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August 2013 Archives

New Fine Arts Instructional Center

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Fine Arts Instructional Center Rendering - Lobby View From High Street.jpg   Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Fine Arts Instructional Center - View From Campus Quad.jpg

            Lobby view from High Street                            View from Campus Quad

Eastern will host a groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 27 for its new, four-story, $62 million Fine Arts Instructional Center on the Student Center parking lot immediately following the University Meeting. The center, which will serve both the University and surrounding communities, will be located east of the Student Center. It will combine teaching, performance and exhibit space for the Performing Arts Department (Music and Theatre) and the Visual Arts Department, as well as general purpose classroom space and an art gallery. 

When it opens in fall 2015, the new facility will feature three performance venues: (1) a 400-seat auditorium for musical performances and space as a major gathering place for the campus community, convocations and lectures; (2) a 250-seat Proscenium Theatre for theatre performances on campus and classic proscenium theatre training for theatre groups; and (3) a flexible 125-seat Studio/Black Box Theatre that can be arranged in multiple seating configurations.

The new facility will reflect the University's desire to enhance the presence of the fine arts on campus.  With its mix of performance venues and arts instructional spaces, the facility will be a place where Eastern presents itself to the broader community.

Construction on the Fine Arts Instructional Center will significantly impact parking for everyone on campus -- students, faculty and staff. Police Chief Jeffrey Garewski says construction on the facility will close almost all of the Gelsi-Young lot, except for assigned parking, all of the Gelsi-Young extension lot, and most of the Student Center lot.  The remaining portion of the Student Center Lot has been restriped and has been designated for faculty/staff parking.  Handicapped spaces lost to construction have also been added in this area.
"More than likely, faculty and staff accustomed to parking in these areas will have to utilize appropriate parking elsewhere, including the Cervantes Parking Garage," said Garewski. "A shuttle stop is located outside this garage on the west side if needed.  Shuttles start operation by 7:15 a.m. during the work week. There may be some limited faculty staff parking assigned to a portion of the Student Center lot along that building's curb line that may not be affected by the construction area.  Commuters that normally used the Student Center lot will need to use the parking garages. As with all projects that affect parking and access, it is critical to maintain our ADA parking compliance."

Eastern is Site for Campus Resilience Pilot Program

IMG_2878.JPGOn April 12, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced the selection of Eastern and six other colleges and universities across the nation to participate in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Campus Resilience Pilot Program. The seven institutions will help develop and pilot an emergency preparedness and resilience planning program, facilitated by community engagement, local stakeholders, campus leadership and students.

"Eastern will serve as a valuable partner in our efforts to help colleges and universities prepare for, respond to and recover from crisis and emergency situations," said Napolitano. "Through its work with DHS, Eastern will help us further develop best practices, resources and tools needed to assist campus communities nationwide in their resilience and emergency planning processes."

"We are very pleased that our University was chosen by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as one of only seven colleges and universities to be part of this national pilot program," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Emergency preparation is a major part of our commitment to campus safety. We are honored to help develop best practices for improving campus preparedness on a national scale."

This summer, Eastern served as a site for a week-long series of workshops and interviews, with the project team meeting with faculty, staff and students, as well as community officials, with the goal of identifying best practices in the areas of emergency preparedness and resilience planning, as well as opportunities for future collaboration and improvement.

McDuffus Named Social Work Student of the Year

Social Work Award Dr  B 1 061813 (4).jpgOn June 18, Judi-Ann McDuffus '13, of Stratford, was named Social Work Student of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers/Connecticut Chapter (NASW/CT) for her outstanding academic achievements and service to community. McDuffus was presented the award at the organization's annual awards dinner at Anthony's Ocean View in New Haven.

While a full-time student, McDuffus volunteered in numerous social work activities in the community, including serving as a case manager at United Services in Willimantic, balancing this with her responsibilities as a single parent to three school-aged children. She also served as president of the Eastern Social Work Club, where she successfully engaged junior and senior social work majors as participants, and actively recruited pre-social work major underclassmen to serve in elected positions.

Under McDuffus's leadership during the 2012-13 academic year, the Social Work Club engaged in a variety of community activities, including adopting the No Freeze Shelter in Willimantic; sponsoring a toiletry drive; holding numerous bake sales during the fall to raise money to adopt three families for the holidays;  holding a Social Work panel titled, "What Do Social Workers Really Do" to commemorate National Social Work Month; and hosting several fundraisers to raise money for club members to attend the Annual NASW/CT Conference. For its community efforts, the Social Work Club won Eastern's Social Action Club of the Year in 2012-13.

Prior to her wide-ranging community service during her last year at Eastern, McDuffus volunteered at the Office of Youth, Family and Social Services in Willington; Kid's Kare Child Care in Enfield; and at professional offices in Hartford and West Hartford.

Health and Education Professor Donates Stem Cells

2013-07-15 09.34.08.jpgGregory Kane, assistant professor of health and physical education at Eastern, recently donated his own stem cells, inspired by Eastern Soccer Coach Gregory DeVito's bone marrow drive for student Jon DeCasanova.

The stem cell donation process starts with a simple swap of the inside of one's cheek. After a few weeks, the donor is contacted and begins a series of blood tests. For four days prior to his donation, Kane underwent 10 Filgrastim injections, a medicine that enhances an individual's stem cell count. On the last day, Kane spent seven hours hooked up to a special device that extracts blood from one arm; centrifuges the blood to reveal the stem cells; collects the stems cells; and returns the remaining blood back into the person's other arm.
"The Massachusetts General Hospital transplant team was fantastic and supportive throughout the process," said Kane. "While the process was certainly not painless, the possibility of saving a life was motivation enough for me." When asked why he decided to donate stem cells, Kane said that the reasons were very personal. "I try to support student and faculty initiatives as best I can," said Kane. "In this particular case, Gregory DeVito's bone marrow drive was important to me. In addition, this sort of process is near and dear to my heart, as my mother had gone through a similar process about eight years ago. Her autologous stem cell transplant was very successful. In some respect, I felt like I was paying back for the technology that helped save my mother's life."

Eastern's Arroyo Publishes Book on Yoruba Pantheon

Thumbnail image for Arroyo Presenting BookJPG BEST (3).JPGConnecticut State University Professor of Art Imna Arroyo has published the book, "La Sagrada Familia" (The Sacred Family). The book was introduced at the Museo Casa Africa in Havana, Cuba, in July. Arroyo is an artist whose work incorporates mixed media and installation art to explore her Afro-Caribbean spiritual traditions.

"The Sacred Family" is a limited edition that features 32 hand-crafted linoleum prints by Arroyo, dedicated to the Orishas and Deities of the Yoruba Pantheon. The print edition was printed by Ramon Vargas Artiz at the El Templo Studio in Santiago de la Vegas, Cuba, and by Arroyo at her studio in Willimantic. The images are accompanied by descriptions and praises written by Isis Mattei, Arroyo's daughter. James Nicholas Winner-Arroyo, the artist's son, designed the book. Arroyo's son and daughter are both Eastern alumni.

Arroyo, a Black Puerto Rican and the descendant of enslaved indigenous and African peoples, said the seeds for "La Sagrada Familia" were sown in 1997, when she traveled to Ghana, West Africa and stepped into the dungeons of the Elmina Castle, a primary port in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.  "I was standing at the 'door of no return,' the last portal through which enslaved Africans passed before their shipment to the Americas," she said.

"A shiver ran through my core. I realized that my spirit had returned to the scene of untold atrocities and I felt, without a doubt, a spiritual connection to my ancestors. It is my intent to create art that is a kind of medicine used to heal the deep-seated collective wounds of history, and to celebrate the vibrancy and relevance of the legacy of those who came before me."

The book, translated into Spanish by art critic Yuneikys Villalonga, is in the permanent collection of the Museum Casa Africa of the Office of the Historian of Habana, Cuba. Arroyo will present the Sacred Family at the National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana, Cuba, in April 2014, during Antonio Martorell's retrospective exhibition, where she will also be presenting a children's book and printmaking workshop. In addition, Arroyo will present the book at Casa de las Americas, which has the most important collection of Caribbean art in Latin America. 

Eastern Named "A 2013 Best in the Northeast" College

Thumbnail image for campus scene.jpgEastern has again been cited as one of the best colleges in the Northeast, according to the nationally known education services company, The Princeton Review.  Eastern is one of 226 institutions The Princeton Review recommends in its "Best in the Northeast" section of its website feature, "2013 Best Colleges: Region by Region," that posted Aug. 20 on PrincetonReview.com.  

"The University community is honored to be included in The Princeton Review's 'Best Colleges in the Northeast' for the third time in four years," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez.  "What is most gratifying is that much of this recognition can be attributed to the survey of our students that The Princeton Review conducted.  Our students seem to appreciate the residential, liberal arts experience that we offer -- small classes, personal attention from faculty, and a vibrant campus life.  The fact our students feel Eastern is affordable is also important to families in these challenging economic times." 

For this project, student comments in the profile on Eastern are "A smaller school with smaller classes"; Eastern's "thorough liberal arts curriculum" is conducted within a "comfortable learning environment"; and "I went to academic advising and I was amazed about how fast I was helped and it actually made a positive difference in my work."  The campus life was also highlighted: "There are always activities gong on such as movies, parties, crafts and comedians. You will never be bored at this school."

Eastern Named a "2013 Great College to Work For"

For the fifth year in a row, Eastern has been named as one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to a new survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The results are based on a survey of more than 45,000 employees at 300 colleges and universities. In all, only 97 institutions achieved "Great College to Work For" recognition for specific best practices and policies. Eastern won honors in three categories this year: "Collaborative Governance;" "Compensation and Benefits;" and "Facilities, Workspaces and Security."
Eastern was one of only three Connecticut institutions to make the list and the only public university among the three; Quinnipiac University and Middlesex Community College were the other two. "We are honored to be included in 'Great Colleges to Work For'," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Receiving this national recognition once again from the Chronicle of Higher Education is very gratifying, especially given our high ranking in three important areas of campus operations. The spirit of collaboration that exists on our campus is a strength that helps us better serve our students and the state of Connecticut."

The Chronicle is one of the nation's most important sources of news about colleges and universities. The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies from each institution, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution receives recognition is employee feedback.

Eastern a Top School for Students Interested in Military Service

military image.jpgEastern has been recognized as a top college in Connecticut for students interested in military service by the College Database, an online directory of U. S. colleges. The College Database is a non-profit organization whose goal is to provide free information about educational options both nationally and locally to students, parents and other interested parties. The website set out to find the postsecondary institutions in Connecticut that were affordable, had annual tuition less than $20,000 and offered at least two Reserve Officers Training Corps programs (ROTC) -- Army, Navy or Air Force. Eastern ranks first in the state of Connecticut, with an affordable $4,124 annual tuition rate, and Army and Air Force ROTC programs.

"Everyone talks about service members using their GI Bill to go back to school, but rarely do people discuss current students using college to join the service," said Wes Ricketts, vice president and general manager of The College Database. "Colleges with ROTC programs give students a great opportunity, not only to explore military service, but to gain valuable leadership skills coveted by employers."

For more information on Eastern's programs to assist students who are members of the United States Armed Services, visit www.easternct.edu/veterans.

Eastern's Akus Gallery Presents "PULSE," a Solo Exhibition by Carol Brookes

Akus-Pulse-Urchin.jpgEastern's Akus Gallery is hosting "PULSE," a solo exhibition by artist Carol Brookes from Aug. 29-Oct 18. A gallery discussion with Brookes will take place on Sept. 5 from 3-4 p.m. followed by a reception from 4-7 p.m.  

"PULSE" examines the hemisphere as a structure, the ordinary forms seen every day in their many incarnations, such as an egg, a pod, an eye, the earth, planets and domes. The various concepts that these forms evoke are explored in the series, including thoughts and insights into life, birth and the mystical and mysterious. Nails, washers, rope, tubing, wire, rubber mats, dowels, leather buckles, industrial honeycomb insulation and tacks are just some of the materials that Brookes incorporates into her wall and box-like structures.

The Akus Gallery is located in the lower level of Shafer Hall at the corner of Windham and Valley Streets in Willimantic. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 1-7 p.m. on Thursday and 2-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, call (860) 465-4659 or visit www.easternct.edu/akusgallery.

Harry Hope Theatre Announces its 2013-14 Season of Shows

shutterstock_121045651.jpgThe Theatre program at Eastern has announced its fall 2013-spring 2014 Harry Hope Theatre performance schedule. The first production of the season, "Dancing At Lughnasa," written by Brian Friel and directed by J. J. Cobb, will run Oct. 10-13 and Oct. 15-16, 2013. Showings are Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 4 p.m. and Tuesday-Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. All shows are in the Harry Hope Theatre.

"Dancing At Lughnasa" is set in County Donegal in 1936, and explores five sisters at a crossroads in their lives," said Performing Arts Department chair David Pellegrini. "Through humor, colorful dialogue and beautifully-drawn characterizations, this Tony Award-winning play delves into the bonds of sisterhood, faith and social change in Ireland between the two world wars."

"The Skin of Our Teeth," written by Thornton Wilder and directed by Jerry Winters, will run Nov. 19-24, 2013. Showings are Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. in the Harry Hope Theatre. "'The Skin of Our Teeth' is an American classic by Thornton Wilder, who also penned 'Our Town' and won Pulitzer Prizes for both," said Pellegrini.
"Prelude to a Kiss," written by Craig Lucas and directed by Gloria Trombley, guest director and part-time faculty member, will open the spring 2014 season and will run Feb. 27-March 2 and March 4-5. Showings are Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m. and Tuesday-Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., all in the Harry Hope Theatre.

The Harry Hope Theatre season concludes with the bi-annual "Directors' Showcase of International One-Acts," written by globally acclaimed playwrights and directed by the Theatre program's most advanced directing students, which will run April 24-27 (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 4 p.m.). Please stay tuned for more details regarding this production.
Tickets for Harry Hope Theatre shows are $5 for students and groups of 10 or more; $10 for Eastern faculty, staff and senior citizens; and $12 for the general public. For reservations, please call the Box Office at (860) 465-5123.

Another Successful Day at Lake of Isles!

0060.JPGThe annual ECSU Foundation, Inc., Golf Tournament was held under sunny skies on June 17 at Lake of Isles in North Stonington. The tournament generated just under $70,000 with a full field of alumni, staff and friends in attendance. Since moving to Lake of Isles in 2006, the tournament has grossed more than $625,000. 

Chartwells once again served as the title sponsor with Barnes & Noble College, First Niagara Private Client Services and Webster Bank serving as breakfast sponsors. Charter Business and Savings Institute Bank & Trust Company (SIBT) rounded out the list of lead sponsors.  
A number of organizations have supported this key event for at least five consecutive years:  Farmington Bank (five years); Connecticut Orthopaedic and Hand Surgery Center (six years); Blum Shapiro Foundation and CFM Construction (seven years); Walmart (eight years); First Niagara and Simplex Grinnell (nine years); SIBT (10 years); Windham Hospital and Windham Pepsi (11 years); Charter Communications and Constitution Coach (12 years).

"We feel extremely fortunate to have developed so many wonderful and supportive relationships with a number of corporations and businesses over the past decade," said Ken DeLisa, vice president for Institutional Advancement. "We are particularly indebted to the organizations that have made this important event a priority every June. Their loyal support has provided significant scholarship and programmatic support for Eastern and we are grateful."

The Walmart team led by captain Roger Noll, store manager of the North Windham Supercenter, won the tournament for the second straight year.

Eastern Softball Goes to Europe

sports-pepin's team in czech republic-photo (27).JPGHead Softball Coach Diana Pepin (first row, far left) and alumna Molly Rathbun '13 (top row, fifth from left) spent 10 days in Prague, Czech Republic, under the auspices of American International Sports Tours, winning five of six softball games played, losing only to the Czech national team. They were victorious against Russia (twice), Prague, Austria, and another U.S. team.

"We had a tremendous experience playing softball with other collegiate players," said Pepin.  "The trip included visiting a concentration camp in Munich, Germany; seeing the Olympic Stadium; and visiting the world's largest castle in Prague."

Rathbun was dominant on the field, posting an .067 ERA on the pitching mound, and striking out 34 batters in 24 innings, yielding only 12 hits. When she wasn't pitching, she was the designated player and batted an impressive .532.


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