives

Connecticut Singing Groups Present Newtown Memorial Concert

soto concert1.jpgSt. Joseph's Church in Willimantic was packed on Sunday night, Jan. 13, as more than 250 singers and musicians from across Connecticut paid tribute to the 26 children and adults who died on Dec. 14 in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. 

In addition to 218 singers from choirs and chorale groups across the state, 28 guest musicians served as the orchestra in the performance of Gabriel Fauré's "Requiem," a seven-part lyrical tribute sung entirely in soto concert 2.jpgLatin. A number of Eastern faculty, students, alumni and friends participated as singers or musicians, with Music Professor and Vocal Studies Director David Belles serving as conductor and event organizer.

In his opening remarks, Belles said his immediate response to the Dec. 14 tragedy was to think of how he could gather a musical ensemble to celebrate life and honor those who had perished: "I sent an email, made some phone calls and within 72 hours, more than 200 people said they were on board." Belles closed by quoting noted composer Leonard Bernstein, who said after President Kennedy was assassinated, "This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before."

Prior to the concert, Ken DeLisa, vice president for institutional advancement, thanked the assembled performers and Eastern's music faculty and students on behalf of the University, noting that music can help us deal with tragedies that might otherwise be impossible to bear.

In addition to the ensemble performance of Fauré's "Requiem," the Thread City Brass Quintet performed pre-concert music; chamber singers from Eastern and Guilford High School sang "There Will Be Rest" by Frank Ticheli; Eastern Music Professor Anthony Cornicello premiered his piece, "Panis Angelicus," written especially for Sunday's concert and played by Michael McCarthy on organ; and Music Professor Okon Hwang performed "Ave Maria" by J.S. Bach and Charles Gounod on piano.

More than $4,000 in donations were collected at the door for the Victoria Leigh Soto Memorial Endowed Scholarship; the Sandy Hook Elementary School Fund; and Newtown Children and Family Services.

Eastern Congratulates Service Awardees at University Meeting

More than 200 faculty and staff attended this semester's University Meeting, held in the Student Center Atrium and the Betty R. Tipton Room. In the atrium, the University honored five staff with 10 and 25 years of service, and recognized four retirees. Those with 10 years of service included Cheryl Durand, custodian; William Leahy, associate executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy; and associate librarians Carolyn Coates and Susan Herzog. Shirley Audet, associate director of fiscal affairs, was recognized for 25 years of service.

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                      Cheryl Durand                                            Bill Leahy

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                     Carolyn Coates                                         Susan Herzog 


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     Shirley Audet

The University also honored retirees Rochelle Gimenez, dean of the School of Continuing Education, who retired after 10 years of service; Hector Tirado, police officer who retired after 22 years of service; Walter Zincavage, information security officer who is retiring after 27 years of service; and Michael Pernal, who is retiring after 43 years of service.

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                   Rochelle Gimenez                                        Hector Tirado


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                     Walter Zincavage                                     Michael Pernal

The second part of the Jan. 11 University Meeting was held in the Betty R. Tipton Room where faculty and staff reviewed and offered suggestions to proposals that are being considered for the next University Strategic Plan. Titled "COFE PLAN IT," the event focused on the following initiatives: "Public Awareness and Institutional Reputation"; "Student Support and Professional Development"; "Academic Rigor and Relevance"; and "Experiential Learning," all designed to enhance Eastern's mission as a public liberal arts institution.

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Eastern President Elsa Núñez said input from the broader University community would help her set priorities as the University faces tough fiscal times ahead. "Many people have worked to ensure broad participation in the planning process. I want to be guided by what you think, so that when this inclusive, transparent process is finalized, I can make decisions that are in the plan. Your thoughts, observations and reflections are critical."

Núñez thanked Political Science Professor William Salka for co-chairing the COFE committee with her, and noted that more than 80 people had already participated in producing the first draft of the 19 proposals. Salka said campus community feedback was invaluable, adding that "all community members will be able to provide their input throughout the spring semester. As we saw with the previous strategic plan, these plans provide the basis for decision- making over the next several years. Thus, it is very important that all members of the University community have an opportunity to shape the future direction of Eastern by participating in the planning process." The final draft of the Strategic Plan is due on April 15.

Eastern Administrative Faculty Raise $800 for No-Freeze Shelter

The Eastern chapter of the State University Organization of Administrative Faculty (SUOAF) presented a check for $800 to the Windham Region No-Freeze Hospitality Center on Jan. 10. SUOAF raised the funds at its annual holiday gathering on Dec. 19. "SUOAF members wanted to give back to the community in which we work each day," said Kevin Gill, president of  Eastern's SUOAF chapter. "The members had a say in where to donate money and overwhelmingly voted to give back to the local Willimantic community."

"The work of the Windham Region No Freeze Center is important to this community and this generous gift from SUOAF will help us to keep the doors open through the end of the season," said Leigh Duffy, executive director of the No Freeze Hospitality Center. "We truly could not exist without donations like this and are grateful for the support from the SUOAF members."

SUOAF Donation.jpg(above right) Leigh Duffy, executive director of the No Freeze Hospitality Center, and (left) Kim Silcox, director of Eastern's Center for Community Engagement and a member of the shelter's board of directors, accept a check for $800 from Eric Germain, Eastern's environmental, health and safety coordinator.

EASTCONN Conducts Heroes/Heroines Symposium for Local Third Graders

heroes event1.JPGThe Betty R. Tipton Room was packed on Jan. 15 with more than 150 third-grade students from four schools in Hartford, East Hartford, Coventry and Windham to hear about local heroes and historical figures. Schools represented included the Betances Early Reading Lab in Hartford; Anna E. Norris School in East Hartford; G. H. Robertson School in Coventry; and North Windham Elementary School. Using an inter-district grant from the Connecticut State Department of Education, the Heroes and Heroines program has several goals, including bringing together students from diverse backgrounds and schools; increasing literacy in the area of nonfiction; and teaching children about historical and local heroes and heroines. In addition to reading about such American heroes as Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and Nathan Hale, the students also heard from a number of local professionals, including Windham Superintendent of Schools Ana Ortiz; Carmen Cid, dean of Eastern's School of Arts and Sciences; and several other people with interesting careers. The panel told the assembled crowd of youngsters to find something they are good at, something they like, and something they will look forward to going to work to do every day.  (Below from left to right:  Ryan James from the FBI; Virginia Walton, recycling coordinator for the Town of Mansfield; Willimantic Fire Chief Mark Scrivener; Steve Ferraro, who works to combat slavery and human trafficking in other countries; and puppeteer John Mayer.

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Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge

energy forum wide shot.jpgEastern played host to the Connecticut Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge on Jan. 8 in the Science Building. Neighbor to Neighbor speakers Kate Donnelly and Corey Krohn moderated a discussion on how Connecticut residents could improve their lives and the energy efficiency of their homes.   

The Connecticut Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge is a nonprofit community savings program that engages residents in 14 Connecticut towns in ways to reduce their home'senergy forum speaker.jpg energy use by 20 percent. As residents take actions to make their homes more energy efficient, they earn points that can be redeemed for community rewards. If all the towns participate in the program, Neighbor to Neighbor will be able to reinvest $150 million on local Connecticut businesses. Towns currently participating include Bethany, Cheshire, East Haddam, East Hampton, Glastonbury, Lebanon, Mansfield, Portland, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, Wethersfield, Wilton and Windham. 

"Neighbor to Neighbor offers a fantastic program for Connecticut residents," said Donelly. "The program really brings the cost down for homeowners and it provides a great opportunity for communities wishing to participate."

The Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge is made possible by a $4.17 million competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the BetterBuildings initiative, whose mission is to create self-sustaining buildings and homes. Nine partner organizations work together to bring the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge to Connecticut residents. The program is administered by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and gathers resources and experience from other organizations including the Clean Water Fund, the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, EarthMarkets, EMpower Devices, MIT, Mobile Genius, SmartPower, SnuggHome and the Student Conservation Association.

J. Eugene Smith Library Wins National Endowment Humanities Award

library daytime.jpgThe J. Eugene Smith Library has been named the recipient of a Muslim Journey Bookshelf Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

"Your institution is among the 842 libraries and state humanities councils selected to receive the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf, a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities Bridging Cultures initiative," said Eva Caldera, assistant chairman for the NEH's Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives, in a letter to Tracy Sutherland, public services librarian.  "The 25 books and three films will be shipped to your library this week. We hope you find the Bookshelf valuable. We look forward to hearing more about how you use this opportunity to promote community discussion in your library and build bridges among diverse cultures and faiths."

tracy sutherland -library award.jpg"I am very pleased with the initiative and efforts of librarian Tracy Sutherland, who coordinated and prepared the grant application," said Library Director Patricia Banach, applauding Sutherland for helping Eastern win the award.  "The books will be a great addition to the collection."  In addition the books and films, the library will receive a one-year subscription to Oxford Islamic Studies Online.

The American Library Association will ship additional materials, including bookmarks, bookplates and posters to Eastern in mid-February. In a few weeks, the NEH will also send information to Eastern's library about a Muslim Journeys companion website with digital resources relating to the Bookshelf.

The Woody "MANKIND" Franklin Award

Wood Franklin Award with Nunez.jpgThe Eastern Rugby team, members of the university community, family and friends were all on hand when Eastern President Elsa Nunez honored senior communication major Woody Franklin for his outstanding contributions to Eastern's rugby team over the past four years.

The recipient of this annual award exemplifies Eastern Connecticut Rugby by contributing the full measure of his focus, energy and strength on the pitch. This award is given without regard to skill level, playing time or side played on, and has been named in honor of Woody "Mankind" Franklin for his commitment to Eastern Rugby, to his teammates and to his friends.

Visual Arts Students Help Promote Science Programs

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Visual Arts Professor Terry Lennox has been working with two of her seniors since early in the fall of 2012 to create display cases on the first floor of the Science Building that will serve to promote Eastern's science programs. Senior Digital Art & Design majors Sean Duggan and Matthew Lamanivong have compiled art, photographs, and student testimonials to design the displays. In addition to a general display case on science, seven additional cases visually describe the biology, computer science, math, environmental earth science, physical science, and sustainable energy studies programs, as well as the greenhouse.

Golden Age of Radio at Eastern

Chatterbox Radio.jpgThe Golden Age of Radio is alive and well at Eastern. For the past 11 years on WECS-FM (90.1), Christine Guarnieri, student development specialist in the Advising Center and Eastern's 2003 Barnard Scholar, has been producing a six-hour classic radio show Saturday nights. Via broadcast and WECS-FM's streaming audio Internet feed, Guarnieri's "Chatterbox Old Time Radio" program has developed a following of radio buffs across Connecticut and the nation.

Old Time Radio refers to a period in radio programming from the early 1920s through the 1950s.  On her weekly program, Guarnieri talks about the history of radio and plays classic radio comedy and drama, complemented with period blues, jazz and big band music. Guarnieri often produces programs written exclusively for her show.

Guarnieri also recasts and reproduces live productions of classic scripts from the past. For the past decade, Guarnieri also has been airing holiday specials. On Dec. 24, during her 12-hour Christmas Show, 13 individuals faculty, staff, alumni and community members provided their favorite holiday readings and shared childhood holiday memories. At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, listeners heard the Guy Lombardo Orchestra play Auld Lang Syne. Chatterbox is on from 6 p.m. to midnight every Saturday on WECS-FM. Catch it if you can!

Eastern's Arts and Lectures Series Showcases the U.S. Coast Guard Swing Band

U.S. Coast Guard Swing Band.jpgEastern's 12th Annual Arts and Lecture Series continues on Feb. 5 with a free concert by the U.S. Coast Guard Swing Band. The concert will take place in Shafer Auditorium at 7 p.m. 

Formed in the summer of 1989, "The Masters of Swing" U.S. Coast Guard Swing Band spotlights swing-era music of the '30s and '40s, performing compositions by such jazz greats as Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller and George Gershwin. Skillfully arranged by members of the group, the musical selections demand sparkling ensemble playing and highlight the performer's improvisational expertise. In Duke Ellington's words, "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!"  The concert is free of charge; however, because seating is limited, those interested should reserve their seats by calling (860) 465-0036 or e-mailing tickets@easternct.edu

Eastern Soccer Programs Recognized for Sporting Behavior

Thumbnail image for menssoccer team.jpgEastern is one of only four institutions nationwide and the only one from New England to have both its men's and women's soccer programs qualify for a 2012 National Soccer Coaches' Association of America (NSCAA) Ethics Award.

The Eastern men's and women's soccer team both qualified for a Bronze Team Ethics Award for accumulating 10 or fewer yellow cards and no red cards over the course of the 2012 season. The Eastern men were issued eight yellow cards in 20 matches during a 17-2-1 season and the women's team was given three yellow cards in 18 matches during a 9-6-3 campaign.

"I am so proud of our student athletes from the men's and women's soccer teams," said Eastern Athletics Director Jeff Konin. "This past fall, not only did they perform successfully on the field and exemplary in the classroom, but the recognition of being just one of four universities in the nation to have both men's and women's teams receive the award demonstrates the high standards portrayed every day at Eastern. Additionally, our coaches are to be commended for instilling these values in our student athletes."

Eastern was among only six men's programs in the country to be recognized with an Ethics Award.  Five of those programs earned spots in the Bronze category and one in the Silver category.  "As the athletic director, this accomplishment combined with the success these programs have had on the field and in the classroom tells me that we are meeting the mission of the University and the true purpose of Division III athletics," added Konin. "If I were a parent of one of these student-athletes, I would feel very comfortable that my son or daughter made the right choice coming to Eastern!"

Eastern Men's Basketball To Support Coaches vs. Cancer

geitner.william.jpgDuring his team's game against Rhode Island College on Jan. 26 Eastern head men's basketball coach Bill Geitner will be one of more than 4,000 college and high school basketball coaches across the United States making an unusual fashion statement when he wears sneakers with his game attire to support the Coaches vs. Cancer program during the 10th Annual Suits & Sneakers weekend. The Little East Conference contest against Rhode Island College is slated to start at 3 p.m. at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

"The Eastern Connecticut Men's Basketball program is proud to participate in this year's Coaches vs. Cancer event in an effort to raise awareness and much needed funds to help battle this disease that has affected so many families," said Geitner. "By wearing sneakers, participating coaches help raise awareness about cancer and the importance that nutrition and physical activity play in reducing one's risk of the disease. Additionally, this weekend helps promote the American Cancer Society as a place for people facing cancer to turn for free information, day-to-day help, and emotional support."

The funds raised by Coach Geitner and others help the American Cancer Society save lives and create a world with less cancer and more birthdays by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back against this disease.

Fans will also be able to join the effort to support the American Cancer Society. By texting the word "Coach" to 20222 any time between Jan. 21 and April 9, fans can donate $5 to Coaches vs. Cancer. When they do, they will be entered for a chance to win exclusive prizes, like a free trip to the 2013 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic or autographed items from a prestigious coach. For more information on cancer.org/coaches, or to start your own Suits and Sneakers event, contact Katy Meagher at katy.meagher@cancer.org.


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