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February 2009 Archives

Eastern Names Winners of Martin Luther King Jr. Awards

Written by Emily Bonoyer


            Willimantic, Conn. - An Eastern Connecticut State University student, a professor of English at the University, and a Greater Hartford community worker were honored on Feb. 25 at Eastern's annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Awards Reception.

Star Parker, popular author and commentator on such television programming, as CNN, MSNBC and FOX News, was the guest speaker at the event, held in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room in the J. Eugene Smith Library.  She encouraged the audience to do three things:

1.      "Be a witness by making responsible choices; being self-sufficient and doing what we hope others will do."

2.      "Be a partner" in meeting local community needs."

3.      "Remain steadfast" - never quit."


            Student awardee Jessica Dybdahl, a senior from Mansfield, is a member of the student organization, People Helping People, and student president of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society. She has been involved in several programs including Town Wide Clean-Up and Eastern's Annual "Day of Giving." She was also involved in voter registration for Democracy Reborn, a political event aimed at empowering, educating and enlightening Eastern students about political and social issues on a local and national level.

            Her biggest project has been creating weekly trips to Lyon's Manor, a home to 30 adult residents who have a variety of mental and physical issues. Dybdahl worked with Willington Dial-A-Ride to bring the Lyon's Manor residents to Eastern for the Day of Giving Thanksgiving meal.

            "Jess refuses to leave anyone out and believes that everyone should be treated as equals even if society has set a group up otherwise," said Martin Sagendorf, community service coordinator at Eastern. "With her beliefs and ability to lead others to make a change, I believe that Jess embodies many of the characteristics that have made Martin Luther King Jr. the respected man he still is today."

            Meredith James, associate professor of English, received the award in the faculty/staff category. She teaches writing classes in the STEP/CAP program, tutors, and is a mentor to several students. In 2000, she revised and revamped the 200-level "Native American Literature" course. She has developed and taught courses such as "Indigenous Literature in English," "Southwestern Literature," and "Southern Literature." James promotes awareness of cultural and social identity as the faculty advisor for the Native American Society and Eastern's campus chapter of the NAACP (National Association of Advancement for Colored People). She has traveled with Eastern's chapter of Habitat for Humanity on several spring break trips to teach students about others in society who are less fortunate. She is also a member of the Native Writers Circle of the Americas.

            "Dr. James has enriched our curriculum and enlightened our students, not only through her teaching the literatures of people of color, but also through her teaching of ENG 100Plus, and her work in the STEP/CAP program," said Elena Tapia, professor of linguistics and English department chair, and Rita Malenczyk, English professor and the University's writing program director, in their co-signed a letter of recommendation. "She has also worked tirelessly to ensure equal opportunity for students who come into Eastern at an academic, economic and social disadvantage."

            "Dr. James has been engaged in activities that keep the needs of underrepresented students at the forefront," said Peter Bachiochi, psychology department chair. "She forges a bond with students that carry over long after her time with them in the classroom has finished."

            Eastern presented the community member award to Windsor resident Rufus Jones. Jones has been involved with Eastern's student club MALES (Men Achieving Leadership Excellence and Success), and provided leadership and direction for the Dr. Martin Luther King Oratorical Contest. He has served on several boards including the Watkinson School Board; Windsor Economic Development Council; Steering Committee for Congregations United for Equality and Justice; United Way of Greater Hartford Youth Advisory Council; and the Capitol Area Substance Abuse Council. Jones has also served as chairperson of the Windsor Conversations on Race Planning Committee.

            Jones is currently the president of the Beta Sigma Lambla (BSL) Education Foundation of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, a federally recognized 501c3 non-profit private foundation. Its mission is to provide educational programming and services for middle and high schools from the Greater Hartford area that will enhance students' opportunities for academic excellence beyond high school. The BSL Education Foundation, Inc. sponsors annual services and programs including Project Alpha; Big Brothers and Big Sisters; the Leadership Development Institute; Alpha Academy; and the Annual Harford Step OFF and Wellness Exposition.

            "I can not overstate how impressed I am by Rufus' dedication to community involvement and the great things he does for others, similar to the ideologies of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." said David Jones, community development educator at the Department of Residential Education at New York University, and Rufus Jones' son. "He is definitely making a major impact in our community, in addition to fulfilling his professional responsibilities at the Travelers Insurance Company."

            "As a community leader and advocate, Rufus epitomizes qualities such as determination, intellectualism, leadership, vision and moral character," said Walter Diaz, Eastern's director of housing and residential life. "Rufus does not allow his professional work to deter him from achieving goals to the community work and providing leadership, guidance and support to peers and the youth in the Greater Hartford community."


Eastern Celebrates National Women's History Month

Written by Allison Kelly



grasso with webb at commencment.JPGWillimantic, Conn. - The Women's Center at Eastern Connecticut State University is presenting numerous events in March in honor of Women's History Month.  The public is invited.  Admission is free.   

            On March 3, Robin Morgan, award-winning poet, author and feminist activist, will speak about her role in the international women's movement at 7 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room in the J. Eugene Smith Library.

            On March 5, "Good Lessons from Bad Women in History," a one-woman performance presented by Dorothy Leeds, portrays the lives of historically "disreputable" women and will take place at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Theater in the Student Center.

            On March 10, Daisy Cocco De Filippis, president of Naugatuck Valley Community College and author of an anthology on Dominican women authors, will speak at 3:30 p.m. in Student Center Theater.

            On March 11, Ruth Butler, professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, will discuss her new book, "Hidden in the Shadow of the Master: The Model-Wives of Cezanne, Monet, and Rodin," at 3 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library.

            On March 12 and March 13, Eastern presents the "Vagina Monologues," spoken word performances dealing with reclaiming female sexuality performed by Eastern students, faculty and staff as well as area residents, at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Theater.

            On March 17, there will be a viewing of the film "Women's Power," with a discussion to follow. The film looks at female spheres of influence in politics, economics, religion, medicine and arts.

            On March 18, recipients of the First Annual Ella T. Grasso Distinguished Service Award will be acknowledged for their efforts towards advancing the rights of women and ending gender inequality at 6 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room in the J. Eugene Smith Library.

            On March 19, "Women's Power Circle," a two-hour workshop that targets survivors of trauma, loss, violence and abuse and addresses feelings of despair in order to reclaim life and identity, will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Women's Center, located on the first floor of the Student Center.

            On March 31, "Third-Wave Feminists: Charting Our Course," a panel discussion that will address the challenges of "Third Wave Feminists," will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the Student Center Theater. The panel will also discuss the core issues confronted by today's young and emerging feminists as compared to previous generations of women.


Eastern's Department of Education to Receive Grant

Written by Emily Bonoyer


Education Grant      

CPRL- Child writing.JPG

Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University has been named the recipient of a three-year grant to participate in the teacher quality partnership program, "Science Matters! Building Content and Literacy Knowledge." Funding of up to $110,000 has been granted for the current year from the Connecticut Department of Education, with Eastern eligible to apply for additional funding the next two years.

The grant begins this summer and involves 30 teachers from the towns of Norwich, Windham, Killingly, Madison and Somers.

            The teachers will attend 10 days of content-intensive professional development in science, technology and literacy presented by Eastern's faculty from the University's School of Arts and Sciences. The workshops are based on the Connecticut State frameworks in science and literacy, which are major conceptual themes and content standards that all students are expected to learn in their elementary, middle and high school science and literacy classes. Faculty in Eastern's Education Department also will provide hands-on learning for specific teaching environments.

            Teachers will spend one day at the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford, opening in spring 2009, focusing on connections to literature and literacy. On other days they will work with staff from Project Learning Tree from the Connecticut Forest and Park Association and the University's Institute for Sustainable Energy.         

            Participants will complete the following tasks: increase the breadth and depth of their scientific, technological and literacy content knowledge; integrate content knowledge of science, technology and literacy into instructional practices across grades 3-6 school curriculum; provide staff development to disseminate and support evidence-based literacy practices to building and district teachers in grades 3-6; and build professional relationships that will strengthen all programs.       

            "Eastern Connecticut State University is to be commended for the high quality of its application and commitment to serving Connecticut's teachers," said Connie Frasier from the Connecticut Department of Higher Education in a letter to the University. "Your application was among 17 submitted and eight selected for conditional approval."

            "I'm delighted that Eastern will be able to offer high-quality professional development for teachers in our partner districts this summer," said Jeanelle Day, associate professor of education and project director of the grant program. "This is an incredible opportunity for the faculty from the Education Department and the School of Arts and Sciences to work together and help our elementary teachers improve their content knowledge in science. Participating teachers will also learn new strategies for integrating science and literacy within the constraints of their schedules. The grant allows us to provide instruction in the use of new district materials, including technology, which will be made available to the districts after the summer workshops," said Day.  

            Other Eastern faculty involved with the project include Susannah Richards, assistant professor of education and project co-director of the grant; Catherine Tannahill, associate professor of education and project coordinator of the grant; Fred Loxsom, endowed chair of environmental earth science; James Hyatt, professor of environmental earth science; Lori Brant, education coordinator at Connecticut Forest and Park Association;  Laurel Kohl, energy technical specialist at the Institute for Sustainable Energy; Peter Drzewiecki, associate professor of environmental earth science; Ross Koning, professor of biology; Patricia Szczys, assistant professor of biology; and Russell Sampson, associate professor of physical sciences.   


Vagina Monologues to be Performed at Eastern

Written by Allison Kelly

Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University students, faculty and staff, along with Willimantic community members, will perform various monologues concerning domestic abuse, body issues and reclaiming sexuality in Eastern's yearly production of "The Vagina Monologues." The monologues will be performed at 7 p.m. on March 12 and March 13 in the Student Center Theatre at Eastern.

The Vagina Monologues were written in 1996 by performance artist Eve Ensler. In drafting her early monologues, Ensler conducted interviews with 200 women on the subjects of sex, relationships and violence against women. Since 1996, a new monologue has been added to the performance to highlight a current issue affecting women around the world.

The Vagina Monologues is part of a global movement known as "V-Day." The "V" in V-Day stands for Valentine, Vagina and Victory, linking love and respect for women to ending violence against them. Participants in the movement stage benefit performances of the Vagina Monologues between Feb. 1 and March 31 to raise money for the cause.


College President to Discuss Dominican Women Authors

Written by Allison Kelly

Willimantic, Conn. - Daisy Cocco De Fillipis, president of Naugatuck Valley Community College, will discuss her anthology, "Documents of Dissidence: Selected Writings by Dominican Women," at 3:30 p.m. on March 10 in the Student Center Theatre at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Cocco De Fillipis has spent two decades studying and writing about Dominican, Caribbean and Latino literatures. She has been involved with numerous grant projects supporting research that integrates technology into teaching foreign language. In 2006, Coco De Fillipis was named Woman of the Year by the Association of Dominican American Supervisors and Administrators. She is also the author of "From Desolation to Compromise: The Poetry of Aida Cartagena Portalatin."


Willimantic Orchestra to Perform at Eastern

Written by Este Yarmosh

Willimantic, Conn. - The Willimantic Orchestra will play the third concert of its 2008-09 season on March 1 at 3 p.m. in Eastern Connecticut State University's Shafer Auditorium, located in Shafer Hall at the corner of Windham and Valley Streets in Willimantic.  The public is invited.  While admission is free, donations are welcomed.

The orchestra will perform selections from Mendelssohn's "Overture to a Midsummer Night's Dream" and Schubert's "Symphony No. 6 in C."  Jeff Calissi, assistant professor of music at Eastern, will perform as a soloist in the Ney Rosauro piece, "Concerto for Marimba and String Orchestra."

The Willimantic Orchestra is conducted by David Vaughan, who was named conductor in 1991.  In addition to the Willimantic Orchestra, Vaughan conducts the Greater Killingly Community Band; the University of Connecticut (UConn) Community School Honors Orchestra; and the Westfield Congregational Church Choir. He currently teaches music in the Killingly public school system. Vaughan has also been musical director for the theatrical productions of "Annie, Get Your Gun," "Carousel," "The Gondoliers," "The Happy End," "Company," "Godspell," "The Frogs of Windham," and others with the UConn Drama Department, Thomaston Opera House, Nutmeg Summer Theater, Manchester Musical Players and Windham Theatre Guild.  In 1985, Vaughan received his Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting from UConn. 

Calissi teaches music at Eastern, where he is also director of percussion studies.  He holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Radford University in Virginia and a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Calissi has performed at numerous events, including the Southeastern Composers League Conference, the Eastern Trombone Workshop and the National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy.   

For more information, contact Fred Wengrzynek at (860) 228-4008 or by e-mail,, or visit 


Volunteers Needed for the Special Olympics

Written by Allison Kelly

Willimantic, Conn. - Charles Wynn, professor of chemistry at Eastern Connecticut State University and meet director for the 30th Annual Windham Invitational Special Olympics Swim Meet, is looking for volunteers to assist at the meet.  The meet will be held on March 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Windham High School in Willimantic.  More than 200 athletes with intellectual disabilities from Connecticut and nearby states are expected to register for the event.

            "Volunteers are the backbone of this event," said Wynn.  "Approximately 350 volunteers will be needed to continue to make this swim meet a success. Volunteers are needed in areas such as sports clinics, food services and water safety. The greatest need is for one-to-one partners. Every participant is paired with a partner to help them throughout the day."

            All volunteers will be provided lunch and a souvenir Windham Special Olympics t-shirt. Volunteer forms may be picked up at the main office in Eastern's Sports Center.

            The Special Olympics is a year-round program of physical fitness, sports training, and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

            According to a study by experts at Yale University, Special Olympics athletes perform better at school, at work and at home the longer they participate in the program. Special Olympics has a direct and positive effect on their self-image and ability to function in a social setting. They acquire skills that help them gain employment, maintain relationships, function independently and contribute to community life.

            For more information, please contact Charles Wynn at (860) 465-5258 or Geri White at (860) 455-9196


Eastern Students Honored at Annual Kennedy Center Festival

Written by Este Yarmosh

Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University theatre students and their productions were recognized at the annual Region I Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, held at Fitchburg College in Fitchburg, MA in late January. 

Frank-Thomas Grogan '10 was selected as one of three student directors to participate in the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers (SSDC) Student Director Initiative.  Danielle Frate '08, a Visual Arts major, won the "Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region I Runner-Up for Outstanding Student Poster Design" award for her poster design for Eastern's production of "The Women."  

Seven Eastern students were candidates for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition:  Luke Boyd, Joey Dias, Shane Kegler, Kamilah Lindo, Kerri Panciera, Lisa Steeves and Erin Williams.  Seven other students-Casey Bessette, Ben Friedman, Frank-Thomas Grogan, Craig Harlow, Megan Harris, Michael Lessard, and Jenna Podeswa--were eligible for the NETC (New England Theatre Conference) Partner Award for their role as acting partners of those competing for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition. 

Boyd, Dias, Grogan, Kegler and Lindo were chosen to perform in "6X10s," six original plays lasting ten minutes each.  "We were the only school to have so many of our students cast in these shows," said Ellen Faith Brodie, performing arts professor and director of theatre at Eastern.  "More than 100 students auditioned for 20 parts and five of those parts went to Eastern students."

Eastern's 2008 production of "Oklahoma!" received a Merit Award for "Outstanding Musical Production" during the festival.  Also, Eastern's performance of "The Women" won a Merit Award for "Outstanding Period Ensemble."


Author and Feminist Activist to Lecture at Eastern

Written by Allison Kelly

Willimantic, Conn. -Award-winning poet and feminist activist Robin Morgan will lecture at 7 p.m. on March 3 in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library. Morgan is a leader of contemporary American feminism and has been active in the international women's movement for 30 years. She is also founder of the Sisterhood is Global Institute, and the founder and board member of The Women's Media Center.

Morgan's prolific writing career has resulted in the publishing of more than 20 books, including the now-classic anthologies, "Sisterhood Is Powerful" (Random House 1970), and "Sisterhood Is Global" (Doubleday, l984; The Feminist Press, 1996); and "Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women's Anthology For a New Millennium" (Simon & Schuster, 2003).

"Here are the real words of our founders, free of the prison of right wing distortion, and we've never needed them more!" Gloria Steinem, early American feminist icon, has said of Morgan's 2006 book, "Fighting Words: A Toolkit for Combating the Religious Right,"

In 1986 and 1989, Morgan spent several months in Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza, reporting on the conditions of women. She has also been a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Prize for Poetry.


One-Woman Show Highlights "Bad Girls" in History

Written by Allison Kelly


Willimantic, Conn. -Dorothy Leeds, motivational speaker and former Broadway actor, will perform her one-woman show, "Good Lessons from Bad Women in History," at 7 p.m. on March 5 in the Student Center Theatre.  Leeds' show revisits history to learn surprising lessons from supposed "wicked women" in history.

Leeds' show consists of four vignettes featuring monologues from four traditionally "bad girls" in history. For her first vignette Leeds performs as a struggling stand-up comic from Brooklyn who portrays Eve, the original, biblical, "bad-girl" temptress. Three other women performed by Leeds-Machine Gun Kathryn Kelly, Emperor Wu Chao, and Elizabeth Freeman-are historically accurate portrayals of the women.

Leeds combines eight years as a Broadway actor and 22 years of business professional experience with her unique talents as a motivational speaker to integrate theatrical/creative learning techniques that accelerate learning and retention. She has also spoken at numerous corporations such as IBM, Pfizer, Boeing, and Merrill Lynch. As a media personality, Leeds has appeared on "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," and "Smart Money." She is also a film critic for MSNBC and has had articles published in The New York Times, The Daily News, and Forbes.


Cohn-Head Author to Discuss New Book at Eastern

Written by Allison Kelly


_CohnLinda002[1].JPGWillimantic, Conn. -  Veteran ESPN sports analyst/anchor Linda Cohn will discuss her biography "Cohn-Head" at 7 p.m. on March 4 in the Betty Tipton Room of the Student Center at Eastern Connecticut State University. Cohn will sign copies of her book after the presentation.

In the traditionally male-dominated business of sports broadcasting, Cohn set a precedent when she became the first full-time female sportscaster on a national radio network. In her new book, "Cohn-Head," Cohn chronicles her passion for sports and her unique experiences working on ESPN's popular sports show "SportsCenter."

In 1981, Cohn received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the State University of New York at Oswego. That same year, she began sports broadcasting for a local New York radio station.  In 1989, she began working at the KIRO-TV station in Seattle, where she was a weekend sports reporter/anchor. She joined ESPN in 1992, and has reported on a range of sporting events including the extreme winter sports competition, the X-games, the men's Final Four basketball championship, and NASCAR's "Chase for the Cup" race. Cohn has also anchored "SportsCenter's" late-night show.


Eastern Named to Presidential Honor Roll

Written by Allison Kelly

Willimantic, Conn. -The Corporation for National and Community Service honored Eastern Connecticut State University on Feb.9 with a place on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and service to America's communities.  

"We thank the Corporation for National and Community Service for recognizing the significant contributions our students and faculty are making in our local community and throughout Connecticut," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez.  "Being selected to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is a mark of distinction that we are very grateful to receive."

Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

            For years, Eastern students have been involved in the local community through academic classes, residence life, clubs and organizations, and the University's Office of Community Service.


            Recently, in Novermber 2008, Eastern served a Thanksgiving dinner to more than 400 people at its annual "Day of Giving."  Students also collected more than 20,000 nonperishable items for local social service agencies that help poor people, donations that are expected to serve the community for at least 20 months. Each year, Eastern's students support Habitat for Humanity by using their spring break to visit communities along the eastern seaboard and help build homes for needy families.

            More than 100 students participate regularly in People Helping People, a student-led organization that has coordinated projects in the community in the areas of human service, education, the environment, social activism, health care and global issues. One such program brings student volunteers to Lyon's Manor in Willington, a home for individuals who do not need full-time nursing staff, but who cannot live alone and who would otherwise be homeless. Spearheaded by senior Jessica Dybdahl, students visit on a weekly basis, bringing crafts, sports, games and humor. Lyon's Manor staff say the students have created a sense of community among the residents that did not exist previously. Ms. Dybdahl has been awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service Award at Eastern for her volunteer activities at Eastern.

"In this time of economic distress, we need volunteers more than ever. College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges," said Stephen Goldsmith, vice chair of the board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the Honor Roll. "We salute Eastern Connecticut State University for making community service a campus priority, and thank the millions of college students who are helping to renew America through service to others."

            Overall, the corporation honored six schools with Presidential Awards. In addition, 83 were named as Honor Roll with Distinction members and 546 schools as Honor Roll members.  In total, 635 schools were recognized. A full list is available at

The Honor Roll is a program of the corporation, in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education. 

"I offer heartfelt congratulations to those institutions named to the 2008 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. College and university students across the country are making a difference in the lives of others every day - as are the institutions that encourage their students to serve others," said American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad.

Recent studies have underlined the importance of service-learning and volunteering to college students. In 2006, 2.8 million college students gave more than 297 million hours of volunteer service, according to the corporation's "Volunteering in America 2007" study. Expanding campus incentives for service is part of a larger initiative to spur higher levels of volunteering by America's college students. The corporation is working with a coalition of federal agencies, higher education and student associations, and nonprofit organizations to achieve this goal.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. The corporation administers Senior Corps; AmeriCorp; and Learn and Serve America, a program that supports service-learning in schools, institutions of higher education and community-based organizations. For more information, go to


Eastern Sociology Professor Releases New Book

Written by Emily Bonoyer

            Willimantic, Conn. - James Russell, professor of sociology and director of the Latin American Studies program at Eastern Connecticut State University, has published a new book, "Class and Race Formation in North America" is a comparative exploration of how patterns of class and racial inequality developed in the United States, Mexico and Canada from the colonial pasts to the beginning of the North American Free Trade Agreement and beyond.

            In his book, Russell illustrates the effects of uneven economic development on both class and race in North America; examines how unique class and race dynamics in each of the countries have contributed to overall continental patters; and demonstrates the complexity of the ways in which class and race are interrelated. Ultimately, he reveals a continent of diverse historical experiences, class systems and ways of thinking about race.

            "Russell's meticulously researched and highly detailed book presents a critically important people's history of North America, " said Dan Zuberi, assistant professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia and author of "Differences That Matter: Social Policy and the working Poor in the United States and Canada." "For those interested in how class and race emerged and diverged among the three countries sharing this continent, this book provides rich insights and demonstrates the potential of comparative research to broaden our perspective."

            Richard Griswold del Castillo, professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at San Diego State University, agreed, saying the book is "a very important contribution to comparative studies of race and class."

             Russell was active in the 1960s civil rights and antiwar movements. He was the first editor of New Left Notes, the national newspaper of Students for a Democratic Society. He received a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin, and has taught at universities in San Francisco, Texas, Oregon, Mexico City and Connecticut

            Russell is the author of six books, including "After the Fifth Sun: Class and Race in North America" (Prentice Hall) and "Double Standard:  Social Policy in Europe and the United States" (Rowman and Littlefield). He has also published widely in such publications as Monthly Review, The Nation and The Progressive.


Eastern Performing Arts Professor Releases New Book

Written by Este Yarmosh

Willimantic, Conn. - Okon Hwang, professor of music at Eastern Connecticut State University, has published a new book, "Western Art Music in South Korea: Everyday Experience and Cultural Critique."  The book discusses the influence of Western art music on contemporary history, music, culture and identity in South Korea, employing perspectives of aspiring and professional musicians from a young girl, to experienced performers in the field, to music teachers.   It also examines South Korean scholars' efforts to determine Western art music's place in Korean awareness and culture.       

  Originally from South Korea, Hwang arrived in the United States to complete her studies at an advanced level and to cultivate her creative and research goals.   At the age of five, she began piano lessons, and at age 10, swept her first piano competition. With assistance from the South Korean government and other agencies, Hwang helped found the Association for Korean Music Research in 1995.  The Association was the first attempt to create an international center of intellectuals that would endorse, foster and offer comprehensive analyses of the multiple facets of Korean music.  

Hwang is the recipient of the first-place Edmunds and Thelma Miller Award for Young Artists and numerous research grants, and also has won the J. Earl Lee Piano Competition.  She engages in performances as a soloist and as a chamber musician.  Her articles have been featured in "The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians" and "The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music."  Hwang received a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano and a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology. 


Eastern Students Reenact Lincoln Douglas Debates

Written by Allison Kelly

Willimantic, Conn. - In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, Eastern Connecticut State University senior honor students Drew Mizak of Mystic and Luke Boyd of Wallingford reenacted the renowned Lincoln-Douglas debates by presenting "Lincoln's Legacy Today" on Feb. 9 in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center.

Arguably one of the most famous debate series of all time, the Lincoln-Douglas debates occurred in 1858 and featured Sen. Stephen Douglas running against Abraham Lincoln for the Illinois Senate seat.  Douglas won that election but was defeated by Lincoln in the 1860 presidential election.

Through the help of Professor William Salka of the Political Science Department, Mizak and Boyd reenacted the debate using the work of Norman Corwin, who wrote the script entitled "The Rivalry." Mizak, wearing an overcoat and top hat, played Lincoln, while Boyd conveyed the jovial personality of Douglas.

Boyd said the reenactment highlighted the differences between the two men, adding, "Lincoln wasn't perfect and he did have his flaws." Boyd also said he hoped that the debate format allowed the audience to see "the great intellectual strength of a man with little to no formal education."       

In the role of Lincoln, Mizak highlighted a lighter side of the reenactment. When Boyd charged that Lincoln was two-faced, Mizak replied, "If I had two faces, why would I wear this one?"

During the question and answer session, an audience member asked Boyd's Douglas if he ever imagined there would be an African American president of the United States, In character, Boyd replied, "Never!" Life in the United States has certainly changed in 150 years. (With contributions by guest writer Andrew Powaleny '09)


Packer Packs a Punch into Short-Stories at Eastern

  zz packer.JPGWritten by Allison Kelly

Willimantic, Conn. -Acclaimed African American author Z.Z. Packer will read selections from her short-story collection "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere," as well as from her new work, at 7 p.m. on Feb. 24 in the Student Center Theater located in the Student Center at Eastern Connecticut State University. As part of Eastern's University Hour, Packer will also present a second reading at 3 p.m. on Feb. 25 in Webb Hall Room 110. Following the reading, Packer will answer audience questions regarding her life as a writer and the craft of writing fiction.

            "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere" is filled with an array of highly developed, relatable characters including African American church ladies, white intellectuals, inner-city dwellers, and an odd group of expatriated internationals stuck in Japan.

            Packer's work has appeared in Seventeen Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, The Best American Short Stories (2000), and the literary journal Ploughshares.


Eastern to Present Martin Luther King Jr. Awards

Written by Emily Bonoyer

MLKing March on Washington- King Waving to Crowd.JPG          

  Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University will present Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Awards to three deserving individuals as part of the university's celebration of African American History Month. The ceremony will take place on Feb. 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library. The public is invited. Admission is free.

            The award recognizes members of the campus and local community whose actions demonstrate distinguished service in promoting King's ideals to further the goals of diversity and social equality. Awards will be given to a member of the community; a member of the Eastern faculty/staff; and to an Eastern student.

            The awards acknowledge distinguished service in one or more of three categories: activities that represent a commitment to the goals of an integrated society, including activities beyond one's work obligations; leadership in a program serving the needs of a diverse community, with efforts reflecting an attempt to unify groups and or to increase sensitivity; and planning and implementation of programs to broaden representation of underrepresented groups as students and employees.

            Star Parker, a prominent author and columnist who serves as a commentator and analyst on major television and radio programs across the country, including CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News, will be the guest speaker. Parker debated Jesse Jackson on BET; fought for school choice on Larry King Live; and defended welfare reform on the Oprah Winfrey Show. She is also the author of "Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can Do About It." Entertainment will be provided by Aston's Caribbean Trio.



Eastern to Present Reenactment of Lincoln-Douglas Debates

Written by Ed Osborn

Willimantic, CT  --  In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, Eastern Connecticut State University students and faculty are hosting two events on Feb. 9 in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center. 

At 7 p.m., students will present "Lincoln's Legacy Today" by reenacting the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates.  Following the reenactment, at approximately 7:30 p.m., faculty members Stacey Close, William Salka, Nicole Krassas, and Madeleine Fugère will present the panel discussion, "Civil Rights from Lincoln to Obama."  A question and answer session will follow.  The public is invited; admission is free.


"World's Religions" Series at Eastern

Written by Allison Kelly

Willimantic, Conn. - As part of the First-Year Colloquium Program at Eastern Connecticut State University, a new weekly series on world religions has been developed for the spring 2009 semester. In conjunction with the colloquium, leaders from 14 different spiritual groups, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Roman Catholicism and Humanism, will make presentations. 

All sessions will be held on Thursdays, 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. in Webb Hall 214. The first presentation was held from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. on Jan. 29 in Webb Hall 214. Dick Mozzer and Doug Paul spoke on behalf of the Church of Christ Scientist. The last session will be held on May 7.

For the entire list of presentations or for more information please contact David Stoloff,, 860-465-5501.


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