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January 2010 Archives

Eastern Professor Will Present Lecture Recital

Written by Sarah Swann

            Willimantic, CT -   Khurshed Rastomji, an adjunct professor of music at Eastern Connecticut State University and the Pomfret School, will present a lecture recital on Spanish music from 3 to 4 p.m on Feb. 10 in Eastern's Shafer Auditorium, located at Windham and Valley Streets in Willimantic.  The public is invited. Admission is free.

            Rastomji, who has performed several lecture recitals throughout Connecticut, said, "I will be playing Spanish music mostly written in the 19th century and inspired by the sense of nationalism which encouraged composers to explore their own heritage and folk songs.  Featured composers will include Granados, Albeniz and de Falla, the leading Spanish nationalist composers of that era."  Rastomji will also give a brief history of the development of music in Spain.  

            Rastomji, who is originally from India, began playing the piano as a child.  He came to the United States in 1968 and studied piano at Manhattan School of Music in New York City and the University of Connecticut (UConn).  He earned a master's degree in piano and music history from UConn and a music diploma from the Royal Schools of Music, London.



Eastern to Present "Help for Haiti"

Written by Dwight Bachman


haiti-flag[1].gifWillimantic, CT -- Eastern Connecticut State University is presenting a relief effort designed to raise money for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. "Help for Haiti: "A Night of Reflection, Inspiration, and Action!" will be held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 5 in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center.  The public is invited. Admission is free. Event supporters are being asked to wear red attire.

Judy Secord, former member of the board of directors of the Haitian Ministries of the Norwich Diocese and now a volunteer for the organization, will deliver the keynote address and discuss the history of her organization and the importance of civic engagement and local and global service. Ministries staff workers were rescued from the rubble of the earthquake.

          "The devastation in Haiti is beyond comprehension, and it is frustrating for many to be unable to help so many who werein desperate need," said Kimberly Silcox, interim director of Eastern's Center for Community Engagement. "Haiti's future is uncertain, and what is needed now more than anything is financial resources. This benefit will bring the Eastern and Windham communities together to share our talents and to demonstrate our concern and support for the citizens of Haiti."

Monica Rochon, Help for Haiti organizer and one of Eastern's AmeriCorps VISTA Community Service Coordinators, said, "When one person hurts, we all hurt because we are a global community. At the news of the quake, my heart sank the same way it did when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. This tragedy is a lesson for us all. We must make it our civic duty and priority to look out for one another. I believe this event will demonstrate how much Eastern is in sync with the community on the idea that we truly are a globally community from the planning process to the reflection process.

A number of Eastern students groups at will also provide performances. The event will also feature a silent auction of goods donated by area businesses to raise money for the relief effort.

Help for Haiti is sponsored by Eastern's Center for Community Engagement, Office of Housing and Residential Life, and The Intercultural Center in the Division of Student Affairs.


Eastern's Pride Room Grand Opening

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, CT - Eastern Connecticut State University will have a grand opening for the Pride Room, a new resource room for Eastern's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place from 3 to 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 18 on the first floor of the Student Center outside of the Pride Room. The public is invited. Admission is free. Refreshments will be served.

            Michelle Delaney, student activities and Student Center director; Kenneth Bedini, interim vice president for student affairs; and the student-run group Allies have worked with Eastern faculty, staff and students to create the Pride Room. Committees have created a mission statement and advisory board for the room as a first step toward developing a center for Eastern's LGBT community.


Leahy Appointed to Electric Vehicle Council

Written by Jack Meltzer


Leahy.JPG.gifWillimantic, CT -- Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell has appointed William Leahy, director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) at Eastern Connecticut State University, as a representative and council member to the Electric Vehicles Infrastructure Council (EVIC). Council members will serve until Sept. 1, 2010, or until they submit final recommendations to the governor.

Leahy will represent ISE and collaborate with representatives from 15 other state agencies who were appointed to the EVIC.  The EVIC will develop strategies and prepare the state for the integration of the electric car to the market and establish performance measures for meeting infrastructure funding, environmental and regulatory goals. 

"Connecticut has the opportunity to become a national leader by driving economic development, inspiring new small business, and creating green jobs through the coordinated introduction and interrogation of electric vehicles and the accompanying infrastructure," said Rell.  "Connecticut is committed to being at the forefront of transitioning to the electrification of transportation.  Electric vehicles will provide users with significantly reduced energy costs."

Leahy has 40 years experience in public education and energy management. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in Industrial Education from Central Connecticut State University. In 2002, Leahy was appointed director of the ISE.  In 2004, the ISE was named the recipient of the National Energy Star Partnership Award for Community Leadership in Energy Education for the US Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency. 


Professor to Decorate North Carolina Train Line

Written by Jack Meltzer


  bisantz low rex.JPGWillimantic, CT -- June Bisantz, professor of visual arts at Eastern Connecticut State

University, has been selected by the North Carolina-based transportation company

Charlotte Arena Transit System (CATS) to present her public art project titled, "The

LYNX Blue Line Extension (BLE) Light Rail Project." 

The BLE light rail project is an 11-mile extension of the LYNX Blue Line, the North Carolina train division of the CATS transit system.  The public art will be incorporated into 13 proposed stations, including seven park and ride lots. 

The selected artists' panel includes 16 artists from around the country, and was picked by the CATS' Art-in-Transit Advisory Committee after a nationwide call-to-artists. More than 383 artists submitted their credentials in response to the call.

CATS Art-In-Transit Program Manager Pallas Lombardi said,  "We selected a diverse group of artists from across the country who will create art in Charlotte that focuses on what is unique about station neighborhoods along the Blue Line Extension." 

Bisantz received her master's degree in painting from Claremont Graduate University in California. Her work as a commercial artist and illustrator has appeared in Esquire and Vanity Fair magazines, and her paintings, collages and multimedia pieces have been shown in galleries and museums nationally and internationally, including the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport, the Benton Museum and the University of Connecticut.


Environmental Earth Science Professor Speaks

Written by Jack Meltzer


loxsom low rez.JPGWillimantic, Conn. -  Fred Loxsom,  professor of environmental earth science at Eastern Connecticut State University and chair of the University's Center for Sustainable Energy Studies, will lecture on Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. in Eastern's Student Center Theatre.  Loxsom's presentation is part of the University Hour Series.  The public is invited.  Admission is free. 

            Loxsom's lecture, "Our Vanishing Foot Print," will present Eastern's plans for achieving goals set out by the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.  The goal is for each participating campus to reach carbon neutrality - zero net emission of greenhouse gasses by 2050.

             "Eastern is committed to developing a green campus, and has set up a Green Campus Committee to direct its efforts," said Loxsom.  "We demonstrate this commitment through our Sustainable Energy Studies academic program; the Institute for Sustainable Energy; LEED certified buildings; our president's commitment to sustainability goals; a strong recycling program; and several renewable energy and energy conservation projects." 

            Members of the Green Campus Committee, which was founded in 2004 and includes students, faculty and staff, will co-present with Professor Loxsom.      


            University Hour is Eastern's Wednesday afternoon cultural and educational series. For more information on this and other University Hour events, please call (860) 465-5245.


Eastern's Akus Gallery to Present Urban Artist

 Written by Jack Meltzer

  PD. Eat Your Veggies.jpg


 Willimantic, Conn. - The Akus Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University will present "Project Detonate" by renowned graffiti and fantasy artist Yosiell Lorenzo.  His exhibition titled "Sweet Tooth" begins Jan. 28 and runs through March 11.   An opening reception takes place on Feb. 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. in the gallery.  The public is invited.  Admission is free.

"Sweet Tooth" is a combination of Lorenzo's older work including graffiti art, silk-screens and digital graphic paintings and his current retrospective work with oil paintings.  Lorenzo's art  incorporates unusual influences such as hip hop, graffiti, graphic novels and Japanese anime cartoons. 


PD. Mr. Angry Molar.jpgAlong with his exhibitions, Lorenzo is a master of self-promotion.  Once his artwork is complete, Lorenzo translates it into limited edition toys called Dunnys, Munnys, Droplets and Mutts which are then marketed by the toy company kidrobot ©.  The company turns his artwork into stickers, pins and toys.

Akus Gallery Director Elizabeth Peterson says, "Yosiell is a prolific painter and graphic designer who produces and markets everything he creates, and he makes it all look effortless."

            Lorenzo and "Project Detonate" have been involved in group art shows around the country including shows in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

            Lorenzo was born in Bridgeport and now lives in New Haven. He attended Paier College of Art where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. 


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




Eastern Seeks Nominations for Ella T. Grasso Award

Written by Jack Meltzer


Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University is accepting nominations for the Second Annual Ella T. Grasso Distinguished Service Awards.  Nominees may be a part of the university community or from the greater Windham community.  Nominations will be accepted through Feb. 5, 2010.

The Ella T. Grasso Distinguished Service Award recognizes members of the campus and local community whose actions demonstrate distinguished service in promoting Grasso's ideals to advance women's rights and gender equality.

Three awards will be given:  to a member of the community; a member of the Eastern faculty/staff; and a member of the Eastern student body.

The awards recognize leaders in programs that support the needs of women by organizing and empowering women, advocating on behalf of women's rights or supporting outreach services to women; and leaders who have demonstrated initiative in planning and implementing programs to broaden the representation of women at various levels of society, including socioeconomic, political, medical/health sectors, and the fine arts and social sciences.

The award will be presented at a ceremony at 6 p.m. on March 31 in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library. 

To request a nomination form, please contact Raja Staggers-Hakim, coordinator of Eastern's Women Center by calling (860) 465-4313 or emailing

Danny Glover and Felix Justice to Perform at Eastern

Written by Jack Meltzer


  Glover_Justice_updated_500x365.JPGWillimantic, CT --  Award-winning actors Danny Glover and Felix Justice will perform at Eastern Connecticut State University on Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium. 

             "An Evening with Martin and Langston" is Glover and Justice's two-man presentation; Glover portrays literary giant Langston Hughes while Justice brings to life the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Following the performance, the two will be available for questions and answers.   The Glover/Justice event wraps up Eastern's Ninth Annual Arts and Lecture Series. 

            Glover and Justice have been performing "An Evening with Martin and Langston" for more than 10 years.  Glover, who made his acting debut in 1979,  has acted in more than 50 films, made numerous televison appearances and has lent his voice to many commercial spots.  He is most famous for his roles in the "Lethal Weapon" series and for his leading role in the movie " The Color Purple." 

            Glover is the recipient of a number of awards, including the lifetime achievement award at the 2003 Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival.  He also is a political and civil rights acivist, and in 2003, was honored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) when the organization presented him its prestigious Chairman's Award.  Glover has received five NAACP awards for acting. 

            Justice, who is most recognized for his theatre work, has been acting for more than 30 years, and is most recogniozed for his 1981 on-stage performance in "Prophecy in America," a one-man show depicting the life of Dr. King.   He has also performed in theatre productions of "Blues for Mr. Charlie, "Henry V" and the "River Niger."

             Tickets for "An Evening with Martin and Langston" 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 to Present 12-Part TV Series on Martin Luther King Jr.

Written by Jack Meltzer

mlk color image.jpgWillimantic, CT -- Had he lived, the late Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 81 years old this year.  As part of its celebration of King's birthday, Eastern Connecticut State University will present a 12-part series looking back on the life and times of the man, widely considered as the greatest civil rights leader of the past century.

The series, which contains a greeting by Eastern President Elsa Núñez, was researched, written and produced by Dwight Bachman, public relations officer at Eastern. The series will air all day on Jan. 18, the national celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Channel 22, Eastern's cable channel.  It will air on even hours all day beginning at midnight and ending 24 hours later on Jan. 19.

The series, which Eastern Professor of Theatre Ellen Brodie described as "an on-going beacon lighting the memory of Dr. King and a loving gift to future generations,"  begins with a look at the forces that brought this humble Baptist preacher out of his pulpit and pushed him into the forefront of the civil rights movement.  From there, it moves on to the role King played in desegregating the transit system of Montgomery, AL.  It also reveals how King reacted to the many threats on his life, his extraordinary ability to articulate an idea, and his response to liberals who said he was moving too fast and Christian clergymen who said he was a Communist troublemaker who belonged in jail.

 "Much emphasis is put on Dr. King's tactic of nonviolent civil disobedience, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Peace," said Bachman. "We often forget King's goals of fairness for everyone, and an end to segregation, injustice, racism and discrimination. King did not die for non-violence; he died fighting for fair pay and economic justice - for Memphis sanitation workers who, as he said, 'cannot eat three square meals a day.'  We should pay more attention to King's goals rather than his tactics."

The series originally aired in 1983 on the Stamford, CT-based Satellite News Channel (SNC), where Bachman was a news producer at the time.  Jose Grinan, SNC anchorman, narrates the series. Nick Messina, director of media services at Eastern, and Craig Naumec, multimedia production technician in Media Services, recreated the series for the Eastern Connecticut State University television broadcast.



"College Goal Sunday Connecticut"

Written by Jack Meltzer

            Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University will be one of 13 colleges and universities across the state participating in "College Goal Sunday Connecticut" on Jan. 31. This event is a volunteer effort to help low-income families, high school seniors and juniors, minority students and first-generation college students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). At Eastern, College Goal Sunday will be held from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Computer Lab (Room 410) of Webb Hall on Eastern's North Campus. The snow date is Feb. 14.

            At College Goal Sunday, students and parents will be able to talk to experts and get in-depth help filling out the FAFSA form. Participants will also receive general information regarding state and federal financial aid programs.

            The event is sponsored by the Connecticut Association of Professional Financial Aid Administrators; the Connecticut Association of Educational Opportunity Programs; the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administration; and the Lumina Foundation. For more information about the event, call 1-800-277-2270; e-mail; or visit


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