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November 2009 Archives

Eastern Concert Band to Perform Seasonal Concert

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, CT -- Eastern Connecticut State University's Department of Performing Arts will present Eastern Concert Band's seasonal performance at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 2 in Shafer Auditorium. The public is invited. Admission is free.

The concert, conducted by part-time Professor of Music Kathryn Niemasik, is the annual seasonal performance that includes Hanukkah pieces as well as winter songs. The band will begin with John Williams' "Sound the Bells," inspired by the composer's fascination with Japanese temple bells during his involvement with the Boston Pops Orchestra in Japan. The second piece is Morten Lauridsen's "O Magnum Mysterium," which follows the birth of Christ. "Winter Dances" by Brian Balmages will be performed, as well as Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Jesters," which was originally composed for a Russian military band and is performed in the ballet, "The Snow Maiden." The concert will contain traditional pieces such as "A Winter's Carol" and "Three Moods of Hanukkah," as well as nontraditional pieces, such as Percy Faith's "Brazilian Sleigh Bells." The program concludes with Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride."

The 66 musicians who will perform have registered for the Music 107 Concert Band course, a unique class that teaches both student and community member musicians.

For more information, contact Lana Raymond at (860) 465-5325 or


Award-Winning Filmmaker to Lecture at Eastern

Written by Jack Meltzer


Gibney A- Photo.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - Alex Gibney, Academy Award-winning director and producer will be speaking at Eastern Connecticut State University on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center.  Gibney is the second guest speaker in Eastern's Ninth Annual Arts and Lecture Series. 

Gibney has spent nearly 30 years writing, editing, and directing films.  Several films that he directed and/or produced have been screened at the Cannes, Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals.  Gibney's films have been nominated for Academy Awards nine times, including his critically-acclaimed 2007 film, "Taxi to the Dark Side," which examines U.S. torture and interrogation practices of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Gibney's work addresses many social and economic issues as well as  lighter subjects, such as those depicted in the 2008 film, "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson," a biography of the author.  This year, Gibney won the Yale Film Studies' Program Award for his contribution to film culture.

Gibney is currently working on the production of "Freakonomics," based on the bestselling book by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.  He is also directing a new documentary about cyclist Lance Armstrong.  Gibney is president of Jigsaw Productions, a production company which produces independent films and TV mini- series.  He also writes a blog for the website Huffington Post.

Gibney attended high school at Pomfret School, earned his bachelor's degree from Yale University, and later attended the UCLA Film School's graduate program.

Tickets for Gibney's lecture are $10 for the general public.  To purchase tickets, call (860) 465-0036 or e-mail  For more information about other upcoming Arts and Lecture Series events, visit


Eastern President Joins New "Presidents' Trust"

Written by Ed Osborn


nunez official portrait.JPG82 College and University Leaders to Work Together To Build Public Understanding of the Value of Liberal Education Outcomes for Students and American Society

Willimantic, CT -- The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today that President Elsa Núñez of Eastern Connecticut State University has joined the Presidents' Trust, a new group formed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).  President Núñez and an esteemed group of 81 other college and university leaders from around the country have formed the Trust to make the case for liberal education and its value in today's world.  The Presidents' Trust is a leadership group within AAC&U's national initiative, "Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP): Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes to College."

"The Presidents' Trust is a significant body of work that my distinguished colleagues have developed over time," said Núñez. "It reflects a new reality in our country -- that a liberal education is no longer just for the elite and privileged.  Today's liberal arts colleges, both public and private, are providing access to a new generation of students that reflects the breadth of our modern society.  The economic and social transformation occurring in our nation requires a citizenry that is able to adapt to change. I believe a liberal education can best provide today's college students with those adaptive skills."

Núñez is the only public university president in Connecticut to join the Presidents' Trust.  In addition to Eastern Connecticut State University, Connecticut College and Fairfield University are the other two Connecticut schools to join the Trust.

Members of the Presidents' Trust are leaders from all sectors of higher education and are committed to advocating for the vision, values and practices that connect liberal education with the individual and societal needs of the 21st century.  Through regional and national meetings and their own advocacy efforts, Trust members will engage with campus members and those outside of higher education about the core purposes and practices of liberal education.  They are also providing leadership for advancing reforms in the practice of liberal education both on their campuses and with other groups and organizations with which they are affiliated.

In 2009-10, the priorities for the Presidents' Trust include  making the economic case for liberal education; making the civic case for liberal education; engaging first-generation families and new Americans with the meaning and value of liberal education; integrating liberal arts and professional preparation on campus; and charting a new direction for assessment and accountability.

"President Núñez is already providing valuable leadership by speaking out and ensuring that Eastern Connecticut State University students are receiving the kind of college education that will best prepare them for success in today's competitive global economy--an engaged and practical liberal education," said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider.

Núñez and Eastern Connecticut State University are well positioned to make a significant contribution to the Presidents' Trust.  Eastern is the designated public liberal arts university of Connecticut, one of only 26 members of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, and has recently embarked on a new five-year Strategic Plan that strengthens the University's liberal arts core curriculum while grounding it in a variety of experiential learning opportunities for students -- internships, service learning, cooperative education, undergraduate research, and study abroad.

"To be successful in the future, our nation will need people who are committed to the democratic process, engaged in our local communities, and equipped to meet the challenges of today's technologically driven workplace.  The liberal arts hold the best promise of educating our citizens in the 21st century," said Núñez.

The Presidents' Trust advocates for a vision of liberal education that combines a focus on broad knowledge, analytic reasoning and rigorous contextual study with newer approaches to helping students integrate and apply their learning in new settings.  The Trust believes that a 21st century liberal education empowers individuals with core knowledge and transferable skills and cultivates social responsibility and a strong sense of ethics and values.  Characterized by challenging encounters with important issues, a liberal education prepares graduates both for socially valued work and for civic leadership in their society.

About LEAP

Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) is an initiative that champions the value of a liberal education--for individual students and for a nation dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality. The initiative focuses campus practice on fostering essential learning outcomes for all students, whatever their chosen field of study.   LEAP is AAC&U's primary vehicle for advancing and communicating about the importance of undergraduate liberal education for all students. LEAP seeks to engage the public with core questions about what really matters in college, to give students a compass to guide their learning, and to make a set of essential learning outcomes the preferred framework for educational excellence, assessment of learning, and new alignments between school and college. See for a full list of Presidents' Trust members.


About AAC&U

AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises 1,200 member institutions --including accredited public and private colleges and universities of every type and size.

            AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, and faculty members who are engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Its mission is to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education at both the national and local levels and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges. Information about AAC&U membership, programs, and publications can be found at


Eastern's Student Activities Staff Honored

Written by Emily Bonoyer


NACA -Bedini-2009 008.JPG

Ken Bedini, right, interim vice president of student affairs, and Michelle Delaney, second from left, director of student center and student activities, pose for a picture with Eastern's National Association of Campus Activities award winners, left to right, Casey Bandarra and Sarah Potrikus.

Willimantic, CT -- Casey Bandarra, assistant to the director of student center and student activities; Eastern student Sarah Potrikus '11, a communication major from Somers; and the University's Campus Activity Board received awards at the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) regional conference, held from Nov. 12 to Nov. 15 at the Hartford Convention Center.

            Each year, NACA recognizes staff and students in the Northeast region who have demonstrated commitment to the field of student activities on their campuses and to the NACA organization on the regional and national level. 


NACA -campus activity board 2009 005.JPG  Members of Eastern's Campus Activity Board, who won a National Association of Campus Activites award include Bottom/Front row- Brett Lukaszek, Tunde Olatinwo, Shelley Ericson, Marlana Carroll, Jessica Ruddy, Stephanie Boccanfuso, Sarah Potrikus, Meghan Mizak. Top/Back row- Joe Saad, Chris Loveland, Ben Foran, Eliza Poulos, Kevin Porter, Brian Ratte, Casey Bandarra, Jessica Lupinacci.         

The Campus Activity Board (CAB) was recognized for its outstanding programming efforts for the past year. Eastern's CAB programs were voted to be among the most creative, the most diverse among the institutions similar in size and the best marketed and promoted. 

            Bandarra received the David A. Ross New Professional Award for her contributions to Eastern's campus and for her efforts as CAB supervisor and senior class advisor.  This award is given each year to someone whose efforts have greatly impacted students.

            Potrikus received one of only five student leadership awards. This award brings with it a scholarship as well as money from the Annual Ross/Fahey Golf Tournament. Potrikus has been on CAB for two years and serves on the Senior Class Committee, the People Helping People student club, and is a member of the advanced tier of the Pathways to Leadership program, a three-tiered personal student leadership program developed as part of Eastern's Strategic Plan. She plans to pursue a career in student affairs.

            Ken Bedini, interim vice president of student affairs, presented the Kenneth M. Bedini Student Leadership Award, named in his honor, to Potrikus. This award is given every year to outstanding students for their programming and leadership efforts on their campuses. Bedini is admired and respected in the field of student activities as a true professional dedicated to student success. 

            Michelle Delaney, director of student center and student activities, is widely respected for her efforts to raise funds for the Student Leadership Awards by coordinating all facets of the Ross/Fahey Golf Tournament, which occurs every year in June at the Heritage Country Club in Charleton, MA. NACA named the Maureen McDermott and Michelle M. Delaney Staff Programmer Award in her and Maureen McDermott's honor.

            Bedini and Delaney are both past recipients of the Donald L McCullough award, the highest honor one can receive in the region for NACA.


Eastern to Present Hasty Bauble

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, CT -- Eastern Connecticut State University's Performing Arts Department will present "Hasty Bauble" from Dec. 3 to 6 in the Harry Hope Theatre in Shafer Hall. The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on the evenings of Dec. 3, 4 and 5, and a matinee will be presented at 4 p.m. on Dec. 6. The public is invited. Tickets are $5 for Eastern students and groups of 10 or more; $10 for Eastern faculty, staff, alumni and senior citizens; and $12 for the general public.
            "Hasty Bauble," an adaptation of William Wycherley's "The Country Wife," is adapted and directed by J.J. Cobb, Eastern's assistant professor of acting. It is the culmination of this semester's Great Roles: Period Styles of Acting course, which allows actors to explore the manners and dress of the Restoration period.

The play revolves around the rakish Harry Horner, a man returning from abroad who claims he is a eunuch to gain the trust of London's aristocratic husbands. The unsuspecting husbands leave their wives in the company of, who takes advantage of the husbands' ignorance and seduces the all-too-willing wives. The jealous, middle-aged Pinchwife introduces his new bride, the ignorant "country wife" Margery, into society. Margery also falls for Horner, despite her husband's dominance over their marriage. The subplot contains the true love story of Harcourt and Alithea, who is already engaged to the foppish Sparkish.

"'The Country Wife' is the best representation of the raucous, raw and mostly irreverent way playwrights addressed romantic love during the Restoration period," says Cobb. "The manners are used as a ruse, a façade to hide all the lust and deception. Trust me, after watching the 'China scene,' the audience will definitely know this is not just a play about a bunch of people in plumed hats. The wit and innuendo are deliciously raunchy."

For reservations, call the Harry Hope Box Office at (860) 465-5123.


Muslim Filmmaker to Speak at Eastern

Written by Jack Meltzer

ParvezSharma.JPG            Willimantic, CT-  Parvez Sharma, award-winning filmmaker and writer, will speak at Eastern Connecticut State University on Dec. 2 as a part of Eastern's University Hour series.  The lecture begins at 3 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre.  The public is invited.  Admission is free. 

            Sharma's first feature, "A Jihad for Love," gained international popularity with more than 700,000 viewers in 25 nations. The documentary deals with gay, lesbian and transgender Muslims across the Muslim and Western worlds. It also seeks to challenge stereotypes around Islam, a religion with a following of one billion people.

            A Jihad for Love has premiered at many major international festival venues, including the Toronto festival in 2007 and the Berlin festival in 2008. The winner of five international awards, the film is being broadcast around the world.

            Sharma, who lives in New York, was born in India and studied English Literature at Presidency College of the University of Calcutta. He received three master's degrees: in mass communication from Jamia Millia Islamia University; in broadcast journalism from the University of Wales, Cardiff; and in film and video from American University's School of Communication.


Author to Read Poetry at Eastern

Written by Kevin Antonucci


joan_sidney.JPGWillimantic, Conn. - Prominent author Joan Seliger Sidney, writer-in-residence at the University of Connecticut's Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, will read selections of her poetry on Nov. 17 at Eastern Connecticut State University. The reading will take place at 5:30 p.m. in Room 301 of the Science Building.  

            Following the reading, Sidney will hold a question and answer session and sign copies of her book, "Body of Diminishing Motion." Sidney's presentation, which is part of the Eastern Visiting Writers Series, is open to the public. Admission is free.

            Sidney has taught writing at Eastern, UConn and the Universite de Grenoble in France. Her book, "Body of Diminishing Motion: Poems and a Memoir," was published by CavanKerry PressHer poems have appeared in Connecticut Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review, the Louisville Review and many other magazines and anthologies.  She has received poetry fellowships from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts; the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation; and the Vermont Studio Center.


Alumnus to Lecture at Eastern

Written by Jack Meltzer


Willimantic, Conn. - Marc Freeman '93, assistant professor of neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester will speak at Eastern Connecticut State University at 1 p.m. on Nov. 19 in Room 104 of the Science Building.  The public is invited. Admission is free.

Freeman recently won a five-year Howard Hughes Early Career Award as one of the nation's leading young scientists. He is responsible for identifying 100 fruit fly genes that turned into glial cells to facilitate nerve development, migration and communication, which is important for developing potential therapies for spinal and nerve injury and neurodegenerative disease.

Glial cells do not conduct electrical impulses, but instead surround neurons and provide support and insulation for them in the central nervous system -- the brain and spinal cord.  Glial cells are capable of extensive signaling in response to a diversity of stimuli.

Freeman has been widely published in scientific journals.  He earned his bachelor's degree in biology from Eastern and his doctorate from Yale University.  



Jazz Concert at Eastern

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, CT -- Eastern Connecticut State University's Jazz Ensemble will present a concert at 5 p.m. on Nov. 22 in Shafer Auditorium, located in Shafer Hall at the corner of Windham and Valley Streets in Willimantic. The public is invited. Admission is free.

The ensemble will perform a mix of classic and new jazz pieces. Classic songs include "Summertime" and "Take Five." More contemporary pieces include Radiohead's "Everything in its Right Place" and "Paranoid Android." The musicians will also perform "All Blues" and "In a Silent Way/It's About That Time" by Miles Davis.

Anthony Cornicello, associate professor of music at Eastern, will direct the ensemble. Performers include Eastern students Piper Neddenien (vocals and percussion); Tony Marcelli (trumpet); Christian Florez (keyboard); Alex Renner (bass and percussion); Brittany Gould (bass and percussion); Mark Doyle (drums, tabla and percussion); and Jeremy Camacho (drums and percussion). Cornicello will play the organ and synthesizer with the ensemble for a few songs.

For more information, contact Lana Raymond at (860) 465-5325 or

Eastern Concert Chorale and Friends

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, CT -- The Eastern Concert Chorale and Chamber Singers of Eastern Connecticut State University will present a concert at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 21 in Shafer Auditorium, located in Shafer Hall at the corner of Windham and Valley Streets in Willimantic. The public is invited. Admission is free; however, a $5 donation is suggested to help support a spring chorale and alumni tour in March 2010.

The chorale is conducted by David Belles, director of vocal studies at Eastern. Special guests will include the Concert Choir of Northeastern Connecticut, conducted by Ted Bradley, and the Woodstock Academy Chamber Singers, conducted by Amy Ranta.

The four choirs will perform a wide variety of music. Major works will include pieces written by Franz Joseph Haydn and Johannes Brahms. Performances will also include shorter Renaissance madrigals and motets by Christopher Tye, Orlando di Lasso and Josquin des Prez, among others. For the grand finale, all the choirs will join to sing "Jubilate Deo" by Benjamin Britten and Mozart's final complete composition, "Ave Verum Corpus."

For more information, contact David Belles at (860) 465-0246 or


Courtney to Speak at Eastern's Veterans Day Challenge

Written by Emily Bonoyer

Veterans Day -Murphy.JPG

Lieutenant Michael Murphy

Willimantic, CT -- Congressman Joseph Courtney (D - Second District) will be the keynote speaker when Eastern Connecticut State University observes Veterans Day on Nov. 11. The public is invited. Admission is free. The ceremony starts at 9 a.m. and will take place on the Wood Support Services Lawn.

            "I honor and thank Connecticut's veterans and their families for their continued service to our country," said Courtney. "For many veterans, their commitment to public service continues long after their military service requirements are completed, which serves as testimony to their special sense of leadership and dedication to strengthening our local communities. And for their devotion to our nation, I will continue to fight for the benefits and resources they need and have earned. I applaud Eastern for creating a Veterans' Center, which provides targeted assistance to troops and veterans who have enrolled at the university."  

As a part of the day's events, Eastern's Veterans Center will conduct the "Veterans Day Challenge." The challenge is the same workout that Lieutenant Michael Murphy, United States Navy (SEAL), of Patchogue, NY, did while he was deployed in Afghanistan. On June 28, 2005, Murphy was killed by enemy forces during a reconnaissance mission. Murphy called his workout "Body Armor" because he wore body armor weighing approximately 20 pounds during the entire workout.

            The challenge is part of the University's Dean's Cup competition among residence halls, an academic-and service-related event that promotes spirit and collaboration among students living in the residence halls on campus.  All proceeds raised from this event will benefit the Eastern Veteran's Scholarship Fund.

            The challenge is a team event comprised of two dominant workouts involving nothing more than each competitor's own body weight, and is designed to test the mind and the body. The team that completes the "Body Armor Regimen" in the fastest total time will receive a prize and bragging rights. "I feel that the event should be a positive reminder about how our veterans have served our country, and how we can continue to give back to the community at large," said Caleb Diebolt '10, sociology major at Eastern. "It is also very encouraging for the community to donate for our veterans' scholarship."

            Courtney was first elected to the U.S. House in 2006. He serves on the House Education and Labor Committee and House Armed Services Committee. On the Armed Services Committee, Courtney serves on the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces and the Military Readiness Subcommittees. He is also the first Congressman from the Second Congressional District to sit on the House Education and Labor Committee since the World War II era, which is notable, given that eastern Connecticut is proudly known as the "higher education district" of Connecticut. Since his swearing in, Courtney has distinguished himself as a tireless advocate for both the nation's veterans and men and women in uniform. In early 2008, in recognition of his efforts, Courtney was awarded the Connecticut National Guard's highest honor, the Meritorious Service Award.

The ceremony is hosted by the University's Division of Student Affairs and the Veterans Education and Transition Services Center. Persons interested in participating in the Veterans Day Challenge, should contact Caleb Diebolt at (860) 465-0401 or E-mail


Eastern's Day of Giving

Written by Kate Harner

day of giving file image.JPG

This year, Eastern's Day of Giving pre-Thanksgiving Dinner will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on Nov. 25 in Hurley Hall on Eastern's North Campus.


Willimantic, CT -- Eastern Connecticut State University will host its third annual Day of Giving food drive and Thanksgiving meal for community members who, under normal circumstances, would not receive a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The Day of Giving will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on Nov. 25 in Hurley Hall on Eastern's North Campus.

The Day of Giving was created by Jason Budahazy '09 in 2007. This year, junior Amy Gorman, president of the student-run club People Helping People (PHP), heads the Day of Giving Committee, a group of students who prepare for the food drives and the actual day of the event. They receive support from local stores, Eastern's Offices of Community Service and Institutional Advancement, the Center for Community Engagement, the Office of Housing and Residential Life and Chartwells Dining Services, among others.

Gorman organized the food drives, which are held over the five weekends before Thanksgiving. "Day of Giving is such a dynamic project because it brings so many people together for one common goal. The Eastern campus community comes together to put on the actual day of event, to collect food in the residence halls and to go out to the stores on the weekends and collect food," said Gorman. "The community makes this event possible by being generous enough to donate food at the stores for the local food pantries."

The Day of Giving food drives are held in all of Eastern's residence halls, as well as Wal-Mart, the Willimantic Food Co-Op, Shaw's Supermarkets and Bob's IGA. Volunteers from different clubs, activities, sports teams and residence halls participate in the food drive, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the following dates: Nov. 7 at Bob's IGA in Hebron; Nov. 8 at Wal-Mart; Nov. 14 at the Willimantic Food Co-Op; Nov. 15 at Shaw's in East Hampton; Nov. 21 at Bob's IGA; and Nov. 22 at Shaw's.

Last year, more than 20,000 nonperishable food items were collected and donated to the Northeast Food Collaborative, which includes the Covenant Soup Kitchen, Catholic Charities and Access Agency. So far this year, more than 1,500 food items and $150 in donations have been collected. Beth Zambrano, AmeriCorps VISTA and coordinator in Eastern's Office of Community Service said, "Donations have been extremely generous. Already, we have received greatly needed items like baby formula and items in large bulk."

The second part of Day of Giving consists of a large-scale Thanksgiving meal with all the traditional fixings for those who would otherwise go without. Chartwells Dining Services will provide and prepare food for the day. Students from clubs and activities like PHP, along with members of faculty and staff, will volunteer on that day to make the guests' experience more enjoyable and relaxing. More than 400 community members were served last year.

"Last year, I saw how much people truly appreciated this event," said Gorman. "Some of the guests with whom I interact on a regular basis still talk about it a year later, telling me how much they loved it."

For more information, contact Eastern's Office of Community Service at (860) 465-0684 or


Shakespearean Theorists to Speak at Eastern

Written by Jack Meltzer


  John Hudson.JPG            Willimantic, CT-  John Hudson, author and artistic director for the experimental New York-based Shakespeare company Dark Lady Players, will speak on Nov.  11 at Eastern Connecticut State University.  The address begins at 3 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre.  The public is invited.  Admission is free.

            The authorship and identity of Shakespeare's plays and works has been a subject of debate for a long time.  Hudson will discuss theories about who might have authored these classic plays.

        The Dark Lady Players aims to re-invent established performance practices in the theater industry. It helps teams, theatrical and otherwise, become more creative and open to inquiry; better able to generate new ideas; and able to re-invent old narratives with new dramatic techniques.

            Hudson has adapted "As You Like It" into an allegorical production presented in New York City, and  is currently working on Amelia Bassano Lanier's biography, "The Dark Lady: The Woman Who Wrote Shakespeare."  He also is the author of a biweekly column on Shakespearean scholarship and dramaturgy, which appears in the Clyde Fitch Report.  Hudson has a Master of Arts in Shakespeare and Theatre from the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham in England  and a bachelor's degree from the University of Exeter.


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